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The Reception of Silius Italicus in Modern Scholarship

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Chapter Summary

The reception of Silius Italicus' Punica in modern scholarship is a phenomenon worthy of critical discussion since it reflects the changing nature of critical attitudes toward imperial literature generally through the twentieth century. For much of the twentieth century, post-Virgilian epic was generally consigned to an inferior status, as reflected in its descriptive label "silver", and Silius Italicus came toward the end of the line of critical revaluation of imperial epic. Silius Italicus was given relatively little serious scholarly attention until the latter part of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century. Criticism of the Punica in some of the twentieth century often sometimes consisted of disparaging comments that did little to advance critical understanding of the epic. Scholarship since the turn of the twenty-first century, has generally tended to be more appreciative of the poet's aims and achievements.

Keywords: critical revaluation of imperial epic; Punica; Silius Italicus



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