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But what, I believe, sets the Thebaid apart from these other poems is the degree to which the ethical and moral dimensions of crime receive virtually no discussion or opposition. The Ovidian episodes, on the one hand, are centrally concerned with the morality of nefas, even if crime wins out. Lucan’s poem, on the other, is also very interested in the problematic nature of nefas,59 but offers numerous instances of the critique of civil war, whether they be Lucan’s own, Pompey’s (at times), or Cato’s.

50). It can, however, also implicate a religious framework (cf. 31). Perhaps most infamously, she draws on the Fury Allecto (and thus hell) to promote a war in Italy that is an infandum . . 31). Gransden (1984): 70 calls her speech to Allecto an “anti-prophecy, standing in structural and thematic antithesis to Jupiter’s vision of peace” in book 1, when he reveals the mandates of fate to Venus. For the interpretation of the Italian conflict as civil war in some sense, see Putnam (1965): 158, Johnson (1976): 138–41, Cairns (1989): 92–3, Quint (1993): 79, Hardie (1993): 74, and Schiesaro (1994): 202.

He thus initiates the Thebaid at a much more terrifying level. These intertextual increases in horror and crime have important political ramifications. ”36 The victory of the former is central to Augustan readings of the epic. g. the Furies and more generally passions such as furor and ira. If in the Thebaid we find that she is the prime model for action, and that her fury will be given free rein, then the Thebaid in an important sense represents a world of very different divine politics. Whereas the Augustan voice of Virgil’s epic would have Aeneas, Augustus, and Jupiter ultimately overcoming Juno’s resistance, and thus upholding a sense of justice, fate, and pietas in the monarchic world it describes, Statius’ Thebaid fully adopts and expands the Aeneid’s opposing voices, creating a world where there are no such restraints on vile divine or human desire, where autocracy and morality do not (and do not have to) coexist.

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