Date of Award

Spring 1966

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Wallach, Luitpold

Second Advisor

Arnold, Richard E.

Third Advisor

Conley, John


In this thesis I shall discuss a rhetorical feature of Tacitus' style--inconcinnity. In general this aspect applies to the styles of Livy and Tacitus and, in particular, to one of the salient features of Tacitus' dramatic historiography, namely, innuendo. Since such terms as variation, libration, concinnity and parallelism have been used by many critics, by some of these indiscriminately and synonymously, I have defined the meaning of concinnity. Chapter I deals with Cicero's and Quintilian's concepts of concinnity. Tacitus wrote effectively in two styles--in a balanced style, as evidenced in his Dialogus de Oratoribus, characterized by well-arranged and Ciceronian-like periods, and in the open style, as witnessed especially in his Annals. I was naturally led to discuss the question why our historian chose to use this specific mode of writing. Questions that arose from this fact are the following. Is inconcinnity in Tacitus and in Livy formally and technically identical? Was Tacitus consciously searching for a new type of libration, a new type of coordination, which, while deviating from Ciceronian balance, achieves in its overall effect a certain type of balance? Or did Tacitus choose to destroy the balanced period because it in turn would make impossible his dramatic style, filled with innuendo? Does Tacitus deserve the epithet bestowed on him by Racine who called him "le Plus grand peinture de l'antiquite"? Of Central importance to my topic has been an article of Livian inconcinnity, in comparison with those of Tacitus as found in book I of the Annals. Though depending on Catterall's work, I thought it necessary to state in an appendix, my opinion concerning certain errors, as far as I know, in his examples taken from the Ab Urbe Condita, errors, which, have been allowed to go unchallenged until now.



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