Publius Papinius Statius lived from the 40s to the mid-90s C.E. Born in Naples, he was the son of a professional poet and teacher. In his teens he moved to Rome, and there, some years later, he embarked on his own career in poetry. Published near the end of his life, the Silvae is a collection of witty and engaging occasional poems, but beyond their verbal artistry lies their importance as social documents, contemporary witnesses to the Roman world during the reign of Domitian. The poems open a literary window on the material culture of the age and provide valuable insight into the lives of the Roman elite. Betty Rose Nagle’s graceful translation brings the world of Statius alive, making accessible this important literary gem. Her Introduction locates Statius in his historical and literary context, considers the importance of his Silvae, and gives a brief history of the text.
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