Marlowe, the ‘Mad Priest of the Sun’, and Heliogabalus
Keywords:Marlowe, Heliogabalus, Greene,
Robert Greene’s reference in his preface to Perimedes the Blacke-Smith to another writer, apparently Christopher Marlowe, ‘blaspheming with the mad preest of the sonne’ is frequently regarded as associating Marlowe with the philosopher and heliocentrist Giordano Bruno. This essay sets out the evidence for identifying the mad priest with the Roman emperor Heliogabalus (AD 203-22), the subject of a lost play mentioned in the Stationers’ Register in 1594. The early modern reputation of Heliogabalus is delineated with the aim of establishing what Greene may have meant by the allusion.
Contributors to Early Theatre retain full copyright to their content. All published authors are required to grant a limited exclusive license to the journal. According to the terms of this license, authors agree that for one year following publication in Early Theatre, they will not publish their submission elsewhere in the same form, in any language, without the consent of the journal, and without acknowledgment of its initial publication in the journal thereafter.