Octavia: A Play Attributed to Seneca

Octavia: A Play Attributed to Seneca

Octavia: A Play Attributed to Seneca

Octavia: A Play Attributed to Seneca


The historical tragedy Octavia focuses on Nero's divorce from the princess Octavia, Claudius' daughter by Valeria Messalina, and on the emperor's subsequent marriage to Poppaea Sabina. This book includes a full-length introduction, a new edition of the text based on a fresh examination of the manuscripts, and a detailed commentary dealing with textual, linguistic, and literary points. Spanning three days in June AD 62, the tragic action of the play ends with Octavia's deportation to the island of Pandateria, where she would be executed shortly afterwards.


This book originatedas a Tesi di Perfezionamento of the Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, where it was examinedin July 1998. Most of the work, however, was done during my earlier tenure of the Momigliano Fellowship in the Arts at University College London (1993–96), and during my subsequent residence in the same city until October 1998. There stof the book was completed during my successive academic postings at Cremona (Università di Pavia) and at Pisa. The final version was delivered to the Press in the summer of 2002.

Of the many debts of gratitude I have contracted in the course of writing this book, the first I wish to acknowledge is to the electors to the Momigliano Fellowship in the Arts, endowed by Anna Laura and Giulio Lepschy in memory of Laura's father, Arnaldo Momigliano. It is to Laura and Giulio that I dedicate this book, for their friendship and inspiring intellectual support over the years. I do not think the book would have existed without them.

Of other London friends, Helen Gregory has put me in the greatest debt, helping me to revise the English of sizeable portions of both Introduction and Commentary, as well as discussing anddisagreeing with me on many points of substance anddetail. The Italian Department at UCL provided a congenial and inspiring place for work andresearch, even for a classicist, as did the Institute of Classical Studies and its splendid library. The then Scuola (now Facoltà) di Paleografia of the Universitàdi Pavia helpedme financially in various ways, especially in contributing towards the cost of acquiring MS microfilms.

I also wish to thank the Series Editors, above all Michael Reeve, RichardTarrant, and Jonathan Powell for including the volume among the Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries. Anyone who knows these scholars knows what it means to receive their advice. I thank them for their patience, their intelligent suggestions, andfor all they have taught me. Gian Biagio Conte . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.