1. Until the 17th century, a thorough knowledge of Latin was necessary for any educated person, since it was the language of diplomacy, law, medicine, and to a large extent, commerce, as well as the language of the church. The learning of this essential language was not left to chance. The entire curriculum of the institutions equivalent to our secondary schools was in Latin. Moreover most schools had rules that the boys must speak Latin to each other not only at school, but on their way to or from school. NOTE 1 The same rules applied in the universities. Naturally the boys, teenagers all, needed some recreation and diversion from their long studies. The production of Latin plays supplied some of this need, while at the same time improving their skills in Latin.
2. In some cases, the educational benefits of play-production became a matter of pedagogical theory. In his 1592 letter to Dr. John Rainolds (§ 8), for example, the Oxford poet-playwright William Gager wrote
We contrarywise [produce plays] to recreate owre selves, owre House, and the better part of the Universitye, with some learned Poême or other, to practyse owre owne style eyther in prose or verse; to be well acquaynted with Seneca or Plautus; honestly to embowlden owre yuth; to trye their voyces, and confirme their memoryes; to frame their speech; to conform them to convenient action; to trye what mettell is in everye one, and of what disposition they are of; whereby never any one amongst vs, that I know, was made the worse, many have byn much the better.
Likewise, Thomas Heywood wrote in his 1612 Apology for Actors (I.16):
In the time of my residence in Cambridge, I have seene Tragedyes, Comedyes, Historyes, Pastorals and Shewes, publickly acted, in which the Graduates of good place and reputation have bene specially parted: this is held necessary for the emboldening of their iunior schollers, to arme them with audacity against they come to bee imployed in any publicke exercise, as in the reading of the Dialecticke, Rhetoricke, Ethicke, Mathematick, the Physicke, or Metaphysicke Lectures. It teacheth audacity to the bashfull Grammarian, being newly admitted into the private Colledge, and after matriculated and entered as a member of the University, and makes him a bold Sophister.
Similar thinking doubtless stood behind the prescription in the Ratio Studiorum (preliminary version 1586, finalized 1591) of the Society of Jesus NOTE 2 that plays should be performed at all Jesuit-operated schools and seminaries. Ancient authors might have been preferred — Seneca certainly supplied enough gore to satisfy any boy, while Plautus and Terence supplied laughable situations — but perhaps the teachers were not laughing, since these ancient authors did not present a sufficiently moral message. Indeed, Puritans and the like thought all theater to be vain and wicked. To avoid this ancient immorality, teachers composed their own dramas on more acceptable themes, often biblical. George Buchanan, the greatest of Neo-Latin writers, not only translated Greek dramas, but wrote original Latin plays for his students. His Baptistes (on John the Baptist) and Jephthes (the story of Jephtha and his daughter from Judges 11) had a European vogue. Others wrote on historical subjects. To mention only two authors, the Jesuit playwright Joseph Simons [1594 - 1671)] composed several plays for the Jesuit College of St. Omers in France with Byzantine (Leo Armenus, Zeno), religious (Sanctus Pelagius Martyr, Mercia), and even American themes (Montezuma, anonymous, but perhaps by Simons). In England Thomas Legge wrote his Richardus Tertius (1579) based on English history, a play which was presented at Cambridge University and is said to have influenced Marlowe and Shakespeare. Comedies, often based on Italian models, were popular. The most famous and widely reprinted is George Ruggle's Ignoramus, which has given a word to the English language and was even revived (in a shortened version) at Cambridge in August 2000
3. As shown in Flayder's introductory essay to his play Argenis, edited here, teachers in Germany had the same motives for writing plays for their students. Johannes Reuchlin, chief of the older German humanists, wrote several comedies. His Scaenica Progymnasmata, short sketches, were performed in Heidelberg in 1497, the beginning of Neo-Latin drama in Germany. A second play, Sergius, features a group of student sodales or histriones who get involved in a fake relic scam. (It was intended for the stage, but the authorities in Heidelberg forbade its production, since it too obviously attacked a local dignitary.) NOTE 3 A third comedy, Henno, acted later in 1497 and printed in 1498, is based on both ancient plots and contemporary farce: The wily servant Dromo tricks his master Henno into handing over first his money, then his daughter. The outsider thus gains status as the son-in-law in a wealthy family. Moreover Reuchlin added contemporary characters to this plot, including an astrologer and a lawyer. The tone of the play is early modern, not classical.
