Falstaff loved sack. But who made the sack, and how? What did Hamlet know about poison? What did astrology mean to a couple of star-cross'd lovers back in the day? This unique encyclopedia compiles an enormous breadth of information about Shakespeare's world. More than 200 articles, most accompanied by vivid illustrations, combine rich historical detail with informative, insightful descriptions on the form and function of obscure and everyday items found in Shakespeare's works. Students can look up meanings of specific terms and concepts, and readers, researchers, actors, and audiences will enjoy the lively—and sometimes humorous—essays on myriad topics including anatomy, astronomy, clothing, currency, death, entertainment, hunting, medicine, mythology, tools, weapons, and much more.
A table of weights and measures illuminates such terms as cade, firkin, and hogshead. Maps pinpoint many of the locations mentioned in Shakespeare's plays and poems. Each term notes in which works the item can be found, and a chronology of historical events referenced in Shakespeare's plays concisely identifies the important events that figure in the plays. Teachers can use the index to find each citation of an assigned play, or use the bibliography and topic guide for assignments and research paper ideas. Going beyond mere definitions, the depth of information and illustrations provided in this encyclopedia will give readers a clear sense of the world that Shakespeare knew and wrote about.