Nearly sixteen hundred years separate the lives of
Flavius Josephus and Elizabeth Cary. Perhaps the only thing these writers
have in common is an interest in history—in particular, a fascination with
how the past shaped and gave meaning to their own experiences. Josephus’
histories convey the tension between Roman and Jewish allegiance, which
Josephus himself must have experienced as a Jewish ex-soldier living in
Rome in the first century C.E. 2 Elizabeth Cary, like
many Renaissance playwrights, retells the story of prominent figures in
western history, re-presenting personalities and events of the past in
order to comment on her own, often unhappy, situation as a prominent seventeenth
century Englishwoman. 3 Josephus' historical accounts
and Cary's play must be read with this in mind; the authors' political
and religious views and unique life experiences have inevitably colored
The story of Herod the Great's tempestuous relationship with Mariam (and, indeed, the entire Hasmonean family) is chronicled by Josephus, and then retold in a closet drama by Cary. Through a comparison of female submission and subversion in The Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities by Flavius Josephus and The Tragedy of Mariam, the Fair Queen of Jewry by Elizabeth Cary, I will derive common themes in the portrayal of women. I will analyze, in particular, issues of female speech, chastity, and divorce rights (these are all also areas of tension in Josephus' and Cary's respective societies, as I will show). Focusing on Mariam and the women related to her, taking into account the historical contexts and sexes of the writers, I will examine how women's behavior in Josephus' historical accounts and Cary's drama both reflects and undermines patriarchal institutions of Greco-Roman Palestine and Christian Renaissance England.
Herod the Great, whose reign ended in 4 B.C.E., was a professed "lover of Rome." 4 Judea became a Roman province shortly after Herod's death. According to Rajak, "in the first century A.D., the Jews…were constantly reacting to the Greek language and culture; and they lived for the most part either within the Roman empire, or…in its shadow." 5 Josephus was born in Jerusalem in 37 C.E., just four years after the crucifixion of Jesus. 6 He was a descendant of Hasmonean kings and priests, a member of a wealthy, prominent family. 7 He had "a thorough Jewish education," and was praised at a young age for his remarkable understanding of Jewish law. 8 Josephus remained a devout Jew for his entire life, aligning himself with the Pharisees only after experimenting with all three dominant forms or sects of Judaism (Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes); he even spent three years in the desert as a religious devotee of a man named Bannus. 9 In 64 C.E., he traveled as an ambassador to Rome to negotiate the release of some imprisoned Jewish priests. 10 Soon after his return to Jerusalem, the Jewish War began, and in 66 C.E., Josephus was appointed commander of Galilee. 11
Vespasian and his Roman troops captured Josephus in Jotapata in 67 C.E. Josephus prophesied that Vespasian would become emperor; two years later, this prophecy came true, and Vespasian freed him. The emperor and his son Titus, who succeeded his father as emperor in 79 C.E., were very friendly with Josephus, bestowing on him their family name ("Flavius") and rewarding him with land in Judea. Josephus remained in Rome after the war, becoming a Roman citizen and embarking on his writing career. 12 Many scholars maintain that Josephus was commissioned by the emperor to write his histories—there is plenty of evidence of Roman flattery in his writings—but Rajak convincingly refutes these charges. 13 "Josephus is not an objective writer," Rajak asserts, "but [his] Palestinian prejudices…have a deeper effect on his writing than the Roman bias." 14
Josephus was married three times (divorced twice) and had three sons. 15 Interestingly, his first wife was a Jewish captive. 16 Jewish law prohibited the intermarriage of priests and women who were or had been captives, because it was assumed that such women were no longer virgins. 17 Josephus maintained that his first wife was a virgin, but soon divorced her anyway. 18 He remarks in the Life: "At this period I divorced my wife, being displeased at her behavior. She had borne me three children, of whom two died." 19
Josephus' statement is particularly revealing of two aspects of Jewish society: first, a husband's right to divorce his wife without cause 20; second, the incredible importance attached to a woman's ability to produce children. Archer notes that Jewish belief in women's natural inferiority was strengthened by Palestine's contact with the Greeks. 21 Josephus writes, "The woman, says the Law, is in all things inferior to the man. Let her accordingly be submissive, not for her humiliation, but that she may be directed; for the authority has been given by God to man." 22 Jewish women in Greco-Roman societies were indeed "directed" by men in all aspects of their lives.
