Early Modern Mythological Texts: Troia Britanica XIII, Notes

Thomas Heywood. Troia Britanica (1609)


Ed. Patricia DORVAL



Polyxene: F, Polixaine, apocopated form of Polyxena, Priam’s youngest daughter.

ta’en: F, taine; taken.

dons: F, don’s.

his mother seeks him new: Achilles’ mother, Thetis, seeks a new armour for her son. See stanzas 45-54. Back to text



Lord: Troia Britanica is dedicated to Edward Somerset Earl of Worcester. See Epistle dedicatory.

a second work: If Troia Britanica is the second work dedicated to Worcester, the first work, described as its “twin” and “sib to the first and of the selfsame strain”, has not been identified. It might be a first version of The Iron Age if John S. P. Tatlock’s hypothesis is right, that the Troye mentioned in Henslowe’s Diary in 1596 is Heywood’s first attempt at dramatizing the Troy story: “The Siege of Troy in Elizabethan Literature, Especially in Shakespeare and Heywood”, PMLA, 30 (1915), 673-770. Michel Grivelet considered the possibility of Oenone and Paris, but finally suggested that Heywood might have shown Worcester a revised version of the 1596 Troye: Thomas Heywood et le drame domestique élisabéthain (Paris: Didier, 1957), p. 72. Heywood dedicated “The Conspiracy of Cateline” and “The War [of] Jugurth”, translated from Sallustius under the title of The Most Worthy and Notable Histories (London: John Jaggard, 1608), to Edward Somerset’s son, Sir Thomas Somerset.

Sib: Relative (sibling).

state: greatness. Back to text



clew: ball of thread, yarn.

labyrinthian: F, Laborinthean.

interview: F, enter-view, i.e. looking into, examination. Back to text



repair: return, come back.

exitial: deadly, fatal.

dinged: dinted, driven in with force. Back to text



thrall: captive. Back to text



fleshed: inured to bloodshed or warfare. Back to text



passages: exchanges. Back to text



hostage: pledge.

bereaven: bereaved. Here, deprived of all fear, setting aside all fear. Back to text



Dictys: F, Dictes. In his endnotes to canto XI, Heywood claims to have consulted Dictys’ Ephemeridos Belli Troiani, but Dictys does not provide any such meeting between the two warriors as Heywood narrates. In the Iliad, Hector and Achilles do not meet before book XX. Heywood rewrites a passage in Caxton’s Recuyell, III, 15, when Hector and Achilles meet unarmed and defy each other. He conflates it with a later passage, in Recuyell, III, 19 (indirectly derived from Dictys, III, 2), when Achilles falls in love with Polyxena (below, stanza 17). Back to text



teen: vexation, wrath, spite.

justing: jousting. Back to text



Aeacides: patronym derived from the name of Achilles’ grand-father Aeacus. Also used in Chapman’s Seaven Bookes (1598), p. 6, and elsewhere. See Heywood’s endnotes to this canto.

front: oppose. Back to text



jar: discord, quarrel. Back to text



cheer: food. Back to text



Calchas: Cressida’s father.

Cressid: F, Cresseid. Back to text



dilate: expatiate upon. Back to text



invade: From the Latin invadere, “to throw oneself on someone”, hence attack, assault. 

brother: Achilles kills Polydorus in Homer’s Iliad, XX, 407-18, a book which had not yet been published in Chapman’s translation when Troia Britanica was written. Heywood follows Caxton, Recuyell, III, 19, where Achilles, in love with Polyxena, regrets, in his words, that “I am comen hither for to slay her kin and cousins, and now late have slain her noble brother Hector”. Since Hector, in Troia, has not yet been killed, Heywood avoids an inconsistency with the use of “invade”, in the sense of assault, attack. Back to text



Hecuba: Hecuba’s negotiation with Achilles in stanzas 20-21 is based on Caxton’s Recuyell, III, 20.

truceful: F, Truce-full, coined after the adjective “truceless”. Not in OED. Joy resulting from a day of truce. Back to text



he rests him in his idle tent: Heywood elaborates on Caxton, Recuyell, III, 22, describing “Achilles, that rested him in his tent”. Back to text



A battle lasting 30 days: placed opposite stanza 22 in F. On the 30-day battle, see Caxton, Recuyell, III, 16. Back to text



harnessed: F, harvest, for “harnest”, i.e. equipped in harness or armour. See also stanza 66, “they break a ring of harness”. Back to text



makes good: defends. Syntactically, Heywood changes structure: one would expect “make good” then “assault”. 

trothless: unfaithful. Back to text



imbrued: stained with blood.

quakeful: that causes fear or quaking (OED).

