Octavian and Orestes Again

Classical Quarterly 40 (02):580- (1990)
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Abstract

In an earlier paper it was argued that in the famous chariot simile at the end of the first Georgic, Virgil imitates a passage from the Choephoroi of Aeschylus describing the onset of Orestes' madness. It was also suggested that Virgil may have been intentionally drawing a parallel between Octavian and the son of Agamemnon. Orestes avenged his father by murdering his mother Clytemnestra, but in so doing he deepened the guilt that afflicted Argos and thus gave new life to the curse that lay on the house of Tantalus. So too, perhaps, Virgil is warning Octavian that in seeking to avenge his ‘father’ Caesar by killing his murderers at Philippi he is precipitating civil war, and so continuing the cycle of blood-guilt which similarly afflicts the Roman people. If such a suggestion seems fantastic it can now be supported by analogy from an explicit parallelism of Octavian and Orestes in a passage of Claudian. The first part of the passage in question reads as follows: Maurusius Atlas Gildonis Furias, Alaricum barbara Peuce nutrierat, qui saepe tuum sprevere profana mente patrem. Thracum venienti e flnibus alter Hebri clausit aquas; alter praecepta vocantis respuit auxiliisque ad proxima bella negatis abiurata palam Libyae possederat arva

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Octavian and Orestes in Pausanias.Natale Cecioni - 1993 - Classical Quarterly 43 (02):506-.
Octavian and Orestes in Pausanias.Natale Cecioni - 1993 - Classical Quarterly 43 (2):506-506.

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