Conspiracy narratives in Latin literature

Author: Spencer, Walter Elliott
Title: Conspiracy narratives in Latin literature
Review/Collection: Dissertation (Ph.D.)
Place edition: Urbana
Editor: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Year edition: 2001
Pages: 174
Keywords: Éloquence - Eloquenza - Eloquence, Politique - Politica - Politics, Stylistique et genres littéraires - Stilistica e generi letterari - Stylistics and literary genre
Description: [Spencer, Walter Elliott] [Abstract] In the second chapter I compare the structural similarities of three narratives of coniuratio by three very different authors: Livy's account of the Bacchic conspiracy (39.8--19), the conspiracy of Calpurnius Piso in Tacitus' Annales (15.48--74), and Cicero's Catilinarians. All three stories have a similar pattern to their telling, and I argue that these similarities are in part the result of structural similarities in a broader "conspiracy" narrative. In the third chapter I investigate the diction of conspiracy in Cicero, Livy and Tacitus, as well as the use of particular words and locutions in Caesar, Sallust and Suetonius to establish the existence of a common vocabulary that provides the ideological basis for structuring the Roman conspiracy narrative. The fourth chapter summarizes what has been discovered about the narration of conspiracy and concludes with some thoughts on areas of conspiracy narration that require further investigation. An appendix supplements the thesis proper in which I address what appears to be a continuity in the presentation of conspiracy in western thought, comparing Cicero's First Catilinarian with what is generally considered a modern mode of discourse, the conspiracy theory.
Author initials: Spencer 2001