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Martin DelrioDemonology and Scholarship in the Counter-Reformation$
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Jan Machielsen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265802

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265802.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

Historical Drama

Historical Drama

(p.186) 8 Historical Drama
Martin Delrio

Jan Machielsen

British Academy

This chapter moves beyond Martin Delrio’s emendations to study his wide-ranging commentary on other aspects of classical culture. Senecan tragedy, and in particular the Medea and the Oedipus, offered the Jesuit the opportunity to discuss witchcraft and practices of divination in great detail. This chapter argues that Delrio took these tragedies to have a historical core; without some basis in history the plays would lose their moral significance. It also suggests that Delrio’s comments should be read as not only explicating individual lines, but as constructing a reading of the plays in which praise and blame were apportioned. As a result, the tragedies did not carry the same moral meaning for Delrio that they have for us today.

Keywords:   Seneca, Senecan tragedy, Medea, classical commentary, classical reception, witchcraft, euhemerism

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