Octavia (play)

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Octavia
Written by Anonymous
Original language Classical Latin
Subject Divorce of Nero and Octavia
Genre Fabula praetexta
(Tragedy based on Roman subjects)
Setting Imperial Rome

Octavia is a Roman tragedy that focuses on three days in the year 62 AD during which the Emperor Nero divorced and exiled his wife Claudia Octavia and married another (Poppaea Sabina). The play also deals with the irascibility of Nero and his inability to take heed of the philosopher Seneca's advice to rein in his passions.

In the past, the play's authorship was attributed to Seneca, but modern scholarship generally discredits this. It is presumed to have been written later in the Flavian period during the 1st century, after the deaths of both Nero and Seneca.

Editions[edit]

  • Octavia: A Play attributed to Seneca, ed. Rolando Ferri (Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries No.41, Cambridge UP, 2003) [1]

Further reading[edit]

  • F. L. Lucas, "'The Octavia', an essay," Classical Review, 35,5-6 (1921), 91-93 [2].
  • P. Kragelund, Prophecy, Populism, and Propaganda in the "Octavia" (Copenhagen, 1982).
  • T. Barnes, "The Date of the Octavia," MH, 39 (1982) 215-17.
  • Harris, W.V., Restraining Rage: The Ideology of Anger Control in Classical Antiquity (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2001).
  • T. P. Wiseman, "Octavia and the Phantom Genre," in Idem, Unwritten Rome (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2008).
  • Girolamo Cardano 'Nero: An Exemplary Life' Inkstone, 2012.