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Silius Italicus' Aeneid: emulation and heroes in Punica

Grant number: 13/07432-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2013
Effective date (End): December 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Literature - Classical Literatures
Principal Investigator:Paulo Martins
Grantee:Cynthia Helena Dibbern
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The aim of the research is to study poetic and rhetorical techniques used by Silius Italicus in the construction of his heroic characters in Punica. Some aspects of the poem are particularly important to this question, as the narrative's architecture and the emulation of Greek and Latin poets. The study proposes therefore to reflect about the emulation in epic poetry, the translation of important passages to the approach of the theme, as well as contribute to the discussions on the epic genre and its variations, since the construction of an anti-hero (Hannibal) as the center of the narrative is unusual in Latin epic tradition. Scholarship has different opinions about the number and identity of heroes of Punica, a poem wrote on the Flavian period, that tells the history of Second Punic War in epic manner. Hannibal, the biggest enemy of Rome, carries out the most part of narrative, and his character seems to be built as an emulous of Hercules and Aeneas: the comparison highlights the vices and the inferiority of the (anti)hero Hannibal. But we can consider that the work has also heroes: the many Romans who fought against the Carthaginian and mainly Scipio, who, although only acting in the last books, brings qualities of the other Roman generals, synthesizing republican virtues and the military strength of Empire. Scipio African gradually seems to conquer the heroic image that Hannibal fails to win, and this competition for the role of hero of the poem sums up the conflict that drives the whole work: the struggle between Rome and Carthage for world domination and eternal glory. We hope to see that the study of the heroes and emulation of Greek and Latin poetic tradition in Punica has much to tell about the author's view on the epic genre, of Rome, from past and present, and on the main aspects of the poem.

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Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
DIBBERN, Cynthia Helena. Silius Italicus Aeneid: the aemulatio and the heroes of Punica. 2017. Doctoral Thesis - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH/SBD) São Paulo.

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