The War with God: Theomachy in Roman Imperial Poetry

Hardcover | May 6, 2014

byPramit Chaudhuri

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By examining literary accounts of theomachy (literally "god-fight"), The War With God provides a new perspective on the canonical literary traditions of epic and tragedy, and will be of great interest to scholars in Classics as well as those working on the European epic and tragic traditions.The struggle between human and god has always held a prominent place in classical literature, especially in the closely related genres of epic and tragedy, ranging from the physical confrontation of Achilles with the river-god Scamander in Iliad 21 to Pentheus' more figurative challenge to Dionysusin Euripides' Bacchae. Yet perhaps the most intense engagement with theomachy occurs in Latin literature of the 1st century AD, which included not only the overreachers of Ovid's Metamorphoses and Hannibal's assault on Capitoline Jupiter in Silius Italicus' Punica, but also, in the richest and mostextended treatments of the theme, the transgressive figures of Hercules in Seneca's Hercules Furens and Capaneus and Hippomedon in Statius' Thebaid. This book, therefore, explores the presence of theomachy in Roman imperial poetry, focusing on Seneca and Statius, and sets it within a tradition going back through the Augustan age all the way to archaic Greece. The central argument of the book is that theomachy symbolizes various conflicts ofauthority: the poets' attempts to outdo their literary predecessors, the contentions of rival philosophical views, and the violent assertions of power that characterized both autocratic authority and its opposition. By drawing on evidence from literature, politics, religion, and philosophy, thisproject reveals the various influences that shaped the intellectual and cultural significance of theomachy: from Stoic and Epicurean debates about the gods to the divinization of the emperor, from poetic competition with Vergil and Homer to tyranny and revolution under the Julio-Claudian and Flaviandynasties.

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By examining literary accounts of theomachy (literally "god-fight"), The War With God provides a new perspective on the canonical literary traditions of epic and tragedy, and will be of great interest to scholars in Classics as well as those working on the European epic and tragic traditions.The struggle between human and god has alway...

Pramit Chaudhuri is Assistant Professor of Classics at Dartmouth College. He is the co-editor of Reception and the Classics: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Classical Tradition (2012).

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Reception and the Classics: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Classical Tradition
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Kobo ebook|Dec 8 2011

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:448 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:May 6, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199993386

ISBN - 13:9780199993383

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Table of Contents

PrefaceTexts and AbbreviationsChronology of Poets and EmperorsIntroduction1. Theomachy in Greek Epic and Tragedy2. The Origins of Roman Theomachy: Lucretius and Vergil3. Theomachy as Test in Ovid's Metamorphoses4. Deification and Theomachy in Seneca's Hercules Furens5. Theomachy in Historical Epic: Disenchantment and Remystification in Lucan's Bellum Civile6. Paradigms of Theomachy in Flavian Epic: Homer, Intertextuality, and the Struggle for Identity7. The War of the Worlds: Hannibal as Theomach in Silius Italicus' Punica8. Theomachy and the Limits of Epic: Capaneus in Statius' Thebaid9. The Politics of TheomachyEpilogueBibliographyIndex of PassagesGeneral Index