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.
Letter to Dr. John Rainolds (1592)
I. THE TRILOGY
1. In December 1973 the dealers Messrs. Hofmann and Freeman acquired at a Christies’ auction a rather lengthy Jacobean manuscript commonplace book, purchased in February of the following year by the Cambridge University Library, where it is now identified as ms. Add. 7958. The volume was listed in the dealers’ catalogue under the heading “A lost Elizabethan university play,” with the following description: NOTE 1
[LEGGE, Thomas (1535 - 1607), Master of Caius College and author of Richardus Tertius.] Manuscript fair copy of his Latin verse tragedy Solymitana Clades (The Destruction of Jerusalem) written in a volume of literary and historical tracts, which also includes manuscripts of the Cambridge play Ignoramus (1615), NOTE 2 Roper’s Life of More, Cavendish’s Life of Wolsey, Sydney’s letter to his brother on foreign travel, and other tracts, the latest being an exchange of letters between James I and the University of Cambridge dated 1616.
That the manuscript was originally compiled in the early seventeenth century may be inferred not only from its contents, but also from the ownership inscription “Josephus Diggins me possidet” on a back endleaf. Diggins or Diggons matriculated in 1607 (the year of Legge’s death) from Clare Hall (where Ignoramus was staged in 1615). Nothing has been learned of Diggon’s later career, but in his will, proved in 1685, he made Clare Hall his principal beneficiary, leaving properties at Liss in Hampshire (where he lived) and Stepney and Braintree (PRO PROB. 11/272 f.147, formerly Wooten 19).
The volume is a small folio manuscript on paper, 12 x 8 inches, comprising 81 leaves of text written on both sides at one end and 125 leaves written on both sides at the other, plus blanks in the middle and between tracts. It is written in a mixture of secretary and italic hands, the work of, perhaps, two scribes plus Diggons, whose hand appears in the second tract on Wolsey and in a few odd notes. The first tracts at each end are written on narrower quires of paper than the main manuscript. Apart from some staining and fraying to the edges (not affecting their legibility) the contents are in good condition. The binding, original vellum boards and metal clasp, is broken and nearly detached; a number of leaves have come loose, though none is missing; the spine is defective and roughly repaired. We have been unable to learn anything of the manuscript’s recent provenance.
2. To the firm of Hofmann and Freeman, therefore, belongs the distinction of first identifying a hitherto lost work by a Cambridge academic dramatist held in high esteem in his own lifetime. Folios 237 through 154 NOTE 3 contain the text of a previously unknown set of plays (each designated an Actio — the word translates δρᾶμα, the use of the trilogic form presumably imitates Aeschylus) with the collective title Solymitana Clades. the transcript lacks a formal title page and the author’s name is not recorded. But the extreme similarity of this work to Thomas Legge’s trilogy Richardus Tertius — he is the only English Latin dramatist known to have written trilogies on historical subjects and to term the individual plays thereof Actiones — suffices to establish that this is the hitherto lost work of Legge’s attested by several contemporary writers under the title The Destruction of Jerusalem. To be sure, there are some minor points of stylistic differences between these trilogies, discussed in a later context, but these scarcely cast question on the authorship.
3. Writing in 1598 and attempting to summarize the literary achievements of his age, Francis Meres in his Palladis Tamia NOTE 4 numbered “Doctor Leg of Cambridge” and a very few other academic playwrights along with such eminent poets as Shakespeare, Marlowe, Kyd and Jonson as “our best for Tragedy.” He added that “Doctor Leg hath penned two famous tragedies, the one of Richard the 3. the other of the destruction of Jerusalem.” Likewise, in his biographical notice abut Legge in The History of the Worthies of England NOTE 5 Thomas Fuller stated “He composed a Tragedy of the destruction of Ierusalem, and having at last refined it to the purity of the Publique Standard some Plageary filched it from him, just as it was to be acted. He formerly had made a Tragedy of the life of king Richard the third, presented with great Applause (Queen Elizabeth I suppose being a beholder thereof) in Saint Iohns colledge-hall.” In all probability Fuller derived his information from William Moore’s Gonville and Caius College Annals (written in the late 1650’s): NOTE 6 alteram [sc. tragoediam] de excidio Hierosolymitano, quamdiu vixit, horis subsicivis sub lima NOTE 7 polivit, quo elimatiorem eam tandem proponeret spectandum; cumque iam omnibus numeris absoluta esset, plagiarii nescio cuius piceatis manibus spes nostra misere frustrata erat. Another derivative reference to the so-called Destruction of Jerusalem is found in Anthony à Wood’s Athenae Fasti (1692) in an entry for the year 1586: NOTE 8 “[Legge] was a Norwich man born, was first of Trinity, and afterwards of Jesus Coll. in Cambridge, in both of which Houses he had the name and repute of one of the best in England for composing Trajedies, witness his Destruction of Jerusalem and Life of K. Richard 3 which last was acted with great applause in that University.” NOTE 9
4. Thomas Legge, Master of Gonville and Caius College from 1571 until his death in 1607, twice served as Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. NOTE 10 His 1579 trilogy Richardus Tertius earned him his place in Meres’ roster of outstanding tragedians. This work was something of a milestone in the history of English drama, being the first known dramatization of a Chronicle subject and a source, directly or at least indirectly, laid under contribution by Shakespeare. NOTE 11 To Legge, therefore, evidently belongs the honor of having been the first English playwright to realize that Chronicle history contained the stuff of drama. Richardus Tertius is exciting and spectacular, NOTE 12 conceived on the grand scale in every possible way. From the warmth with which it was remembered by those who saw it (in its original performance, and possibly in revival), Richardus obviously scored a huge success, and it is not difficult to suppose that it made a deep impression on several future playwrights who either saw it or came up to Cambridge while its memory was still green, most especially Christopher Marlowe. NOTE 13
5. The Fuller biography indicates that Solymitana Clades was written after Richardus. Likewise the Gonville and Caius College Annals mentions Richardus first. Probably Solymitana Clades was meant to capitalize on the success of the earlier work. Indeed, the consideration that it surpasses Richardus in its hugely ambitious scale and stunning use of spectacle probably indicates that Legge meant to out-do Richardus. The fact that it too is a trilogy requiring a very large cast of characters — it is significant that his scheme for a grand parade at the end of the third Actio, reproduced here in Appendix I, calls for 123 participants — suggests that it was intended for production on the same occasion as that upon which Richardus had been performed: three successive evenings of the baccalaureate ceremonies at St. John’s College.
6. Alan H. Nelson, the chronicler of Cambridge academic drama, NOTE 14 is not disposed to take the plagiarism story seriously: “the authority is doubtful for the somewhat implausible story that a plagiarist interfered with Legge’s work on or access to his own copy of Solymitana Clades. Perhaps Fuller (or Moore) confused Legge’s case with William Alabaster’s Roxana…” NOTE 15 There are stronger grounds for disbelief. Given the circumstances, what possible truth could lie in this story? Plagiarism means palming off somebody else’s work as your own. But Solymitana Clades was neither performed nor printed. To be sure, a Destruction of Jerusalem by John Smith was produced at Coventry in 1584, and it has been suggested that this was the filched play in question. But an examination of the facts disproves this theory, as will be shown in Appendix II. And, with the exception of Smith’s work, there is no record of any play on the same subject produced or printed prior to John Crowne’s Restoration dilogy I & II The Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus Vespasian (1677). In this context it is worth nothing that this trilogy shows signs of incompleteness, discussed below. The choice not to produce it must have been the author’s own.
