Chapter

The Date of the <i>Argonautica</i>

Tim Stover

in Epic and Empire in Vespasianic Rome

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644087
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741951 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199644087.003.0002
The Date of the Argonautica

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This chapter examines the evidence for dating Valerius' Argonautica, one of the most vexed and contested issues in criticism of the poem. Barring the appearance of new evidence, a complete and incontestable solution to this difficult issue will remain elusive. However, since this study regards the epic as a product of Vespasianic Rome a reexamination of the evidence is in order. This is made all the more pressing in light of the positions adopted by several of Valerius' most recent and influential commentators, who suggest that composition of the poem extended well into the reign of Domitian. An analysis of both the external and internal evidence shows that there is no compelling reason to assign to Valerius' poem a period of composition extending beyond the 70s, that is, that the Argonautica was composed almost entirely within the reign of Vespasian.

Keywords: Argonautica; date; Vespasian; Domitian

Chapter.  8414 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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