ABSTRACT

The Neo-Latin epic presents an unusual series of challenges to the modern reader. The largest number of Neo-Latin epics focus on a hero drawn from the contemporary present, so that it is not possible to name them all, but even a representative sampling shows both the breadth and depth of Neo-Latin culture in the early modern period. David was the subject of a series of Neo-Latin epics, including the Davidias of the Croatian Marcus Marulus, a poem of the same name by Bartholomaeus Botta, and the David necdum Hebraeorum rex of the Dutch poet Petrus Bom. There is, however, a theoretical undercurrent that at least in some cases offers the reader the potential for a richer, more nuanced reading of Neo-Latin epic. The hero of the poem is Francesco Sforza, who, like Aeneas, came as a foreigner to a new land, married the sovereign’s daughter, conquered the people who were already there, and established a new dynasty.