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This paper outlines some of the historiographical tools and perspectives the Annals may have received from Livius Andronicus’ Odyssey and Naevius’ Punic War. The topics of allegory and authority structure the discussion. Section 1 explores the Annals’ construction of the past in relation to that of its Latin epic predecessors, particularly their use of allegory in the representation of history. Section 2 argues that Ennius’ unique blend of auctoritas is an expansion of Naevius’ simultaneous evocation of Hellenic historiographical authority of first-hand experience (theōria, empeiria, autoptēs) and divine inspiration from the Muses. The analysis here brings Cato’s Origins into dialogue with the authorizing techniques that are central to the historiographical personae of Rome’s first epicists. I conclude by suggesting that the genealogies outlined in Sections 1 and 2 explain the generic hybridity of Ennius’ res atque poemata.
Each of the three epic writers of the Flavian era, Valerius Flaccus, Papinius Statius, Silius Italicus sought to be Virgil's successor: a laudable but daring aspiration. All ancient poets were bound by the principle of imitatio. This implied not merely respect for the past but a desire to reach new and individual standards of excellence. Statius was rarely, if ever, subservient to those whom he would have named with pride as his models. Valerius also took pains to create his own interpretation of the Argonautic myth, reassigning to Jason a heroic status which the cynical Apollonius had eroded. Even Silius, the most patently dependent of the three, did not hesitate to modify the events of the Punic War to illuminate a wider philosophical perspective. The Punic War provided Silius with rich scope for discursiveness and for pedantic disquisition.
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