Statius’s Thebaid

Statius (c.45–c.96), translated by Kline, A. S. (contact-email)

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Statius’ Thebaid is an epic in twelve books chronicling the mythological tale of the Seven Against Thebes, an alliance formed to overthrow the city of Thebes. The narrative centres on the conflict between the sons of Oedipus, Polynices and Eteocles, and their eventual mutual destruction, fulfilling a curse laid upon them. Composed in dactylic hexameter, the poem draws upon earlier epic traditions while imbuing the story with psychological depth and complex characterisations. It explores themes such as fate, the divine, and human strife, reflecting the virtues and vices of its time. Thebaid was completed in the late 1st century AD during the reign of Domitian and is regarded as Statius’ magnum opus, contributing significantly to the genre of epic poetry and influencing later Western literature.

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Kline, A. S.

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