4. More relevant to our present author is Nicodemus Frischlin [1547 - 1590], whom Flayder considered a model. He wrote biblical dramas, Rebecca (1575; not a university play, but written for the wedding of Duke Ludwig of Württemberg) and Susanna (1577, also staged at Duke Ludwig's court); both have comic subplots, rude Canaanites in the first and peasants facing corrupt judges in the latter. Frischlin's first straight comedy, Priscianus vapulans (“Priscian Beaten”) was written for Tübingen University and performed at the castle there in 1578. NOTE 4The ancient grammarian Priscian returns to life and meets philosophers who torment him with their bad Latin. He suffers an exorcism before finally being rescued by Erasmus and Melanchthon. Because of the comic theme of bad Latinity and the presence of comic onstage exorcism, here is more than a trace of similarity between this play and Ruggle's Ignoramus. Frischlin also wrote plays with German themes: Hildegardis Magna (performed in Stuttgart, the seat of the Duchy of Württemberg, in 1579) tells the story of Charlemagne’s Swabian wife. When the emperor leaves to conquer the Saxons, Hildegard and the kingdom are left in the care of his relative Talandus, who promptly attempts to seduce Hildegard. By a trick, she escapes his wiles by locking him into a room. Naturally when Charlemagne returns, he accuses Hildegard, who must flee to Rome. The husband and wife are eventually reconciled. Frischlin’s most famous play, Julius Caesar Redivivus (performed for Duke Ludwig's second wedding in 1585), has Caesar and Cicero return from Hades to travel through Germany and marvel at the advances made in modern times: Caesar admires the technical, military (gunpowder), and political developments; Cicero in a dialog with Eobanus Hessus marvels at the cultural (printing, paper) and spiritual advances. Comic scenes with a Frenchman and an Italian who speak a native patois which Cicero cannot understand liven the action, such as it is. The play ends on a dark note: a disastrous war looms; Caesar and Cicero disappear.
5. Another of Frischlin’s plays, Helvetiogermani (1589 — I have found nothing about a production) supplied the model, for better or worse, for the play edited here, Flayder’s Argenis. Frischlin’s play is primarily a word-for-word versification of the first book of Caesar’s Bellum Gallicum, with scenes between a miles gloriosus and a camp prostitute to add comic touches. It is entirely lacking in dramatic effect, a criticism which can be made of Flayder's play as well.
6. Friedrich Hermann Flayder, the last Latin dramatist writing before the disaster of the Thirty-Years-War, has attracted little notice. Information about him comes from records in Tübingen, which were used by Gustav Bebermeyer for his 1925 study, the most complete source for information about Flayder. In his monograph, Bebermeyer also reprinted two of Flayder's plays (Imma Portatrix and Ludovicus Bigamus) as well as a few epigrams. Gunther Haupt, one of Bebermeyer's students, wrote a dissertation partly on Flayder's Moria Rediviva, partly on Flayder's predecessors, but inconveniently for us did not reprint the text. Only a few copies of Moria Rediviva are extant, and those only in Germany.
7. Flayder's family originated in middle Franconia, the part of Bavaria centered on Nuremberg. In records there the name is variously spelled Flaider, Flaiter, Fleider, Fladerer, among others. The poet and his father always used Flayder. In 1553 the poet’s grandfather matriculated in the Protestant university of Tübingen as a theology student. After finishing his studies, he remained in the town, entering the service of the Württemberg state church and founding a family of eventually five children, the third of whom, born in 1575, was our poet’s father, Jacob Flayder. In 1592 Jacob also matriculated at Tübingen. He does not seem to have been much of a scholar: he never completed a degree, but remained a university associate (Universitätsverwandte) for the rest of his life. He does, however, seem to have been lucky, or at least capable of ingratiating himself in local society. His marriage to Agnes Ochsenbach, the daughter of one of the most influential families of Tübingen, brought him success and status. This connection came in handy during the one known adventure of Jacob’s life. On 26 February 1596 Jacob attended a celebration of the university’s dies academicus, a party to which university associates and local dignitaries were invited. Towards the end of the party, everyone being somewhat drunk, one of the over-officious beadles angered the celebrants, inspiring Jacob to throw a wine goblet at the miscreant. He missed, and hit Duke Frederick of Württemberg himself at the head table. Tremendous uproar followed. Jacob was immediately thrown into chains and as a further penalty, he was permanently expelled from the city. Only representations by his wife and her influential relatives convinced Duke Frederick later that year to allow him back as a citizen. Jacob must have charmed himself back into Duke Frederick’s good graces, since none other than the Duke himself was godfather to Jacob’s first child, our poet Friedrich Hermann Flayder, born 10 October 1596. Four sisters followed. Jacob died in 1623; mother Agnes in 1629, both apparently bequeathing a comic spirit to their only son.
