Tim Stover

in Epic and Empire in Vespasianic Rome

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644087
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741951 | DOI:

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This introductory chapter explains the need for the present study by contrasting its aims with recent approaches to Valerius' Argonautica. Of particular importance is this book's attempt to historicize the poem by arguing that it reflects the restorative ideals of Vespasianic Rome, a moment characterized by political renewal following the civil wars of 68–69. In order to carry out this poetics of renewal, it is argued that Valerius had to confront the iconoclastic rhetoric of his most recent epic predecessor, Lucan. It is suggested that Valerius construes the refoundation of the imperial project and the rehabilitation of the epic genre as mutually reinforcing acts of renewal and rebirth. The remainder of the chapter outlines the most salient features of the chapters that follow.

Keywords: Argonautica; civil war; Vespasian; historicism

Chapter.  2683 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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