Critics generally agree that Statius’ Silvae 2.4, a poem about a dead parrot dedicated to Statius’ patron Atedius Melior, is modelled closely on Ovid's Amores 2.6, a poem about Corinna's dead parrot. In particular, many read Statius’ poem as picking up on the metapoetic strand in the Ovidian model, in which the parrot may be interpreted as a poet-figure, though they also note that Statius’ poem shows more of a concern for the tensions involved in a poet's relationship to his patron (and the emperor). I agree with this general interpretation of the poem and its metapoetic aspect; however, there are some oddities about the dead parrot and its relationship to its dominus that have not been fully explained by theories that equate the parrot with either Statius or a non-specific Flavian poet-figure and the dominus with Atedius Melior or a similar patron-figure. For instance, why is the parrot dead, and why does Statius write an epicedium for it that is similar in tone to the epicedia for dead people in Silvae 2? Why is the parrot's relationship to its master an ambiguous one such that his cage can be described as a prison (carcer, 2.4.15), and the master's grief over the parrot's death is never specifically mentioned? Finally, why does the parrot speak the name of Caesar instead of Atedius Melior, the friend of Statius to whom the poem is dedicated?
I am very grateful to Timothy O'Sullivan and Richard Thomas for helpful comments on a draft of this article, as well as to CQ’s editor Bruce Gibson and the anonymous referee for their detailed notes. I would also like to thank Ulrike Roth for generously providing me with a copy of her article before its publication in CQ.
1 For Statius’ ‘parroting’ of Am. 2.6 in Silv. 2.4, see Colton, R., ‘“Parrot poems” in Ovid and Statius’, CB 43 (1969), 71–8; van Dam, H.-J., P. Papinius Statius Silvae Book II. A Commentary (Leiden, 1984), 336–40; Krasser, H., ‘Poeten, Papageien und Patrone. Statius Silve 2, 4 als Beispiel einer kulturwissenschaftlichen Textinterpretation’, in Schwindt, J.P. (ed.), Klassische Philologie inter disciplinas. Aktuelle Konzepte zu Gegenstand und Methode eines Grundlagenfaches (Heidelberg, 2002), 151–68, at 159–60; Myers, K.S., ‘ Psittacus redux: imitation and literary polemic in Statius, Silvae 2.4’, in Miller, J.F., Damon, C. and Myers, K.S. (edd.), Vertis in Vsum: Studies in Honor of Edward Courtney (Munich, 2002), 189–99, at 189; Dietrich, J.S., ‘Dead parrots society’, AJPh 123 (2002), 95–110, at 99; Newlands, C., Statius Silvae Book II (Cambridge, 2011), 179–80.
2 For metapoetic readings of Ov. Am. 2.6, see Boyd, B.W., ‘The death of Corinna's parrot reconsidered: poetry and Ovid's Amores ’, CJ 82 (1987), 199–207 ; Myers, K.S., ‘Ovid's tecta ars: Amores 2.6, “programmatics and the parrot”’, EMC 9 (1990), 367–74; Fréchet, C., ‘Le perroquet d'Ovide’, in Lestringant, F. and Néraudau, J.-P. (edd.), Liber amicorum: mélanges sur la littérature antique et moderne à la mémoire de Jean-Pierre Néraudau (Paris, 2005), 117–31; James, P., ‘Two poetic and parodic parrots in Latin literature’, in Courtney, J. and James, P. (edd.), The Role of the Parrot in Selected Texts from Ovid to Jean Rhys: Telling a Story from an Alternative Viewpoint (Lewiston, NY, 2006), 1–32 , with notes for further bibliography. For a reading of Ov. Am. 2.6 as a tribute to a particular dead poet and not a general reflection on his poetry, see Kronenberg, L., ‘Aemilius Macer as Corinna's parrot in Ovid Amores 2.6’, CPh 111 (2016), 264–75.
