Heywood, Shakespeare and the Mystery of Troye

Douglas Arrell


In a recent article, ‘Heywood, Henslowe and Hercules: Tracking 1 and 2 Hercules in Heywood's Silver and Brazen Ages’ (EMLS, 17.1, 2014), I argued that the two Hercules plays performed by the Admiral's Men in 1595-96 were by Heywood and were adapted by him into the Silver and Brazen Ages. If this argument is valid, it makes it very likely that Heywood also wrote the Troye mentioned in Henslowe's Diary as performed in 1596 and that he later adapted it into 1 and 2 The Iron Age. In the medieval version of Greek mythology, the Trojan War follows closely on the Hercules story. Heywood’s long poem Troia Britanica can be used as a guide to determining the material added to Troye to create the Iron Age plays.  There are many signs that the parts of the Iron Age plays that I propose approximate the original Troye were written in the mid-1590s. The most notable of these is the fact that they influenced Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, written c. 1601. While contemporary scholars have suggested that Heywood was influenced by Shakespeare in writing 1 The Iron Age, I present reasons for believing that the influence went the other way. Recognizing that Shakespeare got much of his Homer from Heywood adds to the doubts expressed by some scholars that Shakespeare used The Iliad as a source.


Thomas Heywood; 1 The Iron Age; 2 The Iron Age; Shakespeare's sources; Troilus and Cressida; Henslowe's Diary; lost plays; Troye; Troia Britanica; The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye; Chapman's Homer; Shakespeare and Homer

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