Anna Perenna and the Battle of Cannae in the Punica
This chapter argues that Silius’ excursus on Anna Perenna in Punica 8 is closely linked with the battle at Cannae, recounted in books 9 and 10 of the epic. As a figure who assists Hannibal in securing victory there, but contributes to his ultimate undoing, Anna shows herself to be less sympathetic to the Carthaginian cause than is usually recognised. She is, rather, comparable to pro–Roman gods in the epic, such as Minerva and Jupiter, who similarly oppose Rome in the books leading up to and including Cannae, but do so to help the city prepare herself for victory in the war and her future empire. Anna’s personal story, in which she is transformed from a Carthaginian mortal into an Italian divinity, also sets in bold relief the short–sightedness of Hannibal himself and the pro–Carthaginian goddess Juno.
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