Achilles and the Poetics of Manhood: Re(de)fining Europe and Asia in Statius' Achilleid

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Abstract

This article examines the binarism Europe/Asia in Statius' Achilleid as a means to understand the polarities of male/ female, West/East, Greek/barbarian, and ultimately Roman/non- Roman. I demonstrate that Helen's abduction by Paris and the discourse on the succession of empires in Statius' poem refl ect Thetis' own transformation of Achilles into a woman. Through his cross-dressing and the impregnation of Deidamia, marked in the text as a violent attack, Achilles comes of age on the liminally other island of Scyros by replicating Paris' rapina. The "European" Achilles incorporates both the effeminate traits of the East and the warlike manliness of the West; he also ultimately embodies the "Asian" other, which he is destined to conquer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-219
Number of pages25
JournalClassical World
Volume109
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Classics

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