Pelean: of Peleus, Achilles’ father. Back to text



33: The description of Patroclus’ death in stanza 33 does not follow Caxton’s Recuyell, III, 11, where Hector splits Patroclus’ head with his sword. Back to text



Menoetius: F, Menetius. Menoetius’ son, i.e. Patroclus. See Chapman’s “good Menetius’ son” (Achilles’ Shield, 1598, p. 4).

foredone: killed.

The arms he takes: as Hector does in Homer’s Iliad, XVII, whereas in Caxton’s Recuyell, III, 11, the Greeks manage to recover Achilles’ arms at Patroclus’ death. Back to text



bright-foot: see Chapman’s “Bright-footed Thetis” (Achilles’ Shield, p. 1).

Amphitrite: F, Amphetrite. Goddess of the sea, Neptune's wife. A similar conflation of Thetis and Amphitrite can be found in Thomas Rogers’ Celestial Elegies of the Goddesses and the Muses (1592): “Thetis called also Amphitrite, the wife of Peleus king of Thessaly, daughter of Nereus and mother of Achilles, was esteemed goddess of the sea” (sig. B4iir). In Hesiod's Theogony, 240-44 and Colluthus' Rape of Helen, 21, Thetis and Amphitrite, as Nereides, are sisters.

heavenly ferrary: probably modelled on Chapman’s Achilles’ Shield, p. 3: “Whiles I my airy bellows may lay by, / And all my tools of heavenly ferrarie”. From the Latin ferrarius, blacksmith; hence ferraria officina, smithy. Back to text



smooged: smooched, made dirty.

thwack: beat vigorously.

Charis: one of the three Graces (Charites) attending on the goddesses Venus and Juno (see also note to Charis below, stanza 39). The passage closely follows Chapman’s Achilles’ Shield, pp. 1-2.

seas’: F, seas. Also in stanza 43. Could be interpreted “sea’s” or “seas’”. We have chosen “seas’”, as in stanza 55 Heywood writes, “as she freely on the seas proceed” (in contrast with “ocean” presented as singular – “the ocean’s rugged back”). Back to text



Charis: In Achilles’ Shield, p. 1, Chapman writes about “Charis with the rich-attirèd head, / Whose heavenly beauties strowed the nuptial bed / Of that illustrate smith”. He translates the Iliad, XVIII, 382-83, where Homer unambiguously says that Charis had married Vulcan. Well aware of the more widespread tradition of Vulcan as Venus’ husband, Heywood assigns Charis the role of “handmaid”.

pours: F, powers.

scours: F, scowers.

repair: visit. Back to text



she: Thetis.

Homer, Iliad: Heywood elaborates on elements drawn from Chapman’s Achilles’ Shield (1598). Back to text



fair-foot: see Chapman’s “The fair white-footed dame” (Achilles’ Shield, p. 1).

concave: hollow, cavity. Back to text



surceased: stopped, ceased.

slecks: quenches.

sponges: see Chapman’s “Then with a sponge his breast with hairs like wire, / His brawned neck, his hard hands and his face / He cleansed, put on his robe […]” (Achilles’ Shield, p. 3).

Amphitrite: F, Amphetrite. Back to text



Apollodorus: the passage is derived from Natale Conti’s chapter on Thetis in Mythologia, VIII, 2 (Venice: Comin da Trino, 1581), p. 540: “Haec fuit uxor Pelei, atque dicta est omnium mulierum fuisse forma praestantissima, de cuius nuptiis Thetidis ita scripsit Apollodorus …” (“She was Peleus’ wife, and is said to have been, more than any other woman, of an exceptional beauty; of Thetis’ marriage, Apollodorus writes thus …”). Conti then quotes from Apollodorus, The Library, III, xiii, 5 and adds a reference to Ovid, Metamorphoses, XI, 221-65. Conti goes on to explain that “Alii dixerunt Thetidem aegrè tulisse quod una ex Deabus marinis esset futura hominis uxor” (Others said that Thetis did not take it well that she was the only sea goddess who was to marry a mortal), and quotes Homer, Iliad, XVIII, 432. See Chapman, Achilles’ Shield: “O Vulcan, is there any goddess bears, / Of all the deities that deck the sky, / So much of mortal wretchedness as I, / Whom Jove past all deprives of heavenly peace? / Myself of all the blue Nereids, / He hath subjected to a mortal’s bed, / Which I against my will have suffered / To Peleus surnamed Aeacides, / Who in his court lies slain with the disease / Of woeful age” (pp. 3-4).

a mortal’s bride: a mortal as bride. Back to text



Staphylus: F, Staphilus. Quoted from Natale Conti’s Mythologia, VIII, 2 (Venice: Comin da Trino, 1581), p. 541. Conti reports that according to Staphylus of Naucratis, Chiron had organised Peleus’ wedding on a stormy day to create the fiction that Peleus had married Thetis and that the gods came with heavy rains to attend the ceremony. The story is already narrated in Mythologia, IV, xii, “De Chirone”, p. 246. Conti draws it from Scholiast to Apollonius, IV, 816.

