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.
Glossary of Proper Names
Every translation is by necessity a compromise, and Nagle's compromise is a good one. Clarity and tone win out, with the added bonuses of word order and alliteration, more appropriate in verse than in prose. . . . Nagle conveys well the wit and liveliness of Statius' poetry without so wrenching it from its context as to smooth off all of its distinctive edges.2004.09.33~Helen Lovatt, University of Nottingham
. . . it will ably serve its intended audience of students of Classical Civilisation, Ancient History and interested general readers.#4 2004~Claire Gruzelier, King Edward High School for Girls, Birmingham
College teachers in particular owe [Nagle] a debt of gratitude for making available, in an approachable and highly serviceable volume, a work that shines a rosier light on an era of Roman history usually viewed through the darker lens of Tacitus.Vol.32.2 2005~Stephen T. Newmyer, Duquesne University
Publius Papinius Statius. . . and his collection of witty and occasional poems known as the Silvae (forests) is important not only for its verbal artistry but also as a literary window on the material culture of the age of Domitian and a source of insight into the lives of the Roman elite.Vol.49.2 2005~New Testament Abstracts
. . . this book is more capable than any predecessor of bringing Statius to the classroom. It will be a welcome tool for understanding Statius' difficult poetry . . . as well as a model for extemporaneous poetry.Summer 2007~Dustin Heinen, University of Florida