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37.5.Owens

This paper explores the stark contrasts of Caesar’s character in two important sixteenth century Neo-Latin works. Almost half-a-century before Shakespeare penned his Julius Caesar Marc-Antoine Muret (b.1526), a French humanist and classical scholar, wrote his Senecan tragedy by the same name, which brought into vogue the subject matter and indirectly influenced Shakespeare. Muret’s work revolves more around Caesar’s demise rather than the aftermath of his death, and therein lies a fascinating picture of this tragic hero. Nicodemus Frischlin (b.1547), a Latin poet and satirist from Würtemberg, brings Caesar back to life, as the epitome of the best of the ancient world, who peruses contemporary Germany, its technology, philosophy, and history. Frischlin satirizes the political and social state of affairs in his own Germany, which have been explored elsewhere, but this paper investigates what Julius Redivivus reveals about views towards the historical Caesar, who in Frischlin’s play is hardly recognizable.

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