Typically, females passed "straight from one male authority [father] to another [husband]." 23 Girls married very young (before they had a chance to lose their virginity)—most were betrothed by the age of twelve-and-a-half to a man chosen by dad—and, thus, all of her childbearing years could be (re)productively employed. 24 Virgins made the best wives because, as Philo put it, "the holy seed may [then] pass into pure and untrodden soil." 25 Virgins were also more easily "molded" into virtuous women by their husbands, "for the minds of virgins are easily influenced and attracted to virtue and very ready to be taught." 26 Procreation was a woman's most important task. Archer contends, "Celibacy was never considered a virtue" in Judaism. 27 Marriage was a woman's "only real security," 28 and she proved her worth by giving birth to legitimate Jewish children. Racial purity, especially among the highest social classes, was extremely important, and, thus, a woman's chastity was vital. 29 Divorce could be initiated at a husband's whim, while a "woman had neither the right to protest nor the right to initiate divorce proceedings on her own account." 30
Female speech was also strictly controlled. In Jewish society, one's spoken words—in particular, one's vows—were extremely important. 31 A father had absolute power over his minor daughter's vows (that is, he could void any vows spoken by her). 32 Likewise, a husband could void his wife's vows if he felt that her vows "afflicted the soul." 33 Silence was the best thing for women. On rare occasions when she left her home, a woman was forbidden to speak to men in public. 34 Funerals were the only occasion in which women were authorized and encouraged to make a lot of noise—as "wailing women," they had an important role in frightening away demons and expressing grief. 35 Archer suggests that women, instead of men, performed this task at funerals because the "keeners need[ed] to be both noisy and visibly emotional—matters which were deemed incompatible with society's constructed notions of maleness but totally appropriate to its ideas regarding femaleness." 36
In early modern England, men's "focus" was on motherhood, according to Crawford, but "the underlying issue was female sexuality": because females were seen as "the disorderly sex…their sexuality was to be controlled so that they bore children only within marriage, and then only to their lawful husbands." 37. Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine of Aragon and subsequent break from Roman Catholicism was still a hot issue in Cary's time. Elizabeth I, whose reign ended in 1603, was regarded by Catholics as the "bastard offspring of an incestuous union between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn." 38 Elizabeth Cary may also be seen as a "disorderly" woman by her contemporary's standards, not because she gave birth to illegitimate children, but because she produced the first female-authored original play to be published in England. 39
She was born in 1585 or 1586 to a wealthy lawyer and the granddaughter of a knight. 40 She learned to read at a young age, and taught herself French, Spanish, Italian, Latin, and Hebrew. Her mother forbid her to read at night, but Elizabeth defied her mother by bribing servants to bring her candles. She married Sir Henry Cary in 1602; he would become viscount of Falkland in 1620. They had eleven children, nine of whom lived to adulthood. The marriage was never a happy one. Cary married her for his own financial gain, and cared little for her—especially intolerable were Elizabeth's Catholic sympathies and her "refusal to 'live quietly.'" 41
During the first six years of their marriage, the Carys lived apart, and during this time, Elizabeth wrote The Tragedy of Mariam. 42 The play was published in 1613, but never performed on stage. After her public conversion to Catholicism in 1626, Henry sent Elizabeth back to live with her mother. The Carys fought "bitterly and publicly over religion and money" and never again shared the same residence. 43 Elizabeth died in 1639, after having successfully converted six of her children to Catholicism. 44
Carole Levin asserts, "While men of the Renaissance were defined by what they accomplished, women were defined by their sexual status, and their value came from their reputation for chaste behavior, rather than any other accomplishment." 45 Elizabeth Cary, a noble, virtuous, intelligent woman, was thus described by the Earl of Clarendon as "a lady of a most masculine understanding, allayed with the passions and infirmities of her own sex." 46 Her literary endeavors were viewed as "masculine" accomplishments (and were all the more remarkable—by male standards—given that she nevertheless possessed "feminine" "passions" and "infirmities"). Female speech, especially public speech, was often equated with unchastity, 47 so perhaps it was in an effort to guard Cary against a bad reputation that she was described in such terms. Shannon contends that in The Tragedy of Mariam, "Cary shows the connection between female chastity, silence, constancy, and privacy that opposes the linked themes of promiscuity, publicity of speech, and changeability." 48 Popular maxims in Elizabethan England stated that women were to be "chaste, silent, and obedient." Often, as we shall see through characters in Cary's play, where one of these virtues is lacking, it is assumed that all virtues are lacking.
