[1] Gaio Vipstano C. Fonteio consulibus diu meditatum scelus non ultra Nero distulit, vetustate imperii coalita audacia et flagrantior in dies amore Poppaeae, quae sibi matrimonium et discidium Octaviae incolumi Agrippina haud sperans crebris criminationibus, aliquando per facetias incusare principem et pupillum vocare, qui iussis alienis obnoxius non modo imperii, sed libertatis etiam indigeret. cur enim differri nuptias suas? formam scilicet displicere et triumphales avos, an fecunditatem et verum animum? timeri ne uxor saltem iniurias patrum, iram populi adversus superbiam avaritiamque matris aperiat. quod si nurum Agrippina non nisi filio infestam ferre posset, redderetur ipsa Othonis coniugio: ituram quoque terrarum, ubi audiret potius contumelias imperatoris quam viseret periculis eius immixta. haec atque talia lacrimis et arte adulterae penetrantia nemo prohibebat, cupientibus cunctis infringi potentiam matris et credente nullo usque ad caedem eius duratura filii odia.

 

distulit: diferro: ‘to delay’, ‘to put off’
coalita: coalescere: ‘to increase’
discidium: ‘divorce’, ‘separation’
incolumis, -e: adj. ‘safe’, ‘unharmed’
criminatio, -onis: ‘charge’, ‘accusation’
facetia, -ae: ‘joke’, ‘wit’
incuso, -are (1): ‘to reproach’, ‘rebuke’
pupillus, -i: ‘orphan’, met. ‘student’
obnoxia, -us, -um: ‘subservient’, ‘obedient’ indigo, -ere: ‘to lack’, ‘want for’
scilicet: ‘doubtless’
avus: ‘grandfather’, ‘ancester’
fecunditas –atis: ‘fertility’
verus: here perhaps ‘honest’, ‘unwavering’ saltem: ‘at least’
patrum, gen. pl. from patres: ‘senators’
aperio, -ire: ‘to reveal’
nurus: ‘daughter-in-law’
coniugium, -i: ‘marriage’
ituram: eo: add esse for the acc. +  inf. contumeliae, -arum: ‘insults’, ‘abuses’
viso, visere: ‘to see’
penetrantia: penetro, -are: pres. part. used as a substantive (i.e. a noun)
infringo, -ere, infrinxi, infrinctum: ‘to break’
duro, durare: ‘to harden’, ‘remain’, ‘to last’

Notes

Gaio Vips[t]ano [C.] Fonteio consulibus: Ablative absolute to indicate the dating of the year, in this case AD 59. A feature of the annalistic form.

Poppaea: Poppaea Sabina. Nero’s new love interest, she was the wife of Otho. After the murder of Agrippina in AD 59, and the divorce, banishment, and execution of Claudia Octavia, she became Nero’s second wife. She is supposed to have died in AD 65 when Nero viciously kicked her.

Octavia: Claudia Octavia, the daughter of Claudius and Messallina. She married Nero in AD 53, but he divorced her in AD 62 for sterility. Amid accusations of adultery and treason she was eventually put to death.

Agrippina: Iulia Agrippina (the Younger) (AD 15-59), the Emperor’s mother. She is supposed to have poisoned Claudius to make room for Nero. In the early years of the reign of Nero she was basically a co-regent, but gradually fell out of favour as her son became increasingly paranoid and autocratic. She was killed in AD 59.

aliquando per facetias incusare: this begins a lengthy accusative and infinitive construction which details Poppaea’s complaints against the Emperor.

cupientibus cunctis: note the ablative absolute followed by acc +  inf.

 

Key Points

Linguistic style: use of accusative and infinitive, lack of the verb esse, ablative absolute constructions.

Historiographical style: role of women, power v. lack of power, Nero’s position as emperor, superbia; avaritia; potestas; use of military terminology; relationship of senators, people, and royal family.

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