Critical Apparatus for this Page
Commentary on the TextCommentary on the Woodcuts
Names and Places on this Page
Unavailable for this Edition
946 [blank]

The Image of the true Catholicke Church of Christ.

[View a larger version]
Commentary on the Woodcuts  *  Close
Part of the pictorial amplification of the 1570 edition of the Acts and Monuments, with its heightened animus against the pope, was the sequence of twelve woodcuts entitled 'The proud primacy of popes painted out in tables'. This polemical addition, like the huge ten Persecutions woodcut at the beginning of the book with which it was linked, textually and iconographically, was added at the end of volume one as part of a last-minute declaratory response to the 1570 papal bull excommunicating Elizabeth, causing considerable hiatus to the formatting of the book. Like the enormous prefatory 'Table', 'the proud primacy of popes' drew on traditional as well as Reformation iconography. Of these twelve woodcuts one was a repeat. This was the Canossa scene considered above, which was an obvious odd man out in the series, being smaller than the rest. It seems likely that whoever designed the others in this series drew on existing exemplars, and there were plenty of sources, pre- as well as post-Reformation. Here, as in the Ten Persecutions picture, the illustrators drew on a range of precedents, and in both instances it is clear that continental sources were a model. An important text was Cranach's Passional Christi und Antichristi of 1521, with its paired contrasting images of the life of Christ and Antichrist, demonstrating the antithesis between Christ's simplicity and papal pomp. The influence of Cranach's images is clear in the fourth and twelfth of the Foxe series, showing the emperor kissing the pope's feet, and the pope being pope 'carried on men's shoulders' in a canopied litter -- itself an image of neutral content that had acquired contentious meaning. The opening woodcut for this section depicts an emperor watching scenes of savage persecution. It may have been designed to illustrate persecutions of the early Christians. It certainly bears a marked resemblance in style and composition to the woodcut of the ten persecutions of the early church. Perhaps it was even a prototype for that larger woodcut, put to use in this section. Like the huge prefatory woodcut this illustration shows the designer borrowing from Dürer's Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand.in its presentation of the terrible eye-boring, and in the figure of the emperor on the left. These resemblances suggest that work on the two pictorial additions were carried out in tandem. There is a peculiar dislocation between the the seated emperor and the tortures over which he presides, that seems to call for explanation. The figure of the enthroned emperor on the left is incongruous on several counts. He and his courtiers are huddled into a very small space; they also appear out of proportion with the other figures in the woodcut; they are almost twice the size of the torturers. It is also noteworthy that the seated ruler and his courtiers, unlike the other figures in the woodcut, bear marked similarities in style to depictions in other woodcuts in this section of the Emperor Constantine. It is therefore possible that the figure of the emperor and his courtiers were actually part of a larger picture carved on a separate block, which was then joined to the original woodcut to make a more suitable picture for this section. CUL copy: this is the first use in the volume of a heavy, thick royal blue for clothing. There is considerable detail provided in the colouring in of this picture, such as in the wounds inflicted. See, for example, the wounds of the man being savaged by lions in the background. It appears likely that a different painter worked on this section, the Proud Primacy, from the rest of the volume; some of the stock of colours and techniques employed are different. WREN copy: the clothes in this copy are not as detailed as in the CUL copy but this could be due to damage. The blood flecks added to this copy are cruder. The curtains are in green.

The proud primacie of Popes 
Commentary  *  Close
Proud primacy of the popes

The lack of pagination for this section (at least in the 1570 edition where it first appeared) is almost certainly because it was a late insertion into thetext. It is also almost certain that this section was a response to the revolt of thenorthern earls in 1569 and the papal deposition of Elizabeth at the beginning of 1570. This section is illustrated with a dozen woodcuts depicting historical, or putatively historical, instances of papal dominance over secular rulers. All but one of thesewoodcuts was newly created, apparently for this section. (The woodcut depicting thehumiliation of Henry IV at Canossa, which had been used earlier in the volume, wasreused in this section). The expense involved in creating these woodcuts suggeststhat Day may have received financial support for producing this section. It iscertainly true that Archbishop Parker aided Foxe in researching this section.

[Back to Top]

Yet while the carving of the woodcuts must have taken weeks, if not months,it would appear that the text for this section was composed fairly quickly. This section consists of a summary of the rise of the papacy, an exegesis of passages in St Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians identifying the Antichrist, as well as a summary of papal attempts to depose and dominate European rulers. This sectionconcludes with 'The Image of Antichrist', which, in turn, is an exact reprinting of ananonymous work, A solemne contestation of diverse popes for the advancing of their supremacy (London, 1560), STC 20114, which had been printed by John Daya decade earlier. (For a discussion of this work, and an argument that Foxe himselfcompiled it, see Thomas S. Freeman, 'A solemne contestation of diverse popes: A Work by John Foxe?', English Language Notes 31[1994], pp. 35-42). Apart from nuggets of information contributed by others, there is littlenew research in this section, which largely reiterates episodes already described in theActs and Monuments. What is striking, however, are the important borrowings, acknowledged and unacknowledged, from William Tyndale's Practice of Prelates. Foxe did not normally cite Tyndale's work, probably because he had access to better and more detailed sources. But in this section, Foxe gives an indication of the impact that Tyndale's interpretation of history had on his thought.

