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Church-State Relations and the Book of Revelation
An Introduction to The Parousia: A Careful Look at the New Testament Doctrine of the Lord's Second Coming
by James Stuart Russell (1878) // Written by
Todd Dennis, Curator
 


 

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 1-1000

070: Clement: First Epistle of Clement

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150: Melito: Homily of the Pascha

175: Irenaeus: Against Heresies

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198: Tertullian: Answer to the Jews

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260: Victorinus: Commentary on the Apocalypse "Alcasar, a Spanish Jesuit, taking a hint from Victorinus, seems to have been the first (AD 1614) to have suggested that the Apocalyptic prophecies did not extend further than to the overthrow of Paganism by Constantine."

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1598: Jerusalem's Misery ; The dolefull destruction of faire Ierusalem by Tytus, the Sonne of Vaspasian

1603: Nero : A New Tragedy

1613: Carey: The Fair Queen of Jewry

1614: Alcasar: Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi

1654: Ussher: The Annals of the World

1658: Lightfoot: Commentary from Hebraica

1677: Crowne - The Destruction of Jerusalem

1764: Lardner: Fulfilment of our Saviour's Predictions

1776: Edwards: History of Redemption

1785: Churton: Prophecies Respecting the Destruction of Jerusalem

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1816: Wilkins: Destruction of Jerusalem Related to Prophecies

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1841: Currier: The Second Coming of Christ

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1891: Farrar: Scenes in the days of Nero

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2001: Fowler: Jesus - The Better Everything

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The Tragedy of Miriam, The Fair Queen of Jewry

By Lady Elizabeth Cary
(1613)

"the first play authored by an Englishwoman to ever be published"
 


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The Two Mariams: Elizabeth Cary and the Source for Her Play

Lady Elizabeth Cary's closet drama The Tragedy of Mariam was written around 1602-1604 but was not published until 1613, becoming the first play authored by an Englishwoman to ever be published. She takes the basic plot and characters of her story from the ancient story of evil King Herod and his wife Mariam, chronicled most notably in Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews. (Cary uses Thomas Lodge's 1602 translation of Antiquities). While she generally stays faithful to the chain of events chronicled in Josephus, she changes the timeline of the original story and some facets of the characters' personalities, while adding a Christian undertone and a romantic subplot or two to the work.

The events that take place in the story are spread out over the period of about a year in Josephus, but Cary chooses instead to compress the entire tale into the span of one day, thus keeping with the classical tradition of unity in time. Cary also begins the play in medias res, with Mariam and her mother, Alexandra, talking of the news that Herod has been killed on his way back from Rome. The visit to Egypt mentioned in Josephus is placed far back in the past. The quarrels between the women who surround Herod, however, are as apparent here as in Josephus; even though Cary does not go through all of the incidents that heretofore set Mariam against Doris and Salome, the tensions between the women are readily seen. For example, when Alexandra mentions to Mariam that perhaps Herod wants her dead so he can legally reunite with his first wife, Doris, Mariam replies, "Doris, alas her time of love was passed, / Those coals were raked in embers long ago" (I.132-133). Herod divorced Doris many years before in order to marry Mariam, and Mariam acknowledges this event caused the hatred that Doris has against her.

In Josephus, Mariam is at times portrayed as a shrewish, whiny wife who plots against her husband. At the beginning of his account of Mariam and Herod, he writes that, while locked up in the castle during Herod's absence, Mariam is upset that she "neither might make use of other mens, nor enjoy [her] owne goods," thus implying that she is not only complaining for no reason but is an adulteress (Weller 277). In The Tragedy of Mariam, however, she is characterized as an innocent woman torn between being a good wife--that is, chaste, silent, and obedient--and standing up against his tyranny to protest the deaths of her grandfather and brother, both of whom Herod had murdered in order to obtain the throne. The beginning of the play catches Mariam in her soliloquy, lamenting how she once despised Julius Caesar for weeping over Pompey's death (I.1-10). She now mourns her loved ones' deaths openly, wanting to love Herod because he is her husband but hating him because he engineered her grandfather and brother out of the picture.

