Campania in the Flavian Poetic Imagination
Antony Augoustakis, R. Joy Littlewood
Oxford University Press, Jan 17, 2019 - Literary Criticism - 352 pages
The region of Campania with its fertility and volcanic landscape exercised great influence over the Roman cultural imagination. A hub of activity outside the city of Rome, the Bay of Naples was a place of otium, leisure and quiet, repose and literary productivity, and yet also a place of danger: the looming Vesuvius inspired both fear and awe in the region's inhabitants, while the Phlegraean Fields evoked the story of the gigantomachy and sulphurous lakes invited entry to the Underworld. For Flavian writers in particular, Campania became a locus for literary activity and geographical disaster when in 79 CE, the eruption of the volcano annihilated a great expanse of the region, burying under a mass of ash and lava the surrounding cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae. In the aftermath of such tragedy the writers examined in this volume - Martial, Silius Italicus, Statius, and Valerius Flaccus - continued to live, work, and write about Campania, which emerges from their work as an alluring region held in the balance of luxury and peril.
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