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The Elizabethan World View


Lukas W.

on 18 May 2011

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Transcript of The Elizabethan World View

The Elizabethan
World View The Four Humors The Chain of Being creation/ universe human individual

sun ( giving lights) man's heart
stars (placed highest) man's head
earthquakes and storms man's passion

→ man’s role in the universe:
central position
highest position in living nature
latest and most perfect creature Microcosm & Macrocosm Wheel of Fortune Humor Organ Ancient name Qualities Season Element

Blood liver sanguine excitement, energy, spring air
happiness, sexual
arousal, hopeful

Yellow Bile gall bledder cholericanger irritability, summer fire
bad tempered

Black Bile spleen melancholic melancholy, sadness, autumn earth

Phlegm brain/ lungs phlegmatic boredom, calm, winter water
emotionless geocentric vs. heleocentric system God is almighty
nature as God's instrument on earth
without him chaos would break out
hell inside the earth,
place for damned souls

Music of the spheres (belief):
universe made of several spheres
that carry the planets
connected with crystal-like layers
second last sphere = firmament
→ stars are embedded
outermost sphere = master sphere,
border to the cosmos (Empyreum)
spheres circling → rubbing → sound
→ shows that the whole creation is in harmony Strict hierarchical structure of matter and life created by God
everything arranged in specific order
Latin: scala naturae literally: “ladder/ stairway of nature” Latin:
"intelligit" = intelligence
"sentit" = to feel
"vivit" = to live
"est" = to be Humans rule over creation exepting God (creator himself)
using animals, planting crops, digging for metals, shaping them into tools
Every being has it’s own place within chain  different degree of authority and responsibility.
Individual has to know it’s place and duty
If one not respected the order or messed with it there would be chaos
Higher positions on chain supposed to have greater intellect, abilities, skills  authority over the lower.
unifying principle holding the Chain together was rational order: having a King who rules the country Modell describing continuous changes in one's fate
everyone is bound on it and rotates with it
a high position equates luck and wealth
low positions symbolize ill-fate or fatality The four states of human beings:
Learned Human Four Kingdoms:

king of England has highest postion
on earth as it's represantative of earth
pope as head of church
God as sovereign of the whole world Overview:
The Chain of Being
Geocentrical System
Marcocosm & Microcosm
Wheel of Fortune
The Four Humors idea of geocentric dominated
→ earth as centre of the universe,
church as centre of the earth Boethius: "I know how Fortune is
ever most friendly … until she overwhelms them with grief beyond bearing, by deserting them when
least expected. … Are you trying to stay the force of her turning wheel? Ah! dull-witted mortal, if Fortune begin to stay still, she is no longer Fortune." teaching of humors was widely spread
many specialist literature
doctors all over Europe acted after this theory
until 18th century (e.g. bleeding)
adopted from ancient philosophers Short definition:
time of Queen Elizabeth (*1533-†1603)
important: order of universe reflected in smallest individual
King/Queen rules country like God his creation
human had order within him
population shocked by civil war, madness and immoral passions
→ konservative, changes = frigtened
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