Gigantomachy and Civil War in Cyzicus

Tim Stover

in Epic and Empire in Vespasianic Rome

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644087
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741951 | DOI:
Gigantomachy and Civil War in Cyzicus

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This chapter demonstrates that Valerius depicts the battle between the Doliones and Argonauts in Cyzicus as a terrestrial Gigantomachy. Gigantomachic motifs are used to distinguish the good from the evil, as the Doliones play the role of anti-Jovian Giants who are out of step with the new world order being inaugurated by Argo's voyage. Valerius also portrays the battle as a civil war, and he does so partly by drawing on a semantic code developed by Lucan for describing the horror of civil strife. However, given Valerius' strategy of employing gigantomachic image-complexes in order to disambiguate the opposing sides, what ensues is a very un-Lucanian civil war. This represents a recuperative return to the normative thrust of the Gigantomachy model, which had been undermined by Lucan. For Valerius civil war can thus be a catalyst for positive historical change.

Keywords: Gigantomachy; civil war; Cyzicus; Argonauts; Doliones

Chapter.  15946 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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