The tragedy Ecerinis is considered a literary phenomenon, a "unicum" of the literature of early Humanism, for which its author, Albertino Mussato, was crowned at the beginning of the 14th century, long after Statius.
Ecerinis reveals the in-depth studies of the classical world by Mussato and the Cenacolo Padovano. The author rewrites a classical tragedy; yet, he innovates it by
combining classical elements with coeval themes that are relevant to the "uomo Comune".
Whilst showing the different classical elements of Ecerinis, the present study also aims
to highlighten the literary and social circumstances bound to encourage the revival of
the tragedy as a literary genre.
Seneca's Octavia lies behind Mussato's play. The main character - the cruel Ezzelino - exhibits all the traits that characterize Nero, Rome's terrible tyrant. The comparative analysis of the two texts clearly unfolds the continuity in the development of the tragedy, which turns into the most profitable genre to spread Mussato's political ideals against the tyranny of the Scaligeri. The public readings of the Ecerinis were interpreted as a cry for freedom and the official crowning of its author, who was dedicating his life to the defence of Padua's freedom, became the persuasive sign of
the citizen's will.