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Title: Politics and paradox in Tacitus' annales 1-3: a theoretical analysis of peacetime conflict in Tiberian Rome
Author: Patel, Shreyaa Gracey
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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Analyses of conflict in Tacitus have often been focussed on tbe constitution of the Principate, specifically the loss of libertas which followed from the system of rule by one. This thesis offers a theoretical analysis of conflict in Tacilus, arguing that conflict stems from the wider social and systemic structures ordinarily designed to ensure peace, such as the law, the imperial hierarchy and the mos maiorum. The notion that peacetime policies and procedures became in themselves a source of conflict is here described as the paradox of imperial politics. Chapters I and 2 offer a close reading of the Augustan prologue and the accession of Tiberius, while also introducing the work of Giorgio Agamben on the sovereign exception and Michel Foucault on biopoliti cs, The first chapter argues that a source of epistemological conflict is cultural memory, specifically the knowledge of the violent past of civil war. The second chapter argues that political conflict results from Tiberius' inability to replicate Augustan imperium, which in Tacitus is the power to speak in the name of the law and decide truth . In Chapter 3, and with reference to Jacques Ranciere's conception of democratic violence, hierarchy is revealed as the source of conflict since although it serves to maintain order in the imperial state it equally (and paradoxically) fosters the potential for revolution, In Chapter 4, building on Hannah Arendt's notion of mores and lex, it is argued that systemic conflict (corruption and moral decli ne) stems not from the lack of law or the erosion of prisca vinus but rather, and again paradoxically, from the system of law itself as well as the moderating values encoded in traditional Roman morality. By reading Tacitean conflict as something which is ex traneous to the more obvious sources of political conflict (rising tyranny/maiestas/republican sympathies), but as something which is engrained within the ordering structures of society, this thes is offers new insight into the frailty of imperi al politics as well as a wider understanding of Roman pol itical and social conflict in limes of peace. The thesis also shows that (he contradictory nature of Tacitus' narrative is not merely a reflection of the ambiguous nature of men and government; but it may be read from a wider theoretical perspective, as an attempt to foreground the generative power of paradox, that is, how paradox works to reinforce the power of the imperial regime and the imperial peace.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available