Bassianus and Bassano

The first Shakespeare play studied during this "school year" was Titus Andronicus. Before wrapping up for the summer I'd like to come full circle and revisit the character Bassianus from Titus Andronicus. Here's what I wrote previously:

"The name Bassianus (in addition to making allusion to the junior dynasty of the Bassano/Medici and to fallen Byzantium/Byzantius itself) refers back to the Severus dynasty of Emperor Caracalla (from his maternal grandfather Julius Bassianus), whose internal feuding led to the "3rd Century Crisis" in Rome and its defeat by Persia."

Significantly more insight is now possible. Specifically, the contemporary names of Bassianus, Zenobius, and Sassan are linked. Although the Roman Empire of the Bassianus family suffered an apparent collapse, it was renewed from the East by a branch of that same family that ended the Parthian dynasty and founded the Sassanid. The implication for the Elizabethan period is that the Bassano/Medici family would do much the same. Although Byzantium had fallen, the West could be reclaimed by the Bassano/Medici branch of the royal family. This evidently did not happen, however an expectation was being consciously cultivated based on the earlier precedent (and which is amplified by Shakespeare).

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