Octavian and Orestes in Pausanias

Classical Quarterly 43 (2):506-506 (1993)
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Abstract

M. J. Dewar argues that in Georg. 1.511–4 Virgil may have been drawing a disquieting parallel between Orestes, evoked through an imitation of Aeschylus, and Octavian, present a few lines above. Pausanias probably supports this suggestion; he shows that the link Octavian-Orestes existed quite early and in a sense favourable to Octavian, even though it may soon have been used in a negative sense by anti-Caesarian propaganda on account of the dark side of the myth. In front of the temple of Hera in Argos there was still visible in the second century a statue representing Orestes, but identified by the inscription as Augustus. Certainly this parallel Augustus-Orestes was not proposed-and preserved - with polemical purpose in a famous sanctuary and in the Augustan age. Given the resemblance between history and myth and the moral weight of the famous myth itself, it is unlikely that we have to do with the mere re-use of any old statue.

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Octavian and Orestes Again.Michael Dewar - 1990 - Classical Quarterly 40 (02):580-.

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