Classics Silius Italicus
by
Antony Augoustakis
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 June 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0163

Introduction

Tiberius Catius Asconius Silius Italicus, simply known as Silius Italicus, is the author of the longest extant poem in Latin literature, in seventeen books, titled the Punica (= Punic Wars), in which he recounts in verse the Second Punic War (218–201 BCE). The narrative includes the siege of Saguntum by the Carthaginians and the sack of the city; Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps; the destructive battles at the Ticinus, the Trebia, Lake Trasimene, and Cannae; Scipio’s trip to the Underworld; and Hannibal’s final defeat at Zama by Scipio Africanus. Silius Italicus is one of the three Flavian epicists (the other two are Valerius Flaccus and Statius). He composed his poem during the period of the Flavian emperors, in particular, during the rule of Domitian. A Renaissance of scholarly interest in Silius’s poem has been attested since the last decade of the 20th century with several published and forthcoming studies shedding light on different aspects of the complex historical poem.

Biography

Tiberius Catius Asconius Silius Italicus was a prominent Roman statesman, born around 26 CE. Silius’s biographer is the epistolographer Pliny the Younger, who reports the poet’s death in one of his letters (Ep. 3.7). Silius held the consulship in 68 CE and served as proconsul in Asia (c. 77 CE); after the end of his political career of thirty years, he dedicated his time to the composition of the Punica. Undoubtedly, Silius found himself in the midst of the turmoil during the last years of the life of Emperor Nero, and his career under the last of the Julio-Claudians attracted some criticism among ancient authors, especially since he was alleged to have served as a delator (Plin. Ep. 3.7.3). But the advent of the Flavian dynasty was a welcome change for many of the parties involved in the bloody civil war of 69 CE, and the new emperors of the Flavian clan, Vespasian together with Titus and Domitian, his sons and successors, are celebrated in the Punica as the family destined to lead Rome to new heights of glory (Sil. 3.593–629). Silius retired in Campania, where he dedicated his time to collecting books and art, keeping the cult of Virgil, and writing his epic poem (Plin. Ep. 3.7.8). On his life, see Miniconi and Devallet 1979 (pp. vii–xvii), Augoustakis 2010 (pp. 3–6), Dominik 2010 (pp. 428–431), and Littlewood 2011 (pp. xv–xix, cited under Commentaries). We do not know the exact date of the poet’s death, possibly around 101 CE, during the reign of the emperor Trajan. We know, however, that Silius ended his life by starvation, as Pliny the Younger informs us (Ep. 3.7.1–2), possibly because of an incurable cancerous stomach tumor (insanabilis clauus). Scholars have long debated the exact dates of the poem’s composition (see Date and Composition) as well as its state of completion, that is, whether it was ever finished.

  • Augoustakis, Antony. 2010. Silius Italicus, a Flavian poet. In Brill’s companion to Silius Italicus. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 3–23. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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    Analysis of the biographical information found in Pliny the Younger and further bibliographical references to the scholarship discussing Silius’s life.

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    • Dominik, William J. 2010. The reception of Silius Italicus in modern scholarship. In Brill’s companion to Silius Italicus. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 425–447. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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      Very useful exposition and overview of Silian studies from the rediscovery of the Punica to modern times, with information on Silius’s life and contemporaries.

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      • Miniconi, Pierre, and Georges Devallet. 1979. Introduction. In Silius Italicus: La guerre Punique: Livres I–IV. Edited by Pierre Miniconi and Georges Devallet, vii–cx. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.

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        Good amount of information on Silius’s life and the ancient authors who talk about Silius.

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        Reference Works on Silius Italicus

        Young 1964 provides a compilation of an Index Verborum (University of Iowa dissertation in 1939), while Wacht 1989 constitutes a compilation of the most recent concordance.

        Bibliographical Guides

        In addition to L’Année Philologique, which contains a complete record of works on the Punica in print and online, as well as the most up-to-date supplements in Gnomon, an excellent resource that the student of Silius can consult, bibliographical information on criticism on the Punica from the 15th century onward is found in von Albrecht 1964 (pp. 215–237, cited under Monographs and Specialized Studies). Ariemma 2000 surveys the scholarship on Silius from 1984 to 1999 and Dominik 2010 offers a more recent overview through 2010.

        • L’Année Philologique.

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          The bibliography of record for the field of classical studies. Printed volumes cover 1924 to 2006, and the online version as of 2013 covers 1924 to 2010. Abstracts (in French, Italian, German, or English) are provided for articles, and book reviews are cited for monograph-length studies.

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          • Ariemma, Enrico M. 2000. Tendenze degli studi su Silio Italico: Una panoramica sugli ultimi quindici anni, 1984–1999. Bollettino di studi latini 30.2: 577–640.

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            Excellent resource on the bibliographical tendencies in Silian scholarship in more recent times.

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            • Dominik, William J. 2010. The reception of Silius Italicus in modern scholarship. In Brill’s companion to Silius Italicus. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 425–447. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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              Very useful exposition and overview of Silian studies from the rediscovery of the Punica to modern times.

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              • Gnomon.

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                Complements L’Année Philologique with up-to-date additions of publications.

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                Manuscript Tradition and Texts

                Poggio Bracciolini rediscovered the Punica in 1417 in St. Gallen, Switzerland; he made a copy, which constitutes the archetype of all manuscripts deriving from it. The history of the manuscript tradition is found in McGushin 1985, Reeve 1983, and in the preface to the Teubner edition in Delz 1987 (pp. v–lxix). On the early history of the text and the subsequent editions, see Dominik 2010 (pp. 426–428, cited under Biography). Delz 1987 provides the most authoritative edition of the poem for the Teubner series. One of the most emblematic cruces in Silius’s text is the Additamentum Aldinum (8.144–223), an addition to the text present since the Aldine edition of 1523, on which see Brugnoli and Santini 1995. Scholars of Silius need to consult also the medieval and Renaissance Latin translations, commentaries, annotated lists, and guides as found in Bassett, et al. 1976.

                • Bassett, Edward, Josephus Delz, and A. J. Duston. 1976. Silius Italicus. In Catalogus Translationum et Commentariorum: Medieval and Renaissance Latin translations and commentaries, Volume III. Edited by F. E. Cranz and P. O. Kristeller, 341–398. Washington, DC: Catholic Univ. of America Press.

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                  Useful overview of manuscripts, translations, and commentaries.

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                  • Brugnoli, Giorgio, and Carlo Santini. 1995. L’Additamentum Aldinum di Silio Italico. Rome: Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.

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                    Systematic presentation of evidence that the addition in the eighth book is Silius’s own and not a copyist’s invention.

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                    • Delz, Josephus, ed. 1987. Sili Italici Punica. Stuttgart: Teubner, 1987.

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                      Authoritative Latin edition of Silius’s text with the most reliable apparatus criticus to date.

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                      • McGushin, Patrick. 1985. The transmission of the Punica of Silius Italicus. Amsterdam: A. M. Hakkert.

