Damon, Cynthia

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 17
  • Publication
    Potior utroque Vespasianus: Vespasian and His Predecessors in Tacitus's Histories
    (2006-01-01) Damon, Cynthia; Damon, Cynthia
    The Histories are threaded through with incidents that allow a comparison between two or more principes. Readers need to be alert to such passages, for Vespasian was preceded by three emperors who got as far as he did but failed to keep their footing there. In essence, Tacitus tells the stories of fall (Galba, Otho, Vitellius) and rise (Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian) three times each, and uses the failures of Vespasian's predecessors to help explain Vespasian's success. Given what remains of the Histories (the last two weeks of Galba, the three months of Otho's principate, Vitellius's uprising against Galba, his defeat of Otho, and his eight-month principate, the Flavian uprising against and defeat of Vitellius, and Vespasian's first eight or so months as princeps in absentia), we can see only how Vespasian succeeded in establishing himself. As to how far, according to Tacitus, success carried into the rest of his decade in power, we are in the dark. In saying that Tacitus creates a portrait of success for Vespasian, I do not mean to imply that his account of that emperor's principate is wholly positive. Indeed, some of the parallel episodes considered below suggest that the civil war context in which Vespasian came to power is characterized by a certain number of constant negatives, such as the excessive influence of imperial freedmen and the fickleness of the Roman populace, and even by deterioration over time, as is illustrated by the decline in military discipline and the increase in senatorial servility. My point is that the presence of parallel incidents in two or more principates enables, and indeed encourages, the reader to measure one princeps against the others and that Vespasian emerges from such an assessment with more to his credit than any of his predecessors. The first such comparative assessment is present in the text: public opinion in Rome in 69, says Tacitus, considered Vespasian better than either Otho or Vitellius (1.50.4: potior utroque Vespasianus). Better, but not necessarily good.
  • Publication
    On the Prosecution of C. Antonius in 76 B.C.
    (1995) Damon, Cynthia; Damon, Cynthia
  • Publication
    Suetonius the Ventriloquist
    (2014-01-01) Damon, Cynthia; Damon, Cynthia
    This chapter surveys Suetonius’ prose style, particularly his tendency to include the emperors’ own words in verbatim quotation. The metaphor of the ‘ventriloquist’ is apt for Suetonius, who frequently uses his biographical subject’s own language to display their character. This method is in direct contrast with the custom of Roman historians, especially Tacitus, who rewrites the original material in his sources, including speeches, to fit with the overall tone and texture of his own history. Suetonius permits the diction and rhythm of other writers to intrude in his biographies, but he does this for useful effect, and is not devoid of his own signatures of style and authorial voice. Suetonius’ prose is redeemed as more artful than in previous estimations, which have often found it to be plain and monotonous.
  • Publication
    Pliny's Encyclopedia: The Reception of the Natural History
    (2010-01-01) Damon, Cynthia; Damon, Cynthia
    Review of Pliny's Encyclopedia: The Reception of the Natural History by Aude Doody.
  • Publication
    Caesar and the Bellum Alexandrinum: An Analysis of Style, Narrative Technique, and the Reception of Greek Historiography
    (2014-09-23) Damon, Cynthia; Damon, Cynthia
    Review of Caesar and the Bellum Alexandrinum: An Analysis of Style, Narrative Technique, and the Reception of Greek Historiography by Jan Felix Gaertner, Bianca Hausburg.
  • Publication
    Poem Division, Paired Poems, and Amores 2.9 and 3.11
    (1990) Damon, Cynthia; Damon, Cynthia
  • Publication
    The Emperor's New Clothes, or, on Flattery and Ecomium in the Silvae
    (2013-01-01) Damon, Cynthia; Damon, Cynthia
  • Publication
    Statius Silvae 4. 9: Libertas Decembris?
    (1992) Damon, Cynthia; Damon, Cynthia