Frontinus' cameo role in Tacitus' Agricola

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Abstract

Frontinus appears only once in Tacitus' Agricola, at a moment in the text where Tacitus is filling in some background, sketching a rough history of the Roman occupation of Britain up to the time when Agricola took over as governor of the province. His appearance is brief, and the momentum of the whole section makes it tempting to see him as a mere footnote in the tale of Agricola's life and career. I will argue, however, that Frontinus' role in the text is more significant than that. Indeed, it is my contention that he is closely bound up with – and helps Tacitus and his readers to explore – one of the text's most pressing concerns: namely senatorial conduct, status and identity, in Domitianic and post-Domitianic Rome.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-376
JournalThe Classical Quarterly
Volume63
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2013

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