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                        Detailed study of the manuscript tradition.

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                        • Reeve, Michael D. 1983. Silius Italicus. In Texts and transmission: A survey of the Latin classics. Edited by L. D. Reynolds, 389–391. Oxford: Clarendon.

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                          Overview of the manuscript tradition and transmission of the Latin text.

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                          Translations

                          Translations in different languages include Duff 1934 in English, Rupprecht 1991 in German, and Vinchesi 2001 in Italian, in addition to the four volumes for the Budé series by various editors as indicated below: Miniconi and Devallet 1979; Volpilhac, et al. 1981; Volpilhac-Lenthéric, et al. 1984; and Martin and Devallet 1992).

                          Commentaries

                          Several commentaries have been published on individual books of the Punica (Ariemma 2000, Feeney 1982, Fröhlich 2000 (cited under Date and Composition), Littlewood 2011, and Roosjen 1996, while the majority remain still in need of individual treatments. Spaltenstein 1986 and Spaltenstein 1990 constitute two-volume commentaries that covers the whole poem. Students of Silius are required often to consult Ruperti 1795–1798, a monumental commentary, and Lemaire 1823.

                          • Ariemma, Enrico M. 2000. Alla vigilia di Canne: Commentario al libro VIII dei Punica di Silio Italico. Naples: Loffredo.

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                            Thorough commentary of Book 8.

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                            • Feeney, Dennis C. 1982. A commentary on Silius Italicus Book 1. PhD diss., Oxford University.

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                              Partially available (1.1–139) online.

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                              • Lemaire, Nicolaus E., ed. 1823. Caius Silius Italicus: Punicorum libri septendecim. Paris: N. E. Lemaire.

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                                Edition that includes quotes from Ruperti’s exegesis of the passages.

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                                • Littlewood, R. Joy. 2011. A commentary on Silius Italicus’ Punica 7. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                  Great resource for students and scholars of Silius alike. Places the poem within its sociopolitical context; explains the seventh book thoroughly.

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                                  • Roosjen, P. P. K. 1996. Silius Italicus Punica Liber XIV: Een Commentaar. Maastricht, The Netherlands: Univ. Press of Maastricht.

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                                    Written in Dutch, which does not make this very accessible to the average reader.

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                                    • Ruperti, Georg A., ed. 1795–1798. Caii Silii Italici Punicorum Libri Septemdecim. Göttingen, Germany: J. C. Dieterich.

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                                      Commentary of good quality, to be consulted together with Lemaire 1823, with an introduction by C. G. Heyne.

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                                      • Spaltenstein, F. 1986. Commentaire des Punica de Silius Italicus (livres 1 à 8). Geneva, Switzerland: Droz.

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                                        The only complete commentary on the whole poem, with notes that tend to be short and frequently fail to do justice to the complexity of the poem.

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                                        • Spaltenstein, F. 1990. Commentaire des Punica de Silius Italicus (livres 9 à 17). Geneva, Switzerland: Droz.

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                                          The only complete commentary on the whole poem, with notes that tend to be short and frequently fail to do justice to the complexity of the poem.

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                                          Monographs and Specialized Studies

                                          The publication of von Albrecht 1964 on Silius Italicus marks the beginning of modern scholarship on the Punica. It was followed by Kissel 1979, Laudizi 1989, Santini 1991, and, most recently, Cowan 2002, Marks 2005, and Tipping 2010.

                                          • Albrecht, Michael von. 1964. Silius Italicus: Freiheit und Gebundheit römischer Epik. Amsterdam: P. Schippers.

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                                            The first modern study of Silius’s Punica that reevaluates the long-criticized poem and underscores the merits of its compositional technique, with special reference to the motifs that permeate the poem, especially the crossing of boundaries.

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                                            • Cowan, Robert. 2002. In my beginning is my end: Origins, cities and foundations in Flavian epic. PhD diss., Oxford University.

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                                              Examination of the prominence of cities such as Capua, Rome, and Saguntum.

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                                              • Kissel, Walter. 1979. Das Geschichtsbild des Silius Italicus. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

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                                                Addresses important themes: Silius and the gods, the role of uirtus and fides, the hero of the poem.

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                                                • Laudizi, Giovanni. 1989. Silio Italico: Il passato tra mito e restaurazione etica. Galatina, Italy: Congredo.

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                                                  An introduction to Silius’s poem, the role of Juno, and the question of the protagonist-hero.

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                                                  • Marks, Raymond. 2005. From republic to empire: Scipio Africanus in the Punica of Silius Italicus. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

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                                                    A landmark study of the Punica and the emergence of Scipio as the hero of the poem.

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                                                    • Santini, Carlo. 1991. Silius Italicus and his view of the past. Amsterdam: J. C. Gieben.

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                                                      Especially interesting for its examination of rivers and the natural landscape.

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                                                      • Tipping, Benjamin. 2010. Exemplary epic: Silius Italicus’ Punica. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                        DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199550111.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                        Valuable monograph questioning traditional readings of Silius’s poem as a praise of Flavian Rome, insisting on the darker aspects of the Roman conquests of Hannibal.

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                                                        Gender and Sexuality

                                                        Studies of the role of gender, female figures, and sexuality in the poem include Augoustakis 2010, Keith 2000, and Keith 2010.

                                                        Geography and Ethnography

                                                        On the function of geography and geographical/ethnographical excursuses as well as the landscape in the poem, see Nicol 1936, Venini 1978, Bona 1998, Morzadec 2009, and Manolaraki 2010.

                                                        • Bona, Isabella. 1998. La visione geografica nei Punica di Silio Italico. Genoa, Italy: Università di Genova.

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                                                          Examination of the geographical digressions.

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                                                          • Manolaraki, Eleni. 2010. Silius’ natural history: Tides in the Punica. In Brill’s companion to Silius Italicus. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 293–321. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                            Valuable study on Hannibal as a viewer of natural phenomena.

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                                                            • Morzadec, Françoise. 2009. Les images du monde: Structure, écriture et esthétique du paysage dans les oeuvres de Stace et Silius Italicus. Brussels: Latomus.

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                                                              Important study on the role of landscape in all three Flavian epicists.

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                                                              • Nicol, John. 1936. The historical and geographical sources used by Silius Italicus. Oxford: Blackwell.

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                                                                Classic treatment of Silius’s sources, especially the historiographical and geographical digressions.

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                                                                • Venini, Paola. 1978. La visione dell’ Italia nel catalogo di Silio Italico. Memorie dell’Istituto Lombardo 36:123–227.

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                                                                  Examination of Italy and the landscape in the poem.

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                                                                  Gods

                                                                  On the role of the traditional Olympian gods in Silius, see Schubert 1984, on Jupiter in particular, and Feeney 1991 (pp. 301–312) on Silius’s divine apparatus, as well as Baier 2011. The monographs Kissel 1979 and Laudizi 1989 (cited under Monographs and Specialized Studies) also treat the function of the gods in the poem.

