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Tacitus

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ISBN-10: 0521315433

ISBN-13: 9780521315432

Edition: 1989

Authors: R. H. Martin, Cornelius Tacitus, A. J. Woodman, P. E. Easterling, Philip Hardie

List price: $34.99
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Description:

The fourth book of Tacitus' Annals has been described as "the best that Tacitus ever wrote." It covers the years AD 23-28, starting when Tacitus noted a significant deterioration in the principate of the emperor Tiberius, and the increasingly malign influence of his "evil genius" Sejanus. R.H. Martin and A.J. Woodman present an improved text of Annals IV, explain in detail the difficulties and unusual features of Tacitus' Latin, and discuss the dramatic, structural and literary qualities of the narrative. They also discuss the political, moral and stylistic dimensions of the Roman historiographical tradition. Though intended primarily as a textbook for undergraduates and high school students, this edition will interest scholars of Latin literature and Roman history as well.
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Book details

List price: $34.99
Copyright year: 1989
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 1/25/1990
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 292
Size: 5.50" wide x 7.50" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.946
Language: English

Tacitus was a Roman senator who survived the terror launched among the Roman aristocracy by the emperor Domitian to rise to prominence and become first suffect consul and later proconsul of Asia. His historical works, which originally covered the first century of the empire from the accession of Tiberius to the assassination of Domitian, are an indictment of the emperors and of the senatorial aristocracy under imperial autocracy. They remain the fundamental sources of imperial history in this period. The embarrasing paradox of Tacitus's success under a "bad" emperor appears to have had an effect on his works, whose tone may have struck contemporaries as a defense of his prominence under a despot. Tacitus is thus often thought to have nursed a nostalgia for the Republic and the free nobility of its senatorial order. However, his attitude is less genuinely backward-looking than occupied with the contemporary moral and political problems of aristocratic honor. In The Annals, which survives only in part, he examines palace politics under the Julio-Claudians. The unspoken questions that occupy this examination are those of the possibilities of uncompromised and dignified service under despotism, and the opportunities therein to mitigate its evil. These themes emerge into daylight in The Agricola, his laudatory biography of his father-in-law, the Roman general who conquered Britain. The work portrays Agricola as a straightforward military man who preserved his integrity and the admiration of his contemporaries under the emperor Domitian, even though his greatest achievements went unrewarded. Tacitus was a trained advocate, and fundamental to his outlook is his prosecutorial purpose. He states the case against the emperors and others who attract his unfavorable judgment. This bias can be difficult for the reader to overcome. But Tacitus also played by the rules of advocacy. He appears to bring to light facts unfavorable to his case in order to interpret them according to the necessities of his argument. His lawyerly honesty thereby allows the historian to dissect the facts from their matrix in order to use them in reconstructing a historical account of the first century of the empire which is more balanced, if inevitably less committed, than that of Tacitus.

A. J. Woodman is Basil L. Gildersleeve Professor of Classics, University of Virginia.

Preface
Introduction
Latin historiography to Tacitus
TacitusG++ career
The Annals
Commentary
References and abbreviations
Indexes