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Tudor Minute November 30 – Happy Birthday, Philip Sidney

Tudor Minute November 30


Hey, this is Heather from the Renaissance English History Podcast, and this is your Tudor Minute for November 30.

Today in 1554 Philip Sidney was born. He was a poet, writer, scholar, courtier, and soldier. He is most famous for his poetry, like The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, and was a fixture, with his sister Mary, in the Elizabethan literary circles. He also supported scholars like the Italian mathematician and astronomer Giordano Bruno, who dedicated two books to Philip. Philip is also famous for his death. He was in the army in Zutphen defending the Protestants in the Low Countries against the Catholic Spanish, and he was injured when he was shot in the thigh. He died when his leg became gangrenous, 26 days later, at the age of 31.

As he lay dying, Sidney composed a song to be sung by his deathbed.  According to the story, while lying wounded he gave his water to another wounded soldier, saying, “Thy necessity is yet greater than mine”. This became possibly the most famous story about Sir Phillip. It also inspired evolutionary biologist John Maynard Smith to formulate a problem in signalling theory which is known as the Sir Philip Sidney game, and it deals with the behavior of animals when begging for food from their parents.

That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com.

Episode 083: Mary Sidney

MiniCast Notes: Tudor Poets

Episode 084: Looking up at the sky in Tudor England