Petronius’ Satyricon in the seventeenth century
Satire, eloquence and anti-Jesuitism
in Changing satire
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In its introductory section, the chapter deals with the early modern definition of Petronius’ Satyricon as ‘Menippean’, suggesting its strict connection with political and social events (namely, the massive production of satirical writings during the French Wars of Religion). The chapter then examines the anti-Jesuit elements of John Barclay’s Euphormionis Satyricon (1605–7) and points out how to Barclay Petronius’ Satyricon offered a model of formal satire to be imitated. A less traditional approach to classics can be found in Kaspar Schoppe’s Satyricon (1602–3), an imposing treatise on youth education. Like Barclay, Schoppe attacked the Company of Jesus inspired by Petronius’ polemics against rhetoric schools; however, his definition of Petronius’ Satyricon and, more broadly, of satire was elaborated not in formal but rather in modal terms. The final section of the chapter presents a surprising schoolbook: the Selectiores dicendi formulae (1666) by Bartolomeo Beverini, a work that at the same time mocks Jesuit didactics and seriously teaches Latin using Petronius as a linguistic model of purity and elegance.

Changing satire

Transformations and continuities in Europe, 1600–1830


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