Basilikon doron

views updated Jun 08 2018

Basilikon doron (1598), a manual on the practice of kingship, was written by James I and VI for his eldest son, Prince Henry. Though less polemical in tone than The Trew Law of Free Monarchies, composed about the same time, it made apparent James's exalted view of kingly power. James wrote the Basilikon doron for his own enjoyment and initially distributed it only among his family and close friends. Mass publication, in England, came in March 1603, on the eve of James's accession to the English throne, when the Basilikon quickly became a best seller and fuelled fears of the new king's absolutist tendencies.

Roger Lockyer