Tacitus the Epic Successor: Virgil, Lucan, and the Narrative by Timothy Joseph

By Timothy Joseph

Allusions to the epic poets Virgil and Lucan within the writing of the Roman historian Tacitus (c. fifty five - c. a hundred and twenty C.E.) have lengthy been famous. This monograph argues that Tacitus models himself as a rivaling literary successor to those poets; and that the emulative allusions to Virgil's 'Aeneid' and Lucan's 'Bellum Civile' in Books 1-3 of his inaugural historiographical paintings, the 'Histories', supplement and construct upon one another, and give a contribution considerably to the image of repetitive, escalating civil conflict inthe paintings. The argument is based at the shut examining of a sequence of comparable passages within the 'Histories', and it additionally broadens to think about sure narrative concepts and methods that Tacitus stocks with writers of epic.

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See also Syme (1958) 110–111, Cameron (1967), Williams (1978) 34, and Luce (1993) 24 for the suggestion that the historical Curiatius Maternus’ politically provocative poetry led to his death soon after the dramatic date of the Dial. 67 On the many contradictions in Geo. , and Perkell (2002) 18–27, esp. 23–26. 458–460. 68 This sort of innovative, constructive reading of a vital passage in Virgil is precisely what Tacitus will do persistently, on a grand scale, in the Histories. Shortly afterwards in the Dialogus Tacitus includes an explicit statement about poetic allusion.

1: maiora iam hinc bella et uiribus hostium et uel longinquitate regionum uel temporum spatio quibus bellatum est dicentur. Livy’s passive, impersonal dicentur differs significantly from the assertive moueo of Virgil and adgredior of Tacitus. 11 Damon (2003) 83. On the artistry of this line, see also Foucher (2000) 382. 1 carries forward his emulative gesture. I repeat the full line: opus adgredior opimum casibus, atrox proeliis, discors seditionibus, ipsa etiam pace saeuum. With each adjectival phrase that Tacitus attaches to opus, his work—and his accomplishment— grows in size.

26 at Ann. 2. 55 See also O’Gorman (2000) 157–159 on this scene, and for the suggestion that with the phrase mortis imaginem here Tacitus alludes to both Aen. 369 and Hist. 28 (which I discuss at the outset of this Introduction). Woodman (1993) 117 also discusses the possible Virgilian allusion here. 18 introduction little his spirit was departing from his extremities, with his breast still warm and in control of his mind, he recalled a song he had composed in which he had told of a wounded soldier meeting a death of this same kind, and performed the verses verbatim, and this was his last utterance.

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