Conspiracy Narratives in Roman History by Victoria Emma PagánConspiracy Narratives in Roman History by Victoria Emma Pagán

Conspiracy Narratives in Roman History

byVictoria Emma Pagán

Paperback | August 1, 2009

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Conspiracy is a thread that runs throughout the tapestry of Roman history. From the earliest days of the Republic to the waning of the Empire, conspiracies and intrigues created shadow worlds that undermined the openness of Rome's representational government. To expose these dark corners and restore a sense of order and safety, Roman historians frequently wrote about famous conspiracies and about how their secret plots were detected and the perpetrators punished. These accounts reassured readers that the conspiracy was a rare exception that would not happen again—if everyone remained vigilant.

In this first book-length treatment of conspiracy in Roman history, Victoria Pagán examines the narrative strategies that five prominent historians used to disclose events that had been deliberately shrouded in secrecy and silence. She compares how Sallust, Livy, and Tacitus constructed their accounts of the betrayed Catilinarian, Bacchanalian, and Pisonian conspiracies. Her analysis reveals how a historical account of a secret event depends upon the transmittal of sensitive information from a private setting to the public sphere—and why women and slaves often proved to be ideal transmitters of secrets. Pagán then turns to Josephus's and Appian's accounts of the assassinations of Caligula and Julius Caesar to explore how the two historians maintained suspense throughout their narratives, despite readers' prior knowledge of the outcomes.

Victoria Emma Pagán is Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Wisconsin.
Title:Conspiracy Narratives in Roman HistoryFormat:PaperbackDimensions:207 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.75 inPublished:August 1, 2009Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292722338

ISBN - 13:9780292722330

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Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Part I. Betrayed Conspiracies
    • 1. Sallust: The Catilinarian Conspiracy
    • 2. Livy: The Bacchanalian Affair
    • 3. Tacitus: The Pisonian Conspiracy
  • Part II. Successful Conspiracies
    • 4. Josephus: The Assassination of Caligula
    • 5. Appian: The Assassination of Julius Caesar
  • Conclusion
  • Abbreviations
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • Index Locorum

Editorial Reviews

"This often provocative book . . . is a significant contribution to the field, for there is no comparable study." - David Potter, University of Michigan, author of Literary Texts and the Roman Historian