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 Politicall reflections upon the government of the Tvrks

(1,863 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
- Francis Osborne Date: 1656 Original Language: English Description Francis Osborne’s  Politicall reflections upon the government of the Tvrks was printed in London in 1656 for his Oxford-based publisher, Thomas Robinson. The work is the first of eight essays in the publication, which has 194 pages.  Politicall reflections was republished in 1661, 1662, 1673 and 1683 as a single volume, and as pp. 255-350 of Osborne’s  Works (1673). In the 1682, 1689, 1700 and 1701 editions of  Works, it ran from page 219 to 290. In the Miscellaneous works (1722), it is the second essay of Volume 2. This…

 ‘The life and death of Mahomet, the prophet of the Turks, and author of the Alcoran’

(1,884 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
‘The life and death of Mahomet’- Alexander Ross, Hugh Ross, Thomas Ross Date: 1649 Original Language: English Description ‘The life and death of Mahomet, the prophet of the Turks, and author of the Alcoran’ occupies pages 395-407 of the 1649 Qur’an translation. It has both number and signature pagination (Cc6-r to Dd4-r). The text was probably written in a hurry after the translation of the French text was complete because an invited contributor failed to deliver. It draws heavily on Samuel Purchas’s  Purchas his pilgrimage, or Relations of the world and religions (1613) and on Michel…

 Correspondence with Safiye Sultan

(2,218 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
- Elizabeth I Date: 1593, 1599 Original Language: Ottoman Turkish Description Safiye Sultan was born in Albania, probably in 1550 because she was 13 in 1563 when Mihrimah, who functioned as Queen Mother ( Vālide sultan) for Selim II, her younger brother, presented her to the then Prince Murad as a concubine. She had been enslaved by pirates, and according to Matar she converted to Islam ( Islam in Britain, pp. 123-4). In 1566, Safiye gave birth to the future sultan, Mehmed III. At this time, Murad’s relationship with Safiye was monogamous, which gave her the status of Khāṣṣekī, chief or f…

 Posthumous works

(2,050 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
- Thomas Chubb Date: 1748 Original Language: English DescriptionThomas Chubb’s  Posthumous works were published in two volumes in 1748, edited by friends. Chubb may have written the brief autobiographical sketch that was prefixed to vol. 1 with this publication in mind. Inclusive of indices but excluding prefatory matter, vol. 1 has 428 pages and vol. 2 has 400 pages. Chubb’s remarks on Islam in vol. 1 have attracted most attention, but there are also scattered references to Islam elsewhere. Tantalisingly,…

Richard Knolles

(299 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
Biography Richard Knolles’s date of birth is unknown. It was probably towards the end of the 1540s, and his place of birth was possibly Cold Ashby, Northamptonshire. Records show that he attended Lincoln College, Oxford, where he graduated BA (1565) and MA (1570). He was elected Fellow, and remained at the college until August 1572. He returned there as a visitor during 1576. Since he was sent to university, his family were probably gentry. Sir Roger Manwood (d. 1592) appointed him headmaster of …

Wynkyn de Worde

(630 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
Biography Wynkyn de Worde was an early printer who served as an apprentice to Johannes Veldener in Cologne and then worked with William Caxton following the latter’s visit to Cologne in 1471-72. In 1475 or 1476, de Worde accompanied Caxton to Westminster, where he eventually inherited Caxton’s printshop after Caxton’s death in 1492. Around 1500, he moved his shop to Fleet Street under the ‘sign of the sun’, which he incorporated into his colophon. The first printer to operate from Fleet Street, h…

 A Shorte Declaration of the Mistery of Iniquity

(1,101 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
The Mistery of Iniquity- Thomas Helwys Date: 1612 Original Language: English Description Believed to have been printed in Amsterdam, this first ever plea for complete religious liberty in English is 212 pages long. Helwys presumably took the copies with him when he returned to England. The title is from 2 Thessalonians 2:7: ‘For the mystery of iniquity doth already work.’ The book begins with a four-page ‘Note to the Reader’, and an outline of the contents. Pagination cited below is from the 1935 facsimile edition. Sections 1-7 discuss the respective remits of the temporal and s…

 Doutes sur la religion

(2,107 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
‘Doubts about religion’ John Toland Date: Uncertain; before 1719 Original Language: French Description Doutes sur la religion is one of several inter-related texts that circulated clandestinely in manuscript form among a coterie of radical thinkers in 18th-century Europe. Members were Deists, Freemasons, pantheists and religious sceptics, and included Count Henri de Boulainvilliers (d. 1722), Benjamin Furly (d. 1714), Yves de Vallone (d. 1705), Charles de Saint-Évremond (d. 1703), Pierre Desmaizeaux (d. 1745) and Baron d’Holbach …

 De vita et rebus gestis Mohammedis

(1,170 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
La vie de Mahomet‘Life of Muḥammad’ John Gagnier, Johannes Gagnier Date: 1723 Original Language: Latin (with Arabic) DescriptionGagnier’s Latin De vita et rebus gestis Mohammedis: moslemicae religionis auctoris et imperii saracenici fundatoris was published in Oxford in 1723. It is 160 pages long, with the Arabic original and translation in parallel columns. The Arabic manuscript of Abū l-Fidāʾ’s  Al-mukhtaṣar completed in 1329, of which it is a translation, was part of the collection donated to the Bodleian Library by Edward Pococke. In the annotatio…

