Deniers and ducats, groats and guilders, crowns and cruzados: this fun, engaging and beautifully illustrated little book explores the role of money and medals in William Shakespeare's world and work.
Shakespeare made use of coinage as a fertile source of metaphor; a means of giving crucial information on status and character; a plot device and a way of adding local colour in both dramatic verse and comic dialogue. This title reveals the meaning behind the metaphors, exploring the significance of money in Shakespeare's life and career. Full of intriguing facts and literary quotations that reveal how much people were paid and how much things cost in Shakespeare's world – looking in detail at the theatre, trading and shopping, borrowing and lending, and currency and how it changed. This book showcases coins and medals that illustrate the personalities and mark the events of the late Elizabethan and Jacobean world; from the Spanish Armada, to the union of England and Scotland, the gunpowder plot and the death of Prince Henry. A lively and accessible introduction that, in its breadth and insights, will appeal to historians and theatre lovers as well as numismatists and coin enthusiasts.
Published to coincide with an exhibition at the British Museum (19 April –28 October 2012), part of the Cultural Olympiad and the World Shakespeare Festival.