OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

Commentary on Silius Italicus, Punica 7

ISBN : 9780199570935

Price(incl.tax): 
¥20,086
Author: 
R. Joy Littlewood
Pages
384 Pages
Format
Hardcover
Size
144 x 216 mm
Pub date
Jun 2011
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Once stigmatized as 'the worst epic ever written', Silius Italicus' Punica is now the focus of a resurgence of critical interest and wide-ranging positive reappraisal. In a climate of flourishing interest in Flavian literary culture, Punica 7 now joins the rising number of commentaries on Flavian epic. Littlewood demonstrates how Silius' republican theme bears the imprint of Rome's more recent experience of civil conflict, illuminating the military and civic ethos of the Flavians and exploring tensions within the literary and political culture of the Age of Domitian. The narrative of Punica 7 is a tale of treachery and perseverance of a battle of wills and the desecration of the land of Italy, poetically interpreted through intertextual allusion to Virgil's Georgics. A penetrating analysis of Silius' complex intertextuality illustrates how Silius' central panel, Hannibal's night raid on the Roman positions and incineration of 2,000 Roman plough oxen, combines thematic material from Homer's Doloneia with Virgilian imagery so that the burning flesh of a subverted sacrifice is interwoven with bacchanal madness and the rising smoke of the sack of Troy. This sets the stage for a dramatic finale in which Rome's traditional virtues triumph over oriental guile and internal discord and the historical narrative coalesces with mythology, the proto-history of Rome, and the genealogy of its contrasted protagonists, Fabius and Hannibal. Littlewood's volume is the first full English commentary on a book of Silius Italicus' Punica and is supported by an extended introduction covering Silius' life, literary models and epic style, his characterization of Fabius and Hannibal, and the transmission of the text of Punica.

Index: 

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
ABBREVIATIONS
INTRODUCTION
I. Ti. Catius Asconius Silius Italicus: His Contribution to Public Life and Literature
II. Literary Models
1. Intertextual allusion in Silius
2. Silius historical sources: Livy and Polybius
3. Homer
4. Ennius
5. Virgil
(a) The fall of Troy
(b) The violation of Italy: Silius subverted Georgic
6. Ovid s Fasti
(a) Faunus, fertility, and the Fabii
(b) Contrasting theoxenies: Ovid s Hyreius and Silius Falernus
7. Lucan
(a) Civil war and the divided command
(b) Personal ambition and the danger of autocracy
(c) The discourse of luxuria
8. Statius
9. Valerius Flaccus
III. The Protagonists of Punica 7
1. Q. Fabius Maximus, a Flavian and a Stoic hero
2. Hannibal, an oriental enemy
IV. Silius Epic Style
1. The structure of Punica 7
2. Language and style
3. Epic rhetoric: The speeches of Fabius and Hannibal
4. Poetic uarietas in Silius hand-to-hand combat
V. The Transmission and Reception of Punica
SIGLA
SILI ITALICI PVNICORVM LIBER SEPTIMVS
COMMENTARY
BIBLIOGRAPHY
FURTHER READING
INDEX VERBORUM
INDEX NOMINUM ET RERUM

About the author: 

Joy Littlewood is an independent scholar based in Oxford. The main focus of her research in Latin literature has been the rehabilitation of two major Latin poems once notoriously misjudged as literary failures: Ovid's Fasti and Silius Italicus' Punica.

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