Printer Friendly

Statius and insomnia: allusion and meaning in 'Silvae' 5.4.

Statius' Silvae 5.4 is one of the best-known poems in the collection, although it is also one of the least representative. Its nineteen lines make it the shortest poem in the Silvae, and although there are other brief poems, such as those describing the parrot of Melior and the tame lion (Silvae 2.4 and 5), it is quite different from the many longer poems that deal with subjects and persons from contemporary society. Of course insomnia must always be a universal issue, but this is nevertheless a poem that does not draw the reader into the `life and times' of Statius as do the poems which precede and follow it, the laments for his father and for a child (Silvae 5.3 and 5.5)(1).

One might attempt to link this poem to `contemporary issues' on the basis of the suggestion that increasingly frequent attestations of sleeplessness can be detected in the early empire[sup.2]; Silvae 5.4 might thus reflect the anxieties and malaise of the period. But the evidence for this claim is slight, and, with a subject as unusual as insomnia, an argument based on the silence of earlier periods is not convincing. Such readiness to deduce the moods of whole societies and eras can be ill-advised: the perception of the Hellenistic period as world-weary is a familiar and tiresome example[sup.3]. Furthermore insomnia, though seldom given independent literary treatment, is a fairly routine part of existence, and one does not have to be despairing over lofty concerns, or perturbations of any kind, to suffer from it. Insomnia can be caused by something as mundane as indigestion; often its physical causes, to say nothing of spiritual ones, are impossible to discern.

This paper aims to examine Statius' treatment of sleep and sleeplessness. I will begin with a brief account of earlier handling of the theme, and will then consider how it is that Statius is able to produce an engaging poem from such an unpromising subject. In particular, I wish to concentrate on the poet's use and adoption of antecedent material. The concluding section will return to the simple yet difficult problem of what we are to make of this poem.

It is no surprise to find sleep playing an important role in the Homeric poems. At the beginning of Iliad 2 Zeus alone of gods and men is awake, pondering how to accomplish Thetis' prayers (Il. 2.1-6):

[unknow characters]

Then the other gods and chariot-fighting men slept all night long, but sweet sleep did not take Zeus. Instead, he pondered in his heart how he might honour Achilles and destroy many of the Achaeans by their ships. And this was the counsel that seemed best in his heart, to send pernicious Dream to Agamemnon, Atreus' son.

In the ensuing passage (Il. 2.7-15), Zeus orders the dream to tell Agamemnon to arm the Achaeans. A number of points can be made. First, it is significant that only Zeus is awake, and the god's wakefulness isolates him from all others, god and mortal alike. Furthermore, the insomnia is the mechanism of the plot giving Zeus the opportunity to decide to send the dream to the Achaean monarch. It is an ironic touch to have a dream sent by one who is awake, and thus without dreams. An example from Iliad 24 further illustrates this technique. After Priam has dined with Achilles, he and his herald are put to rest in Achilles' quarters. He is placed here on the advice of Achilles himself, who is afraid of the complications which would arise if Priam were discovered in the Achaean camp (Il. 24.643-76). Thus one problem is solved for the poet, but there still remains the difficulty of how to return Priam to Troy without detection. To do this Hermes is required to see to Priam's safe conduct, just as when the king came to Achilles. Once again, we have a god lying awake pondering a solution to a difficulty (Il. 24.673-81):

[unknow characters]

The herald and Priam lay down to sleep there, in the vestibule of the house, with pensive thoughts in their hearts, but Achilles slept in the inner room of the well-made shelter, and by him lay beautiful-cheeked Briseis. The other gods and chariot-fighting men slept all night long, tamed by gentle sleep, but sleep did not come upon Hermes the helpful one, as he pondered in his heart how he might send Priam back from the ships without attracting the attention of the devoted guards.

Notice the progression from the particular mortals lying asleep (Priam, the herald, Achilles and Briseis) to the whole generality of gods and men, and then the return to an individual, Hermes. Here the nocturnal setting is more fully exploited than in Iliad 2; here, day will bring with it the likelihood of discovery, so that there is a greater need for urgent action.

We may further note that in both of these passages, sleeplessness is expressed in terms of sleep not taking or possessing an individual. This is similar to the presentation of sleep as a god in the scene of Hera's beguiling of Zeus at Il. 14.224- 360, where the diffident and languid figure of Hypnos is able to overwhelm the might of Zeus for a second time, the first instance being when Hera was keen to vent her fury against Heracles. Indeed it is significant that Zeus took no vengeance on the earlier occasion, since he did not wish to displease Nyx (Night).(4)

Thus in the Homeric epics, sleep is externalized, with important consequences for sleeplessness. In the instances which we have considered, it is the gods who endure sleeplessness. But let it not be forgotten that the Homeric poems offer instances of mortals in a similar plight. Thus at the beginning of Odyssey 20 Odysseus lies awake reflecting on the seemingly insuperable problem of how to deal with the suitors; unlike Zeus and Hermes he is unable to reach an immediate decision. The upshot is that he is persuaded by Athena to yield to sleep (Od. 20.52-3):

[unknow characters]

But even let sleep take you. It is a burden to stay awake all night, and you will soon emerge from your woes.

This is an insomnia that arises from a situation which is beyond control, that does not admit of an easy solution. That sleeplessness is not desirable is made clear by Athena's remarks. The same point is made at the beginning of Iliad 24. After the funeral games of the preceding book Achilles is still not wholly integrated into the society of the Achaeans. This is strikingly shown by his prolonged lack of sleep as he lies awake recalling Patroclus, a process repeated, as we are subsequently told, on eleven consecutive nights (Il. 24.1-13):

[unknow characters]

The contest was over, and the people dispersed, each going to his own swift ship. They thought of enjoying food and sweet sleep, but Achilles wept as he remembered his dear friend, and sleep, the tamer of all things, did not take him, but he turned this way and that, grieving for the courage and noble strength of Patroclus, thinking of the deeds and sorrows he had accomplished and endured with him, making his way through the wars of men and the bitter seas. As he remembered these things, he shed a full tear, turning now on his side, and now on his back, and now lying face-down. But then he stood up straight, and wandered in his grief along the seashore. But the dawn did not escape him, as she showed herself above the sea and the beaches.

Here we have more detailed treatment of both the physical and mental aspects of insomnia. Thus sleeplessness can be occasioned not only by the need to reach a decision, but also by more reflective thought, such as memory. The detail of the tossing and turning Achilles is tellingly observed, in that it suggests the desire to avoid the endless and repetitive circle of memory. There is thus an important contrast with the previous examples: whereas Zeus and Hermes and, to a lesser extent, Odysseus, lose sleep over their next course of action,[sup.5] Achilles loses sleep over a situation which it is impossible to change. Thus from the Homeric poems there seem to be two paradigms for insomnia: the kind induced by the simple desire to effect a desired course of events, and the more problematic dwelling of a person's thoughts on a situation which does not admit of resolution; the instance from Odyssey 20 lies somewhere between these two.

The epithet [unknow characters], `tamer of all things', which is applied to sleep at Il. 24.5 and at Od. 9.373 (when Polyphemus falls asleep), emphasizes the domination of sleep over all gods and men, exemplified in Iliad 14 as has been seen. Even in the passage#age where Achilles resists sleep the adjective is still ironically apposite, since although Achilles is able to resist for eleven days, he will yield to sleep in the end.

In the Homeric poems we hear of the sway of sleep over gods and men. Thus Hela addresses the god with lofty tones (Il. 14.233): [unknow characters] (Sleep, lord of all gods and of all mortals). Later, sleep's dominion extends over all things, animate and inanimate. In a celebrated fragment of Alcman natural features are described as sleeping (fr. 89 Page, 58 Diehl):

[unknow characters]

Asleep are the mountain-tops, ravines, headlands, gullies, the creeping tribes which the black earth nourishes, the beasts of the mountains, the race of bees, and the monsters in the depths of the dark sea. And the tribes of long-winged birds are asleep.

