Congratulations to your moderator (he’s just received a small grant)
Andre Stipanovic, PhD, has just received a history grant to finish a writing project focused on the 1st century Roman historian Tacitus focused on his work Agricola.
He’s addressing interesting questions – both about the form of Agricola and about the content.
I particularly like this question that Andre plans to explore:
“What happens to an ideal public servant in the service of a tyrannical emperor?”
He is hopeful to publish a journal article and perhaps do more than that.
And he credits our reading groups as providing another context for him to sharpen his skills as a historian (most of his work up to now has been on literature and poetry with history in the background).
Join me in congratulating Andre!
More detail from his proposal:
I want to argue that Tacitus’ Agricola is a history at the micro level, while his more famous works, the Histories and Annals, are written at the macro level. Both approaches involve a conscious commentary on the state of the Roman principate in the 1st century. While the macro level perspective of the Histories and Annals includes many personages relevant to the functioning of the Roman State at its highest levels, the Roman State and its Emperors are the main focus. The difference in the Agricola narrative, which has traditionally been labeled a biography, is that it too addresses questions about the principate, but from a micro level perspective centered on one specific agent. My reading of Tacitus’ work posits the question: “What happens to an ideal public servant in the service of a tyrannical emperor?” Questions that follow logically from a reading of the Tacitean corpus would include: “How can one person best serve the state in such circumstances, when personal integrity comes into contact with the powers-that-be? How well can one serve one’s state when one’s loyalty must also be directed toward a tyrannical superior?”