This article seeks to underline the importance of the image of Medusa in Statius' Thebaid.
The Gorgon is explicitly introduced in an ekphrasis of a sacred goblet in the programmatic
first book. This ekphrasis seems to function as a narrating mechanism that enables
the reader to activate Medusa's presence, which may then remain lingering throughout
the entire epic poem. Stimulated by echoes of words and scenes, that evoke the ekphrasis,
the reader gradually creates his own fictional network in which the Gorgon continuously
appears. Her (implicit) presence is illustrated in the passage that describes the marriage
of Adrastus' daughters to Polynices and Tydeus in the second book, and in the tragic passage
in the fifth book in which Opheltes prematurely dies.