Epic and Empire in Vespasianic Rome: A New Reading of Valerius Flaccus' Argonautica
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.
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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
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Aeetes Aeneas Aeneid Aeolus anti-Jovian Apollo Apollonius Argo Argo’s voyage Argonautica Argonauts aristeia battle battle of Pharsalus Bellum Civile Book Boreas Caesar Colchis context contrast cosmic Cyzicus dedication delubra genti depiction describe divine Dog Star Doliones Domitian echoes emphasizes episode explicitly fact feature of Valerius Feeney Flavian future Getty Giant-like Giants gigantomachic gods Greeks Hardie Hercules hero heroic Hershkowitz 1998 imagery impious important Jason and Medea Jovian Juno Jupiter Jupiter’s king’s Kleywegt labor Liberman likens Lucan’s Lucan’s Bellum Civile Lucan’s poem Lucanian Manuwald martial Medea Mopsus narrative Nero Orpheus Ovid’s passage Pharsalus Phineus Phlegyas phrase Phrygian poem’s poet poetic poetry political proem recalls reference regime role Roman sailing Sarmatians Saturnian ship simile Sirius Spaltenstein 2004 Statius storm winds suggest summa symbolic Syme thematic theme Titus Troy Valerian Valerius Flaccus vates vatic activity Vergil’s Vergil’s Aeneid Vergilian Vespasian Vespasianic Rome virtus voyage of Argo Wijsman Zissos