Page 451. " would have become the mouth of Oroondates himself "

Cassandra
Public DomainCassandra - Credit: Evelyn de Morgan
Gaultier de Coste La Calprenede’s The Famous History of Cassandra: containing many admirable adventures of the most illustrious of either sex, includes the story of Oroondates, a prince of Scythia whose desired bride is snatched away by an elder king.  The book was written in five volumes, originally in French, and was first published in 1642-5.  It was translated into English by Sir Charles Cotterell.  The first edition of Cotterell’s translation appeared in 1667.

The rival kings, or, The loves of Oroondates and Statira a tragedy, a play written by Mr. Bankes, was staged at the Theatre-Royal, London, in 1677.

Page 455. " taking a first row at Tyburn "
The Idle 'Prentice Executed at Tyburn
Public DomainThe Idle 'Prentice Executed at Tyburn - Credit: William Hogarth

Tyburn was a village in the county of Middlesex, close to the current location of Marble Arch in London.  It was the principal place for execution of London criminals and traitors, including religious martyrs.  The first recorded execution there took place in 1196. The unfortunate soul was William Fitz Osbern, a populist leader of the poor of London. 

In 1571, a large gallows was installed, nicknamed the "Tyburn Tree."  It allowed several people to be hanged at once.  In 1649, 24 prisoners were hanged simultaneously.  Executions were public spectacles and attracted crowds of thousands. Spectator stands ensured everyone had a view, if they were willing to pay for it. 

The Tyburn gallows were last used on 3 November 1783, to hang highwayman John Austin.  The site of the gallows is now marked by a plaque on a traffic island in the middle of Edgware Road.

Page 455. " genii and fairies, which they believe in as an article of faith, upon the authority of the Koran itself "

Ali and the Jinn
Public DomainAli and the Jinn - Credit: Ali manuscript, 1568
Genii or jinn are supernatural creatures in Arab folklore and Islamic teachings, capable of assuming human or animal form and exercising supernatural influence over people.  They are understood to occupy a parallel world to humans.  Together, jinn, humans and angels make up the three sentient creations of Allah.  Jinn are usually invisible to humans, and humans do not appear clearly to them.  The Qur'an mentions that jinn are made of smokeless flame or "scorching fire."  They may be good, evil, or neutrally benevolent, and have free will.  Jinn have the power to travel large distances at extreme speeds and are thought to live in remote areas, mountains, seas, trees, and the air, in their own communities. Like humans, they will be judged on the Day of Judgment and sent to Paradise or Hell. 

The Genie as a magical being that grants wishes first appears in the book of the One Thousand and One Nights.

Page 464. " I was called the cruel Parthenissa "

Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery (1621-1679), was a British soldier, statesman and dramatist.  Among his many works of poetry, theatre, fiction and non-fiction is his novel Parthenissa: That most fam’d Romance, first published in 1651.  The work imitates the heroic romances of French writers such as La Calprenede (author of Cassandra).  

It tells the tale of Artabanes, a prince of Media who is deeply in love with Parthenissa, and has fought a great many challenges in her name.  Artabanes is tricked by his rival Surena into believing that Parthenissa loves Surena.  Artabanes leaves his homeland in despair, is taken captive by pirates, escapes his bondage, gathers some followers, and eventually bumps into a friend from home who clears up the deception regarding Surena.  Artabanes rushes back to his homeland to find that the king has decided that he wants Parthenissa and she has taken a death potion (although in fact she has faked her death). Artabanes stabs himself, but recovers. He leaves his homeland again, before finding out that Parthenissa is in fact alive.  The novel was not a great success, being rather too heavy for the taste of King Charles’ court.