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The renewed embrace of historicism in recent decades has helped revive the reputation of Statius’ Silvae. As remnants of the relationship between poet and patron in Flavian Rome, for example, the Silvae can exemplify the careful navigation required in the imperial court and high society of the time. Yet appreciation of their literary qualities has lagged behind this increased interest in the cultural context of the Silvae, and analysis of the poems’ exuberant strategies of praise too often seems to involve a degree of defensiveness. In recent years this trend has begun to reverse, with the appearance of studies treating the poems as poems and not mere cultural artifacts. Statius’ lyric ode to Vibius Maximus (Silvae 4.7) has yet to receive such treatment, however. Yet this poem offers an intimate and important view of Statius’ contemplation of his own art as well as its complicated relation to his patron.

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Fabrizio Serra Editore


Pisa, Italy

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