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Holinshed's "History of Endland, Scotlande, and Ireland", or more commonly known as Holinshed's Chronicles, is an accounting of the aforementioned country's histories by Raphael Holinshed and is the basis for a great of Shakespeare's plays (as well as for many of the other playwrights of the time), most famously being "Macbeth".

The chronicling depicts the events of Scottish general Makbeth, accompanied by his compatriot Banquo, are approached by three witches who foretell of Makbeth's ascension to the throne of Scotland. Upon such prophecy and news of the Principle of Cumberland's announcement to be heir apparent, Makbeth, with the aid of Banqou, assassinates and usurpers the throne.

While Shakespeare's play may have taken influence from Holinshed's Chronicle, there a great many deviations as well as influences from events of the time (such as the Gun Powder Plot in 1605). One of the major departures was the involvement of the character Banquo and his son Fleance. As previously stated, Banquo was chronicled to have been a conspirator with Makbeth, but in Shakespeare's play Banquo is depicted as a conflicted more or less bystander to the assassination of King Duncan and had no directed involvement. As part of the witches' prophecy in the play, Banquo "shall get kings, though thou be none." (Macbeth, I.iii.70) This noticeable difference is likely to appease King James VI of Scotland, and I of England, who is believed to be a great descendent of Banquo and thus of Fleance, his son, who escapes the events of the play and his father's death.

As for the item itself, for an object to survived such vast amounts of time in such working condition is a feat unto itself. Minor fraying of the cover, darkening of the edges of pages, likely slight water damages (understandable as this item too literally traveled over oceans to get here). The book also displays a great many wood carved pictures depicting events of war, state, and more.

Additional pieces from this book

Holinshed, Raphael. 1577. History of England, Scotlande, and Ireland. London : Imprinted for I. Harrison. 

     Norlin Library--Special Collections--Stacks

personal work inspired

by Shakespeare


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