Friday, December 20, 2019

Part 7: Analyzing Tacitus Annotations of Henry Neville and Henry Savile

In Part 6, I gave an overview of the annotations made by Henry Neville and Henry Savile in the 1574 edition of Justus Lipsius' Tacitus at Audley End. I looked at the handwriting and showed that the book was annotated both by Henry Neville and by Henry Savile.

The main goal of this post is to catalog the annotations in a clear manner. I did not take these photos, and there may be more annotations in the book. There are two sets. For one set I have a photo of most of the page; for the other set, taken from John Casson's book,  I only have a small snippet.

A complete copy of the 1574 edition of Tacitus is digitized on Google Books. I will link to that copy to let you see the full context for each annotation. The book has line numbers on each page as well, and the annotations reference those line numbers. You can see the the line numbers clearly on Google Books.

Interestingly, Henry Savile cites this precise edition of Tacitus in his translation of 1591.

For translations of Tacitus, I will use Grenewey's 1598 translation of Tacitus's Annals, available on EEBO, as well as the Loeb Classics translation. For the Latin annotations, I will try to give context, but I think their full interpretation should be left to expert Latinists.

This is just a preliminary survey of these important annotations. Much more study needs to be done. But this is so incredibly important, I wanted to release it to the public as quickly as I could. Some of these annotations are detailed by John Casson in his book Sir Henry Neville Was Shakespeare: The Evidence, co-authored with William Rubinstein.

These annotations are proof that Henry Neville read Tacitus very carefully. The connections with the early play Titus Andronicus are obvious. And, to say the least, this bolsters my theory that "Richard Grenewey" was a pseudonym for Henry Neville.

Henry Neville quoted Tacitus in his letters. For instance, in this letter to Robert Cecil he quotes from the Annals:
Besides your Honor remembreth the Saying of Tacitus, beneficia eo usque laeta sunt dum videntur exolvi posse; ubi multum antevenere, pro gratia odium redditur.
And in his confession after the Essex Rebellion he also quotes Tacitus:
As Tacitus saith, non laudantur nisi peracta
Overview of the Annotations

Pages 145 - 153 are heavily annotated. This covers the end of Book 3 and the beginning of Book 4 of Tacitus' Histories. Henry Savile's annotations are on Page 149 and Page 161.

The rest of the annotations are scattered through the book, including the Annals and Agricola.

Tacitus Histories - Book 3 - Page 145

On the top of the page this line is underlined:
Fuere qui excepto Vitellianorum signo, quo inter se noscebantur, ultro rogitantes respondentesve audaciam pro latebra haberent.
Here is the Loeb translation:
There were some who caught the password by which the Vitellians recognised one another, and then, taking the lead in asking it or giving it on demand, found a refuge in audacity.
To the right is written:

Further down on the page this line is underlined:
Sabinus et Atticus onerati catenis et ad Vitellium ducti nequaquam infesto, sermone vultuque excipiuntur, frementibus qui ius caedis et praemia navatae1 operae petebant. 
Here is the Loeb translation:
Sabinus and Atticus were loaded with chains and taken before Vitellius, who received them with no angry word or look, although the crowd cried out in rage, asking for the right to kill them and demanding rewards for accomplishing this task.
Here is the related annotation, some of the text appears to have been cut off:

Tacitus Histories - Book 3 - Page 147

This relates to Petilius Cerialis

Tacitus History - Book 3 - Page 148

The above annotation relates to this:
Later the senate was convened and selected representatives to go to the armies and to persuade them in the interests of the state to agree on peace. The fortunes of these envoys varied. Those who met Petilius Cerialis ran the greatest dangers, for his soldiers scorned all terms of peace.
This is underlined one the page:
Miscuerat se legatis Musonius Rufus equestris ordinis, studium philosophiae [et placita Stoicorum aemulatus; coeptabatque permixtus manipulis]
Here is the Loeb translation:
Musonius Rufus had joined these delegates. He was a member of the equestrian order, a man devoted to the study of philosophy and in particular to the Stoic doctrine. 
Below appears to be another mark, but I do not have a photo of the rest of the page.

