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Virtus RomanaPolitics and Morality in the Roman Historians$
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Catalina Balmaceda

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469635125

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635125.001.0001

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Virtus in Tacitus

Virtus in Tacitus

(p.157) Chapter Five Virtus in Tacitus
Virtus Romana

Catalina Balmaceda

University of North Carolina Press

In chapter 5 Tacitus’ historical writings are divided into three units: 1) the Agricola and the Germania, 2) the Histories, and 3) the Annals, not to refer to successive stages in the evolution of his understanding of virtus, but to stress the repeated insistence by which he delineates the expressions of virtus in three diferent periods of Roman history. By identifying what was essential to Roman virtus and what was superfluous and susceptible to change, Tacitus illustrates how, even though a certain degree of political freedom was lost, there were some Romans who could exercise a more ‘personal’ freedom which led to new manifestations of virtus. Tacitus’ perception of the nature of political change is one of the main themes used throughout the chapter to plot the barriers that virtus had to overcome in the new world of the principate.

Keywords:   Tacitus, Virtus, Freedom, Political change, Principate, Agricola, Germania, Histories, Annals

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