Pelion: Natale Conti, Mythologia, VIII, 2, p. 540: “celebratae sunt autem Pelei et Thetidis nuptiae in Pelio monte” (“and the wedding of Thetis and Peleus was celebrated on Mount Pelion”). Back to text

Hymenean: from Hymen or Hymenaeus, the god of marriage.

Discord: Natale Conti, Mythologia, VIII, 2, p. 540: “omnes Dii praeter Discordiam convenerunt, quae pomum aureum in locum nuptiarum injecit” (“All of the gods came to attend [the ceremony] except Discord, who threw a golden apple where the wedding was taking place”). Back to text

Daimochus, Pherecydes: F, Dailochus, Pherecides. From Natale Conti’s Mythologia, IV, xii, “De Chirone”, p. 246: “Quamvis scribit Dailochus [sic for Daimochus] ac Pherecydes quod Peleus posteaquam purgatus fuit à fratris Phoci caede, quem disco percussit cum exerceretur, ab Euryto Actoris filio, eius filiam Antigonem, at non Thetidem uxorem duxit” (“However, Daimochus and Pherecydes write that Peleus caused the death of his brother Phocus when he hurt him with a discus while exercising; after he was purified of this casualty by Actor’s son, Eurytus, it is Eurytus’ daughter Antigone that he married, not Thetis”). Pherecydes’ story of Peleus’ purification after Phocus’ death and his marriage with Eurytus’ daughter Antigone is to be found in the scholion on Pindar’s Nemean Odes, IV, 81, while a scholion on Homer’s Iliad, XVI, 175, confirms that Peleus’ wife was Antigone: Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum, ed. Müller (Paris: Firmin Didot, 1841), vol. 1, pp. 72-73. For Daimachus however, according to Scholiast on Apollodorus, I, 558, Peleus’ wife was called Philomele and was Actor’s daughter: Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum, ed. Müller (Paris: Firmin Didot, 1848), vol. 2, p. 442. Back to text



Jove gave us, etc.: Heywood amplifies the list of the gods’ presents from a suggestion in Natale Conti’s chapter on Thetis, Mythologia, VIII, 2 (Venice: Comin da Trino, 1581), p. 540: “Contulerunt huic omnes Dei munera: Pluto smaragdum insignem, Neptunus equos Xanthum et Balliam, Vulcanus cultrum, et dii caeteri alia” (“All the gods brought her presents: Pluto, a magnificent emerald, Neptune, the horses Xanthus and Ballias, Vulcan a knife, and the rest of the gods other gifts”). As a wedding present, Neptune offered Peleus two immortal horses which became Achilles’ horses: Homer, Iliad, XXIII, 276-78 (also, XVI, 381, 866-67, XVII, 443); they are called Xanthos and Balios, Iliad, XVI, 149. Back to text

Tzetzes, Historiarum: F, Zezes, histo. Heywood borrows the reference from Natale Conti’s chapter on Thetis, Mythologia, VIII, 2, p. 540, explaining that Thetis’ final metamorphosis, when she tried to escape from Peleus’ embrace, was into a cuttlefish (“sepia”) and consequently the place where this happened was called Sepias, according to “Zez. Hist. 46; chil. 2”; see Tzetzes, Historiarum Variarum Chiliades, II, 46, “On Thetis”, 654-64 (Leipzig: Vogel, 1826), p. 66.

smaragd: F, smarag’d. Latin, “smaragdus”, an emerald. Back to text

Balias: F, Ballia, a nominative form mistakenly coined from Natale Conti’s accusative, “Balliam” (see note on the gods’ presents above). In his Dictionarium Historicum, Geographicum, Historicum, Robert Estienne explained that Balias and Balius were two accepted forms of the same name, because of a hesitation between “balias” and “balios” in manuscript tradition and added that it was “a balio colore ita dictus” (“called thus because it was dappled”). Back to text



lap: the story that Vulcan was saved by Thetis when he fell from heaven derives from Homer’s ode To Pythian Apollo, 316-20 and from Iliad, XVIII, 395-405, a passage Heywood read in Chapman’s translation, Achilles’ Shield (1598), p. 2. Back to text



Vulcan: the description of the heavenly smith’s works is inspired from Chapman’s Achilles’ Shield, p. 5 to the end.

