Virgil, Lucan, and the Meaning of Civil War in Valerius Flaccus’ Argonautica

In: Mnemosyne
Mark Heerink Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculty of Humanities, GLTC Universiteit van Amsterdam, Faculty of Humanities, Classics Department

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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.

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