The context of the fragment is unknown; the passage may be the earliest example of the familiar contrast between a wakeful lover and a sleeping world.(6) But such speculations on the lost context may be imprudent - it is possible that the tone of the poem was uniformly calm. However that may be, the domain of sleep now extends over a far wider area than in Homer, affecting even inanimate objects.

Whatever we make of Alcman, the contrast between an unresponsive world and a suffering individual is an important one. In Aeneid 4 Virgil memorably exploits the trope, contrasting the love-sick Dido with the sleeping world around her (Aen. 4.522-32):(7)

Nox erat et placidum carpebant fessa soporem

corpora per terras, silvaeque et saeva quierant

aequora, cum medio volvuntur sidera lapsu,

cum tacet omnis ager, pecudes pictaeque volucres,

quaeque lacus late liquidos quaeque aspera dumis

rura tenent, somno positae sub nocte silenti.

at non infelix animi Phoenissa, neque umquam

solvitur in somnos oculisve aut pectore noctem

accipit: ingeminant curae rursusque resurgens

saevit amor magnoque irarum fluctuat aestu.

It was night, and weary frames enjoyed gentle sleep throughout the lands, and the woods and savage seas had become quiet, when the stars were rolling on in mid-course, and every field was still, and the herds and the painted birds, those who inhabit the wide crystal lakes and those who inhabit tracts of rough thickets, were settled in silent sleep beneath the night sky. But not Dido of Phoenicia, unhappy at heart; neither was she released by sleep, nor did she receive night in her eyes or in her heart; her cares redouble, and love welling up again rages, and wavers on a vast surge of anger.

This is one of several similar examples;[sup.8] as will become apparent, this is an important passage for Statius. Here the Homeric antithesis between the individual and the surrounding world is extended; even the saeva aequora are at rest, in contrast to the aestus irarum that is boiling inside Dido.

In Silvae 5.4, Statius' description of the sleeping world is remarkably similar to that of Virgil. However, there are some important differences. In is the narrator with an overview of the whole world of the poem who is able to discern what is, or what is not happening; it is quite plausible for such a narrator to remark that all things are at rest. Statius, however, is in a different situation,(9) for although the motif of nocturnal calm certainly has epic antecedents, we are closer here to the lyric voice. Statius' use of the epic device of an all-seeing epic narrator in his particular context has great potential for irony; if Statius is lying in bed awaiting the onset of sleep, his knowledge of the state of the external world can in fact only be limited. However, he asserts, with the confidence and certainty of an epic narrator, that there are silent herds, wild beasts, and birds, and describes the restful state of rivers, tree-tops,(10) and the sea. Such personal omniscience seems implausible.

Instead it may be better to argue that literature is here determining experience. This may at first appear puzzling -- why should Statius choose to invoke a literary echo which is not appropriate to the personal situation in which he represents himself? The answer lies in Virgil, where the description of a sleeping and indifferent world is used as a rhetoric of pity; the portrayal of indifference in others increases the sympathy of the audience. It may help to consider an example from English literature. W. H. Auden's poem, Musee des Beaux Arts,(11) deals with the context of indifference which frequently accompanies suffering,(12) and uses such indifference as the source of its pathos."(13) Both Statius and Auden use the portrayal of indifference as a means of evoking sympathy.(14) One might also compare the familiar trope of pastoral lament where nymphs and others are asked, in reproachful tones, why they were not present at the death of a figure such as Daphnis or Gallus; the effect of their absence is that the death seems more pitiable.(15)

Indeed, the pastoral topos of reproach to absent ones has some bearing on this poem. Statius begins by asking Somnus why he is not with him, which is followed by the request that he should come (`inde veni', 16). This is not the only link with pastoral. In bucolic lament, when the nymphs and others are asked why they have been absent, there is usually an inquiry as to whether they have been tarrying on the slopes of Maenalus or some other appropriate place. We have something similar her, with Statius' suggestion to Somnus that he should not tarry with the lovers who are, in any case, spurning him; instead, he should come to Statius.

But there are other motifs used by Statius to persuade sleep to come to him. One important genre is the hymn; Silvae 5.4 is, after all, a poem which aims to persuade a god to exercise his power favourably. The straightforward hymnic aspects include the ingratiating appellation `iuvenis placidissime divum' (1), reminding the god of his gentle nature,(16) and the flattering notion of the god as a kind of universal benefactor (`donis ut solus egerem / Somne, tuis', 2-3).(17) Similarly, as often happens in hymns, there is a section which describes the power of the god (3-6); compare the opening of Hera's appeal to Hypnos (Il. 14.233, cited above). Thus we have the two aspects of the god, his gentleness and his power.

Whilst we should keep in mind Hera's appeal to the mighty sway of the god, there are two other appeals to Somnus which are also important, particularly because they emphasize his gentler aspect. These are the visits of Iris to Somnus in Ovid's Metamorphoses (11.593ff.) and in Statius' Thebaid (10.84ff.). The address to Somnus as `iuvenis placidissime divum' in Silvae 5.4 is similar to `mitissime divum / Somne' (Theb. 10.126-7) and `Somne, quies rerum, placidissime, Somne, deorum' (Met. 11.623). The first point is a simple one; all three invocations are a captatio benevolentiae, with the speaker selecting an apposite feature of the god to praise. Thus Statius, the speaker of Silvae 5.4, imitates the language of epic appeals to the god and fuses both the Homeric qualities of gentleness and might, since the succeeding lines represent the undoubted sway of the god over the world. However, the parallels have more to tell than this. A consideration of the contexts in the Metamorphoses and the Thebaid is now required.

Iris is sent to visit the god. On both occasions she is acting on the instructions of Juno: in Ovid, the purpose is to have Somnus send an apparition of Morpheus to inform Alcyone of the death of her husband, Ceyx, while in the Thebaid it is Juno's wish for the Thebans to be overwhelmed by slumber, so as to present an opportunity to their enemies. But in Silvae 5.4 it is Statius who is addressing Somnus, not an intercessor; moreover the aim is not to precipitate an unusual intervention from Somnus, but merely to restore the natural process of sleep which has been interrupted.(18)

This may in part explain the complex nature of the opening invocation where not only are the two aspects of Sleep, gentleness and power, stressed, but also praise is mixed with a note of reproach; this too is unlike the epic examples, where the attempt to persuade is undertaken for the sake of divine plans in response to an external situation. For Statius, it is sleeplessness itself which is the issue and it is already longstanding (7-10). Thus the poem does not begin with the usual captatio benevolentiae, but instead with an abrupt complaint,` Crimine quo merui'. Even less courteous is the opening half of the next line, `quo errore miser...', which has an even stronger suggestion of indignation at an injustice perpetrated without reason. Miser in particular is a neat touch, being an ironic rejoinder to placidissime, used of Somnus in the previous line. The positive form of miser seems more effective than a superlative; because Statius does not overstate his case, the simple form of the adjective is more arresting. And `donis ut solus egerem / Somne, tuis' (2-3), though ingratiating in the suggestion that the god is a universal benefactor, is also deeply reproachful since Statius points out that he alone is deprived of the god's usual gifts. This is an appeal to the god to restore normal conditions; it is not a request for some extraordinary intervention. Thus the demonstration of the god's power in the description of the sleeping universe not only has a hymnic quality, winning over the god by pointing out the extent of his dominion, but also has an element of reproach; if Somnus has used his power over the whole world, why does Statius not benefit (`donis ut solus egerem')?

Moreover the description of the world at rest that follows is not wholly unambiguous as an account of Somnus' power. In line 5 there is the bizarre detail `nec trucibus fluviis idem sonus' (`nor do the raging torrents roar as they were wont', as Mozley translates). This is an impossibility; rivers are unaffected by the change of day or night.(19) Statius not only gives the impossible detail of the rivers running more quietly at night, but the idea of the sleeping world is also called into question with the remark that the curvata cacumina only feign (simulant) their weary slumbers; thus the sleep of the tree-tops and, by implication, of natural features is only imaginary. In effect the god has no power over them. Moreover the description of nocturnal calm is already undercut by Statius' personal involvement in the poem. Because Statius is not an epic narrator here, the details he gives of the sleeping world around him can be questioned by the reader; even the sleeping herds, flocks and birds are in question, since we cannot suppose such comprehensive omniscience from the insomniac Statius. This in turn undermines the praise given to Somnus in these lines; if Statius is not to be believed, then perhaps the god is not so powerful.