7. So the reason for Legge’s decision to abandon Solymitana Clades is the first question confronting us. But we are faced with two further questions. The second is that if, because of the work being plagiarized or for some other reason, Legge gave up on the present work, we must wonder why he simultaneously abandoned any further in the theater whatsoever, for, of course, the one decision does not necessarily entail the other. With the exception of the abortive Solymitana Clades, there is no recorded involvement with the theater between the production of Richardus Tertius in 1579 and Legge’s death in 1607. A third problem posed by this trilogy is why Legge chose to write it in the first place. He was the father of English Chronicle drama. He had made a tremendous discovery: the Chronicles contained the stuff of drama. Here was a genuine mother-lode of English history, containing many characters and incidents that could hold their own against their classical or biblical counterparts, and thus had the extra advantage of appealing to the nationalistic sentiments of his audience. The Chronicles, themselves a highly dramatic literary form, contained the templates for any number of successful plays. Legge could have returned to the same source as often as he wished, with prospects of equal success. So why abandon this field and turn to the historically remote and, one should think, relatively unpromising topic of the Jewish revolt against the Romans?
8. If I might attempt to answer this last question first, to understand Legge’s choice we must bear in mind that Hebrew studies were an essential component of the New Learning, to the extent that (as has recently been pointed out) NOTE 16 Hebrew was regarded as virtually a third classical language. The reason for Renaissance interest in Hebrew is self-evident:
Since the dissemination of vernacular versions of the Bible based on the original texts was high on their list of priorities, Hebrew scholarship came to play an increasingly important part in the educational pattern of leading Protestants. If the principle of ‘Sola Scriptura’ was to have any real meaning, scholars had to be trained to cope with the language in which it was first written.
Hebrew studies were therefore firmly embedded in the Tudor university curriculum — Henry VIII’s institution of Regius Professorships included Chairs of Hebrew at both Universities — and even played a role at the school level. Study of Hebrew did not necessarily entail friendly interest in, or curiosity about, the speakers of that language. Indeed, a purely utilitarian interest in Hebrew could coexist with more or less rabid anti-Semitism (as proof of this principle, one has too look no farther than Martin Luther himself). NOTE 17 But for many, it would have been difficult to study Hebrew without developing such interest and curiosity, and so the learning of Hebrew inevitably pointed the way to Judaic studies. Here may be mentioned two developments in this area that directly impinged on the writing of Solymitana Clades.
9. The first of these was the publication of Josephus’ works at Basle in 1544. NOTE 18 Josephus presents a treasure trove of lore about Jewish society, culture, and religion, in his History of the Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities. Renaissance Christians inherited much new and highly interesting information about conditions in the time leading up to and contemporary with the life of Christ and the early days of the Church: Josephus sets the events of the New Testament in a comprehensible (if not fully or always accurately reported) social and historical context. Then too, with his description of the Temple in Book III of the Jewish Antiquities, Josephus provides information about atonement sacrifices of lambs and the like, that showed Christians the object correlatives of some of the central metaphors of their religion. In the next century, Josephus (in Thomas Lodge’s 1602 translation, reprinted several times) stood on many a Puritan bookshelf otherwise reserved for the Bible and Bunyan. Especially as he had not yet been translated into the vernacular, surely a dramatization of Josephus would have had considerable appeal for Legge’s audience. The other development was the publication of Carlo Sigonio’s De Republica Hebraeorum in 1583. In this work, commissioned by Pope GregoryXIII, Sigonio deployed against Jewish history the same kind of scientific antiquarianism that he elsewhere applied to Roman and Italian history. NOTE 19 From marginal citations in Actio I, we know that Legge was familiar with Sigonio’s work.
10. It would be unreasonable to expect Legge to have wholly shaken off traditional Christian anti-Semitism: his one significant deviation from Josephus’ interpretation of the Jewish rebellion and its consequences is to present the catastrophe as God’s vengeance for the Jews’ rejection of Christ and for the crucifixion (cf. Jehoshue’s speech at 4230ff. and Devastation’s prologue at 5113ff.). And, at least in the speeches of Roman characters, the Jews are often described as a deceitful race. But the sympathetic representation of Anani and the other moderates who resist the Zealots, often to their extreme cost, goes a long way towards taking the edge off this national characterization. All in all, much in Solymitana Clades reflects curiosity about Jewish history, rites, and customs, an attitude Legge obviously expected his audience to share. Such was the anticipated appeal of the work to a contemporary audience. This trilogy represents an interesting document in Renaissance attempts to come to grips with Judaism.
11. There is another possible motivation for Legge’s writing Solymitana Clades that is inevitably suggested by a comparison with John Crowne’s The Destruction of Jerusalem. That work was written by a man with an important axe to grind. Throughout the dilogy there is a steady invective against the Zealots, and it is patent that Crowne is really attacking the Puritans. In Legge’s day Puritanism was already a very live issue in England general, and in Cambridge in particular. So was Solymitana Clades somehow conceived as a tract for its times? The possibility requires exploration.
12. Josephus tells how some hotheads inspired by intense religious zeal undermined and finally usurped the authority of the conservative establishment, with catastrophic results. Something very similar was occurring in Legge’s England, at Cambridge, and even, as we shall see, within the precincts of Caius College. The Puritans were clamoring for reform with ever-increasing stridency, posing an open challenge to public, ecclesiastic, and academic officialdom. The story has been told elsewhere in considerable detail about the ructions created by Cambridge Puritans, ever ready to challenge authority, even to capture it themselves when the occasion presented. NOTE 20 For those in positions of authority, maintaining peaceful order and preserving the fabric of the University and its several Colleges constituted the principal task. Legge must have been aware of this challenge from the very outset of his career as Master, because a Puritan persecution had ruined the career, and spoiled the life, of his predecessor, Dr. John Caius. NOTE 21 As we shall presently see, he had his own Puritan troubles in 1582. Puritanism was a subject on which feelings ran extraordinarily high, and it would be very difficult indeed to think that either Legge or his intended audience would be oblivious to the strong resonances between Josephus’ story and contemporary issues.
13. Legges’ chosen source was as tendentious a historian as ever lived. Over and above an obvious interest in placing his personal tergiversions in the most favorable light, Josephus’ main object was to purge the Jewish people of any guilt for the rebellion against Rome. He did so by presenting the Zealots and other leaders of the revolt as a crew of self-aggrandizing fanatics and brigands who spent as much time in fighting each other, and in oppressing and exploiting their fellow Jews, as they did in resisting the Romans. He even went so far as to represent the fall of Jerusalem and the burning of the Temple as God’s punishment for their sins, and characterizing the Romans as agents of divine retribution. As such, according to this logic, the Zealots can scarcely be regarded as authentic representatives of the Jewish people. Quite to the contrary, the responsible leadership of the Jews — the higher priesthood and upper-class Jews of the Sadducee type, whom Legge calls patres and principes — was so reasonable as to see the folly of the rebellion and disassociate itself from it. It has remained for modern times to question this picture. To many contemporaries the rebellion looks very much like a modern war of national liberation and the rebels like freedom fighters. And this reading of events has the effect of casting those Jews who did not support the rebellion in the role of Quislings. Legge did not anticipate any such reappraisal. Rather, his dramatization closely follows both Josephus’ accounts of the war and the interpretation the historian placed upon those events.
14. There were, doubtless, several reasons why Legge was content to do this. He must have been motivated by a Humanist’s reverence for a classical text, a commendable attitude but one having the demerit that it did not invite a critical evaluation of Josephus’ analysis. Then again, he was a so-called civilian, a Doctor of Civil Law (although never, as asserted by Porter p. 214, Regius Professor of that subject), and the subject’s duty of obedience to his sovereign in all things, including matters of faith, was the cornerstone of contemporary legal and political doctrine. In this scheme of things there was small room for admiring rebellion against legitimate authority (at least unless the ruler, such as Richard III, could plausibly be labeled a usurping tyrant). Hence, no doubt, his extremely favorable representation of Nero, if not necessarily of his representatives on the scene: he wished to show that Nero was by no means tyrannical, to remove this possible justification for the rebellion.
