« ForrigeFortsett »
times in which the same period of history has been narrated by two writers so closely contemporary with one another as Plutarch and Tacitus, and the fact that they belonged to different nations and wrote each in his own language certainly make no less interesting the question—what relation their accounts bear to one another, were the anthorities which they used the same or different, or is there any sign of one account having been derived from the other ?
It so happens that both Tacitus and Plutarch have given us in their own words the scope and object of their respective works. Tacitus, after premising that his period begins with the consulship of Galba and Vinius, goes on to say (i. 4), "Coterum antequam destinata componam, repetendum videtur, qualis status urbis, quae mens exercituum, quis habitus provinciarum, quid in toto terrarum orbe validum, quid acgrum fuerit, ut non modo casus eventusquo rerum, qui plerumque fortuiti sunt, sed ratio etiam causaeque noscantur." These words lead us to expect from Tacitus a history of the whole empire during the period he has chosen, not confined to the events in Italy and Rome, but embracing the fortune of the provinces as woll, a history too, based on a rational investigation of the causes which underlay the events narrated. Plutarch, on the other hand, after some introductory remarks of a moralising nature, concludes cap. 2 with the words “Td pèr oův kal' kapta των γενομένων απαγγέλλειν ακριβώς της πραγματικής ιστορίας εστίν, όσα δε άξια λόγου τοϊς των Καισάρων έργους και πάθεσι συμπέπτωκεν, ουδε εμοί προσήκει
Tape Biv. In other words, Plutarch is not writing a general history of the empire. He is rather selecting out of such a general history those events in which the personal fortunes of the emperors were directly or indirectly concerned. It is to be observed however that, if Plutarch disclaims the composition of πραγματική ιστορία, he by no means says here as he does elsewhere (rit. Alex. 1) that he is writing mere Bio. It is important on more grounds than one to note this. He does not say that he is going to narrate the épya and ráon of the emperors, but those events which had a connection with their épya and ráðn; in other words, not their biographies but their reigns, and it is quite in accordance with this promise that he carries out his work.
We should expect therefore from these two passages to find that the account of Tacitus is a wider and more complete one than that of Plutarch. And this is in fact the case. We have nothing in Plutarch answering to the general view which Tacitus takes of the state of the various provinces of the empire (i. 4-11). The detailed account of the state of the German provinces which Tacitus gives us (i. 51-60) is represented in Plutarch by a single chapter (Galb. 22), nearly a quarter of which is occupied by a speech of one of the soldiers, though it is no doubt true that a good deal of what Tacitus tells us may have heen given by Plutarch under the lost reign of Vitellius. The incidents in the march of Valens and Caecina. into Italy (Taa i. 61-70) are for the same reason omitted in Plutarch, who likewise makes no mention
of the invasion of Moesia by the Rhoxolani (Tac. i. 79). Nor does he give us anything corresponding to the sketch of affairs in the Eastern provinces with which Tacitus opens his Second Book (ii. 1-10). In fact Plutarch makes no mention of the provinces at all except in so far as the personal fortunes of the emperors are concerned in them, and so, while references are made to the state of Spain and Gaul in connection with Galba and Vindex, and to Germany in connection with Verginius Rufus and the rising against Galba, the affairs of the other provinces are entirely passed over, only Africa being alluded to in reference to Clodius Macer, Syria and Judaea in reference to the attitude of Mucianus and Vespasian, and the Illyrican provinces in reference to the side taken by their legions.
ns. So closely indeed does Plutarch conv fine himself to the one main thread of his narrative,
that he says nothing of the expedition of Otho's fleet and the resulting campaign in Gallia Narbonensis described by Tacitus (ii. 12-16). With these exceptions however, and we should have been glad if Tacitus had made them more numerous by paying still greater attention to the non-Italian part of his subject, the two narratives take a strikingly similar course. How similar it is, will best be seen from the following conspectus, which it will be convenient to insert at this point, after which we shall be in a better position to discuss the relation of the two narratives to one another.
Tacitus begins his Histories with the commencement of the year 69 A.D., whereas Plutarch gives
some account of Galba's government of Tarraconensis, of his correspondence with Vindex, bis proclamation by his army, and his march to Italy, while several chapters are devoted to the attempt made at Romo by Nymphidius Sabinus in the interval between Nero's death and Galba's arrival to secure the empire for himself. The correspondence therefore with Tacitus of the first fifteen chapters of Plutarch's Galba is naturally not very close, although Tacitus, partly in his resumé of the state of the empire (i. 411), partly in the speech of Otho (i. 37, 38), and in other scattered notices repeats portions of what had no doubt their proper place in the last Book of the Annals. Thus he mentions the “donativum sub nomine Galbae promissum ” (i. 5), the particulars of which are given in full by Plutarch (Galb. 2, 6-12), and also very briefly the attempt "Nymphidii Sabini praefecti imperium sibi molientis” (1.5). The attitude of Verginius Rufus in Germany and his proclamation as imperator by his army are similarly alluded to hy Plutarch (Galb. 6, 9-14) and Tacitus (i. 8 ad fin.) A still closer resemblance is seen in the two references to Icelus, Galba's freedman :
τωδε απελευθέρω δακτυλίους τε nec minor gratia Icelo χρυσούς έδωκε και Μαρκιανός ο Galbae liberto, quem analis " “Ιεελος ήδη καλούμενος είχε την donatam equestri nomine τρώτην εν τοις απελευθέρους Marcianum vocitabant (Tac. divamus (Plut. Galb. 7 ad fin.). Hist. i. 13).
Plutarch's statement that Fabius Valens 6pxwe τρωτος εις Γάλβαν in the army of Verginius (Gali. 10, 19) is confirmed, though without the mention of
Valens' name, by Tacitus (i. 53), “nec nisi occi Nerone translatus in Galbam, atque in eo ipso sacr mento vexillis inferioris Germaniac praeventus erat.
Very striking is the agreement in the accoui given of the career of Titus Vinius in Plutarch, Gal 12, and Tacitus, i. 48 (see notes ad loc. where ti passage of Tacitus is quoted in extenso). Plutar however gives the story where the influence of Vipii is first alluded to, Tacitus on the occasion of h death. The attempted retention of the corn-ships i Africa by Clodius Macer (Plut. Galb. 13, 24) is le: clearly alluded to by Tacitus (i. 73).
The deaths of Cingonius Varro and Petroniu Turpilianus apò xpirews, the former as one of th συνωμόται of Nymphidius, the latter as Νέρωνι πιστό (Plut. Galb. 15 ad init.), are mentioned in very simila language by Tacitus (i. 6), “ tardum Galbae iter é cruentum interfectis Cingonio Varrone consule de signato et Petronio Turpiliano consulari : ille u Nymphidii socius, hic ut dux Neronis, inauditi atqu indefensi tanquam innocentes perierant." As closel corresponding are the notices concerning Macer an Capito.
Μάκρωνα γάρ έν Λιβύη διά Macrum in Africa haur Τρεβωνίου και Φοντήίον εν Γερ. dubie turbantem Treboniu μανία διά Ουάλεντος ανελών Garutianus procurator iussi πρόφασιν είχεν εν όπλοις και Cialbae, Capitonem in Ger στρατοπέδους όντας φοβηθήναι mania, cum similia coeptaret (Plut. Galb. 15, 11-14). Cornelius Aquinus et Fabius
Valens legati legionum inter fecerant, antequam iuberen. tur (i. 7).