Another section of the poem where the god is shown in an ironic light occurs in lines 14 and 15. Here Statius suggests that Somnus should come to one who will be more welcoming than the lovers, who are repulsing him. Instead of being the tamer of all things, mortal and divine, the god is unable to deal with lovers.(20) There is something rather reminiscent of Ovid in this; one may compare the way in which Mars in particular and to a lesser extent Jove are treated in a belittling manner in Fasti 3.(21) More relevant, however, is Amores 1.13, the address to Aurora.

Amores 1.13 exhibits some striking resemblances to this poem. In Silvae 5.4 we have seen some of the ways in which the address to a god is undercut, with implications of unjust treatment and the suggestions that the god is not quite all that he is made out to be. In Amores 1.13, there is the same note of reproach; Ovid also attempts both to elicit Aurora's goodwill (Ovid expresses the hope that Memnon, her son, will continue to receive his funerary offerings)(22) and to bring her down to size with mocking references to her elderly husband and suggestions of Aurora's adultery.(23) The topos of describing the various powers of the divinity is also treated in a satirical vein, and in a more obvious fashion than in Silvae 5.4. Thus Aurora's dubious powers include sending boys off to school where they may be buffeted by their mentors,(24) and depriving lovers such as Ovid of the chance to lie abed with their mistresses during the morning.(25)

But it is not merely technique that links these two poems. With his mention of the, lovers, Statius evokes the genre of love poetry; moreover, the image of lovers trying' to repel sleep is very similar to Ovid's image of dawn being unwelcome to the lover. Furthermore both poems have a nocturnal dramatic setting. Both poems also describe the arrival of dawn, although while Aurora ignores Statius' complaints (`Tithonia questus / praeterit', 9-10), she nevertheless pities him (`et gelido spargit miserata flagello', 10). Though Pomeroy argues, on the basis of the dew sprinkled by Aurora, that Statius is not in bed, but actually watching for the arrival of Somnus,(26) insomnia is usually described as affecting persons lying in bed.(27) It is perhaps preferable to view the dew of morning as a figurative expression of the temporary relief which comes with the dawn after a sleepless night;(28) at least one does not have to go on trying to fall asleep.(29) This interpretation is supported by Valerius Flaccus 7.23-5 where Medea's refreshment at the onset of dawn is compared to a light shower on corn or the wind assisting tired oars:(30)

nec minus insomnem lux orta refecit amantem,

quam cum languentes levis erigit imber aristas

grataque iam fessis descendunt flamina remis.

And no less did the risen day refresh the sleepless lover than when light rain raises up wilting ears of corn or when pleasing winds descend on tired oarsmen.

Moreover we may recall that Silvae 5.4 is an attempt to persuade Somnus, so that we do not have to look for literal truth; in this case it is effective to tell Somnus that Aurora has taken pity on Statius and given him some relief by sprinkling him with dew, just as it is effective for Statius to tell the god of his all-embracing dominion, even if he is scarcely able to verify his own description. At the end of the poem, Statius wishes to be touched by the god's cacumen virgae, so that to tell the god that Aurora has shown pity on him with her whip is an effective means of eliciting sympathy; the paradox of miserata flagello is all part of this. Thus Aurora, whom one might expect to be an unsympathetic figure, particularly if we have Amores 1.13 in mind, is partially rehabilitated even though she passes by the poet's questus (which indeed recalls the last two lines of Ovid's poem).(31) The Statius applies to himself (2); the appeal to the pity of Somnus is thus intensified when it is pointed out to him that even Aurora is willing to show some compassion. Amores 1.13 is thus an important antecedent, not only for the techniques of persuasion used, but also for the recasting of Aurora in this poem.

The mention of Aurora and her pity seems to offer a slight consolation to the poet, but we should notice how Statius has already demonstrated with great subtlety that such consolation can only be but slight, since he has not even been able to catch up on his lost sleep during the day(32). This state of affairs becomes apparent when we consider the various phenomena described in lines 7-9, Phoebe (the moon), the Oetaeae Paphiaeque ... lampades (the Evening and Morning stars) and Tithonia (the dawn). Phoebe corresponds to the middle of the night, but the most significant of all is Oetaeae ... lampades, the evening star: if the return of the evening star sees Statius still without solace, then he has been unable to sleep even during the day.

Another striking detail is the mention of Argus, oddly described as `sacer' (12). Statius seems to be saying that not even if he had the thousand eyes of Argus, who was never wholly awake (13), would he be equal (`unde ego sufficiam?', 11) to his prolonged insomnia. This is a slightly obscure passage, but the thought must be that even if Statius were, like Argus, equipped with a thousand eyes which would not all be open at the same time, he could not endure his sleeplessness. Moreover, it will be recalled that Argus does not succumb to Somnus, but to Heracles, in the Prometheus Bound ascribed to Aeschylus, and to Mercury in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Thus Argus, noted for his vigilance, is in a sense an exemplum of the ineffectiveness of Somnus - it required a Hermes or a Heracles to subdue him.(33) This is something of a provocation.`unde ego sufficiam?' (11) is thus not merely a cry of despair, but also a challenge to the god to prove whether in fact he is able to save the situation. Indeed the parenthical sufficit (`it is enough') at the end of the poem may well suggest that the god is finally responding to the entreaties and bringing a long-awaited respite from insomnia. The present indicative suggests that the poet is finally falling asleep, which is why the poem breaks off.

Statius approaches Somnus in a playful manner for most of the poem. At the end there is a slight shift as the poet becomes more aware of the nature of the deity he is invoking. Hence the god is asked not to overdo his assistance.(34) Somnus has only to touch Statius with the tip of his staff or to pass above him gently. These instructions to the god are gently humourous. Statius gives the god precise details as to how to proceed. He is not to overwhelm Statius with the feathers on his wings; such complete sleep is requested by others, a turba laetior. Who is this mysterious `happier crowd'? The simple explanation is that Statius is only asking for a brief sleep; others, who are happier than he is (miser, 2), are accustomed to ask for a more substantial sleep. However, this seems weak in such an allusive poem: we are entitled to ask who such persons are. As we shall see, the closing lines of the poem hint at the connexion between sleep and death. But if `totas infundere pennas' were to refer to the deeper sleep of death, then why should the turba be laetior? The puzzling epithet can, however, be explained: laetus can appear in Elysian contexts, such as Virgil, Aen. 6.638, `devenere locos laetos'. Even more relevant is the end of Horace's Mercury (C. 1.10.17-20), where we find a turba as well:(35)

tu pias laetis animas reponis

sedibus virgaque levem coerces

aurea turbam, superis deorum

gratus et imis.

You set pious souls in their happy abode, and with your golden staff you keep within bounds the insubstantial crowd, pleasing to the gods of heaven and of the underworld.

Statius reworks the Horatian model; the turba laetior are the blessed dead, who successfully appeal for sleep in Elysium.

Despites its humour, the poem does not shy away from inauspicious traditions concerning sleep and Somnus. The allusion to the sleep of Argus (as Ovid tells the Story),(36) though it is nothing to do with Somnus, is one example. More obvious allusions are effected by Statius' mention of the god's virga, and his request to be touched only `extremo ... cacumine'. In Aeneid 5, when Palinurus is left alone to guide the fleet at night, Somnus descends from the heavens and causes Palinurus to fall asleep (Virgil, Aen. 5.854-6):

ecce deus ramum Lethaeo rore madentem

vique soporatum Stygia super utraque quassat

tempora, cunctantique natantia lumina solvit.

Lo! the god brandishes over both his temples a branch dripping with the dew of Lethe and drugged with the power of the Styx; as the helmsman hesitates, he frees his swimming eyes.