8. Like his forefathers, Friedrich Hermann matriculated at Tübingen in 1611. A better scholar than his father, he became Magister artium in 1615, and five years later became Humaniorum Literarum Professor in the university’s Collegium illustre, the well-known academy for the nobility, a Ritterakademie (full name, Illustrissimum Wirtembergicum Ducalis Novum Collegium), administratively separate from the university and for the nobility alone. Flayder’s introductions all stress the noble origins of his student actors. (The Collegium closed in 1628, due to the disaster of the Thirty-Years-War.) It was during this service at the Collegium illustre that all of Flayder’s printed works were written; in 1626 he was crowned poet laureate (the text of the diploma conferring this award is included among the preliminary matter included in the printed version of Argenis.) NOTE 5 In 1620, like his father, he married into a very respectable family; his wife was Maria Jakobe Schreier and they had seven children before his wife and eldest daughter died in the epidemic of Summer 1635. He married again in 1636 to Anna Katharina von Mie, who gave him another daughter. Both wife and daughter survived him.
9. In addition to his work at the Collegium illustre, Flayder was prominent at the university, becoming university librarian in 1626. In addition he lectured as professor classicus on Terence, as well as giving the practical classes Exercitium scribendi epistolas and Exercitium oratorium. In 1636 he attained the high point of this academic ambitions, a seat in the faculty senate (officium professorium et senatorium), a post perhaps not as trivial then as it is now in modern academia. His health began to fail and he died in 1640, age 43, having spent his entire life in Tübingen as a sober bourgeoise, in contrast to his literary model and ideal, Nicodemus Frischlin.
10. Flayder was a competent philologist. He wrote on Aristotle (De vita et praestantia Aristotelis, 1624) and on general educational topics: De eloquentiae praestantia ac dignitate and Quales libri sint legendi. He translated Heinsius’ Greek poems (Danielis Heinsii Peplus graecorum epigrammatum, 1618) and selections from Tasso’s Aminta and Petrarch’s Trionfi into Latin verse. A more idiosyncratic interest was revealed in his De arte volandi (1628). He was convinced that human ingenuity could and soon would discover the secret of flight. His underlying belief is expressed thus: cum ea sit mortalium conditio, ut omnes ferme artes hoc tempore ad summum culmen sint evectae, sola pietate excepta, quae quotidie dediscitur; the human condition is this, that practically all the arts and crafts have been brought to their highest point, with the exception of religion, which daily is ever more forgotten.
11. More to the point here, Flayder was a competent poet—although this particular play, Argenis, is entirely in prose. Two collections of his epigrams were published: Epigrammatum libellus (1627) and Sal musarum (1629). A few of these were reprinted by Bebermeyer pp. 146 - 152. These epigrams, written for occasions like baptisms, marriages, and deaths, are lively and full of wit. The nearest parallels known to me are the occasional poems of Hugo Grotius, written for similar events. Some examples, first an address to the ever-present Zoilus, the carping critic:
Zoile: cur carpis, quae non capis, improbe, vel sin
Haec capis, at cur non his meliora facis?
Nempe esses totus torpor mutumque cadaver;
Ni tua lingua ferum te canat esse canem.
[“Zoilus, wretch, why do you carp at what you don't understand, or if
You do understand, why don't you make it better?
