Elizabeth I: Ruler and Legend Images
Banner image from Sphaera Civitatis [The Sphere of State], John Case (Oxford, 1588) Newberry Library, Chicago
Oxford scholar John Case wrote a book of political theory in which Queen Elizabeth's government is depicted as a Ptolemaic universe, with planets in concentric spheres representing Majesty, Prudence, Fortitude, Religious Faith, Mercy, Eloquence, and Prosperity--the moral traits of good government.
Portrait from Sieve Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, circa 1580-83
Circle of Quentin Massys the Younger, Private Collection
Queen Elizabeth's virtue is show symbolically in this portrait by the sieve in her hand, which refers to the Vestal Virgin who proved her chastity by carrying water in a sieve. The globe and decorated column show the Queen's imperial aspirations.