Mythographical and Literary Notes on the Catalogs of Argive and Theban Allies in Statius’ Thebaid

in Mnemosyne
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This article argues, in a series of discrete but interconnected notes, that Statius engages consistently and consciously with mythographical works—prose collections and exegesis on myth as myth—in the creation of his two major catalogs in the Thebaid, the catalog of Argive allies at 4.1-344 and that of Theban allies at 7.243-373. Both are patently based on Homer’s ‘Catalog of Ships’, but Statius reshapes his model by engaging ingeniously with mythographical and geographical works in prose to invent a unique pre-Iliadic landscape. This paper also explores some of the literary ways in which Statius reinvents Homer’s catalog, including offering his readers mythological puzzles that require knowledge both of Homer’s text and subsequent scholarship thereon.

Mythographical and Literary Notes on the Catalogs of Argive and Theban Allies in Statius’ Thebaid

in Mnemosyne



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For Ovid see Cameron 2004261-303 (contra Graf 2002 119); Cole 2004; Cole 2008; Farrell 2013 223-251. For a positive view that Valerius Flaccus engaged with prose mythographical texts see Zissos 2008 xxiv-xxv (for the scholia to Apollonius Rhodius see ad 1.413-419).


Cribiore 2001194-195.


Zissos 2008xxxiv-xxxix.


Kytzler 1969227.


Overviews: Legras 190551-55; Kytzler 1969 219-230; Juhnke 1972 88-92; Vessey 1973 196-204; Georgacopoulou 1996 103-107; Asquith 2001 67-72; Lovatt 2005 181-186; Steiniger 2005 11-53; McNelis 2007 81-86; Micozzi 2007 3-15; Parkes 2012 61-66 (ad 4.32-344); cf. Reitz 2013. Some towns however are taken directly from Homer e.g. Theb. 4.102-104  Il. 2.638-644; Theb. 4.286 = Il. 2.606; see Helm 1892 17-19.


See Levin 196311.


Vessey 1973198Parkes 2012 ad loc.


Vessey 1973200-201; Parkes 2012 ad loc.


Juhnke 197291Steiniger 2005 ad loc. and Micozzi 2007 ad loc. all note the Laconian presence but make nothing of it.


Cf. Ahl 19862867-2869.


Cf. Asquith 20016063.


See Smith and Trzaskoma 2007xlix-liv.


Overviews of the Theban catalog: Legras 190591-92; Juhnke 1972 117-118; Vessey 1973 205-209; Smolenaars 1994 119-123; Georgacopoulou 1996 112-117; McNelis 2007 101-119.


See Helm 189215-17; Smolenaars 1994 122.


Cf. Smolenaars 1994ad 7.243-373 (p. 121).


As noted by Smolenaars 1994ad 7.354f.


See RoscherLexicon 2665.41-57 s.v. ‘Hippasus’.


See Stern 1996ad loc.


Smolenaars 1994122 suggests that Statius “in adding 16 geographical names to Homer’s list . . . probably [drew] on Pliny’s enumeration of Boeotian and Phocian towns.” This includes Tanagra but this is improbable not least because Pliny’s list contains no mention of any myth in connection with Tanagra; in fact myth hardly figures into Pliny’s account at all.


See Lightfoot 2009297n. 93 ad fr. 65 “It is not clear whether Euphorion told all or part of the story.”


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