The reason: you'd be a total slug or a mute corpse,
If your tongue didn't proclaim you a savage cur.”]
An epigram against ignorant students:
Quis neget indocto molem prodesse librorum?
Si nescis uti, vendere quippe potes.
[“Who will ever say that this pile of books can't profit the ignorant?
If you won't use them, you can certainly sell them.”]
An epigram against a German who imitates the French:
Gallorum quisquis caligisque graduque sonoque
Utitur et patriam deserit exul humum,
Gallorum merito scabiem simul induit, ut sic
Intus et in cute sit simia, Galle, tuus.
[“Whoever uses the French style in footwear, gait, and voice,
And exiled thus, deserts his native soil,
At the same time it's right that he catch the French disease, so|
Inwardly and outwardly, Frenchman, he's your monkey.”]
Flayder apparently did not neglect his native German, but only a consolation poem on the death of Duke Johann Friedrich of Württemberg survives. At the end of his Ars volandi, Flayder collected a list of his works, some iam perfectum, some prope diem evulgandorum, which were never printed and have been lost. No manuscripts of his works exist, only the early printed versions, and few of those.
12. In literary history, Flayder is mentioned only for his four school dramas. Like most of his contemporaries, he closely imitated Terence (occasionally Plautus) in language, but derived his plots from German legends or contemporary works, rather than from classical and biblical material. His first two plays are based on German legends. Imma Portatrix (“Emma the Porter,” printed Tübingen, 1625) tells the story of the love between Emma, daughter of Charlemagne, and Einhard, his secretary. Portatrix'derives from the snow-scene in which the two flee from the castle over a snowy field, Emma, a stout-hearted girl, carrying her lover, a scholarly wimp. Her father, naturally, catches up with them, but all are reconciled in the end. This story has roots in the 12thcentury, even though Charlemagne had no daughter named Emma. The second play, Ludovicus Bigamus (“Ludwig the Bigamist,” printed Tübingen, 1625), relates the adventures of Ludwig, Count of Gleichen, who leaves his countess, children, and land to go on a crusade in the East. He is captured by the Saracens and languishes in chains until Sultana, the daughter of the emir, frees him. Assuming that his Countess has died while he was away, the Count marries Sultana. They return to Gleichen, only to find the countess very much alive and awaiting her husband’s return. The countess is not unduly upset by the second marriage. In fact, an emissary of the Pope arrives, studies the situation, and declares that, for the Count of Gleichen alone, two simultaneous marriages are legitimate. Everyone lives happily ever after. The story is recorded from the 16th century, but may go back to a legend attached to a grave monument, of which there are several representations online (see here). As mentioned, Imma Portatrix and Ludovicus Bigamus were reprinted with introduction and notes by Bebermeyer in 1925. NOTE 6 Both are composed in what Flayder imagined were the meters of Plautus and Terence. In contrast, his Argenis is entirely in prose.
13. Flayder’s final play, Moria Rediviva (“Folly Reborn,” printed Tübingen, 1627), inspired by Erasmus’ Moriae Encomium, consists of a series of episodes in which Democritus and Heraclitus return from the underworld to recruit people for Folly's court. They meet in turn a courtier, a merchant, a farmer, a pastor, an alchemist, a wandering scholar, a prostitute, and a hunter and converse with them. To no one's surprise, all prove to be fools. NOTE 6 Production of dramas stopped in 1627 under the stress of the Thirty Years’ War, when stages, actors, and printers came to be in short supply. But by then Flayder had gained some fame as a poet. Not too much should be attributed to the mere awarding of the status of poet laureate. Hack poets have been so crowned before and since, but Rector von Gruenthal’s words seem to go beyond the conventional: everyone recognizes Flayder as a second Terence; the productions of these plays under Flayder’s direction has excited much applause; and Duke Johann Friedrich has expressed his pride and approval.
