Queen Elizabeth I visited Oxford in 1566. To mark the occasion, a number of speeches were given, including one in Greek by the then Regius Professor of Greek, Giles Lawrence (1522-1584/5). The former Regius Professor, George Etheridge (1519-1588?), a committed Catholic, had been removed from office after Elizabeth’s accession. In an attempt to win favour with the Queen, he composed an encomium (poem of praise) on the queen’s father, Henry VIII.
This manuscript is the autograph copy of the encomium. It does not appear that Etheridge got any benefit from the composition, since he never recovered any position at Oxford.
Nonetheless, the manuscript clearly reached the Queen, since it was incorporated into the Royal Collections. George II presented it to the British Museum in 1757.
- Article by:
- Matthew Adams
The teaching of Greek in English schools developed slowly and not without setbacks. Matthew Adams tells the story of how Greek spread in 16th-century England.