In the same period when George Chapman published his translation of the Iliad, Thomas Heywood was offering Homer's ‘treasure’ to the reputedly lowbrow audience of the Red Bull Theatre. Though the Ages are based on multiple sources, Heywood emphasizes Homer’s importance by using him as a chorus in three of the five plays. Starting with the notion that Heywood's Ages have been understudied and underestimated, this article offers a new angle on those plays by challenging the idea that Heywood and Chapman stand at opposite ends of the literary and cultural spectrum — Chapman's elitist presentation contrasting with Heywood's vulgarizing enterprise. Rather, it seeks to obtain a fuller perception of the Ages by relocating them within the network of interactions that was the literary and theatrical milieu of the time. The article shows that Heywood engages with Homer in a variety of ways, both mediated and unmediated. It highlights Heywood's interest in Chapman, which suggests the Ages may be a dramatic response to his rival's translation. Finally, it looks at how both English authors use Homer for self-fashioning purposes, and how the stage character sheds light not only on the playwright but on the Red Bull audience and their skills.

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