English humanism against Gaelic Irish society
in Renaissance humanism and ethnicity before race
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This chapter analyses the Christian humanist critique of Gaelic Ireland, and especially the particularly learned version of that critique advanced by Richard Stanihurst in the late 1570s and early 1580s. The arguments of Stanihurt’s English and Latin histories of Ireland matter because they demonstrate how an expertly educated humanist understood the workings of human societies. This chapter contrasts this Christian humanist mainstream with the Machiavellian arguments made by a small number of colonists, including Edmund Spenser, during the 1590s. Those colonists rejected those conventional arguments on virtue and law, and advanced quite a different theory of human societies.

Renaissance humanism and ethnicity before race

The Irish and the English in the seventeenth century

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