Despite this pressure to remain silent, women writers were not completely unheard-of in the Renaissance—Christine de Pizan, for example, made a living as a writer almost two hundred years before Cary's birth. 49. Cary, it must be noted, did not make her living as a writer, but her surviving literary works are not undeserving of critical attention. The Senecan closet drama genre (which Cary employs for her telling of Mariam) was, in the Renaissance as it was in classical times, "a vehicle for direct exposition of political ideas." 50. Gutierrez posits that "Cary's imaginative intertwining of the male-created genres of closet drama and sonnet releases her from culturally prescribed silence, in fact, provides for her distinctive self-expression as a woman." 51. Compared to Josephus' histories, in which females are commented on but are rarely allowed to "steal the scene," the preponderance of female speech in Cary's play is certainly notable, as Weller and Ferguson suggest: "Among [Cary's] most significant revisions of her source [Josephus' Jewish War and Antiquities] is her emphasis on different styles of female speech and on the critical reactions of male characters to Mariam's speech in particular. Cary even creates, as a foil…a more verbally 'obedient' character named Graphina, not present in Josephus." 52. We will now examine Josephus' and Cary's versions of the story of Queen Mariam's tragic death.
Here is my own quick summary of the life of Mariam: To legitimate his rule of Judea, Herod divorced his first wife, Doris, and married Mariam, granddaughter of Hyrcanus (Hyrcanus had the potential, given his Hasmonean ancestry, to overthrow Herod and assume the throne). Before Herod was appointed king of the Jews by the Romans in 39 B.C.E., the Hasmonean (or Maccabean) dynasty had ruled off-and-on for a century. 53. Herod later ordered the deaths of Mariam's brother, Aristobulus, and sweet old Hyrcanus to get rid of any Hasmonean threats to his power. Herod, on two separate occasions, left for Rome, ordering that if he were killed, Mariam should also be killed (because he could not bear the thought of another man having her). Mariam learned of these plans, and was incredibly angry (she was already a little peeved over the fact that Herod killed her relatives). Herod returned from Rome expecting hugs and kisses from his drop-dead-gorgeous wife, and she, instead, told him how much she detested him, and refused to sleep with him. Herod did not know how to deal with an unruly wife. Salome, Herod's conniving sister who hated Mariam, convinced Herod that Mariam had tried to poison him and that she had committed adultery with the man who revealed Herod's plans to have her killed if he were killed. Herod had Mariam executed, and immediately regretted his decision (poor guy).
Josephus details the lives of Herod the Great and Mariam in, primarily, book fifteen of his Antiquities collection (written in 93-94 CE). 54. Cary's play compresses and merges key events leading up to Mariam's execution, so that everything happens in a single day. When the play opens, everyone is under the impression that Herod is dead (a false report of his death was circulated)—this situation frees Mariam and others to speak their true feelings about Herod, and to engage in activities Herod would have forbidden. 55
Passages in Josephus 56. of particular interest to my study are the following (I have italicized the lines that strike me as most compelling):
Antiquities 15.3.5-9: Overcome by his passion for his wife, [Herod] apologized to [Mariamme] for having seemed to believe what he had heard [i.e., Salome had lied to him, trying to convince him that Mariamme was an adulteress], and paid her a great many acknowledgments of the modesty of her behavior and the extraordinary affection and devotion he had for her…Mariamme said, 'It was not the act of a lover to command that if any harm came to you from Antony, I should be put to death too, even though I am not guilty of anything.' [Herod was shocked and] said that now he had clear proof that Joseph had sex with Mariamme, for he would never have disclosed to her what had been told in private unless there had been full confidence between them. And while he was in this passion he nearly would have killed his wife; but being overcome by his love for her, he restrained the impulse, though not without a lasting grief and disquietness of mind."
