Thebaid (Latin Poem) - Composition


Based on Statius' own testimony, the Thebaid was written c. 80 – c. 92 CE, beginning when the poet was around 35, and the work is thought to have been published in 91 or 92. According to the last verse of the poem, Statius wrote the Thebaid over the course of a dozen years during the reign of Emperor Domitian, although the symmetry of the compositional period, assigning one book per year, has been taken with suspicion by scholars. The poem is divided into twelve books in imitation of Virgil's Aeneid and is composed in 9,748 hexameter verses, the standard meter of Greco-Roman epics. In the Silvae, Statius speaks of his extensive work in polishing and revising the Thebaid and his public recitations of the poem. From the epilogue it seems clear that Statius considered the Thebaid to be his magnum opus and believed that it would secure him fame for the future.

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