Roman Invasions: The British History, Protestant Anti-Romanism, and the Historical Imagination in England, 1530-1660

University of Delaware Press, 2002 - 325 ページ
This book describes how the legendary history of Britain, the so-called British History based on Geoffrey of Monmouth, continued to influence the Renaissance English sense of ancient Britain, and proposes a reason for this influence. Given what scholars have noted about the "historical revolution" of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, this influence should not have been felt, and the British History should have been by then wholly obsolete, its medieval myth-making replaced by the more trustworthy notions offered by humanism and antiquarianism. But it was not obsolete. Instead, the British History affected the historical conceptions of even the leaders of the "historical revolution," and retained in other writers some stubborn defenders. This study locates the main cause for this abiding presence of the British History in its relevance to Protestant patriotism.
The book proceeds by describing in detail the six phases of Geoffrey's competition with Rome as Renaissance writers appropriated them, transformed them and made them part of the nation's understanding of its past. The first phase discussed is ecclesiastical history, as English writers from various quarters tried to formulate a non-Roman ancient British church by drawing from medieval mythology. Thereafter the book examines the Protestant uses of the anti-Roman narrative as Geoffrey set it forth: Britain's founding as Rome's rival, another Trojan civilization; Britain's promulgation of ancient laws and its sack of Rome; Britain's heroic and almost successful resistance to Caesar's invasion; Britain's continued resistance but final capitulation to the Romans in the first century A.D.; and the victory of Britain's King Arthur over the Romans, the climax of his career and of the competition with Rome. Though each phase was riven with historiographical problems, each found adherents and even affected the most enlightened writers like William Camden himself.


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The Competition with Rome
The One True Church

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