                                                                  • Baier, Thomas. 2011. Der Götterapparat bei Silius Italicus. In Studi su Silio Italico. Edited by Luigi Castagna, Giovanna Galimberti Biffino, and Chiara Riboldi, 281–296. Milan: Vita e Pensiero.

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                                                                    The gods in Silius are portrayed in a manner reminiscent of the teachings of Cornutus.

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                                                                    • Feeney, Denis C. 1991. The gods in epic: Poets and critics of the classical tradition. Oxford: Clarendon.

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                                                                      Important study of the divine machinery, very critical of Silius’s competence as a poet; for a refutation of Feeney’s arguments, see Dominik 2010 (cited under Biography).

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                                                                      • Schubert, Werner. 1984. Jupiter in den Epen der Flavierzeit. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

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                                                                        Standard reference book on Jupiter in all three Flavian epicists.

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                                                                        Flavian Society and Context

                                                                        Bernstein 2008 (pp. 132–159 and pp. 179–190) examines how familial ties and kinship function in the poem; McGuire 1997 studies how suicide is politicized in Flavian epic as a mechanism of resistance against the emperor. On Silius’s Stoic ideology, see Billerbeck 1986.

                                                                        • Bernstein, Neil W. 2008. In the image of ancestors: Narratives of kinship in Flavian epic. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

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                                                                          Very important study on the role of kinship in the poem.

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                                                                          • Billerbeck, Margarethe. 1986. Stoizismus in der römischen Epik neronischer und flavischer Zeit. Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt 2.32.5: 3134–3143.

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                                                                            Indispensable study of the influence of Stoicism on Silius and his poem.

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                                                                            • McGuire, Donald T., Jr. 1997. Acts of silence: Civil war, tyranny, and suicide in the Flavian epics. Hildesheim, Germany: Olms-Weidmann.

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                                                                              Suicide becomes a symbol of resistance against the autocracy of the Flavian emperors, especially Domitian.

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                                                                              Literary Technique

                                                                              Recent studies, such as Cowan 2010 and Harrison 2010, shed light on Silius’s poetics, with a particular focus, respectively.

                                                                              • Cowan, Robert. 2010. Virtual epic: Counterfactuals, sideshadowing, and the poetics of contingency in the Punica. In Brill’s companion to Silius Italicus. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 323–351. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                Excellent study of how counterfactual scenarios work in the Punica as a mechanism of foreshadowing.

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                                                                                • Harrison, Stephen J. 2010. Picturing the future again: Proleptic ekphrasis in Silius’ Punica. In Brill’s companion to Silius Italicus. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 279–292. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                  Examination of several ekphrastic descriptions and how Silius employs them in the narrative.

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                                                                                  Studies of Individual Books, Episodes, and Passages

                                                                                  Silius’s poem is divided by critics in several sections and clusters of books, usually centered on the thematic events of the Second Punic War (e.g., battle of Cannae).

                                                                                  Books 1–2

                                                                                  The poem begins with the siege of Saguntum by the Carthaginians: the Saguntines finally commit suicide and the city is sacked by the Carthaginians. Küppers 1986 provides a running commentary on the first two books and it is an indispensable study. Important studies include Vessey 1974, an examination of Saguntum, and Vessey 1975, an analysis of Hannibal’s shield (on which see also Stürner 2011); Dominik authors two articles on the programmatic nature of Saguntum (Dominik 2003) and its symbolism in the poem (Dominik 2006).

                                                                                  • Dominik, William J. 2003. Hannibal at the gates: Programmatising Rome and Romanitas in Silius Italicus’ Punica 1 and 2. In Flavian Rome: Culture, image, text. Edited by Anthony J. Boyle and William J. Dominik, 469–497. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                    Insightful treatment of the programmatic episode of Saguntum.

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                                                                                    • Dominik, William J. 2006. Rome then and now: Linking the Saguntum and Cannae episodes in Silius Italicus’ Punica. In Flavian poetry. Edited by Ruurd R. Nauta, Harm-Jan van Dam, and Johannes J. L. Smolenaars, 113–127. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                      Linking the siege of Saguntum to the catastrophic battle at Cannae as the two low points for the Romans during the war. Scipio’s apotheosis is linked to that of Roman emperors.

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                                                                                      • Küppers, Jochem. 1986. Tantarum causas irarum: Untersuchungen zur einleitenden Bücherdyade der Punica des Silius Italicus. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

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                                                                                        Informative study on Silius’s sources, offering analyses of the individual episodes in the first two books of the poem.

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                                                                                        • Stürner, Ferdinand. 2011. ‘Ut poesis pictura’: Hannibals Schild bei Silius Italicus. In Studi su Silio Italico. Edited by Luigi Castagna, Giovanna Galimberti Biffino, and Chiara Riboldi, 159–183. Milan: Vita e Pensiero.

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                                                                                          Analysis of the various sources employed by Silius in the shield description.

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                                                                                          • Vessey, David W. T. C. 1974. Silius Italicus on the fall of Saguntum. Classical Philology 69:28–36.

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                                                                                            Reading of Saguntum as a moral allegory.

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                                                                                            • Vessey, David W. T. C. 1975. Silius Italicus: The shield of Hannibal. American Journal of Philology 96:391–405.

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                                                                                              Comparison with Aeneas’s shield in Virgil.

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                                                                                              Book 3

                                                                                              Hannibal crosses the Pyrenees and Alps to Italy. On Hannibal’s sojourn at Gades, see Gibson 2005. On the digression on Pyrene, the mythological heroine raped by Hercules, see Augoustakis 2003. Vessey 1982 discusses Hannibal’s depiction as a tragic hero. On his departure, see Fucecchi 1992. On the crossing of the Alps, see Šubrt 1991. Taisne 1994 discusses the adaptation of several episodes in Books 3 and 4 from Livy’s account.

                                                                                              • Augoustakis, Antony. 2003. Lugendam formae sine uirginitate reliquit: Reading Pyrene and the transformation of landscape in Silius’ Punica 3. American Journal of Philology 124:235–257.

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                                                                                                Transgression of geographical boundaries associated with rape.

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                                                                                                • Fucecchi, Marco. 1992. Irarum proles: Un figlio di Annibale nei Punica di Silio Italico. Maia 44:45–54.

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                                                                                                  Departure of Hannibal from his wife Imilce and their baby son.

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                                                                                                  • Gibson, Bruce J. 2005. Hannibal at Gades: Silius Italicus 3.1–60. Papers of the Langford Latin Seminar 12:177–195.

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                                                                                                    On Hannibal as a viewer of natural phenomena.

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                                                                                                    • Šubrt, Jiří. 1991. The motif of the Alps in the work of Silius Italicus. Listy filologické 114:224–231.

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                                                                                                      Deals with the crossing of human boundaries.

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                                                                                                      • Taisne, Anne-Marie. 1994. Stylisation épique de l’Historie Romaine de Tite-Live aux chants III et IV de la Guerre Punique de Silius Italicus. In Présence de Tite-Live: Hommage au Professeur P. Jal. Edited by Raymond Chevallier and Rémy Poignault, 89–99. Tours, France: Centre de Recherche A. Piganiol.