3 E.g. Dietrich (n. 1); Myers (n. 1); Krasser (n. 1); Newlands, C., ‘Animal claquers: Statius Silv. 2.4 and 2.5’, in Batstone, W.W. and Tissol, G. (edd.), Defining Genre and Gender in Latin Literature: Essays Presented to William S. Anderson on his Seventy-Fifth Birthday (New York, 2005), 151–73; Rühl, M., Literatur gewordener Augenblick: Die Silven des Statius im Kontext literarischer und sozialer Bedingungen von Dichtung (Berlin, 2006), 206–10; James (n. 2); Newlands (n. 1), 179–92; Rühl, M., ‘Creating the distinguished addressee: literary patronage in the works of Statius’, in Dominik, W.J., Newlands, C.E. and Gervais, K., Brill's Companion to Statius (Leiden, 2015), 91–105, at 103–4. Cawsey, F., ‘Statius, Silvae II.iv: more than an ex-parrot?’, PACA 17 (1983), 69–84 also reads Silv. 2.4 politically and allegorically but is unique in interpreting the parrot not as a poet-figure but as Domitian.
4 Critics have struggled to explain the uncomfortable similarities between the dead-parrot poem and Silv. 2.1 on Glaucias, the deceased puer delicatus of Atedius Melior, or Silv. 2.6, on the death of Flavius Ursus’ slave Philetus. On the theme of death and the genre of the epicedium in Silvae 2, as well as comparisons between Silvae 2.4 and other poems on death such as 2.1, 2.5, 2.6 and 2.7, see Cawsey (n. 3), 69–74; Dietrich (n. 1), 95–8; Rühl (n. 3 ), 181–210; Newlands (n. 1), 9–11.
5 Cf. Newlands (n. 1), 179–80.
6 Cf. Newlands (n. 3), 162. While our sources reveal that it was standard for ancient talking-birds to learn to hail Caesar and other prominent figures (e.g. Plin. HN 10.117; Mart. 14.73.2; Anth. Pal. 9.562.3–4; see also Weinreich, O., Studien zu Martial: Literarhistorische und religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen [Stuttgart, 1928], 113–17; van Dam [n. 1], 362), Corinna's parrot in Am. 2.6.48 addresses her by name (Corinna uale).
7 On the warmth Statius expresses for Melior, see Rühl (n. 3 ), 288–9 and Rühl (n. 3 ), 102.
8 I acknowledge that a non-allegorical reading of the poem (and of the preface to Book 2, in which Statius refers to ‘your tree, Melior, and the parrot’ in arborem … tuam, Melior et psittacum) would lead a reader to equate Atedius Melior with the parrot's owner, as indeed most readers do (though I would note that only Melior's tree, and not the parrot as well, has a possessive adjective attached to it). In addition, the title of the poem (Psittacus eiusdem) appears to support the identification of Melior with the dominus of the parrot. However, scholars have presented strong arguments for questioning whether Statius himself wrote the tituli (see van Dam [n. 1], 69–72; Coleman, K.M. (ed.), Statius: Silvae IV [Oxford, 1988], xxviii–xxxii ; Liberman, G., Stace: Silves. Édition et commentaire critiques [Paris, 2010], 31–5) and even supporters of Statian authorship of the titles (e.g. Schröder, B.-J., Titel und Text: Zur Entwicklung lateinischer Gedichtüberschriften. Mit Untersuchungen zu lateinischen Buchtiteln, Inhaltsverzeichnissen und anderen Gliederungsmitteln [Berlin, 1999], 180–9) allow that the surviving titles could have been modified from the original. Thus, Vollmer, F., Statius, Silvae (Leipzig, 1898), 207–8 argues that the original title of Silvae 2.4 was most likely Psittacus and not Psittacus eiusdem, which would require knowledge of the previous poem. On this point, see also Rühl (n. 3 ), 139. Finally, even if we accept that Statius himself added the title and that the title was Psittacus eiusdem, Statius could still be issuing a playful challenge to his reader to redefine in what sense the parrot belongs to Atedius Melior (namely as his copy of Petronius).
9 On Ovid's general ability to create ‘presence’ through literature, see Hardie, P., Ovid's Poetics of Illusion (Cambridge, 2002). Ovid's exile poetry provides particularly good examples of how Ovid merges author and literary work, and utilizes written surrogates to ‘commune’ with friends (on which, see Hardie [this note], 283–325).