Ant. 15.7.1: "Mariamme was greatly displeased to hear that there was no end of the dangers she was under from Herod, and was greatly resentful at it, and she prayed that he would not obtain favorable treatment from Caesar, and considered it almost an intolerable task to live with him any longer. And this she afterward openly declared, without concealing her resentment."
Ant. 15.7.2: [After Herod's return from Rome] "Out of her resentment and the nobility of her birth, when he embraced her, she gave out a groan, making it plain that she rather grieved than rejoiced at his success. That she was not merely suspicious, but obviously disliked him, left Herod greatly disturbed. This troubled him greatly, to see that this irrational hatred his wife had for him was not concealed but open…And thus he was caught between hatred and love; he was frequently disposed to punish her for her insolence, but being deeply in love with her in his soul, he was not able to get rid of this woman. In short, although he would gladly have punished her, he was afraid that by putting her to death he would thereby, through this loss, bring a heavier punishment upon himself than upon her."
Ant. 15.7.3: "He became still more hostile toward her, and ill passions were increasingly inflamed between them, for she did not hide her feelings toward him, and he turned his love for her into anger…[Herod has to meet with Caesar in Rome.] But upon his return, as successful as he had been in foreign affairs, so much the greater were the distresses in his own home, and chiefly in his marriage, where he formerly had seemed to be so fortunate. For the love he felt for Mariamme was no less intense than those celebrated in the great love affairs of history. As for her, she was in most respects sensible and faithful to him; yet in her nature she had something that was as feminine as it was cruel, for she treated him contemptuously, as befitting the enslavement he was under by passion for her. She did not appropriately consider herself as living under a monarchy and that she was subject to a master, and accordingly would behave insolently toward him; on his part he pretended to ignore this and bore it steadfastly. She would also openly mock his mother and sister because of their low birth, and would speak unkindly of them…" 57.
Ant. 15.7.4: [Herod calls for Mariam to sleep with him.] "She came in, but would not lie down with him, and when he urged her, she expressed her contempt for him and bitterly reproached him for having had her grandfather and her brother killed." 58.
Ant. 15.7.6: [Josephus' Eulogy for Mariamme] "And thus died Mariamme, a woman of an excellent character, both in chastity and in greatness of soul; but she lacked moderation, and had too much of combativeness in her nature. Yet she had more than can be said in the beauty of her body and in the dignity of her bearing in the presence of others. And this was the principal source of her failure to please the king and to live with him harmoniously. For she was pampered by the king out of his love for her, and under the expectation that he could never be harsh to her, she took too much liberty with her speech. She was most afflicted by what had been done to her relatives, and she freely spoke of all they had suffered by him, thus provoking both the king's mother and sister till they became her enemies, and even, at last, did Herod himself also, the only one from whom, mistakenly, she expected never to suffer any harm."
War 1.22.2-3: "For Mariamme's hatred of him was as great as his love for her. She had indeed but too just a cause for indignation from what he had done, and gaining boldness from his affection for her, she openly reproached him with what he had done to her grandfather Hyrcanus and her brother Aristobulus."
Mariam, as we see her in Josephus' account, is almost always presented in relation to Herod. Josephus, I would argue, feels the need to qualify Mariam's virtues so that she is not misconstrued as more heroic than Herod (the patiently suffering and devoted, albeit cruel and jealous, husband). Herod's great love for Mariam is constantly reiterated, as if his passionate (and insane) love for his wife justifies his cruel treatment of her relatives, and, in the end, Mariam herself. Portrayed as foolish and "immoderate" in her speech, Mariam is the cause of her own demise—she simply refuses to stop berating Herod and his family, "mistakenly" believing that her husband will never harm her. 59 She clearly shunned her duties as Herod's wife and subject; she forgot she was "subject to a master" (Ant. 15.7.3) and refused to "please the king" (Ant. 15.7.6). Josephus praises Mariam's chastity, beauty, and "great soul" (Ant. 15.7.6), but the underlying theme of his account is Mariam's unruly public speech. His attitude, even when speaking of her death, is, "It's such a shame that she didn't know when to shut up, because she made a great wife for Herod. The poor guy sure went insane without her." As Weller and Ferguson suggest, Josephus is often more sympathetic in his portrayal of Herod, but Mariam still emerges as a "morally complex character" in his account, just as she does in Cary's play. 60.