15. So, once the equation Zealot = Puritan is drawn, one can easily go to work on a vigorous job of Puritan-bashing, precisely what Crowne did in the retrospective security of the Restoration. It is tempting to read Solymitana Clades as a sustained exercise in inflammatory diatribe against contemporary Puritanism. Take, for example, 3449ff.:
Coerceant Zelotis insolentiam.
Namque titulum istum perditi assumunt, quasi
Virtutis omnes vincerent zelo ut dolo
Ad se trahant rempublicam.
[“For these scoundrels adopt this title, as if they surpass everybody in their zeal for virtue, so that by their deception they may take over the nation. ”]
Legge, indeed, does not rest content repeating the case Josephus made against the Zealots: in certain respects, he goes significantly beyond Josephus. In the first place, he represents Roman rule as almost incredibly mild. According to him (in passages such as 1745ff., a very unhistorical account of a diplomatic overture that never happened — see the initial note on IV.ii of the first Actio and also the note on 1748 and the note on 1769) Nero demanded no more than acknowledgement of a purely nominal Roman sovereignty, and was otherwise willing to allow the Jews complete autonomy. This, of course, has the effect of making the Zealot case seem all the more unreasonable. In the second, by characterizing the Zealots as revolutionary levelers interested in waging class warfare and offering such remedies as expropriations and even cancellation of debts (cf. 1608ff. and 3610ff.), and who welcome all manner of felons and miscreants into their ranks (see particularly Schimeon’s remarkable proclamation at 4681ff.), Legge manages to equate the Zealot movement both with the Catilinarian conspiracy and with home-grown peasant uprisings of the type led by Jack Ball and Wat Tyler. Then too, like Josephus, Legge devotes a great deal of time and energy to exposing the essential hypocrisy of the Zealot leadership. His Eleazer, Schimeon and Jehochanan are motivated by nothing more than greed for power, and are eager to destroy each other, manipulate their zealous followings, and accept or even hasten along the destruction of the world around them, in order to satisfy this greed. In this respect, each of them essentially replicates Richard III, so that this time we have a trilogy with three Richards rather than one, and Legge has no difficulty in applying to them a highly significant word that he has already used for Richard, tyrannus. Evidently his enthusiasm for representing the Zealots as tyrannical enemies of established social order was intended to play on the memories, and operate on the anxieties, of an audience of educated Englishmen.
16. Why did he do this? There is no evidence that Legge was particularly motivated by any sectarian enthusiasm. Rather, he was that most uncommon and most valuable kind of man, of the sort who can remain reasonable and judicious about a subject on which general passions run high. His tomb, surmounted by a magnificent effigy, is in the Chapel of his College. NOTE 22 On it is inscribed COL-LEGAME-DELLA-LEGGE. One of the points of this punning inscription (Italianate, perhaps, because of his supposed Italian ancestry) is that Legge was collegii medella, the medicine for his College. NOTE 23 It is not difficult to divine what this means. Legge was hand-picked by Dr. John Caius as his successor, and there was great wisdom in this choice. In strong contrast to the rumbustious Dr. Caius, Legge was a sweet-tempered and easygoing Master, who placed the interests of his College and University above all else. The guidance of a peacemaker was essential for the survival of this newly refounded College, both because of the contentious nature of his predecessor and because of the religious dissentions of the time. It may not be going to far to say that the selection of such a successor to Dr. Caius was necessary for the College’s continuation.
17. Josephus’ History of the Jewish Wars can be read as an object lesson in the follies of religious fanaticism, in the mischief that it can engender, and the catastrophes to which it can lead. To be sure, at the moment Legge wrote the extreme Puritans were the most visible such fanatics on the English landscape (although it did not recall a very long memory to recall religious fanaticism of a very different stamp during the former reign of Mary). At Cambridge this latter kind of extremism had produced outrages of its own, as ont he memorable day when the bodies of two leading Protestants, Martin Bucer and Paul Fagius, were exhumed from Great St. Mary’s and burned in Market Square, to the tune of an edifying three-hour sermon. NOTE 24
18. And so, if Solymitana Clades was intended as any sort of tract for the times, it is likely that Legge had a healthy distaste for religious fanaticism of any kind, and that he selected Josephus as a model precisely because he wanted to inculcate such feelings in his audience. And in this context it is important to remember who were to comprise his intended audience: the leaders of the next generation. Although Legge did not neglect the entertainment value of drama, both his trilogies have a serious moral purpose. Richardus Tertius diagnoses its protagonist’s lust for power as a kind of madness or disease (medical metaphors abound), and shows how such lust receives its inevitable comeuppance. For future leaders this is a salubrious, even necessary lesson, and one that acquires extra immediacy by being represented in a story drawn from relatively recent history, rather than being retrojected into the remoter worlds of classical or biblical antiquity. In the same way, Legge may well have selected the subject of Solymitana Clades for its educative value, and although it does not have the same immediacy as an English national subject — how could have done this without eliciting intolerably impassioned responses? — the applicability would be immediately apparent to any thoughtful spectator. Such, then, is an answer to the third of the questions posed above. What about the other two? Naturally, these are issues only fit for speculation. But several possibilities present themselves. Preceding hysteron proteron, let us consider our second question. Why did Legge abandon his involvement with theatrics?
19. Allusion has already been made to the outrageous treatment suffered by Legge’s predecessor, Dr. Caius. For Legge, the specter of similar unpleasantness was distinctly raised in 1582, when seven out of the twelve Fellows of Caius College wrote complaining letters about him to Lord Burleigh, the Chancellor of the University, in the hope of procuring his removal from office. NOTE 25 The main thrust of their argument was that he was guilty of tolerating Catholic propaganda and practices, and of harboring recusants in the College. In order to flesh out this bill of particulars (documents of this kind always seem to indulge in overkill), other accusations were added: some items about mishandling College money, others tending to show that under Legge’s slack administration excessive frivolity was tolerated. Thus, he allowed “singinge of lewde ballades with heades out of the windowes” and “continuall and expressive loud singinge, and noyse of Organs to the great disturbance of our studdyes.” Then too, the Puritan Fellows had wished to deny a degree to a student named Thomas Mudde, a talented musician and composer, evidently for no greater reason than that his music-making annoyed them. NOTE 26 Legge, after unsuccessfully standing up for him, procured his transfer to Peterhouse. Evidently Mudde’s music-making was regarded as another form of frivolity. Worse still, these Fellows managed to recruit the support of Edwin Sandys, Archbishop of York, who weighed in with his own letter to Burleigh, accusing Legge of Catholicism and protecting a fellow Catholic, and recommended that he be forbidden to have any students. NOTE 27
20. With the help of Richard Swayle, a sympathetic Fellow, Legge survived this challenge to his authority. But the charges must have stung, and he could not have failed to appreciate that in Puritan eyes theatrical activities counted as another form of frivolity, or worse. At Cambridge in the sixteenth century, Puritan opposition to the theater did not exfoliate into such a prominent issue as it did in Oxford, where the pamphleteering debate about the propriety of academic drama between William Gager and John Rainolds escalated to the point that the Queen herself became drawn into the argument. NOTE 28 There is nevertheless plenty of evidence that Cambridge Puritans shared this aversion. For example, in February of 1565 Robert Beaumont, Master of Trinity College, wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury, “And two or three in Trinity College think it very unseemly that Christians should play or be present at any profane comedies or tragedies.” NOTE 30 In the 1570’s, Giles Wigginton complained about how he had been harassed at Trinity “for speaking against non-residents, stage plays, and popery or prelacy and such like matters.” NOTE 31 More significantly, in the 1580’s a Puritan clique of Fellows within St. John’s College took advantage of the administration of the complaisant Master, William Wheeler, to seize virtual control. Other Fellows, exasperated, fired off a long list of complaints to the Chancellor. One of these was that the Puritans “had inhibited all manner of plays, and that comedy which was usually played to celebrated the Queen’s [birth]day.” NOTE 32
21. When Richardus Tertius was produced, Legge was under the impression that he could maintain a balancing-act between his academic duties and his dramatic avocation. The Fellows’ uprising of 1582 may well have suggested otherwise: as long as he kept on as a playwright, he would be potentially vulnerable to attack on that score, and this would be inimical to the administrative role he had staked out for himself. This incident did not in itself stop his work on Solymitana Clades. In various stage directions and marginalia to the banquet scene towards the end of Actio I, several Humanistic works are cited, and the latest of these, Ciaconus’ De Triclinio Romano, was not published until 1588. But it is nonetheless likely that this challenge to Legge’s position had the effect of cooling off his enthusiasm for dramatics. Possibly he continued work on the trilogy merely as a sort of private avocation, with no serious expectation of stage production, at least as long as he remained in office.
