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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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‘Consider in the Image of Thebes’

‘Consider in the Image of Thebes’

Celestial and Poetic Auspicy in the Thebaid

Chapter:
(p.89) 5 ‘Consider in the Image of Thebes’
Source:
Ritual and Religion in Flavian Epic
Author(s):

Eleni Manolaraki

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199644094.003.0006

This essay examines Amphiaraus’ auspicy and derivative episodes in the Thebaid from the perspective of Statius’ narrative and narrating contexts. Statius forges an exegetical bond that welds his aesthetic values to the hermeneutics of auspicy, and he accomplishes this by engaging his readership in a sign–inference process parallel to the auspical experience. His is a double aim: to present his Thebaid as a didactic discourse equivalent to divination, and to critique the political stakes of mantic practices in the history of imperial Rome. The contested interpretation of celestial signs in the pursuit of power, with paradigms as old as Romulus and as recent as Vespasian, fuels Statius’ complicating of this episode beyond the confines of the ‘epic omen’ topos.

Keywords:   Statius, Thebaid, Amphiaraus, auspicy, divination;omen, Romulus, Vespasian

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