Josephus writes about the scheming of Salome and Herod's mother to frame Mariam for attempting to poison the king, but only mentions one occasion where there were harsh words exchanged by the two opposing camps of women. Cary writes her own version of some of the ugly exchanges she supposed might have flown between Salome and Mariam; these exchanges make up some of the most lively parts of the play. In one scene, Mariam finally loses her temper and proclaims Salome to be of low birth, scarcely better than her own servants before she became queen (I.223-226). Mariam is, in Cary's work, a woman who is unafraid to speak her mind and eventually is killed for having such audacity in a world where the only good woman is a silent one.

The subplots of the marriage of Graphina and Pheroras and the triangle of Salome, Constabarus, and Silleus are not found in the Antiquities. However, they add interest to the main story and also reflect on Salome's moral character. Salome herself wants to divorce Constabarus and marry her lover, Silleus, an act impossible under Hebrew law, for only men could initiate a divorce from a wife, and only under very specific circumstances such as adultery. Somehow Salome does manage to finagle a divorce from Constabarus and shows the reader that not only does her lust for power send an innocent woman to her death, but her lust for the male body breaks sacred law and likely sends her soul to hell.

Cary's Mariam has Christian undertones, most notably in the martyrdom that Mariam goes through in her death. She is an innocent woman whose only crime was speaking up for herself. In Act III, Sohemus reflects on the troubled Mariam, musing, "Unbridled speech is Mariam's worst disgrace / And will endanger her without desart" (III.183-184). Mariam continues to protest her innocence from Herod's accusation in IV.162-165 until her death, much as did many Christian saints who were tortured and martyred for their faithfulness to Christ.

Although Lady Elizabeth Cary changes details of Josephus' writings to suit her own literary purposes, she basically stays within the lines of the original story of how scheming relatives and a foolish, evil king send an innocent woman to be executed.

Elizabeth Carey's Life

Elizabeth Tanfield was born in 1585, the daughter of Sir Laurence and Lady Elizabeth Tanfield. She spent much of her time as a young girl studying, immersing herself in Latin, Spanish, French, and Hebrew (her extraordinary abilities as a translator were widely known). In 1602, she married Sir Henry Cary in what was no doubt a marriage arranged by her parents. As Sir Henry went off to the Netherlands as a soldier not long after their wedding, the new bride was left alone for several years, at first still living in her family's home and then finally joining the Cary household in 1603.

Elizabeth and her husband seem to have gotten along quite well at first, with Elizabeth eventually giving birth to 11 children. Their religious differences--Henry's strict Protestantism against Elizabeth's Catholic tendencies, not to mention his cruel treatment of Irish Catholics as Lord deputy Of Ireland-- put a tremendous strain on their relationship in 1626, when Elizabeth's alleged plan to officially convert to Catholicism was revealed at Court. Henry, upon hearing the news, immediately took her children from her, cut off all of her financial support, and disowned her. In 1631, Queen Henrietta Maria managed to get the two to agree to a lukewarm reconciliation, and in 1633, when Henry was dying of gangrene in a wounded leg, Elizabeth rushed to his side to tend him in his final days.

Elizabeth herself died in 1639, after a long creative and monetary drought; her alliances with all things Catholic had made her a sort of pariah at Court. All but two of her daughters entered convents, and one (perhaps Anne, who took the name Clementia upon becoming a nun at Cambray) wrote The Lady Falkland: Her Life, a biography of Elizabeth Cary that is a cross between hagiography and an honest account of a person's life.

 

Excerpts from Lodge's translation of Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews

 

[XV.vii.I] But as soone as he [Herod] returned unto his kingdome, he found all his household troubled, and both his wife Mariamme and her mother Alexandra grievously displeased with him. For they supposing (and not without cause) that they were not shut up in the Castle for their securities sake, but as it were in a prison; so that in as much as they might neither make use of other mens, nor enjoy their owne goods, they were highly discontented. Mariamme also supposed that her husband did but dissemble his love, rather for his owne profit and commoditie, th[a]n for any intire affection he bare towards her. But nothing more grieved her, but that she had not any hope to live after him, if so be he should happen to die, especially for the order he had left as concerning her: neither could she ever forget what commandement before that time he had left with Joseph; so that by all meanes possible, she laboured to winne the affections of those that had the charge of her, and especially Sohemus, knowing verie well that her safetie depended wholy on his hands. ...

