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Greeks, Romans, and Pilgrims

Classical Receptions in Early New England

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David A. Lupher

In Greeks, Romans, and Pilgrims David Lupher examines the availability, circulation, and uses of Greek and Roman culture in the earliest period of the British settlement of New England. This book offers the first systematic correction to the dominant assumption that the Separatist settlers of Plymouth Plantation (the so-called “Pilgrims”) were hostile or indifferent to “humane learning”— a belief dating back to their cordial enemy, the May-pole reveler Thomas Morton of Ma-re Mount, whose own eccentric classical negotiations receive a chapter in this book. While there have been numerous studies of the uses of classical culture during the Revolutionary period of colonial North America, the first decades of settlement in New England have been neglected. Utilizing both familiar texts such as William Bradford’s Of Plimmoth Plantation and overlooked archival sources, Greeks, Romans, and Pilgrims signals the end of that neglect.