Cyclops: the three Cyclops’ names are not mentioned in Chapman’s Achilles’ Shield. Heywood imports them from Caxton’s Recuyell, I, 29, where they appear as Berroutes (for Brontes), Sceropes (for Steropes) and Pyragmon (for Pyracmon). See also Troia Britanica, V, 91.

ponders: blows. Back to text



48: stanzas 48-54 rewrite Chapman’s Achilles’ Shield, p. 5 to the end. Heywood elaborates on the original terse painting of the helmet, cuirass and greaves. His description of the shield reworks Homer’s material, turning Homer’s reference to the Pleiades, Hyades, Orion and the Bear into the twelve signs of the zodiac, allegorizing the four seasons, expanding the depiction of the sea while leaving aside that of the nuptials, court session, besieged town, lions and dancing maze.

closures: the jointings of the different parts of the helmet. Back to text



cushes: armour for protecting the front part of the thighs. Back to text



razed: engraved.

twin brothers: Castor and Pollux, i.e. Gemini.

maid: the virgin, i.e. the sign Virgo. Back to text



lours: F, lowers, i.e. scowls. Back to text



rarely: finely. Back to text



orbicular shield: Chapman uses the phrase “orbicular targe”, Seaven Bookes, p. 54. Heywood already used “orbicular” in canto XII, 43. Back to text



beseen: finely equipped (see OED, well-beseen).

invade: assault. Back to text



dispose: get ready.

Tithon: F, Tython, Heywood narrates the story of Aurora and Tithonus in his endnotes to canto XIII, below, and identifies Memnon as their son (stanza 61, below). Allusions to Tithonus tend to emphasize his incapacitating age; Heywood is original in showing him “bedrid” and “sunk in wine”. Aurora blushes for shame when she leaves his bed: see Spenser, The Faerie Queene, I, xi, 51 and III, iii, 20. Back to text



Memnon: see note to Mnemon, canto XI, stanza 32.

Deiphobus: One of Priam’s sons. Systematically called Deiphebus in F, after Caxton’s Deyphebus. See canto XI, stanza 32.

Polydamas: See note to canto XI, 33. Back to text



Sarpedon: see canto XII, 54.

Epistrophus: F, Epistropus. Heywood calls him Epistrophus in Troia Britanica, X, 23, modelling himself upon Caxton, Recuyell, III, 5. Elsewhere, Caxton calls him Epistropus, and Heywood follows suit. Epistrophus and Odius were leaders of the Halizones alongside the Trojans (Iliad, II, 856-57).

curled invaders: Chapman mentions “the curled Greeks” and “the curled-head Greeks”, Seaven Bookes, pp. 22 and 33 respectively.

Atrides: Agamemnon. See canto XII, 24. Back to text

Menon: a Greek to be distinguished from another Greek of the same name killed earlier by one of Hector’s arrows that pierced his breast in XI, 68, 71-72, following Caxton, Recuyell, III, 11. In Caxton, III, 16, a Menon, cousin of Achilles who might be the one mentioned here, is also slain by Hector: “And when Hector beheld and saw upon the walls the queen Hecuba, his mother, and his sisters, he had great shame, and by great ire assailed the king Menon, cousin of Achilles, and gave him so many strokes with his sword upon his helm that he slew him.” In VIII, 40, Heywood referred to yet another Menon, a Trojan this time, who brought many ships in support of King Priam, after Caxton, III, 4. When he saw Hector dead, he fiercely fought against Achilles, whom he badly hurt (III, 17). He is found again in III, 19 at Priam’s side to avenge Hector’s death. This Menon is presumably that same Memnon cited by Heywood further down in the present canto (XIII, 61-64) who gets killed by Achilles after Caxton, III, 22. He is referred to again as Memnon in Heywood, XV, endnotes. Caxton has no “Memnon” and consistently spells the name “Menon”. This episode is also related by Dictys, who calls him Memnon, making him the son of Tithonus and Aurora (6) as Heywood does hereafter. Dares likewise describes how Memnon came to Troy with a good many ships from Ethiopia (18), wounded Achilles in revenge for Hector’s death (24), and finally got killed by the same Achilles (33). Homer also has a Menon (but no Memnon), also a warrior on the side of the Trojans but slain by Leonteus (Iliad, XII, 188-94).

In his final III, 31, Caxton brings together both one of the two Greek Menons and the Trojan one in his catalogue of casualties, one dispatched by Hector, the other by Achilles.

stood: withstood. Back to text



Ithacan: Ulysses.

widowed Spartan: Menelaus.

gilds: covers entirely as with an extra layer of gold. By extension, “guild” also meant “smear with blood” in the 16th and 17th centuries. See Heywood, The Iron Age Part 2, “We have guilt our Greekish armes / With blood of their own nation” (sig. E4v); Lady Macbeth, “If he do bleed, / I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withal, / For it must seem their guilt” (Macbeth, II.ii.53-55) and Macbeth, “Here lay Duncan, / His silver skin laced with his golden blood” (II.iii.111-12). Back to text



Apollodorus, Book III. Hesiodus in Theogony: F, Apollodorus lib 3., opposite stanza 61, and Hesiodus in Theogonia, misplaced opposite stanza 62, which we relocate here.

