n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Raising one's standards? Domitian as model in Ammianus 14.1.10

Volume 51, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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Ammianus describes the Caesar Gallus at 14.1.10 as 'raising the standards of his obstinacy'. The unusual phrase is framed by a double allusion to Virgil's and must be a referene to a description of the emperor Domitian at 4.2. Whereas Ammianus's normal practice in alluding to Statius is to use him simply as a repository of arresting phraseology, here he makes a more pronounced political point through intertextual allusion. Gallus is frequently compared to Domitian throughout Book 14 of Ammianus's history; here the comparison is used to illustrate how Gallus is rather less effective a tyrant than his predecessor. A subtle allusion thus foreshadows the Caesar's downfall.

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