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Eikon Basilike

Eikon Basilike (Īˈkŏn bəsĭlˈĭkē) [key] [Gr., = royal image], subtitled "the Portraiture of His Sacred Majesty in His Solitudes and Sufferings," a work published soon after the execution of Charles I of England in 1649. It purports to be the king's spiritual autobiography. Written in simple, direct, and moving language, it ran into many editions and was translated into several languages. After the Restoration, John Gauden claimed authorship of the book, and this claim is still a subject of scholarly controversy. Because of the favorable image it created of the king, John Milton was assigned by the regicides to reply to it, which he did in his Eikonoklastes (1649). The name is also spelled Icon Basilike and Ikon Basilike.

See edition by P. A. Knachel (1966); bibliography by F. F. Madan (1950).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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