Anna’s Entry into Edinburgh – 1590

This is one of the first DH projects that I’ve worked on.  It shows Anna of Denmark’s official entry into Edinburgh.

Process:

I found a near contemporary map of Edinburgh and using a narrative account of her entry, plotted each point on the map and have included what pageants happened at each site as well as historical engravings or photos of the landmarks of Edinburgh.

Firstly, I found the 1582 map of Edinburgh on the National Library of Scotland’s webpage. It said that the map itself was free to use for academic purposes, but it was provided in a much smaller format.  Geoff was able to find a high quality version of the same map and piece it together to be used in a “zoomify” project, where it can, well, be “zoomed” into to see smaller details in great clarity. Once it was zipped together like a digital jigsaw puzzle, I worked to figure out where each of the places mentioned in the Danish account of the Entry were located.  To do that, I consulted Google Maps for some, my own knowledge for others, as well as a fantastic historic map collection (of JUST Edinburgh!) put together by Christopher Fleet and Daniel MacCannell and published in association with the National Library of Scotland.  The narrative account is contained in David Stevenson’s Scotland’s Last Royal Wedding, with an English translation by Peter Graves. All quotes, unless otherwise noted, as from Scotland’s Last Royal Wedding.

After reading through the narrative account and finding any specific places mentioned by name, and plotting those on the map, I had to figure out a logical path to find all of the other places that were not mentioned by name. I think I have done so accurately, but the stylized nature of the map makes pinpoint accuracy difficult. I’m sure there were many more “side streets” in the Edinburgh of 1590 than pictured in the map, just as there are many little alleyways today.

Once I established a credible path for Anna’s entry to follow, I set about finding images to go along with each place.  I tried to include both contemporary or near-contemporary images of how the building or feature would have looked in Anna’s time as well as modern photographs (especially the gorgeous view from the inside of St. Giles!). After that, I tried to re-write some of the pageants and to describe them simply so that one could follow along easily and enjoy imagining some of the splendor of Anna’s entry. Sometimes, I found that I could not do the original text justice and left the quotes, but others I found I could put my own rhetorical spin on and re-wrote. This is, of course, not complete as the narrative account does contain the text of the speeches and pageants, but instead of including the lengthy prose I wanted to impart more of the visual aspects of Anna’s journey, rather than the textual.

The reason that I chose this particular project to craft is two-fold.  One, is honestly I’ve just been wanting to do this for a long time and finally found the software that I could do it with. I’ve worked with Anna for years now and have been itching to do more work with her in the last year.  Secondly is more of a scholarly reason: Entries seem to be rather understudied.  I am building for myself a scholarly toolkit of historian’s tools but also literary analysis and theatrical analysis and Entries are perfect blends of all three.  Entries are important introductions into not only how royals wanted to represent themselves to their people (self-fashioning), but also the expectations that the people had for their new king or queen.  It was their first chance to see their new king or queen, resplendent in their finery. It was meant as a way to both flatter and educate the king or queen, and so can give a little insight into who that king or queen was as a person and how they were perceived by others.  For Anna, much was made of her royal lineage and how powerful and noble Denmark was. The people of Edinburgh, in their speeches, asked Anna to be good, kind, virtuous, and to bear James many children. They also asked her to love Edinburgh and Scotland, even though it was not as rich or powerful as Copenhagen or Denmark. They also wanted her to love James, because he was also just and wise. This shows not only the love that they hoped that Anna would bestow upon them, but the love they had of their own city and kingdom.  They felt Scotland a worthy match for Anna, just one that is a little rough around the edges.

 

Without further ado, Anna’s Entry into Edinburgh, 1590:

StoryMapJS of Anna’s Entry

 

Reflections on the Newberry

This last weekend I had the honor and opportunity to attend and present at the Newberry Library’s Annual Graduate Student Conference.  It was wonderful to be surrounded by my peers and to become part of the community of young scholars.

I didn’t get to go to all the panels I wanted to attend (who does?) but the ones I did get to sit in on were fantastic.  They were filled with fascinating research and thought-provoking questions.  I particularly enjoyed the one on LGBT research in medieval/renaissance literature/musical performances.  Listening to the papers made me really think about my own research, and to think about incorporating more theoretical frameworks into my analysis.  How each of the presenters managed to do the theory and to have it flow seamlessly into the history was skillful and that is something I hope to work on this semester with an article I’m writing for a research seminar.

I also got wonderful questions about my own research that made me think about how I wrote the paper, how I presented the work and where I am going from there.  I also got a great book suggestion that will stretch me out of my temporal comfort zone (but still sticking with my subject, consorts!) that I immediately ordered from Amazon and will devour when it arrives.  I really want to look at the foreignness of Henrietta Maria and how that played a part in her reception in England (which I did to some extent, but I think looking at it more would yield more insights) and I’ll incorporate a bit of that into my article, where I am looking at Anna of Denmark’s masquing career as well.

 

I do a lot of comparative work.  I’m OK with that. :)

MOOCs for the Independent Scholar

MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses, are classes available online for anyone to take. They cover a wide variety of topics, and depending on from where they come, varying levels of difficulty and specialization. A major host of MOOCs is, of course, Coursera. Partnered with academic institutions, Coursera will host their content and provide a digital framework for the course. Either currently available or in their archives, Coursera boasts an impressive number of different courses. These range anywhere from, “Dinosaurs 101” through the University of Alberta, to “Heterogeneous Parallel Programming” from the University of Illinois-Champaign, to “Statistical Molecular Thermodynamics” from the University of Minnesota, and more.

Each of these, for the most part, will follow a similar structure/grading methods:

  • Lectures are delivered via pre-recorded videos.
  • Multiple Choice Quizzes
  • Forum Discussion
  • Class Project (complete with peer evaluations)

The participant will also be graded, sometimes, on how many peers’ projects they themselves have evaluated. In the end, if the grade is satisfactory, the participant will be awarded a certificate of accomplishment, or, as a push from Coursera to pay for the free courses, a Verified Certificate.

Personally, to challenge myself during my gap year, I am currently enrolled in 4 MOOCs. They are the above named Dinosaurs 101, Magna Carta and its Legacy, Data Scientist’s Toolkit, and Digging Deeper: Making Manuscripts. Only three of these, though, are through Coursera, the fourth, is created and hosted by the good people at Stanford. So far, my experience with Digging Deeper is very different from the Coursera courses. I am not sure if it is because the topic is more directly relevant to my research or because how it is structured differently, but my enjoyment and learning levels seem to be different.

Stanford’s, or at least the professors’ approach, is somewhat similar to Coursera’s, where the lectures are presented by video. There is a transcript that runs alongside the video, as well as captions on the screen itself. There are mini-quizzes after each short video, to test recall and understanding. There are also, and this is the difference for me, practical exercises. I am also graded on how well I transcript an actual medieval manuscript. Already, after only having done the first week’s worth of material, I feel more confident in approaching a manuscript and attempting to understand it.

If you can, I would suggest signing up for Digging Deeper – it looks to be a promising course!

Greece vs. Rome in “Vision of the Twelve Goddesses”

“It is noteworthy that the model for the King’s action is Greek.  Luminalia also had a Greek component in that one of the minor themes dealt with the expulsion of the Muses from Greece and their eventual settlement in Britain.  Greece signified culture in contrast to Rome with its associations with military and imperial might.”

– Graham Perry, The Golden Age Restor’d: The Culture of the Stuart Court 1603-42, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1981, p. 202-203.

 

From a printed edition - 1880

From a printed edition – 1880

 

Upon reading the above quote in Graham Perry’s work on the Stuart masques, it really got me thinking of Queen Anna’s first public masque, The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses by Samuel Daniel and designed by Inigo Jones.  Even though the quote is in reference to the Caroline masques and not the Jacobean ones, it is an interesting framework to examine the assignment of roles in the masque.  Performed in 1604, it was the first masque of Anna’s career as Chief Masquer (not Blackness by Ben Jonson in 1605 as Perry asserts).     Below I have compiled a chart of who danced with Anna in the masque and what persona they embodied.  This is an appendix taken from a paper I wrote up as a thesis of sorts to complete a directed study.  In the scope of this post, I’ll just be looking at the role that Anna took, rather than the ones that were assigned to her Ladies of Honour.  I hope to, at another juncture, have the opportunity to look even deeper at the masque and analyze the iconography and symbolism in the text and device.

The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses, by Samuel Daniel
Name/Rank Role
Queen Anna Pallas Athena
Countess of Suffolk Juno
Countess of Hertford Diana
Countess of Bedford Vesta
Countess of Derby Persephone
Countess of Nottingham Concordia
Lady Rich Venus
Lady Hatton Macaria
Lady Walsingham Astraea
Susan de Vere Flora
Dorothy Hastings Ceres
Elizabeth Howard Tethys

 

I’ve gone through and done a simple sorting scheme – Red = Roman, Green = Greek.  The role that Anna chose for herself was quite significant in terms of how she wanted to be perceived and was an effort in self-fashioning her public identity.  Instead of choosing the role of the Roman Queen of the Goddesses (well, Queen Consort!), Juno, she gave that role to Catherine Howard, the Countess of Suffolk.  Suffolk had served Queen Elizabeth for many years and was a person Anna respected and trusted, as is evidenced by the fact that Suffolk had been chosen to be godmother to Anna’s daughter, Sophia.  Anna accorded Suffolk with a very high honor in placing her as the queen of the goddesses.  Her choice for herself was Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, battle, and the arts.

Athena was also the patroness of the City of Athens, which was named for her.  An ancient cosmopolitan centre, Athens was home to a bustling arts and culture scene and has typically been regarded as the birthplace of western civilization as we know it.

Perhaps Anna’s motive was to seize a new image for herself, one that reflected virtues that she wanted others to think she possessed, or ones to which she did lay rightful claim?  Perhaps her choice of Athena was a chance to scintillate and titillate the English and to show that she was a very different sort of Queen consort?  The last queen consort, Katherine Parr, was also a very literary woman who published popular works in her own name while she was Queen.  Anna didn’t create written works on her own, she was more of an idea lady who directed the works of others.   It was through those works though, that the image that Anna wished to portray comes out clearly.  In Vision of the Twelve Goddesses, as Athena, her persona was of a strong, wise female who held dominion over Athens.  Her costume included a short tunic (that bared her legs below the knee) and a helmet with a spear.

Anna’s husband, James, dearly held to the ideal of pacifism and detested using force and military might.  With her act of appropriating the weaponry and tools of war, Anna took on a more traditionally masculine role in their perceived relationship and set herself up as a worthy successor of Elizabeth I.  Which was a prudent act to take as the costumes were also from Elizabeth’s wardrobe.  As a cost saving measure, the Late Queen’s wardrobe was raided for her sumptuous gowns and the garments altered to be fit into appropriate costumes for the masque.

(“I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field.” ~excerpt from Elizabeth’s speech at Tilbury, 1588)

Looking to the quote at the start of the post, however, it is interesting that Anna chose Athena instead of Minerva.  Minerva, Athena’s Roman counterpart, would have more exemplified the Early Modern interpretation of the Roman empire, one of peace loving imperialism, instead of the Greeks, who demonstrated the aforementioned arts and sophistication.  Anna, then, presented a dual image.  With choosing the Greco-interpretation of Athena, she sided herself with the perception of culture that was generally accepted to have belonged to the Greeks.  Perhaps she was trying to conflate the new dynasty with a rebirth of Athens.  With choosing Athena, though, she also personified the militaristic might of the Goddess of War, tempered, of course, with Wisdom.

In so doing, Anna managed to display both the sophistication of the Greeks with the imperialistic might of the Romans, subtly reminding the attendees of the virtues of Pax Romana and the olive tree of Athens.

Funny Friday: Sieging the Castle!

I found this link on Twitter today – have a go!

5 Tips for Sieging Your Favourite Medieval Castle

 

After visiting Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire, England, a couple of weeks ago, I can see how this would have been helpful.  One key tip is knowing when there are massive school groups coming for a field trip.

View from Kenilworth Castle

(Kenilworth Castle)

Although, if I had planned to go when there wasn’t a school group, I wouldn’t have been serenaded with “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?” in the toilets.

Take a look at the link, there are some hilarious (and very English) signs posted at the castles.  Maybe I’ll put together some of the funnier signs I saw whilst journeying around the English countryside.

 

Happy Friday!

Current Projects and Near Future?

Masque of Queens

In light of the fantastic experience I had at Kings and Queens 3, I come away with an even greater appreciation for the act of research and the necessity of sharing said research with others.  I was inspired by the many fantastic papers I heard and would like to work on some more projects of my own in the near future.

 

First project?  I will continue the work I presented at the conference.  I still have a few more masques of Anna’s to analyze and I have even more ideas thanks to comments and questions at the panel to inform my current work.  I’ll work on adding in ideas from Samuel Daniel’s work, “Tethys Festival or The Queen’s Wake” and then the final Anna-produced masque, “Love Freed from Ignorance and Folly.”  I’ll continue to focus on the political use of the masques as well as a literary analysis in terms of how Anna used them to self-fashion her own public image.

Masque of Queens

Masque of Queens

 

I was also particularly inspired by the work presented by Estelle Paranque, “Jezabel d’Angleterre”: Queen Elizabeth I through French eyes”  and how she used French sources to chart and analyze the reaction of the royalty and aristocracy to Elizabeth’s rise and reign.  I think it may be particularly interesting to analyze the French (or others) reaction to Anne Boleyn’s meteoric rise and catastrophic fall.  The French perspective would be, I think, the richest to focus upon because of Anne’s early ties to the French royalty.  This will also make me work on learning French, which, after this conference, I’ve learned is a necessity.  This site is one that Estelle said she used quite a bit, and I hope it’ll aid me in my research: Gallica.

Anne Boleyn Portrait

Another particularly inspirational paper, for my research, was “Scotland’s Royal Children: 1371-1528″ by Amy Hayes.  She worked on researching the lives of the children of monarchs who were not expected to inherit the throne.  This was difficult research for her as there is scant documentary evidence available.  It doesn’t seem to exist.  What I would like to do, though, is look for threads on the curriculum taught to these children and to piece together the educational programme established for the royal broods.  England will be far easier than either Scotland or Ireland, and I’d also like to add in the Danish royal family.  There are not that many (read: basically none) sources in English on the Danish royal family, but with the work I’ve done on Anna of Denmark, I would really like to see what I can do to piece together her early childhood and that of her siblings.  One key way to understand the reigns of monarchs is to understand what was taught to them as children.  I’d like to do that with Anna and her siblings to start off with and then move on to other  royal broods.

 

This is in addition to studying for the GRE (again… ugh) and getting applications in line for graduate programs!