[Back to Top]

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

paynted out in Tables 
Commentary  *  Close

The phrase, 'paynted out in tables' means illustrated with woodcuts.

, in order of their rysing vp by litle and litle, from faithfull Byshops and Martyrs, to become Lordes and gouernours ouer kynges and kyngdomes, exaltyng them selues in the Temple of God, aboue all that is called God. &c. 2. Thes. 2. 
Commentary  *  Close

This title quotes 2 Thess 2:4, which was understood in the sixteenthcentury as a prophecy of Antichrist.

MarginaliaThe Martyrdome of good Bishops vnder wicked Emperors in the primitiue Church.IN þe Table of þe primitiue Church aboue described, hath bene (gentle reader) set forth & exhibited before thine eies the greuous afflictions and sorowful tormentes, which through Gods secret sufferaunce, fell vpon the true Saintes and members of Christes Church in that tyme, especially vppon the good Byshops, Ministers, and teachers of the flocke: of whom some were scourged, some beheaded, some crucified, some burned, some had their eyes put out, some one way some an other miserably consumed: which dayes of woeful calamitie cōtinued (as is foreshewed) nere the space of CCC. yeares. Duryng which tyme the deare spouse & electe Church of God, beyng sharpely assaulted on euery side, had small rest, no ioy, nor outward safetie in this present world, but in much bitternes of hart, in cōtinuall teares & mournyng vnder the crosse passed ouer their daies, being spoiled, imprisoned, cōtemned, reuiled, famished, tormēted and Martyred euery where. Who neither durst well tary at home for feare and dread: and much lesse durst come abroad for the enemies, but onely by night, when they assembled as they might, sometymes to sing Psalmes & Hymnes together. In all which their dreadfull daungers, & sorowfull afflictions, notwithstandyng the goodnes of the Lord left thē not desolate: but the more their outward tribulations did increase, the more their inward cōsolations dyd abound: and the farther of they seemed from the ioyes of this life, the more present was the Lord with them with grace & fortitude to confirme and reioyse their soules. And though their possessionsand riches in this world were lost & spoyled: yet were they enriched with heauēly giftes and treasures from aboue an hundreth fold. MarginaliaThe true riches of the Church described.Then was the true Religion truly felt in hart. Then was Christianitie not in outward appearance shewed, but in inward affection receaued, and the true image of the church not in outward shew pretensed, but in her perfect state effectuall. Thē was þe name & feare of God true in hart, not in lippes alone dwellyng. Fayth then was feruēt, zeale ardent, prayer not swymmyng in the lyppes, but groned out to God from the bottome of the spirit. Then was no pride in the Church, nor laysure to seeke riches, nor tyme to keepe them. Contention for trifles was thē so far from Christians, that well were they when they could meete to pray together agaynst the deuill, author of all dissention. Briefly the whole Church of Christ Iesus with all the members therof, the farder it was from the tipe and shape of this world, the nerer it was to the blessed respect of God fauour and supportation.

[Back to Top]
¶ The first rising of the Bishops of Rome.

MarginaliaThe first rising of the Bishops of Rome.AFter this long time of trouble, it pleased the Lord at length mercifully to looke vpon the Saintes & seruantes of his sonne, to release their captiuitie, to release their miserie, & to bind vp þe old Dragon þe deuill, which so long vexed thē. Wherby the Church began to aspire to some more libertie: and þe Bishops which before were as abiectes, vtterly cōtemned of Emperors, through the prouidence of God (which disposeth all thinges in his tyme after his owne will) began now of Emperours to be estemed and had in price. Furthermore as Emperors grew more in deuotion, so the Bishops more and more were exalted, not onely in fauor, but also preferred vnto honor, in somuch that in short space they became not quartor masters, but rather half Emperours with Emperours.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaThe spirituall riches of the Church turned to worldly riches.After this in proces of tyme, as riches and worldly wealth crept into the Clergy, and that the deuill had poured his venome into the Church (as the voyce was

heard
NN.j.
Go To Modern Page No:  
Click on this link to switch between the Modern pagination for this edition and Foxe's original pagination when searching for a page number. Note that the pagination displayed in the transcription is the modern pagination with Foxe's original pagination in square brackets.
Find:
Type a keyword and then restrict it to a particular edition using the dropdown menu. You can search for single words or phrases. When searching for single words, the search engine automatically imposes a wildcard at the end of the keyword in order to retrieve both whole and part words. For example, a search for "queen" will retrieve "queen", "queene" and "queenes" etc.
in:  
Humanities Research Institute  *  HRI Online  *  Feedback
Version 2.0 © 2011 The University of Sheffield