Statius and the ‘Commedia’
Statius is amongst Dante’s canon of Latin poets throughout his oeuvre, but particularly in the ‘Commedia’, where his Thebes, along with Vergil’s underworld, provides a model for Dis, and Statius appears as a character in ‘Purgatorio’. However, whilst scholars have recognised Statius’s inclusion in this canon, discussion of his importance has been largely neglected, with no monograph on Statius published to date. Where scholars have dealt with Statius, treatment has focussed primarily on Statius-character, rather than Statius’s broader importance to the ‘Commedia’ – the twentieth-century tendency to view him as poor imitator of Vergil perhaps hampering consideration of his poetic importance. Through an in-depth analysis of the ‘Commedia’ and Statius’s epic poetry, and using their medieval commentators to gain an understanding of the texts closer to medieval sensibilities, I will redress this deficiency and explore the importance of Statius to the ‘Commedia’, from a narrative, allegorical, and poetic perspective.