Tacitus /

edited by Cynthia Damon

Inconcinnity

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

This term is applied to a tendency already noticeable in Livy, but especially characteristic of Tacitus, to avoid, for the sake of variety, normal collocations or stereotyped phrases. It is extremely rare in the Dialogus, written as it was under the complete influence of Cicero. The Germania, being a more or less scientific treatise, also exhibits but few instances. In the rhetorically elaborated Agricola numerous examples occur, but they are as yet confined within narrow limits. In the Histories, and in the Annals, inconcinnity has become a much more conspicuous feature, and its increasing prominence thus furnishes a good illustration, out (xxxiv) of many, of the genetic development of Tacitus's style. As yet diffident and all but capricious in the minor writings, it gradually matures into a systematic device and is handled with consummate skill to subserve definite rhetorical ends.

1.    Concrete noun added to abstract: 4 sinu indulgentiaque; 4 sedem ac magistram; 20 praesidiis castellisque ... ratione curaque; 24 per commercia et negotiatores; 25 copiis et laetitia; 25 numero et peritia; 28 exemplum et rectores; 30 spem ac subsidium; 30 terrarum et libertatis; 33 a fama ... rumore — castris et armis; 36 aemulatione et impetu; 37 nox et satietas; 38 gaudio praedaque; 46 materiam et artem.

2.    Case and prepositional phrase: This is most frequent with per: 6 per mutuam caritatem ... se anteponendo; 9 ostentanda virtute aut per artem; 19 animorum ... prudens ... doctus per experimenta; 28 per conmercia ... mutatione; 31 per dilectus ... nomine; 41 temeritate aut per ignaviam; 46 per ... materiam et artem ... moribus; 44 per intervalla ... uno ictu; 1 citra fidem ... obtrectationi; 19 studiis ... ex commendatione; 22 comis bonis ... adversus malos iniucundus; 31 in tributum ... in frumentum ... silvis; 35 promptior in spem, firmus adversis (where see note); 42 paratus simulatione, in adrogantiam compositus.

3.    Comparative followed by positive: 4 vehementius quam caute (see note).

4.    Variation of preposition: 5 in iactationem ... ob formidinem; 24 in spem ... ob formidinem.

5.    Noun and subordinate clause: 9 nullis ... sermonibus, sed quia; 10 non in comparationem, sed quia. (xxxv)

6.   Adjective or participle and case: 4 senatorii ordinis ... notus; 16 segnior et nullis ... experiments; 37 agminibus ... respectantes; 38 palantes ... ploratu.

7.   Avoidance of commonplace expressions: 6 ludos duxit for fecit on the analogy of pompam ducere; 16 sumpsere bellum for arma; 37 terga praestare, a new coin age for dare, praebere; 45 pro virili portione in place of parte.

8.    Reference to part of an antecedent: 10.5; 12.4; 13.2 (where see notes).

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