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Harvard University Press, 2004 - History - 215 pages
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Greek literary education and Roman political reality are evident in the poetry of Statius (c. 50-96 CE). His Silvae are thirty-two occasional poems. His masterpiece, the epic Thebaid, recounts the struggle for kingship between the two sons of Oedipus. The extant portion of his Achilleid begins an account of Achilles' life and renews epic. Statius' Silvae, thirty-two occasional poems, were written probably between 89 and 96 CE Here the poet congratulates friends, consoles mourners, offers thanks, admires a monument or artistic object, describes a memorable scene. The verse is light in touch, with a distinct picture quality. Statius gives us in these impromptu poems clear images of Domitian's Rome. Statius was raised in the Greek cultural milieu of the Bay of Naples, and his Greek literary education lends a sophisticated veneer to his ornamental verse. The role of the emperor and the imperial circle in determining taste is another readily apparent influence: the figure of the emperor Domitian permeates these poems. D.R. Shackleton Bailey's new edition of the Silvae, a freshly edited Latin text facing a graceful translation, replaces the earlier Loeb Classical Library edition with translation by J.H. Mozley. Kathleen M. Coleman contributed an essay on recent scholarship on the Silvae.

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About the author (2004)

Born Angelo Ambrogini in Tuscany, he was called Poliziano or Politian after the Latin name of his birthplace. At the Medicean court, Lorenzo the Magnificent was his friend and patron, and Luigi Pulci and Pico della Mirandola were close companions. His important works in the vernacular are La favola di Orfeo (The Fable of Orpheus) (1480), completed in two days, which ranks as the first Italian secular drama, and the Stanze (1475--78), written in celebration of a courtly tournament, with brilliant scenes of people and events.

Charles Fantazzi is Thomas Harriot Distinguished Teaching Professor of Classics and Great Books at East Carolina University.

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