Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Is There An Antidote To Caesar? The Despot As Venenum And Veneficus

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this chapter

+ Tax (if applicable)

Chapter Summary

Venena (poisons) loom large in the literary portrayals of Caligula and Nero, whom the main sources depict as poisoners on an unprecedented scale. This chapter examines the interactions of venena and despotism to illustrate the ways in which the former signify despotism's fundamentally deceptive and subversive nature. The verb venenare and its synonyms medicare and inficere meant not only "to poison" but also "to dye". Venenum combined with adjectives of nationality, indicated purple or violet dyesmuch sought-after for luxury fabrics and cosmetics. Purple symbolized the power of political office, and was increasingly identified with the emperor, becoming also a byword for tyranny. The thralldom of the metaphorical audience - the Roman people - was made possible by the spell-binding connotations of venena as instruments of the conjurerdespots, creators of deceptive novelty in their love for accomplishing the impossible.

Keywords: Caligula; Nero; Roman people; Venenum



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Private and Public Lies — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation