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CHARLES BUTLER: (1560–1647), sometimes called the Father of English Beekeeping, was a logician, grammarist, author, minister (Vicar of Wootton St Lawrence, near Basingstoke, England), and an influential beekeeper. [via wikipedia]

“It wasn’t until 1586 that it was recognized that the head of the honey bee colony is a female queen. This news was popularized by Charles Butler… prior to that, it was assumed the head of the colony must be a male – a ‘king’. Even William Shakespeare, in Henry V, refers to honey bees living in a kingdom, with a king as ruler.” [via]

“Soon after Queen Elizabeth I died, her beekeeper, Charles Butler, published The Feminine Monarchie (1609).  On the surface, the book reflected a dominant philosophy of seventeenth-century England- that is, nature was a model for human virtue.  Butler wrote of the bees: ‘In their labour and order at home and abroad they are so admirable that they may be a pattern unto men both of one and of the other’ The bees were loyal to the queen, refusing any type of anarchy or oligarchy.  They labored incessantly for the good of the commonwealth.  Therefore, according to historian Kevin Sharpe, ‘The keeping of bees was a pastime that was a lesson in statecraft and also one in personal conduct.’

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