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Ritual and Religion in Flavian Epic$
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Antony Augoustakis

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199644094

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199644094.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 September 2021

With (a) God on Our Side

With (a) God on Our Side

Ancient Ritual Practices and Imagery in Flavian Epic

(p.17) 1 With (a) God on Our Side
Ritual and Religion in Flavian Epic

Marco Fucecchi

Oxford University Press

This chapter illustrates that ancient religious rituals (euocatio and translatiodeorum), connected with war or motivated by other situations of crisis in the life of Roman republican society, play a significant role and influence the imagery of imperial literary culture. In its self–conscious effort to win primacy over the Augustan poets (especially Virgil), Flavian epic displays particular interest in recalling such traditional paradigms indirectly and with sophisticated taste, more than indulging in a purely antiquarian recuperation. The poems of Silius and ValeriusFlaccus offer large and variegated evidence: the curious reversal of an euocatio (Minerva asks Diomedes to take her in the future site of Rome); Hannibal’s vain attempts to imitate the Roman ‘imperialistic’ custom of appropriating alien gods; Medea’s characterisation as a goddess who undergoes a peculiar sort of translatio from East to West, in a way reminiscent of Minerva herself or Magna Mater.

Keywords:   euocatio, translatio, Roman pantheon, ancient warfare, intertextuality, Silius Italicus, Punic wars, Valerius Flaccus, Argonauts

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