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On Statius, Theb. 8.26 serunt animas and Its Interpretation in Later Readers

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Although most recent editions print ferunt, this paper argues for serunt as the correct reading in Statius, Theb. 8.26. After discussing ferunt as a vague and colourless contribution to the description of Dis’ hellish court, I analyze serunt as a product of the poet’s lexical inventiveness: while he is the first to apply the verb to weaving, Statius connects sero to series and provides a Theban representation of the Parcae as spinners. Lexical enrichment guides the appropriation of myth. Secondly, I deal with two quotations of Theb. 8.26 in later readers of Statius. I suggest that Claudian’s encrypted reference to Statius’ passage in De Raptu Proserpina 1.52 echoes Statius’ stoicizing presentation of the spinning Fates. In Lactantius’ quotation, on the other hand, serunt is interpreted as a reference to reincarnation, in the context of a philosophical reading of Theb. 8.91-93. While supporting the authenticity of serunt, the two later references to Theb. 8.26 attest different interpretations of Statius’ unique (and debated?) usage of the verb.

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