Mariam comments, in the first line of The Tragedy
of Mariam, "How oft have I with public voice run on" (1.1.1). 61
Mariam's "public voice" is an ongoing issue in Cary's play as well as in
Josephus' account. 62 Sohemus (the man who reveals
Herod's plans to have Mariam killed if he does not return) remarks, "Unbridled
speech is Mariam's worst disgrace / And will endanger her without desert"
(3.2.183-4); Salome scorns Mariam for her "tongue that is so quickly mov'd"
(1.3.227). The Chorus' condemnation of public, female speech in act three
may be summarized by one verse:
Then she usurps upon another's right,In other words, any wife who shares her private thoughts with anyone besides her husband is, in effect, committing (figurative) adultery. "Public language" is her husband's "right," and a good wife honors her husband's public role while keeping herself silent, hidden and contained.
That seeks to be by public language grac'd:
And though her thoughts reflect with purest light,
Her mind if not peculiar is not chaste.
For in a wife it is no worse to find,
A common body than a common mind. (3.3.239-244)
Cary's Mariam, similar to the Mariam of Josephus' account, fails to realize (until it is too late) that her innocence is not enough to save her; she says, with regret, "I did think because I knew me chaste, / One virtue for a woman might suffice" (4.8.561-562). 63 Constabarus criticizes Salome, his wife, for not "blushing" to converse in private with a "stranger"; his subsequent statements reveal the whole truth of the matter, that women must not only be chaste, but must also strive to appear chaste:
Didst thou [Salome] but know the worth of honest fame,To appear chaste, a woman should, like the submissive Graphina (a character fabricated by Cary), speak only when necessary. Pheroras (Herod's brother) urges his lover to say a few words; her demure response is:
How much a virtuous woman is esteem'd,
Thou wouldest like hell eschew deserved shame,
And seek to be both chaste and chastely deem'd. (1.6.391-394)
If I be silent, 'tis no more but fearMariam's "public" conferences with Sohemus are just as problematic as her private conversations with Herod, upon his return. 64. Karen Raber persuasively argues that the Chorus' proclamation—which echoes conduct literature of the time—that Mariam's speech "should be inward, to the marriage and to her husband" (and never public) is "illogical" because in the play, women's speech, whether private or public, leads to "disruption and tragedy." 65 Certainly the most disruptive speech of the play is Salome's bold claim that wives, like husbands, should be able to file for divorce:
That I should say too little when I speak:
But since you will my imperfections bear,
In spite of doubt I will my silence break…" (2.1.49-52)
It is the principles of Moses' laws,Constabarus' shocked response to Salome's claim for divorce is, "Are Hebrew women now transformed to men (1.6.421)?" He continues, "You are the first, and will, I hope, be last, / That ever sought her husband to divorce" (1.6.451-452). Salome boldly interjects, "I mean not to be led by precedent, / My will shall be to me instead of Law" (1.6.453-454). 66 The remarkable thing about Salome is that, unlike Mariam, in both Josephus' and Cary's account she goes unpunished for aggressively pursuing her own desires. She is scathingly criticized by Constabarus, 67 but certainly is not executed! Berry remarks that "only Salome's, among the female voices, persists in its wonderful if horrifying force after the return of [Herod]." 68 Likewise, Raber believes that Salome "successfully defies patriarchal order, both domestically and politically, by recognizing its inconsistencies, refusing to allow any code to define and contain her." 69
For Constabarus still remains in life.
If he to me did bear as earnest hate,
As I to him, for him there were an ease;
A separating bill might free his fate
From such a yoke that did so much displease.