Heywood follows Natale Conti's Mythologia, "De Memnone", VI, iii, p. 369, quoting Hesiod, Theogony, 984-85, together with “Memnon fuit Aurorae Tithonique filius ... ut inquit Apollodorus libro tertio" and "Hunc Aethiopum fuisse Regem, et ex Aethiopia ad bellum Troianum, vel potius è Susis Persarum civitate venisse ait Paus. in Phocensium rebus, nam omnes illas nationes Memnon ante bellum Troianum debellaverat, quae mediae fuerunt usque ad fluvium Choaspem" ("Memnon was Aurora and Tithon's son ... as Apollodorus says in his third book"; "He was king of the Ethiopians and went to the Trojan war from Ethiopia, or rather came from Susa, a Persian city, as Pausanias says in his chapter on Phocis, for, before the Trojan war, Memnon had submitted all the nations in between, up to the Choaspes river"). Conti's references are to Apollodorus, The Library, III, xii, 4 and Pausanias, X, xxxi, 7. Back to text

Caxton has no “Memnon” and consistently spells the name “Menon”. The episode of his death is narrated by Caxton, Recuyell, in III, 22. It is also related by Dictys, who calls Priam’s ally Memnon, making him the son of Tithonus and Aurora (6) as Heywood does. Dares likewise describes how Memnon came to Troy with a good many ships from Ethiopia (18), wounded Achilles in revenge for Hector’s death (24), and finally got killed by the same Achilles (33).

Aeacides: Achilles.

persant: penetrating, sharp, with possibly a pun on persant/Persian. Back to text



stound: stunned (with a blow).

’bout: about. Back to text



laved: bathed.

records: remembers, recollects. Back to text



Simonides, poeta: Natale Conti mentions Syria as Memnon’s burial place, “ut scripsit Simonides poeta”, Mythologia, VI, iii, p. 369.

opposite: opponent, adversary.

His red-cheeked mother: Aurora. Back to text



Orcus: Pluto or, more generally, the regions of the dead. Back to text



gallant: splendid, grand.

fray: fight.

cringe his knee: this Homeric phrase (e.g. Iliad, XXI, 114, Odyssey, V, 297, 406) did not reach Heywood through Chapman, whose Seaven Bookes shows no hero “cringe his knee”. It might have reached him through Virgil’s Aeneid, XII, 905, where Aeneas flinches under the weight of a massive stone he hurls at Turnus: “cringe his knee” might be Heywood’s translation of “genua labant”. The episode of the fight between Aeneas and Turnus seems to have already been in Heywood’s mind in Troia Britanica, XII, 110 and 111. Virgil also uses the phrase “genua labant” in Aeneid, V, 432. 

Polydamas: F, Polydamus. Trojan hero, friend of Hector. See stanza 58. Back to text



enlarge: release from confinement, set free.

Deiphobus: F, Deiphebus, after Caxton.

rest: (armour) a “projection attached to the right side of the cuirass against which a thick piece of leather nailed around the butt end of the lance was held during the charge, preventing the lance from being driven back upon impact” (OED) Back to text



ware: wore.

Manage: the meaning is that Hector, in his heart, praised the manage (i.e. the way of riding and fighting) and shape (i.e. physical appearance) of that knight.

Hupon: see XII, 54. Back to text



Philos: Philis in Caxton, Recuyell, III, 14. Lydgate calls him Philem (Troy Book, III, 3414-16).

inured: accustomed. Back to text



thrilled: hurled, darted. Back to text



like: equal. Back to text



affright: fright, terror. Back to text



Archilochus: see XII, 58.

Prothoenor: F, Prothenor. Caxton: “The king Prothenor addressed him to Hector that then took no guard nor heed and smote him down to the earth. And Hector remounted anon upon his horse, and gave to King Prothenor so great a stroke with all his might that he cleft his body into two halves” (Recuyell, III, 12). See “The king Menelaus his brother brought from his royaume [realm] of Sparte [Sparta] .lx. ships, Archelaus and Prothenor from the royaume [realm] of Boecye [Boeotia] fifty ships” (Recuyell, III, 5); “The fourth battle led the king Archelaus and the king Prothenor his brother, and with them was Securidam, the right strong knight with all the people of Boecye [Boeotia]” (III, 11). See cantos X, 23 and XI, 48. In Homer’s Iliad, the two brothers from Boeotia are called Arcesilaus and Prothoënor (II, 494-95).

