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1 GEORGICS SILVAE By DUSTIN HEINEN A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2011
2 2011 Dustin Heinen
3 To my dearest wife Erin:
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to begin by thanking my dearest friends Eric Armstrong, Travis and Christy Richardson, Steven Kotecki, and Stephen Burgin. The many conversations we have had over the y ears about life, graduate school, and family have been a constant source of encouragement to me. I also appreciate my many colleagues in the Classics graduate dep artment at the University of Florida. Your convivial and supportive attitude has made this long process enjoyable. Andrew Alwine, Todd Bohlander, and David Hoot in particular have had no small part in helping me shape my ideas, build my arguments, and refi ne my prose. The deb t of gratitude I owe to the faculty members at the University of Florida is beyond expression. I have learned a great deal from their congeniality and respect towa rds students and each other. Without naming the entire department, i t is difficult to single out individuals who have taken time to assist me as a teacher, scholar, and colleague Robert Wagman has been especially helpful and encouraging over the years, both as an adviser for my Master of Arts degree and a counselor during my t ime here. I thank Mary Watt for her willingness to serve on the committee. Mary Ann Eaverly helped my writing and w as always available for me to stop by whe n I need ed feedback on a new idea. Timothy Johnson aided me through out the writing process and has b een a mentor in and out of the classroom from my first day as a gr aduate student. I particularly thank Carole Newlands, who agreed to be an external member of my committee. She offered support and many helpful comments through every step of the writing. Fi nally, I thank my adviser Victoria Pag n, who sometimes pushed me along, sometimes walked beside me, and sometimes dragged me towards the realization of this project. It was in her seminar that I first read the Silvae and she has been by my side since then It has been important to know that through e very day of this process she expect ed the best from me and devote d her best to me. I conclude with thanks for my beloved
5 wife Erin and my precious daughter Miriam. The knowledge t hat every hour I labored on this project was stolen from time with them drove me to work hard and work well.
6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 4 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 11 2 THE NATURE OF PROGRESS ................................ ................................ ............................ 17 The Term Nature in I ts Semantic and Cultural Context ................................ ......................... 18 The Moral Intersection of Progress and Nature ................................ ................................ ...... 26 3 THE NATURE OF ROMAN THOUGHT ................................ ................................ ............. 34 Pliny The Elder and Seneca the Younger ................................ ................................ ............... 35 Statius and Vergil ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 42 Improving Nature: The Villa of Pollius Felix ( Silvae 2.2) ................................ .............. 42 Changing Nature: The Temple of Hercules ( Silvae 3.1) ................................ ................. 47 Nature Lost: The Banquet of Domitian ( Silvae 4.2) ................................ ........................ 51 Via Domitiana ( Silvae 4.3) ................................ .................. 53 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 57 4 THE NATURE OF EXPRESSION ................................ ................................ ........................ 59 Farming and Fighting ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 61 Martial Language in the Georgics and Silvae ................................ ................................ ......... 74 Unending Labor: The Introduction of Agriculture ( Georgics 1.143 180) ...................... 75 ( Georgics 2.277 287) .............................. 83 Passive Control: The Villa of Manilius Vopiscus Silvae 1.3.20 33 ............................... 85 Active Control: The Villa of Pollius Felix ( Silvae 2.2.13 35) ................................ ........ 88 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 93 5 THE NATURE OF DESCRIPTION ................................ ................................ ...................... 94 Origin and Development of Ekphrasis in Theory ................................ ................................ ... 97 Ekphrasis in the Silvae and Georgics ................................ ................................ ................... 112 Ekphrasis of Change in a Public Work: The Via Domitiana ( Silvae 4.3) ..................... 113 Ekphrasis of Change in a Private Work: The Villa of Pollius Felix ( Silvae 2.2) .......... 116 New Soil: Different Types of Earth ( Georgics 2.203 211) ................................ .......... 121 Georgic Temple: The Poetic Temple ( Georgics 3.10 39) .............................. 123 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 129
7 6 THE NATURE OF THE HOME ................................ ................................ .......................... 131 Soft boundaries: The V illa of Manilius Vopiscus ( Silvae 1.3) ................................ ...... 140 Expanding Boundaries: The V illa of Pollius Felix ( Silv ae 2.2) ................................ .... 151 7 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 154 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 157 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 166
8 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy DOMINATING NATURE IN VERGIL S GEORGICS AND STATIUS SILVAE By Dustin Heinen May 2011 Chair: Victoria Pag n Major: Classical Studies The Silvae of Statius, composed over the second half of the first century CE is a collection of unique Latin poems that include s the first full length epigrammatic ekphraseis of statues and private dwellings. The novelty of the lighter works of Statius presents certain challenges in interpretation M odern authors question their place in the literary tradition whether they are o r subvert cultura l beliefs, or if they are more valuable for studies of material wealth and social power than for their literary significance. One quarter of the poems in the Silvae are lengthy ekphraseis of statues, villas, temples, and other structures An examination of six of these poems (1.1, 1.3, 2.2, 3.1, 4.2, and 4.3) reveals that Statiu s categorizes large works of art a nd buildings according to the setting of their natural environment. Throughout the Silvae man made objects are seen to improve nature, and a pers onified nature shows appreciation for human endeavors. A close interaction between humans and their environment brings to mind a poem composed over 100 years before the Silvae The Georgics of Vergil consists of four books of didactic poetry about agricult ure and corollary practices. Although Vergil recapitulates information from his agricultural predecessors such as Cato and Varro, his primary focus is poetry, not farming. Books 1 and 2 of the Georgics are centered on agricultural practices and the signifi cance of human interaction with nature ; the
9 second half of the work is devoted to specific practices such as husbandry and apiculture. Thus it is possible to view the first and second books form a unit that serve as an interpretive lens through which the S ilvae can be better understood. Agricultural practices of the former speak well to the landscape practices of the latter. This dissertation evaluates Georgics 1 2 and a short selection from Georgics 3 alongside t he six selected Silvae from three related pe r spectives before positing a new interpretation of ekphrasis in the Silvae First, nature is shown to be a subjective construct, and the meaning of the term for each author as well as their predecessors and success ors is distinguished. Vergil describes n ature as the environment in its pristine form before any human intervention. For Statius, nature is a generative force, but he sees the role of humanity as an augmenting and synergistic engagement with nature. Both authors view nature as the initial proces s, but Vergil views human additions as external elements that transform nature into a diminished version of itself, while Statius sees a nature improved by human participation. The related but conflicting viewpoints are represented by the similar ways that the authors describe human in teraction with nature. Second, b oth authors employ military language to describe this interaction, and the method by which Statius alters the language of Vergil forms the second line of inquiry. In the Georgics Vergil describe s the farmer as battling with his environment as if in open combat and struggling for survival. In the Silvae holding military dominion over nature through technological innovation. Thus the desperat e station of man in the Georgics fighting without the possibility of victory, is rectified in the Silvae Third, the rhetorical strategy that Statius adapts from his predecessor, namely ekphrasis can be better understood as part of a new program and genr e While Vergil favored a didactic ekphrasis that explained truisms of life through the continual struggle of the farmer, Statius
10 instead adopts an ekphrasis of change by which he describes nature based on its mutable aspects. Both authors reject a detailed, propositional method of description in favor of an emphasis on the mimetic significance of humans, nature, and culture. These three roads of analysis then point to the conclusion that the villa becomes a primary symbol for both authors because it lends itself to their purposes of explaining human life through agriculture and landscape. The ekphrastic poems of the Silvae al though they do not belong to the same genre as the Georgics may be seen through their relationship to the earlier agricultural treatise to have a similar poetic program. The villa for Statius becomes a powerful symbol through which he demonstrates cultura l realities. Vergil tells his Augustan readers how difficult life is, while Statius reminds the Flavians how pleasant life may be with the right philosophy and proper use of technology and wealth. Remarkably, b oth of these poets achieve this goal not throu gh moralizing essays or philosophic treatises, but through descriptions of human domination of nature
11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The Flavian poet Statius (ca. 45 ca. 96 CE 1 ) likely began writing the Silvae during the final years of the composition of his epic Thebai s 2 The collection, comprised of poems commemorating public and private events, is unique in Latin literature. 3 The first three books of the Silvae were published as a unit in 93; the fourth was published in 95; and the questionable fifth 4 While the Silvae cover a broad array of topics, buildings and statues are a recurring source of inspiration. After the Roman architectural landscape was altered by the fire of 64, invasion and subsequent fighting in 69, and a fire in 80, the emperor Domitian (81 96) was responsible for a number of major building programs, including his own colossal house on the Palatine Hill. This tectum augustum ( edifice ) as Statius describes it ( Silvae 4.2.18) 5 looked upon another grand Domitianic building, 1 Unless otherwise indicated, all dates are CE. 2 Statius at the end of his epic tells us that it took twelve years to complete ( durabisne procul dominoque legere superstes / o mihi bissenos multum uigilata per annos / Thebai ?, Theb 12.810 812). We also kn ow that he had completed the epic before publishing the Silvae : Thebaide mea, quamvis me reliquerit ( Silv. 1.pref.7). 3 Before Statius we have no other collections of poems commissioned by multiple patrons, assembled, and published together. Lucan did comp ose ten books of Silvae according to Vacca ( Vita Lucani ). Harrison, 1990 shows that some of the problems in interpretation of Horace, Carm 4.8 stem from the fact that the book may have had multiple patrons. The Silvae though, are all assembled in this fa shion, prefaced by a letter (see Pagn, 2010), and delivered as a gift, whereas Horace seems to have assembled previously published poems along with his new work to create his fourth book. Hardie, 1983, 154 155 and 159 164 discusses a number of poetic allu sions to the Odes found throughout the Silvae 4 These dates are approximate. Books 1 of Book 4: reor equidem aliter quam invocato numine maximi imperatoris nullum opusculum meu m coepisse ( Silv. 4.pref.2 3). the Sarmatian victory by Domitian at 3.3.170 171 places the publication of Book 3 after January 93 (Jones, 1992, 152 and Syme, 1958, 33) but see Nauta, 2002, 285 299 on separate publication dates for each book. Book 4 can be reasonably assumed to belong to 95, as 4.3 celebrates the Via Domitiana, which was completed that year (Dio Cass. 67.1 4.1). Coleman, 1988, xviii xix details the problems of inconsistencies along with evidence of later collation in Book 5; Gibson, 2006, xxviii xxx argues that the absence of the typical introductory letter provides reason to assume posthumous publication of Book 5, but that the arguments laid out by Coleman, 2002 and Laguna Mariscal, 1992 are not sufficient to discount the book as important or typical 5 Unless otherwise noted, all translations for the Silvae come from Shackleton Bailey, 2 003; the text is from Courtney, 1990.
12 the Circus Maximus. Similarly, throughout the Campania n region, private citizens constructed impressive urban buildings and grandiose coastal villas. 6 Statius composed seven poems (1.2, 1.3, 1. 5, 2.2, 3.1, 4.2, and 4.3) in which he praises some of these buildings and their owner or producer A recurring theme in the ekphraseis of the villas and other monumental works in the Silvae is the domination of nature: cliffs are cut back (2.2.54), rivers are constrained (4.3.80 8 2) and the soil is mastered (3.1.125 12 6). Furthermore, nature is always easy to overcome and gratefully yields. The reader sees hints of the former Golden Age, when plants grew of their own accord and required no human labor. 7 T he control of nature through technology for safety and enjoyment gave to enjoy a life of tranquility and philosophy apart from the distractions and vices of the city. Written approximately one hundred fifty years earlier, Verg Georgics awaken memories of farm life and remind Romans of their rustic heritage. 8 Vergil emphasizes moral virtues in his poetry, noting that the farmer toils but still must avoid too lavish a harvest: luxuriem segetum depascit 1.112). 9 The farmer, a symbol of Iron Age man, must struggle to win a pyrrhic victory against nature, for even if he manages to grow crops in the difficult soil, he may lose them to storms, floods or droughts. Only through new inventions and technology is man eventually able to produce crops, but nature must first be transformed. This theme challenges the moral As Thomas not 6 societal roles. His study, especially the fourth and fifth chapters, which cover the coastal villas of emperors and wealthy citizens during the ti me of the empire, supplies an important historical framework for this project. 7 Baldry, 1952. 8 Suetonius reports that Vergil spent seven years writing the Georgics Vergil and Maecenas took turns reading them to Augustus in 31 BCE during the return from Actium (Suet. Vita Ver. 27) 9 Unless otherwise noted, all translations for the Georgics are from Fallon, 2004, and the text is from Thomas, 1988.
13 the nature or quality of success which Virgil calls into question, as well as the desirability of the products of the labor 10 He goes on to say that Vergil draws on military language to express how man must control the plants: tum stringe co mas, tum bracchia ton de (ante reformidant ferrum ), tum denique dura exerce imperia et ramos compesce fluentis. ( G. 2.368 3 70) s time to trim their tops, time ilt before any iron implement), impose you r will and curb their wayward leaders. T he merit of progress in the Georgics encounters question s of ethics when nature is manipulated for human gain In addition to t he military language here, four passages from the Georgics typify the poetic representation of the human struggle against nature. The first and perhaps best known G. 1. 143 180) and t he well known phrase labor omnia vincit rs all 1.145) embodies the work as a whole. 11 While this line is often interpreted by some modern readers as a battle cry for hard work and Enjambment into the next line reveals an une xpected modifier, improbus ( indomitable ), which casts some doubt Georgics is a simple praise of hard work. 12 A specific example of this labor appears in the second book ( G. 2.277 288). Here Vergil again invokes military strug gles as he insists upon the careful arrangement required of vines. The pattern that Vergil 10 Thomas, 1988, 19. 11 For a review of the various interpretations of this phrase, see Jenkyns, 1993. This project adopts his second pessimistic is not the best descr iption. See also Bradley, 1969. 12 other hand, notes that this passage should not be read as completely positive or negative, but consider ed as an ambiguous reference to the benefits and severity of the scene. Fallon, 2004, 14 gives the weak and inaccurate
14 recommends is that of a quincunx, a battle formation of overlapped troops. The land that the farmer must deal with becomes one of his enemies. In a third passage (2. 203 211), Vergil describes the difficult nature of the terrain and the amount of refinement required of the farmer, while elsewhere the fields no longer symbolize battle but become battlefields themselves, as the farmer plows up the bones and armor of his countrymen (1.493 497). In the fourth passage, Vergil departs from his description of the farmer s struggle and crafts the ekphrasis of his own poetic temple dedicated to Hercules (3.10 39) This purple passage sources Cato a nd Varro but is steeped in the literary tradition of Homer and Callimachus This temple gives Statius the opportunity for a direct point of engagement with the Georgics as he writes of a real temple dedicated to Hercules at the beginning of his third book ( Silv. 3.1). Here Statius shows the superiority of command over nature. In this temple description along with five other poems, Statius proclaims specific differences betwe own. A connection between a didactic poem on farming and a collection of epigrammatic poetry about life during Flavian Rome is not immediate, but nevertheless it is significant. Recent scholarship has evaluated the Thebais in view o f the Aeneid 13 and topics and themes concerning nature in the Silvae 14 Of the Georgics only half will be considered in detail. The importance of the relationship between this work and the Silvae becomes most clear in light of Georgics 1 and 2. Book 3 gives us details of farmin g life: caring for horses and oxen (49 208) ; rivalries between bulls a nd other dangerous animals (215 294) ; and pasturing ( 295 469 ). R athe r than describing the interaction 13 See especially Ganiban, 2007. 14 Note the recent discussion of the relationship between the Silvae an d Georgics in Newlands, 2010. She notes
15 between man and nature, Vergil uses the tropes of agricultural writers such as Varro to paint a scene of an ideal Roman farm. 15 Georgics 3 14, 528 5 58) and the epyllion of Arist aeus (4.315 527) certainly address the theme of man interacting with nature, but on a more cosmic level two Georgics, the farm was an element of the world, either removed from, or observed by, the violence that surrounded it. 16 portrayed as elements removed from the life of the city. Therefore, while the whole of the Georgics addresses the human relationship with nature, the poetic and philosophical framework of the first half of the poem relates more directly with the outlook of the Silvae Furthermore, because Books 1 and 2 center around the farming of land and the harvest, they are better associated with descriptions of the control of land and building programs in the Silvae The military language of controlling, guarding, and taming nature is most comparable between the selected poems. Finally, the purpose of this project is not to provide a new analysis of the Georgics but to create a better understanding of the Silvae through a reading of the Georgics Therefore, B ook 3 this examination is limited to the first two books of the Georgics, which focus on the strife between man an d nature, to provide a better understanding of the Silvae and reveal an alliance between the two. Throughout the Silvae Statius describes villas and buildings that ar e not just impervious to the storms that the farmer of the Georgics fears; storms ce ase to exist around them as they do around the villa of Manilius Vopiscus ( Silv. 1.3 ). villa, but an increase d level of military supervision is required over the rough Surrentine terrain 15 For the prose and poetic sources of the Georgics see Haberman, 1977, Th omas, 1987, and Thomas, 1988, 4 11. 16 Nelson, 1998, 141
16 ( Silv. 2.2) Domitian set banquet of the emperor ( Silv. 4.2) impresses upon the reader the sense of the complete removal of a natural setting. The emperor also funds a new road ( Silv 4.3) and dedicates a new statue ( Silv 1.1) Both receive praise from Statius for their controlling influence over their natural surroundings. Georgics is resolved through that same subjugation in the Silvae as natur e itself welcomes its conqueror. Many of the question s presented by Vergil regarding the manipulation of land and the pursuit of peace are answered in the pages of the Silvae poetic devices to find those an swers.
17 CHAPTER 2 THE NATURE OF PROGRE SS On June 26, 2009, the United States House of Representatives narrowly passed a create clean energy jobs ., reduce global warming pollution and transition to a clean energy economy 1 The power over and responsibility for nature are fundamental to this bill and its efficacy. Similarly, many green enterprises and movements are concerned with limiting h The Weltanschauung that drives such campaigns originat es from and helps shape the agenda of many environmental beliefs: humankind exists separately from but in symbiosis with nature, and therefore humans have a moral obligation to protect nature. In sum, man as an external agent has upset the balance of natur e natural resources and now must use that same control to help replenish them. Planting new trees, harnessing wind and solar power, and harvesting hydroelectric powe r from rivers all create clean energy, but still require the exertion of control over the present natural surroundings. In essence, companies, organizations, and government agen cies try to be more responsible but still must dominate nature to ensure human survival The question of the interaction between man and his environment is not unique t o this generation. S ampling classical sources and other authors who write about the human role in nature allows the supposition that human morality may be judged by interaction with the natural world to become apparent across shifting ideologies of culture s, philosophies and religions. While definitions and interpretations in society change, it may be seen that two seemingly unrelated concepts, the physical world and human mor ality, are often bound together. First, a cross section of Greek, Enlightenment, and contemporary philosophies reveals how theorists throug h history have interpreted the human role in Nature. Th is diachronic approach 1 H.R. 2454, 2009. A merican Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, 111 th Congress.
18 allows a definition of n ature to emerge S econd this definition leads to a consideration of moral aspects of humanity a nd nature. In each epoch there is an assumed relationship between hu man s and nature and humanity works to improve that relationship, a process that is labeled progress, but the assumptions and the ultimate goal of this progress change according to prevailing cultural beliefs For Statius the ultimate goal is human domination of nature. This analysis will provide the framework for an examination of Roman views of nature in the next chapter. The Term Nature in its Semantic and Cultural Context By loo king briefly at the history of the terms for Nature across a selection of ancient, Enlightenment, and modern literature, it is possible to see a consistent pattern emerge. While different cultures and different classes within cultures may hold diverge nt views about nature, interaction with nature as indicative of their own human nature. The pattern is identifiable in the western use of terminology. The Englis h term nature generally concides with the semantic ranges of the Latin natura and the Greek All three words can denote both a physical and a moral construct. Nature refers not just to the environment, but to moral disposition ( e.g., human nature) an d material constitution (e.g. the nature of a molecule). The modern western view of nature in many aspects resembles the ancient Greek concept of for both terms describe physical nature, human nature, as well as natural or unnatural phenomena. 2 The is rare in Homer, appearing once as a reference to the make up or constitution of a plant ( Od. 10.303). 3 While neither of these connotes any interacti on between humans and nature, one notes a 2 natur Christian Greeks generally saw themselves as part of nature, not as a separate being. On normal and abnormal phenomena and beliefs in antiquity, see Do dds, 1973, 140 210. 3 The compound Il. 3.243, 21.63; Od.
19 constant : nature can refer to a physical force, separate from man and creative, and the structural makeup of individual elements within nature. Lloyd posits an alternate perception of nature among the ancient Greeks. 4 He states that the Greek concept of nature and physics also contains an idea of natural science, and questions about the philosophy of natural science. 5 He follows the logic of Aris occurrences as those that regularly happen. That a human anomalou s to nature: Nature therefore is responsible for the production of typical humans. The pattern reappears in the works of Statius who adopts a related view of nature as a generative force or even a goddess. 6 In this sense, does not o ccur as somethin g outside the control of nature but as something typically perceived as abnormal. In Georgics natura describes the structural makeup and the environment, but often with emphasis on the original quality and condition of t he physical world. Personified n ature dictates ancient laws for certain places: continuo has leges aeternaque foedera certis / imposuit natura locis / G 1 .60 61), and animals behave according to their nature: Nunc age, naturas apibus quas Iuppiter ipse / addidit expediam 4 Lloyd, 1992. 5 Lloyd, 1 992, 2 3. 6 E.g., Silv. 1.6.58 59 on a band of dwarves: quos natur a / nodosum semel in globum ligavit
20 bestowed on bees by Jupiter G 4.149 1 50). 7 Nature is therefore responsible for the natural world, but it is not the only creative impulse: hos natura modos primum dedit, his genus omne siluarum fruticumque uiret nemorumque sacrorum. sunt alii, quos ipse uia sibi repperit usus ( G 2.20 22) The se methods were in woods and sacred groves to thrive and flourish. Now there are other ways, found out by trial and error. Nature is perceived as responsible for the wild plants, but man through experience ( usus ) creates cultivated plants. In the villa of Pollius Felix natura is the broad category that includes land masses, trees, soil, seasons, water, an d other geological phenomena. At the setting of the villa nature is said to bestow the scene around which clif fs, a beach, rocks, sea, and winds coalesce: placido lunat a recessu hinc atque hinc cur vae perrumpunt aequora rupes. dat natura locum m ontique intervenit ud um litus et in te rras scopulis pendentibus exit. ( Silv 2.2.13 16) Curving cliffs on either s ide pierce crescent waters, making a calm recess. Nature provides space. The watery beach interrupts the heights, running inland between overhanging crags. 8 The area is home to a charming bathhouse (17 18) and pastoral scene, but the setting itself is mad e possible by nature. natura also signifies a personified Nature, which acts sometimes on its own 9 The personified Nature is responsible for 7 Similarly, see 2.49 and 2.178, which refer to the natural fertility of the soil. 8 Courtney, 1988 prints hinc atque hinc curvas perrumpunt aequora rupes. / dat Natura locum montique intervenit unum / litus .. intervenit unum translation, but the argument d oes not rely on either textual possibility.
21 the earth and its people. Natura womb ( cumque tuos tacito natura recessu / formarit vultus ace in her Silv 1.2.271 2 72) and, as Statius humorously describes, has caused the shape of dwarves: hic audax subit o rdo pumilorum, quos natura breve s statim peracta nodosum semel in globum ligavit ( Silv 1.6.57 59) Here comes a bold string of midgets. Nature is cramped for them, finished in a trice, she tied them once for all into knotted balls. nobile fandi / ius Natura dedit, 2.4.16 17 ) and determ ines gender in humans (3.4.76 77 ). 10 place was established by Nature and only accentuated by man: quae forma beatis ante manus artemque locis! non largius usquam indulsit natura sibi ( Silv 1.3. 15 17 ). What beauty in the blessed spo t before Nature indulged herself more lavishly The reader sees the shifting emphasis on man or nature as a creative force, but in the description of the house of Pollius Felix, both agents are differentiated by the author: his favit Natura locis, hic victa colenti / cess it Silv 2.2.52 53). The role of personified Nature is even loftier in Silvae 9 In a related but distinct use, Natura as a goddess appears twice in Book 5 (not discussed in this project). Both times she is seen mourning for individuals (5.3.71 and 5.5.22). 10 s decree that men no longer be castrated underscores the perception of human roles, for we should not change our gender once Nature has decided. For more on Earinus, the eunuch referred to here and in Martial 9.11 13, 16 17, and 36, see Henriksn, 1997.
22 2.1 when Natura is supplicated as if a goddess: tuque oro, Natura, sinas, cui pr ima per orbem / iura homini sancire datum for man throughout the world, give me leave, I beg Silv. 2.1.83 84). The uses of the term nature continued to e volve and become more complex afte r the Roman period, as nature became a scientific topic as much as a religious and philosophical one. Still, the relationship between physical and human nature is persistent in the new research and investigations of the day. T he perception of nature in the Western world adopted strong Judeo Christian undertones during the Middle Ages and t he Enlightenment. Francis Bacon, the seventeenth century Enlightenment phil osopher, took his beginning Organon as he investigated the relationship of huma ns, science, and nature in a way that marked a turning point in our understanding of nature as a construct. 11 Novum Organum rk on syllogism that has engendered the modernist approach to science and the scientific method. 12 Bacon believed that control of nature and harmony with God were taken from man when he was expelled from Eden. 13 It is the obligation of man, therefore, to se cure better standing with God through a better understanding of His 11 theological view of the language of nature, see Briggs, 1989. On the scientific developments of Bacon, see Altegoer, 2000. On a thorough summary of Western thought about domination of nature, including Baconian influences, see Leiss, 1972. Bacon is chosen here because his work represents an evolution from that of Aristotle. He is not seen in the present discussion as a philosopher to shine light u pon the Romans but as a single example of the ubiquity and diversity of questions and answers about the interaction of physical and human nature in western thought. Rackham, 2001 summarizes environmental and human changes to the Mediterranean and shows tha t many modern perceptions of the ancient beauty are more fanciful than realistic. A diachronic analysis of this question across European and American thought would be a helpful enterprise, but the concept is not confined to the West. See, e.g., the environ mental history of China and the dramatic influence on geography caused by people 4,000 years ago (Elvin, 2004). 12 Bacon and Casellato, 1941. 13 Slater, 1995, 114 131 describes how the Edenic narrative is in many ways similar to modern interpretations of nat ure as something we have lost.
23 nature. 14 Progress in modernist thought is objective and linear. Man, propelled by information he acquires moves from an undesir able place to a desirable place and at the same time acquires virtue that accompa nies learning In postmodern thought, progress is relative and subject to individual interpretation, and the acquisition of information enables not virtue but power Nature is seen not only as completely separate from man, but also abused and scarred by ma n. As a result, many new measures have now been taken to stop or reverse the exploitation of natural resources. In his study on medieval constructions of nature, Murray develops a model that shows how the concept of nature is not static across cultures or even with in one culture 15 This intricate approach can help one understand cult ural differences in other periods as well. Murray calls the three divisions vertical, horizontal, and diagonal. Vertical differences are interpretations based on status, such as education and religion. Horizontal differences are based on the amount that people have learned and considered through philosophy or other information based on their different statuses It is a difference that is co mpletely a learned construct. Diagonal di fferences occur specifically within the vertical and horizontal dimensions with in Christianity during the Middle Ages. the medieval caste structure with state sponsored religious prescriptions, it also informs a more complex and multidimensional paradigm that can be applied to other epochs. In addition to status, education, and differences between religious groups, we may add a fourth axis of multiple religious and social groups. 16 N ature is not an objective concept, but a culturally defined descriptor of man and his world. Therefore, we are left with the question of how exactly to define nature If one opens a 14 For the use of the term in the Middle Ages, see Murray, 1978. 15 Murray, 1992, 30 47. 16 On the evolution of the concept of nature and progress within nature, see also Williams, 1980 and Olwig, 1996.
24 book or clicks on a link about nature today, an array of potential options may appear. One may expect to read about plants, animals, or conservation ; learn recipes for organic cooking ; see pictures of dramatic landscapes or individual flowers ; or contemplate stories about deadly storms and peaceful rivers. Nature is the title of a leading science journal and an educational program. T broad as the range found in the English t erm. Vergil and St atius both ascribe to a personified n ature a role that the modern world might apply to the ideas of genetics or Fate. In Latin and Greek the term includes both the physical construct of the natural world and the innate characteristics of humans and animals. That the word may encompass trees as well as the size of dwarves demonstrates its broad scope. While the very act of defining nature may require some level of semantic domination, it is important to consider the interaction between man and nature in order to present any framework of analysis for human views of nature. The following definition strives for the accuracy of a denotative definition but emphasizes more strongly the fluidity of a connotative definition. Nature is the culturally influenced perception of both the moral constitution of humankind and the physical world apart from the presence of humankind. This physical world includes perceptions of a generating force and environmental elements including plants, animals, land masses, and bodies of water. Ross gives a similar definition. 17 He states that in Roman culture, n atura According to Ross, although Roman relig ion had a strong foundation in nature, it was not a worship of n ature. While Ross rightly states that Nature oriented worship is not the same as worship in the modern mind, he does not recognize that n atura is a semantic category, not a static concept to which some 17 Ross, 1987, 19 24, quote on page 21.
