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date: 13 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article selectively explores the ways in which John Milton's recourse to Latin poetry in Defensio Prima serves a much deeper purpose than that of merely illustrating or lending authority to his argument. Rather, it suggests, the Defensio engages with a variety of Latin intertexts, which in turn give birth to a range of dramatis personae, with whom Salmasius is ironically and somewhat kaleidoscopically equated. This methodology lends particular force to Milton's rhetoric of invective while hopefully laying to rest the fallacy that his Latin prose writings were written during a period of ‘poetic inactivity’. Salmasius's rapacity and materialism are emphasized by reference to two further characters from Latin literature: Ovid's Midas and Plautus' Euclio.

Keywords: Defensio Prima, John Milton, Latin poetry, Salmasius, Midas, Euclio

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