When Rome Spared Capua: The Intervention of God Pan in Silius’ Punica (XIII, 314-347)

War, Peace and Resilience in the Ancient World Narratives - Marinella Ceravolo

Émilie Borron

Description

The Latin epic entitled Punica, written by Silius Italicus between 83 and 103 A.D., resumes several Greek epic’s mythological themes. I will focus on an episode dealing with the intervention of god Pan, just before the storming of Capua (XIII, 314-347). When the gates are wide-open for Roman devastation of the city, at this very moment, Jupiter unexpectedly choses to send Pan, a quite minor goat-god, for a pacifying intercession. Unlike his part in contemporary epic (Argonautica III, 44-58), Pan is not an instigator of panic, but the opposite : he turns out to be the deciding protagonist in a crucial event of Roman history, playing the part of a peacemaker, vouching for an extended romanity ; a positive and happy figure borrowing from both Greek and Roman culture, Pan is a vivid example of mythological, political and artistic conciliation, and also an achieved case of altérité incluse in Roman context.

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Citation

Borron, Émilie . When Rome Spared Capua: The Intervention of God Pan in Silius’ Punica (XIII, 314-347). War, Peace and Resilience in the Ancient World Narratives. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. May 2025. ISBN 9781000000000. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=44505. Date accessed: 22 Feb 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.44505. May 2025

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