25 people more or less ascribed. He captures the notion of cultural beliefs that impact the interpretation of nature, but he does this by creating a false paradox, stating that the Georgics differ from the typical Roman mindset by ascribing to Nature that which is wild and outside of the farm rather than the typical notion of that which is tame and on the farm. 18 O n the contrary, it seems that Vergil concurs with other Roman authors who view natura as an external creating element, involving both controlled and uncontrolled aspects. There are two primary elements to my definition that distinguish it from that of Ross and others : first, nature is culturally defined and culturally significant; second, the semantic signifier typically represents the physical world (natural) and the quality of a person or group (human nature) 19 It is no more possible to ascribe an identica l set of beliefs about nature to everyone in antiquity than to everyone today. 20 Even within one culture at one given point in time, worldviews concerning nature differ along social status, personal beliefs, philosophies and experiences This chapter focus es on differences that Murray would describe as vertical cultural, religious, and philosophical but cannot account for every horizontal difference. The goal, therefore, is not to assert the specific v ertical or horizontal identity of each author, but to id entify general trends that affect their writing and outlook, and then examine how those trends views on nature, it is necessary to consider their poems from an an cient perspective, in which 18 Ross, 1987, 23 24. 19 treatment of the use of these words is found in Lovejoy and Boas, 1935, 447 448. Blundell, 1986 summa rizes the theories of the development of culture. 20 On the lack of canonized scriptures in religious or secular documents, prescriptive moral teachings, and a disparity between internal and external religious behavior, see Dodds, 1973, 140 155.
26 nature is a broad category that encompasses not only the land and storms, but also questions of Fate, causality, and even divinity. The Moral Intersection of Progress and Nature Intrinsic to the question of the cultural constru ction of nature is progress, the force seen as assisting, harmonizing or even countering nature. Progress, like nature, is culturally defined and culturally contextualized. Progress today is defined by fuel efficient cars and the conservation of natural r esources, while only fifty years ago it was defined by the level of income generated by the demand for fuel burning cars and the consumption of resources. T o understand progress fully one must consider the ultimate goal. The Enlightenment and later the Mo dernist ideology that led to the transition from the ancient worldview held to the notion of an objective moral good. This led to an understanding of nature and progress in which there is some objective point to which progress aims as man moves f a rther fro m ignorance and closer to truth. This contention was challenged by Nietzsche and subsequent postmodern thinkers, who rejected the idea of an objective truth and, therefore, an objective good. 21 Progress is relative to cultures, time s, and religions and is t herefore viewed in many ways as an expression of power rather than a move towards some objective good. While nature and progress are culturally defined, the ultimate manifestation of progress in nature may be described as domination. Whether it is for mate rial gain or even for the preser ability to control the commanding view of his surroundings, domination of nature is the fulfillment or at least the perceived fulfillment of progress. 21 Cf. Nietz Jenseits von Gut und Bse Habermas, 1987, 85 describes the tension that Nietzsche sees in progress.
27 Interpretation s of works such as the Georgics and Silvae often begin with the assumption that nature is a static construct. Therefore scenes of domination of nature are viewed as essentially similar in Homer, Hesiod, Vergil, and Statius. This is not to say that all scholars have the same interpretation of nature. Rather, they read ancient descriptions of nature through the ir own cultural framework. According to Bright, in the equestrian statue of Domitian in St Silvae emptied Temese of its copper and the horse of Castor shrinks in fear. 22 Bright focuses on the ability to suspend the rules of nature and enhance it. 23 Bright to improve 24 Bright is correct that man engages with nature through various construction projects nature. 25 T here is no indication that n ature as Statius perceived it was relate d solely to the natural size of a horse or the unspoiled pe rception of Nature is a productive force of which humans are a part does not redefine nature. Instead, man takes a major role in the creative process and the statue is a symbol of progress. In addition to considering the effect of religious, social, economic, and political factors in the poetry and s ymbolism, the reader should examine how these factors influence the definition of nature. The cause for many of the changing interpretations of Statius and Ve rgil stems from anachronistic assumptions about nature. 22 Bright, 1980, 43. 23 Bright, 1980, 46. See also Newmyer, 1984. 24 Bright, 1980, 49. 25 Slater, 1995.
28 Contrasting views of progress in nature lead to one of two conclusions: progress separates man from nature, or progress draws man closer to nature. The separation between man and nature has been variously interpreted through the centuries. Present day envi ronmentalist groups such as the Sierra Club and Earth First! tend to view nature as a divinity in itself, one which man has defiled through his presence. Dave Foreman writes: Before agriculture was midwifed in the Middle East, humans were in the wi lderness We because everything was wilderness and we were a part of it But with irrigation ditches, crop surpluses, and permanent villages, we became apart from the natural world. Between the wilderness that created us and th e civilization created by us grew an ever widening rift. 26 Humans lived as a part of nature until they began to use it for their own benefit. While some economic, political, and academic viewpoints. Concepts of progress and cont rol are often viewed cynically or at least with moral ambiguity. In eighteenth and nineteenth century America, nature and wilderness were also perceived as something separate from man. Similarly, t he moral imperative was to repair the division, but thr ough different means of progress and control. Wilderness, the home of savages, wild animals a nd the unknown held for man some level of moral ambiguity Novels typically fixated on the often escaped to nature to avoid civilized life. 27 This concept of nature and its relationship to mankind is not dissimilar from the Enlightenment interpretations. Thoughts on nature underwent a major shift under the early 26 Foreman, 1991, 69. Emphasis in original. 27 Cro non, 1995, 77 gives a host of examples that emphasize wilderness and individualism in and about this era from film, advertisements, and popular literature.
29 modernist thinkers. For Bacon, nature was wrested from mankind during the Fall, and mankind thereafter sought to regain control. He says in the conclusion to his Novum Organum : 28 unde necesse est sequi emendationem statu s hominis, et ampliationem potestatis ejus super naturam. Homo enim per lapsum et de statu innocentiae decidit, et de regno in creaturas. Utraque autem res etiam in hac vita nonnulla ex parte reparari potest; prior per religionem et fidem, posterior per ar tes et scientias. ( Novum Organum 2.52) For this reason it is necessary to pursue a correction in the position of man and an increase of his power over nature. Certainly mankind fell from its place of innocence and from authority to servility beca use of the fall. Each position, however, is able to be recovered in some measure during this life: the first through sanctity and faith, the second through arts and pursuits of knowledge. B acon viewed nature as a creation God who gave dominion over nature to humans then took it from them because of human sin. Man could, therefore, reclaim some measure of proximity to God by re mastering nature. For Bacon, nature includes more than just wilderness, but also the side of man. By experimenta tion, discove ry, and control of the natural world, humans not only improve quality of life, but their own nature as well. It is this d irect relationship between human nature and physical nature that ties Bacon with the ancients and contrasts him with modern scholars. B ecause of expansion of Aristotelian thought and influence on modern scientific thought he serves as an interesting complement for an interpretive model for Statius 29 Bacon, speaking of cause and effect in his Aristotelian Novum Organum notes : Sci entia et potentia humana in idem coincidunt, quia ignoratio causae destituit effectum. Natura enim non nisi parendo vincitur for ignorance of the cause leaves one without the effect. Ind eed, nature ca nnot be conquered 28 This work comprises two books of the Institutio Magna Organon Bac on, like Aristotle, appeals to logic as the basis for understanding, but he expands upon his predecessor and sees logic as the basis for inductive reasoning. Text of Bacon from Casellato, 1941; translations are my own. 29 The importance of the question of h uman interaction with nature and the epistemological assumptions behind the interaction makes it ubiquitous through Western philosophy, but Bacon is examined here because he describes explicitly the connection between religion or philosophy and how man sho uld respond to challenges in nature.
30 unless obeyed 1.3). made mostly by accident. Bacon sought a more intentional approach to discovery, which would enable one to become a better worshipper of God. According to Bacon, humans must therefore learn the rules of nature in order to conquer it and draw closer to God. Bacon points out that it was God who plant ed the first garden : Deus ipse primus plantavit hortum. Atque revera inter solat ia humana illud horti est purissimum. Etenim sp i ritus hominum maxime reficit et oblectat is the most pure. In fact, the garden chiefly restores and delights t he souls of men De Hortis 1). Westfall outlines four paths through nature by which Enlightenment era thinkers arrived at their more scientific worldview. He states that nature was quantified, mechanized, perceived to be other, and finally secularized. 30 T his process led to the development of instruments that could more accurately measure distance, weight, and celestial bodies. Regarding solar and planetary movements, as Westfall states, even the moderately accurate measurements were improved considerably b full order of magnitude than earlier methods. A greater emphasis on the quantification of nature l e d to B quality of data through new inventions Following this trend nature was mechanized studied, tested, utilized and perceived as The development of microscopes and discovery of single celled organisms also revealed the smallness of the universe. The altered perception of t he size of the earth led to a separation and secularization of nature as the connection that man felt with nature as a creative force began to dissolve. 30 Westfall, 1992, 65.
31 speaks o f gods and nature interchangeably ( e.g., 3.1.123 1 24, 4.2.34 35). Nature was a plural category, as gods and goddesses were identified through their unique natural traits. Bacon, on the other hand, perceived nature as a single concept, the dominion of which was handed over to man and wrested from man by a single God. Nature is also symbolic of the fallen human nature, which men must also struggle to control. 31 These two ideas have a significant co mmon point that contrasts strongly with modern notions of natur e. For the ancients and Enlightenment thinkers, man was a part of nature. Though tension and conflicts existed, man and nature were closely tied together. Nature imposes its unchanging laws ( G. 1.60 61) and is responsible for our appearances ( Silv 1.2.271 272) but is also if humans conquer their own nature, conquerable and yielding to man ( Silv 2.2.52 53). In some inter pretations of our modern society, nature is perceived as an object in symbiosis with humankind, sometimes as part of us, sometimes as an outside influence. 32 Domination, therefore, is seen as an act of hostility towards a nature that would be pristine apart from human intervention. 33 Many n atural parks througho ut the United States are intended to preserve a scenic, pristine natural surrounding, but all are maintained through go vernment spending and oversight with the 31 Statius. This is not an attempt to establish an animistic worldview of the author, but an interpretation of the poetry, which does reflect an animistic or at least polytheistic worldview. On the belief adopted by Dante that Statius ee, 2007, 148 150. 32 Aboulafia, 1989 and Taylor, 1975, 546 world. Frankenberry, 2006, 339, on the other hand, believes in an objective unity between nature and human nature: nature is a factor within nature and not a mere spectator to it The processes and events, the qualities and relations which constitute nature are objective in the twofold sense that nature is fully real in its own right and by its own operations, and is n ot dependent on any other order of reality; both in its parts and as a whole, it is independent to human thinking. Every item of the experienced world and hence every item of knowledge is an item in nature, a participant in natural processes, and dependent assumption, however, is weak in that it assumes all knowledge is objectively acquired from an objective source (nature). 33 ion in Cronon, 1995.
32 goal of maximizing human presence while minimizing the effect of this prese nce. For example, Niagara Falls, which is seen as an awe inspiring example of natural power, was dammed and studied in detail from 1967 to 1974 so that a scale m odel could be built 34 Political decisions fa ctored strongly in whether the F alls should be dive rted, whether the rocks below should be changed to make a more appealing and enduring structure, and whether buildings could be built within sight of the park Natural parks today are a prime example of how much human involvement is present in projects des igned to appear untouched by human hands. Fredrick Law Olmsted, the American landscaper who designed Biltmore, Yosemite, Niagara Falls, and Central Park, was a key figure in creating this perception in American parks. Niagara Falls park was designed with m arked efficiency: paths directed the typical visitors coming for a quick visit to separate areas than visitors staying a longer time picnic areas dispersed the crowds as the y arrived by train and treaties allowed more water to be diverted for hydroelectr ic power during non peak visiting seasons. 35 looking parks was to keep the land public, thereby allowing the average person a place to contemplate and experience nature. The underlying assumption is that the land m ust be dominated for the right purpose, because the land will be dominated by someone. This brief cross section of beliefs and philosophies of nature illustrates the difficulty with which we approach the poetry of Statius and Vergil. Unique cultures and in dividual beliefs shape human perception of the generative, divine, and ethical aspects of nature. Statius and Vergil are united by their perspective that human morality is exhibited through progress and interaction 34 International Joint Commission, 1975. Preservation and Enhancement of the American Falls at Niagara 35 Olmstead.
33 with nature, but it is necessary to diffe rentiate how Roman authors in general and Statius and Vergil in particular understand that interaction.
34 CHAPTER 3 THE NATURE OF ROMAN THOUGHT After examining the development of philosophical and ethical perceptions about nature and the interaction between the two. Though often antithetica l these beliefs reveal a improvement of nature is a strong indication of his moral aptitude. Whether man is showing responsibility by reducing carbon emissions, growing closer to God through a better understanding of creation, or scaling back cliffs to show his ph ysical triumph, it is how humans treat a culturally defined nature tha t reveals the degree to which they have acquired a culturally defined morality. The same questions exp lored by the Ancient Greek and Enlightenment philosophers were an important topic fo r Roman poets and moralists. Pliny the Elder (23 79) and Seneca the Younger (1 BCE 65) both posited an explicit connection between nature and morality. The naturalist Pliny appealed to a divine aspect of nature and felt that humans must work in concert wit h the environment. Seneca saw a definite correspondence between the nature or physical composition of a place and the moral quality of its inhabitants. Both authors argue from their unique beliefs in accountability in the relationship between humans and na ture. Naturalis Historia described in his Epistulae make the prose authors an effective background in which the poets figure prominently. Vergil, whose perception of divine and cr eative characteristics of nature leads to moral concerns about agriculture and land use, prefigures the moralist writing of Pliny. Statius shares some of the presuppositions of his predecessor Seneca, but the poet seeks to redeem the qualities of luxurious areas that Seneca devalued.
35 Pliny The Elder and Seneca the Younger For Pliny the Elder, natura was a category that, as Beagon points out, incorporates all of the physical world. 1 The method by which Pliny sought to display and achieve virtue was through inquiry int o nature. According to Beagon, 2 Beagon notes that one significant role natura tor. The epithet Natura Artifex emphasizes the generative capacity of nature, especially in land and animals. 3 In addition to its generative quality, n ature is also recognized for its ability to harm humans. Natura Saeviens includes both the destructive an d harmful aspects of nature. Some places in the world are condemned by nature to have climates and conditions that make the adduces honey: 4 Aliud genus in eodem Ponti situ, gente Sannorum, mellis, quod ab insania, quam gignit, maenomenon vocant. quid sibi voluit, nisi ut cautiorem minusque avidum faceret hominem? ( HN 21.77 78 ) There is another type in that same area of Pontus, in the clan of the Sanni, honey, whic h want for itself, except to make man more cautiou s and less greedy? 1 Pl in., P ref.1 Natura is the world, both as a whole and as its separate components; she is both Natura is beliefs about nature in his writings. 2 Beagon, 1992, 42. 3 E.g., 2.166.1, Quod ita formasse artifex natura credi debet h 86. 4
36 Nature is seen here from an anthropocentric point of view. Bees and other animals are viewed te leologically: nature created these plants and creatures to interact with her primary creation, man. By shaping the morals and actions of humankind, in this case by checking greed, nature in fact helps its stewards live more harmoniously with her. They cann ot harvest at will, but must be guided by the Stoic ratio In this way the farmer is made more prudent ( cautiorem ). By observing the rules of nature, he is better able to preserve both it and himself. Volcanoes serve as an illustration of Natura Saeviens Pliny tells of volcanoes that burn with an unceasing flame: Aetna in Sicily Mount Chimaera in Phaselis, and the mountains of Hephaestus in Lycia (10.236). After describing the constant fires of Aetna, Pliny notes that other places are compelled by certain geological conditions: nec in illo tantum natura saevit exustionem terris denuntians ( oins devastation on the lands 10.236.4). The harsh environment caused by these volcanoes ensured that the inhabitants of the land would be tough and vigilant. 5 For Pliny, who viewed both the creative and destructive elements of nature as two aspects of the same pantheistic deity, humans do not e xhibit their morality by controlling or interacting with an external force. The proper moral position for humans is to have a mutually beneficial relationship with a nature of which they are a unique part. This means that the actions performed by humans ar e less important than their motives and those guilty of an improper treatment of nature were thereby suspect of other flaws investigation carefully, especially given his religious reverence and pantheistic view of the natural world. Compelled by Stoic ideology, Pliny feels that investigating too closely the principles of the universe is dangerous. Rather, one who observes with reverence is less likely to 5 The concept that geography of a land influences the ways and morals of its inhabitants is certainly not unique to Pliny. On geographic determinisim, see Borca, 2003
37 breech moral guidelines. rebuke of two groups of people in particular, magicians and philosophers, reveals his attitude about improper ways to interact with nature. Pliny feels that certain boundaries defined the parameters of the relationship between man and nature Beagon points out that breaking t hese boundaries may lead to moral, religious, and intellectual transgressions. 6 Pliny often censures m agicians for their attempt to control the power of nature and therefor e usurp the position of divine creator. 7 Because of their attempt to change natural occurrences or force unnatural phenomena, the y sever the ideal relationship that should exist between ma n and nature It logically follows that Pliny would see a reliance on magical rites or spells as fear of the unknown. Such approaches attempt to manipul ate Nature without studying or understanding it. vanitas to describe magic. 8 Those who have not investigated nature properly through ratio are left with nothing but useless and, at times, dangerous remedies. Pl iny cites attempts to measure the earth (2.247) as examples of looking too deeply into the causes and details of n ature but the moralist worried more about the intellectual immoderation of t hese attempts than their religious significance. Hipparchus is praised in the same breath by Pliny for his work 9 This particular attempt to count every star however, Pliny called etiam deo improbam improbum ausum 6 Beagon, 1992, 44 47. 7 E.g., 30.1; 30.17; 30.19. See Beagon, 1992, 106 108. 8 Pliny, 7.188; Beagon, 1992, 106 107. 9 Beagon, 1992, 44.
38 (2.247). Improbus an important concept to be examined in Vergil and Statius, typically refers i n Pliny improbus in these passages HN to denote something that the sense that it is too large to 10 If these undertakings are too bold, Pliny s of investigation observing Natura and relying on reason are taken to be the model. One example of virtuous interaction with Nature, according to Pliny is tree grafting. This practice is separated from the art of shaping He distinguishes between her her 11 correlation between nature and morality as an example of but other authors with different worldview s may have dif ferent agenda s Tycho Brahe and Francis Bacon are examples of thinkers with a strong emphasis on how careful measurement an d experimentation on nature could be considered morally desirable. Through the sharp contrast in these two worldviews, a teleological aspect of the interaction between man and nature emerges. T he supposition of a final purpose behind actions, events, or motives determines whether one sees virtus or improbitas Pliny himself makes this distinction as he considers tree grafting. 12 When man is a partner with nature in the growth of a tree, the tree can thrive and provide fruit 10 Beagon, 1992, 44 45. 11 Beagon, 1992, 84. 12 HN 14.1, 12.1; Beagon, 1992, 80.
39 beneficial to the farmer. Shade trees and ornamental trees, on the other hand, are shaped by man alone, apart from any relationship with nature. 13 Pliny refers to divina natura often in his Historia Naturalis and sees it as part of the divine, particularly in its interaction with the divine logos fer tile source for any 14 In E Lucilius about why one should avoid certain geographic locations, the author gives an explicit account about his view of the relationship betwe en nature and human nature. The theme of the letter is stated in a maxim from the author: effeminat animos amoenitas nimia essive comfort weakens the soul known vacation spot of Romans 15 and Seneca advises Luc ilius to avoid this area as a vacation destination The author reveals his belief that man can exhibit his moral excellence or deficiency by visiting some geographical locations and avoiding others. Quid ergo? M inime; sed quemadmodum aliqua vestis sapienti ac probo viro magis convenit quam aliqua, nec ullum colorem ille odit sed aliquem parum putat aptum esse frugalitatem professo, sic regio quoque est quam sapiens vir aut ad sapientiam tendens declinet tamquam a lienam bonis moribus. ( Ep 51.2) be clothing is more fitting for a wise and honest man than other clothing, and he does not scorn any color but that one he thinks i s not very appropriate for someone who professes to be frugal, this also is the direction which the wise man or one directed towards wisdom avoids as i f a stranger to good character. 13 Beagon, 1992, 81 83. 14 For a thorough treatment of Seneca and his implications on modern environmental theories, see Heinonen, 2000. On morality determined through villas, see Henderson, 2004. 15 120.
40 T he metaphor shows belief that man and his environment can have a reciprocal effect on one another. Just as a certain appearance conveys certain traits, geographic locations have specific connotations. A person is more likely to conform to the behavior expected for the type of clothing he wears or place he visits. For this reason, and not because of expense, the wise man should avoid Canopus or Baiae (51.3). Seneca cites the example of Hannibal, whose decision to winter in Campania weakened the man because of the vices of the area: Una Hannibalem hiberna solverunt et indomitum illum nivibus atque Alpibus virum enervaverunt fomenta Campaniae quarters of Campania away from the Alps and snow broke Hannibal and weakened that unconquerable man 16 The harsh climate of the Alps would have strengthened the resolve of Hannibal and his men, but they were undone by corruption: armis vicit, vitiis victus est conquered with arms, but he was conquered by immorality regions are not just representations of good or evil, they have an effect on those dwelling there. This imprint Seneca notes, is a normal process and can even be witnessed in nature. The time in meado ws (51.10). Just as the donkey should be kept from soft grass, lest his hooves grow soft and render him useless, man should avoid areas associated with vice. The relationship is reciprocal ; nature impacts the character of humans, therefore humans should av oid some places and hurry to others. By guarding choices of residence and vacation, one is able to show his moral excellence just as he can by donning the right clothes. Seneca explains to Lucilius that nature has an effect on human nature: Non tantum cor pori sed etiam moribus salubrem locum eligere debemus o se a place that is 16 Cf. Livy, 22.13.1.
41 beneficial not only for the b ody, but also for the character Severior loci disciplina firmat ingenium aptumque magnis conatibus reddit sterner discipline of nature and render s him ready for great endeavors that luxury ( amoenitas ) w eakens the soul, Seneca represents physical exertion against nature as beneficial for our character and mora lity. For this reason Seneca criticizes technological advancements as disrupting 17 technology and culture is a departure from the Golden Age when men were stronger due to their reliance on nature. It i s not the technology itself that makes men good or evil, but how they apply it. Seneca notes that earlier leaders had homes at Baiae, but they constructed their homes in such a way as to show their leadership, uprightness, and morality even in a luxurious place: Illi quoque ad quos primos fortuna populi Romani publicas opes transtulit, C. Marius et Cn. Pompeius et Caesar, exstruxerunt quidem villas in regione Baiana, sed illas imposuerunt summis iugis montium: videbatur hoc magis militare, ex edito specula ri late longeque subiecta. Aspice quam positionem elegerint, quibus aedificia excitaverint locis et qualia: scies non villas esse sed castra. ( Ep 51.11 ) Als o those to whom the fortune of the R oman people initially transferred public works, C. Marius a nd Cn. Pompe ius and Caesar, indeed built up villas in the region of Baiae, but they placed them on the highest cliffs of mountains. This seemed to be more warlike and to look out far and wide at the lands underneath from on high. Observe what place they ch ose, in what places they erected buildings and what sort. Y ou will realize that they are not villas but fortresses. The villas show the military control that the leaders dwelling within them exhibit. They are fortresses ( castra ), not guarding against some foreign enemy, but representing a place of strength and control in enemy territory. The location of these villas on m ountains is also significant ; it shows the ruggedness of the region aw ay from the lush plains and allows the villa owner to look down as a Stoic sage from his fortress. N ature as rev ealed in this letter can control man and 17 See Heinonen, 2002, 70 73.
42 thereby either strengthen or weaken him Man can show his moral excellence by dwelling in a harsh environment, thus allowing his body and mind to be developed and strengthe ned. Statius and Vergil The moralists use examples from nature, life, and history to reinforce their positions, but the poets Statius and Vergil are primarily concerned with the examples themselves. Still, a s they focus on nature, life, and to a lesser extent history, they are able to create general impressions of morality. Statius does not see the human relationship with nature in the same way that Vergil does, but t he distinctions between the view of nature expressed in the Georgics and Silvae are brou ght out paradoxically similar rhetorical strategies. Improving Nature: The Villa of Pollius Felix ( Silvae 2.2) Pollius Felix is a literary and philosophical figure of some significance and Statius dedicates the third book of his Silvae to him. 18 H is villa overlooked the Bay of Naples in Surrentum, a location well known for its luxurious homes and subject to much censure during the Republic and early empire. 19 The area was also used to showcase nature domination; here Lucullus who also built t he large horti Lucullani bored through a mountain so that he could have salt water near his home. 20 The life of Lucullus prefigures the coming shift in taste from republican Rome to the ti me of the Flavians. His Tusculan home was said to require more sweepi ng than ploughing. 21 This censure reveal s the predominant mindset of earlier Romans that the vi lla was to be a pla ce of fecundity rather than a place of leisure In the Georgics one does not need a large home or grand gates, but room for cattle and pietas ( G 2.461 4 18 On Pollius Felix, see Nisbet, 1978; Gauly, 2006; Newlands, 2002, 154 198. 19 Cic. Att. 2.8.2: cratera illum delicatum ; also Varro, Rust. 42 and Newlands, 2002, 155. 20 Vell. Pat. 2.33 21 Pliny, H N 18.32; Keaveney, 1992, 145
43 villa, on the other hand, offered lavish banquets. The features of his home anticipate those that will be praised in Flavian culture: banquet that is the focus of Silvae 4.2; a statue of Hercules, like that of Novius V index in Silvae 4.6; and a large, seascape villa near Misenum, like that of Pollius Felix in Silvae 2.2. An audacious display of nature domination through out a villa 22 The lavish villa of Lucullus re minds the reader that large homes and extravagant displays what was once considered excessive is now a symbol of devotion to a philosophical lifestyle. Lucu villas might elsewhere be considered extravagant, but it is important to remember the three axes along which individuals and societies might differ in their perception of nature. While owners like Lucullus and the moralists like Cicero w ho criticize them may be close to one another along the vertical plane all are perhaps among the most learned in their society the horizontal differences separate them a great deal. The social expectations of their different cultural environments, educatio ns, and individual religious beliefs mean that we should not read aversion s to lavish displays of nature dominance as the morally righteous and canonical view s Therefore, when Statius praises the great homes, he is not deriding them i n secret, but observing them from another point on the vertical and horizontal axis. Statius sojourns at the house of Felix after the Quinquennial festival in Naples. N ature provides a dramatic backdrop, but the villa takes center stage. The villa with its jetties and shoreline ( hinc atque hinc curvas perrumpunt aequora rupes ther side pierce crescent water 1.3. 14) lives in a divine symbiosis with gods and nature. Nymphs bathe w here 22 Keaveney, 1992, 149 1 50
44 the bathhouse releases its water into th e sea : levis hic Phorci chorus udaque crines / Cymodoce viridisque cupit Galatea lavari locks and sea green Galatea delight to bathe 20). Poseidon himself checks the waves, and Heracles guards th e fields: ante domum tumidae moderator caerulus undae excubat, innocui custos laris; huius amico spumant templa salo. felicia rura tuetur Alcides. gaudet gemino sub numine portus ( Silv 2.2.21 24) Before his house the cerulean governor of the swellin g wave keeps ward, guardian of the harmless home; his temple foams with the friendly surge. Alcides protects the happy fields. The haven rejoices under its double deity. This divine patronage gives joy to the harbor. While disagreement may persist as to wh ether the domus is the primary significance from the aspect of control is that the deity is able to preserve the area through a man made structure. 23 virtue is affected by the places that he or she frequents visits is reversed here. The buildings built by man are actually able to influence the otherwise savage waves ( hic saevis fluctib us obstat 2.2.25). Nature strives to move from chaos to order, but it requires human int ervention to do so. In the next lines the waves and the winds abate, the winter is less harsh, and the sea is calm, all because they have an example of Epicurean mediocritas to emulate: dominique imitantia mores (29). The recipient of the title dominus her e is uncertain Mores are typically the habits of humans in Statius, but the hou se and its tutelage are the subject here, not Pollius himself. 24 Here, 23 Shackleton Bailey, 2003, 124 argues that the domus must be Neptune's t emple. Van Dam, 1984, 206 207 lying on the beach (2.80 85). 24 Mores belong to human or anthropomorphic beings in the Thebais : 5.233, 7.3 0, 7.218. In the Silvae they often refer to the habits of the subjects of the poem (1.3.90, 2.6.104, 3.1.6) or their associates (2.1.103, 2.6.23).
45 however, the master is ultimately Pollius. It is uncommon for a dominus or domina to be anything but a person in the Silvae 25 property: locine / ingenium an domini mirer prius? 45) Statius here underscores th e significance of the relationship between man and nature through the ambiguity between the home and its occupant Pollius is able to be the master of the place through the strength of the villa. The symbiotic relationship between man, Nature, and architec ture allows eac h to benefit from the other Pollius is able to enjoy an isolated, serene setting, while Nature is improved and is only now a joy ( voluptas 33) The building, however recei ves much of its beauty from natural surroundings ( dat Natura locum 15). The language of a g od watching over the fields ( felicia rura tuetur / Alcides 23 24) brings to mind the first line of the Georgics : Quid faciat laetas segetes ckles the corn to laugh in rows inclusive invocation dique dea eque omnes, studium quibus arva tueri every god and goddess, whose devotion is to watch over the land 1. 21) 26 Statius, however, sees the fields from a different perspective t han Vergil. imprecations aim attention only at the agricult the divine protector colors the land as a medium subject to man made improvements. The reader as it moves inland towards the main part of the house: inde per obliquas erepit porticus arces, urbis opus, longoque domat saxa aspera dorso. qua prius obscuro permixti pulvere soles et feritas inamoena viae nunc ire voluptas ( Silv. 2.2.30 33) 25 The only exception I have found, Naidas, undarum dominas w aves, but it is more an epithet than any statement of their power. 26 Translation from G. 1.21 is my own.
