Elizabeth I revealed as the translator of Tacitus into English

angelburst29

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Elizabeth I, one of England’s best-loved monarchs, has been revealed to be the translator behind an English version of an ancient text by Tacitus who described the high politics, treachery and debauchery of the Roman elite.

Elizabeth I revealed as the translator of Tacitus into English

A 16th Century translation of the first book of Tacitus’s Annals - written in elegant italic hand on ruled paper - has been shown to be Elizabeth’s after an analysis of handwriting, her style of writing and the type of paper used.

FILE PHOTO: A letter written by Queen Elizabeth I of England is inspected at Christies auctioneers in London before its sale June26, 2007. The auction of The Albin Schram Collection of Autograph Letters will be held in London in July. REUTERS/James Boardman
“The manuscript translation of Tacitus Annales now preserved at Lambeth Palace Library is the work of Elizabeth I,” John-Mark Philo wrote in The Review of English Studies.

“Elizabeth goes to some lengths to retain the density of Tacitus’s prose and his celebrated brevity,” Philo wrote. “She follows the contours of the Latin syntax with remarkable commitment, even at the risk of obscuring the sense in English.”


Tacitus, a historian of the Roman Empire, casts Tiberius and Nero as tyrants and relates the debauchery and corruption of the empire’s rulers.

Elizabeth endured a tumultuous childhood including the disgrace and death of her mother, and persecution under her half sister Mary I, before ascending to the throne aged 25.

Elizabeth, known as the “the Virgin Queen” who ruled from 1558 to 1603, saw off a Spanish attempt to defeat England, though she never married or named a successor.
 

itellsya

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SOTT's posting of it includes a quote from Laura's article The True Identity of Fulcanelli and The Da Vinci Code, noting that Elizabeth was translating at a very early age, and, by the sounds of it, not simple texts:

In the early 1520s, Marguerite became involved in the movement for the reform of the church, meeting and corresponding with the leading reformers of the period. In 1527, apparently by her own choice, (rare in those days) Marguerite married Henri d'Albret, King of Navarre (though most of his kingdom was in Spanish hands). Henri d'Albret was the son of Catherine de Foix, descended from a famous Cathar family.

Around 1531, Marguerite allowed a poem she had written to be published, Miroir de l'ame pecheresse (Mirror of the sinful soul). Marguerite gave a copy of Miroir to one of her ladies in waiting, Anne Boleyn, and it was later translated into English by Anne's 12 year old daughter, Elizabeth later to become the greatest monarch England has ever known. As it happens, Anne Boleyn had previously been the lady in waiting to Margaret of Austria, so the two ladies undoubtedly communicated with one another and shared a Lady in Waiting. It also makes one wonder about the possibility that there was a great mystery surrounding Anne Boleyn?
The discoverer of the translation, Dr Philo, notes that:

Dr Philo said Tacitus "has always been considered the subversive historian, and was later reviled under Charles I as anti-monarchical", which raises questions about why it would be of interest to Elizabeth. Was she drawing upon it for guidance on how to rule or for examples of misrule to be avoided?
And from the article:

Elizabeth endured a tumultuous childhood including the disgrace and death of her mother [by Henry VIII], and persecution under her half sister Mary I, before ascending to the throne aged 25.
Tacitus "described the high politics, treachery and debauchery of the Roman elite", and Dr Philo speculates:
Was she drawing upon it for guidance on how to rule or for examples of misrule to be avoided?

Alternatively, the translation could just have been a hobby for a queen who is known to have enjoyed classical history.
Neither article states what age Elizabeth was when it was translated, but, according to wiki she was born in 1533, took to the throne in 1558, and one states that it was written on a 'specific kind of paper' that gained prominence in the 1590s. Her reign ended, with her death, in 1603. So she could've been at least 57 at the time of translation? Meaning she would have been well into her reign by that point. Or perhaps she had been using the paper for longer? Either way, was she translating it for her own benefit, or for those who were to come after? A bit of both? I have no idea, just some thoughts.


Also in the news, less than a week before this discovery was that a long-lost overpainted portrait of her was found:
the California owners of the painting had no idea who the sitter was until they had it cleaned. [...]

The procedure revealed the picture had been overpainted, probably in the 19th century.

The painting dates from 1562, four years into Elizabeth's reign, and is one of the earliest depictions of the monarch" [...] It is highly speculative what it could have been used for,"


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Beau

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anka

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I don't think it's necessary for people to know that an article was posted on SOTT and/or have to use the SOTT link if they want to discuss a subject on the forum.
At the same time it's useful to know that. People might want to prefer sharing the SOTT link instead of the original because of interesting comments and editors potentially avoid doubled publishing (which happened before) if they don't realize a worthy article has already been published.

I agree with you that there's no need to know or use SOTT link to start discussing a topic of one's interest but I don't see a bad intent in Palinurus's post. In fact I appreciate his amazing skill of spading the Cass & SOTT archives and sharing his findings ceaselessly.
 

Beau

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I agree with you that there's no need to know or use SOTT link to start discussing a topic of one's interest but I don't see a bad intent in Palinurus's post. In fact I appreciate his amazing skill of spading the Cass & SOTT archives and sharing his findings ceaselessly.
Yeah, I think you're right and I don't want to derail the discussion either so mea culpa Palinurus.
 

Palinurus

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That's a rather unnecessary interjection. I don't think it's necessary for people to know that an article was posted on SOTT and/or have to use the SOTT link if they want to discuss a subject on the forum.
Yeah, I think you're right and I don't want to derail the discussion either so mea culpa Palinurus.

First off: no harm done as far as I'm concerned. ;-)

Secondly, It may have escaped your attention but itellsya started her contribution too with a link reference to the SOTT/BBC version of this story.

Third, I added the reference to SOTT because the BBC version of this story was more elaborate than the Reuters' one and I could have added some remarks to point that out. I didn't, so sorry about that.

Fourth, itellsya in her contribution expanded on that version even further by adding extra info in the same vein. Probably, she understood what I meant with my (in hindsight) rather cryptic post. Thank you.

Fifth, I'm also grateful for anka's post defending me. :thup:
 
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