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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: June 2019

Chapter 11 - Quintilian, Pliny, Tacitus


This last long chapter sharpens the profile of ‘Quintilian in Brief’, and widens the gaze, through syncrisis. I first compare Quintilian’s place in Epistles 1–9 with that in ‘Epistles 10’ (non-existent) and the Panegyricus (limited), and draw some inferences about the different nature, composition and audience of Pliny’s three works. The chapter then devotes itself to Pliny’s contemporary Tacitus. I consider briefly how the Annals imitates the Epistles (and note that Juvenal does too). The focus here, though, is on his Dialogus, both as another punctilious response to the Institutio and as an important ingredient of Pliny’s collection. I propose that the Dialogus antedates the Epistles; show that Pliny imitates it frequently, complicatedly and wittily; and argue that the whole Tacitus cycle is bound into a specifically Quintilianic project. The chapter includes close readings of the Dialogus, Annals 4.32, 4.61 and 15.67 and Epistles 3.20, 4.11, 4.25, 6.21, 7.20, 9.2, 9.10, 9.23 and 9.27; it ends where Chapter 1 began, in Epistles 1.6.