Ambitious Antiquities, Famous Forebears

Constructions of a Glorious Past in the Early Modern Netherlands and in Europe


This monograph studies the constructions of ‘impressive’ historical descent manufactured to create ‘national’, regional, or local antiquities in early modern Europe (1500-1700), especially the Netherlands. This was a period characterised by important political changes and therefore by an increased need for legitimation; a need which was met using historical claims. Literature, scholarship, art and architecture were pivotal media that were used to furnish evidence of the impressively old lineage of states, regions or families. These claims related not only to Classical antiquity (in the generally-known sense) but also to other periods that were regarded as periods of antiquity, such as the chivalric age. The authors of this volume analyse these intriguing early modern constructions of appropriate “antiquities” and investigate the ways in which they were applied in political, intellectual and artistic contexts in Europe, especially in the Northern Low Countries.

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Biographical Note

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 focused on Dutch architecture and architectural theory of the early modern period with a special attention to its relationships with other European regions.


All those interested in the reception of Antiquity and high medieval history (true and false) in early modern in literature, architecture and art. Keywords: Neolatin scholarship, Renaissance architecture, history of ideas, history of literature, history of humanist scholars, reception of Antiquity.

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