Ancient Writers’ Motifs in Spanish Golden Age Drama

Bojana Tomc


In Spanish Golden Age drama we come across all forms of the reception of ancient writers’ motifs: explicit (direct quotation of an ancient author, where the quotation may be more or less complete, or a clear allusion to it), implicit (where there is no explicit mentioning of the ancient source, however certain ancient elements are mentioned such as persons, places, historical circumstances), hidden (where there is no clear hint about a literary intervention in Antiquity or an imitation of the literary excerpt or motif), as well as direct imitation (aemulatio) or adaptation (variatio). In the Renaissance and Baroque there are almost no motifs, which could not be taken over from Antiquity without a transformation or innovation. If there is a close correspondence to the ancient motif, it is generally sufficient simply to mention it or employ a side motif as an illustration of a similar situation without elaborating the motif further or weaving it more deeply into the supporting fabric of the dramatic work. The ancient authors who contribute the motifs are numerous and diverse: Vergil, the Roman elegists Propertius in Tibullus, the lyric poet Horace, the comedian Plautus, the stoic philosopher Seneca, the historian Tacitus, the novelist Apuleius, as well as Greek dramatist Aeschylus and stoic philosopher Epictetus. The genres, which are a source for the surviving ancient motifs in the Golden Age in the selected authors, include literary as well as not-literary forms: epic poetry, lyric, dramatics, philosophy and historiography.


ancient literature, Spanish literature, Golden Age, survival and reception, ancient motives



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Ljubljana University Press, Faculty of Arts
(Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani) 

Print ISSN: 0353-9660
Online ISSN: 2350-4250