...For when as Herode beyond all expectation arrived in his countrey, being adorned with mightie fortune, he first of all, as it became him, certified his wife of good tidings and happy successe, whom onely amongst all other his friends and wives, he embraced and saluted, for the pleasing conversation and affection that was in her. But she, whilest he repeated unto her these fortunate events of his affaires, rather enter[tai]ned the same with a displeasant attention, th[a]n applauding joy: and these affections [i.e., emotions] of hers likewise she could not conceale. For at such time as he folded his armes about her necke, she unfolded her sorrow in her sighes; so simple and unfained were her affections; and seemed rather to be displeased th[a]n appeased by his narrations. Whereupon Herode was sore troubled, perceiving these things not onely suspected, but also fully manifest: but above all things he was was distracted, when he considered the incredible and apparant hatred that his wife had conceived against him, which in such sort incensed him that he could not resist the love that had attainted him; so that he neither could continue in wrath, nor listen long to peace; and being unresolved in himselfe, he now was attempted by this; straight distracted by a contrarie affection: so much was his mind travailed between love [and] hatred, that when as oftentimes he desired to punish the womans pride, his heart by loves meditation failed him in the enterprise. For nothing did more torment him th[a]n this feare, least executing his displeasure against her, he should by this meanes more grievously wound himselfe, thorow the desire he bare unto his unceased delight. [3] Whilest thus he was sweltered and devoured in his passions, and conceived sinister opinions against Mariamme his wife; Salome his sister and his mother having an inckling of his discontents, thought that they had gotten a fit opportunitie to expresse and execute their hatred towards Mariamme: for which they conferred with Herode, and whetted his spleene and displeasure with varietie of slanders, sufficient at one assault to engender hatred, and kindle his jealousy against her. ...

...Herode, who before this was highly displeased...was so much the more incensed: for which cause he presently commanded Mariammes most faithful servant to be examined by torments, as concerning the poison, supposing that it was impossible for her to undertake any thing whatsoever, without his privitie. He being tired and tormented after this cruell manner, confessed nothing of that for which he was tortured, but declared unto the king that the hatred which his wife had conceived against him, proceeded from certaine wordes that Sohemus had told her. Scarcely had he finished these words, but that the king cried out with a loud voice, saying that Sohemus who before time had beene most faithfull both to him and his kingdome, would not have declared these his privie commands, except there had been some more inward familiaritie and secrecie betwixt him and Mariamme: for which cause he presently commanded his ministers to lay hands on Sohemus, and to put him to death. As for his wife, he drew her to triall, and to this effect he assembled his most familiar friends, before whom he began to accuse her with great spight and spleene, as touching these potions and poisons aforesaid; wherein he used intemperate and unseemly speeches, and such as for their bitternesse did ill become him in cause of justice; so that in the end the assistants [i.e., those present], seeing the butte and bent of his desire, pronounced sentence of death against her; which, being past, both he, and all other the assistants were of this opinion, that she should not so speedily be executed, but that she should be kept close prisoner in some sure place of the pallace. But by Salomes sollicitations Herode was incited to hasten her death, for that she alleaged that the king ought to feare, least some sedition should be raised among the people, if he should keepe her alive in prison. And by this meanes Mariamme was led unto her death.

 