22. As for his failure to complete Solymitana Clades, other contributory factors come readily to mind. The trilogy is extremely long (over 9100 lines, in contrast to the 4700 of Richardus), and makes even greater demands on human and physical resources than did its predecessor. It is not impossible that Solymitana Clades may have been judged too difficult for production (as was probably also the case with Matthew Gwinn’s huge Nero, printed in 1603). Then too, from College accounts we happen to know that in 1579 St. John’s College had laid out the considerable sum of £35 for dramatic productions. Part of this may have gone for the production of the comedy Hymenaeus (probably by Abraham Fraunce), arguably mounted the same year, possibly the celebrate the Queen’s birthday, but the lion’s share must have been spent on Richardus. Production of Solymitana Clades would have cost a good deal more. And on the basis of such evidence as increasing absences from College in the 1590’s, the suggestion has been made NOTE 33 that Legge’s legal scholarship and involvement in the law picked up (he was also eventually appointed Chancellor of the diocese of Ely, a position subsequently held by William Gager), so that he simply lacked the time for his avocation.
23. As already suggested, Solymitana Clades shows evidence for incompleteness. Such signs are most visible in the third Actio. This contains some definitely unfinished lines (6175, 6188, 6274, 6381, 6431, 6658, 7250, 8063, and 8858). Each such line comes at the end of a speech. And while numerous other lines contain only five feet because words have dropped out of the text due to transcriptional error, four five-foot lines in Actio III come at the end of speeches and so may also have been left incomplete by the author (7387, 7419, 8677). Actio III also contains a kind of metrical error not found elsewhere: places where the consonantal combinations sc or st fail to produce positional lengthening (5161, 5329, 6758, 7071). Since these are mistakes not readily soluble by textual emendation, it looks as if they were the author’s own slips.
24. Actio III also contains distinct compositional faults. These may be itemized.
- A very intrusive speech at 5310ff. is a doublet of one already made at 5220ff. Evidently it was an alternative bit of narratio sketched out by the author, that has been unconvincingly patched into the text at this point: it adds no new information and intrudes into the flow of the narrative.
- As explained in the note on 5606ff., a deviation from Josephus at this point creates unnecessary logical difficulties. In the course of their three-cornered contentions, John of Gischala launched an attack on the followers of Eleazer. Legge revises this so that the attack is made against the adherents of both Eleazer and Schimeon. In a preceding scene, Jehochanan openly breaks with Schimeon, which only serves to provide Schimeon with advance warning of what Legge then represents as a sudden an unexpected attack. So this departure from the historical record is awkward and dramatically implausible, and presumably would have been caught and eliminated in the course of revision.
- IV.iv is a highly problematic scene. Josephus (B. J. VI.214 - 19) states that the news of Miriam’s cannibalism quickly spread to the Romans — he does not say how — and then reports Titus’ declaration of innocence, in which he disclaims any Roman responsibility for this awful act. Titus’ initial speech to his soldiers, or at least to his corps of officers (Quirites) at 7446ff. represents Legge’s equivalent of this protestation in Josephus: Titus clearly has been informed abut the cannibalism (cf. especially 7451ff.). But immediately after the speech Josephus escorts in some upper-class Jewish refugees. At 7542ff. Manasche, their spokesman, informs Titus about Miriam eating her baby. Titus recoils in horror, as if he is hearing about this incident for the first time (at 7541 he has to ask about current conditions within the city).
- The sequence beginning at 7573 in the same scene is also dissatisfactory. In his initial long speech, Titus already knows about his Arabian auxiliaries cutting open Jews in search of gold, and at its end he gives general orders for their punishment (this follows B. J. V.564ff.). Then at 7573 he exclaims in horror about such deeds being committed by his own men (as stated by Josephus, B. J. V.560), although nothing in Manasche’s preceding speech invites such a response, and the transition from the passage with Manasche to that with Ebudius seems remarkably abrupt. And when Zacharias bar Amphical tells Titus about Miriam’s cannibalism yet again, in virtually the same words that have been used before, the effect is unduly repetitious. So the overall impression created by this scene is that is imperfectly meditated.
- Likewise, there is the problem of the fortress Antonia. Titus twice commands its destruction, but it keeps reappearing in the narrative: see the note on 8113ff.
25. All these considerations, as well as its enormous length — more than four thousand lines — go to show that Actio III is much in need of a final revision. Actio II presents no features that are of such a glaring nature, but no reader of the trilogy can help but feel that it is somewhat problematic. The difficulty is the huge amount of narratio, some of it of questionable relevance to the essential business of the trilogy. There are times when the presence of dramatic illusion wears to thin that we are not very far from a viva voce recitation of Josephus, in which different speakers merely pick up the thread of the narrative in a sort of relay. This is true, for example, of I.ii, in which a series of witnesses newly arrived from Galilee inform the High Priest Anani about the campaign there. Unless the manuscript is wrong, at one point Anani, who is supposed to be the recipient of all this news, takes his own turn at the lectern (2571ff.), in thorough defiance of dramatic plausibility. By way of contrast, Actio I is satisfactorily short and strikingly free of such defects. One has the definite feeling that in this Actio alone Legge has edited his material with rigorous self-criticism, and has taken care to ensure that each scene is genuinely dramatic. Actio I alone, in short, is entirely ready for the stage.
26. At this point, it is tempting to suggest a theory of Solymitana Clades’ composition. There are only three known dates. First, 1579. One supposes that Legge began his new project flush with the recent success of Richardus Tertius in that year. Second, 1588. This is the date of Ciaconus’ De Tricilino Romano. Finally, 1598. By then the trilogy must have been a fait accompli, since Francis Meres was able to cite it in his Palladis Tamia. (How, one wonders, did Meres hear of it? It may be relevant to note that he was at Pembroke College, Cantab., from 1587 until 1591. How, for that matter, did it get copied into Diggins’ commonplace-book? It must have circulated in manuscript. But why did its author let it get abroad in its unfinished state? Because he had entirely given up on it?) If this timetable is substantially right, it is extremely improbable that Legge would have progressed only as far as the end of Actio I by the end of nearly a decade’s work. Far likelier, he sketched out the whole thing and then went back to the beginning and brought Actio I up to finished standard, adding his scholarly references at that time. Possibly he polished the Latin of Actio II, but did not do anything about its frequently undramatic nature. And there he seems to have stopped. The sharp difference in quality between Actio I and its successors is therefore to be understood as the difference between completed work and more or less early draughts.
26. So why did he break off? I have already suggested some tentative answers to this question, but these may well have been, at most, contributory causes. The underlying reason, more probably, was that Legge became convinced of the intractability of his chosen subject and the impossibility of arriving at an adequate solution to the task he had set himself. No matter how much further revision Solymitana Clades were to undergo, it may have seemed doubtful that a satisfactory work could have been carved out of this material. To understand this, we must have some notion of the kind of historical drama Legge set out of write.
