Defining the Other: From altera patria to tellus mater in Silius Italicus' Punica
In the second chapter, attention is paid to the construction of what constitutes same and other in the early books of the Punica, by looking at the role of patria, Italy and Africa respectively: the word patria is closely associated with the male protagonists of the poem, especially pairs of fathers and sons, who try to protect their respective fatherlands, quite unsuccessfully. Alienation from one's patria is also evident in Rome's allied cities, especially Saguntum, where women are either silenced (the Amazon Asbyte) or inspired by bacchic frenzy, with a borrowed voice (Tiburna). The appearance of Tellus in book 15, however, marks a change, as the figure of the mother-earth empowers the male warriors to initiate war and discover a new identity.
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