Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Somnia nugaeque merae : sobre la cronologia de les tragèdies de Sèneca: mètodes i resultats

Antoni Seva Llinares


The lack of clear information has made the chronology of Seneca?s tragedies
a hotly-debated question. The diverse methods that have been used to resolve
it, based on the internal analysis and on the study of external witnesses,
with diverging results, are examined in this article, with the following conclusions.
Regarding the internal analysis: A. On the absolute dating: 1. the
allusions to historic events which have been offered as proof lack the necessary
connection; 2. the consideration, widely accepted, of the Apocolocyntosis
as a terminus ante quem (year 54), above all of HF, as a supposed parody,
is inconsistent dogma. B. On the relative dating: 1. the intertextual relations
that have been established are often contradictory and subjective in nature;
2. the increase in the number of pauses within the verse as a sign of posteriority
is an erroneous criterion; 3. another erroneous criterion is that of the
number of abbreviations of ?o, a phenomenon that, in the view of the history
of the language, of the literary genre and of the insertion of words into the
verse, shows a coherent and closed non-chronological system; 4. the variation
represented by the polymetric songs could have occurred at any stage of
the tragediographic trajectory. Regarding the external testimony: 1. it is not
possible to establish a precise date for the praefationes of Pomponius Segundus
and of Seneca; 2. Pomponius must have died shortly after the year 51; 3.
the debate between the two tragediographs could have taken place c. 41, c.
49 or c. 51; 4. Seneca?s tragediographic activity could have occurred before
41, during the period 49-59 or in both periods. Seneca?s tragedies reflect a
historic framework which is not exclusively Neronian. We do not know the
author?s direct intentions and the impressions of the audience; the weight of
the interpretation should be moved from the historical field to the literary field.

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