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Edited by Karl A. E.. Enenkel

Commentaries played an important role in the transmission of the classical heritage. Early modern intellectuals rarely read classical authors in a simple and “direct” form, but generally via intermediary paratexts, especially all kinds of commentaries. Commentaries presented the classical texts in certain ways that determined and guided the readers’ perception and usages of the texts being commented upon. Early modern commentaries shaped not only school and university education and professional scholarship, but also intellectual and cultural life in the broadest sense, including politics, religion, art, entertainment, health care, geographical discoveries etc., and even various professional activities and segments of life that were seemingly far removed from scholarship and learning, such as warfare and engineering.

Contributors include: Susanna de Beer, Valéry Berlincourt, Marijke Crab, Jeanine De Landtsheer, Karl Enenkel, Gergő Gellérfi, Trine Arlund Hass, Ekaterina Ilyushechkina, Ronny Kaiser, Marc Laureys, Christoph Pieper, Katharina Suter-Meyer, and Floris Verhaart.

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Freyja Cox Jensen

Placing the reading of history in its cultural and educational context, and examining the processes by which ideas about ancient Rome circulated, this study provides the first assessment of the significance of Roman history, broadly conceived, in early modern England. The existing scholarship, preoccupied with republicanism in the decades before the Civil Wars, and focusing on the major drama of the period, has distorted our understanding of what ancient history really meant to early modern readers. This study articulates the connections between the history of education, reading and writing, and challenges the schools of historical thought which associate a particular classical source with one set of readings; here, for the first time, is an in-depth analysis of the role of Roman history in creating an English latinate culture which encompassed far wider debates and ideas than the purely political.