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The Core Curriculum

The Wounded Cavalier by William Shakespeare Burton, 1855.

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The Wounded Cavalier by William Shakespeare Burton, 1855, Guildhall Art Gallery, London, UK. 

The English Civil War involved a series of armed battles that took place from 1641-1651 between Royalist supporters of Charles I, then King of England, and Parliamentarians intent on restricting the Absolute sovereign authority of the king (as well as his support  of the Divine Right of Kings). After the execution of Charles I in 1649, the monarchy was replaced first by the republican rule of the Commonweath of England (which ruled through the end of the war) and then by the Protectorate phase, wherein the Commonwealth was presided over by the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. The English monarchy returned in 1660 under the rule of Charles II during the period known as the Restoration.

William Shakespeare Burton’s Pre-Raphaelite painting, The Wounded Cavalier, depicts a scene from the English Civil War in which a wounded royalist soldier is comforted by a Puritan woman while her lover looks on, perhaps in jealousy. The bloody conflict of the English Civil War and the ideological debates marking it played a significant role in both Hobbes’s life and the development of his political theory. Indeed, he fled England during the Civil War in fear of persecution for his pro-royalist writings supporting the theory of Absolute Sovereignty. 


Art Renewal Center ( via Wikimedia Commons.

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