• Publication Date: June 7, 2022
  • ISBN: 9781554815081 / 1554815088
  • 246 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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  • Publication Date: June 7, 2022
  • ISBN: 9781554815081 / 1554815088
  • 246 pages; 5½" x 8½"

This Broadview Edition of Robert Greene’s Selimus is the first single-volume, modernized edition of this underrated dramatic gem in over a century. First published in 1594, the play grippingly stages the bloody fratricidal warfare inaugurating the reign of Selim I (1512-20) as emperor of the Ottoman Empire. Contributing to the expansion of the range of readily available non-Shakespearean early modern English plays, the edition is designed for scholars and students alike, in the study, classroom, or theatre.

The critically edited text of the play is accompanied by a full introduction, comprehensive annotations, and ample contextual material from the early modern period, including Greene’s pamphlet Greene’s Groatsworth of Wit.


“Having masterfully edited Marlowe’s original for Broadview, Mathew R. Martin now turns his attention to Selimus, one of the so-called ‘Sons of Tamburlaine.’ Martin’s judicious notes, commentary, and appendices ensure that students and scholars alike can make sense of the play’s complex web of Machiavellian intrigue, its engagement with contemporary anxieties about atheism, Islam, and empire, and its place in the repertory of the Queen’s Men.” — Brett Greatley-Hirsch, University of Leeds

“This fine, user-friendly edition does a terrific job of contextualizing and explaining the play, showing its place in Elizabethan theatrical culture and making it newly accessible to readers. It reveals Selimus as not just blood and thunder but also an important document in the history of both Western perceptions of Islam and the emergence of atheism and Machiavellianism as philosophical positions.” — Lisa Hopkins, Sheffield Hallam University

“This edition of Selimus gives us a provocative follow-up to Mathew Martin’s earlier editorial work on The Jew of Malta and Tamburlaine the Great. With an informative introduction and a wealth of detailed annotations, Martin alerts readers to the play’s essential socio-political and cultural contexts, especially those having to do with atheism and with Anglo-Ottoman relations in the medieval and early modern periods. Timely and informative, Martin’s Selimus will appeal as much to scholars and students interested in the eclectic canon of Queen’s Men plays as to book buyers wanting to expand their knowledge of Elizabethan drama.” — Kirk Melnikoff, University of North Carolina Charlotte

Robert Greene: A Brief Chronology of his Life and Times
A Note on the Text

The First Part of the Tragical Reign of Selimus, Sometime Emperor of the Turks

Appendix A: Robert Greene, Greene’s Groatsworth of Wit (1592)

Appendix B: Atheism and Machiavellianism

  • 1. From Innocent Gentillet, A Discourse Upon the Means of Well Governing and Maintaining in Good Peace a Kingdom or Other Principality … Against Nicholas Machiavel the Florentine (1602)
  • 2. Thomas Kyd, Letters to Sir John Puckering about Christopher Marlowe (1593)
  • 3. Richard Baines, “A note containing the opinion of Christopher Marlowe concerning his damnable judgment of religion and scorn of God’s word” (1593)
  • 4. From Francis Bacon, “Of Atheism” (1625)

Appendix C: Early Modern English Representations of Islam

  • 1. From George Whetstone, The English Mirror (1586)
  • 2. From Anonymous, Sir Bevis of Hampton (1585)
  • 3. From Giles Fletcher, The Policy of the Turkish Empire (1597)

Works Cited and Further Reading

Mathew R. Martin is Professor of English Language and Literature at Brock University.