By Victoria Emma Pagán
Conspiracy is a thread that runs during the tapestry of Roman heritage. 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 govt. to show those darkish corners and fix a feeling of order and defense, Roman historians often wrote approximately recognized conspiracies and approximately how their mystery plots have been detected and the perpetrators punished. those debts reassured readers that the conspiracy was once a unprecedented exception that will now not take place again--if everybody remained vigilant. during this first book-length therapy of conspiracy in Roman background, Victoria Pagan examines the narrative innovations that 5 renowned historians used to reveal occasions that have been intentionally shrouded in secrecy and silence. She compares how Sallust, Livy, and Tacitus developed their money owed of the betrayed Catilinarian, Bacchanalian, and Pisonian conspiracies. Her research unearths how a ancient account of a mystery occasion relies on the transmittal of delicate info from a personal environment to the general public sphere--and why ladies and slaves frequently proved to be excellent transmitters of secrets and techniques. Pagan then turns to Josephus's and Appian's debts of the assassinations of Caligula and Julius Caesar to discover how the 2 historians maintained suspense all through their narratives, regardless of readers' past wisdom of the results.
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Extra info for Conspiracy Narratives in Roman History
One of the conspirators, Cn. Calpurnius Piso, a supporter of Crassus (adnitente Crasso, Sal. Cat. 1), was sent to secure Spain in Pompey’s absence. But Piso was murdered shortly after his arrival (Sal. Cat. 1; Asc. Tog. 10). This coup (the so-called ﬁrst Catilinarian conspiracy) was discovered; according to Asconius (92), Catiline, in his impatience, signaled the conspirators prematurely. Catiline was acquitted of the charges against him and was eligible to stand for oﬃce the next year (in 64), along with Cicero.
Looking back, they see the danger Catiline posed to the state; looking forward, they see the safety to which they are only just now delivered. 9). Although narrative resolution is achieved, emotional stability remains in the balance. Sallust’s Januslike narrative masterfully maintains suspense to the last word. fulvia on the brink In spite of the delays posed by the preface, digressions, character sketches, and speeches, the action of the narrative advances; knowledge about the events is imparted, and the reader gains an understanding of the conspiracy.
Cicero mobilized troops but lacked suﬃcient evidence to bring Catiline to justice. On November 6, the conspirators met at the house of Marcus Porcius Laeca on the Street of the Scythemakers to delegate tasks and ﬁnalize their plans. Catiline instructed two of the conspirators to call on Cicero the next morning on the pretense of paying their respects, and there they should murder him unsuspecting. This is the information, according to Plutarch, that a woman named Fulvia passed along to Cicero. Armed with this knowledge, Cicero delivered his ﬁrst oration against Catiline to the senate on November 7.