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Anon. (1594)

Historical Records

Henslowe’s Diary

F.9 (Greg I.17):
ye 26 of June 1594
R[d] at galiaso . . .
iijli iiijs

F.9v (Greg I. 18):
ye 12 of Julye 1594

R[d] at galiaso . . .

ye 23 of Julye 1594

R[d] at galiaso . . .

ye 5 of aguste 1594

R[d] at galiaso . . .
xxiijs vjd

ye 12 of aguste 1594

R[d] at galliaso . . .

ye 21 of aguste 1594

R[d] at galiaso . . .
xxjs vjd

F.10 (Greg I. 19):
ye 10 of septmb[er] 1594

R[d] at galiaso . . .

ye 29 of septmb[er] 1594

R[d] at galiaso . . .

F.10v (Greg I. 20):
ye 25 of octob[er] 1594

R[d] at galleaso . . .

Theatrical Provenance

The play is the first “ne” offering by the Admiral’s Men on their return to the Rose in June of 1594 from the 10-day run at Newington.

Probable Genre(s)

Unknown (Harbage)

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

(see “For What It's Worth” below)

References to the Play

No contemporary references known.

Critical Commentary

Greg II.165 (Item 45) acknowledges that “[n]othing is known of this play”.

Gurr appears to turn the title of the play into a character’s name and to cast Edward Alleyn in the role with the following sentence: “In the third week of August 1594, for instance, on Monday the 17th they [audiences at the Rose] saw Alleyn as Marlowe’s Lord High Admiral of France, on Tuesday as Tasso, on Wednesday as King Henry I confronting the clown Belin Dun, on Thursday he was the hero of The Ranger’s Comedy, on Friday Galiaso and on Saturday he stalked as the heroic Cutlack” (p. 50). In the Appendix (p. 205) Gurr does not conjecture on the subject matter of the play.

For What It's Worth

In the single instance where the play title is spelled as “galleaso” (25 October), Henslowe opens a remote possibility that the Admiral’s Men acquired a play with some connection to a Spanish ship, the defeat of which is celebrated in a ballad by Thomas Deloney (S. R. 10 August, printed 1588). The title of the ballad says it all: “A joyful new Ballad, declaring the happie obtaining of the great Galleazzo, wherein Don Pietro de Valdez was the chiefe, through the mightie power and providence of God, being a speciall token of his gracious and fatherly goodness toward us, to the great encouragement of all those that willingly fight in the defence of his gospel, and our good Queene of England” (to the tune of “Mounseurs Almaigne”). Mann, "Miscellaneous Ballads"

Opening with a call to England to give thanks on its knees for its deliverance from the Spaniards and the Pope of Rome, the ballad describes the rallying cry by “our Lord high Admirall” (l. 20) against the Goliath-like advantage of the enemy ship, which trained its hundred cannons on the plucky English barks. The captain of the galleon, Don Hugo de Moncaldo [Monçada], was killed in the attack by a shot in the head; not a single English ship was lost. The ballad concludes with praise of England, rejoicing that its virgins will not be deflowered by the invaders and its queen not stripped of life and crown. The penultimate stanza addresses the “deare bretheren” [l. 89], who fought so bravely and whom the queen will greet “euery one” [l. 93]. The final stanza is a prayer.

F. O. Mann (p. 597), commenting on Deloney’s ballad, provides a link to Camden, Annalls of Elizabeth, 1625, and its account of the events of 21 July 1588, when Pedro de Valdez’s galleon was taken (pp. 269-70). Mann further provides the link to Camden for a description of the victory over de Monçada’s galleon on 29 July. Mann provides a link also to Froude’s History of England, vol. xii, pp. 396-7, and 414-5.

The spelling (“galleaso”) also suggests Gian Galeazzo Visconti, named first Duke of Milan in 1395; he received the title from the Emperor Wenceslaus for 100,000 crowns. This Galeazzo engaged in wars to unite Northern Italy and building projects for the church, but these accomplishments do not seem ready-made for theatrical production in England in 1594. However, he has interesting connections. His father, Galeazzo II Visconti, was a patron of Petrarch as well as the supporter of quaresima, a form of torture particularly cruel even in its own day. His wife was the daughter of the French king, John. His elder son, Gian Maria, was assassinated by his own servants to end a particularly nasty reign that included imprisoning his mother and having his enemies eaten by dogs (Stow, EEBO). Gian Galeazzo intended to disinherit his sons; he named Alphonso, King of Aragon, as his heir but the manuever did not succeed. Were Robert Greene still alive in 1594, it might be plausible that he could cobble together a dramatic narrative out of various Galeazzo biographies as he did for his play on Alphonsus, but otherwise it is difficult to imagine what might have caught a playwright's imagination here. An additional problem is how a dramatist might know the story of Gian Galeazzo. William Thomas published a history of Italy in 1549, and Greene is said to have used two Italian histories in Latin (one by B. Fazio, 1560, 1563; another by A. Timannus, 1573). Thomas Heywood knew enough in 1609 in Troia Britanica to list "Iohn Galeazo" as a contemporary of John of Gaunt (EEBO, st. 68). Stow's Abridgement of the English Chronicle knew enough in 1618 to provide a thumbnail biography of "Iohn Galias of Galiaso" (EEBO).

Even more remote than Gian Galeazzo Visconti is Duke Galeazzo Sforsa who figures in several stories in Matteo Bandello’s Novelle. One story is entitled “A shrewd device of Duke Galeazzo Sforza to hoodwink one of his councillors, whose wife he enjoyed on Amorous Wise”; another is titled “Duke Galeazzo Sforza maketh Cagnuola his privy councillor, finding him just and firm in his judgments.” Still another is called “Galeazzo carries off a damsel from Padua, and then through jealousy kills both her and himself” (Payne, I.#18 Internet Archive)

Works Cited

Gurr, Andrew. Shakespeare’s Opposites: The Admiral’s Company 1594-1625. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Print.

Mann, Francis Oscar. The Works of Thomas Deloney. Oxford: Clarendon, 1912. Print. Internet Archive

Payne, John (trans.) The Novels of Matteo Bandello. 6 vols. London: Villon Society, 1890.

Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; updated, 26 August 2009.,