Printer Friendly

A source for Segar's Honor Military and Ciuill.

Sir William Segar's Honor Military and Ciuill (London, 1602) was, at the date of its publication, the most learned and comprehensive study in English of its subject, which for Segar includes military law, knighthood and its orders, and civil precedence. The third and longest of its four books is titled 'Combat for life, Iusts, Turnements, Triumphes and Inaugurations of Emperours, Kings and Princes' (sig. K1), and aims to show 'What order hath bene obserued in publique Combats, and princely Triumphes, both ancient and moderne' (sig. [Pi][2.sup.v]). Segar's modern editor makes suggestions about his possible sources among classical and Renaissance writers but adds, 'one cannot tell whether he went directly to the works of the authors or used compilations'.(1) It is in fact possible to identify one work of Renaissance scholarship on which Segar drew extensively: the Pandectae triumphales of Francois Modius (Frankfurt, 1586).(2) The title of Segar's third book and the prefatory summary of its subject matter adopt the phraseology of Modius's title page, which reads, 'Pandectae triumphales, siue, . . . simulacrorum bellicorum equestrium, et pedestrium; . . . itemque in inaugurationibus . . . Imperatorum, Regum, Principumque edita concelebrataque sunt, tomi duo. Quorum prior de triumphis et spectaculis ludisque tam veterum quam recentiorum . . . tractat'. A large part of Segar's materials in Book iii is selected and shortened from Modius's vast study.

After seventeen chapters on the laws of single combat, which are not indebted to Modius, Segar turns to the Roman triumph. Here his treatment derives entirely from Modius:

Chapter 18: Segar's summary, based largely on Modius's chapter headings.

Chapter 19 = Modius's first chapter, with a few minor omissions (vol. i, Book i, Chapter I).

Chapter 20 = most of vol. i, i. II, with a few minor omissions. This chapter includes a surprising mistranslation: 'Likewise Suetonius triumphed four daies in one moneth' (sigs. M4-[M4.sup.v]) for 'et hinc Suetonius de Caesare ait; eodem mense quater sub diuersis Ducibus triumphauit' (sig. [al.sup.v]). Segar omits sentences on the display and execution of captured enemies, and transfers sentences on the soldiers and their songs to the next chapter.

Chapter 21 = the first two-thirds of vol. i, i. XXV, on the ovatio, or lesser triumph, adding to it the material on soldiers and their songs from the end of i. II.

Chapter 22 = vol. i, i. III, shortened by a quarter.

Chapter 23 = most of vol. i, i. XXVII, on triumphal arches.

Segar's six chapters on Roman triumphs occupy seven folio pages. Segar begins and ends by remarking on the scope of this subject: 'to report them at large were a labour almost infinite' (sig. [M3.sup.v]); 'To speake of all Romane triumphs were a matter infinite: wee will therefore cease to say more of them' (sig. N1). Segar's sense of the magnitude of the Roman triumph as a subject of study could well derive from Book i of the first volume of Modius's Pandectae triumphales, 'De Triumphis veterum', which occupies sixty-one folio pages, with a list of almost 300 triumphs (vol. i, i. XXVI) and sixteen chapters on notable examples of the ceremony at Rome.

Segar's Chapters 24-54 deal with triumphs in the looser Renaissance sense of spectacular public ceremonies. His examples begin with 'the Triumphal going of Darius to meet Alexander the great' (Chapter 24) and end with 'The Orriginail occasions of yeerely Triumphes in England' (Chapter 54). In between appear events from a variety of times and places, such as victory celebrations, royal entries, chivalric challenges, and the inaugurations of emperors, kings, and popes. The treatment does not follow the chronological order of the Pandectae triumphales, though most of the information derives from that book, as the following tabulation shows:

Chapter 24 = vol. i, i. V.

Chapter 25 = vol. i, i. IV.

Chapter 26 = the beginning of vol. ii, Book i, Modius's account of the origins of German tournaments. Segar shortens Modius's twenty-four folio pages to six by omitting their catalogues of noble participants.

Chapter 27 = vol. i, ii. I, though it misprints Modius's date 1164 as 1166. Both dates are incorrect, since the famous 'interuiewe of Pope Alexander, and the Emperour Foedericus Barbarossa, at Venice', at which the Emperor showed his submission to the Pope by kissing his feet, took place in 1177.

Chapter 28 = a shortened version of vol. ii, ii. II. This chapter describes celebrations at Venice for the suppression of a revolt in Crete in 1361-4. Modius correctly dates this event to 1364, but Segar introduces two errors, calling it a 'shew . . . to congratulate the recouery of Cyprus. Anno.1366' (sig. N5). In this chapter, Segar shows his characteristic interest in Modius's references to England and Englishmen, and he makes the first of his scattered acknowledgements of his unnamed source: 'Among these beholders (as mine Author sayth) were diuers Noble men of England' (ibid.).

