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By Morten St. George

Giovanni Florio is more commonly known as John Florio. He was born in England, but his father, Michelangelo Florio, was Italian and may have named him Giovanni. Michelangelo's literary masterpiece was entitled "Giovanna Graia," which leads us to suspect that Giovanni was named after Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days' Queen. But Giovanni himself wanted to be called John. Despite his name, he was as much of a true English patriot as anyone ever was. This website calls him Giovanni mainly to tease Shakespearean scholars, whose snobbery causes them to think that the greatest writer in English literature had to have been a pure-blooded Englishman.

Wikimedia: John Florio

When still an infant, Giovanni was taken to live in Switzerland, and then, at age 10, he was sent to school in Germany. He later attended university in Germany, where he acquired a broad education in the humanities.

Like Elizabeth, queen of England, Giovanni was infatuated with languages and, when back in England, he worked for a time as an instructor of French and Italian. As an expert in the French language (he was assigned as assistant to Miguel de Castelnau, the French ambassador in London), Giovanni was would have been capable of reading or writing the Nostradamus prophecies.

Though Giovanni is not recorded as having been a spy, his work at the French Embassy in London, his close friendship with Giordano Bruno (a spy), and his use of "Christopher Marlowe" (another spy) as a pen name, all suggest that he was. His father Michelangelo lived in the household of William Cecil (the English Secretary of State) for whom he worked as secretary. Michelangelo is reported to have had a "morality" fallout with Cecil but made amends by getting married. Neither the name nor the nationality of Giovanni's mother is known, which is something normally not unusual for that epoch but is in this case because the conflict between Michelangelo and Cecil over this woman got into the history books.

Wikipedia says that Michelangelo "probably knew, and perhaps even taught the future queen Elisabeth." Elizabeth is known to have been capable of writing in Italian at age 11, and this impressionable young girl may have been particularly attracted to Italians. She would have been around 19 years old at the time of Giovanni's birth. With the ascension of Mary to the throne, and the imprisonment of Elizabeth, it became necessary to get that infant out of the country as quickly as possible.

Giovanni never forgot his Italian origins and he set quite a few of his Shakespearean plays in Italy. More than a dozen plays are set partially or exclusively in Italy. Giovanni's Jewish ancestry (and possibly a contact made by his father years earlier) probably led to his encounter with the cabalist who is described in the New Atlantis. Through his work at the French Embassy in London, Giovanni would have been able to introduce the cabalist to Gamboa and Bruno, resulting in the formation of the Fraternity of the Rose Cross. His Jewish ancestry may have also influenced or inspired the writing of The Jew of Malta (Marlowe) and The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare).

By the latest theory, Giovanni was born in 1552 or 1553 (there is some uncertainty on this point) as the son of Michelangelo Florio and Elizabeth Tudor, then just a teenager. (Though Michelangelo lived in the household of William Cecil, Giovanni is reported to have been born in the Spring of 1553 in the household of John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland; separately, there were rumors that Elizabeth had a child with Dudley's son and that this child "had been hidden away.") Of course, so far there is no hard proof that the "Virgin Queen" had a son, but a lot of circumstantial evidence supports this possibility.

"The Fama Fraternitatis -- an allegorical history of the creation of the Fraternity of the Rose Cross -- indicates that one of the founding fathers of this Fraternity was of noble parents. There are no signs of royal blood in the ancestry of Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, Giordano Bruno, Isaac Luria, nor with Giovanni's father. Thus, the only possibility of nobility is the great unknown: Giovanni's mother. Chances are fair to good that Giovanni, alias William Shakespeare, really was the son of Elizabeth Tudor, who later became Queen Elizabeth I." --Morten St. George

An argument can be made that Giovanni's mother was more likely to have been Lady Jane Grey rather than Elizabeth. Michelangelo Florio taught both teenagers, and Giovanni was clearly named after "Giovanna Graia." In the "spring of 1553" (the reported time of Giovanni's birth), Jane was betrothed to Lord Guildford Dudley, son of John Dudley whose household was the reported place of Giovanni's birth. Jane became queen of England a few months later (and was beheaded by the Catholics not long after that), so whether his mother was Jane or Elizabeth, Giovanni would have been the only child of an English queen. Indeed, in view of all the support given to the Shakespeare conspiracy by Elizabeth and her Privy Council, Giovanni is unlikely to have been a commoner.

