Elias supported the Royalist side in the Civil War. Having been appointed King's Commissioner of Excise at Lichfield, his home town, he was then given a military post at Oxford, occupied by the King's forces, through the influence of George Wharton, courtier and astrologer. At Oxford Elias served as an ordnance officer.
Lodging at Brasenose College, he studied mathematics and physics, and also acquired a deep interest in astronomy, astrology, and magic. The king's forces were defeated at Oxford in 1645, and Elias Ashmole went on to become a captain in Lord Astley's Regiment of Foot (Royalist), and an artillery officer because of his mathematical knowledge.
Apart from his presentation of the Tradescant collection, Elias Ashmole's other Oxford connection was sealed in 1666 when he completed the cataloguing of a Roman coin collection for the Bodleian, which took eight years, possibly because of the restoration of the monarchy with the accession of Charles II in 1660. Elias was rewarded for his loyalty to the Crown with various offices, some of which work is referred to in the play.
ELIAS IN OXFORD