Chapter

Arduum ad astra

Steven J. Green

in Forgotten Stars

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199586462
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191724961 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586462.003.0008
Arduum ad astra

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This chapter provides a ‘student-centred’ reading of Manilius’ Astronomica. By focussing on the difficulties faced by the ‘model student’ in the course of this didactic lesson, as well as the deterioration in the relationship between student and teacher during the work, Green argues for the legitimacy of reading the poem as a deliberately failing lesson. The reason for this poetic strategy stems from the contemporary imperial nervousness that surrounds the disclosure of astrological knowledge under Augustus and Tiberius; the didactic genre, which has already established itself as a playful medium, provides a fitting accomplice in this strategic aim. Rather than being the first Roman work on astrology, therefore, Manilius’ poem can be seen as part of a developing discourse of discretion when dealing with the politically-sensitive topic of astrology.

Keywords: astrology; Augustus; didactic poetry; Manilius; student; teacher; Tiberius

Chapter.  7770 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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