Tacitus Annals 1.27 - 'causam...initium'

Phoebus Apollo

Civis Illustris
Postremo deserunt tribunal, ut quis praetorianorum militum amicorumve Caesaris occurreret, manus intentantes, causam discordiae et initium armorum, maxime infensi Cn. Lentulo, quod is ante alios aetate et gloria belli firmare Drusum credebatur et illa militiae flagitia primus aspernari.

I can't figure out 'causam' and 'initium' are accusative. The translations I'm using translate it with a purpose force - 'to cause disaffection and start hostilities', but I don't think this is the literal sense? Unless there is some grammatical usage of the accusative I'm unaware of.

It also doesn't seem that they are accusative as objects after intentantes, but I'm not sure.

It seems to me they're accusative because they're in apposition after manus - 'brandishing their hands, (as) a cause of quarrel and a beginning of arms' which is more idiomatically translated as 'to cause...to start...'. Is this correct?
 

Dantius

Homo Sapiens
Staff member
Yeah, it's a very, very loose apposition with manus, I guess. A&G cites this as an example of the accusative essentially being used in apposition with an entire clause (it's not the only such instance in Tacitus). They also ascribe it to an extention of apposition constructions like Eumenen prodidere Antiocho, pacis mercedem, where mercedem is more clearly in apposition with Eumenen but is still kind of felt with the entire clause.
 

Phoebus Apollo

Civis Illustris
Yeah, it's a very, very loose apposition with manus, I guess. A&G cites this as an example of the accusative essentially being used in apposition with an entire clause (it's not the only such instance in Tacitus). They also ascribe it to an extention of apposition constructions like Eumenen prodidere Antiocho, pacis mercedem, where mercedem is more clearly in apposition with Eumenen but is still kind of felt with the entire clause.
Thanks so much!
 
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