This article reconsiders two of our most important literary sources on Domitian: Pliny the Younger’s Letters and Tacitus’s Agricola. Although historians have either accepted Pliny’s and Tacitus’s portrayal of Domitian as a bloodthirsty tyrant or dismissed it as the invention of two vengeful senators, I argue that their depiction of the last Flavian and his reign is much more complex than is usually assumed, for both men had in fact themselves served in the Domitianic administration. In their literary projects, they thus strove not only to condemn the former emperor, but also to un-damn themselves.
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