A theoretically sophisticated and illuminating reading of Tacitus, especially the Histories, this work points to a new understanding of the logic of Roman rule during the early Empire.Tacitus, in Holly Haynes’ analysis, does not write about the reality of imperial politics and culture but about the imaginary picture that imperial society makes of these concrete conditions of existencethe "making up and believing" that figure in both the subjective shaping of reality and the objective interpretation of it. Haynes traces Tacitus’s development of this fingere/credere dynamic both backward and forward from the crucial year A.D. 69. Using recent theories of ideology, especially within the Marxist and psychoanalytic traditions, she exposes the psychic logic lurking behind the actions and inaction of the protagonists of the Histories. Her work demonstrates how Tacitus offers penetrating insights into the conditions of historical knowledge and into the psychic logic of power and its vicissitudes, from Augustus through the Flavians.By clarifying an explicit acknowledgment of the difficult relationship between res and verba, in the Histories, Haynes shows how Tacitus calls into question the possibility of objective knowinghow he may in fact be the first to allow readers to separate the objectively knowable from the objectively unknowable. Thus, Tacitus appears here as going further toward identifying the object of historical inquiryand hence toward an "objective" rendering of historythan most historians before or since.
About the Author
Holly Haynes is Assistant Professor of Classics at Dartmouth College.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Belief and Make-Believe1. An Anatomy of Make-BelieveOtho Bids Rome FarewellFingere/CredereThe Empire of the CaveHistoriography and Ideology2. Nero: The Specter of Civil WarGalba versus NeroThe Adoption of PisoNero and Otho3. Power and Simulacra: The Emperor VitelliusThe Look of the PrincipateImpersonationsSimulacral Entries. . .and Exits4. Vespasian: The Emperor Who SucceededLooking Backward, Moving Forward: Religio versus SuperstitioFortuna and Fatum: The Narrative of SuperstitioThe Miracle at Alexandria5. A Civil Disturbance: The Batavian Revolts"Us" versus "Them"Eprius Marcellus and Petilius Cerialis on Libertas at Home and AbroadBatavians Take Out the Roman TrashConclusionNotesReferences