Literary Traditions and their Afterlife
This chapter discusses the purpose to encourage students of festivals, and specifically festivals associated with dynastic marriages, to pay attention to the human circumstances within which festivals were conceived, and in consequence to avoid over-estimating the place of consciously projected state propaganda in their motivation and delivery. It focuses on two studies of festival: 'Entries and Festivals in Late Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Century Florence as Precedents for Court and Theatre in England, 1600-20', and 'Arbitrary Reality: Fact and Fantasy in the Florentine Naumachia, 1589'. The festivals of the Medici courts of the mid and late-sixteenth century have been much studied, especially the spectacular series of entertainments staged in Florence in April or May 1589 in honour of the wedding of Grand Duke Ferdinando de' Medici and the Princess Christine de Lorraine. The circumstances which preceded and surrounded the Grand Duke Ferdinando's succession were, to put the matter succinctly, remarkably stressful.