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Milton's History of BritainRepublican Historiography in the English Revolution$
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Nicholas von Maltzahn

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198128977

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198128977.001.0001

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The Reticent History: Milton, the Ancient Constitution, and the Feudal Law

The Reticent History: Milton, the Ancient Constitution, and the Feudal Law

(p.198) 8 The Reticent History: Milton, the Ancient Constitution, and the Feudal Law
Milton's History of Britain

Nicholas von Maltzahn

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the salient inconsistency between John Milton's political tracts and the History of Britain. In the Defensio especially, Milton presents a very different, much more positive account of early English history and the Saxon legacy. The Defensio provides a common version of the myth of the ancient constitution, a belief in which appears to underlie references to English history in the later tracts. This historical argument in the Defensio has been related to Milton's reading of Hotman's influential Francogallia. History illustrates Milton in political retreat from his engagement with the parliamentary cause in the early 1650s.

Keywords:   John Milton, History of Britain, ancient constitution, Feudal Law, Defensio, English history, Saxon legacy

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