27. On the strength of Richardus Tertius, Legge is acknowledged as the inventor of Chronicle drama. At least if Solymitana Clades had been produced or published, he would probably be acknowledged as at least coming close to being the father of Tudor historical drama in a broader sense. To judge the achievement of Solymitana Clades and to estimate the place that it at least would have occupied, had it been produced or published, we may have a brief look at the development of the sub-genre of Tudor history plays that dramatize episodes from classical history. If we look for evidence for datable Tudor history plays prior to the early 1580’s (by which time, presumably, Legge had conceived the idea for his new trilogy), we see that the number of such works is scarcely great. NOTE 34 A dramatic work entitled Julius Caesar may have been presented at Court in 1561, but this is not definite. An anonymous Massinissa and Sophonisba was produced at Court in 1565. The Windsor Boys performed several classical dramas at Court: Quintus Fabius in 1574, King Xerxes in 1575, Mutius Scaevola in 1577. In 1578 Stephen Gosson’s Cataline’s Conspiracies was acted in London by Leicester’s men, and in 1580 a Scipio Africanus was produced at Court. In the next year a Pompey (probably also known as Caesar and Pompey, was also produced at Court. A Caesar Interfectus — the prose Epilogue is all that survives NOTE 35 — by William Gager’s friend Richard Eedes, was produced at Christ Church, Oxon., in 1582. This not a particularly large haul, and the general dearth of such plays at the Universities is remarkable. Since the listed items are lost, we can say nothing about their possible relation to the works of such individual ancient historians as Herodotus, Livy, and Plutarch. So Solymitana Clades might have impressed a Cambridge audience as no less strikingly original than Richardus Tertius. What might impress a modern reader as one of the trilogy’s main drawbacks, its close dependence on a classical historian, may well have produced a very different effect on Legge’s contemporaries.
28. In my Introduction to Richardus Tertius, I proposed that Legge was very consciously pioneering a new genre of drama. NOTE 36 This is suggested by his highly unusual relation to classicism. He borrowed liberally (in terms of poetics, characterizations, themes, and much else) from Seneca, and the idea of the trilogy form is taken from Aeschylus. But he also felt free to abandon any convention of classical drama that would have encumbered him. Thus, for example, the classical chorus is eliminated, and the canonical Unities are ignored. Legge, I think, believed that this new genre of historical drama ought to adhere to its own canons. First, seriousness of moral purpose. Both his trilogies are chock-full of salubrious moral lessons obviously intended for a student audience. This is in conformity with the contemporary idea that the primary purpose of history was to produce moral exempla, positive and negative, so that history was regarded as department of moral philosophy. This idea was set forth, for example, by Thomas Blundeville in his The True Order and Methode of Wryting and Reading Hystories (1574). In his preface, addressed to the Earl of Leicester, he states that he knew the Earl:
.…to delyte moste in reading of Hystories, the true Image and portrature of Mans lyfe, and that not as many doe, to passe away the tyme, but to gather thereof such iudgement and knowledge as you may thereby be the more able, as well to direct your priuate actions, as to giue Counsell lyke a most prudent Counseller in publyke causes, be it matters of warre, or peace.
The fullest expression of this view of history is set forth by Digory Whear, the first occupant of Oxford’s Camden Chair of History, in his 1623 De Ratione et Methodo Legendi Historias. Legge, it is tolerably clear, was of the opinion that history plays should conform to this program.
29. Second, faithfulness to the historical record. In Richardus Tertius he dramatized the account of that king’s career given in Edward Hall’s The Union of the Noble and Illustre Famelies of Lancastre and York. At times he followed Hall’s account so closely, or appropriated some of Hall’s lengthy speeches with such fidelity, that has dependence on his source has been termed “slavish.” NOTE 37 This assessment is unsympathetic. At a number of points, Legge displays a greater degree of independence than he has been given credit for: he was capable of writing scenes based on very slender cues in Hall, even of writing scenes for which his source gave him no authority at all, NOTE 38 and in Solymitana Clades there are considerably more invented characters and situations. So Legge’s problem was not poverty of invention. Rather, he operated in the manner he did out of conviction that this how historical drama ought to be written. This approach, in which a historical source is told relentlessly from beginning to end, succeeded in Richardus Tertius because Legge selected an extremely salubrious historical model to follow. Hall’s account of Richard’s career follows the time-honored narrative pattern of a hubristic tyrant suffering a downfall. It is written in a highly exciting, almost novelistic way, featuring exciting scenes and memorably vivid characterizations such as could readily be transferred to the stage.
30. One can readily see why Josephus, like Hall, appealed to Legge, not just in terms of subject-matter, but also on a literary level. He wrote a very melodramatic history, well endowed with colorful incidents and remarkable characters. NOTE 39 Josephus reflects something of the emotionally supercharged atmosphere of the historical period he describes. In some ways The History of the Jewish War reads more like a prose epic than a sober history. For example, in lieu of the kind of factual battle-descriptions one expects of a historian (especially a historian with pretensions to military expertise), Josephus often substitutes descriptions of monomachies, duels, and displays of personal excellence of an almost Homeric cast. Insofar as one of Josephus’ themes is that the catastrophe suffered by the Jews is the result of God’s punishment, and that the Romans are His agents, one could even say that his account has a kind of epic divine machinery working in the background.
31. But such an ideal had the result of getting Legge into trouble. Even if a historical drama is to be free of the canons of the classical Unities, no less than any other kind of play, or epic, it must have some measure of the dramatic unity and focus the Unities were intended to supply. Hall had the advantage of containing a central dramatic character whose career replicated (or, perhaps one should say, was forced to replicate, by Hall and other Tudor propagandists), the classic parabola of the rise and fall of a tyrant. Then too, Richard’s reign was so short that it did not have time to accumulate any significant amount of extraneous incidents, such would have obscured this satisfying arc. These considerations by themselves suffice to impart a fair amount of dramatic focus and unity to Richardus Tertius, considerably more than previous writers have been willing to acknowledge, especially because they have failed to recognize that it is a trilogy, and have therefore misapplied to it standards of unity appropriate to a single play.
32. Solymitana Clades is a very flawed work, because Josephus does not so obviously contain the prefabricated outline of a drama as does Hall. Solymitana Clades has many and obvious faults, but none of its shortcomings is worse than this: it is an epic drama without an epic hero. The story told by Josephus is not similarly dominated by any single figure, nor does it contain any characters who could conceivably be elevated to the status of dramatic hero with any plausibility. The first play is dominated — to the extent it is dominated by anybody at all — by the depraved Florus and the virtuous Anani. The second play focuses on the three leaders of the rebellion, Eleazer, Jehochanan, and Schimeon, who admittedly make quite satisfactory villains, but in the absence of Anani there is no strong sympathetic character to counterbalance them. The third play is centered more firmly on Titus. There is some sort of attempt to present him as a paladin, but his demonstrations of virtue and leniency are repeatedly undercut by outbursts of cold and undisguised savagery, not without rather inexplicable mood swings, and in any event his failure to undergo any sort of personal crisis or change disqualifies him as an authentic dramatic hero: he is an insufficiently interesting human being. Hence Solymitana Clades lacks a single dominating character who might serve as a focus of interest and a source of unity.
