Annals of Imperial Rome (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)

( 28 )

Overview

The Annals of Imperial Rome offers a dramatic vision of imperial Rome during roughly the first half of the first century AD. Starting with the death of Augustus, Tacitus describes how the Julio-Claudian dynasty consolidated its grip upon the empire, only to end suddenly in AD 68 with the suicide of its last representative, the emperor Nero. Tacitus explores how increasingly decadent behavior by the emperors alienated the upper classes. He spares the reader no court intrigue, even while expressing his own ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers and in stores.

Pick Up In Store Near You

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (6) from $1.99   
  • New (1) from $12.95   
  • Used (5) from $0.00   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$12.95
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(79)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
Paper Back New

Ships from: Wichita, KS

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
The Annals of Imperial Rome (Barnes & Noble Digital Library)

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$3.49
BN.com price
(Save 12%)$3.99 List Price
This digital version does not exactly match the physical book displayed here.

Overview

The Annals of Imperial Rome offers a dramatic vision of imperial Rome during roughly the first half of the first century AD. Starting with the death of Augustus, Tacitus describes how the Julio-Claudian dynasty consolidated its grip upon the empire, only to end suddenly in AD 68 with the suicide of its last representative, the emperor Nero. Tacitus explores how increasingly decadent behavior by the emperors alienated the upper classes. He spares the reader no court intrigue, even while expressing his own scepticism about the accuracy of reports of scandals such as Nero’s incest with his mother. Tacitus also describes the impact of the dynasty upon Rome’s provincial subjects and its wars of expansion, including Claudius’ conquest of Britain and the subsequent revolt led by the British queen Boudicca.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

Tacitus was born ca. AD 56, probably in northern Italy or southern France, and made his way in Rome as a newcomer. He rose to the highest political rank of consul, and subsequently acting as governor of the prestigious province of Asia.  Before The Annals and The Histories, Tacitus wrote the Agricola (a historical biography of his father-in-law, who played an important role in the pacification of Britain); the Germania (an ethnographical description of the Germans living on the fringes of the Roman empire); and the Dialogue On Orators (an exploration of the declining role of rhetoric in contemporary society).

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

In The Annals of Imperial Rome, the Roman historian Tacitus offers a dramatic vision of imperial Rome during roughly the first half of the first century AD. Starting with the death of Augustus, the first emperor of Rome, in AD 14, he describes how the Julio-Claudian dynasty consolidated its grip upon the empire, only to end suddenly in AD 68 with the suicide of its last representative, the emperor Nero, after he had eliminated all other members of his family. Tacitus explores how increasingly decadent behavior by the emperors alienated the upper classes and, in the best traditions of a tabloid journalist, he spares the reader no court intrigue, even while expressing his own scepticism about the accuracy of reports of scandals such as Nero’s incest with his mother. He includes vivid accounts of orgiastic revels lighted by human torches—some of the earliest Christians, who found themselves made scapegoats for the Great Fire of Rome to counter rumors that Nero had started the fire, then sung (not fiddled!—that is one of Hollywood’s inventions) while Rome burned. Tacitus also describes the impact of the dynasty upon Rome’s provincial subjects and its wars of expansion, including Claudius’ conquest of Britain and the subsequent revolt led by the British queen Boudicca (or Boadicea).

Tacitus himself held a prominent place in Roman society during the early second century, rising to the highest political rank of consul (AD 97), and subsequently acting as governor of the prestigious province of Asia (AD 112–13). He was born c. AD 56, probably in northern Italy or southern France, and so had to make his way in the city of Rome as a newcomer. For the Romans, history writing was not the task of professional scholars, but was the duty of senators who had held the highest political offices, and who could thus offer real insight into Roman politics. The Annals is a work of Tacitus’ maturity as an historian. Before the Annals, he had written four other works: in AD 98, the Agricola (a historical biography of his father-in-law, the general Agricola, who played an important role in the pacification of Britain); also in AD 98, the Germania (an ethnographical description of the Germans living on the fringes of the Roman empire); and, in c. AD 101 or 102, the Dialogue On Orators (an exploration of the declining role of rhetoric in contemporary society). He wrote the Histories in c. AD 109–10, which is his account of the turbulent civil wars of AD 68–69 and of the Flavian dynasty, which ended in AD 96. The Annals was his final work, perhaps composed between c. AD 114 and 120. It took him back to the period preceding that covered in the Histories, from the death of the first Roman emperor, Augustus, and succession of Tiberius to the reign of Nero (AD 14–68). In the Annals, he presents a picture of how rule by emperors at Rome took a firm hold. Substantial portions of this work are lost, including most of book five relating to Tiberius, the whole of his account of Gaius-Caligula, the start of Claudius’ reign, and the end of Nero’s.

