Atilius Regulus: A Tragic Hero in the Culture of the Eighteenth Century

Stefano Ferrari

Abstract


Atilius Regulus is one of the many tragic heroes that the classical tradition has handed down to Western culture. His fortune in the eighteenth century, however, is marked by an almost unique peculiarity that specifically measures the transition from ancient to modern age. Unlike other figures, that of the Roman consul is submitted between the second half of the seventeenth century and the end of the eighteenth century to a careful philological examination that has the result not only to reject as historically groundless the famous episode of torture suffered in Carthage, but also that of the embassy held in front of the Rome senate to deal with peace between the two rival cities. Despite the authenticity of this last episode of the life of the Roman consul has been questioned, it has also met in the course of the eighteenth century a huge favor by poets, philosophers, art writers and painters.


Keywords


History and Literature; Reality and Fiction; Louis de Beaufort; Voltaire; Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/2678

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