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Classics Colloquium: Caroline Stark (Howard)

  • Columbia University 603 Hamilton Hall New York, NY 10027 USA (map)


This talk examines the question why narratives of virgin sacrifice feature prominently in didactic hexameter poems about the nature of the universe, specifically Lucretius' De rerum natura, Manilius' Astronomica, and Lorenzo Bonincontri's De rebus naturalibus et divinis II.  I will argue that the tragic and vivid accounts of the sacrifice of these maidens and the triumph of their respective heroes are programmatic and represent the symbolic ritual re-enactment of the successful expurgation of society's evils according to the principles outlined in the poems.