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Tacitean Elements in Grotius's Narrative of the Capture of Breda (1590) by Stadtholder Maurice, Count of Nassau (Historiae, Book 2)

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This article is part of the Dossier on Tacitus published in last year's issue of Grotiana. It offers a combined study of both the content and the language and style of Grotius' account of the capture of Breda in the second book of the Historiae, published in 1657 together with the Annales under the title Annales et Historiae de rebus Belgicis. A thorough analysis of Grotius' account of this eventful and dramatic turning point in the Dutch revolt reveals that it is nothing but a defective and occasionally unclear rehearsel of the standard narrative of the capture based on the well-known and in Grotius' day widely read history-books written in French and Dutch. The rather artificial imitation of Tacitus's brevitas on the stylistic level does not suffice to qualify Grotius's account as a masterful piece of Tacitean writing, because it does not highlight the motives of the chief characters in the story nor the connection between the events and their effects, and because Grotius fails to present his own perspective on this important episode in the war against Spain.


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