Once he is asleep, the god throws him into the water, and he meets the doom which he will recount to Aeneas in the underworld (Aen. 6.347-62). There is thus good reason for Statius' caution. Somnus is, after all, the brother of the god of death.(37) Moreover Statius' references both to Argus and to the virga of Somnus recall the virga of Mercury used against Argus, which, as Virgil tells us, was not only endowed with the power of bestowing sleep, but also that of determining life or death:

tum virgam capit: hac animas ille evocat Orco

pallentis, alias sub Tartara tristia mittit,

dat somnosque adimitque, et lumina morte resignat.

(Virgil, Aen. 4.242-4)

Then he takes his staff; with this he calls forth pale shades from Orcus, and sends others beneath grim Tartarus, and gives and takes away sleep, and opens the eyes of the dead.(38)

This passage is itself an imitation of the description of the [Greek Words Omitted] of Hermes.(39) Thus the closing lines hint at the more severe aspects of the god.(40)

The poem ends with a joke. If Somnus will not give Statius a little relief, then at least the god of sleep must not disturb him (`aut leviter suspenso poplite transi, 19).

At the start I alluded to some of various explanations of this poem, such as the view that the poem is evidence not only for the insomniac nature of the early imperial period, but also for the troubled character of those times. Another suggestion has been that the poem is an erotic poem, a view most eloquently argued by A. J. Pomeroy.(41)

Pomeroy's paper presents a striking thesis. The essential argument is that the poem is cast as an erotic invitation to the god to come to Statius.(42) As well as noting the parallel with Aeneid 4 in lines 3-6,(43) Pomeroy also suggests links with Propertius 1.3. He argues that the appeal to Somnus who has been rejected by the lovers of lines 14 and 15 is similar to Cynthia's imagining that Propertius has returned to her after a repulse from the doors of another lover,(44) and compares the mention of Argus to a passage where the poet watches over his mistress as keenly as Argus once kept his many eyes intent on Io.(45) This last point, especially, seems problematic; the possible erotic associations of Argus (in any case not a lover) are secondary to the number of his eyes, which would not grant Statius relief from sleep. The difficulty with reading the poem in terms of Statius' 'invention of a hypothetical erotic narrative' (the phrasing is Pomeroy's)(46) is that the last two lines specifically indicate what is expected of the god; all that is required is that he lightly touch the poet with his virga or else pass by. Neither of these activities imply a lengthy or erotic encounter. Nowhere does the poem contain a directly erotic request.

One might modify Pomeroy's thesis, by arguing that the allusions in the poem to Ovid's Amores 1.13 and to Dido, whilst not being equivalent to an erotic invitation to the god of sleep, nevertheless suggest that Statius is in love;(47) the echo of the description of nocturnal calm in Aeneid 4 would assume the erotic associations of that passage. Such a reading might also offer some kind of explanation for the puzzling heu (14);(48) as it stands, the description of the lovers seems an odd place for such a melancholy exclamation, so that a reader might be attracted to the possibility that Statius is expressing regret for the joys that might have been his. Either unrequited or rejected love could be the cause. Such a reading might seem consistent with the text.

However heu does not have to take on these ramifications; the word is rhetorically effective without such a situation being implied. Whether or not Statius is in love, there is still a telling contrast between the lovers who wish to dismiss the god from their presence, and Statius who is unable to secure his attendance. In the absence of any statement to that effect, the view that Statius is a lover cannot be proved.

Another possibility would be to consider the poem in terms of its context within the book. Silvae 5.4 is preceded by a lament for Statius' father and followed by a lament for a young boy. Vollmer suggested that the poet's insomnia can be interpreted against the background of these bereavements;(49) indeed, Silvae 5 has only one positive poem, the second, the Laudes Crispini, which praises a young man about to embark on his public career. Certainly, as we have seen, grief can be a cause of insomnia; compare the grief of Achilles for Patroclus at the opening of Iliad 24. A further argument for the connexion between the poems would be the two verbal correspondences between 5.4 and 5.5: thus `miser' (5.4.2) is recalled by `me miserum', (5.5. 1), and `Crimine quo merui ... / quove errore (5.4.1-2) is similar to `quae culpa, quis error / quem luimus tantus' (5.5.7- 8). Thus both poems open on a note of incredulous reproach. These are striking parallels, and it would be alluring to see the poem on sleep as an interlude before the return to lament; moreover it could be said that 5.5, the final poem of the books demonstrates the nature of true suffering, showing that there are far worse pains to be endured than mere loss of sleep.

Such analyses are appealing, but they are unnecessary and perhaps misleading.(50) Silvae 5.4, for all its allusions, does not support such readings. Statius' technique is not only to use but also to play on the extensive traditions concerning sleep and sleeplessness. Thus the address to Somnus might suggest the genre of hymn, but this can be set against the by no means unequivocal treatment of the god. Similarly Statius teases with frustrating hints of love poetry.(51) The charm of the poem is that it pretends, with all its complexities of allusion, to lead towards something deeper, something which is concealed, something which must be prised out of the text: something more profound than insomnia. In the final analysis, however, the poem is unstable ground on which to build such readings. Perhaps we are terrified by the prospect of a poem which deals with insomnia and nothing more; we must nevertheless take care not to engage in a fruitless search for profundity. Readings of the poem might usefully concentrate on the poem's exploitation of genre and literary predecessors, rather than engage in speculative enquiry concerning the causes of the poet's insomnia. This is definitely a poem where the artistry is at a premium; the subject is insomnia.(52)

(1) A. Momigliano, `Dio of Prusa the Rhodian "libertas" and the philosophers', JRS 41 (1951), p. 152 (= Quinto Contributo 2 [Rome, 1975], pp. 966-75; at p. 972); idem, `Dio Chrysostomus', Quarto Contributo (Rome, 1969), pp. 258-60; C. P. Jones, `The date of Dio of Prusa's Alexandrian Oration', Historia 22 (1973), pp. 307-8; idem, The Roman World of Dio Chrysostom (Cambridge, Massachussets-London, 1978), pp. 14-17, 44-5, 123; P. Desideri, Dione di Prusa. Un intellettuale Greco nell'impero romano (Messina-Firenze 1978), pp. 138-9; G. Salmeri, La Politica e il Potere Saggio su Dione di Prusa (Catania, 1982), pp. 24-6; J. L. Moles, `The Career and Conversion of Dio Chrysostom', JHS 98 (1978), pp. 84-5, 93; idem, `The Kingship Orations of Dio Chrysostom', PLLS 6 (1990), p. 333; B. W. Jones, `Domitian and the exile of Dio of Prusa', La Parola del Passato 45 (1990), pp. 348, 354-7; S. Fein, Die Beziehungen der Kaiser Trajan und Hadrian zu den litterati (Stuttgart, 1994), p. 232. Elizabeth Rawson was more cautious in her posthumously published paper `Roman Rulers and the Philosophic Adviser', in M. Griffin & J. Barnes (eds.), Philosophia Togata (Oxford, 1989), at pp. 248-9.

(2) This idea has been canvassed by Jones, art. cit. (n. 1), p. 307; idem, op. cit. (n. 1), p. 44; Desideri, op. cit. (n. 1), pp. 109-10; Moles, art. cit. (n. 1, 1978), p. 84; and B. W. Jones, art. cit. (n. 1), p. 355; but has been rejected by Salmeri, op. cit. (n. 1), pp. 92-3.

(3) Thus already Emperius in Dio, ed. Arnim, 2.334; and H. von Amim, Leben und Werke des Dio von Prusa (Berlin, 1898), pp. 228-31; followed with more or less certainty by Momigliano, art. cit. (n. 1, 1969), p. 260; Jones, art. cit. (n. 1), p. 307; idem, op. cit. (n. 1), pp, 15, 46; Desideri, op. cit. (n. 1), pp. 189-91; Salmeri, op. cit. (n. 1), p. 27; Moles, art. cit. (n. 1, 1978), pp. 84, 93; idem, art. cit. (n. 1, 1990), p. 333; and, presumably, by M. Dzielska, Apollonius of Tyana in Legend and History (Rome, 1986), p. 44, `Domitian suspected Apollonius (sic) of taking part in a plot allegedly prepared against him by the emperor's cousin Flavius Sabinus', but rejected by B. W. Jones, art. cit. (n. 1), pp. 352-3 (see below n. 33).

