This paper will examine intertextual references between the Dialogus of Tacitus and the letters of Pliny, in particular those regarding boar hunting. It will argue that there are clues in the letters of Pliny which can help us to understand the relationship between these two writers as well as the tone and purpose of the Dialogus. By studying Pliny's letters to Tacitus on hunting (1.6, 9.10), one can see the specific reference to boars as an allusion to Marcus Aper, the chief spokesperson for contemporary eloquence in the dialogue, indicating a degree of humor and irony in the Dialogus that is further displayed by the similarity of Pliny's opening exhortation in Epistle 1.6, ridebis et licet rideas, to the final words of the Dialogus, cum adrisissent, discessimus. Moreover, the dialogue between Pliny and Tacitus in Pliny's letters can be seen as an indication that the Dialogus itself may have been revised throughout the years, thus problematizing the debate about the ““publication date”” of the Dialogus.
Research Article| April 01 2008
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Rebecca Edwards; Hunting for Boars with Pliny and Tacitus. Classical Antiquity 1 April 2008; 27 (1): 35–58. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/ca.2008.27.1.35
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