A Commentary on Selected Chapters of Tacitus Annales 13
This thesis provides a commentary on chapters 15–25 (inclusive) of Tacitus Annales 13 which form part of Tacitus’ annalistic narrative of the years AD 55 and 56, narrating the murder of Britannicus and its aftermath, Junia Silana’s conspiracy against Agrippina, Pallas’ and Burrus’ alleged plot against Nero, measures taken to quell unrest in theatres, and the suicide of Julius Montanus. The commentary is on a similar scale to those of Malloch (2013) on Annales 11 and Woodman (2018) on Annales 4 which are published in the Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries series (often termed the ‘orange’ series), with the eventual aim being (time and finances permitting) to publish a commentary on the entirety (58 chapters) of Annales 13; I have already written commentary sections on chapters 1–14, 26–30, 42–43 and 49 (which due to space constraints I have been unable to include in my doctoral thesis) with a publishable commentary on the entire work in mind. As required by the genre, the bulk of the commentary consists of detailed notes on specific lemmata, outlining points of linguistic, literary, historical and textual interest (including parallel passages, allusions and evaluations of conjectural emendations where necessary) in a given lemma. While it is not possible to include a complete critical text of Annales 13 with a critical apparatus within the constraints of the 80,000-word doctoral thesis, I have collated the primary manuscript in which Annales 13 is preserved (the eleventh-century Laurentianus plut. 68.2, known to Tacitean scholars as the ‘Second Medicean’ or M and available to consult online) from afresh for the entirety of Annales 13 and have established a text of my own which can be observed in the lemmata; I have clearly indicated in my textual notes where my text differs from either the primary manuscript or the most recent critical edition (the Teubner of Wellesley [Leipzig 1986]) and have explained my reasons for deviating from these. I have also consulted those codices recentiores which have been digitised by the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana and the Vatican Library; as their archetype survives, these are useful only as sources of conjectures. My notes on lemmata are preceded by four introductory sections (as would be found in a published commentary) which set out broader interpretative themes in Annales 13, namely the government of the Neronian principate, Tacitus’ depiction of women and gender roles, Tacitus’ language and style, and the manuscript tradition of Annales 11–16; I will produce in due course an introductory section on the structure of the annalistic narrative of Annales 13, which will be a useful counterpart to the planned commentary on the whole book. It is hoped that, while a complete commentary on Annales 13 is not possible within the constraints of a doctoral thesis, a balance between detailed textual analysis and consideration of broader literary and historical themes can be achieved.
All dates subsequently given in the work are AD unless otherwise indicated. Abbreviations of classical authors and texts follow the conventions of the most recent volume of the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae (Berlin 2017); other abbreviations will be explained in the key.