“This I regard as history's highest function, to let no worthy action be uncommemorated, and to hold out the reprobation of posterity as a terror to evil words and deeds,” writes Tacitus. In one of his rare reflections upon the task of writing history, Tacitus reveals that, in common with other Roman historians, he regards his work as serving a moral purpose. As he states a little later on, “there must be good in carefully noting and recording this period, for it is but few who have the foresight to distinguish right from wrong or what is sound from what is hurtful, while most men learn wisdom from the fortunes of others.” Writing for an elite audience, the men who ruled the Roman Empire, he is concerned with providing his peers with examples of behavior, good and bad, for them to emulate or avoid. The actions of emperors such as Nero, whose modern-day reputation for extravagant living and sexual depravity largely derives from Tacitus, provided a rich hunting ground for examples of the latter. In addition to his serious purpose, however, Tacitus is also concerned with entertaining his audience, above all by producing a work of literary merit.

It is for these reasons that Tacitus’ historical writings have had such a significant impact upon historians and politicians in later times. Although his works were neglected during the Middle Ages, humanists during the early fifteenth century began to take a new interest in them. This Tacitean revival received fresh impetus with the rediscovery of what is still our sole manuscript copy of the first six books of the Annals, published in 1515 under the auspices of Pope Leo X. Admiration for Tacitus’ style, historical and political astuteness, and moral stance led to a wave of interest in his works, known as “Tacitism,” between c. 1580 and c. 1680. Gaining popularity particularly in the court circles of the Medici and Farnese in Italy, Tacitus influenced such writers as Machiavelli, and provided the inspiration for dramas such as Ben Jonson’s Sejanus (1603) and Jean Racine’s Britannicus (1669), as well as Monteverdi’s opera The Coronation of Poppaea (1643), and, more recently, Robert Graves’ novels, I, Claudius and Claudius the God. Even the Hollywood blockbuster movie Gladiator (2000) seems to mirror Tacitus’ nostalgia for the days of the Republic.

Tacitus’ purpose in writing the Annals continues to inspire debate. Some scholars have argued that Tacitus used his historical writings in order to express hostility towards the relatively new political system of rule by emperors—the Principate—and in order to advocate a return to the constitution of the Republic, when Senate and People were supreme. They maintain that the rule of the tyrannical emperor Domitian, which is covered in the Histories, jaundiced Tacitus’ view of emperors as a whole, and resulted in negative depictions of earlier emperors described in the Annals, notably Tiberius and Nero. Certainly, he paints a sinister picture of Domitian in his earliest work, the Agricola, and superficially at least he expresses discontent with the type of history which he can write about imperial Rome:

Much of what I have related and shall have to relate, may perhaps, I am aware, seem petty trifles to record. But no one must compare my annals with the writings of those who have described Rome in old days. They told of great wars, of the storming of cities, of the defeat and capture of kings… My labors are circumscribed and inglorious; peace wholly unbroken or but slightly disturbed, dismal misery in the capital, an emperor careless about the enlargement of the empire, such is my theme. Still it will not be useless to study those at first sight trifling events out of which the movements of vast changes often take their rise…. Still, though this is instructive, it gives very little pleasure. … I have to present in succession the merciless biddings of a tyrant, incessant prosecutions, faithless friendships, the ruin of innocence, the same causes issuing in the same results, and I am everywhere confronted by a wearisome monotony in my subject matter.

Indeed, Tacitus chose to adopt the traditional annalistic format of Roman historians, whereby his narrative is structured year by year and punctuated by the taking up of office by the annual consuls on January 1. In histories composed during the Republic, this narrative structure suited events, since the two consuls were Rome’s chief magistrates, who had a huge impact upon events during their year in office. Thus, the year was shaped by their taking up office at Rome, their departure on military campaign during the summer months, and finally their return to Rome. In parallel to this, the typical narrative structure for each year in annalistic history was established as: home affairs, campaigns abroad, home affairs. Under the rule of emperors, however, consuls had much less influence (they did not lead troops out on campaign, for instance), and Tacitus exploits a traditional historical framework in order to emphasize how little sense a year-by-year account of Roman history actually makes once an emperor is in continuous power.

