Pieter van den Broek, ASH PhD candidate, will defend the dissertation entitled 'Embedded Narratives in Silius Italicus’Punica. A Narrotological, Intertextual, and Intratextual Approach' supervised by Prof. Irene de Jong and co-supervised by Dr Mark Heerink.
This thesis investigates the role of embedded narratives in Silius Italicus’ Punica, an epic from the late first century AD on the Second Punic War (218–202 BC). At first sight, the narratives under investigation seem to be loosely ‘embedded’ in the epic, having their own plot and being situated in a different time or place from the main narrative. A closer look reveals, however, that they foreshadow or recall elements that are found elsewhere in the epic. In this way, they serve as ‘mirrors’ of the main narrative, in that they reflect upon certain aspects of it. It is of course never a one-on-one reflection, but they resemble other parts of the epic and sometimes even the epic as a whole – a phenomenon that is known as mise en abyme. The methodology of this thesis is a combination of narratology, intertextuality, and intratextuality. In the introductory chapter, the narrative of Proteus in Punica 7 serves as a showcase for this combined approach. The larger part of this thesis consists of four detailed studies, in which I provide close-reading of embedded narratives from the Punica (Chapter 1–4). The four selected case studies are representative of the phenomenon in the Punica: the narratives of Bostar (Punica 3.647–714), Regulus (Punica 6.62–551), Falernus (Punica 7.162–211), and Anna Perenna (Punica 8.44–201). The combined methodology applied in this thesis may serve as a model for the investigation of embedded narratives in other (ancient) epics.