Note that the Fama Fraternitatis is a cryptic communication not intended to provide factual information in an intelligible way. Nonetheless, the Fama states that the Rosicrucian of noble blood was sent away to study Greek and Latin when he was five years old; this happened to Giovanni when he was seven years old, which is close enough to establish him as the nobleman in question. For evidence that Giovanni was son of Queen Lady Jane Grey, please see Morten St. George's article The Story of Giovanni and Giovanni available in PDF format.

As Protestant heir to the throne of England (apparently something that he wanted no part of), Giovanni would have been the primary target of Counter-Reformation assassins. (It cannot, however, be assumed that they believed Giovanni's literary career was more important than the Crown: one of the ancient predictions inserted into their Nostradamus publication -- the Senate of London shall put their King to death -- could hardly be ignored; other predictions were openly dated 1607 and 1609, so they likely saw this as occurring in the relatively near future but in fact the execution of the English king did not occur until 1649.) Nonetheless, this explains the need to hide under pen names, ideally real life people, whether dead or alive, because fictional names would only cause people to stop at nothing to track down and identify the real author. This scenario also explains why the Royal Court would support, if not itself initiate, the authorship conspiracy.

It can likewise be assumed that Elizabeth (or possibly Cecil) financed Giovanni's magnificent education in Germany. During the early years of her reign, she probably wanted him to remain there, in Germany, safe from potential Counter-Reformation turmoil in England. Upon his return to England (rebellions against the queen had subsided), Giovanni took courses at Oxford and then apparently went to work for the British secret service (which protected his mother), where he became a close friend of Giordano Bruno. Also through his connection with the secret service, Giovanni very likely had contact with Christopher Marlowe, his first pen name.

Wikipedia claims that Giovanni was "a possible friend and influence on William Shakespeare." The sarcastic "Read, if thou canst" remark on the monument alongside Shakespeare's grave suggests that they were not even remotely "friends" but Shakespeare's life was certainly impacted. A connection may have been established through Richard Field, a native of the town of Stratford, where Richard's father had business dealings with Shakespeare's father. Through marriage in the year 1588/9, Richard gained control of a semi-clandestine Huguenot printing press in London, which is suspected of having printed -- with fraudulent French imprints -- the first two editions of Giovanni's Nostradamus.

A few years earlier, the London Huguenots published the heretical writings of Giordano Bruno, Giovanni's best friend, so it is virtually certain that Giovanni had contact with that print shop. A few years later, Richard's shop printed Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, the earliest publications in the name of Shakespeare, both dedicated to the Earl of Southampton.

Per Wikipedia, Giovanni lived for some years with the Earl of Southampton, who is widely believed to be the "Fair Youth" of the Shakespearean sonnets, and perhaps his ties to Giovanni could explain how the Earl managed to evade the death penalty for high treason. Wikipedia also notes that Giovanni was Clerk of the Closet to Queen Anne of Denmark, instructing her in languages as well, and likely that is how he acquired insider knowledge of the royal court of Denmark for additions and amendments to Hamlet.

The Marlowe Connection

As already postulated, "Christopher Marlowe" was the first pen name of the real Shakespeare, and Marlowe would therefore be the easiest route to tracking down the true author. The following citations are from Wikipedia:

"The first known printed source of the legend of Faust is a small chapbook bearing the title Historia von D. Johann Fausten, published in 1587."

"The early Faust chapbook, while in circulation in northern Germany, found its way to England, where in 1592 an English translation was published ... Christopher Marlowe used this work as the basis for his more ambitious play, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus ."

The Perseus Digital Library gives the date of publication of the English translation as between May 1992 and December 1992.

"Doctor Faustus was first published in 1604, eleven years after Marlowe's death and at least twelve years after the first performance of the play."

This sets the first performance in the year 1592 at the latest. Experts in the field theatrical science say that it should take a genius roughly six months to write a play of the caliber of Marlowe or Shakespeare.

"In 1592 Marlowe was arrested in the town of Flushing in the Netherlands for his alleged involvement in the counterfeiting of coins."

