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Introduction: Neo-Latin Drama: Contexts, Contents and Currents

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Chapter Summary

In this changing world, Latin drama was written and read, rehearsed and performed, all over Europe. The diversity in the history of Europe involved differences between humanists from individual countries and between their Latin dramas. Yet there were also constants: the use of Latin at schools facilitated a European context for education. The international scope of Neo-Latin drama was enhanced by its classical orientation. Neo-Latin dramas were written to be read, but most of them were also meant to be staged. It was a truly European phenomenon. First sighted in Renaissance Italy in the early fourteenth century, the rejuvenation of classical Roman genres flourished in the fifteenth century as humanist poets imitated Plautus and Terence's comedies and Seneca became the model for tragedy. The subjects of plays could vary, and included school life and medieval stories, as well as biblical stories and saints' lives, and events from early or modern history.

Keywords: classical Roman genres; Europe; humanist poets; Neo-Latin Drama; Renaissance Italy

10.1163/9789004257467_002
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