Valerius Flaccus' Argonautica comes to a sudden stop. The Argo is at Peuce, where Jason and Medea have celebrated their marriage, but Medea begins to suspect that the Argonauts plan to abandon her to her pursuing brother and to the wrath of her betrayed father, and harangues Jason with threats and entreaties, whipping herself up into a maenadic frenzy in the process (8. 408-63). Jason, in turn, is thrown into confusion:
maestus at ille minis et mota Colchidos ira haeret et hinc praesens pudor, hinc decreta suorum dura premunt. utcuinque tamen mulcere gernentem temptat et ipse gemens et †tempera† dictis: 'mene aliquid meruisse putas, me talia uelle?'
But unhappy from the threats and the agitated anger of the Colchian, he hesitates; on this side present shame, on that side the harsh decisions of his companions press him. Yet he tries as best as he can to soothe the groaning woman, himself groaning, and [calms her] with his words: 'Do you think that I deserved this, that I wish for such things?' (8. 463A-467)1
This sort of ending in medias res is, of course, not unprecedented in epic poetry.4 The Iliad concludes not with the fall of Troy or____________________