Context Is King

While I grapple with the vagaries of English history, I wanted to post a few of Shakespeare’s contemporaries and near-contemporaries because of how they illuminate the period in which he lived.

American education, to its detriment, involves woefully little cross-referencing between subjects. No matter what class we take, we are presented a tableau of  authors, scientists, mathematicians and statesmen as if they lived hermetically-sealed lives, significant only within their discipline. And that’s when chronology is broached at all!

Shakespeare may stand as an intellectual titan of his age, but he was hardly standing alone. How many know that the great Galileo was born the same year?

Thus, I offer for you here a far-from exhaustive list of great individuals who lived within a century of Shakespeare.

If I have left anybody out that I shouldn’t have (and I’m pretty certain that I have), please drop a comment and I will amend this list.

John Calvin (1509–1564)

Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-1569)

Giovanni Palestrina (1525–1594)

Michel Montaigne (1533–1592)

Miguel Cervantes (1547-1616)

Giordano Bruno (1548–1600)

Francis Bacon (1561–1626)

Galileo Galilei (1564–1642)

Pieter Bruegel the Younger (1564-1638)

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

Johannes Kepler (1571–1630)

Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679)

René Descartes (1596–1650)

Rembrant van Rijn (1606-1669)


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