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                                                                                                        Discussion of how Silius employs Livy’s account by adjusting it to Flavian and Antonine tastes.

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                                                                                                        • Vessey, David W. T. C. 1982. The dupe of destiny: Hannibal in Silius’ Punica III. The Classical Journal 77.4: 320–335.

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                                                                                                          Hannibal as tragic hero, an involuntary victim of fate.

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                                                                                                          Books 4–5

                                                                                                          Roman defeats at the Ticinus, the Trebia, and Lake Trasimene. Marks 2005 gives an account of the Roman recovery from these defeats to emerge victorious. Cowan 2009 studies the digression on the name of Lake Trasimene.

                                                                                                          Book 6

                                                                                                          The poet uses a digression on the events of the First Punic War and Regulus’s exploits on African soil. The figure of Regulus is studied in Bassett 1955, Ariemma 1999, and Williams 2004. The ending of the sixth book with Hannibal’s burning of the temple at Liternum has been analyzed in Fowler 2000 (pp. 86–107).

                                                                                                          • Ariemma, Enrico. 1999. Silio Italico e il tradimento di Regolo (tra esemplarità epica e understatement elegiaco). In Satura: Collectanea Philologica Italo Gallo ab Amicis Discipulisque Dicata. Edited by Giancarlo Abbamonte, 79–116. Naples: Arte Tipografica.

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                                                                                                            Examination of the sources, both epic and elegiac.

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                                                                                                            • Bassett, Edward. 1955. Regulus and the serpent in the Punica. Classical Philology 50:1–20.

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                                                                                                              On the sources used by Silius to portray Regulus’s quasi-mythological fight with the serpent of the Bagrada.

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                                                                                                              • Fowler, Don. 2000. Roman constructions: Readings in postmodern Latin. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                Examines the relationship between real art and literary depictions of it in ekphrasis.

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                                                                                                                • Williams, Gareth D. 2004. Testing the legend: Horace, Silius Italicus and the case of Marcus Atilius Regulus. Antichthon 38:70–98.

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                                                                                                                  On the influence of Horace’s Ode 3.5.

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                                                                                                                  Book 7

                                                                                                                  Deals with the strategy of delay employed by Fabius Maximus to distract Hannibal’s forces. On Silius’s digression on Falernus, see Vessey 1972–1973 and von Albrecht 2011. On the elements of a symbolic katabasis to the Underworld in the final battle of the book, see Cowan 2013 and Littlewood 2013.

                                                                                                                  • Albrecht, Michael von. 2011. Tradition und Orginalität bei Silius Italicus. In Studi su Silio Italico. Edited by Luigi Castagna, Giovanna Galimberti Biffino, and Chiara Riboldi, 89–109. Milan: Vita e Pensiero.

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                                                                                                                    Examination of the myth of Falernus as a means to ascertain Silius’s imitation of his predecessors and his own innovations.

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                                                                                                                    • Cowan, Robert. 2013. Back out of Hell: The virtual katabasis and initiation of Silius’ Minucius. In Ritual and religion in Flavian epic. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 217–232. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199644094.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      The final battle between Romans and Carthaginians in Book 7 has elements of a metaphoric descent to the Underworld, a sort of initiation from which the Romans emerge victorious.

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                                                                                                                      • Karakasis, Evangelos. 2014. ‘Homeric receptions’ in Flavian epic: Intertextual characterization in Punica 7. In Flavian poetry and its Greek past. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 251–266. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                        On the Homeric characterization of Fabius and Hannibal.

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                                                                                                                        • Littlewood, R. Joy. 2013. Patterns of darkness: Chthonic illusion, Gigantomachy, and sacrificial ritual in the Punica. In Ritual and religion in Flavian epic. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 199–215. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                          Detailed examination of the final battle of Book 7 and the duel of Hercules and Cacus in Aeneid 8.

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                                                                                                                          • Vessey, David W. T. C. 1972–1973. The myth of Falernus in Silius, Punica 7. The Classical Journal 68:240–246.

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                                                                                                                            Classic treatment of the episode of Falernus as a prefiguration of Hannibal’s defeat.

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                                                                                                                            Books 8–10

                                                                                                                            The Carthaginians will face the Romans again at Cannae, where they defeat the Roman army and practically annihilate it, killing the consul Aemilius Paulus as well. This is the worst defeat the Romans suffer during the long war, after which the Romans begin to recuperate as they look for a way to get rid of Hannibal’s “pestilence.” A general study on the Roman demagogues in the Cannae books is found in Ariemma 2010. On the beginning of Book 8 with Anna Perenna, see Marks 2013 (and Heitland 1896 on the major textual problem of the episode). On the dramatic episodes of Book 10, see Marks 2006 and Marks 2008. On the anachronistic use of prominent Romans from various periods of history in these books, see McGuire 1995.

                                                                                                                            • Ariemma, Enrico M. 2010. Cuncti Varro Mali: The demagogue Varro in Punica 8–10. In Brill’s companion to Silius Italicus. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 241–276. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                              An examination of the failures of Varro in the Cannae books.

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                                                                                                                              • Heitland, W. E. 1896. The “great lacuna” in the eighth book of Silius Italicus. Journal of Philology 24:188–211.

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                                                                                                                                Still useful discussion of the Additamentum Aldinum.

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                                                                                                                                • Marks, Raymond. 2006. En, reddo tua tela tibi: Crista and sons in Silius, Pun. X, 92–169. In Studies in Latin literature and Roman history. Vol. 13. Edited by C. Deroux, 390–404. Brussels: Latomus.

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                                                                                                                                  On the dramatic episode of father and sons on the battlefield in Book 10.

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                                                                                                                                  • Marks, Raymond. 2008. Getting ahead: Decapitation as political metaphor in Silius Italicus’ Punica. Mnemosyne 61:66–88.

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                                                                                                                                    On the role of beheading with special focus on Book 10.

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                                                                                                                                    • Marks, Raymond. 2013. Reconcilable differences: Anna Perenna and the battle of Cannae in the Punica. In Ritual and religion in Flavian epic. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 287–301. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                      Anna Perenna as an ambiguous figure with Carthaginian roots but Romanized existence.

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                                                                                                                                      • McGuire, D. T. 1995. History compressed: The Roman names of Silius’ Cannae episode. Latomus 54:110–118.

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                                                                                                                                        The anachronistic use of prominent names from later periods of Roman history is part of Silius’s technique of foreshadowing.

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                                                                                                                                        Books 11–12

                                                                                                                                        The Carthaginian general spends time at Capua and Campania before attacking Rome, from which he is barred by Jupiter himself. Burck 1984 extensively discusses Hannibal’s stay and the city’s siege by the Romans. Schenk 1989 analyzes the songs of Teuthras, who entertains Hannibal at the Capua banquet, and Littlewood 2014 shows how Hannibal fails as a sympotic guest. The figure of Ennius in Book 12 is studied in Casali 2006, Manuwald 2007, and Dorfbauer 2008. Hannibal’s tour of the fields of Phlegra is analyzed in Muecke 2007.

                                                                                                                                        • Burck, Erich. 1984. Silius Italicus: Hannibal in Capua und die Rückeroberung der Stadt durch die Römer. Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaftlichen Klasse 13. Wiesbaden, Germany: Steiner.

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                                                                                                                                          Running commentary on Hannibal’s stay in Capua (Book 11) and the defeat of the city by the Romans (Book 13).

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                                                                                                                                          • Casali, Sergio. 2006. The poet at war: Ennius on the field in Silius’ Punica. Arethusa 39:569–593.

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                                                                                                                                            Ennius is fashioned as a warrior-poet through Virgil’s representation of Messapus and Numanus Regulus.

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                                                                                                                                            • Dorfbauer, Lukas J. 2008. Hannibal, Ennius und Silius Italicus: Beobachtungen zum 12. Buch der Punica. Rheinisches Museum für Philologie 151:83–108.

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                                                                                                                                              Ennius’s presence as a special tribute to Silius’s predecessor.

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                                                                                                                                              • Littlewood, R. Joy. 2014. Loyalty and the lyre: Constructions of Fides in Hannibal’s Capuan banquets. In Flavian poetry and its Greek past. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 267–285. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                Hannibal and the perversion of commensality at Capua.

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                                                                                                                                                • Manuwald, Gesine. 2007. Epic poets as characters: On poetics and multiple intertextuality in Silius Italicus’ Punica. Revista di filología e di istruzione classica 135:71–90.

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                                                                                                                                                  Ennius in Book 12 and Homer in Book 13 as figures that help Silius reconnect with the story of Troy and the epic literary past.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Muecke, Frances. 2007. Hannibal at the “fields of fire”: A “wasteful excursion”? Materiali e discussioni 58:73–91.

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                                                                                                                                                    Hannibal portrayed as a new Giant.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Schenk, Peter. 1989. Die Gesänge des Teuthras (Sil. It. 11.288–302 u. 432–482). Rheinisches Museum für Philologie 132:350–368.

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                                                                                                                                                      The songs during the Capua banquet as symbolic prefiguration of the events that follow.

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                                                                                                                                                      Book 13

                                                                                                                                                      The Roman general Scipio visits the Underworld after the death of his father and uncle in Spain; in the land of the dead, he visits the ghosts of past and future Roman and non-Roman celebrities, including his mother Pomponia, who died at childbirth. She reveals to Scipio that his real father is Jupiter. Scipio meets his father and uncle, the shades of Alexander, Homer, the lawgivers of the Twelve Tables, and he even witnesses the future awaiting him and his worst opponent and enemy, Hannibal (Book 13). Reitz 1982 is still a great first read on the katabasis of Scipio. Dietrich 2005 investigates the proximity of the grieving Scipio to the mothers grieving elsewhere in the poem. Van der Keur 2014 discusses the figure of Homer and Fucecchi 2014 that of Alexander as a model for Scipio. On the opening of the book, see Ripoll 2001.

                                                                                                                                                      • Dietrich, Jessica S. 2005. The sorrow of Scipio in Silius Italicus’ Punica. Ramus 34:75–91.

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                                                                                                                                                        Discussion of the complex portrait of Scipio grieving for his father and uncle, as influenced by the portrayal of women in the poem.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Fucecchi, Marco. 2014. The philosophy of power: Greek literary tradition and Silius’ On Kingship. In Flavian poetry and its Greek past. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 305–324. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                          Study on Scipio as imitator of Alexander, as the Roman surpasses the Greek king and the negative representation of Alexander as a despot.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Reitz, Christiane. 1982. Die Nekyia in den Punica des Silius Italicus. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

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                                                                                                                                                            A systematic study of Scipio’s katabasis in Book 13.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Ripoll, François. 2001. La restitution du Palladium à Énée chez Silius Italicus (Punica, XIII, 30–81). Les études classiques 69:353–368.

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                                                                                                                                                              Examines the Virgilian intertext and Silius’s innovations to the story of the Palladium.

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                                                                                                                                                              • van der Keur, Michiel. 2014. Meruit deus esse uideri: Silius’ Homer in Homer’s Punica 13. In Flavian poetry and its Greek past. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 287–304. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                Portrayal of Homer by Silius in the Nekyia.

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                                                                                                                                                                Books 14–16

                                                                                                                                                                The Roman general Marcellus successfully manages to take Sicily back from the Carthaginians after the siege of the city of Syracuse (Book 14), and the Romans begin to defeat the Carthaginians and their forces, especially at Metaurus, where Hannibal’s brother is killed and beheaded (Book 15). In Book 16, the Romans gain an important ally, the Numidian Masinissa, while Scipio celebrates the death of his kinsmen with funeral games, after which he receives the permission of the Senate to cross over to Africa. Burck 1984 offers a useful overview and detailed analysis of the individual episodes in the last four books of the poem. The figure of Marcellus has been studied recently in Ariemma 2010, Fucecchi 2010, and Stocks 2010. McDermott and Orentzel 1977 evaluates Silius’s praise of Domitian at the end of Book 14 as sincere. Augoustakis 2012 discusses the bucolic background of the figure of Daphnis in Book 14. On Hasdrubal, Hannibal’s brother, and his decapitation in Book 15, see Augoustakis 2003. On Masinissa’s alliance with Scipio, see Ripoll 2003.

                                                                                                                                                                • Ariemma, Enrico. 2010. New trends del dopo-Canne: Considerazioni su Marcello nei Punica. In Silius Italicus: Akten der Innsbrucker Tagung vom 19.–21. Juni 2008. Edited by Florian Schaffenrath, 127–150. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

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                                                                                                                                                                  The complexity of Marcellus’s character in the world after the disaster at Cannae.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Augoustakis, Antony. 2003. Rapit infidum victor caput: Ekphrasis and gender role reversal in Silius Italicus’ Punica 15. In Being there together: Essays in honor of Michael C. J. Putnam on the occasion of his seventieth birthday. Edited by Philip Thibodeau and Harry Haskell, 110–127. Minneapolis: Afton Historical Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Hasdrubal’s beheading as symbolic of Carthage’s eventual demise.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Augoustakis, Antony. 2012. Daphnis’ deductum nomen/carmen in Silius’ Sicilian pastoral (Pun. 14.462–476). Trends in Classics 4.1: 132–152.

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                                                                                                                                                                      On Silius’s sources in depicting Daphnis as a proto-imperial figure in addition to his character as the originator of pastoral poetry.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Burck, Erich. 1984. Historische und epische Tradition bei Silius Italicus. Munich: G. H. Beck.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Examination of the last books of the poem (14–17) and running commentary on Silius’ sources and innovations.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Fucecchi, M. 2010. The shield and the sword: Q. Fabius Maximus and M. Claudius Marcellus as models of heroism in Silius’ Punica. In Brill’s companion to Silius Italicus. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 219–239. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Fabius and Marcellus as exemplary figures.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • McDermott, W. C., and A. E. Orentzel. 1977. Silius Italicus and Domitian. American Journal of Philology 98:24–34.

                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/294001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                            The concluding praise of the emperor in Book 14 is a sincere tribute on the part of Silius.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Ripoll, François. 2003. Un héros barbare dans l’épopée latine: Masinissa dans les Punica de Silius Italicus. Antiquité classique 72:95–111.

                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.3406/antiq.2003.2509Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                              Silius presents Masinissa as a hero, reflecting contemporary Roman policy on Africa.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Stocks, Claire. 2010. [Re]constructing epic: Sicily and the Punica in miniature. In Silius Italicus: Akten der Innsbrucker Tagung vom 19.–21. Juni 2008. Edited by Florian Schaffenrath, 151–166. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Representation of Marcellus as a novus Hannibal.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Book 17

                                                                                                                                                                                In the final book of the poem, Hannibal is defeated by Scipio at Zama, on African soil. He escapes the battlefield, while Scipio celebrates a triumph at Rome, as the epic comes to a close in a jubilant tone. The episode of Claudia Quinta’s move of the Magna Mater statue is analyzed in von Albrecht 1999 (pp. 301–316). Through internal signs, Fucecchi 2011 discusses the degree of completion of the final book.

                                                                                                                                                                                • Albrecht, Michael von. 1999. Roman epic: An interpretative introduction. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Overview of the sources of the episode on Claudia Quinta in historiographical and elegiac sources.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Fucecchi, Marco. 2011. Ad finem uentum: Considerazioni sull’ultimo libro dei Punica. In Studi su Silio Italico. Edited by Luigi Castagna, Giovanna Galimberti Biffino, and Chiara Riboldi, 299–333. Milan: Vita e Pensiero.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Examination of the signs in the last book that point to the completed state of the poem.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Date and Composition

                                                                                                                                                                                    It seems likely that Silius composed his epic during the reign of Domitian (d. 96 CE) or shortly after the last Flavian emperor’s death: see Marks 2005 (pp. 283–288, cited under Monographs and Specialized Studies) and Reitz 2008 (p. 460). Did Silius begin his poem at around 81 CE? Are the Flavians the only dynasty praised in the Punica? Did failing health prevent Silius from completing the poem? Wistrand 1956 proposes that Silius composed his epic in a linear fashion as opposed to the “dynamic” composition approach supported in Fröhlich 2000 (pp. 9–18), who also ascribes to the group of scholars who lean toward a late dating for the poem. The structure of the Punica has also been the object of scholarly debate: why the odd number of seventeen books? Scholars have emphasized that Books 9–10 form the center of the poem with the catastrophic battle at Cannae as its climax: see Ahl, et al. 1986 (pp. 2505–2511). Some scholars split the poem into sexads, that is, groups of six (if the poem is indeed incomplete and an eighteenth book was never composed) or uneven parts, such as Books 1–2, 3–10, 11–17: see Niemann 1975 (pp. 3–36). Others divide the poem in three pentads (Books 1–5, 7–11, 13–17), with Books 6 and 12 occupying a privileged place in the narrative: Fröhlich 2000 (pp. 50–58), with detailed discussion of the various theories on pp. 20–28. On the political climate under which Silius composed the Punica, as well as possible allusions to contemporary events, see Mezzanotte 1995.

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Ahl, Frederick, Martha A. Davis, and Arthur Pomeroy. 1986. Silius Italicus. Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt 2.32.4: 2492–2561.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      A basic introductory study of the poem with specific reference to particular episodes and an evaluation of the poem as anti-Domitianic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Fröhlich, Uwe. 2000. Regulus, Archetyp römischer Fides: Das sechste Buch als Schlüssel zu den Punica des Silius Italicus. Tübingen, Germany: Stauffenburg.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Commentary covering the Regulus episode in the sixth book of the poem.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Manuwald, Gesine, and Astrid Voigt, eds. 2013. Flavian epic interactions. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1515/9783110314304Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                          The collection includes many essays on the influence and interactions among the three Flavian epicists.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Mezzanotte, Alessandro. 1995. Echi del mondo contemporaneo in Silio Italico. Rendiconti dell’Istituto Lombardo 129:357–388.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Detailed and useful study of possible allusions to contemporary events in Flavian Rome.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Niemann, Karl H. 1975. Die Darstellung der römischen Niederlagen in den Punica des Silius Italicus. Bonn: Rudolf Habelt.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Detailed discussion of the events of Roman defeats, especially in Books 4–10.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Reitz, Christiane. 2008. S. Italicus. Brill’s New Pauly 13:460–462.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                A general and encyclopedic introduction to Silius Italicus and the poem.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Wistrand, Erik. 1956. Die Chronologie der Punica des Silius Italicus: Beiträge zur Interpretation der flavischen Literatur. PhD diss., University of Göteborg.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  Detailed discussion of the composition and dates for individual books.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  Silius’s Sources and Engagement with Greco-Roman Literature

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The quality of the poem has been debated by scholars, some of whom in the early 20th century expressed the opinion that this is possibly the worst extant poem of Latin literature, basing their view on the negative comment by Pliny that Silius took great pains over his verses but had little inspiration (in the famous aphorism maiore cura quam ingenio); for a useful and balanced overview and a reevaluation of Pliny’s statement as an aesthetic judgment, see Matier 1989 and now Dominik 2010 (pp. 431–440, cited under Biography). On Silius as a learned poet (poeta doctus), see Pomeroy 1990. This harsh evaluation of the Punica was successfully refuted in a number of important studies, especially since the 1960s, with von Albrecht 1964 constituting a monumental monograph (cited under Monographs and Specialized Studies). Of great interest to philologists has been the Quellenforschung regarding Silius’s inspiration and models (see, e.g., Wezel 1873, Heynacher 1877).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Heynacher, Max. 1877. Über die Stellung des Silius Italicus unter den Quellen zum zweiten punischen Krieg. Berlin: Weidmann.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Extensive lists of models Silius follows, but the work is now dated.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Matier, K. O. 1989. Silius Italicus at bay: Pliny, prejudice and the Punica. Durban, South Africa: Univ. of Durban-Westville.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Underscores the originality of Silius as a poet who breaks from tradition.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Pomeroy, Arthur. 1990. Silius Italicus as Doctus Poeta. In The imperial muse: Ramus essays on Roman literature of the empire: Flavian epicists to Claudian. Edited by Anthony J. Boyle, 119–139. Bendigo, Australia: Aureal.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Classic study evaluating Silius and his poetry as the product of the Flavian times.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Wezel, Ernst. 1873. De Silii Italici cum fontibus tum exemplis. PhD diss., University of Leipzig.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lists of models from poetry and historiography; now a dated study, but at times useful.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Greco-Roman Historiography

