Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => The Tudors => Topic started by: LenelorMiksi on November 04, 2007, 02:31:28 PM

Title: Education of Elizabeth I
Post by: LenelorMiksi on November 04, 2007, 02:31:28 PM
Since "Good Queen Bess" was so intelligent, I've grown curious about her humanist education.  Something surprising I read in Carolly Erickson's The First Elizabeth is that "All the children of Henry VIII were strikingly intellectual, Mary in particular, and though Elizabeth followed in her sister's footsteps she did not overtake her."  Imagine that, Mary being smarter than Elizabeth!  However, a few pages later, Carolly goes on to say that "Unlike Mary, who had channeled her outstanding mental gifts... along personal and confessional lines, Elizabeth had never ceased to cultivate her mind..."  Maybe Elizabeth lagged behind her sister at first, but by continuing to learn established herself as being more intellectual.  One amazing attribute was her knowledge of many languages.  Apparently, by her mid-twenties, "she knew six languages better than her own" by Elizabeth's own account.  That would be seven languages! 

1. English
2. Latin
3. Greek
4. French
5. Italian
6. German

The seventh one I can't figure out.
Title: Re: Education of Elizabeth I
Post by: Kimberly on November 04, 2007, 03:53:51 PM
Spanish?
Title: Re: Education of Elizabeth I
Post by: LenelorMiksi on November 05, 2007, 06:15:49 AM
Yes, that would be it, I thought of it while I was going to sleep last night.  She probably spoke with Philip II in Spanish as he was remarkably poor with languages.
Title: Re: Education of Elizabeth I
Post by: umigon on November 05, 2007, 07:36:23 AM

She did speak Spanish, and even had some notions of Welsh!! And, yes, Philip only knew how to speak well in Spanish and Portuguese. He also had some notions of French, but he went more far than that.
Title: Re: Education of Elizabeth I
Post by: LenelorMiksi on November 06, 2007, 06:20:30 PM
Elizabeth also knew a bit of Portuguese, because she read documents in the language with the help of Count Feria. 
Title: Re: Education of Elizabeth I
Post by: umigon on November 07, 2007, 08:11:03 AM

but he went more far than that.

That was meant to be but he never went more far than that
Title: Re: Education of Elizabeth I
Post by: Silja on November 08, 2007, 02:00:36 PM
But Elizabeth wasn't fluent in all these languages. She could read Greek well but she spoke it only tolerably well. In the same way I don't remember having read she actually spoke Spanish and German (actually Flemish I think).
Title: Re: Education of Elizabeth I
Post by: LenelorMiksi on November 08, 2007, 06:27:44 PM
Well, she would have spoken Spanish to her brother-in-law.  Mary probably spoke Spanish to Philip as well, come to think of it.  I wonder if her mother, Catherine of Aragon, taught her Spanish.  I'm thinking the Greek was more for reading old texts in the original language than for conversing. 
Title: Re: Education of Elizabeth I
Post by: Adagietto on November 11, 2007, 11:06:53 AM
Indeed, Classical Greek would be exceedingly difficult to speak; Latin is bad enough.
Title: Re: Education of Elizabeth I
Post by: Prince_Lieven on November 12, 2007, 07:38:24 AM
Well, she would have spoken Spanish to her brother-in-law.  Mary probably spoke Spanish to Philip as well, come to think of it.  I wonder if her mother, Catherine of Aragon, taught her Spanish.  I'm thinking the Greek was more for reading old texts in the original language than for conversing. 
Catherine did teach Mary Spanish, but I've also read that by the time Mary was an adult, she could understand Castellano (the Spanish Philip spoke) but couldn't speak it herself. It'd be quite strange if Elizabeth could speak Spanish but Mary couldn't! I think Philip and Mary mostly spoke to each other in French. Do you know anything about Mary's level of Spanish, umigon? I know it's off topic, but humour me for a moment. ;)
Title: Re: Education of Elizabeth I
Post by: LenelorMiksi on November 12, 2007, 08:08:26 PM
According to Philip of Spain, by Henry Kamen, Mary understood Spanish but did not speak it well.  And, as you said, he spoke in Spanish to her, and she spoke French to him.  I didn't realize that Philip could understand French!  Perhaps Elizabeth did speak French to him, and not Spanish.  Elizabeth first learned Latin when she was 5 or 6- I think she was the most fluent in Latin, French, and Italian.  Elizabeth was the one who boasted about her linguistic abilities, but she was entirely capable of embellishing the truth.  She probably at least understood Spanish & German when it was spoken, but if she could speak those languages as well is another question.
Title: Re: Education of Elizabeth I
Post by: umigon on November 13, 2007, 07:05:32 AM


That's exactly what I was going to say, Lenelor, and I was going to take my quotes from the same book, as well as from "La Casa Real de España", by Juan Balansó. I haven't got any actual proof of this, but I think Mary must have been able not only to understand Spanish, but also to talk a bit of it. Would anyone have forgotten absolutely the language of a mother and a country so dear to them?, I don't think so. I'll try to make some research on this. But it's true that Mary talked to Philip in French and he answered in Spanish.

About Elizabeth speaking Spanish and German, I know I've read it somewhere, although I can't remember where it was... I don't remember if that book specifically said that Elizabeth knew a lot or could just understand maintain an average conversation in those languages... Let's see what others say.

 
Title: Re: Education of Elizabeth I
Post by: mek on February 06, 2008, 08:06:15 PM
Elizabeth spoke Welsh and I don't see that on your list.