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Full Access Thebaid 2.239, 2.729 and the Problem of Aracynthus

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Thebaid 2.239, 2.729 and the Problem of Aracynthus

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The first section of this paper examines an allusion to Propertius 3.15 at 2.239 of Statius’ Thebaid. Here Statius refers to a certain Mount Aracynthus in the context of the double marriage of Argia and Deipyle to Polynices and Tydeus. Invoked in Latin poetry as we have it a scant three times, Statius’ Aracynthus recalls Propertius 3.15.42, where the mountain is the site of Amphion’s paean celebrating the victory over Dirce, whose jealous pursuit of Antiope wrought her own destruction. Invoked in the midst of the wedding of Polynices, whose own jealousy over Eteocles will bring about his downfall, Aracynthus casts a pall over the otherwise idyllic description of the two brides and further hints at the doomed nature of their union to the two exiles, Polynices and Tydeus.

The second section of this paper examines an implied reference to another Aracynthus at 2.729. This second Aracynthus, however, is Aetolian and not the Boeotian mountain of Propertius. Statius’ two Aracynthi draw us in to an obscure debate, ancient and modern, concerning the location(s) of this (or these) mountain(s) and may suggest something about his engagement with his literary models.

Affiliations: 1: University of Calgary, Department of Greek and Roman Studies 2500 University Drive N.W., Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4, Email: jmcclure@ucalgary.ca

The first section of this paper examines an allusion to Propertius 3.15 at 2.239 of Statius’ Thebaid. Here Statius refers to a certain Mount Aracynthus in the context of the double marriage of Argia and Deipyle to Polynices and Tydeus. Invoked in Latin poetry as we have it a scant three times, Statius’ Aracynthus recalls Propertius 3.15.42, where the mountain is the site of Amphion’s paean celebrating the victory over Dirce, whose jealous pursuit of Antiope wrought her own destruction. Invoked in the midst of the wedding of Polynices, whose own jealousy over Eteocles will bring about his downfall, Aracynthus casts a pall over the otherwise idyllic description of the two brides and further hints at the doomed nature of their union to the two exiles, Polynices and Tydeus.

The second section of this paper examines an implied reference to another Aracynthus at 2.729. This second Aracynthus, however, is Aetolian and not the Boeotian mountain of Propertius. Statius’ two Aracynthi draw us in to an obscure debate, ancient and modern, concerning the location(s) of this (or these) mountain(s) and may suggest something about his engagement with his literary models.

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2011-01-01
2016-08-25

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