All these aspects suggest that Tacitus was critical of the Principate. Nevertheless, Tacitus himself acknowledged that his career had been furthered by Domitian, along with the other Flavian emperors: “I would not deny that my elevation was begun by Vespasian, augmented by Titus, and still further advanced by Domitian.” Even if he did deplore the state of Rome as a whole under Domitian, it is quite clear that he himself suffered no personal setback. It is also difficult to justify the view that Tacitus himself opposed the system of the Principate as a whole, because he might have risked offending the current emperor, and also because he himself clearly flourished under it. Instead, it is possible that what Tacitus was trying to explore was how the existing system of the Principate could actually work successfully, and how the Senate in particular could work productively alongside the emperor. He condemns the rise of imperial freedmen (slaves freed by the emperor), who came to wield considerable informal and unaccountable power in the imperial household under Claudius in particular, and draws a scathing picture of the subservience of most of the Senate. Rare words of praise are elicited in the case of Marcus Lepidus, a senator whom he describes as “a wise and high-principled man. Many a cruel suggestion made by the flattery of others he changed for the better, and yet he did not want tact, seeing that he always enjoyed an uniform prestige, and also the favor of Tiberius.” One is tempted to wonder whether this positive image of a senator who collaborated with the emperor is in some way a reflection of how Tacitus saw his own role. He also delineates portraits of a sequence of powerful imperial women: Livia—wife of Augustus and mother of Tiberius—whose machinations placed her son on the throne; the Elder Agrippina—granddaughter of Augustus and wife of Germanicus—who accompanied her husband on military service and even on occasion commanded the troops; Messalina—wife of Claudius—who was so indiscreet in conducting her affairs with her paramours that all of Rome knew what was going on, except for her bumbling husband; and finally the Younger Agrippina—mother of Nero—whose domineering behavior towards her son was cut short only after several increasingly unsubtle attempts at assassination.

Nevertheless, we are left wondering what Tacitus really thought about his subject matter because of his pithy, elusive, often almost epigrammatic style of writing. It is quite possible, however, that this very obscurity is far from accidental, but is intended to reflect the key problem faced by Tacitus of how to represent the intrigues at the court of the early Roman emperors. The theme of dissimulation permeates his whole work. His portrayal of the emperor Tiberius, whose inscrutable features present a problem for friend and foe alike, sets the tone for all later emperors.

When reading Tacitus, it is essential to appreciate some key differences between history writing in Roman times and today. You will find no footnotes and very few references of any kind to specific sources of information. Very occasionally, Tacitus alludes to earlier historians or other types of written source material, but he does so in a competitive spirit, simply to demonstrate his own accuracy. More surprising is the way in which Tacitus often alludes to rumor or vague unconfirmed reports, even if he specifically discounts their veracity. This allows him to present multiple interpretations of characters and events, leaving his audience to decide for themselves what to think. Some aspects of his historical writing seem alien to modern ideas of history. For instance, in elaborating some episodes in the Annals, he draws upon similar episodes included in his earlier works. Whereas very few people who had actually witnessed events recorded in the Annals would still have been alive in Tacitus’ day, he would have been able to elaborate upon eyewitness accounts which he would have consulted for the Histories, which covers events closer to his own time.

This technique of elaboration has been dubbed “self-imitation” by scholar Tony Woodman. Above all, it is crucial to realize that all the speeches recorded in his works are imaginative reconstructions, not accurate renditions. This is true of all history writing in both Rome and Greece, and reflects the aim to produce a work of literature. If Tacitus had reproduced speeches verbatim, the different styles adopted by the individual speakers would have disrupted the unified stylistic flow of his work, and would have impaired its literary quality. In the case of a speech made by the emperor Claudius to the Senate, we actually have an independent record of the speech inscribed upon a bronze tablet, which was found in modern Lyons. This reveals that Tacitus makes the emperor’s speech a much more effective piece of rhetoric, cutting out his tendency towards rambling asides. But his adaptations go beyond simply rewriting the speeches in his own style. He also modifies them to suit his own historical themes. This too emerges from the same speech, where he inserts one of his pet themes, the rise of freedmen in public life. Consequently, it is always crucial to assess Tacitus’ literary aims alongside his historical aims.