10 On the nature of Statius’ Silvae as occasional poetry, see Rühl (n. 3 ), especially 83–141.
11 While there is still no consensus among scholars about whether Lesbia's sparrow is just a sparrow or a symbol of the poet's penis (and/or his book of poetry), Gaisser, J.H., ‘Introduction: themes in Catullan criticism (c.1950–2000)’, in Gaisser, J.H. (ed.), Oxford Readings in Classical Studies: Catullus (Oxford, 2007), 1–24 , at 20 is probably right to suggest that ‘many (perhaps most) scholars accept’ the obscene interpretation.
12 On Melior's (and Statius’) probable penchant for Ovidian literature, cf. Hardie, P., ‘Statius’ Ovidian poetics and the tree of Atedius Melior (Silvae 2.3)’, in Nauta, R.R., van Dam, H.-J. and Smolenaars, J.J.L. (edd.), Flavian Poetry (Leiden, 2006), 207–21, at 207; Rühl (n. 3 ), 206, 290–2, 295–6. Ovid is not the only important author in Silvae 2, all of which is dedicated to Atedius Melior: the focus on Lucan in Silv. 2.7 and on Petronius (if my interpretation is accepted) in Silv. 2.4 might also suggest that Atedius Melior had a penchant for Neronian authors. On the figure of Atedius Melior, known only from Statius’ and Martial's poems, see Nauta, R.R., Poetry for Patrons: Literary Communication in the Age of Domitian (Leiden, 2002), 282–3; Rühl (n. 3 ), 288–96; Newlands (n. 1), 20–1; Rühl (n. 3 ), 101–4.
13 See K.F.C. Rose, The Date and Author of the Satyricon (Leiden, 1971). More recent discussions, with further bibliography in support of this identification, can be found in Schmeling, G., A Commentary on the Satyrica of Petronius (Oxford, 2011), xiii–xvii ; Völker, T. and Rohmann, D., ‘ Praenomen Petronii: the date and author of the Satyricon reconsidered’, CQ 61 (2011), 660–76; Prag, J. and Repath, I., ‘Introduction’, in Prag, J. and Repath, I. (edd.), Petronius A Handbook (Malden, MA, 2013), 1–14, at 5–10. Recent discussions that call into question the identification of the author of the Satyrica with the courtier of Nero include Martin, R., ‘Qui a (peut-être) écrit le Satyricon?’, RÉL 78 (2000), 139–63; Flobert, P., ‘Considérations intempestives sur l'auteur et la date du Satyricon sous Hadrien’, in Herman, J. and Rosén, H. (edd.), Petroniana: Gedenkschrift für Hubert Petersmann (Heidelberg, 2003), 109–25; Laird, A., ‘The true nature of the Satyricon?’, in Paschalis, M. et al. (edd.), The Greek and Roman Novel: Parallel Readings (Groningen, 2007), 151–67; Henderson, J., ‘The Satyrica and the Greek novel: revisions and some open questions’, IJCT 17 (2010), 483–96; Ratti, S., ‘Le monde du Satyricon et la maison de Pline le Jeune’, Anabases 13 (2011), 79–94 ; Hofmann, H., ‘Petronius, Satyrica ’, in Cueva, E.P. and Byrne, S.N. (edd.), A Companion to the Ancient Novel (Malden, MA, 2014), 96–118, at 98–100; Roth, U., ‘Liberating the Cena ’, CQ 66 (2016), 614–34. For a balanced overview of the scholarship on the author and the date of the Satyrica, see Vannini, G., ‘Petronius 1975–2005: bilancio critico e nuove proposte’, Lustrum 49 (Göttingen, 2007), 7–511, at 85–92.
14 G. Jensson, The Recollections of Encolpius. The Satyrica of Petronius as Milesian Fiction (Ancient Narrative Supplementum 2) (Groningen, 2004), especially 245–301. On the Milesian tale, see also Harrison, S.J., Framing the Ass: Literary Texture in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses (Oxford, 2013), 57–68 .