33. Then too, Legge’s self-imposed obligation to include everything found in his source leads him seriously astray, as with Richardus Tertius, his working method was to follow Josephus with a general (albeit not invariable) literalness. NOTE 40 Hence the trilogy recounts all the major events of the Jewish uprising, from its outbreak in 66 to the fall of Jerusalem and the taking of Masada (which is, unhistorically, represented as happening immediately thereafter). Doing so obliged Legge to include a remarkable amount of undramatic narratio of offstage events. In Actio II, for example, we have seen that military operations in Galilee are recounted in a string of narrative speeches, although these events do not have an immediate bearing on the collapse of Jerusalem (to be sure, all this narrative does serve the purpose of introducing the two important characters Josephus and Jehochanan, but surely this might have been achieved in a more economical way). Legge’s dependence on his source also has the effect of producing disturbing repetitions: for instance, there are two scenes in which Jews pretend to be surrendering to Romans in order to lure them into a trap, and four lengthy harangues in which a moderate Jew (King Agrippa once, Josephus thrice) tries without success to persuade the rebels to abandon their cause. And, of course, as a result of this undiscriminating imitation of Josephus, Solymitana Clades is impossibly long. The trilogy is to dramaturgy what the Mary Rose was to naval architecture, for it too turns turtle because of grossly exaggerated dimensions. It is an oversized Renaissance folly, a literary equivalent of one of those motets written for sixty or even a hundred voices, or some specimen of architectural gigantism. The result of this is that, although individual scenes are colorful and exciting, at least for the modern reader an undeniable pall of tedium hovers over great swatches of the work. In the next century John Crowne limited himself to dramatizing events occurring during the final siege and collapse of Jerusalem in the year 70, giving the story a kind of focal point by playing up the romance between Titus and Bernice and giving his dilogy a second love interest, and reshaping and softening the characterization of Titus to make him a more appetizing central figure. Legge doubtless would have recoiled at such alterations. Nevertheless, unless he chose his historical model with extreme care, as he had with Richardus, in order to write viable history plays he would have had to go much farther in the direction of balancing historical considerations against the requirements of good dramaturgy.
34. The result of this, unfortunately, is a work that stubbornly refuses to come alive. For all its occasionally lengthy rhetoric, there is much in Richardus that fairly leaps off the page, and the trilogy features a number of memorable scenes and sharply delineated characterizations. In reading, it one has no difficulty in appreciating that it would have played well ont he stage. The ultimate result of all the extensive use of narratio in Solymitana Clades, on the other hand, is an essentially lifeless work. Solymitana Clades is unfinished, and undeniably a somewhat better trilogy might have been carved out of the mass of material which we have. But it may be doubted that even radical surgery could have solved its fundamental problems. To be sure, balancing the requirements of historical drama against the needs of sound dramaturgy was a problem not immediately solved by Tudor playwrights, and it would be unfair to single out the pioneer of this form of drama for finding immediate solutions to the problems it posed. Nonetheless, it is not difficult to imagine that awareness of the essential unviability of Solymitana Clades was what prevented Legge from bringing it to the stage.
35. So this kind of Leggian history drama, following a historical source with dogged soup-to-nuts fidelity, proved to be a blind alley. This does not mean that Legge did not find his imitators. In the first place, there was Matthew Gwinne of St. John’s College, Oxon., author of the history play Nero, which was never performed, but printed in 1603. Although in his dedicatory epistle, writing in very Gager-like terms, Gwinne placed the blame for its lack of production on Puritan enemies of the stage, it is impossible to believe that this mammoth work of 5000 lines, with a huge cast of characters and lavish stage spectacle, could have been mounted with available resources any more than could Solymitana Clades, even if broken into a dilogy (the printed version contains instruction on how this could be done). Nero can scarcely be described as moralistic, but, in the proper Leggian way, it follows a single exciting and dramatic historical source from beginning to end: the portion of Tacitus’ Annales devoted to the reign of Nero, fleshed out with extra details taken from Suetonius and Dio Cassius.
36. William Shakespeare probably deserves to be identified as another imitator of Legge. Here I am not thinking about the question of possible influence of Richardus Tertius on Richard III, which I have already discussed elsewhere, but rather of the Henry VI plays, another soup-to-nuts trilogy dramatizing the entirety of his reign from his assumption of the throne to his death. Regarded as a trilogy, the three Henry III plays suffer from many of the defects of Legge’s own trilogies, because of Shakespeare’s enthusiasm for following his Chronicle source with full fidelity. Although they contain plenty of successful episodes, regarded as a whole they are unfocussed and episodic, they lack a sufficiently interesting central character, and they fail to adhere to the principles of good play construction. Shakespeare must have appreciated the defects of this Leggian approach, since he never repeated it.
II. LEGGE’S LATIN
36. In my Introduction to Richardus Tertius, I have already provided a general description of Legge’s Latinity, which may be summarized here briefly. In regard to syntax, the predominant features of his style are 1.) unawareness of the rules governing the use of tenses of subjunctive verbs in subordinate clauses; 2.) frequent use of indicative verbs in indirect questions, 3.) use of subjunctives in temporal clauses beginning with dum, postquam and, at least in Solymitana Clades, ubi; 4.) use of indicative as well as subjunctive verbs in concessive clauses beginning with licet; 5.) use of infinitives with imperative force (a Greek syntactical device); 6.) occasional misuse of reflexive pronouns. Most if not all of these features are common in Renaissance Latin. Legge was a good metrician (or at least a good writer of iambic senarii, to which he mostly limited himself), so that when we find a metrical solecism, emendation is almost always in order and rearranged word-order usually solves the problem. The one evident reason for doubting this claim, his use of spondaic second and fourth feet, is to be explained by the fact that the standard Tudor textbook, William Lily’s 1540 A Short Introduction of Grammar Generally to be Used, says these are permissible. He also employed proceleusmatic resolutions in the first five feet of the iambic line. From reading the Roman comic poets he appears to have noticed inductively the principle of brevis brevians, described by D. S. Raven: NOTE 41 “Literally the term brevis brevians implies a short syllable shortening a succeeding long; and the effect of the law is that a long syllable is shortened if it is both (a) directly preceded by a short syllable and (b) directly preceded and/or followed by a syllable with word-accent.” Second, as Raven states, “Final *o is commonly shortened in many ‘silver age’ poets, e. g. Juvenal, except in dative and ablative cases.” In Richardus there is one line (3635) in which a syllable evidently shortened by brevis brevians is neither preceded nor followed by an accented one. The same mistake is found four times in Solymitana Clades (116, 2078, 2444, 5409). I have already noticed four places where sc or st fails to create positional lengthening. For another metrical slip, see the note on 2220.
37. The trilogy also contains some peculiarities of quantification. The first syllable of fodio is always scanned long. The first syllable of fucus is scanned short at 4422. The final syllable of impune is always scanned long. The first syllable of lituus is scanned long at 2417. The first syllable of profusus is scanned long at 436 and 3383 (so too at R. T. 647). The first syllable of mereo(r) is sometimes scanned long, especially in the perfect (see the note on 1557). The first syllable of ratio is long at 1617, and the second syllable of zelotypus is long at 4478. Further peculiarities of scansion involving proper nouns are recorded in my textual notes.
38. In general, Legge’s vocabulary is that of classical Latin poetry, with his most important model of course being the tragedies of the Senecan corpus. Nevertheless, a small number of postclassical vocabulary items may be noted. Centuplus (= centumplex, 3404), dire (“direly” — see the note on 2427), indies (“constantly,” used frequently), malefidus (“unfaithful,” if not a transcriptional error for malefida or malefica, 2846) , obices (“doors,” 2522), protervia ( = protervitas, used frequently), profuga (“fugitive,” used frequently), quodlibet and quodlibet (cf. 3764 and 3913), raucedine (= raucitate, 925), tentatim (“tentatively,” 4886), and triblium (“tray,” first stage direction of I.V.i). Caelicos at 1252 is possibly to be added to this list, but is much likelier a ms. corruption for caelitos.
