Polydore Vergil

(c. 1470 - 1555)

Polydore Vergil came to England from his native Italy in 1502 already a well-known humanist. Henry VII commissioned him to write about his adopted country; his English History became a source for books on which Shakespeare based his history plays. Vergil was concerned his catalogue of discoveries, the first comprehensive attempt since antiquity, would be taken badly—“It hardly escapes me,” he wrote, “that some malevolent persons may call my industry indiscretion”—but by his death in 1555, thirty Latin editions had been published. 

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