Exemplary Epic: Silius Italicus' Punica

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The force of example was a distinctive determiner of Roman identity. However, examples always rely upon the response of an audience, and are dependent upon context. Even where the example presented is positive, we cannot always suppress any negative associations it may also carry. In this study of the representation of certain central characters in Silius Italicus' Punica, Ben Tipping considers the virtues and vices they embody, their status as exemplars, and the process by which Silius as epic poet heroizes, demonizes, and establishes models. Tipping argues that example is a vital source of significance within the Punica, but also an inherently unstable mode, the lability of which affects both Silius' epic heroes and his villainous Hannibal.