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What constitutes an epic? Are epics all about kings and battles and glorifying the victors? And why do women so rarely appear in epics? These are questions that Virgil's successors explored in their poetry in the 120 years after theAeneidachieved its status as a classic and set the standard for Roman epic. InAfter Virgilthe first general introduction in English devoted to the post-Virgilian epicRobert Cowan surveys the works of Lucan, Valerius Flaccus, Statius, and Silius Italicus, among others, investigating how these poets employed both myth and history to explore the relationships between the gods and mortals, tyranny, civil war, issues of gender, and, above all, what it meant to be Roman under the emperors. Cowan dedicates each chapter to a single theme and explains how these later poets imitated, interpreted, reacted against, and even perverted those standards laid down by theAeneid.
Robert Cowan is the Fairfax Tutorial Fellow in Latin Literature at Balliol College and lecturer in the Department of Classics at the University of Oxford.