Arduum ad astra
The poetics and politics of horoscopic failure in Manilius’ Astronomica
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.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.