Why should such privilege to man be given?
Or given to them, why barr'd from women then?
Are men than we in greater grace with Heaven?
Or cannot women hate as well as men?
I'll be the custom-breaker: and begin
To show my sex the way to freedom's door…" (1.4.299-310)
As we have seen, in both Greco-Roman Palestine and
Renaissance England, women were subject to a rigid set of "codes" that
enforced women's dependence on men. Among these were exhortations to safeguard
one's chastity, which usually related to keeping one's own voice nearly
inaudible in the public, male-dominated world. Mariam, according to Herod,
is thus "unchaste," for "Her mouth will ope to ev'ry stranger's ear" (4.6.433-434).
70 Jewish divorce laws, which denied women the
right to divorce, also effectively limited women's freedom. Cary's fascination
with Salome, a woman who, as Josephus puts it, "chose to follow not the
law of her country, but the law of her authority," may reveal her own longings
for freer expression. Indeed, women of Josephus' society—women like Mariam—must
have experienced the same desire to be heard, the same creative impulse
to tell their own story that would "in after times the school of wisdom
Archer, Leonie J. Her Price is Beyond Rubies: The Jewish Woman in Graeco-Roman Palestine. England:
Berry, Boyd M., "Feminine Construction of Patriarchy; Or What’s Comic in The Tragedy of Mariam,"
Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England, 7 (1995), 257-274.
Crawford, Patricia, "The Construction and Experience of Maternity in Seventeenth-Century England,"
Women as Mothers in Pre-Industrial England, ed. Valerie Fildes. London: Routledge, 1990.
Gutierrez, Nancy A., "Valuing Mariam: Genre Study and Feminist Analysis," Tulsa Studies in Women’s
Literature, 10 no. 2 (1991), 233-251.
Josephus, Flavius. "Mariamme." [selections from] Jewish Antiquities and The Jewish War, translated by
Bridenthal, Stuard, and Wiesner. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998.
Raber, Karen L., "Gender and Political Subject in The Tragedy of Mariam," Studies in English Literature,
1500-1900, 35 (1995), 321-343.
Rajak, Tessa. Josephus: The Historian and His Society. London: Duckworth, 1983.
Shannon, Laurie J., "The Tragedie of Mariam: Cary’s Critique of the Terms of Founding Social
Discourses," English Literary Renaissance, 24 no. 1 (1994), 135-153.
Straznicky, Marta, "‘Profane Stoical Paradoxes’: The Tragedie of Mariam and Sidnean Closet Drama,"
English Literary Renaissance, 24 no. 1 (1994), 104-134.
Weller, Barry and Ferguson, Margaret W., eds. The Tragedy of Mariam, Fair Queen of Jewry with The
Lady Falkland: Her Life by One of Her Daughters. Berkeley: U of California P, 1994.
1. From Elizabeth Cary’s The Tragedy of
Mariam, 4.6.353. All quotations from the play taken from: Barry
Weller and Margaret Ferguson, eds., The Tragedy of Mariam, The Fair Queen
of Jewry with The Lady Falkland: Her Life by One of Her Daughters
(U of California P, 1994).
2. Tessa Rajak, Josephus: The Historian and His Society (London: Duckworth, 1983). This “tension” is a theme of the book; it informs Rajak’s entire analysis. See, particularly, pp. 44-45, and 219.
3. See Marta Straznicky, “‘Profane Stoical Paradoxes’: The Tragedie of Mariam and Sidnean Closet Drama,” English Literary Renaissance, 24 no. 1 (1994), 111-114. Straznicky here discusses the “politics and didacticism” evident in English closet dramas.
4. Rajak, Josephus, 3.
5. Ibid., 7.
6. “A Chronology of the Life of Josephus and his Era.” http://members.aol.com/fljosephus/joschron.htm (December 1, 1998).
