Utopia

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Like More himself, Peter Giles is both a historical personage and a character in Utopia. Historically, he was a pupil and friend of the great Dutch humanist Erasmus, and he was appointed Chief Secretary of Antwerp in 1510; in 1515, it was Erasmus himself who introduced Giles to More. In the work, More describes Giles as a citizen of Antwerp, honest, learned, virtuous, kind-hearted, and loving. More finds Giles’s conversation both merry and pleasant, and it makes him feel less homesick to have such an entertaining new friend. Moreover, Giles introduces More to Raphael Hythloday. Although Giles doesn’t often speak in Utopia, he is important as a representative of the culture of Renaissance humanism—so highly esteemed by More— which valued the humanities, especially the revival of classical literature and rhetoric, as a means of encouraging virtue and civic ethics in society.
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Peter Giles Character Timeline in Utopia

The timeline below shows where the character Peter Giles appears in Utopia. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1
Travel, Discovery, and Place Theme Icon
Ideals and Practicality Theme Icon
While living in Antwerp, More befriends an honest, learned citizen of that city: Peter Giles. More finds Giles’s conversation both merry and pleasant, and it makes More feel less homesick... (full context)
Travel, Discovery, and Place Theme Icon
The Ambiguities of Utopia Theme Icon
...day, while returning to his house in Antwerp after a church service, More runs into Giles, who is speaking with an old, sunburned, long-bearded, and cloaked stranger from Portugal; this man... (full context)
Travel, Discovery, and Place Theme Icon
Bad Governance, Pride, and Idleness Theme Icon
Ideals and Practicality Theme Icon
More, Giles, and Hythloday go to More’s house and sit in the garden where Hythloday tells of... (full context)
Travel, Discovery, and Place Theme Icon
Bad Governance, Pride, and Idleness Theme Icon
More and Giles are especially curious about how the peoples Hythloday encountered are governed, and they ask him... (full context)
Ideals and Practicality Theme Icon
The Ambiguities of Utopia Theme Icon
Peter Giles is so impressed by Hythloday that he strongly encourages him to go into the service... (full context)
Bad Governance, Pride, and Idleness Theme Icon
The Ambiguities of Utopia Theme Icon
Hythloday then tells More and Giles about a joker at Cardinal Morton’s table who tried to say witty things as a... (full context)
Bad Governance, Pride, and Idleness Theme Icon
The Ambiguities of Utopia Theme Icon
Hythloday pardons himself for telling Thomas More and Peter Giles such a long tale. He says he did so only because it seemed as though... (full context)
Bad Governance, Pride, and Idleness Theme Icon
Property, Labor, and Utopian Society Theme Icon
The Public Good, Virtue, and Religion Theme Icon
Ideals and Practicality Theme Icon
Peter Giles says it’s hard for him to believe that this is so, given that the people... (full context)
Ideals and Practicality Theme Icon
The Ambiguities of Utopia Theme Icon
...sit. Hythloday thinks in silence for a while, then proceeds to tell More and Peter Giles all about Utopia. (full context)