Chapter

The Vespasianic <i>Vates</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/9780199644087.003.0006
The Vespasianic Vates

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This chapter examines the representation of vatic activity in the Argonautica, which offers a metric for gauging Valerius' conception of the function of poetry in the context of Vespasianic Rome. Valerian vates, in contrast to their Lucanian predecessors, employ their skill to aid in the forward progress of the epic voyage and thus in the implementation of Jupiter's imperial agenda. Valerius rehabilitates the image of the vates and advances a more constructive role for poetry than that envisioned by Lucan. Specific attention is given to the symbolic importance of Valerius' portrait of Mopsus' intervention following the civil war in Cyzicus. Just as Mopsus' vatic activity allows for renewal within the narrative, Valerius' poetic enterprise allows for a renewal of epic in the wake of Lucan's Bellum Civile, a new start made possible by the new beginning offered to post-civil war Rome by Vespasian's reestablishment of the imperial project.

Keywords: vates; civil war; Mopsus; Vespasian

Chapter.  12144 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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