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Exemplary EpicSilius Italicus' Punica$
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Ben Tipping

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199550111

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199550111.001.0001

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Exemplary Epic

Ben Tipping

Oxford University Press

This chapter summarizes the arguments presented in the book. The book began with the assertion that the Punica should be the Roman epic. In so doing, it provided an instance of a text taken to exemplify a literary tradition. In the ensuing exploration of patterns of paradigmatic heroism, it identified instances of example as theme in literature. The central contentions have been that heroization of exemplary Romans by reference to Herculean heroism or Punic otherness operates less straightforwardly in the Punica than might at first appear, and that even those Roman heroes whose example seems unquestionably protreptic in Silius' poem are, on examination, significantly flawed. Such a reading of the Punica is more sensitive to complex intertextuality and correspondingly complex levels of signification than one according to which Silius as epicist simply labours to rehabilitate Rome by reference to exemplary heroes of the past.

Keywords:   Silius, Punica, Roman epic, epic poem, Herculean heroism

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