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The Deaths of Seneca$
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James Ker

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195387032

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195387032.001.0001

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Neronian Exits: Writing Death into History

Neronian Exits: Writing Death into History

Chapter:
(p.41) 2 Neronian Exits: Writing Death into History
Source:
The Deaths of Seneca
Author(s):

James Ker (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195387032.003.0003

This chapter shows how the earliest accounts of Seneca's death were shaped by the conventions of death writing in the Greco-Roman world, some of which were already in use in Plato's Phaedo and in the accounts of Cato the Younger's suicide. These conventions, when applied to Seneca's death, serve more than one function in the broader representational edifices constructed by the three historians, particularly Tacitus. The telling of Seneca's death plays a pivotal role in three main stories: the arc of Seneca's life and career in Julio-Claudian Rome; the self-consciously literary story of tension between annalistic writing and the Exitus virorum illustrium; and the catalogue of executions and suicides in books 15 and 16 of the Annals.

Keywords:   Tacitus, Annals, Cassius Dio, Phaedo, Cato, Exitus, Thrasea Paetus, Epicharis

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