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Political Prophecy in Elizabethan England

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posted on 2021-11-13, 19:15 authored by Pollock, Talia

This thesis examines political prophecy in England during the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603). The belief that foreknowledge of events could be attained through means such as the practice of astrology, revelation from God, or the interpretation of supposedly prophetic texts was widespread in English society during the early modern period. This thesis discusses how those both within and outside of the government used prophecy in their engagement with the political issues which faced England during Elizabeth’s reign, especially in relation to religion and the succession. Because prophecy offered a source of authority for political change it was often employed in opposition to established authorities, prompting legislation criminalising seditious prophecies and printed works condemning them. By examining a wide range of primary sources, including assize records, Privy Council reports, depositions, diplomatic and administrative correspondence, and printed tracts and sermons, this thesis reveals how prophecy pervaded the political culture of Elizabethan England.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Parry, Glyn; Behrendt, Steve