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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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Argive Augury and Portents in the Thebaid

Argive Augury and Portents in the Thebaid

(p.71) 4 Argive Augury and Portents in the Thebaid
Ritual and Religion in Flavian Epic

Anne Tuttle

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the thematic significance of omens and portents in Statius’ Thebaid. It also provides an overview of and considers its intertextual relationship with other Latin epics with respect to augury and other signs from the gods, and how human characters react to them. By comparing the different instances of augury and portents and filtering them through the lens of Roman religion, the signs given and the consequences of human responses to the signs provide clues to the disposition of the gods and the role of human will in each narrative. The main focus of this chapter is upon the Argive augury and portents, and the implications for the nature of the divine machinery, Fate, and the relationship between humans and gods. Statius’ unique approach to supernatural signs has thematic consequences for the poem as a whole.

Keywords:   Latin epic, Statius, Thebaid, augury, omens, divine machinery, intertext, Fate

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