15 For example, the many connections between Mart. 3.82, which Henderson (n. 13), 492 dubs ‘a virtual Cena Trimalchionis in miniature’, and Petronius’ Satyrica help to confirm the direction of allusion. It makes more sense for Martial to create an homage to Petronius by concentrating allusions from throughout Petronius’ Cena (and beyond, if Massilitanis in Mart. 3.82.23 could reference the novel's presumed episode[s] in Massilia, on which, see Petron. Sat. frr. 1 and 4) into one epigram, thereby creating a temporary connection between Martial's well-known parvenu Zoilus and his literary model Trimalchio, than for Petronius to have scattered bits and pieces of one epigram throughout a lengthy section of a novel. For an analysis of the many correspondences between Trimalchio and Zoilus, see Colton, R.E., Studies of Imitation in Some Latin Authors (Amsterdam, 1995), 240–55.
16 Solin, H., ‘Petron und die römische Namengebung’, in Herman, J. and Rosén, H. (edd.), Petroniana: Gedenkschrift für Hubert Petersmann (Heidelberg, 2003), 193–9.
17 Roth (n. 13) interprets the influence the other way around and reads the author of the Satyrica as instead alluding to Pliny the Younger's letter to Trajan, Ep. 10.104, in which these freedmen are mentioned.
18 See Dietrich (n. 1), 98, who notes that both Silv. 2.4 and 2.7 concern the role of poetry.
19 For critique of Nero and his role in Lucan's death, see Silv. 2.7.58, 60–1, 100–4, 118–19. On the demonization of Nero in the Flavian period, see Newlands (n. 1), 238, on Silv. 2.7.61 (with further bibliography in her note).
20 Cf. Myers (n. 1), 192, who notes parallels between Silv. 2.4 and 2.7 and Ov. Am. 2.6 and 3.9 (on Tibullus’ death).
21 On the popularity in the Flavian period of literature celebrating famous deaths, see Newlands (n. 1), 193 (with further bibliography in her note, to which could be added Ker, J., The Deaths of Seneca [Oxford, 2009], 41–62). See also Plin. Ep. 5.5 on Fannius, who left an unfinished account of the deaths of those who were killed or banished under Nero, and Plin. Ep. 8.12.4. It seems likely that Tacitus’ account of Petronius’ famous death (Ann. 16.18–19) was not the first or only version.
22 On the likely authenticity of the attribution to Petronius of this fragment (and others from the Anthologia Latina), see Courtney, E., The Poems of Petronius (Atlanta, 1991), 7–11 .
23 Connors, C., Petronius the Poet. Verse and Literary Tradition in the Satyricon (Cambridge, 1998), 47–9. Connors's interpretation is accepted by Myers (n. 1), 194 and James, P., ‘Real and metaphorical mimicking birds in the Metamorphoses of Apuleius’, in Harrison, S., Paschalis, M. and Frangoulidis, S. (edd.), Metaphor and the Ancient Novel. (Ancient Narrative Supplementum 4) (Groningen, 2005), 210–24, at 220.
24 Myers (n. 1), 193. She discusses (193–5) examples from Callimachus (Ia. 2, fr. 192.11 Pfeiffer), Persius (pr. 8–14) and Martial (10.3.1–6), among others. See also Newlands (n. 3), 164. Hunink, V., ‘An Apuleian parrot (on Apul. Fl. 12)’, AClass 43 (2000), 71–9 presents the interesting argument that in Flor. 12 Apuleius makes the parrot a symbol not of bad poetry but of his own literary voice. Was he inspired by Petronius’ parrot?
25 For Petronius’ possible involvement in Neronian literary feuds, see Sullivan, J.P., ‘Petronius, Seneca, and Lucan: a Neronian literary feud?’, TAPhA 99 (1968), 453–67; Völker and Rohmann (n. 13), 669–75 (with notes for further bibliography).
26 On Nero's own penchant for teaching birds (starlings and nightingales) to talk in Greek and Latin, see Plin. HN 10.120. Both the starling and the nightingale show up in Silvae 2.4 among the birds Statius calls together to mourn for the parrot (2.4.19–21).
27 Perhaps the ‘varied’ (uaria) nature of the magpie's feathers captures the polyphonic and picaresque texture of the Satyrica. On the association of the novel with uarietas, see Fitzgerald, W., Variety: The Life of a Roman Concept (Chicago, 2016), 60–4. Steiner, D., ‘Feathers flying: avian poetics in Hesiod, Pindar, and Callimachus’, AJPh 128 (2007), 177–208, at 180–1 similarly finds metapoetic meaning in the ‘mottled neck’ (poikilodeiron, 203) of Hesiod's nightingale.
