Overview

A classical epic of fratricide and war, the Thebaid retells the legendary conflict between the sons of Oedipus?Polynices and Eteocles?for control of the city of Thebes. The Latin poet Statius reworks a familiar story from Greek myth, dramatized long before by Aeschylus in his tragedy Seven against Thebes. Statius chose his subject well: the Rome of his day, ruled by the emperor Domitian, was not too distant from the civil wars that had threatened the survival of the empire. Published in 92 A.D., the Thebaid was ...

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The Thebaid: Seven against Thebes

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Overview

A classical epic of fratricide and war, the Thebaid retells the legendary conflict between the sons of Oedipus—Polynices and Eteocles—for control of the city of Thebes. The Latin poet Statius reworks a familiar story from Greek myth, dramatized long before by Aeschylus in his tragedy Seven against Thebes. Statius chose his subject well: the Rome of his day, ruled by the emperor Domitian, was not too distant from the civil wars that had threatened the survival of the empire. Published in 92 A.D., the Thebaid was an immediate success, and its fame grew in succeeding centuries. It reached its peak of popularity in the later Middle Ages and Renaissance, influencing Dante, Chaucer, and perhaps Shakespeare. In recent times, however, it has received perhaps less attention than it deserves, in large part because there has been no accessible, dynamic translation of the work into English.

Charles Stanley Ross offers a compelling version of the Thebaid rendered into forceful, modern English. Casting Statius's Latin hexameter into a lively iambic pentameter more natural to the modern ear, Ross frees the work from the archaic formality that has marred previous translations. His translation reinvigorates the Thebaid as a whole: its meditative first half and its violent second half; its intimate portrayal of defeat and retribution, and the need to seek justice at any cost. In a wide-ranging introduction, Ross provides an overview of the poem: its composition, reception and legacy; its major themes and literary influences; and its place in Statius' life. And in a helpful series of notes, he offers background information on the major characters and incidents.

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Editorial Reviews

Classical Outlook - Neil Bernstein

The fluency, clarity, and immediacy of this translation make it the best available choice for teachers who wish to introduce students to a great but often neglected poet.

New England Classical Journal - Paolo Asso

Readers of Ross' translation in American verse will enjoy the flow of his English.

Classical Outlook
The fluency, clarity, and immediacy of this translation make it the best available choice for teachers who wish to introduce students to a great but often neglected poet.

— Neil Bernstein

New England Classical Journal
Readers of Ross' translation in American verse will enjoy the flow of his English.

— Paolo Asso

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781421402772
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 12/29/2010
  • Series: Johns Hopkins New Translations from Antiquity
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 1,239,410
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Charles Stanley Ross is a professor of English and chair of the program in comparative literature at Purdue University.

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Table of Contents


Introduction     ix
Exile     1
Ambush     27
Omens     54
Thirst     82
Women of Lemnos     114
Funeral Games     141
Earth Opens     175
Savage Hunger     204
Tide and Time     232
Sacrifices     264
Piety     298
Clemency     326
Notes     355
Selected Proper Names     377
Selected Annotated Bibliography     381
Acknowledgments     385
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