Antiquities and Rarities of several sorts

A large Ostridges Egg

3.8. A large Ostridges Egg, whereon is neatly and fully wrought that famous Battel of Alcazar, in which three Kings lost their lives.

Sir Thomas Browne. Musæum Clausum, 1684

Musæum Clausum, or, Bibliotheca Abscondita: Containing Some remarkable Books, Antiquities, Pictures and Rarities of several kinds, scarce or never seen.

According to John Polemon’s Description of the 1578 battle, “These dead bodies of three kings being brought into one Pavillion, made an horrible spectacle, and wrung tears from the beholders. For what more sorrowfull and horrible a sight could there bee, than to beholde three most mightie kings, that died in one battaile, lying together. The armie of one of whom was vanquished when he lived, & after he was dead did straight waie overcome the armie of the other two kinges: and whereas all three did aspire to the kingdome of Marocco, none of them helde it.”

Sir Thomas Browne had seen an ostrich “in the latter end of James his dayes, at Greenwich, when I was a schoolboy”, and later kept one in his garden, where “it soon ate up all the gilliflowers, tulip-leaves, and fed greedily upon what was green”.


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