The Elizabethan era occurred during Queen Elizabeth I's reign in England. It began in the late 1550s and ended 60 years later, and coincided with an English renaissance in music, literature and poetry. William Shakespeare might be the most popular male writer to emerge from the period. During the era, men were also exploring lands abroad and securing peace at home.
Men and Class Divisions
During the Elizabethan era, men were labelled according to their class. Gentlemen made up the first class. Following the prince, this class consisted of earls, dukes, barons, lords, knights and viscounts. The second class contained burgesses, lawyers, men called into knighthood by the prince, and other types of gentlemen. These classes were followed by merchants, yeomen, day labourers and retailers. Slaves did not exist in Elizabethan England.
Men and Sports
Men engaged in many types of sports during the Elizabethan era, including hammer-throwing, mob football and quarterstaff contests. Men also participated in jousts and tournaments, although they were more for show and pleasure than as a means of settling disputes. The jousts pitted two men against each other. The men sat atop horses and ran at each other carrying a lance and a tilt, hoping to disarm or unhorse his opponent. During this era, bear baiting and bull baiting were also popular. Men also went out on hunting parties in the Elizabethan era. The tradition was not only meant to bring in food, but was also an excuse for men to show off their new hunting clothes, horses and weapons.
Men and Fashion
Men in the Elizabethan era often wore doublets, or buttoned jackets that were fitted to their bodies. Under these they wore linen shirts with ruffs at the wrists and collars. Earlier in the era, they wore hoses and even codpieces. Jerkins, or light-coloured, sleeveless, leather jackets, were also popularly worn during this time. Long cloaks or capes were also sometimes worn by men during the Elizabethan era, often during poor weather.
Men and Science
The Elizabethan era saw scientific discoveries in the fields of astronomy, cartography and land surveying, and most all of these discoveries were attributed to men. English astronomer and mathematician Thomas Harriot was the first man to make a drawing of the moon by looking through a telescope, in 1609. It was also during the Elizabethan era that Sir Francis Drake circled the globe, and the British established their first colony in North America, at Roanoke Island.