This paper offers a discussion of the intertextual relationship between Lucan’s Cornelia and Silius Italicus’ Saguntine women. The act of metaphorical burial is exploited by both poets as a device to deconstruct and then reconstruct Roman identity. Silius exploits both sides of the Lucanian Cornelia, as both the monstrous and the sympathetic, the maenadic and the philosophical, to create a complex intertextual nexus with those mothers that historically precede but literarily follow Lucan’s epic.
This chapter discusses the importance of burial and lament in Flavian epic, especially in conjunction with mothers and fathers. First, I look at Silius’ Pyrene and Statius’ Psamathe as examples of bereft mothers whose death is accentuated in the narrative as a marker of upcoming events. Then I study the importance of male lament as a confirmation and consolidation of male power. The passages discussed in this chapter amply demonstrate that whereas women’s lament undermines the social structures associated with decorum, male lament confirms and consolidates male power as tyrannical and autocratic.