Ragozine’s beheading
Dramatic and civil logics of the European state-form
in Transnational connections in early modern theatre
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The familiar, deforming figure of the pirate knots together four sorts of lexicons whose relation determines how the so-called Mediterranean is imagined in British early modernity. These are the lexicons of theology, the law, logic and the theatre. Tracing out the translation-system; that is, the general system of relays or mechanisms of translation, determination and overdetermination at work between these lexicons and condensed within them, is the project of this essay. It asks what it meant to be a pirate, a Mediterranean pirate, a Ragusan pirate, the eponymous Ragusan pirate – what it meant to be Ragozine in Shakespeare’s time. The methodology is historical as well as philosophical; the primary texts considered are Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure; works in the legal tradition, like Anglicus Bartholomaeus’ De proprietatibus rerum, Coke’s Institutes, Matthew Tindal’s An essay concerning the laws of nations, and Charles Molloy’s De jure maritimo et navali; works in the philosophy of logic, from Porphyry, Boethius, and Richard Patterson. The chapter is a contribution to the historiography of piracy in the early modern period, and also to the philosophy of history (inasmuch as it provides a strong rebuttal to the so-called ‘secularization thesis’).


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