14. We finally come to the play edited here, Argenis, Flayder's fourth (printed Tübingen, 1625). It is in large part a word-for-word dramatization of Book V of John Barclay’s 1621 Argenis, which was by far the best-selling novel of the 17tthcentury, appearing in over fifty editions and multiple translations into the major European languages. (Martin Opitz published his translation into German in 1626, the same year that our Latin play was printed in Tübingen.) The summary below is necessary: although the prologue by Mars and Princess Argenis' first speech give a preliminary sketch of the plot, the characters in the play mention only in passing the twists and turns of earlier events, since he playwright assumed the audience knew the novel's plot. Indeed, most of the play is simply a recital of what has or is or may be happening offstage. Only the first two scenes of Act V have any dramatic character at all.
15. The novel's plot can be summarized as follows:
Book I Archombrotus, a young gallant just arrived from Africa, lands on the shores of Sicily and in dramatic circumstances meets the valiant Poliarchus, who loves and is loved by the beautiful Argenis, the daughter of Meleander, King of Sicily. Meleander is threatened by a revolt of Lycogenes, a rebellious nobleman and leader of a faction. Poliarchus suddenly loses the favor of King Meleander and is forced to flee Sicily. In the meantime, Archombrotus is introduced at the court and is kindly welcomed by Meleander, who had lived in Africa for some time as a young man. Meleander and Lycogenes negotiate a temporary peace, but the armistice ceremonies are disturbed by the pretended madness of Argenis, the presiding priestess. The peace will not last.
Book II Now Archombrotus falls in love with Argenis. This love conflicts with his friendship for Poliarchus, which consequently begins to fade. The scene shifts to Poliarchus. After his escape from Sicily, he overcomes a crew of pirates and takes their ship to Mauritania, where he is able to do a great service for Queen Hyanisbe, the return of a chest or cabinet which the pirates has seized. The importance of this chest will not be revealed until Book V. Meanwhile, back in Sicily, after his treasonous plotting is discovered, Lycogenes openly revolts against Meleander, with great success. As Meleander is despairing of his kingdom, King Radirobanes of Sardinia arrives, bringing a large army to rescue him. The surprised Lycogenes goes on the defensive. At this point all the primary characters of the novel have been introduced.
Book III Lycogenes makes a surprise attack on Meleander and Radirobanes, but is soundly defeated. He is killed by Archombrotus, who is now Meleander’s right-hand man. Radirobanes, whose help now appears to have been prompted by his desire for Argenis, begins to court her, but is unsuccessful. He corrupts Selenissa, Argenis’ chief lady-in-waiting, who tells him of the mutual love of Argenis and Poliarchus: how Poliarchus arrived at the court in female guise; how he was received into Argenis’s society; how he rescued Argenis and Meleander from kidnappers and assassins sent by Lycogenes, and in so doing revealed his true gender. While Selenissa is telling her tale, Poliarchus slips back into Sicily to pay a short visit to Argenis. They have a touching, though brief, reunion, and Poliarchus sets out for his home country, planning to return in two months with sufficient force to assert his true status as a king and to claim Argenis. Meanwhile, at the end of Selenissa’s tale, Radirobanes, now aware of Argenis’s feelings for Poliarchus, curses him and plans to abduct Argenis by violence during a masque in her honor. His plans are foiled by Archombrotus, who rescues both the king and Argenis from Radirobanes’s toils.
Book IV Radirobanes, foiled in his attempts, decides to attack Mauritania, a plan already on foot before he came to help Meleander. Meanwhile Poliarchus (who we now learn is a great king in France), while returning to Sicily with large forces, is blown by a storm to Mauritania, providentially arriving just before Radirobanes attacks. Poliarchus defeats the Sardinians and kills Radirobanes. The Sardinian forces return home. But the gravely wounded Poliarchus must stay in Mauritania for some weeks recuperating. In the meantime back in Sicily, Meleander has decided to bestow the hand of his daughter on Archombrotus, who is overjoyed. Argenis, feeling quite the opposite, begs for two months delay, expecting Poliarchus to arrive by the end of that period.