Jean Gagnier

(604 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
John Gagnier, Johannes Gagnier Date of Birth: 1670 Place of Birth: Paris Date of Death: 2 March 1740 Place of Death: Oxford BiographyJean Gagnier was born in Paris, probably in 1670. His background is unknown before he attended the Collège de Navarre in that city, where he developed his interest in Arabic and Hebrew. After ordination as a Catholic priest, he became a canon-regular of the Abbey of St Genevieve in Paris, but at some point in the late 17th century he converted to Protestantism, ‘being convinced of his errors’ (Agnew, Protestant exiles, p. 388) and, around about 1700, he…

John Milton

(2,144 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
Biography John Milton was born at the family home in Bread Street, London, on 20 December 1608, the third child of John and Sara Milton. The senior John Milton, a member of the Company of Scriveners, was also a published composer. Growing up in the Bread Street house, the younger John Milton was surrounded by music and song, and developed an appreciation of both. He learned the organ, the bass viol, and part-singing. Initially educated at home by tutors, he started to write poetry at an early age…

Isaac Barrow

(542 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
Biography Isaac Barrow was born in London in October 1630. He was educated at Charterhouse and Felstead, and later at Trinity College, Cambridge. He graduated in 1649, and by the time he took his MA in 1652 he had built up a reputation as an accomplished scholar in mathematics and the natural sciences. His royalist sympathies made it difficult to continue at Cambridge and he left for Paris in 1655. By February 1656, he was in Italy, and then travelled east to Smyrna, moving on to Constantinople that summer. In Turkey, he studied John Chrysostom an…

Thomas Helwys

(686 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
Biography Thomas Helwys, a co-founder of the Baptist denomination in Britain, was born in Nottinghamshire into a prosperous family belonging to the landed gentry. The exact date of his birth is unknown. It was probably during 1575, although 1550 is also commonly cited. He enrolled at Gray’s Inn in 1592, and qualified there as a barrister in 1595. Already his father’s heir, he settled in the family home at Broxtowe Hall, and by then he had developed separatist and Puritan sympathies, partly influenced by his uncle, Sir Gervase Helwys, Lieutenant of the Tower of London (d. 1615). By 1600, Bro…

 The first anniversary of the government

(1,927 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
- Andrew Marvell Date: 1655 Original Language: English Description The first anniversary of the government under His Highness the Lord Protector was published anonymously in January 1655. In iambic pentameter and rhyming couplets, it is a poem of 402 lines. It was printed by Thomas Newcombe, formerly printer to the king, in an 18-page broadsheet and was to be sold by Samuel Gellibrand at the Golden Ball in St Paul’s Churchyard. The poem was first credited to Marvell in the 1681 edition of his  Miscellaneous poems, where it appeared as The first anniversary of the government under OC (pp. 1…

 Correspondence with Sultan Murad III

(3,739 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
- Elizabeth I Date: 1579-95 Original Language: Latin Description Murad III ruled from 1574 until his death in 1595. Court correspondence between Murad and Elizabeth began in 1579 and continued until his death. Murad wrote in Ottoman Turkish, which was translated by a  dragoman into Latin. Elizabeth always replied to Murad in Latin. Incidentally, Europeans at this time studiously avoided calling the Ottoman Empire by that name; it was always Turkey (MacLean,  Looking East, p. 6). Istanbul, too, was always Constantinople; the name was not officially changed until 1923 (Allinson, Monar…

The Life and Death of Mahomet

(28 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
Biography Primary Sources of Information Secondary Sources of Information Works on Christian-Muslim Relations The Life and Death of Mahomet Clinton Bennett

Thomas Roe

(1,114 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
BiographyThe exact date of Thomas Roe’s birth is not known, but since he was baptised at St Lawrence Jewry, London, on 8 March 1581, he must have been born earlier that year. His father, Robert (1550-87) was a haberdasher and landowner. Roe (or Rowe) studied at Magdalen College, Oxford, from 1593, and left four years later to enrol in the Middle Temple without taking a degree. The Inns of Court were London’s centres of learning where, as well as studying, law students wrote poetry and plays. Roe counted rising literati as friends, including John Donne and Ben Jonson (Brown,  Itinerant ambassa…

Fynes Moryson

(752 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
Biography Fynes (also Fines and Fiennes) Moryson (also Morison) was born at Cadeby, Lincolnshire, probably during 1565 or 1566. His father, Thomas, held an important post in the Treasury (he was Clerk of the Pipes) and represented Great Grimsby in Parliament in 1572, 1584, 1586 and 1588-9. Moryson matriculated at Peterhouse, Cambridge, in 1580, graduating BA in 1584. Elected a Fellow, with duties as Bursar, his MA followed after three years (1587). By 1589, Moryson was studying civil law but by t…

Henry Blount

(590 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
Biography Henry Blount (or Blunt) was born on 15 December 1602 at Tyttenhanger, Hertfordshire. His father Thomas, who served for some time as sheriff of Hertfordshire, was knighted in 1603. The Blount family acquired their Tyttenhanger estate from Thomas’s aunt; before the dissolution of the monasteries, it had belonged to St Albans Abbey. Henry was educated at St Alban’s free school and at Trinity College, Oxford, graduating with a BA in 1618. He enrolled at Gray’s Inn, London, and then in 1629 …

Elizabeth I

(892 words)

Author(s): Bennett, Clinton
Biography Elizabeth was born on 7 September 1533, the daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn. Unlike her elder half-sister Mary, she was raised as a Protestant. She succeeded Mary in 1558. In the next 45 years, she presided over the expansion of England’s overseas trade, voyages of discovery and a literary Renaissance. On the one hand she downplayed her gender, believing that her role as sovereign transcended this, while on the other she did nothing to discourage what amounte…
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