A commentary on Statius Thebaid 6. 1-192

Mottram, Philip
A commentary on Statius Thebaid 6. 1-192. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Liverpool.

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The commentary examines the first 192 verses of Thebaid 6, which describe the preparation and events before the funeral of Ophletes/Archemorus. The commentary explores the cultural effect and “affect” of the text. Philological and intertextual issues are discussed throughout. Textual problems are treated where appropriate. The introduction provides an overview of major themes, concepts and contexts. In the commentary itself, discursive notes introduce shorter lemmata that encompass textual, metrical, linguistic and cultural-historical issues as well as literary interpretation. Theb.6.1-24 describes the summoning of competitors to the first games at Nemea, places those games within the tradition of the other Panhellenic games and finishes with the first simile in the book. The commentary discusses the epinician, aetiological and anachronistic features of the language here and introduces the concept of the “hanging simile”. vv. 25-53 describe an “epic” Dawn, detail the lamenting in and around the palace and summarize the consolation speech of Adrastus. The commentary examines how reader expectations are defeated and how Roman and Greek rituals merge at this point. The rhetorical features of consolatio and the ineffectiveness of oratory to console are considered. vv. 54-83 focus is on the funeral couch of Opheltes. The commentary discusses the metapoetic comment in this passage; also the use of ekphrasis and the emotional significance of the gifts placed on the pyre. vv. 84-117 detail the cutting down of the grove for the funeral pyre, following aspects of the traditional topos and finishing on a second simile, the latter anachronistically describing direptio. The commentary draws out the Greek and indigenous Italian elements of this passage and shows how the language foreshadows future conflict. The animated and hyperreal nature of the landscape is explained in the commentary. vv. 118-134 the gods above and below are given equal altars and the funeral procession starts. The commentary discusses the infernal gods in the context of the poem, elucidating Roman and “Oriental”, as well as Greek, motifs. vv.135-192 Eurydice, mother of Opheltes begins a lament but, on seeing Hypsipyle, she turns it into a recriminatory speech. The commentary examines her speech as an intertextual node around which other mothers, distraught and guilty because of a lost child, can be seen. Her speech, language and non-verbal communication are then associated with these intertexts. Focus is also upon how the speech changes in terms of tone, elevation and erratic structure, and illuminates the historical/eternal conflict between birth mother and wet-nurse. The generic relationship between epic narrative and dramatic structures, such as tragedy and mime are made throughout the commentary especially at 25-192.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy)
Additional Information: Date: 2012-11 (completed)
Subjects: ?? PA ??
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2012 09:37
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2022 04:37
DOI: 10.17638/00008453
  • Gibson, Bruce
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/8453