In his recent monograph (2012) Tim Stover has provided the first full-scale study of Valerius Flaccus’ interaction with Lucan’s Bellum Civile, arguing that the Argonautica restores epic after Lucan and optimistically supports Vespasian’s restoration of the Principate after the civil wars of 68-69 ad. Focusing on the ‘civil war’ between the Argonauts and the Doliones in Book 3 of Valerius’ epic, I will propose an alternative reading of the influence of Lucan as well as Virgil’s Aeneid. Although Valerius at first sight seems to set up the Cyzicus episode in Virgilian fashion, he in fact deconstructs this reading, revealing the impossibility of (re)writing an Aeneid in the Flavian age.
Stover2012115. Cf. Stover’s analysis of Gigantomachy imagery in Chapter 3 which deals with the sea storm in Book 1 of the Argonautica (574-692).
Cf. Garson1964269(who deals with other tragic aspects of the episode as well); Shelton 1971 112.
Garson1964269: “(. . .) it is not without significance that the Argonauts’ realization of their error is compared (. . .) to Agave’s in the Bacchae (. . .).”
See Bernstein200852-54for these and other ways in which Valerius represents “the combatants as symbolically united through ties of created kinship a motif not paralleled in Apollonius . . .” (p. 52). Cf. Stover 2012 123 with n. 33.
Cf. Stover2012135n. 64: “The simile also adds to the tragic note that Valerius strikes throughout his narrative of the battle.”
Bernstein20084852 (see also n. 10 above).
McGuire1997109-110. Cf. Stover 2012 123-125 on Valerius’ “terminology of civil war”.
Stover2012148. See also the quote below.
Cf. Bernstein2014159: “As in Lucan’s Bellum Civile and Statius’ Thebaid the narrator emphasises the arbitrariness of the reasons for the collective punishments levied by angry goddesses at Lemnos and Cyzicus.”
Burck1970180; McGuire 1997 109. This intertextual link is not mentioned by Stover 2012. Compare also Valerius’ address to Clio at the beginning of the episode (Arg. 3.14-15 tu mihi nunc causas infandaque proeliaClio| pande virum.) with Virgil’s question to the Muse at the beginning of the Aeneid (A. 1.8 Musamihi causas memora . . .) on which see e.g. Spaltenstein 2004 10 (ad loc.).
E.g. Stover2012122n. 31 also for more bibliography.
See e.g. Stover2012114: “even in the midst of bellum civile there is a clearly defined ‘right side’ and a clearly defined ‘wrong side’. In Valerius’ civil war narratives the distinction between good and evil does not collapse as is the case in Lucan’s Bellum Civile.” Cf. p. 141 where Stover speaks of “good and evil” and p. 145 where he states: “. . . Valerius employs gigantomachic imagery to distinguish the Greeks from the Phrygians the heroes from the villains”.
See also Spaltenstein200444(ad loc.) and Manuwald 2015 98 (ad loc.) for this allusion. Stover (2012 122-123) does deal with the Virgilian intertext when he discusses Valerius’ allusions in Arg. 2.638 and 3.16-18 to A. 8.124 and A. 8.169 so the Doliones are already associated with the Greeks and the Argonauts with the Trojans at the very beginning of the Cyzicus episode. Stover concludes that “[t]he bond between Vergil’s Trojans and Arcadians thus operates as an important model for the union of Valerius’ Argonauts and Doliones” but as I argue on the basis of the later allusion the relationship between the Argonautica and Aeneid 8 (and Aeneid 2 for that matter) is not straightforward and evolves.
Stover2012115. For his treatment of the passage itself see Stover 2012 142-147.
Stover2012115. Cf. the quote above.
Cf. Manuwald2015102(ad loc.).
See Stover2012100-102for Lucan’s Caesar as a “gigantomachic mariner” in this episode.
Hershkowitz1998120. Incidentally Stover 2012 does not treat Jason’s aristeia in Cyzicus.
This paragraph is based on Heerink201495.
Cf. e.g. Bernstein2014160. See Stover 2012 27-77 (Ch. 2: “The Inauguration of the ‘Argonautic moment’”) for a different i.e. optimistic interpretation of the “Jovian programme” (p. 28) in Valerius’ Argonautica including Jupiter’s prophetic speech and the transition from the Golden to the Iron Age.