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Title: Telling Troy: the Narrative Functions of Troy in Roman Poetry
Authors: Libby, Brigitte Anne Benacerraf
Advisors: Feeney, Denis
Contributors: Classics Department
Keywords: Latin
Subjects: Classical literature
Classical studies
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: In Roman poetry, telling a Trojan story was a way of talking about Rome. This dissertation combines philological and cultural-historical approaches to write the history of Troy in Roman poetry, tracing its evolution through changing cultural contexts. As the pivot between East and West and between history and myth, Troy's fall breached temporal, cultural, and geographical boundaries. Troy's interpretive flexibility made it an ideal tool for introducing and exploring complexities in the cultural narratives of Rome, which traced its origin to Troy. The sack of Troy could be seen either as the first step in the teleological advance of Roman Empire or as the first phase in a cycle of destruction that claimed Rome's mother-city and threatened Rome as well. A reference to Troy inevitably calls up an alternate map of the world and image of Rome--a parallel set of Trojan and Homeric narratives existing alongside any Roman story. The resulting gap between the Trojan past and Roman present could be stressed, minimized, or elided by poets as they wished, just as they would manage the effect of alluding to another text, which might either support or contradict their own claims. Accordingly, the project links the study of allusion and literary memory with the cultural historian's interest in the manipulation of cultural memory. As Rome reaches watershed moments in its history, its poets reinterpret the original watershed moment at Troy to explain, accept, and question the new age at hand. The dissertation's four chapters each focus on a key moment of transformation: the emergence of Roman power after the Second Punic War, the crisis of the late Republic, the foundation of the Principate, and the reign of Nero. The image of Troy, as it changes over time, serves as a window into how Rome continually re-imagined its past to fit contemporary circumstances.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Classics

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