(4) See D. A. Russell (ed.), Dio Chrysostom. Orations VII, XII, XXXVI (Cambridge, 1992), p. 4, n. 4; with H. Sidebottom, review in JRS 94 (1994), p. 265.

(5) V.A. 5.27-38; apparently also referred to at Phil. V.S. 488.

(6) See E. L. Bowie, `Apollonius of Tyana: Tradition and Reality', ANRW II.16.2 (1978), pp. 1660-62; and Dzielska, op.cit.(n.3), pp. 43-4 (with Bowie's review in JRS79 [1989], pp. 252-4); as well as Momigliano, art. cit. (n. 1, 1951), p. 152; Jones op. cit. (n. 1), p. 14; Moles, art. cit. (n. 1, 1978), p. 83; and A. Brancacci, Rhetorike Philosophousa. Dione Crisostomo nella cultura antica e bizantina (Coll. Elenchos xi, 1985), p. 71; cf. G. Anderson `Apollonius of Tyana as a Novel', in B. P. Reardon (ed.), Erotica Antiqua (Bangor, 1977), p. 37; idem, Philostratus. Biography and Belles Lettres in the Third Century A.D. (London, 1986), pp. 129, 178-9, 231; and idem, Sage, Saint and Sophist. Holy men and their associates in the Early Roman Empire (London, New York, 1994), p. 136, n. 31.

(7) Moles, art. cit. (n. 1, 1978), p. 83.

(8) Bowie, art. cit. (n. 6), pp. 1668-9; Dzielska, op. cit. (n. 3), pp. 43, 49, 55.

(9) V.A. 5.26/Dio, Or. 32.48, 50; cf V.A. 4.21/Dio, Or. 32.58-60.

(10) The acknowledged fact that Philostratus' scene is fiction causes difficulties for those who wish to see Dio as an amicus of Vespasian. Jones (op. cit. [n. 1], p. 14) claimed that even if Dio was not a courtier of the Flavians in A.D. 69 `he was to be one soon thereafter.' Jones' contention must rest on the other supposed evidence for Dio as an amicus of Vespasian and Titus which is dealt with below. Moles, art. cit. (n. 1, 1978), pp. 83-5 (following a suggestion of Momigliano, art. cit. [n. 1, 1951], pp. 148-9, 152-3), advanced the hypothesis (before seemingly rejecting it) that while V.A. 27-38 is fiction it shows that Philostratus had some knowledge of the general terms of philosophical debate in the early years of Vespasian (and specifically of the republicanism of Helvidius Priscus). Various problems arise. The republicanism of Helvidius is extremely controversial (as Moles recognized). If Helvidius' republicanism is historical, Philostratus' giving republican views to Euphrates may just be an accident (as Moles also acknowledged). If Philostratus' information about the nature of philosophical debate in the early years of Vespasian is both true and authentic, it does not show that Dio was part of that debate (and his stance in the [unknown character], see below, suggests that he was not), and it certainly does not show that Dio was an amicus of Vespasian.

(11) In favour of a Trajanic date see now H. Sidebottom, `The Date of Dio of Prusa's Rhodian and Alexandrian Orations', Historia 41 (1992), pp. 407-19; also Salmeri, op. cit. (n. 1), p. 97; and J. F. Kindstrand, `The Date of Dio of Prusa's Alcondrian Oration -- A Reply', Historia 27 (1978), pp. 378-83. For a Vespasianic date Jones, art cit. (n. 1), passim; idem, op. cit. (n. 1), pp. 36, 39, 134; Desideri, op. cit. (n. 1), pp. 68, 110; Moles, art. cit. (n. 1, 1978), p. 84. The claim by W. D. Barry (`Aristocrats, Orators and the "Mob": Dio Chrysostom and the world of the Alexandrians', Historia 42 [1993], pp. 82-103) that he has provided support for Jones' dating of the Alexandrian Oration is far from convincing. Barry invents a schema (`Dio was anti-demos pre-exile, but pro-demos post-exile) and then appeals to it (`the Alexandrian Oration is antidemos, thus it is pre-exile'). It is particularly unfortunate that the proof Barry adduces (art. cit., pp. 99-100) that Dio was pro-demos after his exile is Dio's attitude to the demos in the Euboean Oration: a very strange reading of Or. 7.21-63.

(12) Cf. Jones, op. cit. (n. 1), p. 44, `it seems unparalleled for a Greek to be sent with such a message to a city not his own'.

(13) Cf. Rawson, art. cit. (n. 1), p. 238.

(14) Or. 1.58-84; on which see Moles, art. cit. (n. 1, 1990), pp. 319-31; and for Dio's use of a `Phaedran' setting for the `Choice', M. B. Trapp, `Plato's Phaedrus in Second-century Greek Literature', in D. A. Russell (ed.), Antonine Literature (Oxford, 1990), pp. 143-5. Other examples of Dio being sent to places by divine mandate are Or. 13.9-10; Or. 34.4-5; Or. 38.51.

(15) Von Arnim, op. cit. (n. 3), pp. 150-51; Moles, art. cit. (n. 1, 1978), p. 85.

(16) E.g. Philostratus, V.A. 5.29, makes Vespasian explain his reasons for taking power to Apollonius, so that Apollonius can justify his actions to others.

(17) L. Lemarchand, Dion de Pruse. Les oeuvres d'avant l'exil (Paris, 1926), pp. 30-32: `Melancomas est l'athlete idealise, trop parfait sans doute pour avoir jamais existe' (ibid. at pp. 31-2). M. B. Poliakoff (`Melancomas, [unknown character] and Greek Boxing', AJPh 108 [1987], pp. 511-18) believed a barrier placed to keep boxers in close combat proved Melancomas' style was untenable, but still believed in the boxer's historicity.

(18) Von Arnim, op. cit. (n. 3), p. 143.

(19) Contra Momigliano, art. cit. (n. 1, 1951), p. 152; and Moles, art. cit. (n. 1, 1978), p. 84. Eustathius' oblique reference to Melancomas (1324.48ff. [ad Il. 23.286; quoted by Poliakoff, art. cit. [n. 17], p. 512) merely follows Themistius.

(20) Suet. Titus 7; Julian, Caes. 311A.

(21) Contra Desideri, op. cit. (n. 1), pp. 137-9.

(22) Moles, art. cit. (n. 1, 1978), p. 93, n. 122.

(23) Suet. Titus 1.

(24) Jones, op. cit. (n. 1), p. 133, C. A.D. 40-50.

(25) Or. 18.16.

(26) Von Arnim, op. cit. (n. 3), pp. 139-40; Momigliano, art, cit. (n. 1, 1969), p. 259; Moles, art. cit. (n. 1, 1978), p. 93; idem, art. cit. (n. 1, 1990), p. 333.

(27) An attempt to construct a prosopographical link between Dio and the Flavians by way of Dio's possible teacher Musonius would be very suspect (cf. Momigliano, art. cit. [n. 1, 1951], p. 152; Rawson, art. cit. [n. 1], p. 249). Vespasian exiled Musonius, for Titus recalled him (Hieron. Chron. p. 189 Helm). But Themistius' claim that Musonius was an amicus of Titus has rightly been seen as a fiction (Rawson, loc. cit.), which gains little support from the facts that Vespasian was a friend of Barea Soranus (Tac. Hist. 4.7), Soranus a friend of Rubellius Plautus (Tac. Ann. 16.30), and Rubellius Plautus a friend of Musonius (Tac. Ann. 14.59). Dio, anyway, appears as a pupil of Musonius only in a passage of Fronto (2.50 Haines) which should not be pressed too hard (Rawson, art. cit. [n. 1], p. 248, n. 84).

