London’s Mirror: Civic Ritual and the Crowd

  • Ian Munro
Part of the Early Modern Cultural Studies book series (EMCSS)


For James I’s ceremonial entry into London in 1604, seven arches were erected at prominent points in the procession through the city.2 The arches were crowned with various iconographic and allegorical figures: in Cheapside there was a representation of the Garden of Plenty, showing Fortune attended by Peace and Plenty; in Soper-Lane stood Nova Felix Arabia presided over by Fame and the Five Senses; in Temple Bar was the Temple of Janus, which showed Mars groveling at the feet of Peace. The most striking, and now most famous, of the arches was Ben Jonson’s creation for Fenchurch Street, called the Londinium Arch. The entire top portion of the arch was given over to a panorama of London. Unlike the other arches, culminating in desiderata and pseudomythical constructs, here the focus was a detailed scale model of a real and contemporary fact of life: the fact of life, perhaps, for those who lived in the city.


Social Drama Pageant Text Late Sixteenth Century Ideal City Direct Theatrical Reference 
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© Ian Munro 2005

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  • Ian Munro

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