46 Fro rugged rocks with its lengthy spine. Where formerly sunshine mingled with foggy dust and the path was wild an The portico represents th e benefits of overcoming nature. The goal is not destruction, but cultivation. Areas marked by uneven rocks, dirt, and wilderness are now tame. Furthermore, the building itself provides these benefits by subduing the nearby landscape. The reader takes the point of view of a visitor as the author walks along the portico, unhindered by the difficult terrain. view of the sea. In some areas one can hear the sea, while in oth ers there is only silence ( haec pelagi clamore fremunt, haec tecta sonorous / ignorant fluctus terraeque silentia malunt 2.2. 50 51 ). Marble and statues are present in every room, and colonnades remind one more of a city than a private dwelling (30 3 1). St atius shifts the viewpoint of the audience to see nature from point of view inside the house looking out at nature, rather than from outside looking towards the house. He explains that the villa outstrips any traditional poetic inspiration such as the Muses of Helicon, the Piplean fountain, Pegasus, Castalia or even a poetic fountain belonging to Pollius (36 42) 27 significantly. Earlier, the house and its rel ation to nature w ere seen in their broad context; the sea, the major buildings, and the overall grandeur all contributed to the scene Now, Statius begins to describe individual elements, though not in much detail. He says, instead, that he could barely st and to look upon the sights: vix ordine longo / suffecere oculi, vix, dum per singula ducor, / suffecere gradus 27 See van Dam, 1984, 217 220, who explains the mythological and etymological significance of these poetic sources, primarily associated with the Muses.
47 I was led from item to it em 4 4). These marvels, much like the wate rs outside (29), are a locine / ingenium an domini mirer prius? 44 4 5) The author notes that the waves copy ( imitantia, 29) the ou tside of the house and compares the character ( ingenium 45) of the location to the inside of the house. The first verb, imitor 28 while ingenium is a word often paired with an adjective to describe the innate qua lity of a person. 29 In the Silvae the object imitated is regularly found in nature: eyes that shine like stars (1.1.103 0 4) and clothing that resembles the color of grass (2.1.133). imitate human both learned ( imitor ) and inherent ( ingenium that has been domesticated and made useful to humans. Th e negative implication then arises that if nature were not submissive or man were not virtuous, life would be very different for humans Changing Nature: T he Temple of Hercules ( Silvae 3.1) The second poem that commemorates a structure built by Pollius Fel ix celebrates not a villa but a temple dedicated to Hercules. The temple replaces one that was insufficient for the god (3.1.3 4) Not surprisingly, all of the hard work required for the construction of the temple was performed supernaturally. The only tas ks of the many workers in unison ( innumerae coiere manus 118) are to fell trees, create a foundation, and construct bricks that will keep out forces of nature (118 1 22). Even the brick making, the only part of the process that describes the task of 28 See, e.g., Theb 7.263 (visual); 7.597 (auditory); 11.46 (change of appearance through dress). As a term for copying perceptions but onto a different medium, imitor becomes an important term for the discussion of mimesis in 29 E.g., Theb. 2.482 (lazy), 3.153 (cruel), Silv. 2.7.73 (becoming).
48 contro lling nature, is accomplished without a named agent The significance of agency is a distinguishing factor be tween the two poems; Vergil describes the actions humans must do because of the will of the gods, while Statius tends to conceal human labor : co quitur pars umida terrae protectura hiemes atque exclusura pruinas indomitusqu e si lex curva fornace liquescit ( Silv 3.1. 120 1 2 2) Damp earth is baked to fend off storms and shut out frosts and untamed stone melts in the round furnace. The winter weathe r, which can damage trees and livestock ( G. 2.291 2 9 4 373 3 75 ), can be kept out of the villa. W ild rock ( indomitus silex ) becomes tame r in the furnace. 30 The remaining work, and the most difficult ( praecipuus labor ), is to carve out the crags and hills that hinder the workers. This is not a labor that humans need undertake, as the god himself digs up the ugly land ( solum deforme 126) and scales back the cliffs ( decrescunt scopuli 134), leaving the workers to marve l at the task they did not have to complete ( artifices mirantur opus 135). He rcules helps with the construction out of his own volition, as he tells Pollius: nec te, quod solidus contra riget umbo maligni montis et immenso non umquam exesus ab aevo, terre at. ipse adero et conamina tanta iuvabo asperaque invitae perfringam viscera terrae. incipe et Herculeis fidens hortatibus aude ( Sil v. 3.1.110 1 14). And be not daunted because a solid hump of unfriendly mountain that measureless time has never consumed stands stark in the way. I m yself shall be there to assist s o great an enterprise, breaking through the rugged bowels of the reluctant earth. Begin; trust Hercules urging and dare Statius depicts a ne w age in which the gods work to help man. Hercules w ho represents new technology and progress, is ready to make the difficult project easy for the workmen. Vergil, to 30 liquesco to become effeminate or tame, e.g., Cic. Tusc 2.52.13 and Sen. Ep. 26.4.2.
49 the contrary, focuses on the many steps involved in landscaping. He describes the difficulty with which the farmer irrigates his fields: 31 quid dicam, iacto qui semine comminus arua insequitur cumulosque ruit male pinguis harenae, deinde satis fluuium inducit riuosque sequentis, et, cum exustus ager morientibus aestuat herbis, ecce supercilio cliuosi tramitis undam elicit? illa cadens raucum per leuia murmur saxa ciet, sca tebrisque arentia temperat arua ( G 1.104 110) Need I single him for praise who follows hard on the heels of setting seed by crumbling heaps of unreceptive soil and steering into tracks streams to irrigate the plantings? see how he conjures water from the brim to spill downhill in sloping channels, a flow that grumbles over gravel, gushing onward to allay the thirst of scorched places. Although th e process is similar to that described by Statius h ere the work itself rather than the result of the work is spotlighted The actual labor and its benefit to man remains unchanged, but the morality of the landscaping itself becomes the primary concern Wh with nature may be a significant moral question to the observer, it is inc ongruous to assume a moral defect in the observer who admires the effect. T he focus in and the temple he dedicates to Hercules is the product, n ot the process. Pollius has been faithful to undertake this project for Hercules ( pietas 12), so Hercules willingly and lovingly assists in the construction ( erubuit risitque deus dilectaque Polli / corda subit blandisque virum complectitur ulnis god blushed and laughed and stole into the heart of his beloved Polliu s, embracing him in loving arms 90). The relationship with a divinity 31 er ( Il. 21.257 262).
50 and the significance of that relationship to nature shows a reconciliation with the harmful aspects of farming from descriptions in Georgics : pater ipse colendi haud facilem esse uiam uoluit, primusque per artem mouit agros, curis acuens mortalia corda nec torpere graui passus sua regna ueterno. ( G. 1.121 24) For it was Jupiter himself who will ed the ways of husbandry be ones not spared of trouble and it was he who first, through human skill, broke open land, at pains to sharpen wits of men and so prevent his own domain being buried in bone idleness. Rather than a god who helps mankind with his pious undertakings, Jupiter ( pater ipse 121) wanted to make it difficult to take care of the land. Vergil writes that Jupiter made life difficult to sharpen the wit of men ( acuens mortalia corda 123) and to discourage laziness ( nec torpore gravi passus 124). Statius, on the other hand, emphasizes the piety and devotion of his patron Pollius, not the difficulty of his work. The next lines of the Georgics portray the Golden Age of mythology, the former days when men, gods, and nature lived communally wit h one another: ante Iouem nulli subigebant arua coloni: ne signare quidem aut partiri limite campum fas erat; in medium quaerebant, ipsaque tellus omnia liberius nullo poscente ferebat ( G. 1.125 28) No settler tamed the plains before our Father held hi s sway and it was still against the law to stake a claim to part of them. Men worked towards the common good and the hearth herself, unbidden, was lavish in all she produced. earth for it to bear produce. 32 The negative implication is that man now marks his fields and protects his 32 Hes. ( Op. 117 118). Nelson, 1998, 85 88 shows that while the Golden Age in Opera et Dies was the time before men were forced to work, the Golden Age in the Georgics
51 The vices of greed and theft are products of the present age. Pollius, however, escapes t hese vices and exhibits piety by defining his territory Through technology he recreates a private Golden Age. His new age often seen as a corrupt one by moralists, may be viewed instead as a logical and innovative step forward progress Because man was subjected by Jupiter to live in the Iron Age, he was forced to work hard. The eventual reward of this struggle was conquest, and man now redeems his former state in the only way possible domination of nature. Nature Lost: The Banquet of Domitian ( Silvae 4. 2 ) Silvae 4 begins with a series of three poems devoted to Domitian. The first celebrates the nsulship ; banquets. The triad concludes with a poem celebrating the via Domitiana a road connecting the Cape of Misenum to the Appian way. 33 In 4.2, Statius recounts the banquet as an amazing spectacle where the participants dine as gods. In one particularly grand scene Statius describes the setting in which the gue sts not only dine with the gods but are served by the gods: ipsa sinus accincta Ceres Bacchusque laborat / sufficere chus toil to supply their wants 4.2.34 3 5). Th is banquet is portrayed as a reversal of the life described in the Georgics Once again, Statius places the b urden of production on the gods rather than on m a n. Bacchus is frequently associated with the viticulture sections of Georgics 2 ( e.g., 2.113, 191) but Vergil writes that the farmer must labor continuously to persuade the grapes to grow: Est etiam ille labor curandis uitibus alter, cui numquam exhausti satis est ( G. 2.397 3 9 8) 33 mon, 2002; Malamud, 2007.
52 the w Vitis the grapevine, often receives the name Bacchus through metonymy, 34 and the god is mentioned by name only five lines above H owever, in the Silvae Statius challenges the idea of constant labor Man needs neither to plow, sow, tend or process the grapes ; he only drinks the wine, which is served by Bacchus himself. Ceres, who helps Bacchus serv e was the goddess who first mandated that humans till the land with iron, and their amount of labor soon grew: prima Ceres ferro mortalis uertere terr am instituit, cum iam glandes atque arbuta sacrae deficerent siluae et uictum Dodona negaret. mox et frumentis labor ad ditus ( G 1.147 150) It was Ceres who first taught to men the use of iron plows that time wild strawberries and oak berries were sca nty in the sacred groves and Dodona was miserly with her support. Soon growing grain grew into harder work. Because of the difficulty of labor and the range of potential problems, Vergil warns the farmer that all of his w ork may not amount to anything and that he may be compelled to give up and search out acorns fallen from trees: concussaque famem in siluis solabere quercu ( raiding oaks for ac orns to ease the ache of hunger flows in such abundance a depiction of this banquet has moved beyond the picture of nature controlled by a building. The 34 E.g., 2.228, 240, and 275.
53 Via Domitiana ( Silvae 4 .3) The next poem in the corpus, Silvae 4.3, completes the triad devoted to Domitian. The via Domitiana w hich connected Puteoli and the Cape of Misenum to the Appian way, ran approximately forty miles, and its path still serves as a road today. 35 The poem, bookended with the typical grandiose praise of the emperor, begins with the laws and civil reforms enacted by the emperor and at the end sees the poet yield to the Sybil of Apollo, who has come all the way to see this roa d and offer her hymn of praise. The description of the road, beginning in line 27, illustrates how difficult the route used to be for travelers. The road was previously impassable marked by mud, dirt ( maligna tellus 29 ), ruts and animals block ing the way; the new road is smoot h, and takes but a c journey. The description of the earth, which reminds the reader of the type of soil good for olives ( difficiles primum terrae collesque maligni s G 2.179), reinforces the shif ting paradigm of virtue. 36 The same wasteland that the farmer prais es for its limited value does not help those whose only purpose is travel. The former road was difficult, slow, and founded on earth; the new road is easy, swift, and founded on stone. The t ask of construction begins with the earth, as the workers must plow and prepare the land: hic primus labor incohare sulcos et rescindere limites et alto 35 Statius also wrote a poem, de Bello Germanico, about the military conquests of Domitian. Though only four lines of the poem remain (cited in a now lost scholium by Valla on Juvenal 4.94; s ee Courtney 1993, 360 and Courtney, 1980, 195 Sat 4 ), victory over the Chatti, giving it a terminus post quem of 83 CE (McDermott, 1970, 133 134), though it may have bee n composed about an earlier victory (Jones, 1971). In either case, it was composed well before Silvae 4.3 and likely served as a starting point. Also on the Germanico see Nauta, 2002, 330 and Hardie, 1983, 61. 36 Coleman, 1988, 111 emphasizes the differenc es between the two poems, noting that in the Silvae the land is viewpoint of the authors, but also the purpose of the literary personae (the farmer and the traveler). Nature is a different, culturally influenced construct for each.
54 egestu pe nitus cavare terras ( Silv 4.3.40 42) The first task here was to start on furrows and cut out borders and hollow out the earth far down with a deep excavation. The passage, full of agricultural language, has caused difficulty for translators Shackleton to start on the furrows and cut out the borders, and comments that the l imites may be ditches along the borders, while the fossae refer to the road segments. 37 Coleman cut back the edges, and hollow out the earth far down with deep excavation Nagle provides a more straightforward re starting work on tren ches, cutting out a track, and digging deep within the ground. 38 A reader of the Georgics however, would not be surprised to see plowing and other agricultural terms, especially after the term labor Trenches ( sulci ) are common for farmers, and Vergil tea ches that digging furrows is one of the first jobs of the farmer as spring arrives ( G 1.43 4 6). Vergil also compares the digging of trenches to laying a road: indulge ordinibus; nec setius omnis in unguem arboribus positis secto uia limite quadret ( G 2.277 2 7 8) Be generous with room between the rows. Make sure that they run parrallel and still maintain right angles with the boundary lines Vergil tells the farmer to allow plenty of room for the rows ( ordines a less specific synonym of sulci ), to align the rows at right angles, and square the rows with the boundary marker. The phrase rescindere limites therefore carries secto limite The connotation, when considering the road, is less a techni cal term for a type of boundary and more a metaphor expressing the agricultural practice of furrowing brought t o a new level Statius 37 Shackleton Bailey 2003, 259. 38 Coleman 1988, 15; Nagle 2004, 129.
55 o quantae pariter manus laborant! (49). An unusual feature of this poem is the detailed description of the actual construction of the work that Statius commemorates (40 55). Statius describes how the topsoil was removed a smooth bed wa s laid, and the blocks were set. After completion, the river god Vulturnus, who se marshes were bridged by the new road, rises from his banks and praises the work. He repents that he used to run wild and overflow his banks, but now he is thankful to be civilized by this gr eat leader. In addition to the detailed account of the labor requi red for the construction process this poem differs from the previous nature poems in a number of ways. First, rather than a single villa or temple that has dominated nature in a single spo t, the via Domitiana is a large scale building project that tames nature for miles. Second, there are a number of detailed references to the former state of the ground, rather than brief mentions. 39 Finally, this poem differs in meter from ic hexameter. In fact, it is the longest of only three hendecasyllabic poems in the thirty two poems of the corpus, and one of only six that are not composed in hexameter. It is also the only hendecasyllabic poem not to appear at the end of the book (as 1.6 and 2.7), though it does complete the Domitianic triad (4.1 4.3). As Coleman notes, its rapid pace is suitable for the rapid construction of the road. 40 The differences in form and content may be the natural result of a more practical building project. Rather than a villa or temple, which affect only a limited number of viewers, the road provided service from Naples to the via Appia and eventually to Rome, so it was useful to many. 39 E.g., the former state of the land in Silvae 3.1.12 14. 40 Coleman, 1988, 105.
56 The description of the former road begins: Hic quondam piger axe vectus uno nutabat cruce pendula viator sorbebatque rotas maligna tellus, et plebs in mediis Latina campis horrebat mala navigationis; nec cursus agiles, sed impeditum tardabant iter orbitae tenaces dum pondus nimium querens sub alta repit languid a quadrupes statera. at nunc, quae solidum diem terebat, horarum via facta vix duarum. non tensae volucrum per astra pennae nec volucius ibitis carinae ( S ilv 4.3 .27 39 ) Here once the tardy traveler borne on a single axle would sway on a pendulous po le as the malignant earth sucked in his wheels, and the Latian folk feared the woes of navigation in the midst of the plain. No nimble runs; sticky ruts slowed the hampered journey, while the fainting beasts crawled beneath their high yoke, grumbling at to o heavy a load. But now the route that used to wear out a day barely takes two hours. The stretched wings of birds flying through the stars will not go faster, nor ships either. Statius is careful to emphasize time ( hic quondam at nunc ) as he alerts the reader to the shift from the former state to the latter. Travel along the old road was a result of the weight of the cart along the earthen path: piger nutabat, maligna tellus, mala navigationis, nec cursus, tardabant, pondus .The foundation of the new road causes no such difficulty and Stat ius compares a journey along the surface of the road to flying in the air or sailing on a ship. The ancient traveler has the impression that any means of travel land, water, or air may be possible through the applic ation of technology. salutes the road and thanks it for its domination. His speech begins with a very flattering and submissive address: camporum bone conditor meorum name conditor is striking here. If the road and its builder Domitian is the founder of the land had no t is as
57 if no field existed beca use there was nothing useful to humans By ascribing to the road the creative work of Natura artifex the river god praises Domitian as a divinity. Vulturnus then repents of his wild ways ( turbidus minaxque 76) and admits that he used to tear up the lands and whirl around woods. Now, however, he yields: sed grates ago servitusque tanti est, quod sub te duce, te iubente, cessi, quod tu maximus arbiter meaeque vict or perpetuus legere ripae ( Silv 4.3.81 84) But I give you thanks and my servitude is worth while because I have yielded under your guidance at your command, and because men shall read of you as supreme arbiter and conqueror of my bank. The once wild river is grateful that it no longer lies in its filth ( sordere 86) while covered with barren soi l ( sterilis soli 87). These strongly anthropocentric statements emphasize the moral excellence exhibited by Domitian. In co ntrast to others who consider the human role in nature, Statius does not hold a negative valuation of modification and improvement. Rather than the careful blending to which Pliny ascribes man here shows his virtue through technology that helps overcome nature, as found in the later Enlightenment thought of Bacon. The statements emphasize the human ability and need to control the inco nvenient aspects of nature. Humans needed to teach the river to stay in its boundaries: ripas habitare nescientem (74). Man has become the controlling force in his relationship with nature. Conclusion The uniqueness of the diverse collection of poems titled Silvae has led to a difficulty in the alone ekphraseis they have no direct predecessor in Latin or Greek literature, s prais e of the same type of landscaping and architecture condemned by his literary predecessors further distinguishes the Silvae from any t ypical genre. His tone often suggests that humans must control their surroundings with military
58 force and precision for the sake of progress. This and the previous chapter, however, have described the significance of culture, philosophy, and individual morality hold towards the understanding of what nature and progress mean. A fruitful reading of the Silvae therefore cannot co me from a seemingly objective moral interpretation of the human role in nature, and the Georgics of Vergil stand out as a work that can illuminate some of the difficult questions raised in the poetry of Statius. Vergil too describes the need for a military struggle against the environment but with different purposes and consequences. When the Silvae are read through the interpretive lens of the Georgics some difficult areas of interpretation, while not answered, are able to be viewed in a new and informati ve light. The remaining chapters probe some of these lines of interpretation in the Silvae by pairing them with the Georgics representation of nature is revealed through their use of military language and ekphrasis, and thus the prog ram, genre, and significance of the Silvae may be better understood.
59 CHAPTER 4 THE NATURE OF EXPRES SION The military metaphors for f arming and landscaping used by Vergil and Statius can be traced to the Roman traditions of Cato and Varro, who both sp oke of farming in terms associated with the military. 1 In his praefatio Cato states that farmers are the best soldiers: at ex agricolis et uiri fortissimi et milites strenuissimi gignuntur en and most determined soldiers Agr Orig pref 4). 2 Cicero speaks of agriculture as a source of virtus and gloria attributes usually gained through heroics in battle. 3 In agriculture and landscape man digs up earth, reroutes water, and arranges plants in shapes best suited for his own purposes. In the Georgics nature is the first and primary example of creation but now humans operate in the present age when they are forced to fight and work against a nature that no longer expresses its dox, then, is that he must perform these acts of violence against nature striking the earth, creating new unnatural forms through grafting, and changing the landscape to survive, yet by every action he further strains the ideal Saturnian relationship. In t he poetry of Statius, nature is in stead an initial creative force and supplies a medium for man to prove his moral quality attained through work, technological progress, and philosophical thought. 4 1 nature (1.1.18, 11.1.17, 12.2.5 ). Gale, 1998, 102 03 provides a summary of Roman writers who liken farming to military or political authority. Haverman, 1977 litary similes adopted by Vergil, the quincunx passage ( G. 2.276 284) and a comparison of shepherds and soldiers (3.339 348). See also the study of military imagery in Plautus: MacCary, 1968. The connection is not, of course, a uniquely Roman concept; the reverse of the metaphor language of nature used to describe battle Il 5.87 88). On wate r used as military imagery in the Iliad see Fenno, 2005. 2 68. 3 See e.g., Cic. Phil 11.18, Red. sen. 5. McDonnell, 2006, 58, n130 states that the combination of gloria and virtus 4 While the ubiquity of the metonymical connection between farming and fighting is too large to explore here, on the general use of military language in the Silvae see Cancik, 1968, 69; Van Dam, 1984, 227; and Newlands, 2002,
60 Vergil pits man against nature in a morally ambiguous batt le by using military diction and metaphor to describe the constant struggle of the farmer. Statius uses two primary methods to represent human morality through control of nature First, like Vergil, he consistently shapes the moral value of the language bu t does so to depict man as a beneficent master over nature. Second, he employs military language in describing the relationship with nature but expresses man as a guardian of nat ure rather than a soldier engaged in a fight against nature. Whether Statius a dopts his practice from Vergil or simply adapts the Roman connection between farming and battle his use of military language to describe the landscapes, villas, and vedute of his patrons is more conspicuous than in the Georgics. The subtl ety and ambiguity of the Georgics is differences in genre. Statius does not have 500 lines, four books, and the structural unity Vergil uses in his Georgics to establish his theme. If he is to emphasize the interact ion s among mankind, landscaping, nature, and morality, the descriptions must be as grandiose as the buildings and landscapes he describes. Perhaps for scholars than the carefully controlled and ambiguous metaphors of Vergil. Statius however adopts the motif of farming and fighting from the Georgics then recast s it for different purposes. Comparison reveals the diverging morality as well as the political and cu ltural changes of the two epochs of the authors. struggle against nature to maintain his farm and sustain his family. In Book s 1 and 2 we read of hand to hand combat ( com minus duris agrestibus arma, 1.160), the 154 198. On use in the Georgics, see Wilkinson, 1969, 88 89. While an important step in this chapter is to establish the type of military language that Vergil and Statius use (a foundation already well paved), the ultimate goal is to analyze the cultural shifts that become apparent by the juxtaposition of the two works.
61 destruction of homes ( antiquasque domos auium cum stirpibus imis / eruit 2.209 2 10), and the use of imperial power ( exerce imperia 2.370). Such military language is no less prevalent in the Silvae poetry buildings cooperate with man to exert control over the environment Guardian villas protect rivers ( alternas servant praetoria ripas 1.3.25), others act as watchtowers ( speculatrix villa 2.2.3), and landowners conquer t heir land ( domuit possessor 2.2.56). Though both authors incorporate military language to represent the actions and and aggression, while Statius uses the langu age of guardianship and oversight in the Silvae Farming and Fighting The Latin noun and adjective militia and militaris hold semantic ranges similar to the English term military which can be a noun or an adjective. The terms indicate an assembly of soldiers as well as events and elements belonging to soldiers or war They may also be used in a more abstract manner to describe events that one identifies with a campaign or even attitudes such as courage. T he connection between plowing fi elds and going to war stems from the very origins and history of Rome. 5 Landowners were responsible for taking up arms and defending their land, so they were at the same time farmers and soldiers. In Livy (3.26 29) Cincinnatus is a hero because of his devo tion to his land and service to the military. When the Romans first approach the farmer, he is working in his field: seu fossam fodiens palae innixus, seu cum araret, operi certe, id quod constat, agresti intentus ing a trench or plowing, it is at least agreed that he was engaged in rustic business 3.26.9). Soon, on the field 5 See Newlands, 2002, 180 181. She cites Pliny, HN 18.4.19, who notes that a piece of land was fertile because generals cultivated the land with the same attention that they used in war. For this reason the domination of nature is not destructive but a metaphor for creating social justice.
62 of battle, he gives the order to his troops to build a palisade: clamore sublato ante se quemque ducere fossam et iacere uallum ded that] after a shout was raised, everyone d ig a trench and put up the wall battle field account by his depiction of the dictator in his field. The trench ( fossa ) that Cincinnatus dug as a farmer becomes the trench he commands s oldiers to dig. Thus roles, he frames it explicitly in the minds of his readers. historiographic sketch of a Roman hero, it is also helpful to consider the practical langu age of Caesar. One passage in the Bellum Civile in particular shows the close connection between farming and fighting. Preparing to attack the Gauls and Vercingetorix, Caesar exhorts his troops: cohortatus ut aliquando pro tantis laboribus fructum victoria e perciperent o collect the fruit of victory proportionate to their work B Civ 7.27.2). The phrase fructum percipere appears at least eighteen times in Cicero to indicate the : si latiores patentioresque feceris, laetiores uberioresque fructus percipies ( make the m more spread out and open, you 6 From both the agricultural and martial perspective of the soldier farmer, labor is neither a means to some moral growth nor the source of some existential identity conflict. Rath er, work is necessary for survival, and at times the laborer receives some benefit for his actions. a cache for the military metaphors of Vergil and Statius. There are of course practical implements of battle like siege weapons ( vineae, B G all 2.12.3), guardian cohorts ( praetoria B G all 1.40.15), and ramparts ( aggeres B C iv 2.1.4 ). 6 I find seven instances in Columella ( De Arboribus 4.1.3, 6.1.4, De re rustica 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199, 6.pref.4.10, 188.8.131.52, 184.108.40.206). See, e.g., Cicero, Verr. 2.3.227, 2.5.77, Sen. 70.9, Off. 1.59.6; cf. Columella 8.16.6 which quincunx pattern for planting, to be discussed below.
