Wednesday, 2 March 2016

2 March, 1592 - Machiavel

Here's what Lord Strange's Men performed at the Rose playhouse on this day, 424 years ago...

Henslowe writes: R at matchavell the 2 of marche 1591 ... xiiijs

In modern English: Received at Machiavel, 2nd March, 1592 ... 14 shillings.

Niccolò Machiavelli, the
original machiavel.
Today, Lord Strange's Men performed Machiavel, another lost play. The term 'machiavel' derives from the Florentine political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli, and refers to a manipulative character who devises stratagems to advance themselves. Unfortunately, this information is not very informative about the play, since machiavels are extremely common in Elizabethan drama and indeed appear in many plays performed by Strange's Men: examples we've looked at include Sacrapante in Orlando Furioso, Lorenzo in The First Part of Hieronimo, and both Barabas and Ferneze in The Jew of Malta  (Machiavelli himself even speaks the prologue of the latter play).

All we can therefore say is that this was yet another play about a machiavel, and we learn that ... audiences liked machiavels. Indeed, they still do...


Machiavel information

  • Martin Wiggins, British Drama, 1533-1642: A Catalogue, vol. 3 (Oxford University Press, 2013), entry 899.

Henslowe links


Did I make a mistake? Do you have a question? Have you anything to add? Please post a comment below!


  1. I greatly appreciate your use of actual House of Cards instead of melodramatic American House of Cards.

    1. You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment.