Famous 16th Century Playwrights

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 1 
Christopher Marlowe
(Playwright, Poet)
Christopher Marlowe
7
Birthdate: February 26, 1564
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Canterbury, Kent, England
Died: May 30, 1593

English playwright, poet, and translator, Christopher Marlowe, was one of the major literary figures of the Elizabethan era. It is believed that he greatly influenced his contemporary William Shakespeare. He led a troubled life and died young under mysterious circumstances. Despite his early death, he is regarded as one of the foremost dramatists of the 16th century London.  

 2 
Miguel de Cervantes
8
Birthdate: September 29, 1547
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Alcalá de Henares, Spain
Died: April 22, 1616

Miguel de Cervantes was a Spanish writer best known for his work Don Quixote, which is considered one of the high points of world literature. He is regarded as one of the greatest novelists of all time and the greatest writer to ever write in the Spanish language. His works have influenced other works of art like music and paintings.

 3 
Ben Jonson
(Dramatist, Poet & Actor)
Ben Jonson
8
Birthdate: June 11, 1572
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Westminster, London, England
Died: August 6, 1637
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 4 
William Shakespeare
(English Playwright & Poet Who is Regarded as the Greatest Writer in the English Language)
William Shakespeare
23
Birthdate: April 26, 1564
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Stratford-upon-Avon, England
Died: April 23, 1616

English playwright, poet, and actor William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. He is also often called England's national poet. Many of his works have been translated into other languages and his plays continue to be produced till day. Popular during his lifetime, he acquired an iconic status after his death.

 5 
Lope de Vega
(Writer and One of the Key Figures in the Spanish Golden Age of Baroque Literature)
Lope de Vega
7
Birthdate: November 25, 1562
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: August 27, 1635

Spanish Baroque dramatist Lope de Vega was one of the most significant figures of the Spanish Golden Age. He had initially aspired to be a priest but abandoned his plans after falling in love with a married woman. He is best remembered for works such as The Dog in the Manger.

 6 
Thomas Middleton
(English Jacobean Playwright and Poet)
Thomas Middleton
4
Birthdate: April 18, 1580
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England
Died: June 30, 1627
 7 
John Lyly
(Writer)
John Lyly
3
Birthdate: 1553 AD
Birthplace: Kent, England
Died: October 31, 1606
 8 
Giambattista della Porta
(Scholar, Polymath)
Giambattista della Porta
4
Birthdate: November 1, 1535
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vico Equense, Italy
Died: February 4, 1615

Giambattista della Porta was an Italian scholar, polymath, and playwright. He was active in Naples at the time of the Scientific Revolution and Reformation in the 16th century. He was knowledgeable in different fields, including occult philosophy, astrology, meteorology, alchemy, mathematics, and natural philosophy. In his later years, he collected rare specimens and grew exotic plants. 

 9 
John Fletcher
(Playwright)
John Fletcher
4
Birthdate: 1579
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rye, Sussex, England
Died: July 31, 1625
 10 
Thomas Kyd
(English Playwright)
Thomas Kyd
3
Birthdate: November 6, 1558
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: August 15, 1594
 11 
Pietro Aretino
(Italian Author, Playwright, Satirist and Blackmailer)
Pietro Aretino
4
Birthdate: April 19, 1492
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tuscany, Italy
Died: October 21, 1556

Pietro Aretino was an Italian author, poet, satirist, and playwright. He wielded influence on contemporary politics and art. An outspoken critic, Aretino was one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. A self-proclaimed sodomite, Pietro Aretino was involved in romantic relationships with men, which was uncommon at that time.

 12 
Thomas Nashe
(Playwright)
Thomas Nashe
4
Birthdate: 1567
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lowestoft, United Kingdom
Died: 1601 AD
 13 
Thomas Dekker
(playwright, poet, writer)
Thomas Dekker
3
Birthdate: 1572 AD
Birthplace: London
Died: August 25, 1632
 14 
Tirso de Molina
(Spanish Poet and Roman Catholic Monk Known for Writing 'The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest')
Tirso de Molina
4
Birthdate: March 24, 1583
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: February 20, 1648

Spanish Baroque dramatist, poet and Roman Catholic monk Tirso de Molina is best known for writing the play The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest which first introduced the legendary fictional character of Don Juan. Other notable works of Molina includes the comedy sitcom Don Gil of the green tights and the trilogy of The Santa Juana.

