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Title:Transgressive figures: Monsters and monstrosity in Flavian epic
Author(s):Froedge, Stephen Este-Paul
Director of Research:Augoustakis, Antony
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Augoustakis, Antony
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Williams, Craig; Bernstein, Neil; Bosak-Schroeder, Clara; Walters, Brian
Department / Program:Classics
Discipline:Classical Philology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Latin epic, monsters
Abstract:This dissertation argues that the monsters in Statius’ Thebaid and Silius’ Punica both embody and reproduce dynamics of Flavian culture. These poems are taken together as exemplars of the culture during the reign of Domitian specifically. I conduct close, sustained, textual analysis of instances wherein monsters adjoin the dynamics of otherness, literary tradition, mytho-historical past and imperial ideology. I begin with a discussion of Statius’ potential clustering of Epicurean elements around representations of Hippomedon as a Centaur. As with other discernments of Epicurean hints in mythological epic I assess this as an exploration of the consequences of placing these elements in the text. By using a Centaur for this examination, Statius reveals how monsters are often good spaces for exploration in Flavian epic. I then show that Statius’ depictions of hybrid monsters (Centaurs, the Minotaur and Arachne) reveal and reinforce tension around ‘otherness’ in this time period. At the same time, Flavian giants (both in the Thebaid and Punica) embody the conscious self-positioning of Flavian epicists relative to past models. Statius and Silius use Flavian giants to explore Augustan models of gigantomachy in their own era. Finally, monstrosity can be gleaned in the varied representations of Domitian himself both within and outside of the literary record. Domitian is represented as both bald and long-haired, a feature that exhibits the transgressive monstrosity of depictions of the emperor himself. Flavian monsters both embody these cultural dynamics and reproduce them.
Issue Date:2020-04-20
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Stephen Froedge
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-08-26
Date Deposited:2020-05

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