7. Rajak, Josephus, 15-20. Interestingly, Mariam was the last ruling princess of the Hasmoneans.
8. Ibid, 26.
9. Ibid, 31-34.
10. Ibid, 39.
11. Ibid. Chapters 3-6 give a very detailed account of the civil wars and string of “bad” Roman procurators in Judea leading up to the Jewish revolt against Rome, and Josephus’ own participation in the revolt in Galilee. Josephus’ eyewitness account of the war makes up the bulk of his Jewish War, written around 78.
12. All of this biographical information is summarized nicely in the chronology at http://members.aol.com/fljosephus/joschron.htm. A more detailed account of Josephus’ life appears in chapters 1, 5, 6, and 8 of Rajak, Josephus.
13. See Rajak, Josephus, 203-206 for evidence of Roman flattery in Josephus’ writing. Pages 196-200 present Rajak’s argument that Josephus did not write “under contract.”
14. Rajak, Josephus, 185.
15. “Chronology,” http://members.aol.com/fljosephus/joschron.htm
16. Rajak, Josephus, 20.
17. Leonie J. Archer, Her Price is Beyond Rubies: The Jewish Woman in Graeco-Roman Palestine (England: JSOT, 1990), 138.
18. Rajak, Josephus, 21.
19. Archer, Her Price is Beyond Rubies, 219. Archer quotes from Josephus’ Life, 426.
20. See Archer, pp. 218-219.
21. Ibid., 88.
22. Ibid., 208-9. Archer quotes from Josephus’ Against Apion, 2.201.
23. Ibid., 207.
24. Ibid., 152-3.
25. Ibid., 139, from Philo’s On the Special Laws.
26. Ibid., 139.
27. Ibid, 123.
28. Ibid., 124-126.
29. Ibid., 126-131. The worst thing a Jewish woman could do was marry a gentile.
30. Ibid., 217.
31. Ibid., 221-222.
32. Ibid., 48-49.
33. Ibid., 222.
34. Ibid., 248. On the seclusion of women, see pp. 114-117.
35. Ibid., 281-283.
36. Ibid., 283. See pages 209-210 for more information about women’s perceived weakness, irrationality, passivity, and passionate demeanors.
37. Patricia Crawford, “The Construction and Experience of Maternity in Seventeenth-Century England,” in Women as Mothers in Pre-Industrial England, ed. Valerie Fildes (London: Routledge, 1990), 6.
38. Barry Weller and Margaret W. Ferguson, eds., The Tragedy of Mariam, the Fair Queen of Jewry with The Lady Falkland: Her Life, By One of Her Daughters (Berkeley: U of California, 1994), 30.
39. Ibid., 1.
40. Ibid., 3. All subsequent biographical information is taken from the introduction to this volume, pp. 3-17.
41. Ibid., 4-7.
42. Ibid., 5.
43. Ibid., 4 and 7.
44. Ibid., 10. I don’t mean to overemphasize Cary’s eventual conversion to Catholicism. At the time she wrote the play, she was still a practicing—though perhaps skeptical—Anglican.
45. Carole Levin, “Women in the Renaissance,” in Becoming Visible: Women in European History, eds. Bridenthal, Stuard, and Wiesner (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998), 168.
46. Weller and Ferguson, The Tragedy of Mariam, 16, quoted from Selections from Clarendon, 52.
47. Laurie J. Shannon, “The Tragedie of Mariam: Cary’s Critique of the Terms of Founding Social Discourses,” English Literary Renaissance, 24 no. 1 (1994), 151.
48. Ibid., 138.
49. Levin, “Women in the Renaissance,” 155.
50. Nancy A. Gutierrez, “Valuing Mariam: Genre Study and Feminist Analysis,” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, 10 no. 2 (1991), 237.
51. Ibid., 241.
52. Weller and Ferguson, The Tragedy of Mariam, 17-18.
53. Rajak, Josephus, 3.
54. Rajak, Josephus, 237.
55. See Boyd M. Berry, “Feminine Construction of Patriarchy; Or What’s Comic in The Tragedy of Mariam,” Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 7 (1995), 259-262. Berry discusses the first act as presenting “women acting as if freed from patriarchy.”
56. All quotations from Josephus, except where otherwise noted, are taken from Flavius Josephus, “Mariamme,” [selections from] Jewish Antiquites and The Jewish War, translated by Gary J. Goldberg, http://members.aol.com/fljosephus/Mariamme.htm (November 11, 1998).
