The Argos Narrative in Statius’ Thebaid: A New Ovidian Perseid?

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Moving beyond traditionally Virgil-centric readings of the Thebaid, this article argues that Statius programmatically acknowledges the role that the Metamorphoses plays in his poem, by opening the Thebaid with an Argive narrative (Theb. 1.312-2.743) entirely modelled on the Ovidian Perseid (Met. 4.610-5.249). By exploring how a "conflictive" Virgilian-Ovidian intertextuality informs the Thebaid's Argos narrative, I show how Statius develops Ovid's intertextual technique both to competitively renegotiate his relationship with his Augustan models and to respond to the new socio-political issues of Flavian Rome, chiefly the dangers of the Flavians' family-based reorganisation of the imperial institution under the guise of a return to an idealised Augustan past.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-315
Number of pages25
JournalAmerican Journal of Philology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Ovid
  • Statius
  • Latin Literature
  • Roman Empire


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