Chapter

Exchange Eclipsed

in The Commerce of War

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780226111872
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226111902 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226111902.003.0006
Exchange Eclipsed

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This chapter explores the novel socioeconomic perspective of the Thebaid in relation to Statius's life circumstances, and also investigates how destructive consumption becomes the central economic theme of the Thebaid. It then argues that Statius creates innovative conceptions of the Roman virtues pietas and clementia in response to the appetitive excesses he envisions. The relative insignificance of gloria in the epic reflects its loss of vitality in imperial society. Jupiter's brother Pluto indicates most explicitly the delight that Jupiter takes in violence. The commodity language in Menoeceus' speech reflects the wording of the gods' demand for sacrifice. Niobe, Coroebus, and Menoeceus face the consumption and spending of the gods. Statius complements his interpretation of pietas with a notion of clementia that also encourages individual perseverance in the face of hostile dominant powers. Parthenopaeus, like Tydeus and Theseus, is carried along by a hunger for violence.

Keywords: Thebaid; Statius; pietas; clementia; Pluto; violence; commodity language; Menoeceus; Parthenopaeus; Niobe

Chapter.  23257 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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