Notes to Tacitus, Annales11.12

nam conjunction
for; now; explanatory particle leading from the previous sentence.

C[aius] Silius: a Roman noble and consul-designate under Claudius. Married himself, he was pressured by Messalina to divorce his wife and marry her, which he did, perhaps from political motivations as much as fear for his life. He is the grammatical as well as the real object of exarserat.

iuventus, -tutis, f.
youth; manhood; soldier.

ita introduces a result clause followed by ut and the subjunctives exturbaret and poteretur.

exardesco, -ere, -arsi, -arsum
be kindled, enflamed. The unnamed subject is Messalina, whose name is not mentioned in this part of Tacitus's narrative (neither is Claudius's). The object of the verb is C. Silium.

Iunia Silana: wife of Caius Silius, herself one of the nobility.

exturbo (1)
drive out; banish; with matrimonio, divorce (a woman). Rather than husband or wife initiating the divorce in accord with law, Messalina is the driving force, usurping a power that was unofficially the emperor’s since Octavian’s “arrangements” for his family's marriages.

vacuus, -a, -um
disengaged; single; vacant, empty.

adulter, -i m.f.

potior, poti, potitus/a sum, + ablative
obtain, get possession of; once again Messalina is reported to be the agent of an action that is traditionally masculine.

flagitium, flagitii n.
shame, disgrace.

nescius, -a, -um
unaware, ignorant.

certus, -a, -um
certain, fixed, settled.

abnuo, -nuere, -nui, -nuturum
refuse, decline, reject; instead of the conclusion (apodosis) of the condition introduced by si, three ablative absolutes follow: exitio, spe, praemiis.

exitium, exitii n.
death; destruction, ruin; ablative absolute with certo.

nonnullus, -a, -um
some, several.

fallo, fallere, fefelli, falsum
elude, escape the notice of; deceive; fallendi is the genitive of the gerund, a verbal noun that is active in meaning without implication of necessity.

simul adverb
at the same time; likewise.

praemium, praemii n.
reward, prize.

operio, -ire, operui, opertum
conceal, cover. The chiastic word order of operire . . . frui sets the phrase aside as the direct object of habebat, which carries the force of necessity.

futurus, -a, -um
come, yet to be, going to be. The future came quickly on the heels of their marriage. Silius was permitted to commit suicide. Messalina was kept away from Claudius by his advisors and condemned; unable to kill herself, she was stabbed and beheaded by his soldiers.

praesens, praesentis n.
present, immediate; n. pl. present state of affairs.

fruor, frui, fructus/a sum + ablative
enjoy, delight in.

solacium, -i n.
comfort, relief, consolation, solace; translate pro solacio habebat as the subject of operire and frui.

furtim adverb

comitatus, comitatus m.
escort, retinue.

ventito (1)
coming regularly, come often, be wont to come; the frequentative of venio, formed by adding the suffix –ito, conveys the regularity of her visits to Silius’s home. This is a historical infinitive with illa (Messalina) as the subject.

egressus, egressus m.
exit; doorway (of a house); the term, suggestive of the exclusus amator who is shut out of the house of his beloved in elegiac love poetry, places Messalina in the male role of pursuer in this love affair.

adhaeresco, -ere, -haesi, ---+ dative
cling to, stick to; hang on; a historical infinitive.

largior, -iri, largitus/a sum
give generously; grant; increase; understand ei (Silius). The three historical infinitives without connectives (asyndeton) indicate the haste with which the transfers took place.

ops, opis f.
wealth, power; understand et before honores (the rhetorical term is asyndeton).

velut adverb
as if, just as.

transfero, -fere, -tuli, latum
transform; transport, carry over; supply erat; the word implies the transfer of power and life along with the emperor’s goods.

paratus, us m.
equipment, accessories, furnishing; the rapid listing of servi, liberti, paratus without connectives (asyndeton) imitates Messalina’s speedy and public setting aside of Claudius and betrays his female passivity in their relationship.

apud preposition + accusative
at the house of.

viso, -ere, visi, visum
see; look at; visit; the subjects are servi, liberti, paratus; the verb suggests public witness of Messalina’s transgression.


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