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Sir Walter Raleigh

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grabagrannie
466707.  Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:20 pm Reply with quote

TBOGI says that Raleigh 'spent fifteen years on death row writing his projected five-volume History of the World but never got further than 1300 BC.'
Presuming he was going forwards in time in his treatise, that means he never got as far as the foundation of Rome or even the fall of Troy. So what was he playing at? How much was known about the ancient world at the time of Raleigh? How on Earth could he take 15 years to write what was known then about the history of the world up to 1300 BC? After all, didn't they believe that the world was created in 4004 BC, so he only covered 2700 years.
Perhaps they asked him if he had any last requests. So he said, 'I'd just like to finish writing this book.' :-)

 
suze
466859.  Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:43 pm Reply with quote

Archbishop Ussher's claim that the Creation occurred at about 5 pm on Saturday 22 October 4004 BCE wasn't published until 1650, but for sure that date was in line with common belief at the time - Bede and Kepler had both calculated dates within about fifty years of Ussher's.

As for Raleigh's slow progress, well he was allowed out to go adventuring a couple times during his incarceration in the Tower of London. He was allowed visitors too - indeed, he produced a son during his imprisonment.

 
grabagrannie
466884.  Mon Dec 29, 2008 6:19 pm Reply with quote

So, is anything more known about Raleigh's tome? I mean, how many words, or pages? Did he start on Volume II? Perhaps he started to write a bit, got distracted for a year or two, and so on. I just got hold of the wrong end of the stick when I read, 'He spent fiteen years on death row writing his [book]'
Perhaps it would have been fairer to the chap to have said, 'He spent fifteen years on death row. He spent some of his time writing a History of the World, but didn't get further than 1300 BC.'

 
suze
466961.  Mon Dec 29, 2008 7:33 pm Reply with quote

I think it runs to about 2,000 pages. Although he only completed one volume of his work, that one volume comes as five books:

I. From the creation to Abraham.
II. From Abraham to the destruction of the temple of Solomon.
III. From the destruction of Jerusalem to Philip of Macedon.
IV. From Philip of Macedon to the race of Antigonus.
V. From the establishment of Alexander until the conquest of Asia and Macedon by the Romans.

The first two books have been reissued in the last few years - and Book II in fact comes as two books since it alone is around 800 pages.

 
bobwilson
466962.  Mon Dec 29, 2008 7:38 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
From the establishment of Alexander
- that's a bit after 1300 BC

 
grabagrannie
468011.  Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:16 pm Reply with quote

So maybe TBOGI should have said he didn't get further than 300 BC.
Still, 2000 pages is quite impressive - just under 3 pages a week doesn't sound a lot, but given the amount of research he would have had to do, and given that he wasn't devoting his time solely to the book, it's not bad.
I hope for the first two volumes he wasn't just copying from the Bible! :)
Can suze just clarify something? Is it a coincidence that the History of the World was a five-volume project, and that the first volume comprised five books?

 
astrobumpkin
762074.  Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:50 am Reply with quote

I dont know the work myself but I would imagine that he was using a quill pen and ink made from lampblack or similar and writing possibley by candlelight a lot of the time... I've tried quill pens and they are not easy as they need regular resharpening.. What was he writing on as well ? The best material would have been vellum as mistakes can be scraped off. Paper/parchment would obviously have required a lot more care/time.
Not making excuses for him, can someone enlighten me?

 
Moosh
762087.  Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:12 pm Reply with quote

grabagrannie wrote:
So maybe TBOGI should have said he didn't get further than 300 BC.

If it's going all the way to the Roman conquest of Macedon it's more likely to be 130 BC. Maybe whoever wrote that bit stuck an extra 0 on the end accidentally?

 
dr bartolo
762368.  Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:01 pm Reply with quote

astrobumpkin wrote:
I dont know the work myself but I would imagine that he was using a quill pen and ink made from lampblack or similar and writing possibley by candlelight a lot of the time... I've tried quill pens and they are not easy as they need regular resharpening.. What was he writing on as well ? The best material would have been vellum as mistakes can be scraped off. Paper/parchment would obviously have required a lot more care/time.
Not making excuses for him, can someone enlighten me?


on the ink, well, the principal ink of the time (and probably what walter used wan not lampblack, but a chemical produced by reacting the sollution of tannin & gallic acid rich oak galls with iron sulphate that produced a black liquid called iron gall ink. it is still produced (& used) by some artists.
as for the quill & wrting surface, you must rember that such people probably had an array of quills on hand, so they may be rotated when one got blunt. the writing surface, the problem wyth vellum is that:
1-it is expensive, and by his time was beggining to decline in use
2 - if you wre to write a mammoth tome on the history of the world, shurely you would not waste time in scratching out a error, rather you would cross the error out!

 

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