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Gout, Beasts, and Other Metaphorical Punishments in AP 11.226-231

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The reference to retributive gout in 11.229 serves as a semiotic hinge between two sets of interdependent poems in what may be a coherent Ammianic sequence ( AP 11.226-231). Ammianos’ approval of gout as a just punishment in 11.229 establishes themes of retribution and somatic torment that are elaborated in 11.230-231, riddling epigrams that express the hope that their target will endure repeated execution on the cross (11.230) and then in the arena (11.231). The torturous executions hoped for in 11.230-231 are further contextualized by analogous references to mythic and fabulistic punishments in an adjacent set of poems by the same author (11.226-228). When these epigrams are considered in light of the retributive nature and metaphorical implications of gout, their wit and substance can be better appreciated.

Affiliations: 1: Haverford College, Department of Classics Haverford, pa19041 USA


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