Marlowe was locked up and shipped back to England in chains. Of course, some may argue that the chains were no handicap but, realistically, unless Wikipedia makes a major error on some point, Marlowe did not have the time needed to write Faustus in 1592 and get it performed in London that same year.

If, hypothetically, the German Faustbuch had been written and published by one Doctor Deutsch in the early 16th century, we could conclude that Marlowe knew how to read German. But, in reality, the Faustbuch was published in 1587 under anonymous authorship. In these circumstances, we must conclude that Marlowe did not read the Faustbuch; he wrote it, and then based his English-language play on his Germanic work.

It is now believed that Giovanni began writing Faustbuch when attending university in Germany and later finished it in England (1580s), possibly relying on his friend Giordano Bruno to carry the manuscript to Germany for publication there. Bruno wandered into Germany in 1586. In 1587, the Faustbuch (Historia von D. Johann Fausten) was published in the German city of Frankfurt. In 1592, just prior to being arrested, Bruno told his host in Venice that he was planning to go to Frankfurt to publish his latest book, which suggests that he had prior contact with a printer there. (In his wanderings, Bruno also visited Prague where he is suspected of having delivered quite a different type of manuscript to the astrologer John Dee.)

Giovanni's Historia von D. Johann Fausten was his first anonymous book in German. His second anonymous book in German, the Fama Fraternitatis des löblichen Ordens des Rosencreutzes, became even more famous than the first. Note that both titles begin in Latin and then transition into German. Having grown up in Germany, Giovanni was the only Shakespearean candidate capable of writing in German.

Parts of Faustus reflect insider knowledge of the ancient prophecies and Giovanni is unlikely to have acquired this knowledge prior to the formation of the Rose Cross in 1585. The play reportedly underwent several revisions and expansions over the years and it remains to be determined when the prophecy-related sections were added.

The Nostradamus Connection

It has been reported that authors tend to maintain the same percentage of four, five, and six letter words out of every one thousand words that they write, regardless of topic. The major Shakespearean candidates have been tested with this technique and among them only Christopher Marlowe matched William Shakespeare and precisely so. This result is not surprising since we already know -- by means of textual comparisons with the prophecies of Nostradamus -- that the plays of Marlowe and the plays of Shakespeare were written by the same person.

This technique for author identification, however, can only apply to works written in the same language. Surprisingly, though Shakespeare is universally acknowledged as having expertise in many languages, it seems no one has ever imagined that he might have been capable of writing an entire book in a foreign language. This lack of imagination is undoubtedly attributable to Stratfordian brainwashing, that is, with it already being hard to believe that this uneducated person from Stratford could write in English, saying that he also wrote famous works in the French, German, and Latin languages would be really pushing it.

Expressions and the length of words change from language to language, but concepts, beliefs, et cetera, are language independent. For example, let's imagine that the author has a personal dislike for married life:

FAUSTBUCH (translated from German)

"Therefore sweete Faustus, thinke with what vnquiet life, anger, strife, & debate thou shalt liue in when thou takest a wife: therefore change thy minde."


"How now, sir knight! why, I had thought thou hadst been a bachelor, but now I see thou hast a wife, that not only gives thee horns, but makes thee wear them."


"is the forehead of a married man more honourable than the bare brow of a bachelor;"

"Diana no queen of virgins
DIANA. Marry that will, I live and die a maid."

"Ay, marry, there; some flattery for this evil."

FAMA FRATERNITATIS (translated from German)

"so in all they were eight in number, all bachelors and of vowed virginity, by whom was collected a book or volume of all that which man can desire, wish, or hope for."

Whereas "bachelors" is a word often applied to males, the German "Jungfrawshafft" (virginity) generally applies to females, so we should have a mixture of the sexes here. We can therefore count the Virgin Queen (Elizabeth I) as one of the eight contributors to the indicated book which, of course, is the prophecies of Nostradamus. The "filia Bensalem" of the Nova Atlantis is yet another indication that one of the Rosicrucians was a female.

NOVA ATLANTIS (translated from Latin)

"And the depraved custom of change, and the delight in meretricious embracements (where sin is turned into art), maketh marriage a dull thing, and a kind of imposition or tax."