Chapter 29 = shortened version of vol. ii, ii. III.

Chapter 30 = vol. i, ii. XXXI.

Chapter 31 = a much shortened version of vol. i, ii. XXXIV.

Chapter 32 (misprinted 'Chapter 38') = vol. ii, ii. XXVII.

Chapter 33 begins with Segar's own two introductory sentences. It then runs together a number of Modius's narrations concerning Englishmen at 'Triumphant chalenges in France'. Segar here twice acknowledges 'mine Author' (sig. 02). This chapter then = vol. ii, ii. IV.

Chapter 34 = the first few lines of vol. ii, ii. V. Naming the participants in this 'Militarie action betweene flue English Gentlemen, and fiue French', Segar writes, 'I dare not (for feare of mistaking) set down their names in English, but thus I finde them in Latine' (sig. [O2.sup.v]).

Chapter 35 = vol. ii, ii. VI.

Chapter 36 = vol. ii, ii. VII. Here Segar translates the names of seven English tilters.

Chapter 37 = the first part of vol. ii, ii. XII.

Chapter 38 = the rest of vol. ii, ii. XII, considerably shortened in the detail of the numerous individual encounters.

Chapter 39 = vol. ii, ii. XXI. This chapter is a brief summary of the Field of the Cloth of Gold. Segar would have had ready access to the exhaustive account in Hall's Chronicles,(3) but even for this event Segar uses no other source than Modius, again acknowledged in the form 'mine Author' (sig. P2).

Chapter 40 = vol. ii, ii. XXVIII. This chapter recounts the death from a tilting accident of Henri II of France. Segar points the narrative with moralizations that sound characteristically Elizabethan, but these too are translations of Modius: 'gladnes is euer followed with sadnes, and pleasure accompanied with paine' (sig. [P2.sup.v]) = 'vt saepe finitimus est gaudio moeror, et dolor voluptati' (sig. [Bbb3.sup.v]); 'Let this accident therefore remaine an example to all princes neuer to aduenture their owne persons vnnecessarily, considering their onely liues is the welfare of infinite others' (ibid.) = 'Certe exemplum praebuit caeteris Regibus, vt semper meminerint personae quam sustinent, et vt ei tuendae maiorem cautionem adhibeant: praesertim cum intelligant ex sua vita pendere tot homihum salutem' (sig. Bbb4).

Chapter 41 = vol. ii, ii. XXIV, considerably shortened.

Chapter 42 = vol. i, iv. I.

Chapter 43 = vol. i, iv. H.

Chapter 44 = vol. i, iv. V, first half.

Chapter 45 = vol. i, iv. X. This chapter, 'The Inauguration of Henry the 4. King of England 1399', omits Modius's opening sentences, which give Henry's arguments in favour of his right to the throne. After the authorities' reception of John Hayward's Life and Raigne of Henrie the IIII in 1599, Segar doubtless judged this material too sensitive for inclusion.

Chapter 46 = vol. i, iv. IX, shortened by a quarter.

Chapter 47: not in Modius.

Chapter 48 = vol. i, iv. XVI, curtailed of its last two sentences, which concern the veneration of relics and the Pope's right to approve the election of the Holy Roman Emperor.

Chapters 49-51: not in Modius.

Chapter 52, first three paragraphs = vol. ii, ii. I, including the acknowledgement 'as mine Author saith' (sig. [Q6.sup.v]).

The rest of Chapter 52 and Chapters 53-4: records of Tudor tilts, not in Modius.

As well as the specific debts that Segar owes Modius, there are general points of comparison between their two books, which might have resulted from Segar's study of Modius. Modius claims that his book breaks new ground: 'quod sciam tantum, nemo ad hunc diem mihi praeierit' (vol. i, sig. *[3.sup.v]). His phraseology is echoed in Segar's claim to be treating 'a subject proper to Armorists, and men of my profession, not handled heretofore in our English by them, or any other to my knowledge' (sig. [Pi]2).(4) A native of Bruges, Modius lived in exile under the protection of German nobles during the upheavals of the Hispano-Netherlandish war. In commemorating the feats of the German nobility on the battlefield and in the tiltyard, the Pandectae triumphales is designed both as an act of gratitude (vol. i, sigs. *2-*[2.sup.v]) and as a useful manual for the nobility of Germany: 'Opus . . . Principibus et equestris ordinis viris non solum delectabile et iucundum valde, verum etiam summe utile futurum' (t.p.). Honor Military and Ciuill is likewise directed to the use of a gentle audience. Its reading 'may reasonably incite all yong Gentlemen, to employ their time in study of Morall, and Military vertue' (sig. [Pi][2.sup.v]). Segar's purpose, however, is not celebratory but sternly admonitory. He deplores the decline of arms and learning in England: 'a great sort of our Gentlemen (chiefly those that haue their nurture at home with their own ignorant parents) doe take more comfort to be called good Faulkoners, or expert woodmen, then either skilfull Souldiers, or learned Schollers' (sig. R6).(5) Segar hopes to arrest this decline and to revive in the gentle youth of England the aspiration to 'Martiall merit' that distinguished their ancestors (sig. [Pi][2.sup.v]).