Archelaus: see Prothenor above. Caxton does mention Archelaus in the same episode but does not record his death (Recuyell, III, 12). Back to text

Sagittary: Sagittarius, a skilful archer. Following Caxton, Recuyell, III, 14: “He [Epistrophus] brought with him a Sagittary, the same that afore is made mention of. This Sagittary was not armed but he bore a strong bow and a turquoys [turquois: from carquois in French, i.e. a quiver] that was full of arrows, and shot strongly. When the knights of the Greeks saw this marvellous beast, they had no will to go forth, and they that were afore began to withhold them, and went aback. Among these things, Hector slew Polyxenes, the noble duke that fought sore against him. And by the strength of the Trojans and the horror of the Sagittary the Greeks were reculed [were beaten back] unto their tents. It happened that Diomedes to fore one of the tents was assailed of the Sagittary, and had this beast to fore him and the Trojans on his back, and so behoved him there to show his puissance. The Sagittary had though shot an arrow to him, and Diomedes that was not well assured advanced him nigh unto him, and gave him so great a stroke with his sword, the which was not armed, that he slew him.” Earlier, Heywood tells how Epistrophus “brought a thousand knights and a strange beast / Half-horse, half-man, two perfect shapes divided, / A Sagittary called―not dreaded least. / An expert archer, his strong shafts were guided / With wondrous aim and cunning, which increased / His dread among the Greeks, at first derided” (XI, 29), following Caxton: “From the reign of Eliane [“royaulme daliane” in Le Fèvre] that is beyond the royaume of Amazon came an ancient king right wise and discreet named Epistropus [Epistrophus] and brought a thousand knights and a marvellous beast that was called Sagittary that behind the mids was an horse and to fore a man. This beast was hairy like an horse and had his eyes red as a coal, and shot right well with a bow. This beast made the Greeks sore afeared, and slew many of them with his bow” (Recuyell, III, 9). This is also related by Lydgate (Troy Book, III, 3484-3506). Back to text



Thoas: Thoas was wounded by Paris’ arrow in Troia Britanica, XI, 97; he was taken prisoner to Troy in Caxton's Recuyell, III, 13 and 14. Thoas appears in Homer’s Iliad in IV, 527-31 and VII, 168-69.

Epistrophus: F, Epistropus.

Polyxenes: after Caxton, “Among these things, Hector slew Polixenes, the noble duke that fought fore against him” (Recuyell, III, 14). Polyxeinos is mentioned in Homer’s Iliad in II, 623-24. Back to text



Impendent: impending, imminent.

Bucklered: shielded.

train: trick, stratagem. Back to text



mated: checkmated.

girt: gird, i.e. surround. Back to text



Scamander: the river flowing beneath Troy.

manned: attended, escorted. Back to text



dream: Andromache's foreboding is expressed in Homer's Iliad, VI, 406-10, but Heywood borrows the story of her premonitory dream and of Priam’s persuasion of Hector from Caxton’s Recuyell, III, 17. For Shakespeare’s adaptation of the same scene in Caxton, see Troilus and Cressida, V.iii.

fain: gladly, willingly. Back to text



king’s: F, kings. To King Priam’s chambers.

him: F, his. Back to text



Astyanax: F, Astianax. Back to text



on: F, one. She goes on entreating Hector.

still: F, hill. Back to text



the agèd queen: Hecuba.

Spartan: Helen.

ring: gather in a circle around.

teen: wrath. Back to text



supporture: support. Back to text



wafts: waves. See The Merchant of Venice: “In such a night / Stood Dido with a willow in her hand / Upon the wild sea banks, and waft her love / To come again to Carthage” (V.i.9-12). Back to text



changed: exchanged.

ranged: moved in all directions. Back to text



race: scratch, cut or slash. Back to text



Miseres: cf. Caxton, Recuyell, III, 11 and III, 17. Not in Homer.

Telamon: F, Telemon. 

Sal’mine: Salamine, i.e. Ajax. See note to canto VIII, 69.

entreat: treat, handle. Back to text



Margareton: illegitimate son of Priam. See Caxton’s “Thelamon beat Margareton and sore wounded him” (Recuyell, III, 11). Not in Homer. See Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, V.viii.5-15. 

th’astonished: F, th’astonish. Back to text



Polydamas: F, Polydamus. Back to text



terras: F, torras, i.e. terrace. See also canto XI, 61. Back to text



effuse: effusion. 

spies: espies. Back to text



stout: F, stont. Back to text



Priameian: issued from Priam.

