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PS.-Seneca, Octavia 889 and Vergil, Aeneid 12.539FF.*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 February 2009

Rolando Ferri
Affiliation:
University College London

Extract

At 876ff. Octavia's partisans lament the ruinous intervention of the Roman mob in support of the heroine's legitimate claims against Poppaea. A series of paradigmatic figures illustrates the sentence ‘o funestus multis populi dirusque fauor’: the two Gracchi, first, then Livius Drusus, the tribunus plebis of 91 B.C., stabbed to death in his house in the year of his tribunate. The gallery of historical characters suits the Roman atmosphere of the play, the fallen heroes of Republican times are presented as noble and disinterested figures, struck by disaster and evil fortune. This is the description of Livius' fate (887–90; text and colometry given as in Zwierlein's OCT):

Type
Shorter Notes
Copyright
Copyright © The Classical Association 1996

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References

1 The sudden change of person is admittedly difficult; but cf. Verg. Aen. 10.390–2 ‘uos etiam, gemini, Rutuliscecidistisinaruis/…simillimaproles/indiscreta suis’ Sil. Pun. 3.611–13 ‘nam te [sc. Domitianum] longa manent nostri consortia mundi. / huic [Domitiano] laxos arcus olim Gangetica pubes/summittet’ id. 4.235–6 ‘occidis et tristi, pugnax Lepontice, fato. / nam dum frena ferox obiecto corpore prensat…’ [subject: Leponticus]. On the other hand, the relative pronoun seems to lead more naturally from a direct address to a third person narrative: cf. Ov. Met. 5.111–16 ‘tu quoque Lampetide (sc. cecidisti)…quem procul adstantem… /Paetalus inridens…dixit/…et laeuo mucronem tempore fixit’.

2 On the insignia of the tribunate see Th., Mommsen, Romisches Staatsrecht (Leipzig, 3 1887), I, 381, n. 3: Plutarch, Quaest. Rom. 81. On the tribunate in the early Imperial age cf. H. G611, RhM 13 (1858), 111.Google Scholar

3 The anonymous playwright is otherwise very reliable on historical matters, and transmits precise information not known to us from other sources. The Octauia is also accurate on details of Imperial nomenclature (cf. G., Nordmeyer, Jahrbiich.f. class. Philol. Suppl.-Bd. 19 [1892–3], pp. 257–317).Google Scholar

4 This was F. Biicheler's hypothesis, quoted by Nordmeyer, op. cit., p. 314, n. 1. At that stage even candidates for the tribunate would be nominated among Senators, and elected in the Senate: cf. Niccolini, G., Il tribunato dellaplebe (Milan, 1932), 162ff.;Google ScholarTalbert, R., The Senate of Imperial Rome (Princeton, 1984), 341–5.Google Scholar

5 On this see Zwierlein, O., Kritischer Kommentar zu Senecas Tragodien (Mainz, 1986), 475.Google Scholar

6 The so-called Kongruenz-Gesetz in anapaests is based on the ancient metricians; cf. e.g. Marius Victorinus, G.L.K. VI, p. 77 ‘anapaesticum melos binis pedibus amat sensum includere’ Atilius Fortunatianus, G.L.K. VI, p. 285 ‘sicuti in ceteris metris uitiosum sit, si singuli pedes partem orationis finiant, ita hie [sc. in anapaestis] bonum quod in aliis contrarium sit’. Still, there are frequent exceptions: cf. Oct. 892–3 ‘modo cui patriam reddere ciues/aulam…uoluere‘.Google Scholar

7 Cf. Cic. de domo sua 120; CIL I2, 1, p. 199 = Dessau, ILS n. 49.Google Scholar

8 Cf., Mommsen, op. cit. I, pp. 389ff.; Szemler, G. J., in P.-W. Suppl.-Bd. xv (1978), coll. 339–40.Google Scholar

9 On apostrophes in the Aeneid see Harrison, S. J. (Oxford, 1991), on 10.139.Google Scholar

10 See F., Munzer in P.-W. xiii.l (1926), col. 860; Veil. Pat. 2.13.1–15; the same pair, Gracchi and Livius, is in Sen. Cons, ad Marc. 16.3; also, with the addition of Saturninus, in Tac. Ann. 3.27.3.Google Scholar

11 R., Helm (Sitzungsb. Preuss. Akad., philol.-hist. KJ. 16 [1934], p. 318, n. 1) argues that g ‘domus’ would be too bare without the specification ‘suae’ but one does not see how this does 3; not apply to ‘fasces’ as well. Moreover, as the anonymous referee of CQ suggests, ‘sui’ can b e O taken to include ‘suae’, which does not apply the other way round.Google Scholar

12 Mommsen, op. cit. I, p. 379 (‘ Die Fasces als Abzeichen der Coercition’). Tribunes exercise some form of coercion by employing (as distinct from ) at Dio 60.12.2; 60.28.1.Google Scholar

13 On fasces decreed to the emperors cf., Mommsen, op. cit. Ill, pp. 387–8.Google Scholar

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PS.-Seneca, Octavia 889 and Vergil, Aeneid 12.539FF.*
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