Statius and Epic Games: Sport, Politics and Poetics in the Thebaid

Statius and Epic Games: Sport, Politics and Poetics in the Thebaid

Hardback Cambridge Classical Studies (Hardcover)

By (author) Helen Lovatt

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  • Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Hardback | 348 pages
  • Dimensions: 132mm x 218mm x 28mm | 363g
  • Publication date: 23 May 2005
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521847427
  • ISBN 13: 9780521847421

Product description

Epic games are more than just an interlude; they reflect the realities of epic: heroism, power and war. This first major study of the athletic games in Statius' Thebaid Book 6 uses them to produce a new reading of the poem as a whole. It explores each event in Statius' games, discussing intertextual manoeuvres, historical context and poetic positioning, developing a theme from each: audience power, cosmic disruption, national identity, masculinity and the body, games and war, kingship and narrative control. This book uses a close reading of one part of one text to range over ancient literature. It casts light on the tradition of games in ancient epic as a whole, examining the works of Homer, Virgil, Apollonius, Ovid and Lucan. It is essential reading for the student of Statius and of ancient epic and of interest to historians of Roman society with an interest in sport and spectacle.

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Author information

Helen Lovatt is Lecturer in Classics at the University of Nottingham. She has written numerous articles on Latin epic and its reception.

Review quote

'An excellent resource for the student of Statius, it is also a very useful consideration of epic games.' The London Association of Classical Teachers '... provides an illuminating presentation of the interconnection between games and war. ... Lovatt's close reading of the Thebaid and its poetic predecessors has performed a valuable service, revealing the games of Book 6 as an integral part of the poem and locating them within the context of the epic tradition. ... I am sure that this interesting book will provoke lively discussion among Statian scholars.' Journal of Roman Studies

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. The chariot race: epic games and real games; 2. The running: audiences; 3. The discus: gigantomachy; 4. The boxing: national identity; 5. The wrestling: bodies; 6. The sword fight: games and war; 7. The archery: controlling the narrative; Conclusion.