28 Cf. the parrot's ‘saluting’ behaviour in Silv. 2.4.29 (ille salutator regum). On possible allusions to Nero in the depiction of Trimalchio, see Crum, R.H., ‘Petronius and the emperors, I: allusions to the Satyricon ’, CW 45 (1952), 161–8; Rose (n. 13), 77–9, though with the qualifications of Vout, C., ‘The Satyrica and Neronian culture’, in Prag, J. and Repath, I. (edd.), Petronius A Handbook (Malden, MA, 2013), 101–13, at 102. See also Bartsch, S., Actors in the Audience (Cambridge, MA, 1994), 199 ; Laird (n. 13), 160. On the metaphorical potential of Petronius’ pica, see Gloyn, L., ‘She's only a bird in a gilded cage: freedwomen at Trimalchio's dinner party’, CQ 62 (2012), 260–80, at 278–9; Jones, F., Boundaries of Art and Social Space in Rome: The Caged Bird and Other Art Forms (London, 2016), 109 .
29 The text of Statius is E. Courtney's OCT (Oxford, 1992), except where noted on 2.4.15. Translations are my own.
30 Cf. Newlands (n. 1), 238, on Silv. 2.7.61: ‘Nero was often called dominus after his death for treating the Romans like slaves’. See also M.B. Roller, Constructing Autocracy: Aristocrats and Emperors in Julio-Claudian Rome (Princeton, 2001), 261, who notes the use of dominus for Nero in Tac. Hist. 4.42 and Mart. 7.45.7, in addition to Stat. Silv. 2.7.61.
31 On which, see Petersmann, H., ‘Environment, linguistic situation, and levels of style in Petronius’ Satyrica ’, in Harrison, S.J. (ed.), Oxford Readings in the Roman Novel (Oxford, 1999), 105–23 (transl. M. Revermann of H. Petersmann, ‘Umwelt, Sprachsituation und Stilschichten in Petrons Satyrica’, ANRW 2.32.3 , 1687–705); Boyce, B., The Language of Freedmen in Petronius’ Cena Trimalchionis (Leiden, 1991); Adams, J.N., ‘Petronius and new non-literary Latin’, in Herman, J. and Rosén, H. (edd.), Petroniana: Gedenkschrift für Hubert Petersmann (Heidelberg, 2003), 11–23 ; Goldman, M.L., ‘Language, satire, and heteroglossia in the Cena Trimalchionis ’, Helios 35 (2008), 49–65 . In addition, the parrot's skill at imitation could reflect the Satyrica’s similarity to mime; see Connors (n. 23), 14.
32 E.g. van Dam (n. 1), 343 on Silv. 2.4.3; Newlands (n. 1), 181 ad loc.
33 Newlands (n. 1), 181 on Silv. 2.4.3. Myers (n. 1), 198 also compares the ‘theme of obstructed speech as a punishment’ in the Metamorphoses and notes the use of the verb praecludere in Met. 2.658, ‘Ocyroe's punishment for her misuse of speech’ (198 n. 55).
34 E.g. van Dam (n. 1), 343 on Silv. 2.4.3; Newlands (n. 3), 161; Newlands (n. 1), 343 on 2.4.4; Rühl (n. 3 ), 204.
35 Cf. van Dam (n. 1), 345, on 2.4.5.
36 For possible allusions to the Satyrica in Tacitus’ reference to Petronius’ style of speaking and living (cf. Ann. 16.18 in speciem simplicitatis and Sat. 132.15 nouae simplicitatis opus), or in Tacitus’ reference to Petronius’ ‘imitation of vices’ (uitiorum imitatione, Ann. 16.18), see Rose (n. 13), 45–6 (though Rose himself is sceptical).
37 Cf. Hardie (n. 9), 4: ‘Muses and poet are in turn conduits of real presence to the reader, transforming memory of the past into an experience of being present at the time.’
