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The golden section in the Roman epic (based on the material of Statius’ “Thebaid”)

A.V. Kotova, E.V. Vaseva
80,00 ₽

UDC 81`42:821'124-1

DOI  10.20339/PhS.1-24.046    


Kotova Anastasiya V.,

Candidate of Philology,

Associate Professor of the Foreign Languages Department

St. Petersburg State University of Veterinary Medicine


Vaseva Evgeniya V.,

Assistant of the Foreign Languages Department

St. Petersburg State University of Veterinary Medicine



Golden section poetic phenomena studies comprise a wide range of topics, starting from basic prosodic elements to the work’s entire composition structure. The primary purpose of this paper is to establish the connection between the golden section and the literary composition and form and to analyze it on the material of the episode of aristeia and katabasis of Amphiaraus in Statius’ “Thebaid” (VII, 690–823). The following objectives are included: to define and measure the segments of the golden section; to determine the marking points dividing the segments which, as a rule, contain salient features — literary devices, hero’s speech, poet’s apostrophe etc.; to identify the functions and role of the golden section in the episode’s composition. The methodology uses general scientific methods such as philological textual analysis and mathematical tools. The supportive research is grounded on parallel comparison of episodic structure, framed by visual techniques and segment dividing points. It is observed that proportional segmentation is achieved by typical epic techniques such as epitaph or catalogue of victims serving the closing part of the narrative. As for the simile’s structural functions, they mark the poetic period by opening and, more frequently, ending it and highlight the culmination moments functioning similar to the hero’s speeches. The overall examination concludes that the golden section in “Thebaid” manifests itself with striking precision in relation to separate parts and to the whole poem as well. Similarly, it applies to corresponding stages of emotional tension and moments of culmination and the correlating literary devices and techniques. The utilization of the golden section provides the symmetrical composition and the triadic structure of the episode, demonstrating the poetic skillfulness of Statius and mastery of attracting the reader’s attention to the most significant points.

Keywords: Roman epic tradition, Statius, “Thebaid”, golden section, aristeia, Amphiaraus’ katabasis.



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