EVAN ARMACOST (Boston University)
Zusammenfassung: The theme of the Golden Age in Seneca’s Hercules Furens has been largely overlooked in modern Classical scholarship. This Senecan Golden Age particularly parallels the Golden Age crafted by Virgil, but bears a significant distinction. Whereas the Golden Age in Virgil’s Eclogues, Georgics, and Aeneid is a peaceful era of homeostasis between mankind, nature, and the Divine, Seneca’s Hercules desires a world so preternaturally static as to be devoid of life. This discussion will analyze how Seneca corrupts themes from Virgil’s work and subsequently hypothesize why the Stoic poet has employed such subversive intertextuality.
Anna Motto and John Clark (1981) argue convincingly that Seneca’s Hercules is a brash overreacher whose arrogance and rage ultimately destroy him. My unique contribution will examine how Hercules as an overreacher is intent on turning the conventional Golden Age on its head to create an eerie, dead quiet. He does not wish to save the world, but to remake it in his own twisted image of peace. There is a reason that Hercules is beset by madness immediately after he makes this black proclamation. By confirming Juno’s worst fears about his violent hubris, he triggers her almighty judgment and must suffer the consequences.