Tacitus History - Book 3 - Page 149

This page has annotations both by Henry Neville and by Henry Savile.

The top of the page has this annotation which appears to be by Henry Neville:

Here is the bottom half of Page 149:

Then some text is underlined with a mark on the right:
 iuxta scorta et scortis similes; quantum in luxurioso otio libidinum, quidquid in acerbissima captivitate scelerum, prorsus ut eandem civitatem et furere crederes et lascivire.
Here is the Loeb translation:
There were all the debauchery and passion that obtain in a dissolute peace, every crime that can be committed in the most savage conquest, so that men might well have believed that the city was at once mad with rage and drunk with pleasure. 
Then at the bottom is Henry Savile's Annotation. It seems to relate to this text, with the first three words underlined:
Plurimum molis in obpugnatione castrorum fuit, quae acerrimus quisque ut novissimam spem retinebant. Eo intentius victores, praecipuo veterum cohortium studio, cuncta validissimarum urbium excidiis reperta simul admovent
Here is the translation:
The greatest difficulty was met in taking the Praetorian Camp, which the bravest soldiers defended as their last hope. The resistance made the victors only the more eager, the old praetorian cohorts being especially determined. 
 Here is a close-up of the annotation in Henry  Savile's handwriting:

And the interlinear annotation:

I will leave it to experts in Latin/Greek paleography of the era to interpret these.

Tacitus History - Book 3 - Page 150

A large block of text is underlined:

Here is the text:
Contra Vitelliani, quamquam numero fatoque dispares, inquietare victoriam, morari pacem, domos arasque cruore foedare suprema victis solacia amplectebantur. Multi semianimes super turris et propugnacula moenium expiravere: convulsis portis reliquus globus obtulit se victoribus, et cecidere omnes contrariis vulneribus, versi in hostem: ea cura etiam morientibus decori exitus fuit.
And the English translation from Loeb:
On their side the Vitellians, unequal though they were in numbers and in fortune, by striving to spoil the victory, to delay peace, and to defile the houses and altars of the city with blood, embraced the last solace left to the conquered. Many, mortally wounded, breathed their last on the towers and battlements; when the gates were broken down, the survivors in a solid mass opposed the victors and to a man fell giving blow for blow, dying with faces to the foe; so anxious were they, even at the moment of death, to secure a glorious end. 
Here is the close-up of the annotation:

Tacitus Histories - Book 4 - Page 152

This annotation is at the beginning of Book 4:

The annotation relates to what the military did after their victory, here are the first lines of Book 4:
The death of Vitellius was rather the end of war than the beginning of peace. The victors ranged through the city in arms, pursuing their defeated foes with implacable hatred: the streets were full of carnage, the fora and temples reeked with blood; they slew right and left everyone whom chance put in their way.
Tacitus Histories - Book 4 - Page 153

This section is underlined:
cum contra Tarracinenses nulla ope iuvarentur. Tanto proclivius est iniuriae quam beneficio vicem exolvere, quia gratia oneri, ultio in quaestu habetur. Solacio fuit servus Verginii
Loeb Classics has this translation:
while the people of Tarracina, on the other hand, received no assistance: so much easier is it to repay injury than to reward kindness, for gratitude is regarded as a burden, revenge as gain. The Tarracines, however, found comfort in the fact that the slave of Verginius [Capitonis]
The annotation sends us to page 136, line 1:
 Iuliano in partis Vespasiani transgresso,  Ut conlata utrimque castra, haud magna cunctatione Iuliano in partis Vespasiani transgresso, Tarracinam occupavere, moenibus situque magis quam ipsorum ingenio tutam. 
Here is the Loeb translation:
Julianus did not long hesitate to join Vespasian’s party; then the combined forces occupied Tarracina, a town which was better defended by its walls and situation than by any ability on the part of the soldiers. 
And the annotation also sends us to Page 146, line 10:
Interim ad L. Vitellium servus Verginii Capitonis perfugit pollicitusque, si praesidium acciperet, vacuam arcem traditurum, multa nocte cohortis expeditas summis montium iugis super caput hostium sistit: inde miles ad caedem magis quam ad pugnam decurrit. 
And the Loeb translation:
In the meantime a slave of Verginius Capito escaped to Lucius Vitellius and promised that if he could have a force, he would hand over the citadel, which was empty. 
This is also underlined:
At Romae senatus cuncta principibus [solita Vespasiano decernit]
But at Rome the senators voted to Vespasian all the honours and privileges usually given the emperors. 
Tacitus - Histories Book 4 - Page 161