63 Caesar also speaks frequently of drawing up a battle line ( instruit aciem e.g., B G all 1.22.3, 1.6 5.2, 1.70.3; B C iv 2.26.4). In one d escription of the land of the Aduataci he explains that it is well defended by nature cunctis oppidis castellisque desertis sua omnia in unum oppidum egregie natura munitum contulerunt. quod cum ex omnibus in circuitu partibus altissimas rupes despectusq ue haberet, una ex parte leniter acclivis aditus in latitudinem non amplius ducentorum pedum relinquebatur. ( B G all 2.29.2) After all the towns and strongholds were abandoned, they [the Aduataci] brought all their things into one town that was especially fortified by nature. Because even though from all parts in a circle it had very tall cliffs and advantageous positions, there remained from one direction a gently rising slope not more than 200 feet. Caesar paradoxically states that the place is well defended apart from human intervention, but it is only defensive in that it protects humans The term nature is used to describe the creative force over which man has no initial control. He must therefore employ his own nature to gain this control. C be siege their enemy examples of those who have successfully gained control. Only three times does Caesa r use either a form of dominare / dominus or domitare and the language is never self referential. It is always used as a negative term, describing the habits of enemies, never himself. Once Caesar defeated the Aduataci they plead ed with him not to take t heir weapons, lest they be killed by those they used to master ( quam ab his per cruciatum inter fici, inter quos dominari consuessent B G all 2.31.6). In the Bellum Civile Pompey diverts armies headed to Asia and Syria and brings them into his own power and control ( quas ab itinere Asiae Syriaeque ad suam potentiam dominatumque converterat, rem ad arma deduci studebat. B C iv. 1.4.5). In a fragment of Anticato Caesar also speaks of his enemy as one driven by control ( dominatuque mandatus Anticatonis 2.5)
64 In the Georgics and Silvae t he dominant agricultural metaphors depict man acting either as aggressor against nature or sentinel against it This difference is slightly complicated by the fact that the poets especially Statius adopt at times the perspect ive of the land and at times the perspective of the human agent. Moreover, military imagery is by necessity metaphorical, for it is a poetic description of abstract concepts or mythological refe rences such as a deity ( e.g., Mars, Silv. 1.1.18) to practical terms and physical objects such as weapons ( G 1.160 ). the people required to own and control the forces of nature. Rocks are hewn back by enemies with a sword ( labor est exscindere dextra / oppositas rupes et saxa negantia ferro Silvae 3.1.123 1 24). Ferrum here coul d be taken as the literal iron rathe r than the metaphorical sword, but the terms exscindere oppositas and negantia anticipate an image of enemies fighting with real weapons, though that image is interrupted by geographic enemies, cliffs ( rupes ) and rocks ( saxa ). The chiasmus of cliffs and rocks ( rupes et saxa ) int erposes the geographic enemies and makes the image more vivid. At the beginning of Silvae 4.3, Statius describes the construction of the Via Domitiana as a swift and industrious process. As the workers rush to complete the new road, the sounds of frantic construction and the din of battle are confused: Quis duri silicis gravisque ferri immanis sonus aequori propinquum saxosae latus Appiae replevit? certe non Libycae sonant catervae nec dux advena peierante bello C ampanos quatit inquietus agros. ( Silv. 4.3.1 6) What monstrous sound of hard flint and heavy iron has fill ed paved Appia on the side that borders tis not the sound of Libyan squadrons, neither does a restless
65 The sound of the iron and the sound of the sword are conflated here, as Statius asserts that the construction of t his road Libycae catervae 4), but against the sandy ground that made travel so difficult ( solidat graves harenas 4.3.23). Elsewhere, Statius describes agmina ). Aeolii non agmina carceris horret work fears not Silv 1.1.92). This sculpted horse ad vances through the captive Rhine ( captivi Rheni 1.1.51) in a static d isplay of power of the emperor over both human enemies and the hazardous geography of the as a defensive weapon ( patula defendimus arbore soles Silv 3.1.70), and Manilius Vopiscus owns a pair of homes that defend him from the heat: certantesque sibi dominum defendere villas, talis hiems tectis, fra ngunt sic improba solem frigora. ( Silv 1.3.4, 7 8) the mansions that vie to keep the Such winter is in the edifice, unconscionable cools defeat the su n Often the earth advan ces The personified Vulturnus willing sub te duce, te iubente, cessi under your guidance at your command In the Silvae nature is alternatively described as a conquered enemy or a willingly submissive vassal. A defeated nature ( natura victa 2.2.52 ) yields to the landowner and allows him to change the landscape as he sees fit. Human creations often act as a guardian over the forces of nature. Statius describes the villa of Pollius Felix as a
66 sentinel and a fortress ( speculatrix v illa 2.2.3; praetoria 2.2.49), 7 and bricks in the temple of Hercules keep out the winter frost ( protectura hiemes et exclusura pruinas 3.1.121). The villa of Vopiscus acts as a reinforced rampart to the nearby water ( gemino aggere 1.3.64). 8 Perha ps the most striking use of military language is the frequent use of words with the dom root. The land around the villa of Pollius Felix has been completely transformed: mons erat hic ubi plana vides; et lustra fuerunt, quae nunc tecta subis; ubi nunc ne mora ardua cernis, hic nec terra fuit: domuit possessor, et illum formantem rupes expug nantemque secuta gaudet humus. ( Silv 2.2.54 58) Where you see level ground, there used to be a h ill; the building you now enter was wilderness; where now you see lofty woods, there was not even land. The occupant has tamed it all; the soil rejoices as he shapes rocks or expels them. Hills are leveled ( 54), land developed (55 56), and rocks removed (57). Statius summarizes this massive landscaping project with two w ords: domuit possessor (56). The tract is so overwhelming that Statius knows not whether he should praise the ingenium (n ature) of the place or its master first ( locine / ingenium an domini mirer prius? 45). Statius additionally charges the land to continu e in its role as an obedient slave or servant: Sis felix, tellus, dominis ambobus in annos Mygdonii Pyliique seni s nec nobile mutes servitium ( Silv 2.2.107 1 09) 7 On th e use of these terms to describe the villa, see Newlands, 2002, 179, who shows that Statius recounts the estate of Felix in terms of an emperor governing the state. The praetoria headquarters of operation. She also rightly emphasizes (n75) that speculatrix does not indicate that man is ultimately victorious against nature ( contra Van Dam, 1984, 196), but is able to mount a capable defense against the elements. Cf E.g., Cic. Nat. D. 3.47.1: Furiae deae sunt, speculat rices credo et vindices facinorum et sceleris Argo 7.190, speculatrix Iuno 8 Masters, 1992, 30 39 explores the poetic implications of agger Lucan de agger ( B Civ 2.678 679), an ex agger ated assimilates military terms to the labor of poetic composition.
67 Be fruitful for you r lord and lady, earth, unto the years of the Mygdonian ancient and t he Pylian, nor change your noble bondage! dominus (1.3.4). He is also called the dominus of a tree on his property, which he has kindly allowed to live (1.3.61). 9 If humans are the masters, then nature takes on the characte ristics of a slave in Statius. The readiness of the earth to be transformed is expressed through the metaphor of a willing and unwilling slave. The notion of slavery further identifies the place of nature in the Silvae for slaves are not standard opponents in battle but the reward of a victorious campaign. The desire for human mastery over nature is no less prevalent in the Georgics than in the Silvae 10 Just as the dom root appears repeatedly in Stati dominate the land. Vergil explains that the seventh day is lucky for domesticating cows ( felix / domitare boves 1.285). 11 When the Iron Age began, Ceres forced man to turn the soil, which would soon become difficult and barren (1.147 1 54). The final symptom of th is change in nature is that useless wild oats, not crops, dominate ( steriles dominantur avenae 1.154). Vergil next gives a list of difficult tasks the farmer must complete to escape from this ordeal: he must raid the grass ( herbam i n sectabere 155), frigh ten away the birds ( terrebis avis 156), cut back the 9 See also 2.2.21: stagna modesta iacent dom inique imitantia mores 82: domino contra recubante proculque / Surrentina tuus spectat praetoria Limon your own Limon is vexed that his lord rests opposite as from afar he vi indomitus silex lake (Hor., Carm 2.15.1 5). Armstrong (2009, 89 90) cites the Horace passage in a useful discussion of the tension between public and private responses to displays of wealth and power. 10 See Gale, 2000, 23, for a summary of the role of agriculture and war at the end of each book of the Georgics and 32 35 for the ending of Book 1 in particular. 11 The word domitare does not necessarily have military resonance here, as it is the typical word for domesticating the faint similarities between Vergil and Hesio to plant or break in oxen, but he also I believe significantly expresses a greater level of control than his source th is the Op. 815 816). As Thomas notes, Vergil copies the epexegetical infinitives of Hesiod ( felix domitare matical allusion that
68 overgrowth with a blade ( falce premes umbras 157), and even pray to the gods ( votisque vocaveris imbrem 157), lest he spends his day eating acorns ( concussaque famem in silvis solabere quercu 159). T his is the bleak picture he must dominate nature lest he be dominated by her. 12 In the Georgics a reader sees similar type s of military language, but with a greater emphasis on practical implements and aggressive fighting. The most common use of military language involves the tools of warfare, such as swords ( ferr o 1.50, 143; ens em 1.508) and arms ( arma 1.160). Vergil teaches his reader to line up his crops like a battle line ( acies 2.281). The first book culminates in a real ba ttle, after which farmers will plough up weapons. Here Vergil transitions from invoking farming through military language to describing the aftermath of battle through images of agriculture: scilicet et tempus ueniet, cum finibus illis agricola incuruo te rram molitus aratro exesa inueniet scabra robigine pila, aut grauibus rastris galeas pulsabit inanis grandiaque eff ossis mirabitur ossa sepulcris. ( G. 1.493 4 97) Nothing surer than the time will come when, in those fields, a farmer plowing will unearth rough and rusted javelins and hear his heavy hoe echo on the sides of empty helmets and stare in open eyed amazement Vergil, lamenting the civil war that took many soldiers from their fields and reallocated fields to soldiers, mixes the implements of farming and fighting together in the same ground: the plow, spears, helmets, hoes and corpses are piled in one area of lan d completely robbed of its productivity and natural splendor. 12 Gale, 2000, 255 256 lists additional terms in this passage such as praetendere (defend) insidias (ambush), ince ndere (burn), and antes (ranks).
69 actions through martial language A form of ruo appears four times in the first two books, describing twice the actions of a farmer against nature (1.105, 2.210) and twice the advance of nature against a helpless farmer (1.313, 1.324). In one of these attacks, the farmer even engages with his enemy in hand to hand combat: quid dicam, iacto qui semine commi nus arva insequitur cumulosque ruit male pinguis harenae (1.104 4 05) What am I to say of him who, once his seed is cast, launches a hands on attack on his fields and thrashes the unfertile sand. 13 The farmer is described in terms of a soldier, throwing down his weapons ( iacto ) and fighting in hand to hand combat ( comminus ) with his enemy, but the passage (1.104 110) also invokes a scene of the warrior Achilles fighting the river Scamander ( Il. 21.257 2 62). As Thomas notes, this is typical of how Vergil poeti cizes the Georgics : he adapts a Homeric simile to describe mundane activities. 14 At the same time, he makes practical the mythical description of a literary hero. These lines therefore both elevate a common task through poetic description and diminish a leg end by re appropriating it with the description of a farmer desperate to grow crops and ensure hi s own survival against famine. I n the Bellum Gallicum aside and fight in close combat: relictis pilis comminus gladiis pugnatum est B G all 1.52.4). Man is depicted without the inherent control over nature that one finds in the Silvae or epic poetry, but in a lowered position as he beats the ground with his fists to expel its barrenness. The comedic and futile image of a 13 The translation is my own, but relies on the notes of Page, 1898, 195, who explains male as negating the typically positive connotation of pinguis Roman soldier throwing his pilum 14 For the full discussion, see Thomas, 1988, 84 85.
70 farmer fighting his soil in hand to hand combat characterizes the intense need for control that may never be gained. Because Vergil and Statius use military language in their works, they inevitably hit upon the moral value of warfare i tself. Thus both authors position themselves in a tradition of warfare that in certain cases holds a negative value for domination. Through the interplay between the morality of farming and fig hting, both aut hors reshape the tradition. The cultivation of crops requires physical violence and careful control as the farmer must strike the earth, bring supplies to the desired plants, remove the undesired, and arrange them all in proper rows. While it is possible to consider the farmer soldier metaphor in a wholly positive light as the triumph of man over nature, Thomas questions this interpretation and points to moral ambiguity present in farming. 15 Perkell demonstrates that military language appears throughout Ver captare and fallere (139), verberat (141) and scindebant domination of natural things becomes a leitmotif of the poem 16 Similarly, in description of taming the sea in 2.161 1 hybris in lashing the sea. 17 The various methods ( artes 145) that the farmer uses are in fact destructive, but they 15 For a summary of the positive and negative interpretations, see Thomas 1982 and Cramer, 1998. Morgan, 1999, however, rejects the interpretation of Thomas and sees a thoroughly positive reading of the poem. 16 Perkell, 1989, 34. Pavlovskis, 1973, 1 53 shows how human control over nature is a major theme throughout Imperial Age literature and art. He traces these themes through lat nigh disappear from (52). Kenney, 1984, 192 nature held on the later poet Ausonius, as well as Rutilius Namantianus and Sidonius Apo llinaris. Hulls, 2007 sees tension arising from military language used at a public banquet in Silvae 4.2. 17 Perkell, 1989, 105. See also Newlands, 2002, 291 Domitian in Silvae 4.3. She notes that la rge building projects like canals were associated most often with tyrannical e possible fear of hybris
71 are required for his survival. While the farmer ma y not attain moral benefit from his actions, he does gain that which can be measured as if on a battlefield. 18 The moral ambiguity perhaps phrased in military terms as a pyrrhic v ictory present in the Georgics do es emphasize the lost pleasures and toils gai ned since the Golden Age, but Vergil does not draw this to its logical conclusion and portray a pessimistic view of the present age. Instead, the difficult aspects of labor as presented in the Georgics require the reader to consider both their positive and negative impact. It would not be possible to appreciate the absence of agricultural labor unless one has been forced to farm, and the impact of peace and freedom cannot be realized unless one has seen battle 19 that Jupiter forced hu man s to work in order to sharpen their minds (1.121 1 25). The toil has both positive and negative effects on man, just as his actions against nature have both beneficial and detrimental effects. It is only with difficulty that man attains virtue: curis acuens mortalia corda The view of the human struggle as an end in itself is perhaps the biggest point of departure for the poetic manifestati ons of military language from realistic descriptions such as some sort of victory; the successful outcome reveals his patrons not as dest roye rs but as governing provincials, securely positioned and prepared for attacks of nature. 20 Therefore, the military imagery cannot be taken too far, for the battle against nature is not towards some greater end. In both poets the teleological aspect of r eal military campaigns is lacking, or is at least less clear, in the human campaign to control nature. 18 See Perkell, 1989, 36. 19 20 This guardianship not victory, is emphasized by the description of the villa as a speculatrix and praetoria (Newlands, 2002, 179, esp. n75).
72 Gale furthermore shows that Vergil, through his interaction with Lucretius, advocates a life of reflection and meditation but acknowledges the reality th at work is necessary. 21 Poetry of the early empire does not reject warfare in toto but poets do begin to question the concept of war as something good for Rome and for those she conquers. 22 Vergil recalls tural processes provide the specimen or model for human creativity, and then the arts and sciences are gradually refined by a process of trial and error 23 The difficulties that readers of the Georgics have faced over the years, such as the subjective mora l value of agriculture and whether the farmer is a model or a reprobate, stem from ambiguities and fluctuations in the author himself 24 not isolation and the rejection of conflict, but the result o f the necessary evil of warfare. Similarly, agriculture is not necessarily positive or negative, but the necessary result of labor imposed on men after the Golden Age. 25 Recently, Kronenberg has argued that Vergil in the Georgics not only removes morality f rom the practice of agriculture but also exploits the tension betw een religion and science 26 The 21 Gale, 1998. 22 Gale, 1998, 101 102. On the ideal intention of war as a means to peace, see also Lyne, 1983. Lyne and Gale provide a helpful discussion of the oft quoted advice of Anchises to Aeneas in Aen 6.851 853: tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento (hae tibi erunt artes), pacique imponere morem, parcere subiectis et debellare superbos. 23 Gale, 2000, 210, referring to Lucretius: specimen / ipsa fuit rerum primum natura creatrix first model means t hat man must adopt the rules of nature in order to tame her. Statius, on the other hand, states that natura creatrix 24 See Gale, 1998, 110. 25 Gale, 1998, 116. 26 See Kronenberg, 2009, especially 132 184 on the Georgics The book is an examination of the morality of farming in three major treatises: Oeconomicus De Re Rustica and Georgics She gives examples from each work that reveal the moral ambiguity of farming. In the Georgics she illustrates that Vergil re defines moral language, emptying it of traditional meaning. It is an overstatement that Vergil was able to achieve fully the result of removing
73 contrast of natura and ars or usus as a creative force reveals that man has the ability to compete 27 The type of artes that man must employ occurs both through reflexive and rational means. It is this interplay between sacred and secular that Kronenberg argues dominate s the first two books. 28 S to condemn the aggression of agriculture than it is to point to the conflicting forces at work in the 29 A dichotomous view of the Georgics sees either a quaint farmer cal ling Rome back to the country life and hard work or a pessimistic description of the burden of life and the horrors of Between these poles of interpretation lies the middle ground from which to appreciate the poem more richly. Neither a wholly positive n or negative, but a morally ambiguous depiction of agriculture emerges is quite clear in t he practical tiresome practice of farming. The question of morality of landscape in the Silvae however, is more abrupt Early villas served as fortified homes, but a retirement villa such as that of Pollius Felix does not lend itself freely to military metaphors T he image however, created by Statius as he describes these homes as standing guard over winds water, and land create a sense of a beautiful home, not a garrison Statius, by adopting the same type of language and descriptions as Vergil, reconstitutes the moral connotations of fighting and morally neutral 146) from the concept of evil, but Kronenberg is certainly correct that Vergil t oys with the subjective connotations of such terms as improbus labor, malus, and sceleratus (144). 27 Kronenberg, 2009, 136. 28 Kronenberg, 2009, 137 calls these religio and ratio She also discusses (157 62) the prevalence of religio as the ratio as the concept that aligns Book 2. She rightly concludes that in Book 1 ratio leaves questions that can only be answered by religio while the opposite occurs in Book 2. 29 Kronenberg, 2009, 147.
74 use of military metaphors reorients the moral value of terms that convey the domination of nature parties. The morality of men such as Felix, Vopiscus, and even Domitian is assimilated into their mastery and governance of nature. Man exerts control over a landscape by constructing it and maintains that control throughout. As an observer and chronicler Statius has some level of control over the setting as well. H e can treat the landscape as a work of art, and therefore he may look or turn away as he pleases. The farmer of the Georgics and to a lesser extent the villa owner of the Silvae has less control, as he cannot turn away. 30 Wherea s for Vergil and Lucretius nature may have been the first creative specimen for Statius nature is a creative force that offers to mankind the opportunity to prove its moral quality. Nature is a creative force lacking inherent morality akin to what may be described as fate but it is a fate that affords man the opportunity to prove his virtue. The landscapes of Felix and Vopiscus are mirrors of the landscapers. The now straight, organized Via Domitiana his empire. Alt hough natura still retains its primary function as a creative force, man has the ability and obligation to control her. 31 Rather than emptying terms of their moral value as Vergil does, Statius supplies morality to the landscaping projects. M artial Language in the Georgics and Silvae Two passages selected from the Georgics the first from B ook 1 and the second from B ook 2, exemplify the theme of military control. The lines from one of the best known passages of the Georgics (1.143 180) explain the nature of the toil the farmer must perform and how the human 30 On the experience of lands cape, see Cosgrove, 1985, 18. 31 Newlands, 2002, 247 shows that man can have even greater control. In a discussion of the Saturnalia celebrated in Silvae bration of upheaval, Domitian is even able to supplant nature.
75 situation came to be the way it is. Through a systematic line by line analysis of this passage it becomes clear that Vergil calls upon military metaphors to accentuate the aggression requi red a gainst nature. A n extended metaphor from 2. 277 287 serves as an example of how Vergil incorporates military language and the previous poetic tradition to create a scene of battle that more closely resembles epic than didactic poetry. Unending Labor: The Introduction of Agriculture ( Georgics 1.143 1 80 ) Throughout the first book of the Georgics the farmhand is depicted in constant struggle with nature. The following lines, which contain the enigmatic postulate labor omnia vicit / improbus ( G. 145 1 46) 32 Thomas notes not for the line he posits his own: oil 33 The work, its moral implications, and its effects appear in a passage filled with martial language: tum ferri rigor atque argutae lammina serrae (nam primi cuneis scindebant fissile lignum), tum uariae uenere artes. l abor omnia uicit improbus et duri s urgens in rebus egestas. ( Georgics 1.143 1 46) Then came tempered iron and the saw (for earlier man was wont to split his wood with wedges). All this before the knowledge and know how which ensue d. Hard work prevailed, hard work and pressing poverty. Iron ( ferri 143) recalls the Iron Age as a difficult season for man, but here it represents through m believes that ferri rigor 32 Thomas, 1988, 92. 33 Thomas, 1988, 93.
76 34 Thomas notes that if Page is correct, the passage begins ( subigebant arva coloni 1.125) and ends with reference to warfare. 35 Here through images of war, the line between soldier and farmer is blurred. In addition to iron, the farmer uses another implement that can be likened to a sword, the blade ( lammina ) of a saw ( serrae ). By delaying serrae until the end of the line, Vergil leaves ambiguous the terms lam m ina which can also refer to the blade of a sw ord and ferrum 36 Cunei (wedges) were used to cleave wood, 37 but the term also describes battle formations: agmen agit, densi cuneis se quisque coactis / adglomerant themselves into thick wedges A en. 12.457). In a passage already replete with terms for weapons and fighting, cuneus thus takes on a military connotation. By obfuscating the distinction between tools used in agriculture and warfare, Vergil can infer a connection without stating explicit examples like the moralists Pliny and Seneca. Like the artes with which Aeneas must govern his people ( hae tibi erunt artes Aen. 6.852) and the artes with which Bacon says man can reclaim his governance of nature ( u traque autem res etiam in hac vita nonn ulla ex parte reparari potest; prior per religionem et fidem, posterior per artes et scientias Novum Organum 2.52), the artes with which the farmer must govern his fields are methods that manifest his own nature. If he is lethargic in the application of a rtes he will be homeless and hungry ( G. 1.158 1 59); if he does not act with some violence and cut back plants, his crops will fail (2.368 3 70). He must have knowledge of when to plant and what typ es 34 Page, 1898, 200. 35 Thomas, 1988, 92. 36 On, lammina cf. Ov Met. 5.173: lam m ina dissiluit dominique in gutture fixa est. 37 Verg., G. 2.78 79: et alte / finditur in solidum cuneis uia ; Aen. 6.181 182: fraxineaeque trabes cuneis et fissile robur / scinditur Cf. 7.509 and 11.137.
77 of trees may be grafted (2. 315 3 45, 302). If Vergil is promoting a back to farming movement, 38 then he stresses that only those who have the ingenium ( innate nature) and are willing to use the artes (methods) will be successful. Thomas is correct in rejecting any sort of optimistic interpretation of these lines as there is no suggestion that the Golden Age will return if the farmer persists in his labor As Nelson Georgics is pictured in his most hostile relation to nature, imposing suffering on wild creatures who are both in nocent and uncomprehending, it is nonetheless clear that his alternative is not to renounce violence and return to the Golden Age. It 39 It has been repeatedly shown that the Georgics is not an educational handboo k, but it is still impossible to divorce the poetry from the reality of the necessity of Roman farming. 40 From a practical standpoint, the difficult work does not contain any moral value; it is the only option for the farmer. 41 The labor required in the appl ication of the various artes is the general theme of Georgics of lab or 38 Georgics (Pavlovsk Georgics to the words, he is expressing a mild form of cultural semi 39 Nelson, 1998, 91. 40 Putnam, 1975 delineates the d ifferences between Vergil and his model, Varro. He notes that many themes have been reworked into poetry, so there is likely more literary than agricultural value to the work. Thomas, 1987, 236 238 demonstrates that Vergil not only selectively omits detail s Varro, but a lso discusses minor subjects from the De re rustica in detail, a practice Thomas call s promotion Putnam, 1975; Miles, 1980; Ross, 1987; Thomas, 1987 and s e references take on a new role in the poetic aspect of the Georgics 41 Perkell, 1989, 10 stresses the moral ambiguity in this passage, a theme that runs throughout the poem. The farmer s actions are neither wholly good nor bad, but have positive and negat ive implications.
78 42 orth stems from actions he takes for or against nature, but does not consider that morality, success, failure, and nature are all subjectively and culturally defined. What Vergil fashions is not what constitutes the success or failure of farming and fighti domination of nature as a difficult, continuous struggle that must be adopted. The present reality of farming shows to man that the cost of his survival may indeed be a contemplative, p eaceful lifestyle, but that he may acquire some of that moral quality through domination of nature The prominence of everyday living in the poem rather than cosmological origins or mythical struggles invites readers to explore their own morality and the s ignificance of their actions. Here lies the story of a farmer struggling against his environment creates a more immediate impact on the reader than a mythical account of gods who bring suffering to mortals. Though Vergil thr ough agriculture explains the divine significance of mundane events, his model differs from a traditional Hesiodic theodicy, as he places significance on human struggles, not divine vengeance. 43 A recurring notion of theodicy often drives the transitions in the po em and acts as a cohesive theme to the various agricultural topics. In cr itical junctures of the poem, Vergil often reminds the reader of the divine and mortal significance of daily life, as he does in this passage: prima Ceres ferro mortalis uertere terram instituit, cum iam glandes atque arbuta sacrae 42 Putnam, 1975, 21. 43 On the Georgics as a theodicy as developed from Theophrastus, see Thomas, 1987, 257 2 58. For a discussion of divine justice in the Georgics see Nel son, 1998, 111 113. Jenkyns, 1993 243, n1 says that it is misleadin g to refer to the phrase labor omnia vicit as a theodicy because of the Christian connotations of the word and because the focus is on humanity, not divinity. The poem is, however, a description of how humans experience and cope with evil in the world, so it is difficult to find a more accurate descriptor of the poem
79 deficerent siluae et uictum Dodona negaret. ( G 1.147 1 49) It was Ceres who first taug ht to men the use of iron plows that time wild strawberries and oak berries were scanty in the sacred groves and Dodona was miserly with her support. Vergil explains that because of Ceres, man must turn the soil with the appropriate material: iron ( ferro 147) The explanation is brief three lines impact on humans. Farmers were forced to plough their fields because the fruits of the Golden Age, acorns and strawberries, were lacking, and the oracle Dodona denied support. T he gods may have decided that men must work for food, but there is little evidence or concern for why they decided this. For man, the more important question is how he can react and work to ensure survival and growth. In the next description, Vergil milita rizes the actions of the farmer, transporting him from an agric ultural field to a battle field: mox et frumentis labor additus, ut mala culmos esset robigo segnisque horreret in aruis carduus; intereunt segetes, subit aspera silua lappaeque tribolique, int erque nitentia culta infelix lolium et steriles dominantur auenae. quod nisi et adsiduis herbam insectabere rastris 155 et sonitu terrebis auis et ruris opaci falce premes umbras uotisque uocaueris imbrem, heu magnum alterius frustra spectabis aceruum c oncussaque fa mem in siluis solabere quercu. ( G. 1.150 1 59) Soon growing grain grew into harder work. Blight rusted stalks, and thistles mustered into view to lord it over all that you accomplished; crops began to flounder, a rough growth to advance go while wild oats and dreaded darnel ruled head and shoulder over your well tended plot. and making noise to scare off birds, and slashing back with hooks the branches darkening the lands, and all your prayers for rain are answered, alas, my friend, heaps of grain next door will stare you in the face
80 The enemy is legion. Evil blight ( mala robigo ) rests on the stocks, and thistle ( carduus ) brings terror to the farmer as if he is facing a dreadful enemy. 44 perish ( intereunt 152), and darnel ( lolium 154) presses against the cultivated crops nitentia culta We may compare Corynaeus in the Aeneid who presses his enemy to the ground ( impressoque genu nitens terrae applicat ipsum 12.303). Vergil uses the same descriptors in an intense battle between enemies that he uses to describe man fighting nature. The ho stile, unproductive ( infelix ) darnel and sterile wild oats ( steriles avenae ) dominate the crops, and initially set out to find: quid faciat laetas segete s (1.1). Now the useful crops are dying and infertile (not laetas ) crops are taking over. This line is copied from the Eclogues ( infelix lolium et steriles nascuntur auenae Ec l 5.37) with one significant change: the barren wild oats are not just born, th ey take over the field. In the Eclogues Mopsus is singing of the fruitless plants that grow in place of barley after the death of Daphnis. The settings are similar, as fertile plants give way to infertile and ma n is affected by the change. The Eclogues however mourn the change. The event is the same, but in place of the detached description ( nascuntur ) Vergil describes the effect as a vacillating struggle between man and nature ( dominantur ). One who observes nature inherently experiences it from a more detached perspective than one who actively participates in cultivating the earth. Mopsus explains the metamorphosis from fertile to barren soil as a natural result of the death of Daphnis. 45 The emphasis is on the real world impact of supernatural 44 Cf. Aen 3.655 661, where Aeneas meets Polyphemus, a frightful monster ( monstrum horrendum 3.658) in another scene full of agriculture ( pecudes 656, pinus 659, lanigerae oves 660). The passage is a good example of the reaction that horreo signifies. 45 Based on the interpretation of the role of Daphnis in Eclogue 4, the barrenness of the earth can certainly take on more symbolic force. The potential significance of each of the se interpretations is certainly beyond the scope of this project, but I feel that the general idea is similar for any interpretation of Daphnis. In any case, the death of an important individual causes mourning and a sense of loss. The effect on nature may be symbolic of the effect on
81 occurren illustrates that nature in both the Eclogues and the Georgics is symbolic of the human condition, but he relies on the multifaceted relationship between man and nature to show how The Georgics ask, seeking a in this theodicy one must also take caution in asking solely moral quest ions farmer soldier metaphor allows his reader to consider the morality of both professions. The similar traits of farming and warfare draw upon the need and ramifications of both. Once Vergil establishes that man must li ve in comba t with nature he next describes the tools that man uses in this battle. One of these tools, t he falx (157) is used by the farmer to control the branches that darken the land ( premes umbras 157), but it is also used by the soldier to control an enemy ship or tear down walls (Caes. B Gall 3.14.5 9). The violent campaign to control nature certainly involves a number of injurious practices: innocent bystanders i n this case birds are terrified ( G 1.156), the farmer must face fearsome monsters ( horreret carduus 151 1 52), and he must endlessly fight an enemy that appears stronger than he ( nitentia 153 ; dominantur 154; adsuduis rastris 155). He views t he morally ambiguous struggle of the farmer as a battle against monsters; these undertakings are the only alternative to living off of acorns while seeing another succeed (158 1 59). Other tools aid the farmer defensively and offensively in his battle. Ve rgil even calls these farming implements weapons: Dicendum et quae sint duris agrestibus arma quis sine nec potuere seri nec surgere messes: uomis et inflexi primum graue robur aratri, tardaque Eleusinae matris uoluentia plaustra,
82 tribulaque traheaeque et iniquo pondere rastri; uirgea pr aeterea Celei uilisque supellex, 165 arbuteae crates et mystica uannus Iacchi; omnia quae multo ante memor prouisa repones, si te d igna manet diuini gloria ruris. ( G 1.160 168) Now let me tell about the tools and tack le unflagging farmers had to have in their arsenal, for none has sowed or saved a crop without them. threshing rakes and sledges, and the heavy weighted mattock. An d then the lighter implements of wickerwork arbutus gates and hurdles So think ahead stockpile a cache of these in time e. In this passage the term arma appears for the first time to signify farming tools. 46 For Page the term dignifies the subject matter; it is no doubt the most appropriate analogue for instrumenta in 47 The arma howeve r, are described in words without martial connotation. The language is oppressive ( grave 162; tarda 163; iniquo pondere 164), but implies no specifically violent or military reward for the proper use o f his arma is glory. Line 168 is full of themes common to Roman ideals: dignitas divinitas gloria 48 Only by the final word of the line ( ruris ) does the agrarian theme return. This glory afforded by the countryside is of divine origin, but what sort of glory it is remains in question. 49 Vergil describes the weapons used by austere countrymen ( duris agrestibus 160) such as the plough ( vomis 162 ) against the unyiel ding ground ( inflexi aratri 46 Wilkinson, 1969, 80. He also notes that both arma and instrumenta were in Greek Thomas, 1988, 96 notes that these words ( dicendum arma ) p erhaps anticipate the opening line of the Aeneid 47 Page, 1898, 201. 48 These themes are discussed in Cicero. See especially Brut 23.4.8; Inv. 2.166.5. 49 Servius interprets this as si te capit dignitas ruris vel agri colendi gloria country or the glory ) Thomas, 1988, 96 correctly takes divini ruris as a genitive of source and
83 162), the slow moving cart of Ceres, and the drag hoe with its uneven weight 50 H e describes the cheap wicker furniture and constant need to store up provisions, then states that the country provides glory. The actual arma descr ibed here are common tools for farming, but it is their description as arma that sets the violent tone. The term gloria appearing here for the first of only four times in the Georgics (3.102, 4.6, 4.205), does not seem out of place because of the preponde rance of military language in surrounding passages The epic flavor of the passage allows the reader to view human interaction with nature from different moral grounds. As the soldier acquires gloria through the weapons he wields, so does the farmer obtain gloria and show his courage through his particular type of warfare. Georgics 2.277 287 ) In Georgics 2.277 287 the use of military language becomes apparent in more specific terms than in generalized description s and moral explanations. In this example from the Georgics the use of military language is especially concentrated in a passage that explains how the farmer ought to plant his trees : indulge ordinibus; nec setius omnis in unguem arboribus positis secto u ia limite quadret: ut saepe ingenti bello cum longa cohortis explicuit legio et campo stetit agmen aperto 280 derectaeque acies ac late fluctuat omnis aere renidenti tellus, necdum horrida miscent proelia, sed dubius mediis Mars errat in armis. omnia sin t paribus numeris dimensa uiarum, non animum modo uti pascat prospectus inanem, 285 sed quia non aliter uiris dabit omnibus aequas terra, neque in uac uum poterunt se extendere rami. ( G 2.277 2 87) B e generous with the room between the rows. Make sure that they run parallel 50 For a thorough s ummary and description of the plow ( aratrum ), see White, 1967, 123 129. For the drags and threshing machines ( tribulaque traheaeque ), see Varro, Rust. 1.52.2, Servius ad loc ., and White, 1967, 153. Hawkes, 1935 analyzes plow use in Rome. Aitken, 1956 attem pts a reconstruction of this plow through records of Mediterranean wooden plows.