 15 
Margaret of Valois-Angouleme
(Author)
Margaret of Valois-Angouleme
4
Birthdate: April 11, 1492
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Angoulême, France
Died: December 21, 1549

Margaret of Valois-Angouleme, the wife of Henry II of Navarre, was a significant figure of the French Renaissance, and is also regarded as The First Modern Woman. She patronized artists and was herself an author, with several short stories and a religious poem to her credit.

 16 
Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke
(Writer)
Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke
2
Birthdate: October 3, 1554
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Beauchamp Court, England
Died: September 30, 1628
 17 
John Heywood
(Writer)
John Heywood
2
Birthdate: 1497 AD
Birthplace: London, England
Died: 1580 AD
 18 
Izumo no Okuni
(Inventor)
Izumo no Okuni
5
Birthdate: 1572 AD
Birthplace: Izumo Province, Japan
Died: November 30, 1613
 19 
George Peele
(Poet)
George Peele
3
Birthdate: July 25, 1556
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: November 9, 1596
 20 
Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset
(Poet)
Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset
2
Birthdate: 1536 AD
Birthplace: Withyham, England
Died: April 19, 1608
 21 
Francis Beaumont
(Dramatist)
Francis Beaumont
2
Birthdate: 1584 AD
Birthplace: Grace-Dieu, England
Died: March 6, 1616
 22 
Samuel Daniel
(Poet)
Samuel Daniel
2
Birthdate: 1562 AD
Birthplace: Taunton, England
Died: October 14, 1619
 23 
James Shirley
(Dramatist)
James Shirley
2
Birthdate: September 18, 1596
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 29, 1666
 24 
Henry Wotton
(British Author, Diplomat and Politician Who Sat in the House of Commons in 1614 and 1625)
Henry Wotton
2
Birthdate: March 30, 1568
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: England
Died: November 30, 1639

Apart from being a diplomat, Henry Wotton was also a poet and a patron of the arts. The Oxford alumnus is best remembered for his poems such as You meaner beauties of the night, which were dedicated to Elizabeth of Bohemia, the daughter of King James I.

 25 
Thomas Heywood
(British Playwright, Actor, and Author Best Known for His Masterpiece 'A Woman Killed With Kindness')
Thomas Heywood
2
Birthdate: 1574 AD
Birthplace: Lincolnshire, England
Died: August 16, 1641

Noted Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatist Thomas Heywood is best remembered for his iconic tragedy A Woman Killed with Kindness and his prose work An Apology for Actors. Though it is generally believed he was a University of Cambridge alumnus, there are no records of the fact.

 26 
Gil Vicente
(Playwright)
Gil Vicente
2
Birthdate: 1465 AD
Birthplace: Guimaraes, Portugal
Died: 1536 AD

Gil Vicente was a Portuguese poet and playwright. He is considered the principal dramatist of Portugal and one of the greatest playwrights in Western literature. He is also renowned for his work in the Spanish language and is referred to as the Father of Spanish and Portuguese drama. Vicente is also counted among the leading figures of the Portuguese Renaissance.

 27 
Philip Massinger
(English playwright)
Philip Massinger
2
Birthdate: 1583 AD
Birthplace: Wilton, United Kingdom
Died: March 17, 1640
 28 
John Marston
(Poet)
John Marston
2
Birthdate: October 7, 1576
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Coventry,England
Died: June 25, 1634
 29 
Fernando de Rojas
(Spanish Author)
Fernando de Rojas
2
Birthdate: 1465 AD
Birthplace: La Puebla de Montalbán, Spain
Died: March 31, 1541

Spanish author Fernando de Rojas is remembered for his sole surviving work La Celestina, a tragic love story which was significant to the development of prose drama in Europe. A qualified lawyer, he had also served as lord mayor. He also ran into trouble with the Inquisition quite often.

 30 
Richard Tarlton
(Actor)
Richard Tarlton
2
Birthdate: 1530 AD
Birthplace: England
Died: September 3, 1588
 31 
Juan del Encina
(Spanish Composer, Poet, and Playwright)
Juan del Encina
2
Birthdate: July 12, 1468
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Fermoselle, Spain
Died: 1529 AD

Juan del Encina is largely regarded as one of the pioneers of Spanish drama. He had been the court poet/dramatist for the Duke of Alba. Some of his best-known works were compiled in Cancionero. His églogas often dealt with mythological themes that were previously found in the Italian works.

