Crudelis Vincit Pater: Oedipal Paternities in Statius' Thebaid

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This article offers the first in-depth exploration of the poetic and political significance of dysfunctional paternities in Statius’ Thebaid.
Moving beyond Virgil-centric readings of the poem, it argues that the description of the Thebaid’s kings as problematic fathers reworks the anti-heroic paradigm set by Ovid’s Cadmus (Met. 3–4) into an “Oedipal pattern” scrutinising the interplay between intrafamilial violence and political chaos. While illuminating the Thebaid’s engagement with the ideological environments and generic anxieties of Flavian Rome, the examination of these narratives also displays Statius’ reworking of past literary models through a sophisticated use of verbal and thematic intertextuality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-119
Number of pages29
JournalClassical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021


  • Intertextuality
  • Oedipus
  • Paternity
  • Statius


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