Abstract

This article examines how Statius incorporates and gives poetic expression to Roman anxieties about succession. In the chariot race in Thebaid 6, Statius’ presentation of Polynices as a new Phaethon connects the young Theban to Nero, the incapable leader and unworthy successor. Conversely, both the chariot race and the scene of Amphiaraus’ death encourage the reader to regard the seer as a positive "ruler-figure." This strategy paves the way for Statius’ description of Amphiaraus’ succession in Thebaid 8, an account which seems to be influenced both by the political debate on succession current in the late first century and by accounts of imperial acclamations.

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