Far from being a pot-boiler hastily put together to exploit the success of The Spanish Tragedy, Titus Andronicus1 is a deliberate and sophisticate exercise in aemulatio which targets both Shakespeare’s fellow playwrights and the classics. On the one hand, as R.A. Foakes notes, ‘[i]n the most famous scenes of violence … Shakespeare seems to be deliberately outdoing the effects other dramatists had created’.2 On the other, the play is steeped in classical culture and openly declares the principal models it is trying to emulate both in plot and diction. Jonathan Bate maintains that ‘[t]he play’s classical allusiveness is deep, not wide’ and identifies Ovid as Shakespeare’s model.3 On the contrary, Robert Miola believes that Seneca’s Thyestes ‘lies behind the action of Titus Andronicus, a deep source of its energy and its aesthetic of violence’.4 In fact, both classics are equally relevant, because, in the composition of Thyestes, Seneca’s model is Ovid.5 The theoretical foundations for Shakespeare’s exercise in aemulatio had been laid by sixteenthcentury Italian scholars.