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Thomas Ross's Second Punick War (London 1661 and 1672): Royalist Panegyric and Artistic Collaboration in the Southern Netherlands

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Thomas Ross (bap. 1620-75) was the first to translate Silius Italicus' epic poem Punica into English. The first edition of The Second Punick War Between Hannibal, and the Romanes: The whole Seventeen Books, Englished from the Latine of Silius Italicus: With A Continuation from the Triumph of Scipio, To the Death of Hannibal appeared in 1661. A second and slightly altered edition was issued in 1672. Ross, an active participant in the intrigues plotted to restore the monarchy, was part of Charles's entourage when the latter established his court in Bruges in 1656. His translation is amongst other things a royalist response to the English Civil Wars. Ross's choice of source text, his dedicatory epistle to Charles II written in Bruges in the fall of 1657, his prefatory poem 'To the King' as well as his collaboration with the Antwerp graphic artist Jozef Lamorlet (1626-c.1681), mark this long-neglected epic as a product of the English involvement in intellectual life on the continent in the mid-seventeenth century. With each of its numerous 'dramatic' engravings dedicated to distinguished supporters of the royal cause, The Second Punick War moreover illustrates how word and image were made to serve monarchic ideology.

Affiliations: 1: Ghent University, Belgium


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