Opsis and exemplarity in the Hannibalic war : narrators, intertext, and tradition in Polybius and Livy



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This dissertation analyzes how Livy’s internal narrators mediate between his and his predecessors’ texts. Chapter One surveys the theoretical frameworks lying behind the project to show how Livy uses narrators as part of his intertextual approach to writing history. Chapters Two through Four explore the relationship between opsis, exemplarity, and the historiographic methods of Livy and Polybius. Chapter Two argues that Livy integrates comments made by the Polybian external narrator into Hannibal’s speeches, thereby allowing Hannibal to speak with a Polybian voice throughout the Third Decade. While Hannibal in the Histories uses language modelled on Polybius’ methods of opsis and autopsy, Livy’s Hannibal actually speaks with Polybius’ own words. Hannibal’s referential speeches in the AUC create an intertextual relationship that identifies Hannibal as a modello-esemplare to Polybius’ Histories. Chapter Three analyzes the presentation of Scipio in both works. Scipio in the Histories speaks with a focus on Polybian language and methodology. In the AUC, however, Scipio uses exemplarity to guide the actions of his internal audience, incorporating language in his speeches that mirrors Livy’s own methodology. He also shows his superior ability to use exemplarity by presenting a more compelling interpretation of the Regulus exemplum in his debate with Fabius about the proposed invasion of Africa. Chapter Four combines the analyses from the previous two chapters to argue that the portrayals of Hannibal and Scipio allow the two internal narrators to stage a competition on behalf of the authors whose approaches each represents. As Hannibal and Scipio face off at Zama, their speeches and interactions represent a battle of authorial reference as they stand as analogues for the methodologies of Polybius and Livy, respectively. As Scipio triumphs over Hannibal in the battle, the Roman victory represents a victory for Livy’s exemplary method of historiography over Polybius’ reliance on pragmatic decision-making based on opsis and autopsy. Chapter Five surveys how acts of internal narration integrate aspects of the texts of Coelius Antipater and Valerius Antias. The integration of source texts into acts of internal narration shows Livy giving a voice to the Greco-Roman historiographic tradition throughout the Third Decade.