84 and still maintain right angles with boundary lines, its cohorts standing and standing out on open ground, aligned and at the ready, the everywhere just like a glittering s tretch of sea, and the flash of bronze, the clash of conflict still not started, though the god of war roams edgily in and out among battalions. Let all the avenues be equal, not only so an idle eye might linger on the view but because no other method get s the earth to give in matching measures and grants the boughs free rein and run of air. The pattern that Vergil advocates is suitable for plants and for the tactical formation of an army The pattern described is a quincunx, in which offset lines form ov e rlapping groups of five plants ( or soldiers ) 51 In the words of Thomas, legion, waiting in formation for the battle which the agricola 52 The language is of a coming battle, and the imag e specifically draws to mind a pitched battle between two opposing armies on a field. Just as the Roman army marched towards a barbarian enemy with discipline and structure, the farmer lines his plants up in an orderly array against barren nature. Vergil e mphasizes the anticipation and inevitability of the coming battle: fluctuat omnis / tellus (281 2 82); necdum horrida miscent / proelia, sed dubius mediis Mars errat in armis (282 2 83). The farmer, like the commander, must prepare for battle with prec ision and a plan if he hopes to attain any measure of victory but still fears unexpected complications This formation makes sure that every plant soldier has equal footing and space to fight against such enemies as frost, wind, and parasites. 53 51 quincunx see Haverman, 1977, 54 55. On the quincunx in this passage, including diagrams, see Thomas, 1988, 206 207. The term describes plants in Cicero, Sen 59.14, Varro, R.R. soldiers, which Lysander pr aised as virtuous because of hard work involved ( Oec. 4.21). Cicero uses the same anecdote as Cato when praising hard work ( Sen. 17.60). Vergil replaces the morality of hard work and utility ( inanem 2.285) with the morality of discipline in his descriptio n. 52 Thomas, 1987, 253. 53 Haverman, 1977 discusses this passage and Georgics 3.339 348, in which Vergil compares a shepherd to a
85 Thus far it is apparent that t he language used in battle metaphors throughout the Georgics in is formidable and unpredictable, the farmer has made certain advances in technology and understanding that allow him to prepare for battle. In the two passages that have been examined from Georgics articulates battle as much as agriculture He uses military language, Roman military formations, and even similes of battle to frame for the reader the sense of struggle that the farmer experiences ( e.g., exercet tellurem atque imperat arvis ) In the first passage ( 1.143 1 68 ) the language does not specify battle but connotes the struggle (cf. incendere agros rapid succession of battle terms underscores the struggle between man and nature and shapes the interpretation of this conflict through the metonymical connection. In the Silvae simi lar struggles occur, but not in pitched battle. I n both denotative and connotative language, Statius describes the battle between man and nature not as a struggle but as vigilant protection of human control of nature. T wo passages from Silvae 1 and 2 demon strate how Statius uses similar methods as Vergil to achieve an entirely different effect. The first poem ( Silvae struggle against nature as a battle, but a battle already won. A se cond passage from Silvae 2.2 shows marvel at the ability o f human invention to tame natural turmoil. Passive Control: The Villa of Manilius Vopiscus Silvae 1.3.20 33 fortified garrison : 54 notes the emphasis of the typical Roman as a soldier and farmer, especially for those who returned from the war to their fields. 54 The difference between the villa of Vopiscus here and that of Pollius Felix in 2.2 is investigated thoroughly by Newlands, 2002. She co ntrasts the nature of 1.3, which cooperates with its owner and provides a ready canvas, to the nature of 2.2, which requires drastic changes hough the landscape and therefore required labor may change, I feel that the two poems ar e united by the primacy of human need for control. The
86 ipse Anien (miranda fides) infra que superque saxeus hic tumidam rabiem spumosaque ponit murmura, ceu placidi veritus turbare Vopisci Pieriosque dies et habentes carmina somnos. litus utrumque domi, nec te mitissimus amnis dividit: alternas servant praetoria ripas, 25 non externa sibi fl uu iorum obstare queruntur. Sestiacos nunc Fama sinus pelagusque natatum iactet et audaci victos delphinas ephebo: hic aeterna quies, nullis hic iura procellis, numquam fervor aquis. datur hic transmittere visus 30 et voces et paene manus. sic Chalcida fluctus expellunt fluvii, sic dissociata profundo Bruttia Sicanium circumspicit ora Pelorum. ( Silv 1.3.20 33) Anio himself, wondrous to tell, full of rocks above and below, here rests his swollen rage and foamy din, as though loath to distu filled slumbers. Either shore is at home, nor does the gentle river divide you. Stately mansions keep either bank, no strangers to each other, nor complain that the river blocks them: let Fame now the sea a swimmer swam and dolphins outmatched by a bold stripling! Here is eternal quiet, storms have no jurisdiction, waters never boil. Here view and voice may be passed across, hands almost, neither do tidal waves drive Chalcis away nor does the Brutt ian strand gaze on Sicanian Pelorus, sundered by the deep. 55 n atural disasters like floods (26 ), storms (29), and water boils (30). The home act s as a stronghold ( praetoria ), 56 checking the onset of the rivers ( non externa fluviorum obstare initial change was more drastic in the case of Pollius Felix, but u ltimately it is the present architecture and may therefore be seen as an additional le vel of praise for Pollius, whose work accomplished the same effect as that of Vopiscus but with more effort removed an extra degree from the struggles of nature (van Dam, 1984, 191). 55 saxeus for spumeus ; saxosa for spumosa ), 24 ( nec te for tecum ), and 31 33 ( sic sic for nec nec ). The third and fourth Messinan St raits here, namely why Statius would mention these two navigational nightmares in reference to the calm Anio. Courtney (1984, 330 331) rightly points out that Statius is likely being loose with his metaphor here and wants only to give a general picture for the two banks cleft by water. For another viewpoint, see Shackleton Bailey (2003, 384), who emends the passage to emphasize that this strait is not like the other two ( nec Chalcida fluctus / expellunt reflui nec dissociata profundo ). 56 The villa of Polliu s Felix is also described with this term (2.2.49). See Newlands, 2002, 179. She comments (n76) that this term first appears in Latin literature as a descriptor for villas during the time of Statius and his contemporaries Juvenal and Martial.
87 queruntur 26 ). The language dramatically a r ticulates the control that man exerts over nature through building and technology. The defeated enemy, Anio, lays aside his madness ( r abiem 21) and roar ( murmura 22) out of fear ( veritus 22). The language is similar to that in Sallust, B ellum Catilinae 45 .2 The conspirator Volturcius gives in when bested by guards ( praesidiis ) placed on either side of the bridge ( occulte pontem obsid unt . utrimque ). After attempting to fight, he surrenders out of fear ( timidus ac vitae diffidens 45.4 ). Statius is not alluding to Sallust; rather he adopts It is surrounded on both sides and, like Vulturcius, has no option but to lay down its weapons. Furthermore th e need for control is not just part of a contrast with the previous age when nefit, f or is not weak or p owerless but has been compelled to abandon its v iolent temperament and submit to a stronger force His historical and legendary references (27 28) reinforce the picture of complete domination over nature. Fame ( Fama ) can boast of the Hellespont, t he bay of Sestos ( Sestiacos sinus ) that Xerxes lashed and Leander swam ( pelagus natatum ) as bold attempts that did not succeed in dominating nature. Statius also says that fame may boast of a dolphin from Hippo that swam with the bold child ( audaci puero ). 57 villa that has conquered nature, but in reality they committing hybris by lashing the Hellespont; he is not attempting to swi m its entire width during a storm, and he is not attempting to extend his reach too far and make a pet of a wild creature. 58 In these examples the attempt to control nature lacks 57 Pliny ( Ep. 9 .34) explains this story in detail. A dolphin was apparently carried into a lake through tidal changes in an estuary. A young boy began to swim and play with the dolphin. The popularity of the pair grew, and the dolphin began to permit others to swim and p et him until the local magistrates decided to kill the dolphin to preserve the quietude of the place. 58 Cf. Silvae 1.2.87 89, where Statius also mentions Leander swimming the Hellespont. Statius acknowledges minor ille calor 1.2.89).
88 morality that allows him to harness nat ure for his own benefit. The Anio, despite its previously swollen frenzy ( tumidam rabiem 21), is not the Hellespont. Therefore Fama can boast of greater deeds, and Vopiscus and his villa are in control of their surroundings. Both Vergil and Statius create a picture of a nature that is potentially destructive and angry, whose weapons and struggle have little efficacy emphasize the helpful elements of nature. The predominant attitude towards nature in each poem mark s a change in the Georgics the reader sees nature as treacherous The very act of farming relie s on nature: soil, rain, and the proper climate are all essent but are all able to destroy his crops as well. The reader sees a powerful but controlled and cooperative nature in the Silvae as the soil is moved to improve the landscape, the water is held by sturdy banks, and the homes are cool in the summer and warm in the winter. In the case of Vopiscus and his villa, Statius has therefore made reality something greater than myth. The control of nature is a real action with r eal significance. Like Vergil who stresses the reality of farming and therefore reconstitutes moral language to indicate virtue as that which is good or bad for the farmer, Statius through similar methods has created a tone of morality in these building projects. Active Control: The Villa of Pollius Felix ( Silvae 2.2.13 35 ) last villa poem to b e discussed in this chapter ( Silvae 2.2). Statius composed this poem soon 59 Pollius 59 See Silvae 2. Pref.13 15. He notes in his introductory letter that his f 1984, 58; Pagn, 2010, 196). On the differences between the Silvae as they were recited for patrons and as they were published, see Newlands, 2002, 35 36. On the preface to the fourth book, which was likely published separately
89 is apparently a patron significant to the poet, as Statius dedicates the third book of the Silvae to him. Statius explains the occasion f or his visit : he sailed across the bay after competing in the Augustalia in Naples. 60 immediately apparent as Statius approaches the villa from the sea: Sed iuvere morae. placido lunata recessu hinc atque hinc curv as perrumpunt aequora rupes. dat natura lo cum montique intervenit udum litus et in terras scopulis pendentibus exit. gratia prima loci, gemina testudine fumant balnea, et e terris occ urrit dulcis amaro nympha mari. ( Sil v. 2.2.13 19) But the delay was w orth while. Curving cliffs on either side pierce crescent waters, making a calm recess. Nature provides space. The watery beach interrupts the heights, running cupol as, and from land a stream of fresh water meets the briny sea. barren and difficult. It is on the Neapolitan shoreline that human domination of nature is expressed at its fullest, and it is through this domination that Felix best displays his moral excellence. Statius describes the house in terms we might expect of a fortress. 61 The first charm visible from the water is a set of twin baths described as the Roman battle formation of a testudo (17), a protective shell against the elements for the house. 62 Even the descriptor gratia can describe a mutually beneficent relationship between parties that would otherwise be in see Johannse n, 2006. 60 193; Beloch, 1964, 269; and Mingazzini and Pfister, 1946, 54 70. For the dating of this poem, see van Dam, 1984, 197 198. 61 See Newlands, 2002, 166. 62 On the use of this term as a techni cal term for a vaulted roof, see Vitruvius 5.10.1 and the summary in van Dam, 1984, 204.
90 opposition to one another. The scene shifts from defensive elements to offensive, as the civilized water ( dulcis nympha ) rushes upon ( occurrit ) the uncivilized ( amaro mari ) in battle. The chiastic arrangement of the two types of water and the e njambment that occurs as the water rushes from the hills to the sea creates a sense of mingled elements in battle. 63 Statius, having noted the approach to the shore, now focuses his description on architecture the front line of battle was apparent from the sea, here on the land order is preserved: ante domum tumidae moderator caerulus undae excubat, innocui custos laris; huius amico spumant templa salo. felicia rura tuetur Alcides; gaudet gemino sub numine port us: hic servat terras, hic saevis fluctibus obstat. 25 mira quies pelagi: ponunt hic lassa furorem aequora et insani spirant clementius austri; hic praeceps minus audet hiems, nulloque tumultu stagna modesta iacent dominique imitantia mores. inde per obli quas erepit porticus arces, 30 urbis opus, longoque domat saxa aspera dorso. ( Silv 2.2.21 31) Before his house the cerulean governor of the swelling wave keeps ward, guardian of the harmless home; his temple foams with the friendly surge. Alcides pr otects the happy fields. The haven rejoices under its double deity. Wonderful is the calm of the sea; here the weary waters lay their rage aside and the wild south winds breath e more gently. Here the headlong tempest bates its daring; the pool lies modest and untroubled, imitating its work, mastering the rugged rocks with its lengthy spine. The moderator caerulus (21) acts as guardian ( custos 22) of the house, lying watch over waves or storms ( excubat 22). Alcides is also obliged to help, protecting the fertile fields ( fe licia rura tuetur in a quincunx and use countless arma to defend his crops fro m weeds and natural disasters, the god in the form of a 63 Van Dam, 1984, 204 is certainly correct that the mixture of different types of water (fresh/salt, warm/cold) is an but the presence of occurrit which occurs nowhere else in the Silvae but eighteen times in the Thebais and once in the Achilleis gives these lines a martial tone.
91 building guards these fields from invasion. While guarding the land, he blocks the waves at the same time (25). Like an exhausted enemy, the natural forces concede defeat and conduct themselves in a w ay most beneficent, even convenient for man. Statius sums this up by saying that the pools of water begin to act more like their master: dominique imitantia mores Finally, the colonnade that Felix has built overcomes the previously harsh rocks: domat saxa aspera The pristine and her subdued state : 64 his favit natura locis, hic victa colenti cessit et ign otos docilis mansuevit in usus. ( Silv. 2.2.52 53) Some spots Nature has favoured, in others she has been overcome and yielded to the developer, letting herself be taught new and gentler ways. pristine natu re, ground admired for its natural beauty, unspoiled by human presence, appears nowhere in this account. 65 Nature is not praiseworthy for its unspoiled quality, or even the imitation of that qu ality, but for its ut i lity. The places that nature has favored ( his favit natura locis ) are those that are beneficial to man. In the Georgics Vergil stripped military language of its moral quality, forcing improbus labor and the arma of the farmer in a context that connotes has injected 64 Pavlovskis, 1973, 14. 65 Nor, it might be argued, anywhere else in the Silvae Words for pristine appear either as something of the past to nec mihi plus Nemee priscumque habitabitur Argos 82) and the final lines of the present poem addressed to the wife of Felix, ite per annos / saeculaque et priscae titulos praecedite famae 146). The closest Statius comes to pr aising nature for its pristine value is when it coincides with buildings: silvis demissa vetustis / frigora versumque domus sibi temperat annum 155). Newlands, 2002, 179 280, describes the passage (52 62) as a metaphor for Pollius as a
92 moral quality in to his language, forcing phrases such as like favit natura The claim that nature, once conquered, yielded ( cessit ) and acquiesced ( mansuevit ) to her master seems quite boastful, for Vesuvius, which ha d erupted only eleven years earlier, still loomed in the eyes and minds of residents there 66 Whether Statius intends to show that human home makes one forget the destructive power of nature, the effect is striking when the author claims that the owner compels the mountains and cliffs to obey: nunc cerne iugum discentia saxa / intrantesque domos iussumque recedere montem ke, 2.2.58 59). Rather than for any pristine quality nature is admired for its submissiveness to human intervention. This difference separates the Silvae from the Georgics Nature is not to be seen as a residual of the Golden Age, something that has undergone a transformation, but a creative force essentially art; this art displays moral goodness. As nature and create a self sufficient world. The relationship between human and nature is represented here as a 67 66 Given the timin g of the visit after the Augustalia and before the festival at Actium that started in early September (2.2.6 8) The contrast of a calm harbor and violent mountain ap Aen 3.570 577) as well as the coast of Libya ( Aen 1.159 1 69, c f. Newlands, 2002, 165). Myers, 2000, 118, also compares this B Civ. 5.442 4 44). On the topos of harbor descriptions, see van Dam, 1984, 201. 67 Newlands, 2002. 154. She points out the shaping of the sea into glass (49), a typical possession of the wealthy. She additionally addresses the question of moderation concerning a villa that a ppears antithetical to typical Roman a positive,
93 Conclusion Georgics that the storms, weeds, and diseases that plague the farmer is representative of the struggles that humans face is effective ly communicated through his use of military imagery. The Georgics r aise s moral questions about the human need to control nature, but Vergil does not dismiss the reality of the necessity for that control. Rather, the reader sees that human actions have mor ally ambiguous repercussions. The farmer must treat the earth with v iolence in order to survive, but every blow emphasizes his distance from the Golden Age when humans did not need to dominate nature Statius follows a pat t ern adopted from the Georgics and repeated in Latin literature but orients his use of military la ngua ge to suggest human obligation to continue the c reative work of nature through technology and contro l. Each author ascribes to nature a different role in the creative process and both see a different goal in portray the interaction with similar rhetorical strategies. Statius embraces what Vergil was unable to escape, and despite divergent attitudes towards nature, both see that human control is necessary for survival. Statius readily articulates the imperial control that his patrons exercise over their environment but he sees that such a level of control has not always been possible. Many of private residence of Po llius Felix, describe the state of the environment in terms of its previous disposition. His rhetorical methods in ekphrasis, like those in his use of military diction, also serve to differentiate his notion of control from the picture found in the Georgic s
94 CHAPTER 5 THE NATURE OF DESCRI PTION The control of nature by humans has been shown to have moral implications i n Statius and Vergil and is often phrased in military terminology. The vehicle for these metaphors and subjective constructions is an important aspect of poetic descriptions of dominating nature. Georgics Silvae relate closel y to epigrammatic poetry, both poets raise questions about humans and nature through an epideictic ekphrasis of nature. In the Georgics ekphrastic descriptions tend to emphasize the constant, unalterable state o f toil and the unalterable state of humans, w ho can only corrupt their environment through new enterprises. In the Silvae ekphrastic depictions of human interaction with nature, especially the element of change involved in that interaction, are genre. T hrough an examination of ekphrasis and its mimetic function in each author, the means through which both manipulate the symbolic connection between works of art and poetry underscores their unique understandings of the relationship between humans and the e nvironment. Statius distinguishes himself from his predecessor by returning to the epigrammatic foundation of ekphrasis and painting a more fluid interaction between human nature and physical nature. 1 Poets and scholars often explore the interaction betwee n landscape and morality, but the nature of this relationship is not typically explained. 2 For instance, Horace condemns large, landscaped villas while praising his own moderate house, yet he offers not an objective but a 1 186). Newlands, 2002, 38 39 states Silvae by devoting entire, full length poems to the descriptions of Silvae 1.1) the of the poem. Similarly, see Hardie, 1983, 74; van Dam, 1984, 187. 2 See, e.g., Newlands, 2002, 158. Because building and landscaping require great human effort but benefit nature,
95 circular philosophical explanation for the difference; Horace praises his modest home because it represents Epicurean values, which are good because they value modest possessions. 3 Before Horace, Cicero threw reproach on Lucullus for his lavish villa that did not conform to the mores of th among society. 4 In the wake of such condemnation, poetry like the Silvae which extols patrons for their extravagant building projects, may seem bombastic or even false. Therefore, an approach that s eeks to determine a moral agenda in the Silvae limits itself to comparison with other authors who had different concepts of nature but an interpretat man made objects that acknowledges moral supposi tions while valuing the text as an artistic impression of artwork leads to a better evaluation of the poems 5 A first step in this line of interpretation is to d from propositional descriptions. A propositional desc ription may be described as one that places the highest value on phrasis of the shield of Aeneas is an example of a highly detailed description of a work of art. 6 Statius was not interest ed in the propositional quality of his descriptions except insofar as the details themselves serve as art. 3 See Newlands, 2002, 130 throughout the Carmina especially 2.10.5 8: Auream quisq uis mediocritatem diligit, tutus caret ob soleti sordibus tecti, caret inuidenda sobrius aula. 4 Cic., Leg. 3.30 31. See also Keaveney, 1992, 152 154 on this and the rebuke from other orators and historians 5 Text as an artistic impression of art is call 6 fails, however, in that it creates dichotomous categories of propositional and mimetic (just as he notes that others have failed in rejecting any type of recreation of the shield). The effect of mimesis is not derived from the propo sitional accuracy, but from an artistic description that conveys a sense of reality.
96 propositional content, are seen to support the program of his poetry as an artistic description of human interaction with nature. Similarly, because agriculture transcends many cultural differences, V a convenient way to explore struggles and virtues in life and is theref ore best understood to be represen tative art work rather than actual descriptions of agriculture. 7 His descriptions of hard work and violence against nature represent actual toils, but their mimetic function is more important to the interpretation of the poem than their propositional repres entation of farming. Indeed, both poems are celebrated today not because they accurately describe villas or the landscaping and agricultural methods of their day, but because they speak to the social mores of their times throug h realistic and culturally re le vant scenes of landscape and agriculture. 8 standing, align closely with epic and epigrammatic models, it is necessary first to explore both types of ekphra sis and how Statius blends digressive and stand al one models into a new genre. A recognition development in ekphrasis then allows a better understanding of his description of the human desire for control through man made art. Thus, the reader sees a new type of self standing ekphrasis, and Statius topos in his creation of a new poetic genre allows him to serve as an interpreter of social values the same way that ekphrasis allows writers of epic to interpret art and cultural mores in their poems. The theoretical approaches to ekphra sis and mimesis distinguish the uses of this poetic device in the Silvae and Georgics Examples from the Silvae (4.3, 2.2) and Georgics (2.203 211) demonstrate the importance of change in the 7 Thomas, 1988, 27 describes this relationship well: t he existence of the farmer is a metaphor for existence in 8 For an excellent example of the significance of art for its realistic representation of truth rather than propositional journal Die Propylen
97 representation of nature, and, f inally, the temple of Hercules ( Silv. 3.1) serves as a point of direct contact between the Silvae and Georgics Silvae his Georgics (3.10 39). The common subject, as well as the placement at the beginning of the third book in both poems mak es them an informative subject of comparison. 9 Origin and Development of Ekphrasis in Theory Ekphrasis is the rhetorical art of describing appearances, events, places and times in such a way to make them visible before the audience. 10 Such is the definition that Statius most likely understood through the rhetorical treatises known as progymnasmata The handbooks, authored by teachers of rhetoric such as Aelius Theon and Nikolaus Rhetor, appear from the first to fifth centuries CE as se gments of instructive manuals. Statius and his contemporaries were trained for rhetorical competition through these guides. 11 of rhetoric is therefore as important to the interpretation of his poetry as are cultural and political influences. The progymnasmata according to Hardie, are integral in the formation of ekphrasis as a standalone genre. 12 The most important element of ekphrasis according to these handbooks is the use of descriptive language that caus before the sight enargeia 13 Statius through his training and abilities in 9 On the placement of this temple in the structure of the poem, see Thomas, 1983, 81 85. 10 Adapted from Aelius Theon, 118.7 10: 11 Chase, 1961; Cancik, 1965; Dubel, 1997; Kennedy, 2003. On the rhetorical games founded by Domitian, see Hardie, 2003. On rhetorical competitions, see Lovatt, 2005. 12 Hardie, 1983, 75. 13 On the progymnasmata and their stress on ekphrasis and enargeia see especially Elsner, 2002 and Becker, 1992, 5 14.
98 the epic, epigrammatic, and contemporary rhetorical types of description creates a new genre of ekphras is in the Silvae The vivid, artistic descriptions represent change in a way unknown to his predecessors. An ekphrasis becomes a work of art in text as it describes a visual work of art. The visual work described is often termed The p lastic can either refer to the actual object or the fictional work described. In the first poem of the Silvae the plastic is the equestrian statue of Domitian. There is no doubt that this statue was erected, and numismatic evidence suggests that Statius w as fairly accurate in his description. 14 most descriptive. He provides the location with some measure of exactitude (1.1.22 31, 67, 84 87), tells us of the occasion of its construction (5 7), and even identifies specifi c characteri stics (43 51). This poem is rich in propositional content, but an accurate representation of the horse is implications of Domitian and his governance. So al so do the descriptions of large villas offer Statius the vehicle to expound upon their virtue and governance of their land and lives. In both the Silvae and the Georgics however, th e most frequent type s of artwork described are buildings or landscapes. 15 The significance of the visual art underscores a fundamental distinction between Statius and his predecessors. The description of a mythical shield synthesizes the material object through verbal description. For Statius, the work of art already holds its own symbols, cultural 14 Paneg 52.4 5. 15 Cosgrove, 1985, 13 defines landscape mediated through subjective Silvae and Georgics holds aesthetic value while need drives the work in the Georgics the term landscape manipulation of natural resources for his own benefit.
99 expressions, and reality. 16 structure and then reconstitute the moral quality through poetic tradition and the expression of cultural values. Although this occurs in metaphor is nature and changes to nature. Through the description of landscapes, roads, and water passages, Statius int erprets (or reinterprets) seemingly objective site s into new, textual loci with the ir own supplied truth value. Vergil crafts, describes, and offers interpretive guidelines compete with their intrinsic artistic and practical value. As Stat ius departs from a propositional approach to ekphrasis, he makes effective use of mimetic descriptions that feature rhetorical strategies and emotional responses in an interd ependent relationship. Mimesis is an artistic imitation of nature or real events i n which the textual art becomes as significant as the visual. Ekphrasis is perhaps the most suitable genre for Statius to praise humanity for its control of nature, because his poetry mirrors the mimetic value of the very statues and buildings he describes T he Georgics are of the didactic genre, but in them Vergil uses ekphrasis in a simi lar manner as he imitates through ambiguous language the polyvalent implications of human mastery over its environment. Descriptions of landscape in the Silvae and of agr iculture in the Georgics sometimes depart something to be expected from the poet, t he question of verisimilitude in poetry to historical objects is not typically a concern of scholarship on ekphrasis until the time of Statius. Bright 16 See Scott, 1991, 301. The reality of the plastic can also create a tension between art an d poem as ekphrasis
100 he had an unerring eye for visual detail and a rare ability to co 17 that relate the programmatic m essage of the statue, such as the vanquished enemies he tramples (50 51) Despite their mythical nature, countless attempts have been made to recreate the shields of Hercules, Achilles, and Aeneas. 18 T he villas of Manilius Vopiscus and Pollius Felix, thou gh would be impossible to reconstruct through their descriptions in the Silvae Although detailed 19 ekphrasis in the Silvae provides little insight to practical landscape questions. The poems do, however, offer a picture of Roman cultural understanding of landscape and control of nature. Statius in effect becomes an interpreter of nature and the verisimilitude of art to nature. 20 Statius was not unique among extemporaneous poets of his time in this approach to description, as the progymnasmata and other sources of instruction teach that a detailed description was not the primary aim of ekphrasis. For Roman poets contemporary to Statius commissioned to describe art or compete in extemporaneous description, t he 21 Quintilian describes the importance of a vivid description rather than a detailed summary: 17 Bright, 1980, 12. 18 On the shield of Achilles, see Becker, 1995, who devotes a monograph to this one instance of ekphrasis. He gives a full account of major interpretive theories on the shield before positing his own interpretation, a four level reader response interaction between the art, its creator, and its in terpreter. On the shield of Aeneas, see West, 1990. 19 Columella (esp. Rust. 10) describes real gardens in some detail. These descriptions are also an important source for understanding ancient gardens since we have limited physical evidence (Pagn, 2006, 5 ). 20 For a similar treatment of Ovid, see Armstrong, 2009. 21 Laird, 1996, 98.
