Tacitean inflections of sincerity
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Tacitean inflections of sincerity book
Latin literature of the imperial age is rife with moments when the sincerity of the author is notoriously difficult to gage. From the end of Ovid’s Metamorphoses to the beginning of Lucan’s Bellum Ciuile to moments throughout Pliny’s Panegyricus, passages resist sure-footed interpretation. However, Tacitus provides some hitherto-unnoticed guidance: ‘It is no secret when an emperor’s deeds are celebrated genuinely and when with illusory gladness’ (Annals 4.31.2). With this as a touchstone, I propose to reexamine briefly the address to Domitian in the proem to the Thebaid (1.17–34). An investigation of this sort is made possible by the monumental contributions of Susanna Braund to the study of Latin literature that derive in no small part from her unquestioned sincerity as a scholar and a friend.