Campania at war in Silius Italicus’ Punica

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter posits a martial role for Campanian otium and socordia. Beginning with Silius’ description of Hannibal’s struggle through the marshes with Campania in the role of delayer (6.651–2), it suggests that, in blocking his progress, gentle, pastoral Campania joins forces with the old Cunctator, Fabius Maximus, in Punica 7, in retaliation for Hannibal’s devastation of her herds and vineyards. The balance, ingenuity, and proleptic force of Silius’ fictional ecphrases are a key facet of this chapter: whereas Hannibal threatens to obliterate the painted images of defeat on the temple walls at Liternum with scenes of Carthaginian triumph, Scipio is given indications of Roman victory by the Roman and Carthaginian heroes whom he encounters in his Nekyia in Punica 13. Finally, it will be Campanian otium and luxuria, dangerously excessive and grotesquely abused in Capua, that will extinguish Hannibal’s military ambition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCampania in the Flavian Poetic Imagination
EditorsA. Augoustakis, R. Joy Littlewood
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198807742
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Silius Italicus
  • Fabius Maximus
  • Capua
  • Punica
  • Campania
  • Hannibal
  • Otium
  • Luxury


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