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Scholars point out the use of different intertexts exploited by Silius, which are not confined to poetry alone (Häussler 1978 must be consulted for the development of historical epic in Latin literature). The third decade of Livy’s Ab urbe condita (Books 21–30) constitutes a major source for Silius: see Nesselrath 1986, Lucarini 2004, Pomeroy 2010, Littlewood 2011 (pp. xxiii–xviii, cited under Commentaries). Gibson 2010 offers a discussion of other historiographical sources, such as Thucydides. Klotz 1933 opens the discussion on the possible sources of the early Annalists, Valerius Antias and even Fabius Pictor. On the crisis of epic in the lst century CE and its disconnectedness from Roman history, see Marks 2010. On the compression of historical events in the Punica, see Hulls 2011.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Gibson, B. 2010. A consular historian? In Brill’s companion to Silius Italicus. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 47–72. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Extensive discussion of the Greek and Latin historiographical sources.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Häussler, Reinhard. 1978. Das historische Epos von Lucan bis Silius und seine Theorie: Studien zum historischen Epos der Antike: II. Teil: Geschichtliche Epik nach Virgil. Heidelberg, Germany: Carl Winter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Important study on the development of historical epic from Lucan onward, with analysis of the different elements in the two epics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Hulls, Jean-Michel. 2011. How the west was won and where it got us: Compressing history in Silius’ Punica. Histos 5:283–305.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thorough compression of some events and expansion of others; Silius adds to his narrative a universal relevance.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Klotz, Alfred. 1933. Die Stellung des Silius Italicus unter den Quellen zur Geschichte des zweiten punischen Krieges. Rheinisches Museum für Philologie 82:1–34.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Emphasis on the annalistic sources of Silius, such as Valerius Antias.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Lucarini, Carlo M. 2004. Le fonte storici di Silio Italico. Athenaeum 92:105–126.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Offers a balanced approach between Nesselrath 1986 and Klotz 1933.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Marks, Raymond. 2010. The song and the sword: Silius’ Punica and the crisis of early imperial epic. In Epic and history. Edited by David Kostan and Kurt Raaflaub, 185–211. Malden, MA: Wiley.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Insertion of episodes with prominent Roman figures (Cicero, Ennius) and the emperor Domitian to mend the trends of late-lst-century CE epic to disconnect from Roman history.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Nesselrath, Heinz-Günther. 1986. Zu den Quellen des Silius Italicus. Hermes 114:203–230.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Refutes the arguments in Klotz 1933 regarding the use of annalistic sources.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Pomeroy, Arthur. 2010. To Silius through Livy and his predecessors. In Brill’s companion to Silius Italicus. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 27–45. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Goes beyond the simplistic use and imitation of Livy’s account to understand the poet’s technique in adapting the historical record.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Homer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Silius employs allusions to a variety of Greek and Latin poets ranging from Homer to his contemporaries, Valerius Flaccus and Statius. The extensive use of Homer’s language and motifs is studied in Juhnke 1972 and, more recently, in Ripoll 2001 and Ripoll 2006, as well as in Klaassen 2010.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Juhnke, H. 1972. Homerisches in römischer Epik flavischer Zeit: Untersuchungen zu Szenennachbildungen und Strukturentsprechungen in Statius’ Thebais und Achilleis und in Silius’ Punica. Munich: G. H. Beck.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thorough study of the correspondences between Homer and various scenes in Flavian epic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Klaassen, Elizabeth K. 2010. Imitation and the hero. In Brill’s companion to Silius Italicus. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 99–126. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Systematic study of the Homeric models that inform the portraits of Hannibal and Scipio, especially in Books 12 and 13.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Ripoll, François. 2001. Le monde homérique dans les Punica de Silius Italicus. Latomus 60:87–107.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Reappraisal of the presence of Homeric motifs in Silius.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Ripoll, François. 2006. Adaptations latines d’un thème homérique: La théomachie. Phoenix 60:236–258.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The role of gods in Silius and the influence of the Homeric poems on the Punica.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ennius and Virgil

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Silius belongs in a generation of epic poets who have been dubbed “the epic successors of Virgil” (Hardie 1993). As Pliny informs us, Silius was a devotee of the Augustan poet (Ep. 3.7.8) and a worshiper at the master’s tomb. Virgil’s works, especially the Aeneid, are undoubtedly a constant source of inspiration for the Flavian poet, but the poetic influences on Silius are not confined to the Augustan poet. On Silius’s use of Ennius’s Annales, see Woodruff 1910.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ovid and Lucan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  On the extensive presence of Ovid’s works in Silius, see Bruère 1958 and Bruère 1959 as well as Wilson 2004; on Lucan, see Brouwers 1982 and Marks 2010.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Brouwers, J. H. 1982. Zur Lucan-Imitation bei Silius Italicus. In Actus: Studies in honour of H. L. W. Nelson. Edited by Jan den Boeft and Antonius H. M. Kessels, 73–87. Utrecht, The Netherlands: Instituut voor Klassieke Talen.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Still useful study of the influence of Lucan on Silius.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Bruère, Richard T. 1958. Color Ovidianus in Silius’ Punica 1–7. In Ovidiana: Recherches sur Ovide. Edited by N. I. Herescu, 475–499. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Offers extensive lists of allusions from the first seven books of the Punica to episodes in Ovid’s works, especially the Fasti and the Metamorphoses.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Bruère, Richard T. 1959. Color Ovidianus in Silius’ Punica 8–17. Classical Philology 54:228–245.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1086/364406Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Continues Bruère 1958 to examine Books 8–17 of the Punica; both works are still valuable for commentators and students of individual episodes.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Marks, Raymond. 2010. Silius and Lucan. In Brill’s companion to Silius Italicus. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 127–153. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Verbal and thematic parallels between Silius and Lucan that highlight the different approach to epic by the two poets.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Wilson, Marcus. 2004. Ovidian Silius. Arethusa 37:225–249.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1353/are.2004.0014Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Examination of several episodes that betray Silius’s extensive engagement with Ovid’s Fasti and Metamorphoses.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Flavian Epicists

