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Shifting Tacitisms. Style and Composition in Grotius's Annales

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The purpose of this article is to assess the nature and proper context of Grotius's imitation of Tacitus. It starts by establishing how the Tacitean style is characterised in the literary criticism around 1600. It then explores the qualities of Grotius's imitation from both the seventeenth-century and the modern perspective. It concludes that Grotius's imitation shows Tacitus's style in a characteristically seventeenth-century mirror, in that it emphasises Tacitean syntax, brevity and choice of words (the stylistic micro-level), as well as political edge and iudicium, but overlooks the narrative and structural qualities of the longer lines of composition in Tacitus's works, that are recognised in modern interpretations.


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