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:

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This chapter briefly summarizes the results with reference to contemporary work on exchange and human evolution. Devolution to an economy of thoroughly independent Roman households is the best solution Lucan can find to the failed reciprocity of the Republic. The Golden Age imagery Vergil associates with Augustus implies that he may have believed the princeps could restore the republican socioeconomic system. Statius implicitly and intuitively furthers the claim of the Hellenistic philosophical schools that human beings can attain self-sufficiency with his vision of pietas and clementia fully realized by individuals. Vergil endows his epic with greater moralism than does Homer by privileging reciprocity; Lucan expresses frustration at the failure of the republican socioeconomic system and searches for political alternatives. Like Vergil and Lucan, Statius uses epic to represent socioeconomic affairs in crisis.

Keywords: human evolution; Lucan; Vergil; Statius; pietas; clementia; reciprocity

Chapter.  1320 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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