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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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Competing Visions

Competing Visions

Prophecy, Spectacle, and Theatricality in Flavian Epic

(p.53) 3 Competing Visions
Ritual and Religion in Flavian Epic

Helen Lovatt

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that theatricality plays an important part in exploring the authority and authenticity of prophecy in Latin epic. Confrontations between prophets and rulers allow an exploration of both power and prophecy. The chapter looks at the double prophecies of Mopsus and Idmon in Valerius Flaccus, Tiresias’ necromancy and pyromancy and the confrontation between Amphiaraus and Capaneus in Statius, and two episodes in Silius: the argument between Flaminius and Corvinus and the competing interpretations of Liger and Bogus. Ultimately, Flavian epic suggests that apparent rationality can be another layer of performance, and that the spectacles of prophecy are just one more manifestation of the empty over–coherence of epic causation.

Keywords:   Latin epic, Valerius Flaccus, Silius Italicus, Statius, prophecy, theatricality, performance, spectacle

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