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The Helen-Episode (567–88)

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Chapter Summary

In their prefaces to the Aeneid, both Servius and Servius Danuta Shanzer (an early mediaeval compilation, deriving both from Servius and from Aelius Donatus) cite the Helen-episode (HE), verses quos constat esse detractos. It is not difficult to outline the sources of the content and language of HE; indeed the neat and orderly programme of reading that emerges tells not at all in favour of Virgilian authorship, for, particularly in a context such as Aeneid2, where the literary tradition is extremely complex, and Varius (V) is writing at the very apex of his poetic efforts and linguistic density, the syllabus of sources behind these lines is strangely limited. It has been suggested that the prudent reader of the verses preserved by Servius as ?excised by Varius and Tucca' would do well to consider with care and caution evidential character of the other material of the same character that Servius preserves.

Keywords: Aeneid2; Helen-episode (HE); Servius; Varius (V)



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