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Homeric Receptions in Flavian Epic: Intertextual Characterization in Punica 7

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Chapter Summary

Silius Italicus appears to be capitalizing on techniques of intertextual allusion, in order to strengthen the juxtaposition of his basic epic figures, a contrast on which the narrative of the seventh book is largely structured. This device is quite complex, in relation as least to Silius' main epic Roman predecessor, Virgil, who also availed himself of methods of alternate intertextual references; this quality of Silius results, however, mainly from the epigonal character of his epic poetry. The Homeric intertext is, therefore, often interweaved and diffracted through the prism of a parallel reading of Virgilian, Lucanean, and Statian passages, chiefly "window references" to the Homeric intertexts of the Silian passages in question. Silius Italicus is, accordingly, included among the epic poets of the imperial period who practise a similar complex technique of intertextual portrayals, adopting this method of parallel, multiple, and multifaceted epic allusive references on the level of indirect characterization.

Keywords: Flavian epic; Homeric intertext; intertextual characterization; Silius Italicus; Statian



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