Elizabeth Cary: Bibliography

  • Beilen, Elaine. "Elizabeth Cary and The Tragedie of Mariam." Papers on Language and Literature: A Journal for Scholars and Critics of Language and Litearture. 16(1980): 45-64.
  • Brackett, Virginia. "Elizabeth Cary, Drayton, and Edward I." Notes and Queries 41(1994)4: 517-19.
  • Callaghan, Dympna. "Re-Reading Elizabeth Cary's The Tragedie of Mariam, Faire Queene of Jewry. In Margo Hendricks and Patricia Parker, eds. Women, 'Race,' and Writing in the Early Modern Period. London: Routledge, 1994. 163-77.
  • Ferguson, Margaret W. "Running On with Almost Public Voice: The Case of 'E.C.'" In Florence Howe, ed. Tradition and the Talents of Women. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1991. 37-67.
  • ------. "The Spectre of Resistance: The Tragedy of Mariam." In Carole Levin and Karen Robertson, eds. Staging the Renaissance: Reinterpretations of Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama. New York: Routledge, 1991. 235-250.
  • Fischer, Sandra K. "Elizabeth Cary and Tyranny, Domestic and Religious." In Margaret Patterson Hannay, ed. Silent But for the Word: Tudor Women as Patrons, Translators, and Writers of Religious Works. Kent: Kent State UP, 1985. 225-237.
  • Glew, Dorothy Fitzgerald. Elizabeth Cary and the Tragedy of Mariam: A Study of Submission and Subversion. DAI 56(1995)5: 1791A. DAI #DA9530988.
  • Grundy, Isobel. "Falkland's History of...King Edward II." Bodleian Library Record. 13(1988)1: 82-83.
    Gutierrez, Nancy A. "Valuing Mariam: Genre Study and Feminist Analysis." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature. 10(1991)2: 233-51.
  • Kennedy, Gwynne. "Lessons of the 'Schoole of Wisedome'." In Carole Levin and Karen Robertson, eds. Sexuality and Politics in Renaissance Drama. Lewiston, NY: Mellen, 1991. 113-36.
  • ------. "Reform or Rebellion? The Limits of Female Authority in Elizabeth Cary's The History of the Life, Reign, and Death of Edward II." In Carole Levin and Patricia A. Sullivan, eds. Political Rhetoric, Power, and Renaissance Women. Albany: State U of New York P, 1995. 204-222.
  • Krontiris, Tina. "Reading with the Author's Sex: A Comparison of Two Seventeenth-Century Texts." Gramma: Journal of Theory and Criticism. 1(1993): 123-36.
  • ------. "Style and Gender in Elizabeth Cary's Edward II." In Anne M. Haselkorn and Betty S. Travitsky, eds. The Renaissance Englishwoman in Print: Counterbalancing the Canon. Amherst: U of Mass P, 1990. 137-53.
    Holdsworth, R.V. "Middleton and The Tragedy of Mariam." Notes and Queries.33(1986)3: 379-380.
  • May, Steven W. "A Midsummer Night's Dream and the Carey-Berkeley Wedding." Renaissance Papers. 1983: 43-52.
  • Merrill, Yvonne Day. 'In Silence My Tongue is Broken': The Social Construction of Women's Rhetoric before 1750. DAI 55(1994)5: 1397A. DAI #DA9426585.
  • Morton, Lynn Moorhead. 'Vertue Cladde in Constant Love's Attire': The Countess of Pembroke as a Model for Renaissance Women Writers. DAI 54(1994)7: 2590A-91A. DAI #9400252.
  • Pearse, Nancy Cotton. "Elizabeth Cary, Renaissance Playwright." Texas Studies in Litearture and Language. 18(1977): 601-08.
  • Raber, Karen L. "Gender and the Political Subject in Tragedy of Mariam." SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900. 35(1995)2: 321-43.
  • Quilligan, Maureen. "Staging Gender: William Shakespeare and Elizabeth Cary." In James Grantham Turner, ed. Sexuality and Gender in Early Modern Europe: Institutions, Texts, Images. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993. 208-32.
  • Schleiner, Louise. "Lady Falkland's Re-entry into Writing: Anglo-Catholic Consensual Discourse and Her Edward II as Historical Fiction." In Katherine Z. Keller and Gerald J. Schiffhorst, eds. The Witness of Times: Manifestations of Ideology in Seventeenth Century England. Pittsburgh: Duquesne UP, 1993. 201-17.
  • Shannon, Laurie J. "The Tragedie of Mariam: Cary's Critique of the Terms of Founding Social Discourses." English Literary Renaissance. 24(1994)1: 135-53.
  • Shapiro, Arlene Iris. Elizabeth Cary: Her Life, Letters, and Art. DAI 45(1984)6: 1762A.
    Straznicky, Marta. "'Profane Stoical Paradoxes': The Tragedie of Mariam and Sidenean Closet Drama." English Literary Renaissance. 24(1994)1: 104-34.
  • Swan, Jesse. Elizabeth Cary's The History of the Life, Reign, and Death of Edward II: A Critical Edition. DAI 54(1994)7: 2593A. DAI #DA9333012.
  • Travitsky, Betty S. "Husband Murder and Petty Treason in English Renaissance Tragedy." Renaissance Drama. 21(1990): 171-98.
  • ------. "The feme covert in Elizabeth Cary's Mariam." In Carole Levin and Jeanie Watson, eds. Ambiguous Realities: Women in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1987. 184-196.
  • Weller, Barry and Margaret W. Ferguson, eds. The Tragedy of Mariam, the Fair Queen of Jewry with The Lady Falkland: Her LIfe by One of Her Daughters. Berkeley: U of California P, 1994.

 

 

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