Annals

ISBN-10: 0872205584

ISBN-13: 9780872205581

Edition: 2004

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Description:

Woodman's translation masterfully conveys Tacitus' distinctive and powerful literary style and reflects the best of relevant current scholarship.
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Book details

List price: $18.00
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date: 9/1/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 448
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.75" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 0.682
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.

Cornelius Tacitus : from the passing of divine Augustus
Books 1-6 : Tiberius
Books 11-12 : Claudius
Books 13-16 : Nero
Political and military terms
The first-century A.D. Roman army and the Annals
The city of Rome
Peoples and places (excluding Rome)
Textual variants
Roman emperors from Augustus to Hadrian
The Imperial Family
Stemma (a) : Augustus and Tiberius
Stemma (b) : Gaius, Claudius, and Nero
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