Suet. Ner. 7.1: Britannicum subditivum

in Mnemosyne
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Suet. Ner. 7.1: Britannicum subditivum

in Mnemosyne


AilloudH. Suétone. Vies des Douze Césars 1961 Vol. 2 Paris

AshmoreS.G. P. Terenti Afri Comoediae. The Comedies of Terence 1908 New York 2

BaldwinB. Suetonius 1983 Amsterdam

BarsbyJ. Terence 2001 Vol. 1 Cambridge, MA/London

BradleyK.R. Suetonius’ Life of Nero 1978 Brussels

BriscoeJ. A Commentary on Livy Books 38-40 2008 Oxford

BrownP. Terence: The Comedies 2009 Oxford

ButlerH.E. The Institutio Oratoria of Quintilian 1921 Vol. 1 Cambridge, MA/London

Cabaret-DupatyM. Œuvres de Suétone. Traduction française De La Harpe 1885 Paris

CharlesM.B. Nero and Sporus Again forthcoming Latomus

CousinJ. Quintilien. Institution oratoire Vol. 1 Paris

Del RosseP. Le vite dei dodici Cesari di Gaio Svetonio Tranquillo 1853 Turin

EdwardsC. Suetonius. Lives of the Caesars 2000 Oxford

GravesR. Suetonius. The Twelve Caesars 1979 London rev. edn.

HillenH.J. T. Livius. Römische Geschichte Buch XXXIX-LXI 1983 Munich/Zürich

HollandR. Nero: The Man Behind the Myth 2000 Stroud

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IhmM. C. Suetoni Tranquilli opera De vita Caesarum libri VIII 1908 Vol. I Leipzig

LambertA. Leben der Caesaren 1955 Zürich/Stuttgart

LevickB. Claudius 1990 London

MarouzeauJ. Térence Vol. 2 Paris

MartinR.F. Les douze Césars. Du mythe à la réalité 1991 Paris

MartinetH. C. Sueton Tranquillus Das Leben der römischen Kaiser 2001 Düsseldorf

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RadiceB. Terence: The Comedies 1976 London

RogersR.S. Heirs and Rivals to Nero TAPhA 1955 86 190 212

RolfeJ.C. Suetonius 1979 Vol. 2 Cambridge, MA/London rev. edn.

RussellD.A. Quintilian The Orator’s Education 2001 Vol. 1 Cambridge, MA/London

StahrA. Sueton’s Kaiserbiographien 1857 Stuttgart

ThomsonA. Suetonius. The Lives of the Twelve Caesars 1926 London rev. Forester T.

VitaliG. Le vite dei dodici Cesari 1965 Vol. 2 Bologna

VoutC. Power and Eroticism in Imperial Rome 2007 Cambridge

WarmingtonB.H. Suetonius Nero 1977 Bristol

WarmingtonB.H. Suetonius Nero 1999 Bristol 2

WoodsD. Nero and Sporus Latomus 2009 68 73 82

YardleyJ.C. Livy The Dawn of the Roman Empire 2000 Oxford Books 31-40


See Ihm 1908226. Lewis & Short s.v. subditivus gives ‘substituted supposititious spurious counterfeit’; the old s.v. subditivus provides ‘fraudulently substituted spurious; (of a child) supposititious’. The word is clearly related to subdere which among its many meanings can have the sense of as the old s.v. subdo 8 tells us ‘to substitute fraudulently: a (as a supposititious child). b (a forged document).’


Rolfe 199793. The same translation is provided by Thomson 1926 340.


Graves 1979217; Edwards 2000 198. Stahr’s German translation (1857 329) captures the same sense with ‘als untergeschobenen Sohn’ as does Lambert 1955 320; Martinet 2001 328. Vitali (1965 69) provides the same sense in Italian: ‘figlio suppòsito’.


Ailloud 1961156more or less following Cabaret-Dupaty 1885 313: ‘n’était point son fils’ (1805 translation of J.-F. De La Harpe); see also Montes de Oca 2004 178: ‘no era su hijo.’ Warmington (1977 58-59) in his commentary on Ner. 7.1 does not refer to the meaning of the word in question; instead he focuses on Britannicus’ supposed insult to Nero. He contends that “[n]o doubt a quarrel between the boys is at the heart of the story” (58). This is repeated at id. 1999 29. No commentary is offered by Baldwin (1983) or Bradley (1978 57). A number of authors dealing with the issue as part of a broader Neronian narrative also fail to say anything about the accusation; see e.g. Levick 1990 72; Holland 2000 60.


Hurley 2011233.


Del Rosse 1853267.


For this translation see Russell 2001105with Cousin 1975 78 n. 2: ‘ils ont écarté de la famille comme des bâtards.’ Yet Butler (1921 63) preferred ‘as though they were expelling a supposititious child.’


Hillen 1983147.


Barsby 2001295n. 67. A like interpretation is offered by Ashmore 1908 118: “‘supposititious’ ‘a changeling.’”


Marouzeau 196491. Cf. Radice 1976 152: ‘not our son’ for subditum. Brown’s translation (2009 144) is even less literal: ‘He suspects we’re only passing him off as our son!’

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