Epic and Empire in Vespasianic Rome: A New Reading of Valerius Flaccus' Argonautica

Epic and Empire in Vespasianic Rome: A New Reading of Valerius Flaccus' Argonautica

by Tim Stover


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Epic and Empire in Vespasianic Rome offers a new interpretation of Valerius Flaccus' Argonautica, a Latin epic poem written during the reign of the emperor Vespasian (70-79 AD). Recounting the famous voyage of Jason and the Argonauts as they set off to retrieve the Golden Fleece, the poem depicts a narrative of high epic adventure. In this volume, Stover shows how Flaccus' epic reflects the restorative ideals of Vespasianic Rome, which attempted to restore order following the destructive civil war of 68-69 AD. This proposition sets it apart from the largely 'pessimistic' readings of other scholars.

An important element of Flaccus' poetics of recovery is an engagement with Lucan's iconoclastic Bellum Civile. This poem's deconstructive tendencies offered Flaccus a poetic point of departure for his attempt to renew the epic genre in the context of political renewal triggered by Vespasian's accession to power. Stover's approach is thus both formalist and historicist as he seeks not only to elucidate Flaccus' dynamic appropriation of Lucan, but also to associate the Argonautica's formal gestures within a specific socio-political context.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199644087
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 09/07/2012
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Tim Stover is Assistant Professor of Classics at Florida State University.

Table of Contents

List of abbreviations
1. The date of the Argonautica
2. The inauguration of the Argonautic moment
3. The sea storm and political allegory
4. Gigantomachy and civil war in Cyzicus
5. The Vespasianic vates
6. Recuperating the hero: Medea and the issue of Jason s virtus
Index of passages
General index

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