Nagel 2013 Violence

Title Information

Author: Barbara Natalie Nagel

Title: The Tyrant as Artist

Subtitle: Legal Fiction and Sexual Violence under Tiberius

Journal: Law & Literature

Volume: 25

Issue: 2

Year: Summer 2013

Pages: 286-310

ISSN: 1535-685X – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1541-2601 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: Ancient Rome | Prosecution: Laws

Full Text

Link: Institut für Deutsche Philologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (Free Access)

Link: Taylor & Francis Online (Restricted Access)

Additional Information

Author: Barbara Natalie Nagel, Department of German, Princeton University

Abstract: »Imagine that it is illegal to execute a virgin, so one must therefore violate a virgin prior to her execution—it is this legal crux from the reign of the second Roman emperor Tiberius that is the main object of this investigation. Tacitus’, Suetonius’, and Dio’s portrayals of Tiberius present the latter as the emperor of dissimulation, duplicity, hypocrisy, and pretense and at the same time as the self-proclaimed "justest emperor." This article attempts a rhetorical analysis of Tiberius’ ironical dialogue with the law. It focuses on how Tiberius employs the genre of legal fiction to justify particularly gruesome punishments: Tiberius treats virginity as a legal fiction in order to literalize and thereby fix the concept of virginity. In effect, virginity is considered by the law not as a stable concept but rather as something transitory, which can be altered or molded.« (Source: Law & Literature)


  I. Dissimulation, Duplicity, Hypocrisy, Pretense (p. 287)
  II. The Rape of Precedent (p. 290)
  III. Virginity as Legal Fiction (p. 297)

Wikipedia: Tiberius

Added: August 31, 2013 – Last updated: December 6, 2014