This text is underlined:
Libertatem natura etiam mutis animalibus datam, virtutem proprium hominum bonum; deos fortioribus adesse: proinde arriperent vacui occupatos, integri fessos. Dum alii Vespasianum, alii Vitellium foveant, patere locum adversus utrumque.
And here is the translation:
Liberty is a gift which nature has granted even to dumb animals, but courage is the peculiar blessing of man. The gods favour the braver: on, therefore, carefree against the distressed, fresh against the weary. While some favour Vespasian and others Vitellius, the field is open against both.
Here is Savile's annotation, which seems to reference Page 160 and I believe is a reference to the Revolt of Batavi.

And there is an interlinear annotation, it is not clear who made these. They are references to page 159 line 28 and 163 line 27. These also related to the Revolt of Batavi; the name Munius Lupercus is underlined. To quote Wikipedia: "At Castra Vetera the situation was desperate. Food supplies had run out and the besieged legions were eating horses and mules to survive. With no prospect of a relief, the commander of the troops, Munius Lupercus, decided to surrender."

Here is the translation of this section:
When, however, terrified messengers brought word of the capture of camps, the destruction of cohorts, and the expulsion of the Roman name from the island of the Batavians, he ordered Munius Lupercus, who commanded the two legions in winter quarters, to take the field against the foe.
Tacitus - Annals Book 1 - Page 253

This annotation is from Casson and Rubinstein's Sir Henry Neville Was Shakespeare: The Evidence

Here is Grenewey's translation of this section:
Drusus being made overseer of a play of fencers, set forth in his own and his brother Germanicus name; because he seemed to take ouer great pleasure in shedding of blood; stroke a fear into the peoples minds, and as it is reported, was disliked of his father. Why Tiberius forbear to see this spectacle, it was diversely construed: some thought be∣cause he loathed to be in great assemblies: some because he was of a melancholy sad disposition: and also misdoubting least some should fall into comparison, betwixt him and Augustus, who was wont to be present at such plays with courteous and mild carriage.
Tacitus - Annals Book 3 - Page 304

These annotations are written in a slightly different style, but Henry Neville varied his handwriting quite a bit, and this is consistent with other samples of his handwriting. My guess is that these are later annotations:

There is some underlining, here is the broad context:
dum alii quoquo modo audita pro compertis habent, alii vera in contrarium vertunt et gliscit utrumque posteritate. At Drusus urbe egressus repetendis auspiciis mox ovans introiit. Paucosque post dies Vipsania mater eius excessit, una omnium Agrippae liberorum miti obitu: nam ceteros manifestum ferro vel creditum est veneno aut fame extinctos.
And the English from Loeb:
one school admits all hearsay evidence, whatever its character, as indisputable; another perverts the truth into its contrary; and, in each case, posterity magnifies the error. Drusus, who had left the capital, in order to regularize his command, entered it shortly afterwards with an ovation. A few days later, his mother Vipsania died—the only one of all Agrippa’s children whose end was peace. The rest perished, part, it is known, by the sword; part, it was believed, by poison or starvation.
Here is Grenewey:
So doubtful are all weighty matters; whilst some take all as certain, howsoever they hear it: others report a truth otherwise then it is: posterity adding to both. 
IIII. Wars renewed in Africa under Tacfarinas: who is defeated by Apronius: Lepida condemned for changing a child. 
But Drusus being gone out of the city, once more to learn future things by the flying of birds; entereth in again, with a small triumph. And a few days after, Vipsania his mother died, only of all Agrippas children, of a natural death: because it was certainly believed, that some died by the sword; others by poison or famine. 