Book V While Poliarchus is recovering from his wounds, Archombrotus, informed by a letter from his mother, Queen Hyanisbe, that Mauritania is under attack, begs Meleander for military forces with which he can sail to Mauritania and rescue the Queen and his people. He arrives after Poliarchus has already defeated Radirobanes. Since both love Argenis, the meeting between the two almost ends in blows. Queen Hyanisbe, who loves both gallant warriors, calms the situation. (The action of Flayder’s Argenis begins at this point.) She sends both back to Sicily with a letter and tokens to King Meleander. These prove that Archombrotus is in fact the half-brother of Argenis, the son of Meleander and Anna, the dead sister of Queen Hyanisbe. (As we learned in Book I, Meleander had lived in Africa as a young man. Now we learn he had married there, but his wife had died in childbirth.) Everyone is now happy: Poliarchus can marry Argenis; Archombrotus is happy to find his sister; Poliarchus gives his sister to Archombrotus as his bride; Meleander and Hyanisbe can look forward to grandchildren. The novel ends with the marriage and a poem celebrating the future glory of Poliarchus and Argenis.
15. In his novel, Barclay had attempted to do more than just spin a tale. He also wanted to review the political situation of Western Europe at the beginning of the 17th century and to suggest remedies for their problems, especially those facing France, Barclay's home. As a result, the novel is noteworthy for its long dialogues between characters concerning taxation, the control by kings of their noblemen, the duties of ambassadors, astrology, elections, and many other topics. We may say that the original novel consists of three interwoven threads: 1) A romance, the loves of Poliarchus and Argenis, their vicissitudes and final triumph, the plot outlined above. 2) A serious political treatise in disguise, with discussions of various political and religious topics primarily derived from Barclay’s experiences at the court of King James I of England, but also from his observations of the travails of France in the 16th and early 17th centuries. 3) An historical allegory, a roman à clef, with the protagonists of the novel representing specific historical figures. In addition, Barclay included several thousand lines of verse, which in places acts as a chorus commenting on the action. Such verse is characteristic of Menippean satire, the longest example of which is Barclay's own Euphormionis Lusinini Satyricon (1607). While Argenis is not a satire of any kind, Barclay continued his practice of including verse interludes. However, the romantic plot of the Argenis was so popular that several versions in French and English omit the discourses put in the mouths of the characters and many of the minor episodes, leaving nothing except the romance. Flayder’s play agrees precisely with this group. He has based his entire play on one episode from the fifth Book of this long novel, in which, after some suspense, the action brought to a conclusion and all is explained: Archombrotus' mysterious origin as Prince of Mauritania, Poliarchus' high status as King of France, the reason both were in Sicily, the method by which both men can enjoy a close relationship with the princess, one as husband, one as brother. Flayder is aware that the novel was a roman à clef. In the prologue Mars, like the editors of Barclay's novel, gives the key: Sicily is France, Meleander is Henri III of France, Lycogenes is the Duc du Guise, Poliarchus is Henri IV, and so on, but none of this is relevant to the play itself. The romantic plot is the sole focus.
16. The plot is simple, exceedingly so; unlike Flayder's other plays, there are no subplots, no comic relief, nothing to break the relentless, indeed tedious, exposition. (Of course we might remember that the underlying novel was a best-seller whose German translation had just been published. Perhaps this celebrity factor excuses some of the play's shortcomings.) In Act I scene i the Princess Argenis is upset: her true love Poliarchus is absent, and her father wants her to marry the valiant Archombrotus, once Poliarchus' friend but now hostile. She does not know why Poliarchus has been away so long. Soon messengers arrive and tell Argenis and King Meleander of the situation in Africa: Poliarchus is lying ill from his wounds, and Archombrotus has been welcomed by his mother Queen Hyanisbe of Mauritania. Other messengers soon arrive and tell them of the incipient conflict between Poliarchus and Archombrotus because of Argenis. Both father and daughter bewail the situation. Poliarchus and Archombrotus both arrive from Africa, Hyanisbe having arranged a truce before they departed. The two are welcomed at the palace, where they give Meleander a chest and a letter written by Hyanisbe. While Meleander is reading the letter and greeting Archombrotus affectionately, Poliarchus becomes filled with murderous rage. However, Meleander soon calls him over and tells him that Hyanisbe's letter has revealed all: Archombrotus is really Meleander's son born of his first marriage in Africa; hence he is the half-brother of Argenis. Now Poliarchus may marry Argenis, and all live happily ever after.