101 Ornatum est quod perspicuo ac probabili plus est. Eius prim i sunt gradus in eo quod velis c oncipiendo et exprimendo tertius qui haec nitidiora faciat, quod proprie dixeris cultum Itaque, cuius in praeceptis narrationis feci mentionem, quia plus est evidentia vel, ut alii dicunt, repraesentatio quam perspicuitas et illud patet, hoc se quodammodo ostendit inter ornamenta ponamus. Magna virtus res de quibus loquimur clare atque ut cerni videantur enuntiare. Non enim satis efficit neque, ut debet, plene dominatur oratio si usque ad aures valet, atque ea sibi iudex de quibus cognoscit narrari credit, non exprimi et oculis mentis ostendi ( Inst 8.3.62) The ornate is something that goes beyond what is merely lucid and acceptable. It consists firstly in forming a clear conception of what we wish to say, secondly in giving this adequ ate expression, and thirdly in lending it additional brilliance, a process which may correctly be termed embellishment Consequently we must place among ornaments that be cause vivid illustration, or, as some prefer to call it, representation is something more than mere clearness, since the latter merely lets itself be seen, whereas the former thrusts itself upon our notice It is a great gift to be able to set forth the f acts on which we are speaking clearly and vividly. For oratory fails of its full effect, and does not assert itself as it should, if its appeal is merely to the hearing, and if the judge merely feels that the facts on which he has to give his decision are being narrated to him, and not displayed in their living truth to the eyes of the mind 22 Quintilian here is applying the rules of poetic description to oratory. He considers the lesson Ars Poetica in which one sees the importance of a realis tic representation. Horace advises the Pisos to consider what response an incongruous painti ng would receive and apply that lesson to their poetry: Humano capiti ceruicem pictor equinam / iungere si uelit Ars P. 1 2). The significance, as Horace states for poetry and Quintilian for oratory, is that the speech must relate something that can be clear and vivid to the audience. The additional process of embellishment, cultum is the ultimate descr iptive value of the Silvae as it converts a real work of art into a vivid text. It is not surprising, therefore, that Statius is consistent in his portrayal of man controlling nature, because a repeated emphasis on the governance of nature establishes the imagination. The poem is not strengthened or weakened by how well these buildings actually 22 Text and translation from Butler, 1976, 244 245.
102 hold up or fare against nature, but how well the poem itself succeeds in conjuring an image of control. Indeed, the lack of control w element causing the entire scene to break down for the reader. Laird notes that Augustan poets are less concerned than rhetoricians and aestheticians with pragmatic functions of art, such as elements of pleasure, illusion, and instruction. 23 Instead, they more often considered the elements of art as form and the interaction between art and text. Often 24 For Statius, the pragmatic value of art serves as his entrance point into poetry. Because his ekphraseis are not of fictional artifacts but real homes and roads and temples, he is able to consider elements such as pleasure and instruction demonstrated by the buildings. In the Silvae the unique function of ekphrasis requires a unique definition. Since an entire poem serves as a single description, there is no larger textual framework for interpretation. s is on a fundamental level similar to that of his epic predecessors. The description, though less systematic, has evolved from the earliest epic traditions of Homer and Hesiod and more contemporary examples such as Vergil. Hardie has even shown that Sta tius borrows specific topoi from the epic tradition, describing his own arrival and view of the villa of Pollius Felix ( Silv 2.2) just as Odysseus arrives and beholds the palaces of Alcinous and Calypso. 25 He uses ekphrasis as a way to insert his interpretive opinion, and the ekphraseis, while not situated within a narrative, do relate to the larger corpus of the Silvae 23 Laird, 1996, 76. 24 Laird, 1996, 79. He additionally gives an example (77 Aeneid to em phasize art that cannot be described ( non enarrabile textum Aen 8.626). 25 Hardie, 1983, 129.
103 The digressive aspect of ekphrasis in epic poetry creates an opportunity for the poet to step into his own poem and affect its interpretation. The interruptive nature of the descriptions forces a pause in the narrative; the break in action can serve as a signal to the reader and provide a framework for interpretation. 26 In addition, the auth or signals his interaction with the poetic tradition and thus puts his own work on display for comparison. Digressive ekphraseis in epic are therefore carefully detailed; the poet is able to carefully control visual and interpretive elements of the medium beyond the simple notion of description, as the symbols, rhetorical strategies, and interpretive clues speak to the inner nature of the object of ekphrasis, not its approximati on to true shields or paintings. 27 The initial ekphrastic genre, as it developed from the epigram, was a means of allowing 28 Whether announcing to the viewer who dedicated a statue or whose tombstone is beside th e road, ekphrasis often served as practical and 26 metaphor for the creative acts of Daedalus and Vu lcan. Essentially through interpretation Aeneas creates and controls the scene. 27 Ekphrasis and its mimetic function have been considered in relation to the style and interpretation of the La ocoon 1984, which notes the different effect proved the Homeric description superior because the mimetic art of creation was more poetic than viewing (which is the domain of sculpture and painting). Auerbach, 1946 interpreted mimesis as a major component not only of ekphrasis, but the style of a de additional step by analyzing mimesis through the competing theories of Plato and Aristotle. He favors the Aristotelian view, which sees mimesis not as an im itation of natural objects, but an artistic work that speaks to the many overlapping ways that ekphrastic digressions serve as metaphors for the narrative in which they appear. Smith, 2005 makes a similar contribution, but focuses on the importance of visual information on interpretation for the characters of the Aeneid o poetry. See also West, 1990; Fowler, 1991; Krieger, 1992; Barchiesi, 1997. Studies on ekphrasis in the Silvae include Hardie, 1983, 119 132; van Dam, 1984, passim On 1.1, see Geyssen, 1996, 10. On 2.3, see Hardie, 2006. Newlands, 2002 discusses ekphrasi s in a number of poems: 3.1 (38 43), 1.3 (129 134), 2.2 (158 167). For the Georgics see Rutherford, 1995. 28 On self standing ekphrasis, see Elsner, 2002, 9 13. He gives examples from early epigram and analyzes poems of Ausonius and Posidippus as examples of the interplay present in ekphrastic epigrams.
104 informative rather than artistic and interpretive. The epigrams would of course be inscribed on or nearby the artwork. In this use of ekphrasis, a detailed physical description of the object would have little function except to offer interpretive guidelines. Similarly, in poetic competitions or the Silvae descriptions of artwork, villas or statues may invoke the craftsmanship of the object and the social mores it exhibits rather than highlight material attri butes. The lack of specificity in ekphraseis in the Silvae arises from the very fact that they recall real rather than create fictional objects. In an epic model the author must paint the work of art before or while supplying interpretive information, but in the epigrammatic fashion of ekphrasis the visual art is present and prone to interpretation by the author. Szlest states that the ekphrastic poems of the Silvae do not have a genesis in epigrams Silvae and Elsner believes that Statius adopts the epic ekphrasis, extracting it from the narrative as self sufficient work. 29 Hardie sees the synthesis of epigram and ekphrasis occurring in conjunction with poetic competitions and the rhetorical handbooks. 30 Whi le the genre of ekphrasis in the first century CE may or may not have developed from epigrammatic use, it is functionally much more closely related to these substantive descriptions than to its epic counterpart. Statius incorporates the mimetic attributes of digressive ekphrasis into the descriptive genre of epigrammatic ekphrasis. In the Silvae the descriptions serve as interpretive models not only for the art but for the cultural reality behind the art. tic elements is his ability to describe scenes with wonder and his poetic use of the locus amoenus as a common trope. Newlands has 29 Szlest, 1966, 188; Elsner, 2002, 9. 30 Hardie, 1983, 129 130.
105 ) forges a bond between himself and his reader as Statius omits architectural d 31 ue without sacrificing the vividness so integral to ekphrasis. 32 Statius also refashions the typical poetic description of the locus amoenus 33 Rather than using traditional pastoral descriptions of untouched land, Statius describes the locus amoenus as a bl end between nature and technology. 34 Both wonder and a reshaped locus amoenus derive from a sense of drastic change to the setting. The emphasis is not simply on what is present, but how every element is an improvement over the former state. This attention to experience more easily, as if the reader witnesses movement rather than a static snapshot. Statius encourages his audience to see the change as an improvement over the previous way of life an d rejects the typical assumption that morality and human life degenerate through the progression of time and demonstrates that the human situation is improving. 35 rhetorical tools, which I have termed the ekphrasis of change This method of description is 31 Newlands, 2002, 157. 32 White,1966, 187 notes that, reconstructed from his descriptive account. 33 On the poetics and social commentary of the locus amoenus in Flavian literature, see McIntyre, 2008. 34 See Newlands, 2002, 132 Silv 1.3 as the new locus amoenus formed uniquely and seemingly effortlessly from the resources of technology as well as the cooperation of nature; the ideal site for poetry and the practice of virtue is now c 35 Lowenthal, 1985, 87 88 calls the assumption that everything in the past was greater than everything in the present cially 23 25). On this attitude in Roman thought, see Harrison, 2005. For a more general Western context, see Herman, 1997.
106 commonly employed in portrayals of gardens and landscape, and Statius adopt s and expands it to new levels. Pagn f the poetry of gardens 36 Through the use of temporal ekphrasis, the poet is able to emphasize that a landscape or garden, some aspect of its earlier appearance that can be 37 The land has undergone a metamorphosis under the hands of its owner. Sharrock likewise states that in metamorphosis, a description of one side of the change hints at the other. 38 In this sense the Silvae with a constant emphasis on change and the glory of the present state of the land hint at the former state of nature, in which toil and struggle dominate human existence. In other words the ekphrasis of change is the method Statius uses to expre ss the metamorphosis from the world of the Georgics to the world of the Silvae Statius relies on ekphrasis of change in his descriptions and therefore focuses less on a meticulous depiction of elements on the property and more on reactions to his encounte r with landscapes that bear the mark of change. With great excitement he sees a flat or terraced terrain carved out of a mountain ( mons erat hic ubi plana vides 2.2.54). The exiguous description succeeds in forming a reaction of awe due to the extent of t ransformation, even though the reader has no information about the size of the previous mountain or type of plain now visible. The domination of nature, as Satius depicts it, does not require any detailed description. An ekphrasis that focuses on systemati programmatic goals; rather, the ekphrasis of change is an effective method to convey control, for 36 Pagn 2006, 89 91; 129; et passim 37 Pagn 2006, 129. She notes the temporal change in a poem by Forch (1994) about Hiroshima that reproduces ekphrasis well, though to the opposite effect: Where there is no teahouse I see a wooden teahouse and the co rpses of those who slept in it 38 Sharrock, 1996, 107.
107 Statius is able to hint at the shortcomings of past generations and leaders by praising the w ork of the present. For this reason the theme of dominating nature, though it previously appears in literature and art, is so highly developed and realized in the Silvae Statius emphasizes that these real villas, the subject of so much previous criticism in the prose of Cicero and poetry of Horace, displayed philosophical ideals and cultural virtue through their control of nature. In the past, says Statius, man represented his excellence by how he mingled with the natural environment and he does the same t oday, though the result looks different. Statius does not create the connection between man and his house but is stepping into a seemingly universal connection to assert the virtue of his own patrons. 39 Even the title of the Silvae compels an examination of ekphrasis, for it seems to reveal some level of relationship between visual ventured a guess to the meaning of the peculiar title. C ommentators agree that the term silva has some resemblance to the altern ate definition of the Greek Most recently, Wray has explored the importance of the term materia as poetic source and inspiration. 40 Vergil, in Eclogue 4.3 sings si canimus silvas, silvae sint consule dignae of silvae let them be silv ae 41 Internally and externally t he verse is best interpreted through rison to 39 contemporaries. 40 Wray, 2007, 132 133, explains the four fold process through which the calque silvae becomes the Latin equivalent of 20 49 gives one of the first in depth examinations of the term. Delarue, 1996 rejects this line of interpretation and proposes that the term Silvae and imply a work of complexity. 41 Bright, 1980, 37 39, notes the use of silvae with a close connection to poems or songs, especially in the pastoral Eclogues 2006, 5: explores the cultural symbolism of trees throughout western thought.
108 poetry, and a straightforward metonymic interpretation may be possible: if we sing about nature, we should sing about it well enough for a consul to attend. Vergil himself may inform the discussion on the significance of the term when he describes the poetic material for his Georgics as silvae ( interea Dryadum siluas saltusque sequamur / intactos, tua, Maecenas eanwhile, s G. 3.40 41). For Statius, the plastic materia extend s beyond nature, and he sing s of topic s beyond literal Silvae The source material therefore functions primarily as a starting point for poetic exhibition, rmed interaction between visual and ver bal art serves as a fundamental element of the relationship between the Silvae and Georgics Certainly Statius looks upon Vergil as a model for epic poetry, but his adaptation of moral descriptions of nature in the Silvae is shaped by the didactic Georgics Just as he changed the subject matter for his epic and wished for the Thebai s to follow but not too closely the Aenei d 42 he takes on new topics as he adapt as his own. Thus the Silvae take on the same relations hip with the Georgics that the Thebai s holds with the Aenei d The rhetorical competitions for which Statius and his father were well known, as well as the training in the progymnasmata str ess the importance of ekphrasis but place little emphasis on the ac tual item or event described. 43 Indeed, the competition arises from the ability to describe 42 Theb 12.816 817. 43 ss in rhetorical competitions is autobiographical. He states that he arrived at the villa of Pollius Felix after the quinquennial festival (2.2.6 Alban games and the Capitoline contest, see Gibson, 2006, 260 266. O and educator, see Gossage, 1965; Holford Strevens, 2000; McNelis, 2002.
109 artistically any visual art. If Statius and Lucan in their Silvae 44 the title for this genre is ideal both for its emphasis on nature and mimetic interpretation of nature. 45 exists as a work, or world in itself. 46 Although man through building projects must sometimes altogether tame nature as in Silvae 2.2 or peacefully coexist with her as in Silvae may be seen as artistic representations of different types of raw material. The poet redefines nature through its utility to his patrons. Just as a landscape painter uses similar methods to represent mountainous terrain or a meadow, a unifying factor of the Silvae ression of a single set of ideas even when his source material changes. 47 Wray shows that the Silvae ingenium in contrast to his poetic ars that appears in the Thebais. 48 After establishing the Aristotelian vie w that is present in the Silvae that both humans and nature create artifacts he notes that the term silva centers around the interaction between talent and art, raw material and crafts. 49 Wood that 44 Vacca in the vita Lucani (6 th century CE) states that Lucan wrote ten books of Silvae Nothing else is known about the work, and Statius does not mention it in his genethliacon ( Silv. 2.7) for the deceased Lucan. See Bright, 1980, 34 45 For a similar example of an a 36, discussion of Columella and the Georgics 46 Halliwell, 2002, 4. See especially n9. 47 48 W ray, 2007, 142. 49 See Wray, 2007, 136 emphasizes the emotional perceptions of the art rather than formal design. Paired with the tendency of Statius to avoid a ny sharp division between art and nature, one sees brilliant surfaces like marble and gilded beams described as artistic creations of nature herself. This connection is analogous to the Silvae themselves, poems that flow from ingenium Wray also d emonstrates (135) that elsewhere in Greek literature, contains the idea of both material and finished product in poetry.
110 becomes lumber and thus material for composition is a perfe ct example of the vague line between art and nature, as well as the mimetic interplay between subject and style. An example of this blend between the text and visual art in the Silvae Silv 4.2). The o ccasion for this banquet is uncertain, and therefore little is known of its details. 50 Statius, who may himself have provided the entertainment at the banquet with this poem, extols the grandeur of the building as he begins its physical description: 51 Tectum augustum, ingens, non centum insigne columnis sed quanta superos caelumque Atlante remisso sustentare queant. ( Silv 4.2.18 20) An august edifice, vast, magnificent not with a hundred columns but as many as might support heaven and the High Ones were Atlas let go. The assertion that Statius and his guests are in a large building is understandable, and perhaps expected, but when Statius begins by describing the hall supported by more than one hundred erence, however, has troubled commentators, Aen 7.170: tectum augustum, ingens, centum sublime columnis 52 Zeiner notes that this number far exceeds the number of columns that would have been present in the tricli nium 53 Others citing the literary license of the poet, have suggested that 50 For a summary, see Coleman, 1988, 82 84. See also Malamud, 2001 and 2007. On Roman public dining, see Donahue, 2003. 51 Coleman, 1 988, 82 84 shows that Statius was likely present at the dinner rather than hearing about it later. Malamud, 2007, 224, n4 notes that the poem may have been delivered ex tempore at the banquet or composed afterward. 52 Malamud, 2007 notes this and many other epic references in this poem. She believes that Statius is contrasting instances of hospitality in epic poetry with that of Domitian, who consistently falls short of their example. 53 Zeiner, 2005, 90.
111 it is not necessary to reconcile the archaeological evidence. 54 far more than poetic license; it is both a claim to the greatness of the present a ge and a recog nition of the importance of material art in his ekphrastic poems. The phrase non centum evokes the common topos through the Flavians, but the poet overturns it with the final word of the hexameter: columnis 55 The to be derided by Persius (5.1 2). 56 Tr. 1.5.53 56), and perhaps even adopted by Statius in the Thebais (12.797 799). 57 Vergil adapts the lines to the Georgics : non ego cuncta meis amplecti versibus opto non mihi si linguae centum sint oraque centum, ferrea vox ( G. 2.42 4 4) Not that I could ever ho pe to feature all things in my verses not even if I had a hundred mouths, as many ways of speech, and a voice as strong as iron. 58 (2.39), so he must emphasize the most important elements and leave out long digressions (2.45 to day subject. Statius, however, affirms the importance of the material ( ) and asserts the reality of ekphrasei s, even in his title. The claim of Vergil that he does not have the talent or space to 54 Gibson, DeLaine, and Claridge 1994 81n. 55 For a si milar interpretation, see Newlands, 2002, 270. She points out that the number escalates through time: ten tongues in Homer ( Il. 2.488 489) to a thousand in Ovid ( Fast. 2.119). 56 Hinds 1998, 34 47. 57 Hinds 1998, 45. 58 He repeats lines 43 44 in Aen 6.625 when he has the Sybil state that she is unable to recount the many sins of man.
1 12 describe fictional works of art underscores the gap between art and ekphrasis. Statius similarly claims that he is not able to verbally reconstruct the scene ( non digna loquar 4.2.8 10) but emphasizes the effectiveness of the art to serve functionally and to defy explanation due to its grandeur. The resulting vividness of the description provides the audience not with any accu rate visualization of the scene but an overwhelming sense of awe for the palace. Statius in this way affirms the value of art itself over pure poetic description and simultaneously shows the superiority of this hall over that of Latinus Since one hundred columns would be insufficient t o bear the burden, enough are present to hold up the earth itself. Nature is depicted as subservient to a man made edifice. Statius foreshadows this ability of the building to uproot nature in the first lines of his poem by citing banquets attended by Aene as and Ulysses, told in stories with verse that will remain, mansuro carmina (3). silvae worthy of a consul also bridges the notion of visual and verbal art. Wood can describe the raw material or raw poetic talent as well as the artifact or poem. In the Georgics the reader witnesses a tension between the creative drive of humanity and the creative force of nature. Man must adapt his practices to the nature ( ingenium ) of the land (e.g., G. 2.177). In the Silvae however, the raw material that nature offers works in concert with or is improved on by human talent. The materials and artifacts of nature and of man work in concert in this poetry titled by a word that incorporates all these elements. Ekphrasis in the Silvae and Geo rgics Change and its moral benefit appear throughout the Silvae but two poems demonstrate landscape transformation to an extreme. Silvae 4.3 features ekphrasis of change across a large area through the publically funded Via Domitiana The villa of Pollius Felix exemplifies a privately funded location of metamorphosis ( Silv 2.2). The soil itself, rather than man made
113 objects typifies the change in the Georgics (2.203 G. 3.10 39) experiences metamorphosis into a new temple to Hercules ( Silv 3.1). Ekphrasis of Change in a Public Work: The Via Domitiana ( Silvae 4.3) In his description of the via Domitiana (4.3), only a handful of lines actually describe the new road. Instead, the reader learns about the defects of the previo us road (27 35), the speed with which the builders wrought the new road (40 60), and the new virtue that the road bestows to its surroundings (61 113). The road is only described through the ekphrasis of change: Hic quondam piger axe vectus uno nutabat cru ce pendula viator sorbebatque rotas maligna tellus, et plebs in mediis Latina campis 30 horrebat mala navigationis; nec cursus agiles, sed impeditum tardabant iter orbitae tenaces dum pondus nimium querens sub alta repit languida quadrupes statera. 35 at nunc quae solidum diem terebat, horarum via facta vix duarum. non tensae volucrum per astra pennae, nec velocius ibitis, carinae. ( Silv 4.3.27 39) Here once the tardy traveler borne on a single axle would sway on a pendulous pole as the malignant eart h sucked in his wheels, and the Latian folk feared the woes of navigation in the midst of the plain. No nimble runs; sticky ruts slowed the hampered journey, while the fainting beasts crawled beneath their high yoke, grumbling at too heavy a load. But now the route that used to wear out a solid day barely takes two hours. The stretched wings of birds flying through the stars will go no faster, nor ships either. After the deictic hic and temporal marker quondam Statius transitions from a brief three line (2 7 29) description of the area to a fuller account of the altered state of the land resulting from the new road. In addi tion to the temporal signifier the language is decidedly negative as it describes the past: nutabat (28) sorbebat (29) horrebat (31), tardebant (33) repit (35), terebat (36). The farmer on his primitive vehicle struggles against the earth that is attempting to
114 overpower his wheels. 59 In contrast to the whirlpools and quagmires ( sorbebat ), the new road is marked for its utility to humans through the ekphrasis of change. 60 emphatically announces ( at nunc 36), t he inner nature of this formerly difficult ground ( maligna tellus, 29) has been transformed into something useful. By describing the change rather than the physical appearance, Statius is able to attribute more virtue and morality to the road and its commissioner. Now, because of human control, the same earth is no longer maligna as Statius in his apostrophe (38 39) states that it presently offers travel faster than the air or sea. The birds and ships themselves symbolize another change. Previously the journey was accomplished by a four footed beast ( quadrupes 35), tired, protesting ( languida, 35; querens 34) and hauling its too heavy burden ( pondus nimium 34). No w the run seems almost magical, as Statius omits any beast or vehicle in his description of travel on the new road, stating only that an unerring eye for visual detail the poet omits any description of the appearance of the new road or its passengers, describing only the change that occurs. 61 The closest he comes to an actual detailed description is of the construction of the road (40 55), but even this is a description of change as workers fill trenches (43), cut down trees and mountains (50), and alter the course of a river (54 55). Statius describes not the details of the location, but the significance of the change and the dichotomous characteristics of past and present. The theme of change is emphasized elsewhere in the poem with temporal markers. The river Vulturnus used to be wild and threatening ( turbidus minaxque 76), but now ( nunc 76) is bound by a bridge and crossed by 59 On the type of cart, see Coleman, 1988, 110 wheeled raeda with one axle stuck in the mud, she believes it to be a two wheeled cisium (Vollmer, 1 898.) The cruce pendula (28) would therefore be the pole that linked the horse or mule to the axle. On the use of cisia cf. Cicero, Rosc. Am. 19. 60 Coleman, 1988, 111 defines sorbere as the actions of whirlpools. 61 Bright, 1980, 12.
115 pedestrians (78). The ri ver used to tear up the land and woods ( terras rapere et rotare silvas / assueram 79 80) but now has taken the shape of a river ( amnis esse coepi 80). A central distinction between the poet and scu lptors or painters is the ability to depict diachronic description allows him to relate more ethical information than a synchronic approach, which would lend itself to descriptive information. 62 As Statius seeks to praise the new philosophical and technologi cal virtues, his poetic agenda is altered. Because the programmatic nature of the poem is a description of the virtues of his present age, Statius is not attempting to recreate any exact representation of the road, for he is fashioning his own art. His des criptions are therefore realistic, but lacking indecorous details that one might otherwise expect. The final metamorphosis, however, is reserved for the patron of the poet and the road, lasting rule and deification. 63 In a poem that so strongly distinguishes the future, only the second time this tense appears in the poem. 64 Domitian will not only visit ( veniet ), but, in the next word the Sybil speaks, s he commands the fields to await his approach ( manete campi / atque amnis 124 125). The prophetic future and command, as Coleman notes, are certainly expected diction of the Sybil, but the emphasis on Domitian, whose rule she predicts to be lastin g, stands in contrast to the rapid change in the rest of the poem. 65 Domitian is 62 On the interplay bet 63 The significance of the Sybil here perhaps lies in the use of visual propaganda, for Statius may have in mind a golden statue of Apollo on top of the temple in Cu mae that was visible from the road and a statue of Domitian atop the Arco Felice. See Smolenaars, 2006, 235n. On the Sybil as spokesperson, see Coleman, 1999. 64 The first, discussed above, is ibitis (39), but here Statius is prophesying that the boats will not move faster. Tacendum est (120) also appears, but the future is grammatical rather than functional. 65 Coleman, 1988, 131.
116 identified as a better artist than nature ( Natura melior potentiorque 136) and brings rapid change to the land, but Statius is quick to note that he and his creation will last : vidi quam seriem virentis aevi pronectant tibi candidae Sorores. ( Silv 4.3.145 146). I have seen the procession of slow time that the white clad Sisters weave for you. Statius has vividly portrayed the land as subject to rapid development and swift change, but he also emphasizes that this is not a continuous metamorphosis. The new improvements will leave a lasting change. Ekphrasis of Change in a Private Work: The Villa of Pollius Felix ( Silvae 2.2) While Statius hints at the theme of virtue on disp lay through a construction project in his praise of the Via Domitiana he states it explicitly when describing the home of Pollius Felix. In fact, Statius states that he has difficulty deciding whether to describe the inherent greatness of the place or the patron, perhaps because it is difficult to distinguish between the two: locine / ingenium an domini mirer prius? 2.2.44 45). The rhetorical question links human and physical nature but add s a third element, as ingenium is the primary mode of interpretation for the virtue and ingenuity of Pollius Felix and the land. with a brief geographic layout as he describes the natural jetties and resulting peace ful harbor (2.2.13 14). Statius states then that nature provides the space with the beach and cliffs ( dat Natura locum 15), but the place is offered for change through human agency. In fact, the first sign of beauty ( gratia prima loci 17) comes not from the natural recess, but from the baths built there ( gemina testudine fumant / balnea 17 18). Water
117 undergo a change for the better as they lay aside their rage ( p onunt hic lassa furorem aequora et insane spirant clementius austri 26 27). Statius leads us quickly from the shore to a walkway: inde per obliqua erepit porticus arces, / urbis opus s work 31). The rapid transition created by the abrupt transition inde signals both new location and a return to a physical description. The quick shift is matched by a terse description of the colonnade, yet the building itself stands in contrast to the rapid movements of the poet. The colonnade creeps ( erepit ) on an obliqu e path along the cliffs and it is of notable size ( longo dorso 31). Statius is seemingly outpacing the physical art with his own verbal art. Before a mythical digression (34 42), however, Statius notes the change evident in the place: qua prius obsc uro permixti pulvere soles et feritas inamoena viae, nunc ire voluptas ( Silv 2.2.32 33) pleasure now to go; t that the same place could appear so different. 66 The interlocked pattern in line 32 emphasizes the confused state of the ground, while tension between the first and last word of the phrase ( obscuro soles ) exaggerates the disarray of the area. Nature left to its own devices created a locus inamoenus (33). 66 example, in which Evander points out the future site of Rome to Aeneas ( Aen 8.347 369). Cf. the metamorphoses of Priapus (Hor. Sat 1.8.1 5) in Pag n, 2006, 41 56. This theme is indeed often used in Augustan poetr y to describe the development and historical significance of the Roman cityscape. In this passage, however, the effect is much more localized and moralized; the reader sees not well known triumphal monuments but a brief glimpse of the results of human impr ovement. Ekphrasis of change in Rome may be said to extol Roman magnificence, while these
118 The improvement that occurs through the ekphrasis of change is ubiquitous in this poem. Statius notes that flat land has taken the place of a mountain, buildings stand where once grew a wild forest, and in turn a pleasant forest appears: mons erat hic ubi plana vides; et lustra fuerunt, quae nunc tecta subis; ubi nunc nemora ardua cernis, hic nec terra fuit: ( Silv 2.2.54 56) Where you see level ground, there used to be a hill; the buildings you now enter was wilderness; where now you see lofty woods, there was not even land. Although he uses the temporal adverb ubi (55) once, Statius primarily exploits changes in verb plana vides ) for the reader but supplies additional ekphrastic information ( mons erat ). Next in the tricolon, Statius creates a moving picture as the reader enters one of the buildings, but not without imagining the boggy forest that used to exist there ( lustra fuerant eye view of the scene and wonders at the tall grove ( nemora ardua ), which Statius tells us to imagine sitting on an area that used to be void of land The series of changes have resulted in the removal of woods t hat were wild and inconvenient to Pollius Felix and new woods that offer a civilized and inspirational benefit. The feritas inamoena (33) has been transformed into a place that is more e; in short, it is a locus amoenus locus amoenus ekphrasis. 67 Statius describes how the change has not only redeemed the physical properties, but also the character and literary value of the pl ace. The temporal emphasis is perhaps the primary element to the sense of wonder that is often the poetic ekphrasis from Homer to 67 Newlands, 2002, 159, states that this poem, because of the significant change involved in creatin g the house, represents the poetic notion of a locus amoenus even more than 1.3.
