Following on the work of Bartsch and Shumate, this paper analyses the role of historian as theatre critic and considers the types of public display put on by different protagonists in Tacitus's Histories. Major figures such as the emperors and their generals are placed in positions where they are required to display the correct public forms, while various groups within the text offer their own evaluations (almost always different from the implied conclusions of the meta-audience, Tacitus's own readers). Certain scenes of display are repeated, such as the progress of a successful general/emperor through his territories or an emperor's address to his troops to justify his claims for power. These scenes prove especially useful focal points for analysing Tacitus's didactic techniques in the Histories.
Arethusa 39.2 (2006)