Abstract

Through a simultaneous reading of the Thebaid and the Silvae, this paper demonstrates that Statius co-opts the feminine genre of lamentation—traditionally constructed as dangerous and excessive—in order to seduce his audience with the grim pleasure of indulging in grief. By moving women's voices closer to the center of his epic poem than Vergil did in the Aeneid, Statius turns the Thebaid into a platform of consolatory public discourse similar to the consolationes in the Silvae. In his poetic creations, he gives voice to silenced pain in opposition to the program of the philosophical consolatio, which had relegated violent laments to a position outside the scope of civilized self-expression. Through the transforming power of art, Statius sublimates the expression of human pain and grief into a cathartic consolatio.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6504
Print ISSN
0004-0975
Pages
pp. 105-135
Launched on MUSE
2004-05-14
Open Access
No
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