PS.-Seneca, Octavia 889 and Vergil, Aeneid 12.539FF

Classical Quarterly 46 (1):311-314 (1996)


At 876ff. Octavia's partisans lament the ruinous intervention of the Roman mob in support of the heroine's legitimate claims against Poppaea. A series of paradigmatic figures illustrates the sentence ‘o funestus multis populi dirusque fauor’: the two Gracchi, first, then Livius Drusus, the tribunus plebis of 91 B.C., stabbed to death in his house in the year of his tribunate. The gallery of historical characters suits the Roman atmosphere of the play, the fallen heroes of Republican times are presented as noble and disinterested figures, struck by disaster and evil fortune. This is the description of Livius' fate

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