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Eikon basilike or King's Book was one of the most successful books ever published and established Charles I's reputation as a martyr. It came out within hours of the king's execution in January 1649 and was a strange mixture of prayer and political commentary. Forty-six editions are said to have been called for within a year. Though purporting to be by the king, authorship was later claimed by John Gauden, appointed bishop of Exeter and then Worcester after the Restoration on the strength of it. Perhaps the greatest impact was made by a woodcut as frontispiece showing Charles at his devotions.
J. A. Cannon
Eikon Basilike a book, published about the date of his execution (1649), claiming to be meditations by Charles I, and for a long time so regarded; the title is Greek, and means literally ‘royal image’. It was exceedingly popular, going through 49 editions, to the extent that a reply by Parliament was thought necessary, and Eikonoklastes published in the same year.
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