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Reproducing RomeMotherhood in Virgil, Ovid, Seneca, and Statius$
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Mairéad McAuley

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199659364

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199659364.001.0001

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Scit cetera mater

Scit cetera mater

Motherhood and Poetic Filiation in Statian Epic

(p.345) 8 Scit cetera mater
Reproducing Rome

Mairéad McAuley

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the figures of Thetis in Statius’ Achilleid and Atalanta in the Thebaid to reveal how these poems also utilize images and metaphors of maternity to negotiate their position within the epic tradition. It argues that Statius’ allusions to the Aeneid often amplify feminine, maternal aspects suppressed in the earlier, canonical epic. Through its extraordinary evocations of maternal subjectivity in the form of Thetis and Atalanta who must negotiate the deaths of their young warrior sons, it traces an alternative reading of Statius’ Thebaid and Achilleid as a would-be, but never-quite-realized, maternal epic, a poetry of supplements, surrogates, and digressions, rather than one that fuses narrative linearity and patrilineage, like the Aeneid.

Keywords:   Statius, Achilleid, Thebaid, Thetis, Achilles, Atalanta, Parthenopaeus, epic narrative, digressions, maternal epic

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