Friday, September 17, 2021

"Die Sonne geht in meinem Staat nicht unter": The extent of the sixteenth-century Spanish Empire and Friedrich Schiller's "Don Karlos"

In Friedrich Schiller's "Don Karlos", King Philip II of Spain (the title character's father) describes his kingdom with a phrase now primarily associated with Britain: "Die Sonne geht in meinem Staat nicht unter" ("The sun does not set in my state"). Schiller's play was first performed in 1787; its action takes place in 1568 (at the beginning of the Eighty Years' War of Dutch independence from Spain). Before it was used with reference to the British Empire, then, the phrase about "the sun never setting" was applied to the sixteenth-century Spanish Empire, beginning with the reign of Philip II's father Charles I (of Spain, Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire).  (Andrew Shields, #111words, 17 September 2021)

Dom Carlos 1787.jpg

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