The commentary on this block is at a preliminary stage. The project has not yet completed all its work on this portion of the text. Foxe's title to the first book of the 1563 martyrology foreshadowed that it was to concentrate on 'things DONE AND PRACTISED BY THE Prelats of the Romishe Churche, specially in this Realme of England and Scotland, from the yeare of our Lord a thousand vnto the tyme nowe present.' The revised title for the 1570 edition contained a much more ambitious agenda: 'the ful History of thinges done and practiced in the same, from the time of the first Christened King Lucius, King of this Realme of England, which is from the yeare of our Lord 180. vnto the tyme now present'. The shift of emphasis indicated in the title is a measure of the extent to which Foxe reorchestrated the whole underlying architecture for the martyrology between these two editions. The full measure of that change is reflected in this early section of the text. The first paragraph, however, remained unchanged. Like all the Renaissance humanist historians, Foxe aspired to follow the 'leges historiae' famously expounded in Cicero's De Oratore (books I-II). The first 'law' was the priority of truth. As Cicero put it: 'For who does not know history's know history's first law to be that an author must not dare to tell anything but the truth? And its second that he must make bold to tell the whole truth?' (De Oratore, II, xi). These 'laws' had frequently been adduced by humanist historians in precisely the way that Foxe already does in his opening paragraph: to scorn the credulity of medieval chroniclers. He takes the argument one step further, indicating that it was not mere credulity. The 'barbarousnes of those daies, and partly negligence in the learned sort' had contributed to creating a willful silence which had 'misshadowed & corrupted' the past. By recovering the truth, Foxe expected to 'profit the Church of Christ' and contribute to the 'sweete and mercyful reformation' of 'these reformed daies'.[Back to Top]
Mark Greengrass and Matthew Phillpott
University of Sheffield
the law of history
Nam quis nescit primam esse historiæ legem, ne quid falsi dicere audeat?
John Wade, University of Sheffield
For who does not know that the first law of history is that one should not dare to say anything that is untrue?
MarginaliaA comparyson betwixt the primatiue time and these latter times of ours.Although then the Churche and sea of Rome was not altogether voyde and clere from al corrupciō, during the whole time of the first thousand yeares after Christe our Sauiour, but eftsones before the full thousand was expired, certayne enormites and absurdites began to crepe in to the heades of the cleargie: As apperid both by the patriarche of Constantinople MarginaliaAnno 600Anno 600 seking to be called oecumenicall or vniuersall Byshop, & especially by Romane Prelates vsurping afterward the same title, which before they disproued in others. Also appered by MarginaliaGregorius, 3Gregory the .3. rebelling against Leo thēperoure because Images wer abolished in his coūcel of Bizance of. 300. Bishops An. 730. Further by MarginaliaLeo. 4Pope Leo 4, who gaue his feete to be kissed of the People An 850. Itē by Bishop Ioane a woman Pope and an harlot An. 854. Item by MarginaliaIoannes. 9Pope Iohn 9. who cōspiring with the French men, neuer ceased to sture up mortall war against Ludouicus the Emperoure & his children An 877. Also by Pope Martinus 2. and his successor MarginaliaAdrianus. 3.Adrianus 3 who fyrst depriued themperour of his lawful cōsent and right in the Popes electiō. MarginaliaFormosus attending Sergius the pope doFurther by Pope Formosus 8. & other Bishops succeding him, amongst whom such contencion, such diuicion, striuing & desposing one an other, so raged the space of 10. yeres in Rome, þt it were to long a processe to stand upon al, MarginaliaCirca. An. 60.yet to geue sō knowledge herein, though it be partly out of our matter, it shall not be greatly out of the way.After this Formosus came MarginaliaSteuen. 6.Steuen the 6. such a ruffler and tyrante, that when his predecessor Formosus was dead (who yet had geuen him a bisshoprick before, caused him to be digged oute of his graue, to be stripped out of his Papall vestures, a lay mans clothing to be put vpon him, his 2. formost fingers to be cut of, his body to be buryed amongst the lay people, and all that he had ordeined or decreed to be reuoked, repealed, and disanulled.[Back to Top]
Next vnto this Steuen succeded one Romanus, who forthwith repealed all that the same Steuē had dō, & yet liued him self but 3. mōthes after. Then came one Theodorus, who iustified