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By Antony Augoustakis

This can be the 1st book-length examine to reconstruct the position of ladies within the epic poems of the Flavian interval of Latin literature. Antony Augoustakis examines the function of woman characters from the point of view of Julia Kristeva's theories on international otherness and motherhood to underscore the on-going negotiation among similar and different within the Roman literary mind's eye as a telling mirrored image at the development of Roman identification and of gender and cultural hierarchies.

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Extra resources for Motherhood and the Other: Fashioning Female Power in Flavian Epic (Oxford Studies in Classical Literature and Gender Theory)

Example text

Conversely, Statius excludes Argos from the prologue13 and thus demarcates the two places that will constitute the centre and the periphery of the poem. Reference to Argos as the semina belli is saved until later, when in his first appearance in the poem14 Jupiter uses the same phrase as Statius in the prologue to locate the seed of the strife 11 Cf. Heuvel (1932), 64, for limes as initium. Aptly and poignantly, Henderson (1991) ends his exploration of the Thebaid as the ‘antipolitics of Thebes’ with a question: ‘ .

The choice of subject provokes a closer reading of representations of foreignness in the poem, as Rome is struggling against its chief rival, the other par excellence, Carthage. The Punica offers a way out of the stalemates of the Thebaid, especially with regard to the role of the periphery and its influence on the centre. In Silius’ reconstructed version of the past, and in his idealistic vision of, and hope for, a prosperous future, the conflation of Romanness and otherness does not constitute a danger but rather a condition for Rome’s success and stability as a cosmopolis.

Marcia undermines Regulus’ heroic stature by emphasising his status as a self-exile, a foreigner in his own patria, painting a portrait contrary to the Roman philosophical tradition of Regulus, inherited by Silius, as the hero par excellence. In this episode, the poet again stresses the weaknesses of the Roman political leadership at the time of the First Punic War. Even during the first years of the Second Punic War, Rome has not yet found any flawless general who might extol her glory in heaven.

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