Margareton slain: Caxton treats of Margareton’s death tersely, showing how fierce the battle was, how among numberless feats of war, “came Paris and Achilles on the other side that smote among the Trojans by so great force with the help of his people that he put them to flight unto the city, and in this chase Achilles slew Margareton, one of the bastards of King Priant [Priam]” (Recuyell, III, 17). He then moves on to depict how sorrowful Hector was and how he put on his helmet and rushed into the melee where he dispatched many Greeks. Back to text



corse: F, coarse, i.e. corpse. Back to text



Coriphus: not in Homer. See Caxton: “When Hector knew that Achilles had slain Margareton, he had great sorrow, and did anon do lace on his helm, and went him to the battle that his father knew not of. And in his coming, he slew two noble dukes Greeks, the duke Coryphus and the duke Bastidus. And he thrested into the greatest press of the Greeks, and slew as many as he could areach. And the Greeks fled afore him that there was none so hardy that durst abide his strokes. And thus the Trojans returned and slew the Greeks on all sides. Then the Greeks took Polidamas and had led him away ne had Hector have been, which delivered him and slew many Greeks. Then an admiral of Greece named Leocides assailed Hector, and Hector slew Hymanone” (Recuyell, III, 17).

Bastidius: not in Homer. Caxton has “Bastidus”, like Le Fèvre.

Leocides: from Caxton, after Le Fèvre. See note on Coriphus, above. Back to text



Polyceus: not in Homer. See Caxton, Recuyell, III, 17, where the name is alternately spelt Polyceus and Policeus. Lydgate names him “Polycenes of Ynde” (Troy Book, III, 5286). Back to text



sparpled: scattered.

mads: (obs.), becomes mad. Back to text



quail: subdue, make ineffective. Back to text



lour: F, lower, i.e. scowl. Back to text



pommel: knob at the end of the sword hilt.

His armour he had slacked: Caxton notes that “[Hector] had cast his shield behind him at his back and had left his breast discovered” when Achilles “came privily unto him” (Recuyell, III, 17). The Myrmidons’ attack, which in Caxton’s Recuyell, III, 22, concerns Troilus, not Hector, may have been inspired by Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, V.viii.

invade: assault. Back to text



invinced: unconquered.

confedered: confederate.

mountain: monumental. Back to text



dastard: cowardly. Back to text



tack: at bay. Back to text



death of Hector: see Caxton, Recuyell, III, 17. Heywood does not follow Caxton’s treatment of Hector’s death even though he highlights Achilles’ perfidiousness. In Caxton, Achilles does not hide behind his thousand or more Myrmidons (Heywood says 300), but assaults Hector with Policeus (Caxton follows Le Fèvre, and also uses the spelling Polyceus; Policenes in delle Colonne). Hector kills Policeus and shoots an arrow at Achilles, who retreats from the battlefield to tend to his wound before returning with a long spear. Meanwhile Hector has made a noble baron prisoner and “for to lead him out of the host at his ease had cast his shield behind him at his back and had left his breast discovered, and as he was in this point and took none heed of Achilles that came privily unto him and put this spear within his body, and Hector fell down dead to the ground”. Back to text



strike under: strike down. Back to text



scour: cross.

Atlas: see above, stanza 103, “Bring rescue now, or in his mountain fall, / Beneath destruction, he will crush you all”.

rams up: blocks up with earth, debris, etc., hence barricades. Back to text


[Heywood’s endnotes to canto XIII]

Peleus: F, Pelias or Peleas.

Sthenele: F, Stheuele.

Ovid’s Metamorphoses, VI: Heywood follows Natale Conti’s Mythologia, IV, xii, “De Chirone”, p. 248, “Ovidius libro sexto Metamorphoseon Saturni filium putavit, ut est in hoc versu: Ut Saturnus equo geminum Chirona creavit” (“Ovid thought, in Book VI of the Metamorphoses, that he [Chiron] was Saturn’s son, as appears in this line: How Saturn, in the guise of a horse, begot the double-shaped Chiron”). Conti’s reference is to Metamorphoses, VI, 126. Heywood reproduces Conti’s “creavit”—not “crearit”.

Apollonius, Argonautica, Book I: F, Apollonius lib. I Argonauticon. Heywood follows Natale Conti’s Mythologia, IV, xii, “De Chirone”, p. 248, “Hunc Apollonius libro primo Argonauticon, Philyrae filium fuisse dixit” (“In the first book of his Argonautica, Apollonius said that he [Chiron] was Philyra’s son”). Conti goes on to quote Argonautica I, 554 in Greek, followed by his own translation into Latin, which Heywood reproduces. Back to text 

Apollonius, Book II: borrowed from Natale Conti’s Mythologia, IV, xii, “De Chirone”, p. 248, “Nam fama est Saturnum Philyram Oceani filiam in insula Philyreide compressisse, qui veritus ne à Rhea superveniente in adulterio deprehenderetur, sese in equum mutavit è quo concubitu natus est Chiron ab umbilico superiores partes corporis habens hominis, inferiores equi, ut testatur Apollonius libro secundo his carminibus” (“It is reported that Saturn had intercourse with Phylira, Ocean’s daughter, on the island Philyreide; fearing to be caught in adultery if Rhea arrived, he changed himself into a horse; of this coupling, Chiron was born, whose body was that of a man above the navel, and of a horse below, as Apollonius testifies in the second book of his poems”). Conti then quotes the Argonautica, II, 1231-40.

