By John E. Curran Jr.
This publication describes how the Renaissance realizing of historical Britain remained stricken by medieval conceptions. the cause of this ultimate medievalism used to be that the culture according to Geoffrey of Monmouth grew to become so proper to Protestant patriotism nice many Protestant English writers clung to it or have been stimulated through it regardless of its obvious historic inaccuracies. Drayton, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton determine prominently, yet quite a lot of authors is taken into account.
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Additional resources for Roman Invasions: The British History, Protestant Anti-Romanism, and the Historical Imagination in England, 1530-1660
Thus, debates over the existence of Geoffrey’s ﬂamens, like that between Heylyn and Fuller,54 were shaped not just by political or ecclesiological differences, but by a shared concern for anti-Romanism. Men held different views of what images of ancient British religious culture were best suited to Protestantism. The Elvan/Medwin stories only added to this confusion. Capgrave had reported that these two Britons were sent by Lucius to Rome, were baptized there, and were subsequently sent back to Britain to baptize Lucius and help him install Christianity.
In a dedicatory epistle to Queen Elizabeth, the Magdeburgians congratulated her for presiding over a kingdom which had discovered true religion so early in its history; fame declared that Joseph of Arimathea and King Lucius could be claimed as its early proponents. And yet, even here, the Germans give a hint that this ‘‘fama’’ [fame] was unsound; ‘‘vana superstitio’’ [vain superstition] had been added to Lucius’s story. When actually going over Joseph and Lucius in their attack on the Catholics, the authors give us even more cause to suspect the stories.
The need to negotiate this disparity prompted English writers to adopt a number of strategies in imagining the ancient British church, many of which undermined themselves or the strategies of other Protestants. The story of Joseph of Arimathea illustrates well the problem of what to do with drastically different accounts of the same historical issue. In this case, the issue was the origin of the British church; Joseph’s importance stemmed from his ability to answer the now crucial question of how and when Christianity in Britain was ﬁrst founded.