Roman epic lays firm claim to being western civilization's prime literary form. Roman epic draws together fourteen critically and methodologically distinct essays, focusing on particular epicists, their reaction to, influence on and rewriting of each other. The book examines the formation and transformation of Roman epic from its beginnings in the third century BCE Saturnian poets Livius and Naevius to the Renaissance Latin epics of Petrarch and Vida. What results is the revelation of Roman epic not only as Rome's highest poetic genre but as a self-consciously intertextual, primarily political form. The Roman epicist's creative exploitation of his predecessors is not restricted to stylistic similarities and generic codes, but often encompasses more important levels of social, moral and political meaning. In the Roman tradition the epic form shows an impetus to reform the celebratory values implicit in the form itself, admitting a plurality of interactive, often critical, narrative voices. This book reveals how epic developed and critically considers the generic and literary tradition to which the texts belong. It demonstrates epic's critical significance for the foundational culture of the western world.
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LIVIUS AND NAEVIUS
ELEGY EPIGRAM SATIRE
FORM REMADESTATIUS THEBAID
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Achilles Actaeon action Aeneas Aeneid allusions Annales appears battle becomes beginning Book brothers called Catullus century Christian civil claims classical contemporary course critical death described detail divine dream earlier echoes effect Ennius epic epigram episode especially Eteocles example eyes father figures final fragment genre gods Greek hand Hercules hero heroic Hiltgunde historical Homer human Hylas Iliad important Italy Jupiter later Latin lines literary Lucan meaning moral myth Naevius narrative nature Nymph opening original Ovid Ovid's passage perhaps poem poet poetic poetry political present Proem reader reference reflection reveals rhetoric Roman Rome scene Scipio seems sense Silius Statius story structure style suggests takes Thebes theme tradition turn Valerius values verse Virgil Virgilian virtus Waltharius Walther writing