(28) [PIR.sup.(2)] F355; above (n. 3). That Dio does not name his patron should not surprise. To do so would not have fitted the ironic, even playful tone of the introduction of Oration 13 (see Or. 13. 1, where Dio compares his fate, caused by the custom of tyrants, to that caused by Scythian custom which befalls a king's cupbearers, cooks, and concubines: G. Anderson, `The pepaideumenos in Action: Sophists and their Outlook in the Early Roman Empire', ANRW II.33.1[1989], p. 175). While Dio wants to be taken seriously about his conversion to philosophy while in exile, his condemnation of materialism and useless learning, and his exhortation to true education, which is philosophy, his tone in the introduction (Or. 13.1-13) and first section of this work (Or. 13.14-28, where Dio tells the Athenians what he had told other people while in exile, which was, more or less, what Socrates had told the Athenians) is light and ironic (see the frequent allusions to Aristophanes, Clouds: Or. 13.14, 19, 23). The tone changes to one of moral earnestness in the final section (Or. 13.29-37), where Dio takes the position of a Greek telling other Greeks the stern way he has upbraided the Romans for their failing (see esp. Or. 13.29-30).

(29) G. B. Townend, `Some Flavian Connections', JRS 51 (1961), pp. 55-6; B. W. Jones, The Emperor Titus (London, Sydney, New York, 1994), pp. 2-4; for Tacitus' subtly condemning portraits of his grandfather and father see K. Gilmartin Wallace, `The Flavii Sabini in Tacitus', Historia 36 (1987), pp. 343-58.

(30) [PIR.sup.2] F426; Phil. V.A. 7.7.

(31) W. Eck, Senatoren von Vespasian bis Hadrian (Munchen, 1970), pp. 53-4.

(32) O. Murray, review in JRS 57 (1967), p. 250.

(33) One other candidate appears close enough to the Flavian dynasty: T. Flavius Clemens ([PIR.sup.2] F240), brother of Sabinus and likewise complete with a dynastic marriage. His wife was Domitilla ([PIR.sup.2] F418), the daughter of Titus' sister. Clemens was cos. ord. in 95 and killed by Domitian in the same year (Suet. Dom. 15.1). But Clemens cannot have been Dio's patron, for Dio stresses his many years of exile (Or. 40.2, 12; cf. Or. 1.55, where the wise woman must mean that Dio's exile has not long left to run). Similar reasoning seems to tell against the recent identification by B. W. Jones (art. cit. [n 1), pp. 348-57) of M. Arrecinus Clemens as Dio's patron. Arrecinus had had a sister married to Titus (B. W. Jones, op. cit. [n. 29], pp. 18-19), and may have had another married to T. Flavius Sabinus, the father of the Flavius Sabinus in the text (Townend, art. cit. [n. 29], pp. 56-7). But Arrecinus was consul in A.D. 85 and may have been killed much later. Jones seems to think that Dio's exile and Arrecinus' execution took place in A.D. 93 (art. cit. [n. 1], pp. 354, 357, but cf p. 353, n. 20). If Arrecinus was only exiled, as Jones had previously contended (B. W. Jones and R. Develin, `M. Arrecinus Clemens', Antichthon 10 [1976], p. 83), he cannot have been Dio's patron.

(34) Cf. Russell, op. cit. (n. 4), p. 4: `a great noble'.

(35) Cf. H. J. Mason, Greek Terms for Roman Institutions. A Lexicon and Analysis (Toronto, 1974), pp. 110-15. Part of the Greek culturist attitude was to pretend difficulty with Latin; this was allied to a deliberate imprecision in Greek descriptions of the Roman empire, see H. J. Mason (`The Roman Government in Greek sources. The effect of literary theory on the translation of official titles', Phoenix 24 [1970], pp. 150-59): who, however, puts all this down to literary models and thus ignores the cultural and political implications (see below n. 64).

(36) E.g. Or. 1.44; Or. 13.33; Or. 39.4; and Or. 79.1 if delivered in Rome.

(37) Although, as B. W. Jones (art. cit. [n. 1], pp. 351-2) points out, there seems to be no reason to revive the case for Mommsen's candidate Q. Junius Arulenus Rusticus.

(38) R. Syme, Tacitus (Oxford, 1958), p. 3.

(39) Under Domitian, Martial 8.70, 9.26; under Nero, Tac. Ann. 15.72.1.

(40) [PIR.sup.1] R133.

(41) Phil. V.S. 512. This Rufus is probably to be identified with L. Verginius Rufus, governor of Germania Superior A.D. 67/8, W. Eck, Die Statthalter der germanischen Provinzen vom 1.-3. Jahrhundert (Bonn, 1985), pp. 28-9, 231-2.

(42) [PIR.sup.1] S110. That Dio carried the name Cocceianus is attested by Pl. Ep. 10.81.1; 82.2.

(43) Syme, op. cit. (n. 38), p. 628.

(44) E. Groag, `Prosopagraphische Beitrage', Jahreshefte 21/22 (1924), p. 425; followed by Syme, op. cit. (n. 38), p. 647.

(45) possibly the Salii, but cf. R. Syme, `The Ummiidii', Historia 17 (1968), pp. 80-81 (= Roman Papers II [Oxford, 1979), pp. 659-93, at pp. 667-8).

(46) Tac. Hist. 2.48, prima iuventa.

(47) Cos., Suet. Dom. 10; date, P. Gallivan, `The Fasti for A.D. 70-96', CQ 31 (1981), p. 209.

(48) For Dio's many years of exile, see above (n. 33).

(49) Probably Claudius, see below n. 63.

(50) Pasicrates according to Photius, Bibl. 165A, and the Suda [Delta] 1240.

(51) Or. 41.6; Or. 44.36; Or. 46.2-7. A problem for this theory is that Dio says his father was made a citizen of Apamea, Or. 41.6. Apamea was a Roman colony (D. Magie, Roman Rule in Asia Minor [Princeton, 1950], p. 1268, n. 34), and thus Dio's father should have already held Roman citizenship (F. Vittinghoff, Romische Kolonisation und Burgerrechtspolitik unter Caesar und Augustus [Wiesbaen, 1952], p. 21, n. 3). The idea that Apamea was a `double-community' (A. N. Sherwin-White, The Letters of Pliny. A Historical and Social Commentary [Oxford, 1966], p. 629) seems unlikely (F. Millar, review of Sherwin-White in JRS 58 [1968], p. 222; drawing on L. Teutsch, `Gab es "Dopplegameinden" im romischen Africa?', RIDA 3.8 [1961), pp. 326-7; and accepted by S. Mitchell, `Iconium and Ninica. Two Double Communities in Roman Asia Minor', Historia 28 [1978], p. 436). A solution would be to assume that Dio won citizenship for both himself and his father in A.D. 71, below.

(52) Von Arnim, op. cit. (n. 3), p. 125; E. Berry, `Dio Chrysostom the moral philosopher', GR 30 (1983), p. 71. But if Dio had been given citizenship by his friend when he was emperor we would have expected Dio to take Nerva's nomen Cocceius as his nomen rather than adapt it to the cognomen Cocceianus. See below (n. 54).

(53) Moles, art. cit. (n. 1, 1978), p. 86, n. 59; the theory is Ewen Bowie's. See above on the [Greek Words Omitted].

(54) Dio thus could have taken all of Salvius' names, with the exception of the name of the dead emperor Otho, and been styled L. Salvius Cocceianus Dio. Yet doubt is cast on such a conclusion by the existence of a mutilated inscription from Prusa which mentions a Titus Flavius Dio (P. Le Bas and W. H. Waddington, Inscriptions grecques et latines recueillies en Asie Mineure [Paris, 1870), no. 1113), which could refer to a relative or even Dio himself although obviously the imperial praenomen and nomen and the name Dio are very widespread. On gaining citizenship in A.D. 71 Dio could have taken the imperial praenomen and nomen and added the cognomen of the patron who instigated his citizenship: Titus Flavius Cocceianus Dio (cf. Sherwin-White, op. cit. [n. 51], p. 676).

(55) Contra Moles, art. cit. (n. 1, 1978), p. 84, `the links ... between Dio and the Flavians are incontrovertible'.

(56) See below on Or. 7.66.

(57) Rawson, art. cit. (n. 1), pp. 248-9.

(58) Rawson, art. cit. (n. 1), passim.