119 Statius, and particularly from the Hellenistic period on, required two related features: first the claim, almost as a piece of advertisement, that the object in question is of outstanding artistry, and then the subsequent awe or amazement it evokes from those who are involved with it in the 68 Three factors cont rapid transitions from place to place, his seeming inability to describe what he sees, 69 and the ekphrasis of change. Statius uses these rhetorical devices with such skill that the reader is left chasing the poet from the coast to a walkway and finally inside the home. As a result, even the lack of ability to describe the scene is transferred through mimesis to the reader, and the lack of any detail creates not a vivid description but vivid em otion. Concluding his introduction and summarizing his wonder, Statius makes an emphatic statement that approaches his own typical use of mimesis in ekphrasis: Hic praeceps minus audet hiems, nulloque tumultu stagna modesta iacent dominique imitantia mores. ( Silv 2.2.28 29) Here the headlong tempest bates its daring; the pool lies modest and untroubled, imitating imitantia the word also speaks to the mimetic nature of art. Imitatio the Latin translation of mimesis, 70 68 Thomas, 1983a, 109. 69 See, e.g., 73 74: quid mille revolvam / cumina quid nunc ruris opes dicam 70 14 and 344 348) discusses the problem of using imitation as a translation for mimesis in the modern period due to its impoverished sema ntic range. While imitation may once have held a philosophical connection to mimesis that implied artistic representation, today it holds a connotation of copying, sometimes even with a pejorative undertone. Halliwell competently separates the value of mim esis in Plato and competing theorists, laying special significance on summary, see 37 71.
120 In Silvae tatue, the work of art imitates not at sonipes habitus animosque imitatus eriles 71 Statius later focuses on the excellent quality of the statue, which he compares to the colossal statues at Tarentum and Rhodes (103 104) and which has eyes resembling flames ( tua sidereas imitantia flammas 1.1.103). Phidias himself, the sculptor whose work was praised because it featured beauty and the resemb lance of reality rather than being realistic, 72 statue: optassetque novo similem te ponere templo / Atticus Elei senior Iovis would have longed to set your likeness in a new temple of Elean Jove, 102. The force of imitatio then, is not to be seen in the Platonic notion of how closely the statue depicts reality, but in the Aristotelian notion of how successful the statue is as art in its realistic depiction. The transition from r ough sea s and a storm (29) to an untroubled pool show that through change, the artistic beauty is revealed in nature. The mores present in both villa and owner are gentleness ( gentile 9; placido 13, 140), grace ( gratia 17), happiness ( felicia 23; felix 107), 73 peacefulness ( quies 26) and mercy ( clementius 27). 74 The description seems fanciful and exaggerated, but the value of the ekphrasis does not stem from its propositional claims. Rather, the land and setting functions as a mimetic representation of the ch ar acter of its owner, and the poet in turn seeks to create a vivid experience of the land for the reader. Were Statius to provide 71 The text is that of Markland 1728, which Shackleto n Bailey adopts. Whether eriles or equestres is correct, the 72 See Quintilian 12.1 0.9. 73 124n seems skeptical. See also Nisbet, 1978. 74 The list of examples is from van Dam, 1984, 201. See also Newlands, 2002, 169 174, on the E picurean values of Pollius Felix and their expression in his villa.
121 a straightforward description of Pollius Felix himself rather than the representational qualities of the land and villa, the b personal to appeal to a larger audience. Because Statius describes specific buildings or natural elements in such general terms, the reader better relates to the poem and even becomes incorpo rated into the scene. Just as Vergil dealt with the tension of specific political, ethical, or social issues by generalizing his topic to agriculture, so Statius broadens his poetry to reach beyond the immediate occasion for its composition. New Soil: Different Types of Earth ( Georgics 2.203 211) Before considering the last example, a temple devoted to Heracles ( Sil v. 3.1), it is revealing Georgics agricultural poem, th e artistic representation of practical, daily farming life contains a mimetic resonance of political, literary, and military life. 75 Ekphrasis in the Georgics however, is much less prevalent than in the Silvae Aeneid As Barchiesi no tes, didactic poetry or in this case epigrammatic 76 Indeed, ent so little from the rest of the poem, it is at times difficult to separate didactic and ekphrastic passages in the Georgics For the sake of comparison with the Silvae passages that describe the state of land or buildings rather than those that descri be the processes to cultivate them, will be considered ekphrastic. After the lengthy praise of the Italian countryside, Vergil describes the many types of soil and how to best u se their natural properties. The rugged, stony soil is best for olive trees (1 79 75 Thomas, 1988, 18. Cf. Miles, 1980, 77: contains the seeds of other more glorious expressions of the human charac 76 Barchiesi, 1997, 271.
122 181), berries are best produced where oleaster grows (182 183), but the hilly land with plenty of grass and rain makes the best soil for a vineyard. As for grain, Vergil describes two types of land where one can successfully grow crops: nigra fere et pr esso pinguis sub uomere terra et cui putre solum (namque hoc imitamur arando), optima frumentis: non ullo ex aequore cernes 205 plura domum tardis decedere plaustra iuuencis; aut unde iratus siluam deuexit arator et nemora euertit multos ignaua per annos, antiquasque domos auium cum stirpibus imis eruit; illae altum nidis petiere relictis, 210 at rudis enituit impulso uomere campus. ( G. 2.203 211) (the sort we waggonfuls dragged home by struggling bullocks; that, or lands from which a careless farmer carried timber off, laid waste to woods that had stood tall for years on year and wr ecked the ancient habitats of birds by ripping up roots and all. Their nestlings left, their mothers made for high sky, but those once straggly acres blossom now behind your team. This passage clearly describes the violence necessary in agriculture. It als o contains an emphasis on change that comes with farming and husbandry, though without the purely positive connotations of the change so apparent in the Silvae The ekphrasis, set off by vivid, visual language ( cernes 205), asserts that s ome soil is friab le ( putre 204) by nature, but other soil must be recreated ( imitamur 204) by plowing. The verb imitor is conspicuous in this ekphrastic passage as Vergil is perhaps speaking to the weakness of mimetic representation. Just as the present soil is not as su itable as the original for grain production, so does the poetic representation of the toil required offer s only a glimpse at the actual state of life. Becker states that the relationship of the text and work of art is analogous to that of the text and how the reader relates to the poem. 77 The imitation of good soil through labor in this way emphasizes for the 77 Becker, 1992, 7.
123 reader the present reality of labor in day to day life in the present age. Before describing this soil Vergil has just noted the type present in Mantua: petito / et qualem infelix amisit Mantua campum 198). The sense of loss spills into the next portion, as Vergil reemphasizes the absence of good natural soil. Vergil then describes what type of change the reader will see ( cernes 205). The land is noteworthy for the number of wagons ( plaustra 206) hauling away produce or plains left after a farmer has removed ( devexit 207) a forest ( silvam 207). Next, forests that have lai n fallow ( nemora ignava 208) are overturned ( evertit 208) and the homes of birds are ripped up by their roots (209 210). The scene i n many ways uses the same ekphrasis of change present in the drastic landscape changes of Silvae 2.2, but through mimetic representation the action that will be given positive moral tones in the Silvae is imbued here with a detrimental overtone. 78 The clear interpreter in ekphrasis. For Statius, ekphrasis of change is a means of showing the increased beauty and utility associated with innovation. The underlying motif of the Georgics as revealed through ekphrasis is that the fundamental human condition is unlikely to be altered by human advancement, and any change will likely harm nature rather than benefit mankind. s Georgic Temple : The Poetic Temple ( Georgics 3 .10 39) While Statius often hints at and relies upon the connection between visual art and poetry, Vergil asserts the relationship explicitly at the beginning of B ook 3 of the Georgics His ekphrastic description of a metaphorical temple comes at the very center of his book, as do many 78 magnos scrobibus concidere montis 2.260
124 79 Octavian, as the central figure of the temple itself, thus occupies a prominent role in the description: et uiridi in campo templum de marmore ponam propter aquam, tardis ingens ubi flexibus errat Min cius et tenera praetexit harundine ripas. in medio mihi Caesar erit templumque tenebit: ( G. 3.13 16) whose ambling course flows this way and that, its sides tossing their fringe of wavy rushes. from the beginning that stories have been well used, and now he will venture in another direction: ce tera, quae uacuas tenuissent carmine mentes, / omnia iam uulgata themes that might have once engaged the lazy intellect in poetry G. 3.3 4). Vergil is announcing his new, epic style of poetry through visual stimuli and natural elements. I t is unclear whether Vergil is referring specifically to the Aeneid as he had already envisioned it or is describing his epic in generic terms, but he is certainly prophesying a new poem that embraces Roman poetic ideals over Callimachean aesthetics. 80 Verg but simultaneously contains traits that remind the reader that the poem is a metaphoric work of art and that Vergil is the artist. The ethical dative mihi (16) situated between medio and Caesar creates a metapoetic reference in addition to supplying visual information. Vergil reminds his 79 Thom as, 1983, shows the importance of relative position of objects in ekphraseis. Details at the perimeter art often serve as boundaries to the visual and interpretive information, whi le the center often defines the crucial attribute of Georgics On boundaries in ekphrasis, see also Newby, 2002. 80 Thomas, 1983a, 92 101 and Newlands, 1991 discuss the close relationship, both linguistically and thematically, Aetia essence using Callimachus to reject him. Thomas and Newlands agree that Vergil here anticipates the Aeneid
125 Vergil thus distinguishes the intera ctive role between art and poet through this masterful line in which Caesar is the central figure but the poet is the master. Vergil uses poetic borders here to place Caesar at the center of his temple, a reference to the present poem, of which the temple description holds the central place. The reference also implies that Caesar will stand as the Vergil next claims that the Greek festivals and games will be vacated as all will come to see him as victor (17). Rome no l onger Olympia and Nemea, is to become the new center for such conte sts : cuncta mihi Alpheum linquens lucosque Molorchi cursibus et crudo decernet Graecia caestu. ( G. 3 .19 20) Because of me, all Greece will leave the Alpheus and the cypress groves of M olorchus to compete in running races and bruising bouts of boxing. Aetia 3, Vergil begins his thir d book with this reference to Hercules. Statius picks up on this trend at the beginning of his third book: pauperis arva Molorchi 3.1.29. He mimics Callimachus and Vergil with the reference to Molorchus, even placing the name in the final position like Ve rgil. His predecessor sought triumph through poetry, but Statius tells of a new, better temple at the beginning of his third book. Newlands argues convincingly contra Thomas that Statius has the Georgics in mind as he composes 3.1. 81 Statius has often ackno wledged his debt to Vergil, and the close relationship 81 Newlands, 1991. See Thomas, 1983a, 105.
126 between the two works, much less these passages, leads one to believe that his reference to 82 In both poems there is an e mphasis on the visibility of nature. Vergil says that he will place his temple in a green field near the water ( G. 3. 13 to Heracles will be espied by green Nereids emerging from the sea. 83 Statius, however, emphasizes the former state of the land much more than he does the site of the new temple. Pollius has constructed the temple as a vow to the god after a small hut was unable to protect everyone from a rain storm (3.1.82). The former tem ple, which was small and built on rocky soil, was unable to protect against nature; it was a Georgic temple. Statius in fact spends 128 lines speaking of the change from past to present and present to future brought about through he temple, and only twenty six lines to describe the present scene. 84 shield, notes that the art cannot always be perfectly described, just as Aeneas is unable to explain textum ) of the shield: hastamque et clipei non enarrabile textum Aen 8.25). The temple described by Statius, however, is not just difficult to describe ( enarrabile ), but difficult even to behold with the eyes: vix oculis an imoque fides ( Silv 3.1.8). Statius moves beyond the difficulty of representing an imagined work of art into text and states that this new temple is so well wrought that it is difficult for the eyes to comprehend. There is no surprise, 82 Thomas, 1983a, 105. 83 Cf. the green ( viridi Aen. 8.630). On the importance of color and vision in the shield of Aeneas, see West, 1990, 298 299. 84 Lines 1 22 provide a preliminary description of the improvement the new temple has brought to the land; 49 138 tell of the past events that led Pollius to dedicate a new temple; 166 cy of the future benefits Pollius and his wife will receive because of the change. Only 139 165 describe the actual scene and the festival to celebrate the dedication. The remainder of the poem, 23 48 serves as a kletic hymn to Hercules.
127 then, that Statius l acks any systematic description or emphasis on specifics elements, for he states that the temple is a marvel far beyond that type of understanding. Vergil continues to describe the temple in strong visual language. Although he digresses from the temple to a vision of himself victorious in a poetic contest, only to return to the temple when describing the doors (26), it is perhaps the case that Vergil is imagining the victorious progression of lines 17 25 as part of the temple itself He uses future tense v erbs ( agitabo 18; decernet 20; feram 22) to tie the scene together with his initial claim to construct a temple with Caesar at the center. He also echoes the ethical dative mihi (16) with a statement of advantage ( cuncta mihi / decernet Grae cia 19 20). Vergil even sees himself inscribed on the temple ( ipse 21). He will happily observe the cattle brought for his own celebration ( iuvat caesosque videre i u vencos 23 ) Here Vergil reemphasizes the visibility of the temple in his own mind. He is delighted to view these scenes and festivities engraved upon his temple. The preface to B 85 to rise above the toil of the human condition. His first two books spoke of m difficulty in control ling nature and the reluctance with which nature changed. Vergil at the beginning of the third book, through a rejection of both Hercules and georgic poetry, announces his escape his metamorphosis into an epic poet. 86 The doors ( in foribus marked for their movement. Vergil points to the flowing Nile and rising columns: atque hic undantem bello magnumque fluentem Nilum ac nauali surgentis aere columnas. ( G. 3. 28 29) and, yes, the mighty Nile in the full flood of war, and columns springing up and decorated with bronze prows of battleships. 85 Thomas notes tha t the possible references to the temple of Apollo on the Palatine (26) and the display of the rostra taken at Actium (29) put this passage close to the end of the publication date, 29 BCE. 86
128 The visual effect of a moving river on a temple is stunning, but even this is outstripped by the statues of the founders of Troy made from Parian marble that are so lifelike they seem to breath: stabunt et Parii lapides, spirantia signa 34). The vivid nature of the description supplies the sense of wonder, and the reader briefly forgets that the well crafted work of art is not any real temple but the poe m itself. Vergil, in typical ekphrastic fashion, has molded the physical, visual art through textual mimesis. Statius in his account of a temple appropriate for the world of the Georgics reborn as a temple worthy of the Silvae mimics Vergil as he triggers his description through typical ekphrastic language, cernere erat (15). Unlike Vergil, Statius takes his beginning from a real temple and in turn proceeds a step further to create a moral identity for the work of art from his cernere erat, totumque instructo Marte uideres / feruere Leucaten auroque effulgere fluctus Aen. 8.676 677), however, does not begin a detailed description of the many battles of Rome but falls at the end of the descriptio n of what the land used to look like: o velox pietas! steriles hic nuper harenas ad sparsum pelago montis latus hirtaque dumis saxa nec ulla pati faciles vestigia terras cernere erat. quaenam subito fortuna rigentes, ditavit scopulos? ( Silv 3.1.12 16) O rapid piety! A little while ago all we could see here was barren sand and sea splashed mountainside and rocks shaggy with scrub and earth scarce willing to suffer print of foot. What fortune has suddenly enriched these stark cliffs? The wonder here finds its source in the rapidity and degree of the change that occurred. Statius uses cernere erat to the opposite effect of Vergil. The sense now is that these features are no longer visible. Whereas Vergil described static objects as though they were mov ing, Statius describes the effect of the movement and the reader, having experienced the degree of change, is
129 left to imagine the new scene. The fertile soil that has replaced the barren is a testimony to Hercules, who, Statius informs us, was primarily r esponsible for transforming the land. Thus, as Newlands shows, through the poetry that Vergil rejects and the hero he dismisses, Statius depicts the new georgic hero Hercules. 87 Conclusion Both poets use ekphrasis to greater effect than a simple digression. In the Georgics ekphrastic descriptions of nature and human interaction with nature serve to underscore one of the central themes of the poem: labor omnia vicit / improbus The change that man creates through his constant improbus labor seldom improves h is position, but only ensures that he may stark contrast to the somber reality he projects in the first two books. Statius uses ekphrasis in a manner differen t from Vergil, but with similar results. The author of the Silvae underscores the visual reality of the art he describes. T o ascribe textual moral value to the existing plastic art as well as to write a poem both for a patron and a wider audience, Statius devalues any systematic description found in his epic predecessors and creates through ekphrasis wonder at the objects he describes while bestowing honor on his patrons. His innovative ekphrasis accomplishes this through mimetic representation and a sense quickly composed poetry that survives the quickly composed art. mimetic representation. Statius and Vergil compose poe ms in which the specifics of political and social life yield to the generalities of landscape and agriculture. Through the ekphrasis of change, both authors move beyond the limits of individual homes or settings to express cultural and 87 Newlands, 1991, 448
130 universal truths. Th e shifting morality expressed in the ekphraseis of each author relies upon a fundamental assumption about the nature of a home. The descriptions of private buildings and homes rely on a fundamental assumption that these ma n made constructions are a point o f fundamental means by which man dominates nature.
131 CHAPTER 6 THE NATURE OF THE HO ME The changes in values, morality, and perspective on the inter action between humans and nature, as they appear in the Georgics and Silvae are revealed through changes in moral connotations of nature, the use of military language to express the relationship, and the use of ekphrasis function of military language, and the ekphrastic method that Statius develops, the role of the villa in the Silvae especially P oems 1.3 and 2.2, as the point of intersection between man and his env ir onment emerges as a practical and allegorical tool for dominating nature and poeticizing the interaction between man and nature. This chapter explores this interstice from pragmatic and n of the retirement villa ( villa urbana ) in contrast to farms ( villa rustica ) or city dwellings. 1 Cato is the first extant Roman writer to consider the ethical significance of villas intended to provide quies rather than fructus 2 Moral condemnation of luxury suffuses the works of Cicero and Sallust 3 until citizens began copying the building habits of their emperors by constructing large estates outside of Rome, especially along the Bay of Naples. 4 By the time of Statius, the abili ty to display wealth through opulent building projects was a demonstration of true virtue, a 1 On the distinction between these types of villas and their often overlapping function, see Ackerman, 1990, 42 43. 2 On the distaste of Cato towards villas that express delectatio see de sumpto suo 11, and Corti, 1991, 195. 3 See, e.g., Cic., Off. 1.138, Sall., Cat 12.3, 13.1. Corti, 1991, 195 notes the importance of Vitruvius in the evolution of literature on luxury, for he describes many ways that a villa owner can limit expenses while constructing a luxurious looking home (6.5). 4 The progression of course is not completely linear, and the Flavian age sees its own share of condemnation for large villas. For a thorough summary of the evolution of moral perception concerning villas in the second and first 970, 9 72. Newlands, 2002, 121 127, provides a summary of the development of moral attitudes towards otium and the villa. Edwards, 1993, 137 172 examines the rhetorical strategies in moral texts of Roman villas. On Lucullus, a common target for his ostenta tious villa, see Keaveny, 1992.
132 reversal in social mores 5 As argued in the second chapter, one constant assumption throughout these diverse viewpoints is that humans express their own nature by the way they interact with physical nature. In the Silvae poems that constantly play upon the morality of this interaction, ethical limits to his dominion over natu re. A moral benefit of successful control over nature appears through the descriptions of the expanding borders of the villa. The villa poems of the Silvae thus represent successful domination of nature, for the capacity of the villa to control its immedia te surroundings models and shap es the moral qualities of residents culture, and politics. The villa becomes the most significant aspect in understanding domination of nature for it is both a symbol and a forge of mo rality. 6 Because the farmer builds his home to best accommodate his efforts, the natural symbol of humble design and productivity becomes the house and land of the georgic hero. In the Tiburtine and Neapolitan villas described in the Silvae the primary function of the villa was pleasure, not p roductivity but it is not possible to discount the need for the latter. 7 Dominus the master of a household is the etymological junction between domus the place and people that he oversees, and domitare the labor for which he is responsible. In his stu dy of familia and domus Saller points out the distinguishing characteristics of the terms. 8 He surveys the use of the words across Latin literature and concludes that familia while carrying a broad 5 Zeiner, 2005, 75 107. 6 Wallace Hadrill, 1998. 7 See Beagon, 1992, 79 maintained, fruitful garden that is as the same time clean and attractive to look a t. 8 Saller, 1994, 336 palace of Domitian: Haec, Auguste, tamen, quae uertice sidera pulsat, / par domus est caelo sed minor est domino domus Augustus which touches the stars with its roof, is equal to the heaven but inferior to its dominus
133 semantic range, most often refers to specific people in a household, whereas domus tends to include family members in a broad sense and the building itself. The term therefore has both a concrete and abstract sense, much like the English word home The term familia a specific and personalizing term, never appe ars in either the Georgics or the Silvae which aim to generalize their subject matter, 9 but the term domus appears seventeen times in the Georgics and in all but six poems in the first four books of the Silvae 10 The villa in the Silvae holds the same moral connotations as a domus except for the distinction between a city and country home. Accordingly, the domus is indicative of urbane ideals and the villa is often suggestive of a life of retirement. 11 T he ordering of space inside the ho me speaks to the authority of the owner, 12 but Vergil and Statius show that the arrangement of space outside the walls of the villa likewise indicate s power. The home serves as an ideal symbol for human interaction with the external environment because it i s the connection point between man and nature The human role as a dominus provide s specific opportunities to co ntrol the environment The nature of this interaction and the 9 Although familiaritas does appear in Silvae 2.pref.1. 10 In the Georgics the term can refer to the house of man (2.114, 206, 443, 461, 511, 524, 3.96, 4.133) a nd beast (1.182, 2.209, 4.10, 159, 209) or a particular dominion (heavens, 1.371, of Arethusa and Aristaeus, 4.363, of Proteus, 4.446, and of Dis, 4.481). In the Silvae the word domus appears forty three times in Books 1 4, absent in only 1.6, 2.3, 2.6, 2 .7, 4.1 and 4.5; the incomplete Book 5 contains eleven instances of the term. Domus or a cognate ( dominus, domo ) appears ten times in 2.2 alone. 11 Cicero uses these terms with location as the only distinction. See, e.g ., Verr. 2.4.6; Dom. 62.3, Mil. 64.12. The term aedes also occupies a similar semantic range. It occurs twice in the Georgics (2.462, 4.258) and only once in the Silvae of a house (1.5.59). Twice Statius uses the term for a temple (1.1.53, 3.1.88). The use in Georgics 2.462 will be disc ussed below. 12 On the importance of the layout of the villa for distinguishing public and private space, see especially Wallace Hadrill, 1994. He explores the villa as a point along two continua: public to private and humble to luxurious. He differentiates the two to show that public spaces are not necessarily luxurious and private spaces need not be the function of decoration is to discriminate and to render the house fit for the pattern of social activity within it. The language of private decoration draws on the language of public life; it reflects the reception function of a house and the expectations of contact with visitors from outside ubversion of traditional villa mores of public and private, see Packer, 2003, 168 169.
134 ethical considerations that follow differ according to the purpose of the home. Th rough the home Vergil and Statius, noting the intersection between humans and nature, pick up on the themes and values of architecture for their own art. In the Georgics and Silvae then, one sees the nexus of poetry, humans, human morality, and nature. As Vergil teaches his reader to arrange his fields in carefully organized rows ( G. 2.277 2 87) and describes the farmer who must engage in hand to hand combat (1.104 10 temple to Heracles ( Si lv 3.1.125 1 163), their poetry expands the practice of agriculture and landscape, making the labor indicative of the rest of life in order to move from a specific story to a poeticized, moralized, general reality. The domus and villa as symbol s occur in a fluid sense for the author can represent the ethics, values, priorities, character, philosophy, and political tact of the owner. Property boundaries allow the owner to contro l the environment in a limited framework be cause the dominus needs to control only his domus not all of nature. 13 Similarly, property ownership affords the dominus the legal right to alter nature and render it more useful for either fructus or quies and to forbid others from doing so. Borders were an important aspect of villa ownership, and Columella devotes the beginning of B ook 5 to the legal and practical aspects of delineating 14 Boundary rights, however, were not completely exclusive of others, especially for a villa next to fresh water like that of Manilius Vopiscus. As Bannon has shown, s ervitudes 13 Edwards, 1993, 138 sees a rhetorical intersection here as well. A common strategy of the moralists was to condemn a person by condemning a parallel subject. Roman hous es served as the best symbol for morality because 14 See Columella, 5.2 3.
135 property. 15 In reality, then, farmers would have been concerned with productivity of t heir personal property and that of the neighborhood, 16 yet Vergil and Statius describe settings in which the land owner rules or struggles alone. The poetic representation in the Silvae is of a hegemony over nature rather than a cooperative alliance. Mariti me villas best illustrate the desire to push beyond these boundaries, for they look upon the seemingly limitless sea 17 Property boundaries, because they limit external impact and restrain the influence of the owner, become for the poets a simple yet effect ive metaphor of human interaction with nature. While retreat in the Georgics and advance in the Silvae typify the interaction between man and n ature both authors hold up quies as a primary function of the villa. Villa ownership serves as a path to otium a nd life away from politics and the city, and Statius along with his contem poraries w as careful to highlight the moral benefits of retired life. 18 The descriptions of 15 On the legal system concerning servitudes as well as the social picture formed by Roman attitudes towar ds water rights and rural living, see Bannon, 2009. 16 See Bannon, 2009, 103 116 on examples from Pliny, Cato, and legal disputes that emphasize the importance of neighborhoods and cooperative improvements over nature. Frayn, 1979 describes the state of Rom an farming before the development of latifundia type agriculture. Cf. White, 1970. 17 Cf. Vergil, G. 1.30: tibi serviat ultima Thule mythical island symbolizing the furthest extremes of the inhab itable earth, stands here also for the sea. Romm notes serviat ry and primordial water, see Jones, 2005, 7. Purcell, 1987, 191 192 describes architectural structures that look over the sea as one of the three primary means by which villa owners most often landscaped their homes. The other two means (192 194) were thro One could add height to a villa in a way that artificially represented mountains through structures such as a tumulus or turret. 18 For a his torical summary of the distinction between otium and negotium through Latin literature, see Laidlaw, 1968. Woodman, 1983, 242 243 notes that otium and quies are only negative when they lack the balance of work. The terms seem to be morally neutral on their own, but take on positive or negative connotations based on the absence or presence of complementary qualities. Edwards, 1993, 143 149 points out the distinction between the architectural and rhetorical function of villas in moral discourse. She states th at modern scholars cannot reconstruct condemnation. Connors, 2000 looks at the literary aspect of otium and shows the bulk of epigrammatic poetry aimed at redeeming otium otium in his villas becomes integral to his otium see Ep 8.9, Nauta, 2002, 315; Leach, 2003, and Myers, 2005. Myers, 2005 identifies the changing societal nor ms that lead to an increased number of large villas outside of the city and the rhetorical struggle to either condemn or exculpate the owners of these villas from laziness.
136 homes in the Silvae speak more accurately to social and mora l goals than the actual buildin g s As the primary goal shifts from fructus to voluptas so also the architecture and makeup of the house changes, but despite the insistence upon relaxation and retirement, the necessity of a productive farm and garden on the villa still appears in In addition to the necessity for productivity and pleasure in the countryside villa, its position away from city walls offers a better example of proper community to the poets. The villa limits human interaction with nature through its proprietary and restraining borders, but it also maintains a codependent relationship with neighboring buildings. In terms of domination or control of nature, city dwellings on the other hand, exert control over nature through centralized building eff ort s, culture, and public safety. Vergil, through the world of the Georgics and Eclogues 19 speaks to morality, practices, and vices of urban life, but the city itself is generally absent from the agricultural poem. When Vergil does speak of cities in the G eorgics it is often as a foil to either the virtues of the country or as an idealistic departure from real cities. Caesar must decide at the beginning of the Georgics whether he will oversee the city or the country ( urbisne invisere, Caesar, / terrarium u elis curam 1.25), and the farmer rarely takes notice of the city except for trade ( lapidemque revertens / incusum aut atrae massam picis urbe reportat 1.274 27 5) or disturbance and conflict ( uicinae ruptis inter se legibus urbes / arma ferunt eighboring cities renege on what they pledged and launch attacks Vergil describes bee colonies as the standard for cooperative living (4.149 1 96). He gauges human labor against the never ending work of the industrious bees The bee cities in which every member seeks the common good are characteristic of the age of Jupiter and therefore 19 One the distinction between metropolitan Rome and the pastoral setting of the Ecl ogues see Skoie, 2006, 297 322.
