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Making a Drama Out of a Crisis: Livy on the Bacchanalia*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 September 2009

Extract

Livy's celebrated account of the Bacchanalia has long been a magnet for students of Roman politics, social life, religion, and private law. Two recent surveys document this extensive range of scholarship. J-M. Pailler, the wellknown French archaeologist, has published a massive monograph of 850 pages, admirably documented and containing a chapter of sixty pages reviewing the bibliography of the past hundred years. Erich Gruen, in his collected papers entitled Studies in Greek Culture and Roman Policy, has contributed a long essay on the political aspects, again with a full bibliography. This paper has the more modest aim of reviewing Livy's account primarily from the literary aspect, concentrating in particular on the opening chapters which describe how the alleged coniuratio was detected.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Classical Association 1996

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References

1. Livy 39.8–19.

2. Pailler, J-M., Bacchanalia, : la répression de 186 av. J-C. à Rome et en Italie (Rome, 1988)Google Scholar. The bibliography is in ch. 2.

3. Gruen, Erich, Studies in Greek Culture and Roman Policy (Leiden, 1990), ch. 2Google Scholar.

4. Ovid, , Fasti 6.503 ffGoogle Scholar.

5. Plato, , Laws 637BGoogle Scholar.

6. Dessau, H., ILS 18Google Scholar.

7. 39.41.6; 40.19.9f.

8. Pol. 22.18.1 ff.

9. Piso fr. 34P - Pliny, NH 34.14.

10. Pol. 31.25.3; 6.57.5.

11. Sallust, Jug. 41f.(cf. Cat. 10, Hist. in. 11–12M); Cat. 11.4ff.

12. Livy 39.42.9 ff, 44.2 ff.

13. Nilsson, M. P., The Dionysiac Mysteries of the Hellenistic and Roman Age (Lund, 1957)Google Scholar.

14. Frank, T., CQ (1927), 128 ffGoogle Scholar.

15. a 2 above.

16. See Duckworth, G. E., The Nature of Roman Comedy (Princeton, 1952), 56 n. 43Google Scholar.

17. Aul. 408.

18. See W. B. Sedgwick's edition (Manchester, 1960), suggesting 189.

19. Amph. 703 ff.

20. See MacCary-M, W. T.. Willcock, M., Casino (Cambridge, 1976), 11Google Scholar.

21. Casma 979ff.

22. Arcellaschi, A., ‘Les Bacchides de Plaute et l'affaire des Bacchanales’, in Blänsdorf, J. (ed.), Theater und GeseUschaft in Imperium Romanum (Tubingen, 1990)Google Scholar, regards the play as a parody of the ritual of the Bacchanalia.

23. Bacchides 52 ff, 368 ff.

24. See n. 6 above.

25. Pailler (n. 2), 386ff.

26. See n. 9 above.

27. Gelzer, M., Hermes (1936), 275 ffGoogle Scholar. Fraenkel, Earlier E., Hermes (1932), 369 ffGoogle Scholar, Keil, J., Hermes (1933), 306 ffGoogle Scholar, and Krause, W., Hermes (1936), 214ffGoogle Scholar accept the essential trustworthiness of the second part of Livy's narrative, while differing over details. Gelzser argues that there was only one meeting of the senate, which was later expanded into two meetings by the annalists.

28. McDonald, A. H., JRS (1944), 26ffGoogle Scholar.

29. Quint. 3.8.1Off.

30. Paribeni, R., Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità (1970), 370–80Google Scholar.

31. See O. Ribbeck, Tragicorum Romanorum Fragmenta: Afranius, Privignus, fr. 2: ‘Uxorem quaerit firmamentum familiae/Scias abesse ab lustris ingenium procul.’ (Nonius glosses: ‘lustra etiam lupanaria dicuntur.’) fr. 3: ‘Iucunditatis plus inest in te mihi/Quam commercatis conquisite edulibus.’

32. Rudens 60.

33. See R. Rousselle, Coll. Latomus, vol. 206 (ed. Deroux, 1989), 61 n. 41.

34. Duckworth (n. 16), 259.

35. See Weismann, W., ‘Die Passio Genesii mimi (BH L 3320)’, MLatJb (1977), 2243Google Scholar.

36. Pailler(n.2),221ff.

37. North, J., PCPA (1979), 88 ffGoogle Scholar.

38. Gruen (n. 3), 65.

39. Pliny, , epp. 10.42f., 96fGoogle Scholar.

40. Toynbee, A., Hannibal's Legacy (Oxford, 1965), 387ff, esp. 400Google Scholar.

41. Wiseman, T. P., Historiography and Imagination (Exeter, 1994), ch. 1Google Scholar.

42. See, e.g., Livy 36.36.2; 39.22.2 and 10; 40.45.6; 42.20.3.

43. See the comment of Benecke, P. V. M., CAH VIII (1930), 254Google Scholar, that the story ‘has reached us in a form that suggests … that some author or authors wrote tragedies or historical novels dealing with the ruin of the Macedonian royal house.’ Walbank, F. W., JHS (1938), 55 ff, dissentsGoogle Scholar.

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