Please note, this annotation:

Appears to match this heading in Grenewey: "IIII. Wars renewed in Africa under Tacfarinas: who is defeated by Apronius: Lepida condemned for changing a child."

Tacitus Annals - Book 4 - Page 361

This annotation is from Casson and Rubinstein's Sir Henry Neville Was Shakespeare: The Evidence

Here is Grenewey's translation of the passage that relates to a theater:
For an Amphitheater begun at Fidena, one Atilius a freed man, to set forth a play offencers; as one having neither abundance of wealth, nor ambitious in winning favour of the people; but by niggardly sparing to make a base gain in the workmens hire; did neither lay a sound foundation, nor fasten the timber frame erected upon the same. Thither flocked many, very desirous of such shows, both men and women of all ages; partly by reason it was so near vunto them; and partly because that, during Tiberius empire, they were barred from such pastimes; whereby the mischief was the greater. 
Tacitus Annals - Book 4 - Page 387

 This annotation is from Casson and Rubinstein's Sir Henry Neville Was Shakespeare: The Evidence

It relates to the Phoenix. Here is Grenewey's translation:
WHen Paullus Fabius and L. Vitellius were Consuls, after manie ages were past, the bird Phoenix came into AEgypt, and ministered matter to the most learned of the country, and also Greeks, of disputing many things concerning that miracle. Of which it seemeth good unto me to lay down such things as they agree of, and many which rest doubtful; yet notwithstanding worthy the knowledge. 
Tacitus Annals - Book 4 - Page 493

Here is the translation from page 210 of Grenewey's Tacitus:
But Suetonius with wonderful constancy passing even among the enemies, went on to London, not greatly famous by the name of a colony, but for concourse of Merchants, and provision of all things necessary, of great fame and renown.
Tacitus Annals - Book 14 - Page 501

This line is underlined in Latin:
prospera populi et militum fama Rufus, quod apud Neronem adversum experiebatur.
Here is the translation from Page 216 of Grenewey:
Rufus was of good reputation and fame with the people, and accepted of the soldiers, which he found by experience to breed Nero's mislike.
Here is the annotation relating to Nero accusing Seneca:

Tacitus Annals - Book 16 - Page 546

The word "Post" is underlined. To the left is an annotation "Mors Popaeae" This is a reference to the death of Poppaea Sabina. Here is the Grenewey's translation, note how the two annotations relate directly to the heading in Grenewey:
The death of Poppaea. Banishment and death of others. 
AFter the pastime was ended, Poppaea died by a sudden anger of her husbands, striking her with his foot being with child. Neither do I believe that she was poisoned, although some writers do so report, of hatred rather than truth: for he was desirous of children and blinded with the love of his wife.
Further down on the page is a reference to the banishment of Cassius and Silanus:

The page also has a correction in the same handwriting on line 30, "vt" is crossed out and replaced with "ne":

This correction shows a very detailed engagement with the text. Modern editions of the Annals also have "ne" here, instead of "vt". 

