At the end of the Thebaid, Statius enjoins his epic 'not to compete with the divine Aeneid but rather to follow at a distance and always revere its footprints'. The nature of the Thebaid's interaction with the Aeneid is, however, a matter of debate. This book argues that the Thebaid reworks themes, scenes, and ideas from Virgil in order to show that the Aeneid's representation of monarchy is inadequate. It also demonstrates how the Thebaid's fascination with horror, spectacle, and unspeakable violence is tied to Statius' critique of the moral and political virtues at the heart of the Aeneid. Professor Ganiban offers both a way to interpret the Thebaid and a largely sequential reading of the poem.
Review of the hardback: 'Ganiban sympathetically demonstrates that Statius consistently turns the apparently smothering power of the model to his own advantage. ... succeeds in putting Statius back on the map, restoring a sense of his great power as a flamboyant poet of sin and redemption.' The Times Literary Supplement
"...this is a splendid study of the Thebaid." --BMCR