A commentary on Silius Italicus Book 1
The main part of the thesis is a commentary on Silius Italicus Book 1, concentrating on the poet's attempts to blend history into epic. Close scrutiny of his language reveals his awareness of the problems involved in writing historical epic, as he varies his diction and conventions at different stages of the book. The commentary also examines his manipulation of the historical tradition. Excursus 1, The Structure, examines Silius' solution of the largescale problem of shaping his historical raw material into a poem that conformed to the conventions of proportion and harmony. It is suggested that he did not seek unity through a hero or by thematic means, but by superimposing a coherent pattern on to the events of the war. Excursus 2, The Gods, investigates Silius' decision to retain the traditional epic divine apparatus. It is argued that such a decision is intelligible and not to be summarily dismissed as misguided. Any "failure" of the divine apparatus in Silius is a matter of practice, not of theory.