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Silius Italicus: A Consular Historian?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter addresses Tiberius Catius Asconius Silius Italicus not so much from the point of view of Quellenforschung, but from the perspective of Silius' adoption of historiographical motifs and techniques, to show how Silius can exploit the modes of historiographical presentation in an epic poem. It moves on to the issues of grandeur and scale, before examining in depth Silius' digression on Sicily at the start of book 14. The chapter then briefly covers Silius' approach to speeches. It shows how the techniques of historiography are a fundamental part of Silius' work: as well as seeing him in poetic terms, in terms of the self-affiliation with Virgil (and hence with poetry), as famously described in Pliny's letter, readers of Silius should be open to his exploitation of historiographical predecessors and indeed other prose authors as well.

Keywords: epic poem; grandeur; historiographical motifs; Sicily; Tiberius Catius Asconius Silius Italicus



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