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Title: The mirror of Tacitus? : selves and others in the Tiberian books of the 'Annals'
Author: Low, Katherine Anna
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Abstract:
This thesis considers the geographical and chronological forms of ‘mirroring’ that offer a way of reading 'Annals' 1-6. It looks at how Tacitus’ depictions of non-Romans reflect back on Rome, and at the echoes of Rome’s past and future that can be discerned within his description of Tiberius’ principate. After an introduction that discusses key thematic and methodological questions, Chapter 1 shows that Tiberius’ accession and the Pannonian and German mutinies described in 'Annals' 1 echo Tacitus’ account in 'Histories' 1 of events of AD 69. Moreover, when the Romans attempt to conquer Germany, the Germans’ resistance to this and to other efforts to rule them shows up Roman responses to civil war and autocracy. Chapter 2 begins by examining potential similarities between Roman and both Parthian and Armenian history, and then focuses on Germanicus’ voyage in the east, recounted in 'Annals' 2. His actions associate him with many late republican and early imperial Roman figures, which suggests that there are continuities between those two eras. Chapter 3 extends this theme by discussing the echoes of Sallust and Caesar in the central books of the Tiberian hexad. Intertexts with Sallust’s 'Bellum Catilinae' especially hint that earlier civil conflicts are about to be replayed in some form, as the appearance of Sejanus, the ‘new Catiline’, confirms. Chapter 4 further considers Tacitus’ inferences about the overlap between republican and imperial history, and then examines anti-Roman revolts in 'Annals' 2, 3 and 4. Foreign rebels’ relative success in attempting to reclaim their freedom correlates with their distance from Rome, and this has clear implications for the status of Roman 'libertas' under Tiberius. Finally, the outbreak of ‘civil war within the principate’, and indeed within the imperial house, is analysed. Chapter 5 traces the continuation of this ‘civil war’, and proposes that the last book of the Tiberian hexad again looks directly to 69, as well as to the excesses of other Julio-Claudians. It also considers Tacitus’ account of Roman intervention in Parthia: this episode confirms imperial Rome’s propensity for autocracy and civil war. There follows a short conclusion in which some speculation is offered about how some of the themes discussed in this thesis with reference to the Tiberian hexad may have been represented in the lost central books of the 'Annals'.
Supervisor: Ash, Rhiannon ; Pelling, Christopher Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.650071  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Latin ; Italic literatures, i.e. Latin ; History of the ancient world ; history of ancient Rome ; ancient historiography ; Roman historiography ; Tacitus ; early principate ; civil war
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