The exploitation of the epic realm of Roman satirists.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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The main purpose of this thesis is to establish a level of connection between the epic and satiric genres. The popularity of the epic genre was not always matched by its authors' talents, and the exclusively Roman satiric genre seems to have been one of a handful of genres that rose up as an alternative to the perhaps trite and conventional epic format. It will be shown that one of the techniques by which the satirists sought to replace the pre-eminent literary genre on the populace's reading lists with their own allegedly 'lesser' satiric poetry, involved the exploitation of various aspects familiar from the epic genre, but in an original and often unexpected way.
This exploitation of epic material by the satirists can be seen in several different ways, and indeed many of these methods have been briefly pointed out by earlier commentators at specific points in the texts, or have even been discussed in their totality with regard to certain individual satirists. The innovation of this thesis will be to show that these different techniques, gathered together under the umbrella heading of 'exploitation of the epic realm', actually existed, to a greater or lesser extent, in each of the satirists' works, and should therefore be understood as a recurring motif which the satiric genre. The various elements of the epic realm that are exploited by the satirists will be systematically explored: beginning with simple opinions regarding the epic genre; building up through the satirists' utilisation of various stylistic and linguistic devices, recurring themes and motifs, and historical and mythological characters, that were usually associated with epic; then covering the satirists' frequent references to specific moments in earlier epic works, either through quotation or scenic parody; before climaxing with those satires that seem to have a wider epic framework and a 'heroic' central figure. The different levels of exploitation will also be discussed in each case: this can range from a serious and sincere appeal to the past that the epic genre represents, through a comical presentation of a stock satiric subject in ironically exaggerated epic terms, to a totally subversive parody of the epic genre itself.
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