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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter 2018

Elements of Ancient Novel and Novella in Tacitus

From the book Cultural Crossroads in the Ancient Novel

  • Christoph Kugelmeier


This paper aims to examine the way in which Tacitus in the books of his Annals concerning the reign of Nero makes use of ancient novelistic literature and to what purpose he employs novelistic motifs in writing history. The hypothesis that he does indeed make use of such means is confirmed by many instances; examples include certain passages from the books concerning the reign of Nero (13-16), especially his relationship with his mother Agrippina. This method of writing appears to be typical of Tacitus, who in this respect stands for a great part of ancient historiography. In writing history, dramatization is achieved not only by means of the writer’s art but frequently also by direct recourse to the features not only of fictional literature and dramatic poetry, but also of novels and novellae.

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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