Stanihurst: De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis

Pdf Stanihurst, Richard. De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis. Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, 1584
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Richard Stanihurst (1547-1618) was born in Dublin. The eldest of three sons and two daughters of James Stanihurst (d. 1573), speaker of the Irish House of Commons, he was educated at University College Oxford where he was a student of the English Jesuit Edmund Campion.

Stanihurst, together with Campion, researched the history of Ireland using records in his father’s library. His "Description of Ireland" and the "History of Ireland under Henry VIII" were to form a considerable portion of the history of Ireland in Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles (London, 1577).

In Ireland he became tutor to Garret FitzGerald, son of the eleventh earl of Kildare, until the latter’s death in 1580. In 1581 he departed Ireland for the Low Countries, converting to Roman Catholicism soon after. It was in 1584 that the second of Stanihurst's works focusing on Irish history, De rebus in Hibernia gestis, appeared.

In the early 1590s Stanihurst was invited by King Philip II to Spain where he had a laboratory in the Escorial and offered counsel to the Spanish government. After the death of his second wife Helen in 1602 Stanihurst joined the Jesuit order and was ordained to the priesthood. He was appointed chaplain to Archduke Albert, ruler of the Netherlands, and his wife Isabella (daughter of Philip II). From this time on, he published a number of devotional works as well as works defending the Roman church against attack by Protestants.

Stanihurst died in Brussels in 1618.

De rebus in Hibernia gestis is a historical work focusing on the Norman conquest of Ireland. While relying heavily on Giraldus Cambrensis' works Topographia Hiberniae and Expugnatio Hiberniae for its content, the language and style indicate the influence of classical authors, particularly Cicero. As a historical and topographical account from an Old English viewpoint it was later criticized by more radical Counter-Reformation historians for its sympathetic attitude towards the English in Ireland.

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