Sibilla: Cybele, possibly from Caxton’s Cybelle, Saturn’s wife in Recuyell.

Suidas: From Natale Conti’s Mythologia, IV, xii, “De Chirone”, pp. 248-49, “Suidas tamen Chironem una cum reliquis centauris Ixionis filium fuisse censuit” (“But Suidas thought that Chiron was Ixion’s son, together with the other centaurs”). Back to text

Amphitrite: See note to stanza 37.

Homer: see Conti on Tethys and Thetis, Mythologia, VIII, 2. Conti is referring to Homer when he records Thetis’ complaint that she is the only sea goddess married to a mortal (Iliad, XVIII, 428-35).

compressed: embraced sexually.

Isaacius: F, Isacius. Natale Conti, Mythologia, VIII, 2, p. 540, “Scriptum reliquit Isacius Peleum Chironis consilio Thetim compressisse, cum in varias formas mutaretur” (“Isaacius wrote that on Chiron’s advice, Peleus embraced Thetis as she changed herself into various forms”). Conti’s source is Isaac and John Tzetzes’ Scholia ad Lycophron, 175 (ed. Müller, Leipzig: Vogel, 1581, vol. 1, p. 446). Conti also quotes Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, III, 168 (Loeb): “Chiron warned Peleus to grab Thetis and hold on while she changed her form; so he watched for his chance and carried her off, and, although she changed into fire and then water and then a wild animal, he did not release her until he saw that she had returned to her original shape.”

he: F, she. Back to text

Tithon: Conti, Mythologia, VI, 4, p. 371: “Tithonus, quem ob corporis elegantiam, amatum fuisse ab Aurora inquiunt Laomedontis fuit filius, fraterque Priami, ut fama est; cum tamen diversae matres fuisse memorentur. Aiunt enim matrem Priami, fuisse Leucippen, ac Tithoni alii Strymo, alii Rhaeo Scamandri filiam” (“It is reported that Tithonus, who is said to have been loved by Aurora for the beauty of his body, was Laomedon’s son and Priam’s brother; for whom, however, different mothers are remembered: Priam’s mother is said to have been Leucippe and Tithonus’ was Strymo according to some, and according to others Rhaeo, Scamander’s daughter”).

gat: begat, i.e. begot.

Strymo: F, Strima, see note to Tithon, above.

Rhoeo: F, Rhoea, see note to Tithon, above. Back to text

Horatius, Book II, Carminum: Conti, Mythologia, VI, 4, p. 371, “Inquiunt Tithonum in coelum fuisse portatum cum ab Aurora amaretur, illique à Parcis immortalitatem fuisse impetratam; sed cum oblita fuisset Aurora petere etiam ne senesceret, Tithonus in tantam venisse senectutem dicitur, ut infantulorum more in cunis agitatus quiesceret. Verum denique in cicadam dicitur fuisse conversus, quae mutatis exuviis vel senio confectae non occidunt, sed juvenescunt. Hanc fabulam ita attigit Horatius libro secundo Carminum: Longa Tithonum minuit senectus” (“Tithonus was taken up to heaven when Aurora was in love with him, and she asked the Fates to grant him immortality; but as Aurora forgot to ask that he should not get old, Tithonus became so decrepit that he stayed lying in a cradle like a baby. In the end, he was changed into a cicada for these insects, when they are extenuated by old age and shed their skins, do not die but rejuvenate. Horace alluded to that tale in the second book of his Odes [II, xvi, 30]: In long decay dwindled Tithonus”).

Susa: Conti, Mythologia, VI, 4, p. 372, “Dicitur Tithonus Susa condidisse civitatem, non procul ab amne Choaspe” (“One says Tithonus founded the city of Susa, not far from the river Choaspe”).

Sophies: Persian monarchs. Back to text


Back to canto XIII (1-50 & 51-111)


How to cite

Patricia Dorval, ed., 2016.  Troia Britanica Canto XIII (1609).  In A Dictionary of Shakespeare's Classical Mythology: A Textual Companion, ed. Yves Peyré (2009-).


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