In many ways, Tacitus’ Annals represents the apogee of Roman historical writing. As it turns out, his contemporary Pliny the Younger was not mistaken in his conviction that Tacitus’ writings would be immortal. After Tacitus, no other major histories were composed in Latin for more than two hundred years, until Ammianus Marcellinus in the late fourth century AD. It may be that, after all, Tacitus was right to imply that writing history under emperors presented particular problems, with the result that no later Roman chose to face up to the task.

Dr. Alison E. Cooley is lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick, specializing in Roman history. She has recently published two books on Pompeii: Pompeii (2003) and Pompeii: A Sourcebook (with M. G.  L. Cooley; 2004).

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Introduction

 

In The Annals of Imperial Rome, the Roman historian Tacitus offers a dramatic vision of imperial Rome during roughly the first half of the first century AD. Starting with the death of Augustus, the first emperor of Rome, in AD 14, he describes how the Julio-Claudian dynasty consolidated its grip upon the empire, only to end suddenly in AD 68 with the suicide of its last representative, the emperor Nero, after he had eliminated all other members of his family. Tacitus explores how increasingly decadent behavior by the emperors alienated the upper classes and, in the best traditions of a tabloid journalist, he spares the reader no court intrigue, even while expressing his own scepticism about the accuracy of reports of scandals such as Nero’s incest with his mother. He includes vivid accounts of orgiastic revels lighted by human torches—some of the earliest Christians, who found themselves made scapegoats for the Great Fire of Rome to counter rumors that Nero had started the fire, then sung (not fiddled!—that is one of Hollywood’s inventions) while Rome burned. Tacitus also describes the impact of the dynasty upon Rome’s provincial subjects and its wars of expansion, including Claudius’ conquest of Britain and the subsequent revolt led by the British queen Boudicca (or Boadicea).

 

Tacitus himself held a prominent place in Roman society during the early second century, rising to the highest political rank of consul (AD 97), and subsequently acting as governor of the prestigious province of Asia (AD 112–13). He was born c. AD 56, probably in northern Italy or southern France, and so had tomake his way in the city of Rome as a newcomer. For the Romans, history writing was not the task of professional scholars, but was the duty of senators who had held the highest political offices, and who could thus offer real insight into Roman politics. The Annals is a work of Tacitus’ maturity as an historian. Before the Annals, he had written four other works: in AD 98, the Agricola (a historical biography of his father-in-law, the general Agricola, who played an important role in the pacification of Britain); also in AD 98, the Germania (an ethnographical description of the Germans living on the fringes of the Roman empire); and, in c. AD 101 or 102, the Dialogue On Orators (an exploration of the declining role of rhetoric in contemporary society). He wrote the Histories in c. AD 109–10, which is his account of the turbulent civil wars of AD 68–69 and of the Flavian dynasty, which ended in AD 96. The Annals was his final work, perhaps composed between c. AD 114 and 120. It took him back to the period preceding that covered in the Histories, from the death of the first Roman emperor, Augustus, and succession of Tiberius to the reign of Nero (AD 14–68). In the Annals, he presents a picture of how rule by emperors at Rome took a firm hold. Substantial portions of this work are lost, including most of book five relating to Tiberius, the whole of his account of Gaius-Caligula, the start of Claudius’ reign, and the end of Nero’s.

 

“This I regard as history's highest function, to let no worthy action be uncommemorated, and to hold out the reprobation of posterity as a terror to evil words and deeds,” writes Tacitus. In one of his rare reflections upon the task of writing history, Tacitus reveals that, in common with other Roman historians, he regards his work as serving a moral purpose. As he states a little later on, “there must be good in carefully noting and recording this period, for it is but few who have the foresight to distinguish right from wrong or what is sound from what is hurtful, while most men learn wisdom from the fortunes of others.” Writing for an elite audience, the men who ruled the Roman Empire, he is concerned with providing his peers with examples of behavior, good and bad, for them to emulate or avoid. The actions of emperors such as Nero, whose modern-day reputation for extravagant living and sexual depravity largely derives from Tacitus, provided a rich hunting ground for examples of the latter. In addition to his serious purpose, however, Tacitus is also concerned with entertaining his audience, above all by producing a work of literary merit.

