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Stones In The Forest: Epigraphic Allusion In The Silvae

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Chapter Summary

In occasional poetry such as the Silvae, which commemorate the triumphs and sorrows of daily life, it would be natural to expect inscriptions to feature prominently; but they do not, perhaps precisely because they are too quotidian for a body of work that seeks to raise the everyday to a new plane of enhanced reality. In order to highlight this remarkable lacuna, this chapter looks briefly at some of the ways in which inscriptions are quoted in literary texts (mostly imaginative), and then considers how it is that the Silvae dispense with them. It, then, turns to the Silvae, fertile thickets, one might expect, in which to hunt for epigraphic quarry, since, to change the metaphor, they hold up a magnifying mirror to the everyday details of contemporary life. As one might expect from verse that is "commissioned" for specific occasions, the Silvae are strongly rooted in the real world.

Keywords: epigraphic quarry; lacuna; occasional poetry; Silvae



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