Abstract

This paper discusses the complex and ambiguous closure of Silius Italicus’s Punica with regard to its praise of the emperor Domitian and the political situation in which the poem was written. Regardless of any positive or negative closural implications, the end of the poem offers a new understanding of the Domitianic world through its focus on the nature of imperial power and the importance of the individual for Rome’s destiny. The limitless expansion of the empire problematizes the ruler who is the driving force behind it, hinting at the uncontrollable power of the emperor.

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