- Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Format: Paperback | 144 pages
- Dimensions: 137mm x 198mm x 10mm | 159g
- Publication date: 1 January 1993
- Publication City/Country: Cambridge
- ISBN 10: 052142562X
- ISBN 13: 9780521425629
- Edition statement: New.
- Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
- Sales rank: 422,133
This short book is a study of the epic tradition of the early Roman empire and specifically of the epic poems of Ovid, Lucan, Statius, Valerius Flaccus and Silius Italicus. It explores the use they made of Virgil's Aeneid, an epic interpreted not just as a monument to the heroic construction of the principate, but also as a problematical text that challenged succeeding epic poets to a reworking of the issues that it dramatised: the possibility of establishing a lasting age of peace, the relation between power and the sacred, the difficulties of distinguishing between good and its evil parodies, anxiety about imperial and poetic succession. The author draws on modern critical and theoretical approaches to argue for the vitality and interest of works which have all too often been relegated to a second division of literary history.
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Table of contents
1. Closure and continution; 2. Sacrifice and substitution; 3. Heaven and hell; 4. Succession: fathers, poets, princes; Bibliography.