Arethusa: Representations of the Syracusan Nymph in Colonization Narrative, Consolatio, and Epic
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By exploring representations of Arethusa, the Syracusan nymph and fountain, this thesis aims to broaden our understanding of the myth, which has primarily been considered within the context of Greek colonization narratives (e.g. Dougherty and Jones on Alpheus’ journey as a colonization model and Eckerman on the link to the Panhellenic sanctuary at Olympia). This thesis both reviews the aforementioned scholarship and draws some preliminary conclusions about Arethusa’s use in other genres, namely consolatio and epic. It is divided into three chapters. Chapter One provides a survey of the ancient sources and recent scholarship which address Arethusa’s role in Greek colonization narratives, and the desire from both mainland Greece, and Sicily and Magna Graecia, to maintain a connection (both physical and metaphorical) between the two landmasses. The following two chapters address Roman reception of the Greek myth. Chapter Two examines how Seneca uses Arethusa in his Consolatio Ad Marciam to teach a Stoic lesson about parenting (and death). Chapter Three discusses how Silius Italicus, in his Punica, elevates Arethusa to become a figurehead of Syracuse and, when the city is sacked, a prize of Roman imperium.