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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: 23 July 2021

Dancing in Scyros

Dancing in Scyros

Masculinity and Young Women’s Rituals in the Achilleid

(p.335) 19 Dancing in Scyros
Ritual and Religion in Flavian Epic

Vassiliki Panoussi

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the representation of young women’s rituals in Statius’ Achilleid. The poem shows female ritual activity (expressed through Bacchic rites, choral dancing, and collective worship of Pallas) as bestowing the young women of Scyros with a power that appears capable of containing (or at least delaying) the manifestation of Achilles’ masculinity. The girls’ agency is indicated in three ways: the power of their beauty and sexuality to attract and potentially dominate men; their association with Amazons; and their performance of Bacchic rituals. An analysis of these narrative strategies reveals that Statius invests typical motifs associated with women with an exceptional power that renders the young women capable of posing a threat to the full articulation of masculinity.

Keywords:   Statius, Achilleid, masculinity, girls’ rituals, Amazons, Achilles, Bacchic rites

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