17. There are only four active characters in the drama: Argenis, Meleander, Poliarchus, Archombrotus. The others are simply messengers or emissaries who describe offstage events. As a result, the play consists primarily of long narratives declaimed by each actor in turn, with some trivial dialog intervening: “O daughter, the situation is disturbing,” “Yes, father, I am very worried,” and so on. Flayder simply adapted Barclay's text for his own purposes, changing the person or tense of the verbs (occasionally not even that, as in parts of V.iii). I have annotated the major borrowings; innumerable short borrowings have been passed over in silence, lest the text be overburdened with notes. Flayder has divided the play into the classical five Acts, subdivided into scenes. The division into acts seems somewhat arbitrary aside from Act V, the climax. Act I occupies nine pages in the original, Act II fourteen, Act III only three Act IV twelve, and Act V twenty-two. As is standard in Renaissance academic drama, numbered scenes are introduced to indicate the entrance or exit of characters and indicate no necessary discontinuity of time or place, and vary widely in length from only a few lines, as in II.ii and II.iii, to twelve pages in Act II.i and eighteen in Act V.ii. In Argenis there is no change of scene (another indication of the play’s remarkably static nature); everything seems to happen right outside the doors of the palace, even the recognition scene in V.ii, which would have been better placed indoors, but there is no indication of any change on stage. Of course this follows the conventions of ancient comedy as they were understood in Flayder’s day..
18. The text here is based on the single printed edition (Tubingae, Typis Werlinianis, Anno 1626), which was posted online by The Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, Germany — fortunately, since this play has not appeared in print since 1626. I have silently corrected the most obvious printer's errors without comment, and explicitly corrected only a few. I have kept Flayder's spelling, which is generally classical with the usual Renaissance variants (imo for immo, pene for paene &c), and broken long speeches into paragraphs for readability. In my translation I have borrowed liberally from Kingsmill Long's 1625 translation of Barclay's Argenis (which I and Dorothy Pritchard reprinted, Assen, 2004) in the scenes taken directly from the novel, adopting the hypothesis that if Flayder had put his play into English in 1626, his version would have sounded much like Long. The references to chapters in the novel are taken from that 2004 edition..
NOTE 1 For the most complete study of Latin education during this period, see T. W. Baldwin, William Shakespere’s Small Latine and Lesse Greeke (2 vols., Urbana, 1944). School plays also demonstrated to the parents their sons' progress, were used to entertain visiting dignitaries, and otherwise to enhance an institution’s prestige (as is repeatedly pointed out in the Jesuit justifications cited below).
NOTE 2 See William McCabe S. J., An Introduction to the English Jesuit Theatre (St. Louis, 1983) , Chapter I (particularly pp. 12 - 14).
NOTE 3 Cora Dietl, “Neo-Latin Humanist and Protestant Drama in Germany,” in Jan Bloemendal and Howard B. Norland (edd.), Neo-Latin Drama and Theatre in Early Modern Europe (Leiden, 2013) pp. 123 - 8. Further useful background reading are Stefan Tilg’s contribution on Neo-Latin comedy and Gary R. Gru nd’s on Neo-Latin tragedy in Sarah Knight and Stefan Tilg (edd.), The Oxford Handbook of Neo-Latin (Oxford:, 2015) pp. 8 7 102 and 103 - 118 respectively.
NOTE 4 Ib. p. 172.
NOTE 5 For such laureates, see John Flood’s magisterial Poets Laureate in the Holy Roman Empire: A Bibliographical Handbook (four vols., Berlin, 2006).
NOTE 6 Gustav Bebermeyer, Hermann Flayders Ausgewählte Werke (Leipzig:, 1925) in Bibliothek des Literarischen Vereins in Stuttgart, Sitz Tübingen, vol. 267/VIII) pp. 146 - 52. Bebermeyer was subsequently responsible for a discussion of Flayder in Tübinger Dichterhumanisten (Hildesheim, 1967), and the relevant article in the Neue Deutsche Biographie (Berlin, 1961) V.225f.
NOTE 7 Gunther Haupt, Friedrich Hermann Flayders Moria rediviva und Die bedeutendsten Vertreter des lateinischen Schuldramas im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert (diss. Tübingen, 1928, written in two parts) discusses the plot at length.