Erinys’ Mortal Venom: The Poetic Expression of Emotions in Silius Italicus’ "Punica" (Books I–V)

  • Stanisław Śnieżewski Jagiellonian University, Kraków
Keywords: madness, cruelty, suffering, poetic techniques, ekphrasis, prolepsis


Negative emotions are used to construct and develop the plot in the first five books of Silius Italicus’ Punica. Dark, irrational forces, i.e. madness, cruelty and suffering, are hostile to the cosmic order and bring chaos to the epic world. The narrator employs pathos, hyperbole, irony, sarcasm and paradox. The scenes of bad emotions penetrate the longer ekphrases and the descriptions of the fall of Saguntum. The epic language abounds in passionate emotions and gives a foretaste of the later uncommonly atrocious events. Famous imperatores, such as Paulus, Fabius and Maximus suffer, but they will renew Rome and ensure its eventual victory.


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