Sir Thomas More
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More, Sir Thomas(Saint Thomas More), 1478–1535, English statesman and author of Utopia, celebrated as a martyr in the Roman Catholic Church. He received a Latin education in the household of Cardinal Morton and at Oxford. Through his contact with the new learning and his friendships with ColetColet, John
, 1467?–1519, English humanist and theologian. While studying on the Continent (1493–96), Colet became interested in classical scholarship and in theories of education. After his residency at Oxford as a lecturer, in 1505 he became dean of St.
..... Click the link for more information. , LylyLyly or Lilly, John
, 1554?–1606, English dramatist and prose writer. An accomplished courtier, he also served as a member of Parliament from 1589 to 1601.
..... Click the link for more information. , and ErasmusErasmus
or Desiderius Erasmus
[Gr. Erasmus, his given name, and Lat., Desiderius=beloved; both are regarded as the equivalent of Dutch Gerard, Erasmus' father's name], 1466?–1536, Dutch humanist, b. Rotterdam.
..... Click the link for more information. , More became an ardent humanist. As a successful London lawyer, he attracted the attention of Henry VIIIHenry VIII,
1491–1547, king of England (1509–47), second son and successor of Henry VII. Early Life
In his youth he was educated in the new learning of the Renaissance and developed great skill in music and sports.
..... Click the link for more information. , served him on diplomatic missions, entered the king's service in 1518, and was knighted in 1521. More held important government offices and, despite his disapproval of Henry's divorce from Katharine of AragónKatharine of Aragón,
1485–1536, first queen consort of Henry VIII of England; daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragón and Isabella of Castile. In 1501 she was married to Arthur, eldest son of Henry VII.
..... Click the link for more information. , he was made lord chancellor at the fall of WolseyWolsey, Thomas
, 1473?–1530, English statesman and prelate, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. Early Career
Educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, Wolsey served for a while as master of the Magdalen College school. He was ordained a priest in 1498.
..... Click the link for more information. (1529). He resigned in 1532 because of ill health and probably because of increasing disagreement with Henry's policies. Because of his refusal to subscribe to the Act of Supremacy, which impugned the pope's authority and made Henry the head of the English Church, he was imprisoned (1534) in the Tower and finally beheaded on a charge of treason.
A man of noble character and deep, resolute religious conviction, More had great personal charm, unfailing good humor, piercing wit, and a fearlessness that enabled him to jest even on the scaffold. His UtopiaUtopia
[Gr.,=no place], title of a book by Sir Thomas More, published in Latin in 1516. The work pictures an ideal state where all is ordered for the best for humanity as a whole and where the evils of society, such as poverty and misery, have been eliminated.
..... Click the link for more information. (published in Latin, 1516; tr. 1551) is a picture of an ideal state founded entirely on reason. Among his other works in Latin and English are a translation of The Life of John Picus, Earl of Mirandula (1510); a History of Richard III, upon which Shakespeare based his play; a number of polemical tracts against the Lutherans (1528–33); devotional works including A Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation (1534) and a Treatise on the Passion (1534); poems; meditations; and prayers. More was beatified (1886) by a decree of Pope Leo XIII, canonized (1935) by Pius XI, and proclaimed (2000) the patron saint of politicians by John Paul II.
See his complete works (16 vol., 1963–85) and his correspondence, ed. by E. F. Rogers (1947), which contains all his letters except those to Erasmus. The biography of More by his son-in-law William Roper (ed. by E. V. Hitchcock, 1935) has been the principal source of later biographies, particularly the standard modern biography by R. W. Chambers (1935). See also biographies by R. Marius (1985) and P. Ackroyd (1998); studies by R. Pineas (1968), R. Johnson (1969), E. E. Reynolds (1965 and 1969); G. M. Logan (1983), and A. Fox (1985).