57. Cf. Thomas Lodge’s 1602 translation of Josephus—the translation Cary used: “she was both chast and faithfull unto him; yet had she a certaine womanly imperfection and naturall frowardnesse, which was the cause that shee presumed too much upon the intire affection wherewith her husband was intangled; so that without regard of his person, who had power and authoritie over others, she entertained him oftentimes very outragiously: All which he endured patiently, without any shew of discontent” (Weller and Ferguson, The Tragedy of Mariam, 279).
58. Cf. Lodge’s translation: “When as about midday the king had withdrawne himselfe into his chamber to take his rest, he called Mariamme unto him to sport with her, being incited thereunto by the great affection that he bare unto her. Upon this his commaund she came in unto him; yet would she not lie with him, nor entertaine his courtings with friendly acceptance, but upbraided him bitterly with her fathers and brothers death” (Weller and Ferguson, 279).
59. Mariam blames herself for her problems with Herod in The Tragedy of Mariam: “Had not myself against myself conspir’d, / No plot, no adversary from without / Could Herod’s love from Mariam have retir’d” (4.8.533-535).
60. Weller and Ferguson, Tragedy of Mariam, 19-20.
61. All quotations from The Tragedy of Mariam are taken from Weller and Ferguson, eds., The Tragedy of Mariam.
62. Cary is able, in a drama, to give individual characters more distinctive personalities and voices than Josephus can in a historical narrative. The substantial differences in these two genres can account for some of the distinctions between character representations. However, I would argue that there is still a lot of common ground for comparison here!
63. See Shannon, “The Tragedie of Mariam,” 138. Mariam earlier remarked, “Mine innocence is hope enough for me” (3.2.180).
64. Herod and Mariam are reunited in Act 4, Scene 3; Herod sentences Mariam to death in Act 4, Scene 4. Mariam is thus condemned after uttering exactly twenty-one lines of dialogue (compared to her speeches earlier in the play, before Herod’s return, Mariam is pretty quiet in these two crucial scenes). Berry also notes the fact that Mariam is practically silenced “after the return of the patriarch” (Berry, “Feminine Construction of Patriarchy,” 262).
65. Karen L. Raber, “Gender and Political Subject in The Tragedy of Mariam,” Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, 35 (1995), 327.
66. Cf. Josephus’ Antiquities 15.7.10: “When Salome happened to quarrel with Constobarus, she sent him a bill of divorce and dissolved her marriage with him, though this was not according to the Jewish laws; for with us it is lawful for a husband to do so; but a wife, if she departs from her husband, cannot of herself be married to another, unless her former husband put her away. However, Salome chose to follow not the law of her country, but the law of her authority, and so renounced the wedlock…” (This excerpt is taken from William Whiston’s translation, available at http://ccel.wheaton.edu/j/josephus/ant-15.htm. I accessed it on December 2, 1998). For Doris’ views of Mariam’s marriage to Herod as adulterous (because, interestingly, she conceives of his divorce as unlawful—sound like Henry VIII?), see 2.3.277-8, 4.8.577-8, and 4.8.577-8 in The Tragedy of Mariam. Weller and Ferguson discuss Mariam and Salome as possible representations of Anne Boleyn on p. 32.
67. Check out Constabarus’ incredible misogynistic tirade in The Tragedy of Mariam, 4.6.310-350.
68. Berry, “Feminine Construction of Patriarchy,” 262.
69. Raber, “Gender and Political Subject…,” 336. Related to this is Gutierrez’s thesis: “Mariam is subversive, not because it advocates woman’s social and intellectual autonomy, but because it realizes the difficulties in implementing such autonomy, however autonomy is defined” (Gutierrez, “Valuing Mariam,” 242).
70. Raber argues that “Mariam’s speech foregrounds the social stigma that applies directly to Cary herself, a woman writing ultimately for public readership” (Raber, “Gender and Political Subject in…Mariam,” 325).
71. The Tragedy of Mariam, 5.1.294—the closing line of the play.