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Forgotten StarsRediscovering Manilius' Astronomica$
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Steven J. Green and Katharina Volk

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199586462

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586462.001.0001

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Arduum ad astra

Arduum ad astra

The poetics and politics of horoscopic failure in Manilius’ Astronomica

(p.120) 8 Arduum ad astra
Forgotten Stars

Steven J. Green (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a ‘student-centred’ reading of Manilius’ Astronomica. By focussing on the difficulties faced by the ‘model student’ in the course of this didactic lesson, as well as the deterioration in the relationship between student and teacher during the work, Green argues for the legitimacy of reading the poem as a deliberately failing lesson. The reason for this poetic strategy stems from the contemporary imperial nervousness that surrounds the disclosure of astrological knowledge under Augustus and Tiberius; the didactic genre, which has already established itself as a playful medium, provides a fitting accomplice in this strategic aim. Rather than being the first Roman work on astrology, therefore, Manilius’ poem can be seen as part of a developing discourse of discretion when dealing with the politically-sensitive topic of astrology.

Keywords:   astrology, Augustus, didactic poetry, Manilius, student, teacher, Tiberius

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