“A Pattern to All Princes”: Locating the Queen of Sheba
This chapter argues that the figure of the Queen of Sheba needs to be added to the list of prominent poetic surrogates assumed by the English Queen Elizabeth I in the final years of her reign. It traces the ways in which the Biblical figure of Sheba, and her defining encounter with King Solomon, are deliberately appropriated in the last decades of the sixteenth century to reflect new Elizabethan diplomatic and mercantile priorities. Fashioning Elizabeth as Sheba foregrounds an international dimension to her fame and was intended to enable the English queen to resonate in the Islamic courts of Marrakesh and Constantinople, where Elizabeth’s emissaries sought to promote English interests at a time of conflict with Spain.
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