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Chapter 2 - Power Steering: Currus

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2021

Jared Hudson
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
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Summary

This chapter explores the central image of currus (chariot), and its top-of-line model, quadriga (the four-horse car), which occupy the most commanding position within the rhetoric of Roman transportation. Already a symbol of unique power and prestige due to its built-in, inherited features, this Roman vehicle takes most distinct shape in two powerful and complementary forms, the four-horse currus triumphalis, in which generals proudly paraded in the triumphal procession, and the currus circensis, the breakneck-fast racing vehicle of Roman chariot-racing. The chapter analyzes the rhetoric of currus in oscillation, alternating between examinations of some its winningest portraits of victory (on the battlefield and in the circus), on the one hand, and uncovering a series of unsettling representations of the danger and violence it claims to transcend. Visions of victorious currus in Ennius, in the story of Ratumena, and in Cicero are counterbalanced by an investigation of ‘chariot-talk’ in Plautus, explorations of the meaning of winning in Roman didactic, and telling versions of the story of Phaethon.

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Chapter
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The Rhetoric of Roman Transportation
Vehicles in Latin Literature
, pp. 127 - 180
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Power Steering: Currus
  • Jared Hudson, Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Book: The Rhetoric of Roman Transportation
  • Online publication: 20 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108667678.004
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Power Steering: Currus
  • Jared Hudson, Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Book: The Rhetoric of Roman Transportation
  • Online publication: 20 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108667678.004
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Power Steering: Currus
  • Jared Hudson, Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Book: The Rhetoric of Roman Transportation
  • Online publication: 20 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108667678.004
Available formats
×