Abstract

The lengthy descriptions in the Siluae of Statius evolved from, but stand in, unique contrast with earlier examples found in epic and epigrammatic poems. Statius’ poetics of elision, the practice of gapping or suppressing visual information in favor of verbal description or emotional response, is a means through which Statius propagates Flavian cultural and political ideology. The author uses but limits detailed visual information in his descriptions and favors instead stock descriptions that relate the drastic level of metamorphosis. This narrative type of description in the Siluae is typically overlooked or stated only as a concession when details are lacking or inaccurate, but Statius’ focus on vivid descriptions and artistic representation in his ekphrastic works is crucial to the success of these poems.

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