NOSTRADAMUS (translated from French)

"He shall take Diana for his day and rest,
Far he shall wander by frenetic head,
And delivering a great people from imposition."

Already in Nostradamus (published 1589) we find the inspiration for the horns of Marlowe, the forehead of Shakespeare, the heroine Diana, and the "imposition" of Nova Atlantis. Amazing. Decades of antagonism toward marriage was all based on the misinterpretation of an ancient prophecy. The Inca did not take Diana for his wife, and Diana did not drive him crazy. The prophecy merely indicates that he shall choose a Monday for the day of his beheading. Diana was the Roman Moon goddess!

Earlier, abstract derivatives were illustrated with the "Neptune" theme. Here, the "Bachelor" theme is another example of an abstract derivative. As you may have surmised, abstract derivatives are a powerful tool for author identification: words can be copied and rearranged by anyone, but only the same mind can derive the same wild concoctions from those words.

The Shakespeare Authorship Trust is an organizatioin that promotes reasonable doubt regarding Shakespeare authorship and then proceeds to identify nearly a dozen individuals who could have written the famous plays. Of course, there are major flaws with every one of their candidates and none of them (excepting possibly the Group Theory) has a realistic chance of having written the Shakespearean canon. Mysteriously, and surprisingly, Giovanni Florio -- the topic of this page -- is not considered by them as worthy of consideration.

Giovanni Florio has every quality and expectation that is lacking in William of Stratford: a vast education in the humanities (garnished in Germany), courses at Oxford (acquiring additional strength in English), acknowledged multilingual capabilities (royal instructor in French and Italian), Italian origins (many plays were set in Italy), Jewish ancestry (evident in a few plays), extensive royal family contact (including Queen Anne of Denmark), friendship with the Earl of Southampton (dedications and theme of the sonnets), plenty of spare time to do lots of writing by having few commitments, a long life span (1553 - 1625) covering Marlowe's plays from the 1580s to the publication of the First Folio in 1623, and, most importantly, ample access to books including the library at Oxford (he took courses there), the library of William Cecil (his father was Cecil's secretary) and the magnificent library of John Dee (a fellow Rosicrucian).

For the contrary point of view, it has been argued that the French to English translation of Montaigne's Essays, attributed to Giovanni, is not up to the literary standard of a Shakespeare. However, if Giovanni wrote Shakespeare, then we are obviously dealing with a conspiracy that wanted to conceal the identity of the author, and thus one cannot expect Giovanni to be the Montaigne translator because a work in the quality of Shakespeare would immediately point the finger at him. Indeed, after initiation of the Shakespeare conspiracy, it is doubtful that the Rosicrucian brotherhood would have published anything at all in the real name of one of its founders and there are many indications that they deliberately created false trails. As for Montaigne, a careful comparison of his Essays with the Essays of Sir Francis Bacon point to Bacon (a friend of the Rosicrucians who was strong in the French language) as the translator. In an apparent return of favors, as will be demonstrated on the next page, the Nova Atlantis, attributed to Bacon, was almost certainly authored by Giovanni though Bacon may have translated it from Latin to English.

Regarding reports that Shakespeare's sources included books or manuscripts that were not available in England, one must take note that Montaigne had one of the finest libraries in France, some 1,500 volumes, and through Bacon or others, works from that library could have reached Giovanni who was assuredly an avid pursuer of books.

As for the Shakespeare Authorship Trust, the readers of this page are welcome to inform them that their organization -- which refuses to recognize Giovanni as a viable candidate -- is a travesty and makes a mockery of human intelligence. But that was not said with malintent: they really do need to put aside their racial bias against Italians and add Giovanni to the list of candidates. For the reasons just outlined, Giovanni is a strong candidate.

By the latest theories of Morten St. George, Giovanni created the characters and plot of the comedies and tragedies of Shakespeare but William Stanley, the Earl of Derby, did the actual writing. To familiarize yourself with Will Derby, please consult Wikipedia's article "Derbyite theory of Shakespeare authorship." Additional information on Morten St. George's theories regarding Shakespearean authorship, including comments on Derby, can be gathered from his newsgroup posts:
Google Groups Shakespeare
Do a search on "Morten St. George" to find the threads in which he has posted.

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