Mary as a heroine : Jesus' mother in Renaissance epic

Title: Mary as a heroine : Jesus' mother in Renaissance epic
Source document: Graeco-Latina Brunensia. 2011, vol. 16, iss. 2, pp. [171]-186
  • ISSN
    1803-7402 (print)
    2336-4424 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license

Notice: These citations are automatically created and might not follow citation rules properly.

During the Renaissance, poets writing Latin bible epic endeavored to combine the classic Virgilian pattern with their new Christian subject. As one of the outstanding saints, Jesus' mother Mary seems to be an obvious candidate for an epic heroine, if not as a female Aeneas, then as a Christian epigone of, for example, Dido. Jacopo Sannazaro in his epic De partu Virginis and Marco Girolamo Vida in his Christiad both attempt to present Mary in their epic contexts, Sannazaro even as the main character. The figure of Mary is examined in three decisive situations: the Annunciation, Jesus' birth and his death. Both authors apply Virgilian imagery and diction to characterize Mary according to a classical model, but after all, Mary remains what she is: a Christian heroine, a saint, an obedient servant of God, who thus accomplishes a deed by far more important than any of the ancient heroes.