38 On these poems and the theme of ‘epistolary presence’ in other exile poetry, see Hardie (n. 9), 283–325.
39 Hardie (n. 9), 323. For Ovid and Macer's metapoetic journey, see Williams, G., Banished Voices: Readings in Ovid's Exile Poetry (Cambridge, 1994), 42–8; Heyworth, S.J., ‘Some allusions to Callimachus in Latin poetry’, MD 33 (1994), 51–79, at 76–9; Holzberg, N., ‘Playing with his life: Ovid's “autobiographical” references’, Lampas 30 (1997), 4–19, at 6–7; Holzberg, N., Ovid: The Poet and his Work (transl. Goshgarian, G.M.) (Ithaca, NY, 2002), 21–3.
40 Williams (n. 39), 44; Heyworth (n. 39), 76–9.
41 Heyworth (n. 39), 77. Williams (n. 39), 44 does not go so far as to deny a real friendship between Heraclitus and Callimachus but does note the importance of poetry for keeping the friendship alive after death.
42 Ovid and Callimachus are certainly not the only poets to conflate lived experience with poetic memory. On this conflation in Virgil, see Thomas, R.F., ‘The old man revisited: memory, reference, and genre in Virg., Geo. 4.116–48’, MD 29 (1992), 35–70, at 45–51, who interprets the phrase introducing the Old Man of Tarentum (memini … uidisse ‘I remember having seen …’, Verg. G. 4.125–7) as possibly referencing a previous literary account. In addition, Prop. 1.10, which begins with the scandalous assertion that Propertius had been present to witness Gallus’ first night of love with his puella, has been interpreted metapoetically, as representing Propertius’ reaction to the elegiac poetry of Cornelius Gallus. I would also note that Propertius and Statius both foreground uidimus as the first word in a nearly identically placed line in each poem (Prop. 1.10.6 and Silv. 2.4.7). On Prop. 1.10, see Keith, A., Propertius: Poet of Love and Leisure (London, 2008), 120–4 (and 185 n. 13 for further bibliography on the metapoetic reading of Prop. 1.10).
43 See passages cited in van Dam (n. 1), 347 on Silv. 2.4.9.
44 For the allusions to Ov. Met. 2.367–80, see van Dam (n. 1), 347 on Silv. 2.4.9–10; Krasser (n. 1), 158–9. Van Dam (n. 1), 347 also detects allusion to Ov. Met. 2.252–3. Myers (n. 1), 197 sees rivalry with Ovid in these lines, but, since she reads the parrot as possibly representative of Statius ([n. 1], 199), she reads the rivalry as being between Ovid and Statius. On Ovid's use of swan imagery to define his brand of epic, see Papaioannou, S., ‘“Vt non [forma] cygnorum, sic albis proxima cygnis”: poetology, epic definition, and swan imagery in Ovid's Metamorphoses ’, Phoenix 58 (2004), 49–61 .
45 Newlands (n. 1), 184 on Silv. 2.4.10.
46 E.g. Newlands (n. 1), 184 on Silv. 2.4.11–15; Jones (n. 28), 104.
47 Newlands (n. 1), 184 on Silv. 2.4.11.
48 See van Dam (n. 1), 349 on Silv. 2.4.11–15 for examples of rutilus used for ‘golden’.
49 For testudo as ‘dome’, see van Dam (n. 1), 349 on Silv. 2.4.11–14. Newlands (n. 1), 184 on Silv. 2.4.11 suggests that the associations of testudo with the lyre perhaps ‘punningly suggests that this is a musical house for a musical bird’, but dismisses without explanation the idea that testudo could also connote a dome. While the features of the domus aurea are only vaguely described in the literary sources, Suetonius provides a striking description of a circular dining room with what appears to be a vaulted ceiling that rotates like the heavens (Suet. Ner. 31.2). In addition, there are remains of a domed octagonal room from the domus aurea and of a room in the pentagonal court (Room 80) popularly dubbed ‘The room of the golden vault’ (on which, see Ball, L.F., The Domus Aurea and the Roman Architectural Revolution [Cambridge, 2003], 93–4).