Tacitus Annals - Book 16 - Page 552

At the top a long passage about Petronius is underlined:
nec tulit ultra timoris aut spei moras. Neque tamen praeceps vitam expulit, sed incisas venas, ut libitum, obligatas aperire rursum et adloqui amicos, non per seria aut quibus gloriam constantiae peteret. Audiebatque referentes, nihil de inmortalitate animae et sapientium placitis, sed levia carmina et facilis versus. Servorum alios largitione, quosdam verberibus adfecit. Iniit epulas,1 somno indulsit, ut quamquam coacta mors fortuitae similis esset.
Here is the Loeb translation:
He declined to tolerate further the delays of fear or hope; yet still did not hurry to take his life, but caused his already severed arteries to be bound up to meet his whim, then opened them once more, and began to converse with his friends, in no grave strain and with no view to the fame of a stout-hearted ending. He listened to them as they rehearsed, not discourses upon the immortality of the soul or the doctrines of philosophy, but light songs and frivolous verses. Some of his slaves tasted of his bounty, a few of the lash.  He took his place at dinner, and drowsed a little, so that death, if compulsory, should at least resemble nature. 
Here is Grenewey:
Not able any longer to endure the lingering between hope, or fear, yet did not rashly kill himself, but cutting his veins, and binding them up as pleased him, opened them again, and talked with his friends, though not of any serious matter, or worthy to purchase the glory of constancy: but gave ear to those which discoursed with him, yet nothing of the immortality of the soul, or opinions of wise men, but of light verses, and easy songs. On some of his slaves he bestowed gifts, and on some stripes. He went sometimes abroad, and gave himself to sleep that although his death was constrained, yet it should be like a casual death.
This phrase is also underlined:
[Fregitque anulum,] ne mox usui esset ad facienda pericula.
Here is Loeb:
[His signet-ring he broke,] lest it should render dangerous service later.
And Grenewey:
And break his seal, lest afterward it might serve to breed danger to others.
This annotation is very interesting:

Because it seems to match this heading in Grenewey quite closely:

V. Neroes hatred against Thraseas Paetus, and Bareas Soranus.

Here are two more annotations:

Tacitus Annals - Book 16 - Page 553

The Latin “Ut quondam C. Caesarem” inquit “et M. Catonem" is underlined. Grenewey translates this as:
the city desirous of garboile, spake of C. Caesar, and M. Cato
Loeb Classics has:
 this discord-loving state prated of Caesar and Cato

Once again, the text is carefully corrected, with the addition of the word "cura". The asterisk was printed as part of the book and points the reader to the notes in the back which suggest this change.

Tacitus Agricola - Page 585

This is underlined:
cessit, artem et usum et stimulos addidere iuveni, intravitque animum militaris gloriae cupido, ingrata temporibus quibus sinistra erga eminentes interpretatio nec minus periculum ex magna fama quam ex mala.
Here is the Loeb translation:
yet furnished science, experience, and incentives to the subaltern. There entered his heart a desire for that military distinction which was unwelcome to an age which regarded eminence of every kind unfavourably and in which good report was as perilous as bad.
Next to this underlining is this annotation:

Which seems to refer to this marriage:
he married Domitia Decidiana, a woman of high lineage. The marriage proved at once a distinction and a strength to him in his upward path; their life was singularly harmonious,
This text is also underlined:
in vicem se anteponendo, nisi quod in bona uxore tanto maior laus, quanto in mala plus culpae est. 
Here is the Loeb translation:
thanks to mutual affection and putting each other first; though, indeed, a good wife has the greater glory in proportion as a bad wife is the more to blame. 
And here is the annotation to the right of that:

Tacitus Agricola - Page 601

These words are underlined:
adprobate rei publicae numquam exercitui imputari potuisse aut moras belli aut causas rebellandi.
Here is the Loeb translation:
prove to the state that the army has never been to blame if the war has dragged on or if rebels have had their opportunity.
This missing word is added:

And there is this annotation is a reference to the Grampian Mountains. You can read about it here:

This has an interesting possible legendary or historical connection with Macbeth: "After battling the invading army of Earl Siward of Northumbria near the site of Dunsinane hill fort, Macbeth retreated across the foothills of the Grampian mountains and crossed the Cairn o’ Mount." (True Highlands)

The Annotations on the End Page

On a blank page of the book is a list of Roman emperors. The handwriting seems a bit messy but it matches in general the rest of the annotations in the book:

Look at this detail:

It appears to be Henry Savile's handwriting correcting the writing of the first person.

I believe this is evidence that this book was used as a sort of textbook by Henry Neville and his tutor Henry Savile. Some of the later annotations though seem more sophisticated, so it could be that the annotations were added over time.


The annotations in this book deserve much thorough study. This is just a quick overview to make the information available to scholars. The importance cannot be overstated for understanding the works of Shakespeare, especially Titus Andronicus.