Statius' Thebaid and the Poetics of Civil War

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Cambridge University Press, Feb 8, 2007 - History
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This study focuses on ways in which Statius' epic Thebaid, a poem about the civil war between Oedipus' sons Eteocles and Polynices, reflects the theme of internal discord in its narrative strategies. At the same time that Statius reworks the Homeric and Virgilian epic traditions, he engages with Hellenistic poetic ideals as exemplified by Callimachus and the Roman Callimachean poets, especially Ovid. The result is a tension between the impulse towards the generic expectations of warfare and the desire for delay and postponement of such conflict. Ultimately, Statius adheres to the mythic paradigm of the mutual fratricide, but he continues to employ competing strategies that call attention to the fictive nature of any project of closure and conciliation. In the process, the poem offers a new mode of epic closure that emphasises individual means of resolution.

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Contents

Gods humans and the literary tradition
25
Beginning
50
Nemea
76
Middle
97
Heroic deaths
124
End
152
Epilogue
178
Copyright

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Page 106 - Tityre pinguis pascere oportet ovis, deductum dicere carmen.' nunc ego - namque super tibi erunt, qui dicere laudes Vare tuas cupiant et tristia condere bella agrestem tenui meditabor harundine musam.
Page 37 - Linus haec illi divino carmine pastor floribus atque apio crinis ornatus amaro dixerit: 'hos tibi dant calamos, en accipe, Musae, Ascraeo quos ante seni, quibus ille solebat 70 cantando rigidas deducere montibus ornos. his tibi Grynei nemoris dicatur origo, ne quis sit lucus, quo se plus iactet Apollo.
Page 100 - Musas; primus Idumaeas referam tibi, Mantua, palmas, et viridi in campo templum de marmore ponam propter aquam, tardis ingens ubi flexibus errat Mincius et tenera praetexit harundine ripas.
Page 16 - IN nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas corpora ; di, coeptis (nam vos mutastis et illas) adspirate meis primaque ab origine mundi ad mea perpetuum deducite tempora carmen...
Page 17 - Iliadas: 15 seu quidquid fccit sive est quodcumque locuta, maxima de nihilo nascitur historia, quod mihi si tantum, Maecenas, fata dedissent, ut possem heroas ducere in arma manus...
Page 103 - ... pandite nunc Helicona, deae, cantusque movete, qui bello exciti reges, quae quemque secutae complerint campos acies, quibus Itala iam tum floruerit terra alma viris, quibus arserit armis ; et meministis enim, divae, et memorare potestis ; ad nos vix tenuis famae perlabitur aura.
Page 178 - Endymion ? exutusve puer pinnis labentibus ? aut qui 5 odit amatrices Hermaphroditus aquas ? quid te vana iuvant miserae ludibria chartae ? hoc lege, quod possit dicere vita
Page 172 - Theseus 665 angustat clipeo, propriaeque exordia laudis centum urbes umbone gerit centenaque Cretae moenia, seque ipsum monstrosi ambagibus antri hispida torquentem luctantis colla iuvenci alternasque manus circum et nodosa ligantem 670 bracchia et abducto vitantem cornua vultu.
Page 14 - A literary work, even when it appears to be new, does not present itself as something absolutely new in an informational vacuum, but predisposes its audience to a very specific kind of reception by announcements, overt and covert signals, familiar characteristics, or implicit allusions. It awakens memories of that which was already read, brings the reader to a specific emotional attitude, and with its beginning arouses expectations for the 'middle and end...
Page 17 - Quod mihi si tantum, Maecenas, fata dedissent, Ut possem heroas ducere in arma manus, Non ego Titanas canerem, non Ossan Olympo...

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