 32 
Nicholas Udall
(Writer)
Nicholas Udall
2
Birthdate: 1504 AD
Birthplace: Southampton, England
Died: December 23, 1556
 33 
Pierre Gringore
(Poet)
Pierre Gringore
2
Birthdate: 1475 AD
Birthplace: Normandy, France
Died: 1539 AD
 34 
Gian Giorgio Trissino
(Poet)
Gian Giorgio Trissino
1
Birthdate: July 8, 1478
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vicenza, Italy
Died: December 8, 1550
 35 
Xu Wei
(Chinese Painter, Poet, Playwright, and Dramatist)
Xu Wei
2
Birthdate: 1521 AD
Birthplace: China
Died: 1593 AD
 36 
David Lyndsay
(Poet)
David Lyndsay
2
Birthdate: 1490 AD
Birthplace: East Lothian Council, Scotland
Died: 1555 AD

David Lyndsay was a Scottish herald and poet whose literary work is often counted among the finest of the Renaissance. A well-known makar, David Lyndsay is depicted among the 16 Scottish poets and writers on the famous Scott Monument in Edinburgh. 

 37 
Joseph of Anchieta
(Brazilian Playwright and Saint)
Joseph of Anchieta
2
Birthdate: March 19, 1534
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Spain
Died: June 9, 1597

An influential Jesuit missionary in the Portuguese colony of Brazil, José de Anchieta worked with the indigenous population, converting many of them into Catholic faith. He also wrote Arte de grammtica da lingoa mais usada na costa do Brasil, providing orthography to the local Tupi language and is known to co-found the cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

 38 
Théophile de Viau
(Poet)
Théophile de Viau
1
Birthdate: 1590 AD
Birthplace: Clairac, France
Died: September 25, 1626
 39 
Nathan Field
(Dramatist)
Nathan Field
1
Birthdate: October 17, 1587
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: 1620 AD
 40 
Anthony Munday
(Playwright)
Anthony Munday
1
Birthdate: 1560 AD
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 10, 1633
 41 
William Cornysh
(Composer)
William Cornysh
1
Birthdate: 1465 AD
Birthplace: Greenwich, England
Died: September 30, 1523
 42 
Cyril Tourneur
(Soldier)
Cyril Tourneur
1
Birthdate: 1575 AD
Birthplace: Great Parndon,England
Died: February 28, 1626
 43 
William Rowley
(Dramatist)
William Rowley
1
Birthdate: 1585 AD
Birthplace: England, United Kingdom
Died: January 31, 1626
 44 
Honoré d' Urfé
(Novelist)
Honoré d' Urfé
1
Birthdate: February 11, 1568
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Marseille, France
Died: June 1, 1625
 45 
Giovanni Battista Guarini
(Poet)
Giovanni Battista Guarini
1
Birthdate: December 10, 1538
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ferrara, Italy
Died: October 7, 1612
 46 
Mateo Alemán
(Novelist)
Mateo Alemán
1
Birthdate: 1547
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Seville, Spain
Died: 1614 AD
 47 
Lope de Rueda
(Dramatist)
Lope de Rueda
1
Birthdate: 1510 AD
Birthplace: Seville, Spain
Died: 1565 AD
 48 
Federico Della Valle
(Playwright)
Federico Della Valle
1
Birthdate: 1560 AD
Birthplace: Asti, Italy
Died: 1628 AD
 49 
Dirck Coornhert
(Dutch Writer, Philosopher, Poet, Playwright and Theologian)
Dirck Coornhert
1
Birthdate: June 1, 1522
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died: October 29, 1590

Dirck Volckertszoon Coornhert, or Theodore Cornhert, was the man who introduced Humanism in Dutch literature. Known for works such as Liedekens, De wellevenskunste, and Comedie van Israël, he was an engraver in Haarlem and also worked for the city’s government. He also created the manifesto of William the Silent, Prince of Orange.

 50 
Henry Chettle
(Dramatist)
Henry Chettle
1
Birthdate: 1564 AD
Birthplace: London, England
Died: 1606 AD