Hidden in Plain Sight_ Martial and the Greek Epigrammatic Tradition (Part 2) - 14 complex relationship between the Apollonian and Valerian versions

Hidden in Plain Sight_ Martial and the Greek Epigrammatic Tradition (Part 2)

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14 complex relationship between the Apollonian and Valerian versions of the story, often as filtered through Homeric, Vergilian, and Ovidian lenses.52Valeriususe of other Greek genres has been explored to a lesser degree, but especially noteworthy here is Dinters observation of a Valerian poetics of epigram: certain scenes from the Argonautica, he argues, allude to themes from Greek and Roman sepulchral and dedicatory epigram, and Valerius often describes dead or doomed characters using epitaphic gestures(such as the phrase te quoque), which serve both as structural markers and as sentimental gestures toward a bygone golden era.53The fiercely Roman theme of Silius ItalicusPunicaseems to have discouraged comparison with Greek antecedents, especially in light of more obvious Vergilian intertexts.54But Augoustakisrecent collection has brought the issue to the fore, and interesting arguments have been made about the presence in the Punicanot only of Homeric epic, but also of Pindaric epinikia and even Greek political philosophy.55Martials own take on Silius, whom he addresses as a patron in several epigrams, is rather more self-serving, but still informative. He describes Silius not just as a Roman (literary) champion (4.14.2-3 qui periuria barbari furoris / ingenti premis ore, you who crush with massive mouth the injustices of barbarian madness), but as Castalidum decus sororum(glory of the Castalian sisters), an epithet with a surprising Greek component.56Martial concludes this same poem by openly comparing Silius to Vergil (13-4): sic forsan tener ausus est Catullus / magno mittere Passerem Maroni(perhaps in 52A few recent studies are Davis (2009); Leigh (2010); Finkmann (2014); Krasne (2014); van der Schuur (2014); Seal (2014). 53Dinter (2009). 54Two notable exceptions are Juhnke (1972) and Ripoll (2001). 55Homer: Karakasis (2014), van der Keur (2014); Pindar: Littlewood (2014); philosophy: Fucecchi (2014). 56Cf. Soldevila (2006) 178-9. It is tempting to take this poem and its inflated epic language as a playful mockery of Silius’ chosen genre, if not Silius himself.
15 the same way did tender Catullus venture to give his Passerto great Maro). This comparison clearly benefits Martial, who occupies the role of Catullus, no less than Silius, and for all his deference Martial does not in the end come off as Siliuspoetic inferior.57These sorts of interactions and comments, found throughout the Epigrams, raise important questions about how Martial deals with the apparent generic disparities between epic and epigram, questions which should not be limited to Latin literature, as I hope to demonstrate in my first chapter with my analysis of Martials relationship with Homer. I must also keep in mind the related question of whether the Greek context to which Martials epigrams react is the reflection of a Flavian literary and cultural milieu or a fictional construct unique to Martial. It is probable, in my opinion, that Martials Rome

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