Honor Military and Ciuill has long been reputed a significant work of Elizabethan scholarship. Excerpts from Book iii were printed by Horace Walpole in volume i of his Miscellaneous Antiquities (Strawberry Hill, 1772). James Dullaway commended it for 'being, when pedantry was the usual proof of erudition, compendious and learned.'(6) The truth is that in the most 'compendious' part of the book, the discussion of the Roman triumph and the ceremonies descended from it, Segar depends entirely on one source, except in his record of sixteenth-century English tilts and processions. Modius's own contribution on the Roman triumph itself depends on the great works of Italian scholarship that followed the discovery of the Capitoline tablets in 1546(7) Such patterns of indebtedness, as well as Segar's vagueness in acknowledging his borrowings, are of course fully in accord with Renaissance scholarly canons. Moreover, though Segar's scholarship is derivative when compared to major continental works on triumphs and related ceremonies, it is distinguished when compared to his main English rival in these fields.

Lodowick Lloyd's First part of the Diall of Daies, Containing 320 Romane triumphes (London, 1590) is, like Segar's Book iii, derived almost entirely from a continental source, the Diarium historicum of Enrico Pantaleone (Basle, 1572). Lloyd's borrowing is even more capricious than Segar's, and his results are assembled in an even more miscellaneous fashion. Lloyd's Triplicitie of Triumphes (London, 1591), which I have not checked against its possible sources, is a compendium of ancient triumphs and modern ceremonials for royal birthdays, elections, coronations, and funerals. In its treatment of ancient triumphs it is naively enchanted by the exotic creatures - elephants, tame lions, harts, tigers, mares, hermaphrodites, and dogs - said to have drawn the chariots of triumphators (sig. C[3.sup.v]). It concludes this treatment with a naive if good-hearted comparison between the ancients and the age of Elizabeth: 'But all these triumphs of Alexander, of Caesar, and of others were gotten with blood, and after lost with blood: therfore sing we of Eliza, the prince of peace' (sig. C4). Though it covers similar ground to Segar's third book, Lloyd's volume is a much slighter production than Segar's substantial folio, which at least transmitted to the English reader a generous stock of sound Renaissance learning.

ANTHONY MILLER University of Sydney

1 D. Bornstein, The Book of Honor and Armes (1590) and Honor Military and Civil (1602) By Sir William Segar: Facsimile Reproductions (Delmar, NY, 1975), [5].

2 Ben Jonson's annotated copy of this book is in the library of Clare College, Cambridge. There appears to be no record of an association between Jonson and Sir William Segar, though the commonplace book of Sir William's brother, Captain Francis Segar, contains Latin inscriptions by Jonson. See Ben Jonson, ed. C. H. Herford and P. and E. Simpson (Oxford, 1925-52), XI, 594-6 and VIII, 664-5.

3 'The triumphant reigne of Kyng Henry the .VIII.', fos 72-84, in The Vnion of the two noble and illustre famelies of Lancastre & Yorke (London, 1550).

4 Segar's phrasing could be read as claiming that no heraldic writer nor any other kind of writer has published in English on his subject. Since Honor Military and Civil reprints many passages from The Booke of Honor and Armes, Segar might then be acknowledging obliquely his authorship of the earlier book. The phrasing is susceptible of the wider meaning that heraldic writers have not published on the subject in any other language. This claim would not be correct, since Modius acknowledges the dependence of his book on the work of the German heraldic writer Georg Ruexner (vol. i, sig. *[2.sup.v]).

5 This passage first appeared in Segar's earlier work, The Booke of Honor and Armes (London, 1590), sig. Y[4.sup.v].

6 Inquiries into the Origin and Progress of the Science of Heraldry in England (Gloucester, 1793), 222. See also Sir A. Wagner, Heralds of England: A History of the Office and College of Arms (London, 1967), 229.

7 The principal texts are G. B. Marliani, Consulum, dictatorum censorumque Romanorum series (Rome, 1549); enlarged edition, 1560; C. Sigonio, Regum, consulum, dictatorum. ac censorum Romanorum fasti (Venice, 1555); enlarged edition, 1556; O. Panvinio, Fasti et triumphali Romanorum (Venice, 1557); enlarged edition, 1558; F. Robortello, De conuenlentia supputationis Liuianae ann. cure marmoribus Rom. quae in Capitolio sant (Padua, 1557).
COPYRIGHT 1997 Oxford University Press
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Miller, Anthony
Publication:Notes and Queries
Date:Dec 1, 1997
Words:2347
Previous Article:'Tell' in The Tempest, II.i.15: speech or stage direction?
Next Article:William Rowley and the authorship of The Thracian Wonder.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters