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The Italian Johannes Opicius on Henry VII of England's 1492 invasion of France: historical witness and antique convention

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Abstract:

The paper explicates the literary and historical contexts of Latin verse writings of a young Italian, Johannes Opicius (fl. 1492–1515), on the 1492 invasion of France by the Tudor sovereign Henry VII (r. 1485–1509). Opicius had access to veracious information about the overseas campaign of the English king and army, as is confirmed by other surviving documentary and narrative sources. On the other hand, after the fashion of the Tudor laureate Bernard André (c. 1450–1522), Opicius’ poetry is also shaped by his close imitation of ancient poetry, including the Laus Pisonis (c. 62) and writings by and about M. Annaeus Lucanus (d. 65), as well as standard curricular authors. Classical emulation and historiographical veracity are not inimical to one another in Opicius’ work, however; it is argued finally that both contributed to the English king's glorification. Critical texts and annotations are appended. (pp. 520–546)

Keywords: Bernard André (c. 1450–1522); Henry VII (r. 1485–1509); Johannes Opicius (fl. 1492–1515); Laus Pisonis (c. 62); M. Annaeus Lucanus (d. 65)

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1477-4658.2006.00335.x

Affiliations: University of Ottawa

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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