(59) For example, among other inventions, Themistius made Epictetus an amicus of Pius and Marcus (Or. 5.63d). For Epictetus' real attitudes to being a friend of Caesar see F. Millar, `Epictetus and the Imperial Court', JRS 55 (1965), pp. 141-8. Only `good' emperors were given posthumous philosophic advisers. Such an association between a `bad' emperor and a philosopher would give too much credit to the `bad' emperor and degrade the philosopher. Fiction about philosophers and `bad' emperors should show the philosopher challenging the tyrant by his free-speech and suffering persecution as a result, cf. above on Apollonius and Domitian. Thus later sources do not dwell on Domitian's association with Falvius Archippus (Pl. Ep. 10.58; 60) or his possible connection with Seras (?) [Greek words omitted] (C.D. 68.1.2).

(60) Bowie, art. cit. (n. 6), p. 1660. See Dio, Or. 49.7-8 for a Greek philosopher's view of how the world should be run.

(61) Or. 45.2. It is noteworthy that Dio says Nerva was a friend before the latter's principate: during which Dio was too in to visit him.

(62) Although Dio was acquainted with Trajan, the degree of intimacy perhaps should not be exaggerated. Dio served on at least one embassy to Trajan, on which he possibly delivered (at least one) work On Kingship (Or. 57.11). Dio won benefits for Prusa from Trajan (more counsellors, Or. 44.11; Or. 45.7, 10; cf. Or. 40.14; the status of an assize centre, Or. 40.10, 33; Or. 44.11; both the above produced extra revenues, Or. 48.11; and possibly another source of revenue, Or. 44.11). But Dio was criticized in Prusa for his conduct on the embassy (Or. 45.3) and for its results (Or. 40.13-15; Or. 45.4). Dio failed to win freedom for Prusa (Or. 44.11-12). Only twice in the extant corpus does Dio claim friendship with Trajan, and both times in very guarded terms (Or. 45.3; Or. 47.22; cf. Ovid, Ex pont. 1.7.2l, `what acquaintance of the Caesars fails to claim their friendship', tr. P. Green). Pliny and Trajan's correspondence betrays no intimacy between emperor and philosopher (Pl. Ep. 10.81, 82). The only ancient evidence which does is Philostratus' fiction (V.S. 488; V.A. 5.27-38). Fein, op. cit. (n. 1), pp. 231-6, gives a recent overview of modern scholarly opinions on the relationship of Dio and Trajan. Rawson (art. cit. [n. 1], pp. 250, 256), not cited by Fein, remained sceptical. I hope to return to this topic elsewhere.

(63) Or. 41.6; Or. 44.5; Or. 46.3-4. F. Millar (The Emperor in the Roman World (31 B.C.-A.D. 337), 2nd ed. [London, 1992], pp. 481-2) points out that at one point (Or. 46.3) Dio claims that his grandfather won a second fortune from the emperors. But the plural probably is just rhetoric. Dio goes on to talk of the friendship of only one emperor (Or. 46.4). The emperor in question was most likely Claudius (thus von Arnim, op. cit. (n. 3), p. 123). It was very unlikely to have been Nero given Dio's habitual strong hostility to that emperor (Or. 21.6-10; Or. 31.110, 150; Or. 32.60). Such hostility was not automatic for a Greek. The attitudes of Plutarch (C. P. Jones, Plutarch and Rome [Oxford, 1971], pp. 18-19, 80), Pausanias (7.17.2), and Philostratus (V.A. 5.41) were ambiguous. With Dio's grandfather amicus to Claudius (or just possibly an earlier emperor), and Dio's birth falling in the 40s (above n. 24) the former can offer no support to the historicity of Dio's claims at Or. 7.66 (below).

(64) Very few of the Greek elite became senators, let alone intimates of emperors. Down to the end of the second century H. Halfmann (Die Senatoren aus dem ostlichen Teil des Imperium Romanum bis zum Ende des 2. Jahrhunderts n. Chr. [Gottingen, 1979] pp. 100-206) could only find 150 senators definitely from the east (and another thirty who might have been ibid., pp. 207-13). Early in the second century the second rank city of Prusa could find at a stroke one hundred extra members of its council. It is far from certain that even Roman citizenship was widespread among the Greek elite by A.D. 212: K. Buraselis, [Greek words omitted] Constitutio Antoniniana (Athens, 1989), pp. 120-48. One must beware of falling into the trap of believing in an undifferentiated Graeco-Roman elite. For a thorough, nuanced discussion of elite Greek feelings towards Rome see S. Swain, Hellenism and Empire (Oxford, 1996); also H. Sidebottom, `Herodian's Historical Methods and Understanding of History', ANRW II.34.4 (forthcoming). Recently G. Woolf (`Becoming Roman, Staying Greek: culture, identity and the civilizing process in the Roman East', PCPhS 40 [1994], 116-43, at 125 ff.) has argued that the marginal role played by material culture in Greek self-definition allowed Greeks to adopt Roman cultural artefacts (esp. gladiatorial games and Roman styles of bathing) without compromising their `Greekness'.

(65) It may be significant that, as Simon Price noted (Rituals and Power. The Roman imperial cult in Asia Minor [Cambridge, 1984], p. 18), scholars studying the Roman empire have tended to adopt the attitudes of members of the Senatorial upper-class, `whose social position many have shared or desired'. For the Senatorial class history was primarily politico-military history (Syme, op. cit. [n. 38], pp. 130-56).

(66) Cf. Ewen Bowie's argument (`The Importance of Sophists', YCS 27 [1982], pp. 29-59) that Greek sophists should be studied against a Greek cultural background and not for their socio-political links with high-placed Romans. In a recent, provocative article P. A. Brunt (`The Bubble of the Second Sophistic', BICS 39 [1994], pp. 25-52) more or less follows Bowie in depreciating the importance of Sophists in Roman history, but goes on to depreciate their importance in the life of the Greek cities and in Greek culture, as well as doubting the very existence of a Greek renaissance.

(67) P. A. Brunt, `Aspects of the Social Thought of Dio Chrysostom and of the Stoics', PCPhS 19 (1973), pp. 9-34.

(68) Russell, op. cit. (n. 4), pp. 8-9.

(69) See G. Anderson, Studies in Lucian's comic fiction (Leiden, 1976), pp. 94-8; F. Jouan, `Les Themes romanesques dans l'Euboicos de Dion Chrysostome', PEG 90 (1977), pp. 38-46; R. L. Hunter, A Study of Daphnis and Chloe (Cambridge, 1983), pp. 66-7. S. Swain (`Dio and Lucian', in J. R. Morgan and R. Stoneman (eds.), Greek Fiction. The Greek Novel in Context [London, 1994], pp. 166-72) plays down the novelistic elements in the narrative, instead finding in the Euboean Oration a novelistic morality.

(70) Cf. the contrast at Or. 7.80 of rustic weddings and those of the rich. At Or. 7.81 Dio says he has told the preceding tale to illustrate the advantages held by the poor.

(1)Note however that F. Vollmer, P. Papinii Statii Silvarum Libri (Leipzig, 1898), 432 (on Silv. 3.5.38) suggested a possible link between Statius'move to Naples and Silvae 5.4: `Wahrscheinlich hatte die hier erwahnte Krankheit die V 4 beschriebene Schlaflosigkeit im Gefolge, die St. durch die Ortsverinderung zu beheben versuchte, s. IV 4.51 somnum et geniale secutus litus.' However, the lack of context in Silv. 5.4 and the self-consciously literary character of the poem make such biographical speculations dangerous.

(2)A. D. Nock, JRS 38 (1948), 158; Essays on Religion and the Ancient World (Oxford, 1972), 711 n. 36.

(3)Note e.g. Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy (second edition, London, 1961), 242,258: `The age of Epicurus was a weary age,and extinction could appeal as a welcome rest from travail of spirit.'

(4)Il. 14.261.

(5)Cf. the sleeplessness of Agamemnon at the opening of Iliad 10 (Il. 10.1-20).

(6)See D. L. Page, Alcman: the Partheneion (Oxford, 1951), 159-61.

(7)I have followed Mynors in deleting fine 528.

