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Mythographical and Literary Notes on the Catalogs of Argive and Theban Allies in Statius’ Thebaid

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image of Mnemosyne

This article argues, in a series of discrete but interconnected notes, that Statius engages consistently and consciously with mythographical works—prose collections and exegesis on myth as myth—in the creation of his two major catalogs in the Thebaid, the catalog of Argive allies at 4.1-344 and that of Theban allies at 7.243-373. Both are patently based on Homer’s ‘Catalog of Ships’, but Statius reshapes his model by engaging ingeniously with mythographical and geographical works in prose to invent a unique pre-Iliadic landscape. This paper also explores some of the literary ways in which Statius reinvents Homer’s catalog, including offering his readers mythological puzzles that require knowledge both of Homer’s text and subsequent scholarship thereon.

Affiliations: 1: University of New Hampshire, Dept. of Classics, Humanities and Italian Studies Durham, NHUSA


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