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Map after the Great Fire of London in 1666

London, 1666

  • Bright comet seen in the sky (winter 1664)
  • Outbreak of the second Anglo-Dutch War (4 March 1665 – 31 July 1667)
  • The ship London explodes off the shore of Southend-on-Sea in Essex, killing 300 crew (1665, as leaving to fight the Dutch)
  • The Great Plague
  • Great Fire of London: September 2-5, 1666
Four Days' Battle (1 June to 4 June 1666) between the English and the Dutch, one of the longest naval battles to ever take place.

Why did this matter so much?

Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. (Rev 13:18, The New King James Version)
John Dryden's Annus Mirabilis (1667)

Close reading

  • Highlight or underline any words or phrases that seem strange
  • Mark repeated words. Why the repetition?
  • Look up the meaning of words you don't recognize. The OED is a great resource to look up archaic terms.
  • What images are being used?
  • What is the tone of the text?
  • What perspective is the text being written from? What kind of narrator? Why does this matter?

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