137 symbolize not Golden Age ease but an idealized Iron Age. 20 Vergil in the Georgics sees the city as a corrupted version of its ideal. The city therefore has some potential towards the model for communal living and a center for the consorted efforts of its citizens, but unlike the community of bees, its citizens do not live as a unified body under the laws ( Solae communes natos consortia tecta / urbis habent magnisque agitant sub legibus aevum of their young and live united in one house, and lead lives subject to the majesty of law 4.1 5 3 15 sed circum tutae sub moenibus urbis aquantur near their safe city walls they collect water 4. 193). 21 Statius, like Vergil, does not neglect the city in his verses. He attends banquets ( Silvae 4.2) and spends time in Rome, but he prefers the quies and otium of the country. 22 Even in praise statue drowning out the typical commotion of the city: continuus septem per culmina Martis / it fragor et magnae vincit vaga murmura Romae 6 5). In his depiction of 20 Thomas, 1988,176 177 21 Translation of 4.193 is my own. 22 The selection of the country by Vergil and Statius is not atypical among Latin poets. A description of a seemingly isolated villa allows poets to speak of social is sues on their own terms, without the presence of class conflict (see Veyne, 1987, 117 his desire for landscape and simplicity informs readers of his ideals for Rom in the Silvae Horace speaks to the coordination between labor and otium through his literature and garden. Statius will reshape this relationship but embrace the extravagance of both as he describes the villas of his friends. On otium garden and the literary relationship between patronage and its economic benefits (viz. the ability to write poetry), see Bowdit ch, 2001.
138 murmura ) of the city, and for Statius personal achievement surpasses c ommunal effort. of farming (Varro, 1.15) and explains how one can be a good neighbor by avoiding certain crops along the edge of his property (1.16.6). After Verg il, Columella describes in great detail the different shapes of land plots and how to measure them (5.2 3) but insists to his reader that this work is better done by a land surveyor than a farmer (5.1.3). Rather than describing boundaries, Vergil stresses the continuous number of tasks as well as the unending labor devoted to each task Thus he forces an image of a farmer trying to cultivate an undefined, unrestricted patch of land. Even the absence of neighbors in Verg land and work. In 1 17), the striking heterogeneity of the land impresses the notion of continuous labor for the farmer. His land includes unfertile sand ( male pinguis harenae 1.105), rivers ( fluvium inducit rivosqu e sequentis 106), dried fields ( exustus ager 107), hilly paths ( clivosi tramitis 108), and rocky ground ( per levia murmur / saxa ciet 109 1 10). Vergil transitions quickly to the plight of other farmers, who must battle nature even when it is productive. They must cut down grain and dry up wet areas: quid qui, ne grauidis procumbat culmus aristis, luxuriem segetum tenera depascit in herba, cum primum sulcos aequant sata, quique paludis collectum umorem bibula deducit harena? praesertim incerti s si mensibus amnis abundans exit ( G. 111 116) the weight of ears, grazes to the ground the tender shoots that grow in such profusion as soon as they clear the furrow or that on e who drains swamp gathers in a soak pit, especially in the course of those unsettled months when rivers burst their banks
139 Through the ambiguous transitions quid qui (111) and quique (113), Vergil obfuscates the distinction between on e farmer and another. One must restrict the growth of grain ( culmus ) lest it become so thick it chokes itself out. Another drains a swamp ( paludis / bibula deducit harena 113 11 4) and battles floods ( amnis abundans / exit 115 11 6). Not only does the farm transcend borde rs, but outside creatures have no concern for boundaries that should be keeping them out The goose ( anser 119), cranes ( grues 120), and endive ( intiba attempt to control nature within his own property. of boundaries. Exclusionary limits imposed by the villa idealized past : ne signare quidem aut partiri limite campum fas erat; in medium quaerebant, ipsaque tellus omnia liberi us nullo poscente ferebat. ( G 1.126 12 8) and it was still against the law to stake a claim to part of the fields. Men worked towards the common good and the earth herself, unbidden, was lavish in all s he produced The divine law ( fas ) of nature prohibited the very function of the domus because no aspects of this law: man did not partition land for himself, but like the bees (4.149 1 96), everyone participated and strove for the common good ( querebant in medium 127). Vergil does not claim that man is violating the present laws of nature, but the contrast between the current and former states emphasizes the tens transition from the past to the present then is marked not only by the addition of labor, but by a transition in orientation from coalescence to demarcation.
140 The military struggle that suffuses th e Georgics finds its resolution in the Silvae through the controlling force of imperious homes that illustrate the successful result of demarcation The villa, offering its owner a definable area of authority, functions in the Silvae in the same capacity as the domus in the Georgics The nature of that authority, however, remains the primary difference between the two works. In the Georgics control over the land afforded practical benefits and a livelihood; the villa culture in the c ountryside and particularly on the Neapolitan coast created a sense of competition among its inhabitants for demonstrable control over nature. The villas are often designed to stretch their visible boundaries, and Statius amplifies the aggrandizing effect in his ekphrastic descriptions. Soft boundaries: T he V illa of Manilius Vopiscus ( Silvae 1.3) Through a definable set of boundaries that afford the owner some level of control, the villa of Manilius Vopiscus ( Sil v. 1.3) provides retreat from civic life. Th e Anio river, flowing through the property, is a primary element in the scene, and Statius emphasizes the duality of the villa and its surroundings. 23 Placement of buildings on either side of the river blurs the notion of distinct boundaries that enclose th e villa. A river, al though often a practical border for property and even states, 24 has no such authority here. Instead, Statius emphasizes the continuity of the villa despite a natural boundary: litus utrumque domi, nec te mitissimus amnis / dividit er shore is at home, nor does the gentle river divide you appears to expand beyond usual borders. Statius creates counter examples of river borders when he mentions the bay that Leander swam to meet his lover: Se stiacos nunc Fama sinus pelagusque 23 There is evidence of other villa owners in Tiber receiving water from the Aqua Marcia ( CIL 14.3676). On the plumbing by Vopiscus and use of illegal taps in the area, see Bannon, 2009, 78 79. Martial wrote a poem (9.18) asking Domitian for the rights to tap the Aqua Marcia. 24 Cf. the boundary formed by Okeanos on the shield of Achilles. The wate r in fact forms a boundary between the graphic representation of city life and country life ( Il. 18.490 589; Jones, 2005, 71 72).
141 natatum / iactet 2 8). 25 Leander swam to Sestos from Abydos across the Hellespont nightly to visit his lover Hero. Leander defied the borders and event ually paid for it with his death, but Statius relegates his story to legend ( Fama ). Vopiscus has made both sides of the river his own. Statius then compares the scene to Euripus and the Straits of Messina (31 3 3). Euripus ( Chalcida fluctus 31) separates B oeotia and Euboea by less than 200 meters at the port city of Chalcis, and the Straits of Messina separate Sicily from Italy. In those bodies of water, well known borders could not be crossed without peril or death. 26 The Hellespont, Euripus, and Straits of Messina remind one of noble but often failed attempts, while the present instance was successful through the application of technology. Yet the mention of perilous bodies of water does detract from the placid villa. Newlands has pointed to a series of sta tements inconsistent with typical praise poetry and concludes that the superiority of his own poetic abilities. 27 that of the proverbially foolish luxuque 25 See Ovid, Her. 18 19. 26 There is some confusion here as to why Statius would recall these notorious bodies of water mytholo gized for the sic Chalcida fluctus / expellunt reflui? Sic dissociata profundo / Bruttia Sicanium circumspicit ora Pelorum? Shackleton Bailey emen ds sic to nec than a poetic aberration or moment of Stati (Courtney, 1984, 330), it is possible that Statius is making a reference to the notion of these bodies of water being the primary identifiable element of the lands they transect. The weight is not on the properties of the rivers themselves, but on their unifying effect on the visual quality of the land. 27 Newlands, 1988.
142 carentes and wealth. 28 Zeiner, on the other hand, 29 The same virtue allows Vopiscus through the intermediate agency of his villa to create expansive boundaries that control th the land have been replaced with the individual need for survival and comfort. The allus ions to Horace and the praise of virtue through the house represent this epistemological shift in human understanding of the environment; the aesthetic of productivity, procured through the application of technology and agricultural improvements, gains mor e significance than a large yield of crops. his domination beyond his domus signals progress without the moral ambiguity expressed in the Georgics The servitudes, the need for friendly neighbors with productive farms, and the reality of the need for combined labor are all diluted not in reality, but in the portrayal of a self ruling villa. 30 Therefore the insistence of dominating nature informs us that the social de finitions of luxury and otium cannot be resolved in their entirety in the Silvae Rather, the pursuit for these comforts is to be understood as beneficial, restorative, and virtuous. Statius describes, the boundaries between the culture of the villa and severity of nature also mingle harmoniously. The liminal Moorish doorposts are everywhere ( undique 35), but one frame cause s Statius to examine the nature and culture in the villa simu ltaneously: 28 Newlands, 1998, 97. 29 Zeiner, 2005, 132. 30 See Cato, 1.2, Bannon, 2009, 103 116.
143 huc oculis, huc mente trahor. venerabile dicam lucorum senium? te, quae vada fluminis infra cernis, an ad silvas quae respicis, aula, tacentis, 40 qua tibi tota quies offensaque turbine nullo nox silet et nigros imitantia murmura somnos? an qua e graminea suscepta crepidine fumant balnea et impositum ripis algentibus ignem, quaque vaporiferis iunctus fornacibus amnis 45 ridet anhelantes vicino flumine nymphas? ( Silv 1.3.38 46) Eyes draw me one way, mind another. Shall I tell of the venerab le age of the groves? Of woods, where your rest is safe and night, impaired by no turbulence, is silent, or murmurs invite lazy slumber? Or of the steaming baths tak en up by their grassy ledge and fire imposed on chilly banks, where the river linked to a vaporous furnace laughs at the Nymphs as they pant, though the stream be hard by? Statius explores every boundary of the place ( huc oculis, huc mente ), and in each di rection the plumbing of the home, 31 now eyes the groves, which serve as an equal part of the setting. One courtyard looks upon the river below ( vada fluminis infra 39) while from another one espies the silent trees ( silvas tacentes 40). The woods offer a layer of protection from the rest of nature and peace for the owner ( quies 41). The grassy bank ( graminea crepidine 43) acts as an additional b oundary between the villa and the river, but nature here too permeates the limits of culture as heat and cold mix and water nymphs occupy the scene. The coalescence between nature and culture here stems from the soft boundaries between the villa and its su rroundings as Statius reminds the reader of the intended function of the villa, to offer security and thus quies This rest is an important identifying element for Statius and his patrons, and it is a word critical to the Epicurean lifestyle of Manilius Vo 31 Newlands, 2002, 134 138 offers an insi 69 and other technological luxuries unsuitable to Epicurean life. She notes a number of textual references to egative overtones of technology and extravagant additions to the house. On the tension between the aesthetics of this villa and a concern for excessive luxury, see also Corti, 1991, 194 195.
144 philosopher come in the descriptions of the two villa poems dedicated to these men ( Gargettius 1 .3.94 and 2.2.113). 32 Laguna Mariscal shows that Statius uses other key words such as virtus honestum cura and labor often in these poems to emphasize the philosophical ideals of voluptas and quies (as translations of and ). 33 The villa as intersection between man and nature therefore affords the owner practical respite from nature while allowing him the ability to reflect on the significance of this interaction. In sum, the villa provides a delimited environment through which humans can control nature and shape their own nature so as to influence the broader world around them. The expressed by his interaction with physical nature. At the end of Georgics 2, Vergil de scribes a fictional, idealistic scene in which crops are plentiful, the land is fertile, and the farmer enjoys peaceful and simple life with the rest of his family. The home, and by metonymy the master of the home, preserves its wellbeing ( casta pudicitiam servat domus 2.524). One characteristic of this utopian landscape is the productivity of the land: uenit hiems: teritur Sicyonia baca trapetis, glande sues laeti redeunt, dant arbuta siluae; et uarios ponit fetus autumnus, et alte mitis in apricis coquit ur uindemia saxis. ( G. 2.519 5 22) Come winter, and the best of olives run spilling from the mills, the pigs come back aglow on feeds of acorns, the arbutus tree 32 Laguna Mariscal, 1996, 247. 33 Laguna Mariscal, 1996, 248. Although Statius never mentions any of the Stoic authors, their precepts equally inform his language as he describes these men ( labor cura ). One must also consider that for Statius Epicurean and Stoic notions of virtue were more important rhetorically th an philosophically. Laguna Mariscal, 1996, 252 points to lamentatio in Silvae 2.6, in which Statius digresses on the nature of Fate and death not to add to the sense of lamentatio
145 refreshes its pale foliage and in such ways the autumn serves its bounty, while up on op The cool weather seems to bring relief and the rewards for the never ending labor, with the passage itself ending in a near golden line. The swine are happy and well fed on naturally p roduced food while the trees produce new fruit. The failure of the arbutus to bloom, as Thomas notes, is a common symbol in the Georgics of the introduction of agriculture and labor into the world. 34 Initially, one begins to wonder whether a new period in w hich leisure will reign has arrived. The sense of relaxation from labor though is interrupted when Vergil states that the scene is not the present or future, but the past: hanc olim ueteres uitam coluere Sabini the life, and those the ways the S abines cultivated in the days of old contemporaries is the opposite: nec requies (516). 35 The sense of peace in the Georgics is an idealist ic fiction. Rather than proscribing those who own pleasure villas for their lack of austerity, Vergil creates an image of an exemplary family home within a fictional setting that contrasts the theme of labor in the first two books of the Georgics. This poe tic approach gives his reader the opportunity to question moral and social norms himself, rather than having them forced upon him. Statius too attempts to redefine the cultural paradigms of his generation. Rather than authoring a treatise on the intellectu al and ethical benefits of retirement and pleasure villas, his 34 G. 1.148 149; T homas, 1988, 259. The connection between the Georgics and the Silvae leads to the question of whether Statius picks up on this reference in his own title. If the Silvae represent to some degree a return to the Saturnian Age, then the blooming of the arbutu 35 On the Epicurean desire for quies Operette morali in which an Icelander seeks total withdrawal from life and nature, and contrasts this with the Epicurean life, G. 4.116 148), as one seeking ataraxia but through its acquisition ends up with a carefree life of beauty that he shares with no one.
146 status as a poet allows him to call into question moral concerns of these homes through narrative. In the Silvae quies and otium to rescue the restful life of Vopiscus from the common ignominy of laziness and sterility. The flexibility of the home as a symbol now allows Statius to speak of the moral accomplishmen ts of Vopiscus, for through him the villa achieves an integrated presence with nature because of an quies is integral to a productive nature. Statius describes this as the basic nature of the land ( ingenium quam mite solo grassy land and the buildings ( graminea suscepta crepidine fumant / balnea taken up by their gra 4 4), 36 and the impact that the good soil has on man made items ( nitidum referentes aera testae / monstravere solum bright floor 5 5). In fact, Epicurus himself would have preferred this property to hi s own garden ipse suis digressus Athenis / mallet deserto senior Gargettius horto 93 9 4). All of these qualities speak to the pleasure factor of the villa, but more importantly they impart the notion of an active, productive rest, a quality central both t o the character of the villa improvement on culture. While the fertili focus exclusively on the otium of the villa is to overlook its function as a way to control nature. 37 36 Shackleton Bailey, 2002, 65 translates the passage as if it contained hypallage. He is perhaps correct, but the notion of a grassy bath is certainly striking in this mingled scenario. 37 I do not here disagree with the works of Newlands, 1988, 97, o r Zeiner, 2005, 112 (who mistakenly cites ing effort, but in addition to this effect and perhaps in spite of it Statius does not divorce the villa from its origins in productivity. Veyne, 1987, 119 121 describes the scorn of the social elite towards manual labor for wages, but also the acknowledgm ent of its necessity (129 134).
147 In the Silvae the reader does not see a dichotomy between labor and quies Instead, the seemingly contrasting terms exist concurrently. Just as a pleasure villa does not preclude the owner from meeting with clients and conducting business, 38 so it may allow basic farming or gardening by the owner or his slaves. The property itself demonstrates this rela tionship as the Anio river lays aside its frenetic pace: ipse Anien (miranda fides) infraque superque saxeus hic tumidam rabiem spumosaque ponit murmura, ceu placidi viritus turbare Vopisci Pieriosque dies et habentes carmina somnos ( Silv 1.3.20 2 3) Anio himself, wondrous to tell, full of rocks above and below, here rests his swollen rage slumbers. 39 Both are able to lay aside the turmoil that they are known for and assist one another in a calm life. The scene is not one of total idleness or barrenness, though, for the river is still active below the surface: algentesque lacus altosque in gurgite fon tes percolate from the pools nearby and symbolize the constant renewal and productivity required The property around the villa exhibits productive rest, and the setting inside the domus likewise reveals the fruitful merger of nature and culture: quid te, quae mediis servata penatibus arbor tecta per et postes liquidas emergis in auras, quo non sub domi no saevas passura bipennes? ( Silv 1.3.59 61 ) 38 See Wallace Hadrill, 1994, 51 and Newlands, 2002, 123. 39 The Pierian days (23) refer to the poetry of Orpheus. Statius states in his other villa poem that Pierian strains are not sufficient to describe the house of Felix ( the Muses, for Mnemosyne bore them on Mount Pieria to be goddesses associated with quies : Theog 55 ).
148 and doorways to emerge in the open, sure to suffer the cruel axe under any other master? The interlocked word order ( mediis servata penatibus arbor ) reflect s the m ingling of nature and culture within the house. 40 The tree is not just passively growing ; it is actually protected ( servata ) by the same deities that watch over the house and its occupants ( penatibus ). Furthermore, Vopiscus acts as the master ( domino ) of th e tree just as he was the master over any family or slaves in the house. As the master and owner, he has the right to fell the tree, but chose must assume tha t other trees were removed and new ones were planted to landscape the area. The preservation of this tree resulted not from a lack of brutality, but from the fact that it ncerned with presenting Vopiscus as dominus over this plot of nature. Indeed, Statius in another poem of praise for a building describes the axe ( bipennis ) not as cruel ( saevas ) but as an instrument of reform in the rough landscape in which Pollius Felix b uilds a new temple for Heracles (3.1.125 12 6). Vopiscus is then the master of his house and of nature, but his control is grounded in the fertility of both, not just the sense of rest that the villa provides. The tree in the middle of the villa is a symbol both of the cooperation between nature and culture and the softness of Odysseus, too, was recognized by his wife because he stated that their bed could not be moved 40 Hardie, 1987, 178 se In lines 62 63, Statius notes that some Nymph or Hamadryad may owe to Vopiscus its life thanks to him sparing the tree. Statius then goes on to list many local d Georgics 2.490 494 recalls Lucretius and the Epicurean tradition ( felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas 490) and Statius recalls Vergil as he begins to list many of the same deities as his predecessor.
149 because it was carved from a tree ( Od 23.177 230). 41 The olive stump that Odysseus had carved the opportunity for humans to express their own nature through the s ynthesis of nature and culture. Many assumptions about the ideological function of the villa have arisen from both archaeological discoveries and literary sources, but Cornell has reminded us that despite the concentration on villas devoted to otium and le isurely life, one cannot completely divorce country villas from the role of the gentleman farmer. 42 Vergil in the Georgics projects a picture of agriculture devoid of the slaves and other workers integral to actual farming, and Statius too describes this vi lla and others with idealistic qualities. The real land surrounding the villas of Manilius Vopiscus and Pollius Felix may or may not have supported farms. The bad terrain rming. While we have no way of knowing if Vopiscus oversaw a farm or if Felix oversaw anything but vines, description. Even if the homes of the two villa owner s wider audience would have included gentlemen farmers and men who owned slaves for farming, so the Silvae can be seen as an expression of these larger cultural values and desires for fecundity. Ekphrasis of cha nge, rather than a propositional, detailed description has already been accuracy. 41 42 Cornell, 1995, 167.
150 Statius stresses not just rest, but productive rest ( hic premiture fecunda quie s, virtusque serena / fronte gravis 1.3.91 9 2). 43 through quies 44 As Ackerman has noted in villas in gener al and Newlands in particular in a life devoted to otium 45 ugustus, maritime villas along the Bay of Naples became primarily used for delectatio and amoenitas not fructus 46 He points to primary sources such as Cato and Cicero who have already begun to nning to function not merely as 47 Purcell, however, has wisely shown that authors also had a distaste for infertile villas. 48 Through an analysis of the architectural layout of the majority of Italian villas, solely an isolated retreat for rich families, noting that one must allow for the likely presence of the gentleman farmer as well. 49 The goal is not to create a sterile environment and d estroy nature 43 Cf. Corti, 1991, 192 iunctura otium epi cureo di Manilio Vopisco ogni sfumatura negativa, precisa che esso non torpore intellettuale n infiacchimento etico, bens la premessa necessaria di una tranquilitas expressed through Hellenistic and Roman practices, especially Democritus and Panaetius, but he also examines the contemplative life of Seneca and Pliny (217 261). 44 Cf. Nauta, 2002, 315 ed lifestyle. He encourages Vitorius Marcellus, a man of senatorial rank, to take some rest ( quies ) so that he may be more productive later ( maior post otia virtus 4.4.34). He makes similar claims about rest for Atedius Melior (2.3.65 66, 70 71) and his o wn retirement (3.pref.23 25). 45 Ackerman, 1985. Newlands, 2002, 121 127. 46 10. 47 villa as a controlling force nature and a for tress (1 17). 48 Purcell, 1995, 151 179.
151 for a life devoted exclusively to otium 50 Expanding Boundaries: T he V illa of Pollius Felix ( Silv ae 2.2) If the villa gives i ts owner the ability to control nature in a specific, delineated space, then Vopiscus through his home shows the ability of man to expand his influence and control an ever greater expanse of nature through culture. The same effect occurs in the villa of Po llius Felix ( Silv 2.2). While the villa of Vopiscus was noteworthy for the harmony between man and nature, that of Felix is perceived as constantly exerting influence on the countryside in an attempt to keep nature subdued. 51 Gaze is a primary component of ekphrasis of the Surrentine villa. 52 When Statius describes the perspective of the villa as he ekphrastic method tends to pus h the definable boundaries beyond the immediate confines. Hinds notes that the gaze in the Silvae is primarily characterized as proprietorial, 53 and through that view the owner of the villa seeks a metaphorical claim on his surroundings. The large complex consists of a bui lding facing both east and west and thereby offers a view of the rising and setting sun: 49 See Ackerman, 1990, 9 34 for the historical overview of villas that become places of rest and isolation through control of natural surroundings. Ackerman does not completely reject the notion of farm villas (15), b ut focuses in large part on the ideological function of the villa, which he terms as a myth ingrained in a cultural mindset to such a myth or fantasy through which over the course of millennia persons whose position of privilege is rooted in urban commerce and industry have been able to expropriate rural land, often requiring, for the realization of the myth, the care of a laboring clas farmer and insists that the owners of the villa were more involved in daily affairs than is commonly represented in literature. 50 Purcell, 1995, 168. 51 On the Bay of Naples as the ideal place for poetry of otium and luxury, see Connors, 2000, 499 501. 52 Georgics 2.490 ( felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas ), a clear nod to the Epicurean philosopher Lucretius. 53 Hinds, 2002, 245.
152 haec domus ortus aspicit et Phoebi tenerum iubar; illa cadentem detinet exactamque negat dimittere lucem, ( Silv 2.2.45 4 7) refuses to dismiss the light now spent. Shackleton Bailey states that the term domus (45), which he translates as mansion is perhaps a flattering term for the various buildings that contribute to the villa complex, but Statius may instead be playing upon the role of both domus and dominus 54 The master of the villa has construct ed it in such a way tha t it controls Phoebus himself by holding the god back ( detinet 47) and forbidding his descent ( negat dimittere 47). Both buildings cause the dominus of the villa to seemingly expand his small intersection point with nature through the infinite view they offer. The relationship between the master of the home and nature is further strengthened after Statius summarizes the scene: domuit possessor (56). Through possession of the land, Felix has acquired the legal right and the implicit ability to change the land for his own benefit. Each horizon becomes subject to the control of the dominus as the sea, land, and even the heavens seem to be directed by Felix. While the baths of Vopiscus appeared grassy and thus blended well with nature, the baths of Felix, like the rest of his home, impose their authority on the environment. Statius comments that the first beautiful feature of the house is its bathhouse with twin cupolas ( gratia prima loci, gemina testudine fumant / balnea 2.2.17 1 8), bu t just as noteworthy is the stream that flows into the sea: et e terris occurrit dulcis amaro nympha mari. levis hic Phorci chorus udaque crines Cymodoce viridisque cupit Galatea lavari. ante domum tumidae moderator caerulus undae 54 Shackleton Bailey, 2003, 126 127.
153 excubat, innocui custos laris ( Silv 2.2.18 22) and Cymodoce with her dripping locks and sea green Galatea delight to bathe. Before his house the cerulean governor of the swelling wave keeps ward, guardian of the harmless home; From the cultured land flows the fresh water into the brackish sea. 55 The interlocked word order spans two lines, and the juxtaposition of dulcis and amaro creates a visual demonstration of the fresh water attempting to subdue the sea. river (19), use this area as the bath house just as Felix uses the buildings above. The benefit experienced by the land thu s extends to the sea and its inhabitants. Although the identity of the moderator may be uncertain, 56 he is acting in the role of dominus keeping guard over the home ( ante domum 21), protecting it from the waves outside ( tumidae undae 21) and safeg uarding the morals inside ( innocui custos laris 22). The dominus not only shows his own nature through his control of nature, but also receives praise for imposing that nature upon everyone and everything he is responsible for. 55 Two such baths are mentioned by Bannon, 2009, 231n, that of Pollius Felix and another villa near Pompeii bel onging to M. Licinius Crassus Frugi ( CIL 222. 56 See above, 44n on whether the domus
154 CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION Poetry of the countryside is for Statius and Vergil a convenient means of relating truths of not only rural but also urban life. Like the villa itself, the authors u se a well controlled scene to their benefit They are able t o emphasize and understate particular elements of the villa to infuse meaning and symbolism into landscape and agriculture. The villa, due to its practical function, ubiquity, and indication of status, becomes an accessible and manageable symbol. As the na rrator, Statius i s able to control the gaze by enhancing the features that bolster the image of his patron and by diminishing elements that are detrimental or incongruous. Vergil could have explained that the city showed the scars of Iron Age living and wa s a flawed version of a true city, but by depicting this through georgic scenes, he allows his readers to question his own life and the lifestyle around him. Statius could have praised Pollius Felix or Manilius Vopiscus with a straightforward description o f their deeds, accomplishments, and beliefs, but these qualities are affirmed and therefore more believable through conquest of nature. While we have no biographical details of Vopiscus himself Silvae 1.3 has generated questions of philosophy, architectur e and landscape, at the same time informing our understanding of the Flavian literary world. To understand the villa and building poems in the Silvae of Statius as an expression of a culturally defined construct of nature allows a specified foundation for a practical reading. Common lines of contemporary literary criticism vacillate between seeing Statius as a bombastic poet who writes poetry void of a nything but praise and a skilled poet whose poems need to be rescued from their primary purpose of praise. A majority of the scholars have taken an approach or earlier poets, his careful control over his expression of wealth, his philosophy, and even his
155 personal anxiety. Although Statius is a gifted poet and these app roaches have allowed for an increase in understanding his methodology, by reading the villa poe ms of the Silvae through the lens of the Georgics one begins to see value in the Flavian poet not for poeticizing trivial subject matter, but for his ability to versify a divergent moral perception of a topic with the same tropes and methods as the very a uthors from whom he distinguishes himself. The reader of the Georgics has a keen awareness of the comprehensive nature of the poem. The gnomic phrase labor omnia vicit / improbus continuous efforts and dreams of a simple, virtuous life for himself and his family are just as applicable today as they were when Vergil penned them, even though specific practices, expectations, and frustrations would have been applicable only to one asks of Statius the same questions as Vergil what nature is, what our role in it is and what that role says of human nature the Silvae can be better understood as poems that provide reflections and even answers. Statius sees physical nature as an unfinished wo rk of art. In some parts of the canvas, like the land of Manilius Vopiscus (1.3), the scene is well crafted and near completion and thus (4.3), the scene is incomplete and crudely composed and in need of a strong leader like the emperor. Likewise, the land around the forum is busy and in need of a strong unifying element (1.1). The domination of nature has a different function or cultural significance in each of these poems, but it is the geography of the Neopolitan shoreline (2.2, 3.1) that requires the most dramatic and e xtensive revision by the artisan. For this reason the villa of Pollius Felix ( Silv 2.2) best represents the domination of nature and has been in many ways, the central focus of this project. A cognate of domitare appears ten times in this poem, and nowhere is the human need
156 and right for control over nature more apparent in the collection. This house exhibits what I would call dominature The portmanteau I belie ve, has an interesting resonance to the topic at hand while encompassing the reality that any interaction, philosophy, religion, or even definition requires some level of domination on the part of humans. In any poem of the Silvae in which a building or ar chitectural composition figure prominently, nature and humans occupy a central position The domination of nature for Statius is an important symbol to represent the morality of his patrons. Just as Vergil teaches through his depiction of nature that viole nce and labor are
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166 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Dustin Heinen was born in Lubbock, Texas, in 1980. He received his Bachelor of Arts in p sychology from Baylor University in 2003 In 2006, he earned a Master of Arts in c lassics from th e Univ ersity of Florida. He received his doctorate in c lassics from the University of Florida in 2011. He is married to Erin Heinen