The Quest for an Appropriate Past in Literature, Art and Architecture


This volume explores the various strategies by which appropriate pasts were construed in scholarship, literature, art, and architecture in order to create “national”, regional, or local identities in late medieval and early modern Europe. Because authority was based on lineage, political and territorial claims were underpinned by historical arguments, either true or otherwise. Literature, scholarship, art, and architecture were pivotal media that were used to give evidence of the impressive old lineage of states, regions, or families. These claims were related not only to classical antiquity but also to other periods that were regarded as antiquities, such as the Middle Ages, especially the chivalric age. The authors of this volume analyse these intriguing early modern constructions of “antiquity” and investigate the ways in which they were applied in political, intellectual and artistic contexts in the period of 1400–1700.

Contributors include: Barbara Arciszewska, Bianca De Divitiis, Karl Enenkel, Hubertus Günther, Thomas Haye, Harald Hendrix, Stephan Hoppe, Marc Laureys, Frédérique Lemerle, Coen Maas, Anne-Françoise Morel, Kristoffer Neville, Konrad Ottenheym, Yves Pauwels, Christian Peters, Christoph Pieper, David Rijser, Bernd Roling, Nuno Senos, Paul Smith, Pieter Vlaardingerbroek, and Matthew Walker.
Open Access
Download PDF

Prices from (excl. shipping):

Karl A.E. Enenkel is Professor of Medieval Latin and Neo-Latin at the University of Münster. Previously he was Professor of Neo-Latin at the University of Leiden. He has published widely on international Humanism, early modern culture, paratexts, literary genres 1300-1600, Neo-Latin emblems, word and image relationships, and the history of scholarship and science.

Konrad A. Ottenheym is Professor of Architectural History at Utrecht University. His publications are focussed on Dutch architecture and architectural theory of the early modern period with a special attention to its relationships with other European regions.
List of Illustrations
Notes on the Editors
Notes on the Contributors

The Quest for an Appropriate Past: The Creation of National Identities in Early Modern Literature, Scholarship, Architecture, and Art
Karl Enenkel and Konrad Ottenheym

Part 1: The Mediterranean

1 Claiming and Contesting Trojan Ancestry on Both Sides of the Bosporus – Epic Answers to an Ethnographic Dispute in Quattrocento Humanist Poetry
Christian Peters

2 Architecture, Poetry and Law: The Amphitheatre of Capua and the New Works Sponsored by the Local Élite
Bianca de Divitiis

3 A City in Quest of an Appropriate Antiquity: The Arena of Verona and Its Influence on Architectural Theory in the Early Modern Era
Hubertus Günther

4 Tradition and Originality in Raphael: The Stanza della Segnatura, the Middle Ages and Local Traditions
David Rijser

5 An Appropriate Past for Renaissance Portugal: André de Resende and the City of Évora
Nuno Senos

Part 2: France

6 The Construction of a National Past in the Bella Britannica by Humbert of Montmoret (d. ca. 1525)
Thomas Haye

7 Parody and Appropriation of the Past in the Grandes Chroniques Gargantuines and in Rabelais’s Pantagruel (1532)
Paul J. Smith

8 Antiquity and Modernity: Sixteenth- to Eighteenth-Century French Architecture
Frédérique Lemerle

9 The Roots of Philibert De l’Orme: Antiquity, Medieval Art, and Early Christian Architecture
Yves Pauwels

Part 3: The Low Countries

10 From Chivalric Family Tree to “National” Gallery: The Portrait Series of the Counts of Holland, ca. 1490–1650
Karl Enenkel

11 Dousa’s Medieval Tournaments: Chivalry Enters the Age of Humanism?
Coen Maas

12 Living as Befits a Knight: New Castles in Seventeenth-Century Holland
Konrad Ottenheym

13 ‘Non erubescat Hollandia’: Classical Embarrassment of Riches and the Construction of Local History in Hadrianus Junius’ Batavia
Coen Maas

14 Epigraphy and Blurring Senses of the Past in Early Modern Travelling Men of Letters: The Case of Arnoldus Buchelius
Harald Hendrix

15 ‘Sine amore, sine odio partium’: Nicolaus Burgundius’ Historia Belgica (1629) and his Tacitean Quest for an Appropriate Past
Marc Laureys

16 The Mediaeval Prestige of Dutch Cities
Konrad Ottenheym

17 An Appropriated History: The Case of the Amsterdam Town Hall (1648–1667)
Pieter Vlaardingerbroek

Part 4: The Holy Roman Empire

18 Germany’s Glory, Past and Present: Konrad Peutinger’s Sermones convivales de mirandis Germanie antiquitatibus and Antiquarian Philology
Christoph Pieper

19 Translating the Past: Local Romanesque Architecture in Germany and Its Fifteenth-Century Reinterpretation
Stephan Hoppe

20 The Babylonian Origins of Trier
Hubertus Günther

Part 5: Poland and Sweden

21 History and Architecture in Pursuit of a Gothic Heritage
Kristoffer Neville

22 Early Modern Conceptualizations of Medieval History and Their Impact on Residential Architecture in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Barbara Arciszewska

Part 6: Britain, Scotland, and Ireland

23 Writing about Romano-British Architecture in the Late Seventeenth Century
Matthew Walker

24 Preserving the Nation’s Zeal: Church Buildings and English Christian History in Stuart England
Anne-Françoise Morel

25 ‘A Great Insight into Antiquity’: Jacob Bryant and Jeremiah Milles and the Authenticity of the Poems of Thomas Rowley
Bernd Roling

26 Phoenician Ireland: Charles Vallancey (1725–1812) and the Oriental Roots of Celtic Culture
Bernd Roling

Index Nominum
All those interested in the reception of Antiquity and high medieval history (true and false) in early modern in literature, architecture and art, neolatin scholarship, Renaissance architecture, history of ideas, history of literature, and history of humanist scholarship.
  • Collapse
  • Expand