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            On the possible interaction between Silius and his contemporary Flavian epicists, see Legras 1905, Venini 1969, Lorenz 1968, Lovatt 2010; in particular, see Augoustakis 2013 on Statius and Ripoll 1999 and Lovatt 2013 on Valerius Flaccus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Augoustakis, Antony. 2013. Teichoscopia and katabasis: The poetics of spectatorship in Flavian epic. In Flavian epic interactions. Edited by Gesine Manuwald and Astrid Voigt, 157–175. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1515/9783110314304Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Discussion of the interaction among the Flavian poets in the use of specific episodes, such as the viewing from the walls and the descent to the Underworld.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Legras, Léon. 1905. Les Puniques et la Thébaïde. Revue des études anciennes 7:131–146.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Continues on pp. 357–371. Dated study on Statius and Silius, but still useful for quotes and parallels.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Lorenz, Gudrun. 1968. Vergleichende Interpretationen zu Silius Italicus und Statius. PhD diss., University of Kiel.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Some useful discussion on parallels between the Punica and the Thebaid.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Lovatt, Helen. 2010. Interplay: Silius and Statius in the games of Punica 16. In Brill’s companion to Silius Italicus. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 155–176. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Emphasis on the games of Book 16 and the possibility that Statius and Silius are influencing one another at the same time.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Lovatt, Helen. 2013. Competing visions: Prophecy, spectacle, and theatricality in Flavian epic. In Ritual and religion in Flavian epic. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 53–70. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199644094.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Insightful discussion of the role of prophecy and the gods in Statius and Silius.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Ripoll, François. 1999. Silius Italicus et Valérius Flaccus. Revue des études anciennes 101:499–521.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Good discussion on the influence of Valerius on Silius with verbal parallels and imitation of specific episodes of the Argonautica.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Venini, Paola. 1969. Silio Italico e il mito tebano. Rendiconti dell’Istituto Lombardo 103:778–783.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Discussion especially of the theme of fratricide in both poems.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Heroism and Protagonists

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Heroism (uirtus) is at the heart of the Punica, as the poem is all about the display of heroic actions on the various battlefields around the Mediterranean during the Second Punic War: Ripoll 1998 offers a good and balanced discussion of the heroic code in the poem. Even though in Virgil the sole hero of the poem is Aeneas, after whom the poem is named, and the center of action revolves around Aeneas’s mission from Troy to Italy to found Rome, strictly speaking, Silius’s poem lacks a single hero who claims the title of the protagonist, after the fashion of Lucan’s poem, where we encounter a threefold set of protagonists (Caesar, Pompey, Cato). In fact, in the Punica, several candidates vie for the name of the main protagonist: Fabius and Scipio on the Roman side and Hannibal on the Carthaginian. Without doubt, Hannibal is the figure that is constantly displayed throughout the poem, as the adversary of the Romans, while Fabius features prominently in the first part of the poem and Scipio in the second. Hannibal has been called “the tragic hero of the poem” who is destined to fail ultimately and lose the war, even though he manages to wreak havoc and destroy the Roman army on several occasions (Ganiban 2010) and, therefore, he is often demonized (Stocks 2014). Fucecchi 1990b and Fucecchi 1990a study the development of Hannibal as a Titan and his eventual disastrous downfall as a result of a figurative Gigantomachy. Conversely, Scipio emerges as the winner of the prolonged war and the hero who, by 201 BCE, saves Rome and who makes Rome the hegemonic power in the Mediterranean (Marks 2005, cited under Monographs and Specialized Studies). It is also true that Scipio could not have won the war had it not been for the delatory tactiques of Fabius the Cunctator, who avoids open combat with Hannibal for a long time, a strategy that results in the weakening and final defeat of the Carthaginians (Bernstein 2008, pp. 139–145, cited under Flavian Society and Context; Fucecchi 2010, cited under Books 14–16). On the divine level, Hercules has been proposed as a heroic paradigm for the protagonists of the poem, appropriated by Hannibal as well as the Romans (Fabius and Scipio): see Bassett 1966, and, most recently, Asso 2010 and Tipping 2010.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Asso, Paolo. 2010. Hercules as a paradigm of Roman heroism. In Brill’s companion to Silius Italicus. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 179–192. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Supports the view of Hercules as a positive model of heroism for Roman men.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Bassett, Edward. 1966. Hercules and the hero of the Punica. In The classical tradition: Studies in honor of Harry Caplan. Edited by L. Wallach, 258–273. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The hero of the poem is Scipio, who follows the exemplary behavior of Hercules.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Fucecchi, Marco. 1990a. Empietà e titanismo nella rappresentazione Siliana di Annibale. Orpheus 11:21–42.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                An important study that shows effectively how Hannibal is cast as a new Titan launching an attack against the city protected by the gods, which will lead to his eventual downfall.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Fucecchi, Marco. 1990b. Il declino di Annibale nei Punica. Maia 42:151–166.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hannibal’s decline is studied and compared to Lucan’s Pompey.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Ganiban, Randall T. 2010. Virgil’s Dido and the heroism of Hannibal in Silius’ Punica. In Brill’s companion to Silius Italicus. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 73–98. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Reappraisal of Hannibal as a “tragic hero.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Ripoll, François. 1998. La morale héroïque dans les épopées latines d’ époque flavienne: Tradition et innovation. Peeters: Louvain.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Fundamental study of the various heroes in all four epic poems of the Flavian period, especially Scipio and Hannibal in Silius.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Stocks, Claire. 2014. The Roman Hannibal: Remembering the enemy in Silius Italicus’ Punica. Liverpool, UK: Liverpool Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Examines Silius’s complex portrayal of Hannibal as a literary construct by showing how the Punica claims its place within the literary tradition of Rome.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Tipping, Benjamin. 2010. Virtue and narrative in Silius Italicus’ Punica. In Brill’s companion to Silius Italicus. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 193–218. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Evaluation of Scipio as a shifting figure in the poem, as he does not always rise to the heroic stature of other protagonists in earlier epics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Reception of Silius Italicus after Antiquity

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          While only a few pointers to the use of the poem by other authors appeared in the Middle Ages, the manuscript that contained the poem was rediscovered in 1417 by Poggio Bracciolini in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Silius enjoyed great popularity in England beginning in the 16th century, according to Bassett 1953, which provides a detailed study. The Renaissance commentary on Silius by Domizio Calderini has been recently treated in Muecke and Dunston 2011 as well as discussed in Muecke 2010. On the possible influence of Silius on Petrarch’s Africa, see Brugnoli and Santini 1995 (pp. 55–98, (cited under Manuscript Tradition and Texts), but contrast von Albrecht 1964 (pp. 118–144, cited under Monographs and Specialized Studies) and Schubert 2005. In 1672, Thomas Ross translated Silius’ poem, with a continuation of what he thought was an unfinished poem.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Bassett, Edward. 1953. Silius Italicus in England. Classical Philology 48.3: 155–168.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Informative discussion of the English authors who use and quote Silius from the 16th to the 19th centuries.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Muecke, Frances. 2010. Silius Italicus in the Italian Renaissance. In Brill’s companion to Silius Italicus. Edited by Antony Augoustakis, 401–424. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Discussion of the period that inspired interest in Silian studies during the Italian Renaissance.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Muecke, Frances, and John Dunston, eds. 2011. Domizio Calderini: Commentary on Silius Italicus. Geneva, Switzerland: Librairie Droz.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                First edition of the commentary on Silius by the Renaissance teacher Domizio Calderini (b. 1446–d. 1478).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Schubert, Werner. 2005. Silius-Reminiszenzen in Petrarcas Africa? In Petrarca und die römische Literatur. Edited by Ulrike Auhagen, Stefan Faller, and Florian Hurka, 89–102. Tübingen, Germany: Gunter Narr.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Affirms no possible traces of an influence on Petrarch.

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