Chapter

The Inauguration of the ‘Argonautic Moment’

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/9780199644087.003.0003
The Inauguration of the ‘Argonautic Moment’

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This chapter examines the significance of Jupiter's prophecy, demonstrating its importance for Valerius' poetics of rehabilitation. Jupiter's proclamation of the Fates, which engages directly with Lucan, announces the inauguration of a new world order characterized by refoundation in the wake of political collapse. The ideology discernible in Jupiter's declaration of the new imperial dispensation finds a thematic counterpart in Valerius' depiction of Vespasian's regime. The establishment of the Flavian dynasty, like the establishment of Jupiter's cosmic regime, is marked by an impulse to expand outward into new realms, a theme that reroutes epic away from the collapsing world of Lucan's Bellum Civile. Lucan depicts a dying world in which there is no hope for the future; Valerius depicts the birth of a new world, one that not only offers hope for the future, but that also has an ameliorative impact on the accomplishment of heroic deeds and the epic poetry that heralds them.

Keywords: Jupiter; refoundation; inauguration; epic poetry

Chapter.  21690 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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