Departmental Papers (Classical Studies)

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Book Chapter

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Ancient Historiography and Its Contexts: Studies in Honour of A. J. Woodman

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This chapter is an investigation of a Tacitean metaphor for historiography and its implications for the historian's role in history. The metaphor of the historian's physical proximity to his subject matter, which is found in the Annals 4 digression contrasting Tacitus's work with that of historians of earlier periods, is an offshoot of the enargeia that often enlivens a narrative. It is also one of the many connections between this digression and both Tacitus's account of the trial of the historian Cremutius Cordus (4.34-35) and what he suggests about his own work as historian.

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This material was originally published in Ancient Historiography and its Contexts: Studies in Honour of A. J. Woodman by / edited by Christina S. Kraus, John Marincola, and Christopher Pelling, and has been reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press For permission to reuse this material, please visit


Tacitus, Annals, digression, enargeia, Cremutius Cordus

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Date Posted: 03 March 2016

This document has been peer reviewed.