50 See van Dam (n. 1), 350 on Silv. 2.4.11–15; Newlands (n. 1), 184 on Silv. 2.4.12.
51 Cf. Lucan's suggestion that Nero might either take Jupiter's sceptre or mount the chariot of Phoebus after his death (Luc. 1.47–50). On Nero's association with the Sun God and Apollo, see Champlin, E., Nero (Cambridge, MA, 2003), 112–44; Coleman, K.M., Martial: Liber Spectaculorum (Oxford, 2006), 21 ; Mratschek, S., ‘Nero the imperial misfit: philhellenism in a rich man's world’, in Buckley, E. and Dinter, M.T. (edd.), A Companion to the Neronian Age (Malden, MA, 2013), 45–62, at 48–53; Bergmann, M., ‘Portraits of an emperor—Nero, the sun, and Roman otium ’, in Buckley, E. and Dinter, M.T. (edd.), A Companion to the Neronian Age (Malden, MA, 2013), 332–62, at 340–51 (with notes for earlier bibliography). On Nero's passion for charioteering and his particular association with the Sun-God qua charioteer, see Champlin (this note), 53–83, 114–26. Champlin ([this note], 127–32) also defends the view of L'Orange, H.P., ‘Domus aurea—der Sonnenpalast’, SO 22 (1942), 68–100 , that Nero's domus aurea evokes the palace of the Sun-God, though Champlin does not accept ‘L'Orange's conception of Nero's reign as developing into a solar theocracy’ (Champlin [this note], 305 n. 64). In view of Nero's association with Apollo, it is perhaps significant to recall that Petronius’ parrot-poem ends with an address to Apollo (691.5–6) and a bid to dwell in Apollo's temple.
52 Cf. Champlin (n. 51), 128. On Lucan's allusions to Ovid's Phaethon in his Nero ‘eulogy’ (Luc. 1.33–66), see McRoberts, S., ‘Pompey as Phaethon’, SyllClass 26 (2015), 51–75, at 51 (with notes for earlier bibliography).
53 Cf. Myers (n. 1), 195–6 n. 43.
54 Myers (n. 1), 196 n. 43 notes the connections between queror, its cognates and elegy. I would also add that both argutus and stridere are used of swan noises in Virgil (Ecl. 9.36; Aen. 1.397) and thus could add to the parrot's competition with swans.
55 Another metapoetic birdcage that the parrot's palace-cage might call to mind is Varro's aviary in the De re rustica. Many scholars have pointed to the similarities between Varro's aviary's rotating dome decorated with stars (Rust. 3.5.17) and Nero's fantastic dining room described by Suetonius (Ner. 31.2). See Boëthius, A., The Golden House of Nero: Some Aspects of Roman Architecture (Ann Arbor, MI, 1960), 124 ; Beste, H.-J. and von Hesberg, H., ‘Buildings of an emperor—how Nero transformed Rome’, in Buckley, E. and Dinter, M.T. (edd.), A Companion to the Neronian Age (Malden, MA, 2013), 314–31, at 326. For a metapoetic reading of Varro's aviary, see Green, C.M.C., ‘Free as a bird: Varro De re rustica 3’, AJPh 118 (1997), 427–48; Kronenberg, L., Allegories of Farming from Greece and Rome: Philosophical Satire in Xenophon, Varro, and Virgil (Cambridge, 2009), 119–24; Nelsestuen, G.A., Varro the Agronomist: Political Philosophy, Satire, and Agriculture in the Late Republic (Columbus, OH, 2015), 197–204 ; Jones (n. 28), 105.
56 E.g. Rudich, V., Dissidence and Literature under Nero: The Price of Rhetoricization (London, 1997), 190 ; Branham, R. Bracht and Kinney, D., Petronius: Satyrica (Los Angeles and Berkeley, 1997), xiv .
57 Newlands (n. 3), 164, 173.
58 Commentators and translators tend to suppress the possibility of a negative edge to querulus. E.g. van Dam (n. 1), 362 on Silv. 2.4.29–30: ‘queruli … amici: “A sympathetic friend when you were sad”’; Newlands (n. 1), 190 on Silv. 2.4.30: ‘queruli quondam uice functus amici: “having now performed the role of mourning friend”’.
