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