Tacitus /

edited by Cynthia Damon

Brachyology

[[NB. bold numbers below indicate the relevant chapter or chapter and sentence in the Agricola.]]

1. Comparatio compendiaria: 12.3; 21.2; 24.2.

2. Ellipsis of substantives: 4 senatorii ordinis (sc. vir); 4 rarae castitatis (sc. mulier); 16 nullis ... experimentis (vir). So regularly in genitive and ablatives of quality; 8, 14, 40 consularem (sc. legatum); 8 conmunicabat (sc. cum Agricola); 10 perinde (sc. atque cetera maria); 12 exsurgere (sc. solem); 18 laureatis (sc. litteris); 20 priorum (sc. ducum); 25 amplexus (sc. bello); 25 cognoscit (sc. Agricola); 27 cuius (sc. victoriae); 28 liburnicas (sc. naves); 35 pellerentur (sc. auxilia); 41 possessione (sc. provinciarum); 42 compositus (sc. vultum); 43 locuti sunt (sc. de morte Agricolae); 43 oblitus (sc. mortis); 44 excessit (sc. vita), the full form in Tacitus only Hist. IV.75; 44 decimo.

3. Ellipsis of adjective: 6 et [cetera] inania; 13 [cetera] iniuncta; 28 [cetera] utilia; 44 dignitate (sc. senatoria).

4. Ellipsis of demonstrative pronoun: 6 dedit (ei); 11 habitum (eum); 44 evasisse (eum); 45 videre (eum) ... adspici (ab eo).

5. Ellipsis of particles: 8, 11, 12 (2x), 18, 24, 31, 33, 37, 38, 39, 46 (2x)  (sed). For other omissions of sed, and of et, see Asyndeton (I. 11). 13 [nam] has; 25 [igitur] ad arma.

6. Ellipsis of Verbs: Of doing, saying, seeing, etc: 11 ut inter barbaros [esse solet]; 18 ut in ... consiliis [fieri solet]; 10 credo [id fieri]; 19 nihil ... [agi]; 15 accendere [dicebant enim]; 27 invium [esse putabant]; 10 nullis contra terris [positis]; 30 nullae ultra terrae [positae], cf. 11.2; 11 ex eo [petuntur]; 10 unde [oriebatur]. So regularly after unde, inde, hinc; 18 ipse ... [incedens]; 13 oblivio [sequebatur]; 2 nos [vidimus]; 21 toga [adspiciebatur]; 33 fulgores [adspiciebantur]; (xxxii) 37 spectaculum [adspiciebatur]; 37 ira ... [redit]; 17 duces [exstiterunt]; 20 multus [adfuit]; 4 hausisse [et hausturum fuisse]; 13 agitasse ... [et agitaturum fuisse]; 37 circumire ... [et circumissent]; 10 hactenus [progredi]; 39 triumphum [reportatum].

b. The omission of the copula. Tacitus omits the infinitive and indicative forms whenever possible, the minor writings furnishing, however, only about one-half as many instances of this ellipsis as the Histories and Annals. The subjunctive of esse, on the other hand, is in comparison rarely suppressed, and if it is, some other subjunctive is generally found in the same sentence, thus avoiding any possible ambiguity: 13 ni velox ingenio [fuisset] ... fuissent; 23 si ... pateretur, inventus [esset]; 24 ubique arma [essent] et ... tolleretur; 35 ingens victoriae [ = si vincerent] decus ... auxilium, si pellerentur (sc. auxilia); 6 parata [esset] ... et proconsul ... redempturus esset; 9 ubi conventus ... poscerent ... misericors [erat]: ubi officio satis factum [esset], nulla ... persona [erat]; 4 concessum [esset]; 18 quamquam ... [esset]; 26 donec pulsi [essent]. In 6 propior (ὤν); 7 incertum (ὄν), the ellipsis is due to a lack of a participle of esse.

7. Zeugma: This is the use of a verb with two substantives, or groups of substantives, though in meaning applicable to but one. In such constructions another verb of kindred signification must be supplied from the verb expressed. Tacitus furnishes some very bold examples of this brachylogy, but they are mainly confined to the later works. Those in the Agricola offer no difficulty: 3 spem ac votum (sc. conceperit) ... robur adsumpserit; 12 arbitrantur nam ... conlegi (sc. constat); 12 naturam ... deesse ... avaritiam (sc. abesse); 13 dilectum (sc. ferunt) ... tributa (sc. faciunt) ... inunera ... obeunt; 25 terra (sc. gereretur) ... mari bellum impelleretur; 39 inerat conscientia ... fuisse ... id sibi maxime formidolosum [esse videbatur]; 41 amore et fide [adhortabantur] ... malignitate et livore ... exstimulabant; 45 nos ... visus [foedavit], nos ... sanguine Senecio perfudit (where see note).

8.  Ἀπὸ κοινοῦ: This is a kind of brachylogy, in which one term is employed in different meanings. It is a figure akin to zeugma, but is generally of (xxxiii) much rarer occurrence. Cp. 18 nec; 20 circumdatae; 25 circumiretur; 31 conteruntur; 32 extremos; 38 secunda, with notes ad loc.

9. Constructio praegnans: See notes. ch. 44 impleverat, and 44 ominabatur.

10. Noteworthy instances of conciseness: 1 ut agere digna ... in aperto erat, ita celeberrimus (= ut agere, ita scribere digna ... in aperto erat, nam celeberrimus); 1 plerique ... narrare, arbitrati sunt (= plerique ... narrave- runt idque ... a. s.); 3 ut corpora ... sic ... revocaveris (= ut c. ... sic ingenia ... lente ... exstinguuntur quae ... revocaveris); 4 locum ... compositum, where see note; 5 rudimenta adprobavit (= r. ita posuit ut ... adprobaret); 9 vincere et adteri (= v. ... et vinci eoque adteri); 10 spatium ... tenuatur (= s. est ... idque ... tenuatur); 10 mare ... grave remigantibus perhibent ne ventis, etc. (= mare ... esse perhibent ac ne ventis); 12 gignit et Oceanus; 15 alterius manus; 18 naves deerant; 18 ita repente inmisit; 25 Britannos quoque, etc., with notes ad loc.; 31 servorum vilis est, qui etiam conservis ludibrio est sic etiam ... famulatu (recentissimus quisque vilis est), quare novi nos et viles, etc.; 39 victoriam ... celebrari (= victoriam reportatam esse quae celebraretur); 44.5.

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