(8)For other parallels, see A. S. Pease's edition (Cambridge, MA, 1935) of

(9) In discussion of Silvae 5.4 I am using the word `Statius' as a convenient shorthand for `the speaker of the appeal to Somnus'. Contrast Vollmers more biographical approaches to the poem (see n. 1 above, p. 467 below).

(10) The curvata cacumina of line 4 must be tree-tops. Although curvata could be applied either to mountains or to trees, the point is that the sea and the rivers and the cacumina are said to be still and motionless, as a result of the general calm affecting the whole world. Whereas mountains are motionless at all times, the sea, rivers and trees can be either in motion, or calm, according to the prevailing conditions. The whole point of Statius' description is that he is describing the effects and changes brought about by Somnus. The visual image of line 4 is comparable to Theb. 10.144, `demittunt extrema cacumina silvae', where Statius describes the effect on the natural world of the journey of Somnus.

(11) W. H. Auden, Collected Poems (London, 1976), 146-7.

(12) `About suffering they were never wrong, The Old Masters: how well they understood Its human position; how it takes place While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along...'

(13) The parallel with Auden seems valid on another level, in that both Statius and Auden are recalling earlier artistic creations, for both poems derive part of their validity from this source, Auden referring to the works of the `Old Masters', in particular Breughel's Icarus (e.g. `In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away / Quite leisurely from the disaster ...'), whilst Statius alludes to Virgil and other texts.

(14) Compare also Virgil, Ecl. 2.8-13, where Corydon contrasts his own suffering `sole sub ardenti' with the various forms of respite obtained by animals and people.

(15) Pastoral does, however, combine this figure with the opposite device of the pathetic fallacy; compare the juxtaposition of the two motifs at Theocritus, Id. 1.65-78 and Virgil, Ecl. 10.9-15.

(16) The gentleness of sleep in Homer is suggested by such epithets as [Greek Words Omitted], [Greek Words Omitted]. The epithet [Greek Words Omitted], used only of sleep, is usually related to [Greek Words Omitted] and [Greek Words Omitted] (though see [Epsilon] Il. 2.2).

(17) Cf. the Homeric phrase [Greek Words Omitted] (Il. 7.482, 9.713, Od. 16.481, 19.427).

(18) Perhaps compare Silius Italicus 10.343-50 where Juno reassures Somnus that she does not expect him to accomplish as great a task as overcoming Jove or Argus; all that is required is that he send a dream to Hannibal.

(19) One would, if anything, expect rivers to be more audible at night in the absence of other noise.

(20) Is `te, Somne, repellit' (15) a parodic reversal of `te, Palinure, petens' (Virgil, Aen. 5.840)?

(21) E.g. Fasti 3.675-96 (Anna Perenna's deception of Mars) and 327ff. (Numa's encounter with Jove).

(22) Am. 1.13.3-4

(23) Am. 1.13.35-6

(24) Am. 1.13.17-18

(25) Am. 1.13.5-6

(26) A. J. Pomeroy, `Somnus and Amor: the Play of Silvae 5.4', QUCC, N.S. 24 (1986), 91-7, at 95: `But for Statius to view the rounds of the stars and actually feel the downfall of dew, he can hardly be lying in bed. Waiting outside or gazing from his window, he is clearly watching for the return of Somnus, like a wayward lover.'

(27) The most celebrated example of insomnia affecting one lying in bed is Achifles, grieving for Patroclus (Il. E. 24.1-13, cited above). The almost proverbial status which was later accorded to his insomnia is testified by Juvenal 3.279-80 `noctem patitur lugentis amicum / Pelidae, cubat in faciem, mox deinde supinus'. See also Catullus 50.10-15, Ovid Am. 1.2.1-4, Propertius 1.14.21, Valerius Flaccus 7.21, Juvenal 13.218 and Seneca, De tranquilliate aniyni 2.6, 2.12 (where the same comparison with Achilles occurs) for insomnia being characterized by tossing and turning in bed. An exception to this general tendency is Suetonius, Caligula 50.3, who notes that Caligula, growing weary of lying in bed would sometimes sit on his bed, and sometimes wander about among the porticoes, longing for the onset of dawn (see n. 29).

(28) For the cool of early morning compare Ovid, Am. 1.13.7 `nunc etiam somni pingues et frigidus aer'.

(29) For the desire to see the dawn after a sleepless night, compare Catullus 50.12 `cupiens videre lucem'. Note also Iliad 24.12-13 (quoted above).

(30) Note also the similarity between the openings of Medea's and Statius' complaint. Valerius Flaccus 7.9-10: `nunc ego quo casu vel quo sic pervigil usque / ipsa volens errore trahor?' Statius, Silv. 5.4.1-3: `crimine quo merui, iuuenis placidissime divum, / quove errore miser, donis ut solus egerem, / Somne, tuis?'

(31) Am. 1. 13.47-4: `iurgia finieram. scires audisse; rubebat, / nec tamen adsueto tardius orta dies.'

(32) On the seriousness of prolonged insomnia during both day and night, see Celsus 2.4.2.

(33) Cf. Silius Italicus 10.345-7:

... non mille premendi sunt oculi tibi, nec spernens tua numina custos Inachiae multa superandus nocte iuvencae.

(34) Perhaps compare Silius Italicus 10.343-5, where Juno tells Somnus that he is not required for `maioribus ... / ausis'. For mortal reluctance to ask too much of a god compare e.g. Ovid, Ex P. 1.8.71-2.

(35) Note that this passage also refers to the virga of Mercury' (on which see below).

(36) Ovid, Met. 1.713-21

(37) In the Iliad the body of Sarpedon is rescued by Hypnos and Thanatos, who are described as [Greek Words Omitted] (`twins') at Il. 16.672, 682. Cf. Il. 14.231, Hesiod, Theog. 756, Virgil, Aen. 6.278, `consanguineus Leti Sopor', Pausanias 5.18.1. Note also metaphorical descriptions of death as Sleep: [Greek Words Omitted] (Il. 11.241); `olli dura quies oculos et ferreus urget / somnus' Virgil, Aen. 10.745-6).

(38) On the difficulties of lumina morte resignat, see Pease and Austin ad loc., whose view that Mercury opens the eyes of the dead on the funeral pyre (they had previously been closed by relatives) I have followed.

(39) Il. 24.343-5, Od. 5.47-9. The details of the staff's deathly attributes are not however in Homer, who merely refers to the giving and withholding of sleep.

(40) Note also leviter (Silv. 5.4.19), perhaps recalling levis, applied to Somnus at Aen. 5.838.

(41) Pomeroy, op. cit. (n. 26), henceforth referred to as `Pomeroy'.

(42) Pomeroy 91: `Statius' purpose from the beginning of the poem is to lure the god into his bed and the themes used are designed to achieve this.'

(43) Pomeroy 93-4.

(44) Pomeroy 92.

(45) Pomeroy 95.

(46) Pomeroy 97.

(47) For insomnia as a symptom of love, see the list of passages collected by McKeown on Ovid, Am. 1.2.1-4.

(48) heu si Barth : heus M.

(49) " F. Vollmer, op. cit. (n. 1), 546.

(50) Note also that Silvae 5 was almost certainly published posthumously; the poems were probably arranged by an editor. See further G. Laguna, Estacio, Silvas III. Introduccion, Edicion Critica, Traduccion y Comentario (Madrid, 1992), 11-12.

(51) For such generic `deceiving', see F. Cairns, Tibullus: A Hellenistic Poet at Rome (Cambridge, 1979), 166-91, who identifes this technique of false generic signposts in Tibullus.

(52) I should like to thank Dr S. J. Heyworth, Mr D. E. Hill, Dr A. J. W. Laird, Professor R. G. M. Nisbet, Professor M. Winterbottom and the CQ referee for their valuable comments on earlier drafts of this paper.
COPYRIGHT 1996 Cambridge University Press
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Gibson, B.J.
Publication:The Classical Quarterly
Date:Jul 1, 1996
Words:11493
Previous Article:Dio of Prusa and the Flavian dynasty.
Next Article:Writing, copying, and autograph manuscripts in ancient Rome.
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |