Saturday, July 2, 2016

Shakespeare and Italy 8 - Merchant Venice Trading Antonio Argosies

One more aside:

You probably heard of the ‘big’ announcement about the discovery of Shakspere’s coat of arms petition, apparently the original one. Now the fascinating thing, that you can see for yourselves, is the kind of sleight of hand dealing with documentary evidence that the non-Stratfordians have often mentioned. We’ve had a copy of the application for the coat of arms for a long time. And the original does not appear to be significantly different. At least, neither the Folger librarian discoverer, nor Prof. Shapiro, have pointed out anything ‘new’ or different from the much later copy. But then take out your mental magnifying glass and look at what Shapiro then says. “It’s always been clear that Shakespeare of Stratford and ‘Shakespeare the player’ were one and the same,” Mr. Shapiro said. “But if you hold the documents Heather has discovered together, that is the  smoking gun.”  Keep in mind that, as he says, there was no dispute that the Stratford Shakspere was thought of as a player. Even those connected with the company through Richard Burbage, that is, his brother Cuthbert and his widow, also named Shakspere as a ‘player’, and described as such to one of the dedicatees of the First (and Second) Shakespeare Folios. 

So there was no new discovery. Further, see if you can find the “smoking gun” anywhere. Supposedly, it shows that Shakspere the player was also Shakespeare the poet-playwright. Take your time and see if you can see Shapiro’s smoking gun that refutes the non-Stratfordian’s contention that there is no such evidence. Note also that Shapiro implicitly acknowledges that there hasn’t been any other ‘smoking gun’ before this non-existent one showed up. You can find the NY Times article here:
Shakespeare and Italy cont.

5A. Roe’s chapter 5 begins a look at unusual Italian knowledge in The Merchant of Venice. His first important point is that the script shows Antonio, a Venetian, using non-Venetian ships for his trading, which the average English citizen would not likely know since it had long been a rule that Venetian’s would only use Venetian trading vessels. Antonio used Argosies which were built, owned and operated by Ragusan merchants. He also used ships called ‘Andrews’ which originated in Genoa. Roe further explains why this change came about beginning around 1573. The author did not get this information about trading vessels from any of his sources for the story, so they are brought in casually from his own store of knowledge, however acquired, of Italian trading practices and how they were changing. Likely the easiest way to acquire this knowledge was through connections to government-collected trading knowledge or with discussions with practicing English and foreign traders.

5B. Further detailed knowledge of these practices shown by the author are revealed in the destinations that Antonio’s ships are visiting: Tripoli, Mexico, England, Lisbon, Barbary, and India. Roe mentions how Shakespeare has been criticized for having an one of Antonio’s vessels trading with Mexico where Venetian ships were not allowed to go. However, the non-Venetian Argosies “were always welcome in Mexico”.  In fact, all the destinations mentioned could be sailed to by the ships of Ragusa. Venetian traders would know this as could an Englishman intent on seeking this information out to benefit either his own trading or for the sake of his country. But what motivation would drive a lowly English playwright to seek out all this detailed intelligence?

This demonstrates accurate knowledge of 16th century maritime trading in connection with Italy that had been thought in error and just ‘made up’.

No comments:

Post a Comment