39. At the beginning of this Introduction I remarked that there are a few ways in which the style of Solymitana Clades differs from that of Richardus Tertius, but that these are scarcely numerous enough to create any doubt about Legge’s authorship of the present trilogy. Rather, these ought to be regarded as signs of an evolving style. In the first place, Legge is a great one for pet words, phrases, and syntactical constructions. It is therefore scarcely surprising that he should add to his repertoire. One of the two notable such additions, the neologism indies, has just been mentioned. The other consists of interrogatives ending in -ine, such as siccine. He has also developed a new fondness for the adjective anhelus. A second striking stylistic difference between the two trilogies resulted from Legge’s further reading of classical Latin. Specifically, it is obvious that he has developed an enthusiasm for the early poet Ennius, for we find patches of Ennian heavy alliteration grafted onto his otherwise Seneca-imitating style (cf. 913f., 2667, 4203f., 481o, 4824, 5641f., 6108, 6156f., 6844, 7190ff., 8130, and 8294, and for other archaizing features cf. the note on 3653 and the note on 7477). It is conceivably relevant that in a letter written to Legge by Justus Lipsius dated January 1, 1585 — he was trying to line up to people to visit during a projected trip to England during the following summer — Lipsius flattered Legge’s prowess as a Latinist with an adroit quotation from Ennius. NOTE 42
40. Further stylistic features result from the trilogy’s subject-matter. The principal item in this category is Legge’s handling of Jewish proper names. With these, he has a regular practice of replacing Josephus’ Hellenized forms with their Hebrew originals. Thus Ioannes and Simon become Iehochanan and Schimeon. This is probably not done out of pedantry or a desire for introducing a note of local color, but because the Hebrew forms are often more convenient for iambic versification. Once these Hebrew forms are introduced, Legge avails himself of a time-honored tradition, sanctioned above all by Jerome’s Vulgate, that Latin case-endings do not have to be added to Hebrew and Aramaic proper names, so that the reader is required to infer the proper case from the surrounding context (this rarely causes interpretational problems, but see the note on 5052). But, since case-endings can be added, a useful extra measure of metrical flexibility is acquired. Thus, for example, Legge can write Ioseph, Iosephus, or even Iosephon (as in the song beginning at 2930 — cf. the note on 2932). The ms. frequently has Zelota where one would expect Zelotes. For this edition, I assume that this was a mistake introduced by a copyist who was unfamiliar with the Greek nominative singular ending, and not Legge’s own usage. Sometimes Legge will take a proper name in his source and transform it into something more suitable for iambics. Thus, for example, in Actio I Josephus’ Neapolitanus becomes Politanus. At other times, a proper name in Josephus will be transmuted in such a way that there is no obvious metrical advantage. In such cases (many involving names used only once or twice) it is impossible to determine whether the responsibility for the change is Legge’s or results from transcriptional error.
III. LEGGE’S STAGECRAFT
41. No introduction to Solymitana Clades would be complete without some mention of one feature that is bound to make a strong impression on the reader, Legge’s remarkably detailed stage directions and production notes. These stage directions, and also those of Richardus Tertius, serve to forestall any possible impression of an academic Luftmensch in his study, merely churning out reams of senarii in learned imitation of his classical models. As he wrote, Legge had a firm notion of what he wanted to have transpire on stage, and also a good sense of what could be done with the human and physical resources at this disposal. There is no evidence that proves that he himself ever functioned as an actor, but during his younger days at Trinity College certain payments made to him in connection with dramatic performances have provoked the not implausible suggestion that he repeatedly functioned as a director, and perhaps also as a playwright. NOTE 43 At times Legge can be remarkably explicit in indicating what he wants (for his diagrams showing how processionals are to look, and his instructions for costumes, cf. Appendix I — the list-like stage directions for the processions at the ends of the first and second Actions of Richardus are not so precisely diagrammatic, but it is possible that Legge’s holography had contained similar ones). At other times, we must infer from the text itself regarding such things as entrances, exits, and scene-settings. This is, after all, classical practice: in the ancient drama stage directions were next to nonexistent and playwrights, so to speak, encoded their stage directions in the words of the the text. Any reader familiar with ancient drama would be well primed to decipher Legge’s unarticulated intentions. But difficulties undeniably exist.
42. The greatest problem involves the identification of scene-divisions within acts. Normal Renaissance practice was to number scenes, identifying as a new scene any situation where there was a change in the grouping of speaking parts onstage whether or not there was any discontinuity in time or place. Legge failed to adhere to this custom, and scenes are not numbered or otherwise identified as such. At many points a list of speaking parts is inserted as a rather clumsy device for indicating the entrance or exit of one or more characters during a scene in progress. This expedient carries the potential for confusion. If a character is onstage throughout a scene, but happens not to speak during its first part, his name will only crop up in a subsequent speaker-list, which misleadingly suggest that he only enters at that point, or sometimes gives the impression that he irrationally pops up out of nowhere. Worse yet, these speaker-lists are ambiguous: some mark an actual scene-break, some do not, and at a casual glance the actual intention of any given one is not always immediately clear. Therefore, to aid the reader’s comprehension of the text, insofar as possible I have introduced modern numbered scene-divisions in the interest of rendering manifest the text’s dramatic articulation. On the “macro” level, this editorial policy parallels the imposition of modern systematic punctuation and paragraphing on the “micro” level. In deciding where to acknowledge scene-divisions, I have been partially helped by the fact that Legge seems to have had in mind a scheme of employing a few “sets,” possibly involving scene painting, repeatedly: most notably, “sets” representing the courtyard before the Temple, the Sanhedrin building and its interior, and a two-tiered one representing a wall and its battlements. And some very short scenes look suspiciously as if they are supposed to cover for scene-shifiting. Questions of scene-identification, difficulties involving entrances and exits, and similar problems of dramaturgy are discussed in individual commentary notes.
43. In any event, Solymitana Clades, even more than Richardus Tertius, is replete with impressive stage effects. Possibly Legge hoped that the element of spectacle would compensate for all the static and undramatic narratio with which the trilogy abounds. It is historically interesting to observe that a fair amount of killing and ghastliness is represented onstage (in striking contrast to Richardus). One is tempted to regard the contrast between the two trilogies as a sign of the ever-increasing degree to which academic drama was beginning to take on the qualities of the London popular theater during Legge’s lifetime. It is worth reviewing the highlights. In Actio I, a delegation of priests and citizens go out in procession to greet the Romans, to musical accompaniment, and are routed (II.iv). We are shown a meeting of the Sanhedrin, followed by a procession in which Caesar’s gifts to Jerusalem are displayed, featuring onstage animals, followed by a struggle in which the Zealots drive off the animals (IV.ii). We are also shown a Jewish ritual feast (V.i.), and the Actio ends with a triumphal march of the returning Jews, with music. Actio II features a funeral procession for the supposedly dead Josephus, again with Music (II.ii). Then we are shown an actual Temple sacrifice, during which Zealots mixed in with the worshippers do their murderous work (III.iv). Actio III begins with a penitential litany, yet another procession with music (I.i). Music figures again in the only song written by Legge for solo voice, the prison-song of Josephus’ father Mathias Currus (III.v). Mass crucifixions figure later in the same scene. The demented woman waving the dismembered parts of her half-eaten son, and the soldiers fighting over the gobbets of his flesh, was a sight intended as a show-stopper (IV.ii), and in the next scene the audience was treated to the sight of Jews dying in profusion (IV.iii). The Actio ends with a spectacular Roman triumphal procession, once more with music. This, while far from being a complete catalogue of the stage-business in Solymitana Clades (a number of stage directions call for vigorous physical action), serves to give some idea of the range of onstage spectacle contemplated by Legge. This was all augmented by a lavish use of offstage sound effects to represent storms, battles, and the burning of the Temple (Legge was within his rights when he called for offstage gunfire in Richardus Tertius, since artillery actually was employed at Bosworth Field, but when he employs gunfire in Solymitana Clades, he anticipates Shakespeare’s famous Julius Caesar anachronism). As in Richardus, processions form the core of such onstage spectacle. This is scarcely surprising, since processions represent the essence of academical ceremony, so that Cambridge’s ability to produce pomp could readily be coopted for dramatic purposes. Likewise, academic fondness for dressing up in impressive regalia translates into the colorful costumes described in an appended note (cf. Appendix I).