59 Newlands (n. 1), 185 on Silv. 2.4.14–15.
60 Coleman (n. 8), 89 on Silv. 4.2.18 notes that Domitian's Flavian Palace ‘was built over the remains of Nero's Domus Aurea …’. Newlands (n. 1), 185 on Silv. 2.4.15 examines the textual issue: ‘Courtney and SB read angusti for M's augusti, following Håkanson 1969: 72, who argues that St. would not have described Domitian's palace in the same way as a parrot's cage. Yet augusti reflects the mock-epic character of 2.4 and its play with architectural as well as consolatory themes; part of its humour is the parrot's palatial housing. Myers 2002: 195–6 n. 43 argues that angustus is another literary term for the cage associated with elegiac lament; but augustus can refer also to a heightened style (OLD 3b)’. For further support of augusti, see van Dam (n. 1), 351 on Silv. 2.4.11–15; Krasser (n. 1), 162; and Liberman (n. 8), 213 on Silv. 2.4.15, who notes that angusti would be difficult after quanta in 2.4.11.
61 Dietrich (n. 1), 101 (full discussion on 101–3). Myers (n. 1), 198 makes a similar observation. See also James (n. 2), 19; Newlands (n. 1), 186 on Silv. 2.4.16–23.
62 Dietrich (n. 1), 101 n. 29.
63 Newlands (n. 3), 164.
64 Tacitus attributes the death of Petronius to the jealousy of Tigellinus over Petronius’ role as Nero's elegantiae arbiter (Ann. 16.18), just as Lucan's death had been attributed to Nero's jealousy over his talent (Ann. 15.49).
65 Both van Dam (n. 1), 356 on Silv. 2.4.22–3, and Newlands (n. 1), 187 on Silv. 2.4.22–3 explain cognata as indicating a kinship between the birds qua talking birds—but Statius specifies that their deaths/destructions are kindred—not (or not just) the birds.
66 On Varro's metapoetic aviary, see n. 55 above. One final allusion to Petronius may reside in the description of the sturnus as memor penitus (2.4.18), the last nine letters of which are an anagram of Petronius. Cf. Hardie, P., Lucretian Receptions: History, the Sublime, Knowledge (Cambridge, 2009), 222 , who similarly suggests that parcus deorum cultor et infrequens (Hor. Carm. 1.34.1) conceals an anagram, T. LVCRETIO. Of course, such wordplay is always difficult to prove and could certainly be coincidental.
67 Dietrich (n. 1), 104.
68 Petron. Sat. 55.6.2–4 (peacock and guinea-fowl); 93.2.1–2 (pheasant and guinea-fowl); 119.36–7 (pheasant). Notably, these birds all appear in a song-within-a-song (or within-a-novel).
69 Critics generally argue that ‘[t]he Republican poet Varro of Atax must be meant’ (Newlands [n. 1], 242 on Silv. 2.7.77) on chronological grounds, since the poet of the Argonautica is mentioned between Lucretius and Ovid, and since Ovid himself mentions Ennius, Lucretius and Varro of Atax (Ov. Am. 1.15.19–24). However, I agree with Vessey, D.W.T.C., ‘Varia Statiana’, CB 46 (1970), 49–55, at 52 that ‘[i]t seems possible that there is here an oblique hit at Valerius Flaccus, whose Argonautica was composed more or less contemporaneously with Statius’ Thebaid’. See also Gibson, B., ‘The repetitions of Hypsipyle’, in Gale, M. (ed.), Latin Epic and Didactic Poetry: Genre, Tradition and Individuality (Swansea, 2004), 149–80, at 153.
70 I follow here the interpretation of Newlands (n. 1), 191 on Silv. 2.4.36–7: ‘nec modifies fessus, not scandet, as van Dam takes it …, thus missing the parrot's “metamorphosis”’.
71 For the Phoenix's staging of his death in a nest filled with luxurious perfumes, see Ov. Met. 15.391–400.
72 Newlands (n. 1), 8.
73 Dietrich (n. 1), 108.
* I am very grateful to Timothy O'Sullivan and Richard Thomas for helpful comments on a draft of this article, as well as to CQ’s editor Bruce Gibson and the anonymous referee for their detailed notes. I would also like to thank Ulrike Roth for generously providing me with a copy of her article before its publication in CQ.
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