44. Legge’s contemplated use of stage spectacle is not without interest for historians of the theater. One of the great revolutions of classical studies in the past couple of decades has been a dramatically upward evaluation of Senecan tragedy, resulting in much recent work on this author. A facet of this reappraisal has been a willingness to question the prevalent notion that Seneca did not write his plays for stage production, but only as closet drama meant at most for recitation. NOTE 44 Elsewhere I have tried to point out the essentially unconvincing nature of the anti-staging case: NOTE 45 its arguments rest variously on misreadings of Seneca, failure to appreciate the artificial conventions of the Roman stage, failure to realize that such conventions are not necessarily the same as those of Greek drama, and similar misapprehensions (likewise, exponents of this view have failed to appreciate that the theory that Seneca was writing only for recitation is not without its own problems). Legge’s plays supply the material for an interesting footnote to this argument. Since he had no idea that Seneca had not written his plays for production, he had no compunction about imitating the stage effects implied by the texts of Senecan drama, including a number of effects that have been fixed on as evidence that Seneca was not writing for the stage. It is therefore instructive that Legge had no doubt that they were practical in the theater. To mention the most memorable example, surely the scene in Senecan drama that ought to be the least practical on the stage is the onstage animal sacrifice in the Oedipus (although I have have argued that this scene could in fact have been produced). NOTE 46 But the sacrifice in Solymitana Clades III.iv takes its inspiration from that Senecan scene, and it is highly instructive that such a practical man of the theater could contemplate its imitation.
IV. THE PRESENT EDITION
45. A general description of the manuscript, provided by the original dealers’ catalogue, has been quoted at the beginning of this Introduction. I shall therefore confine my present remarks to the relevant portion of the ms., fols. 237 through 164. The commonplace book is constructed in a peculiar way. Folios 1 - 87 are written in the normal way, folios 88 - 121 are blank, and folios 122 - end are written with the volume held upside-down and working from back to front. In result, the writing proceeds from both ends of the book towards the middle. The folios are numbered in pencil in a modern hand by someone who worked from the front of the book through to the back. As a consequence, in the part of the book that contains Solymitana Clades the pagination works backwards, and, since the paginator wrote his numbers on the upper right hand corner of each folio, the folios are numbered on their verso side. The text is neatly written in a rather small hand that reflects something of the regularity and rhythm of the genuinely italic style (such as found in the more or less contemporary Bodleian Library ms. Tanner 306, one of the eleven mss. of Richardus). But it lacks the grace of genuine italic script and retains some letter-shapes (looped final s, crotchet c) characteristic of the secretary hand.
46. Since only one copy of Solymitana Clades exists, we cannot ascertain the history of the text, and so cannot answer a question of no little interest: how widely did manuscripts of this work circulate? Although the evidence is admittedly slight, the most that might be possible to say on this score is that our ms. shows some signs it may not have been copied directly from the author’s holograph. At several points the copyist leaves a blank space, as if a word was missing or illegible in his exemplar. At 1052 the ms. has ipsi sinente for ipsi mente, and this looks like a secondary corruption for ipsi si mente, where the si had previously been introduced by dittography. At 2904 apes makes no sense and creates a second foot consisting of two short syllables. I have mended the line on the assumption that apes is a secondary corruption for opes, which was mistakenly written for opera (to introduce this emendation, I have also had to alter the word-order at the beginning of the line to make it come out right). Line 3045 reads tardius licet adhuc vulnere otium negat. Here adhuc creates an anapestic second foot and hides the important fact that the subject of this sense is Vespasian and not, as it first might seem, his son Titus (according to Josephus it was Vespasian who ordered the renewed attack). I have emended the line to tardius licet pater vulnere otium negat under the assumption that pater had dropped out of the text and (as is frequently the case in manuscripts such as this) somebody left a blank space in the line to indicate the missing word; then someone else inserted adhuc as an inept attempt at restoring the line. At 4331 the ms. has an irrational quicquid where quid is demanded by both the sense and the meter. Possibly one copyist with quid before him wrote the word twice by dittography, and another “corrected” quid quid to quicquid. If there is any substance in the above observations, then it would seem to be the case that at least one manuscript intervened between Legge’s holograph and the extant copy. But the very slight weight of the evidence must be acknowledged.
47. Work on the earlier stages of this edition was done on the basis of a microfilm supplied by the Cambridge University Library. It proved necessary to verify some doubtful points by personal inspection of the manuscript. In the later stages of this project, I had the advantage of working from a newly-published photographic reproduction. NOTE 47 In editing, translating and annotating Solymitana Clades I have constantly depended on J. St. John Thackeray’s edition and translation of Josephus’ works in the Loeb Classical Library series. At the end of both volumes devoted to The Jewish War (vols. II and III), are appended maps showing Judea and Jerusalem. It will greatly facilitate the reader’s understanding and appreciation if he has these or similar ones at his disposal.
48. Although I have already published a print edition of Legge’s two trilogies (Thomas Legge: The Complete Plays, two volumes, Peter Lang Verlag, New York-Bern, 1993) the publisher has kindly granted me the right to produce a new, electronic edition of these works, for which I am grateful. I should like to thank Professors C. N. L. Brooke, Josef Ijsewijn, Louis H. Feldman and Alan Nelson for various sorts of information, advice, and encouragement (but none of the mistakes or omissions in this volume ought to be charged to them). I am indebted to the students of my 1990 seminar on textual criticism who helped me explore Legge’s text: Christopher Garner, James Graham, Dr. Bruce Grigsby, and Daniel Morton. I am grateful to the Cambridge University Library for supplying me with a microfilm of the manuscript, and then for allowing me to inspect it personally; to the Southern California Classics Resource-Sharing Program, of which the University of California at Irvine is a participating member, for a grant facilitating my Cambridge visit; and to Darwin College for its gracious hospitality while I was there. As always, my greatest thanks are reserved for my wife, Dr. Kathryn A. Sinkovich, for her helpful advice and forbearance while I was engaged on this project.
49. At a later date (in 2008) I acquired a new debt when Prof. Lawrence Manley of Yale University pointed out to me Legge's reliance on another source, not acknowledged in the manuscript, Peter Morwen's 1558 Compendious and most marueilouse Historie of the latter times of the Iewes common weale, an English translation from a Latin abridgement of the pseudonymous Joseph ben Gorion's History of the Jews, which contains an account of the Jewish War ultimately, of course, derived from Josephus. He remarked on the resemblance of Schimeon's remarkable proclamation at 4681ff. to the similar one in Morwen (fol. cxlv ):
He went therefore through all the cities of Judea and Galilee, causing to be proclaimed in the streetes and market places, and sent his letters where he coulde not come him selfe, in this manner and fourme: Who so euer listeth to be ridde from the bondage of his maister, & hath any inurie in his countrey, or what seruant so euer desireth to be set at libertie, or who so can not abyde the rule of his father or his maister, all that be in debte and stande in feare of their creditours, or feare the Judges for sheadyng of any innocent blood, and therefore lurketh solitarily in woodes or mountaynes, yf there be any man that is accused of any notorious cryme, or in any daunger therefore: to be shorte, who so euer is disposed to robbe and reaue, to doo inurie and wrong, to haunt hoores, to steale, to murder, to eate and drynke at other mens coste, without labour of his handes: let him resorte to me, I wyll deliuer hym from the yoke, and daunger of lawes, and wyll finde him his fill of bootie and spoyles.
And Manley likewise pointed out the resemblance of Titus' speech at 7446ff. to the one at Morwen, fols. cclxiff., remarking that the knowledge he shows of the Jewish culture and national character in these speeches in anachronistic and foreign to Josephus. Legge's use of Morwen as a source is a subject that may well repay further study.