 

It is for these reasons that Tacitus’ historical writings have had such a significant impact upon historians and politicians in later times. Although his works were neglected during the Middle Ages, humanists during the early fifteenth century began to take a new interest in them. This Tacitean revival received fresh impetus with the rediscovery of what is still our sole manuscript copy of the first six books of the Annals, published in 1515 under the auspices of Pope Leo X. Admiration for Tacitus’ style, historical and political astuteness, and moral stance led to a wave of interest in his works, known as “Tacitism,” between c. 1580 and c. 1680. Gaining popularity particularly in the court circles of the Medici and Farnese in Italy, Tacitus influenced such writers as Machiavelli, and provided the inspiration for dramas such as Ben Jonson’s Sejanus (1603) and Jean Racine’s Britannicus (1669), as well as Monteverdi’s opera The Coronation of Poppaea (1643), and, more recently, Robert Graves’ novels, I, Claudius and Claudius the God. Even the Hollywood blockbuster movie Gladiator (2000) seems to mirror Tacitus’ nostalgia for the days of the Republic.

 

Tacitus’ purpose in writing the Annals continues to inspire debate. Some scholars have argued that Tacitus used his historical writings in order to express hostility towards the relatively new political system of rule by emperors—the Principate—and in order to advocate a return to the constitution of the Republic, when Senate and People were supreme. They maintain that the rule of the tyrannical emperor Domitian, which is covered in the Histories, jaundiced Tacitus’ view of emperors as a whole, and resulted in negative depictions of earlier emperors described in the Annals, notably Tiberius and Nero. Certainly, he paints a sinister picture of Domitian in his earliest work, the Agricola, and superficially at least he expresses discontent with the type of history which he can write about imperial Rome:

 

Much of what I have related and shall have to relate, may perhaps, I am aware, seem petty trifles to record. But no one must compare my annals with the writings of those who have described Rome in old days. They told of great wars, of the storming of cities, of the defeat and capture of kings… My labors are circumscribed and inglorious; peace wholly unbroken or but slightly disturbed, dismal misery in the capital, an emperor careless about the enlargement of the empire, such is my theme. Still it will not be useless to study those at first sight trifling events out of which the movements of vast changes often take their rise…. Still, though this is instructive, it gives very little pleasure. … I have to present in succession the merciless biddings of a tyrant, incessant prosecutions, faithless friendships, the ruin of innocence, the same causes issuing in the same results, and I am everywhere confronted by a wearisome monotony in my subject matter.

 

Indeed, Tacitus chose to adopt the traditional annalistic format of Roman historians, whereby his narrative is structured year by year and punctuated by the taking up of office by the annual consuls on January 1. In histories composed during the Republic, this narrative structure suited events, since the two consuls were Rome’s chief magistrates, who had a huge impact upon events during their year in office. Thus, the year was shaped by their taking up office at Rome, their departure on military campaign during the summer months, and finally their return to Rome. In parallel to this, the typical narrative structure for each year in annalistic history was established as: home affairs, campaigns abroad, home affairs. Under the rule of emperors, however, consuls had much less influence (they did not lead troops out on campaign, for instance), and Tacitus exploits a traditional historical framework in order to emphasize how little sense a year-by-year account of Roman history actually makes once an emperor is in continuous power.

 

All these aspects suggest that Tacitus was critical of the Principate. Nevertheless, Tacitus himself acknowledged that his career had been furthered by Domitian, along with the other Flavian emperors: “I would not deny that my elevation was begun by Vespasian, augmented by Titus, and still further advanced by Domitian.” Even if he did deplore the state of Rome as a whole under Domitian, it is quite clear that he himself suffered no personal setback. It is also difficult to justify the view that Tacitus himself opposed the system of the Principate as a whole, because he might have risked offending the current emperor, and also because he himself clearly flourished under it. Instead, it is possible that what Tacitus was trying to explore was how the existing system of the Principate could actually work successfully, and how the Senate in particular could work productively alongside the emperor. He condemns the rise of imperial freedmen (slaves freed by the emperor), who came to wield considerable informal and unaccountable power in the imperial household under Claudius in particular, and draws a scathing picture of the subservience of most of the Senate. Rare words of praise are elicited in the case of Marcus Lepidus, a senator whom he describes as “a wise and high-principled man. Many a cruel suggestion made by the flattery of others he changed for the better, and yet he did not want tact, seeing that he always enjoyed an uniform prestige, and also the favor of Tiberius.” One is tempted to wonder whether this positive image of a senator who collaborated with the emperor is in some way a reflection of how Tacitus saw his own role. He also delineates portraits of a sequence of powerful imperial women: Livia—wife of Augustus and mother of Tiberius—whose machinations placed her son on the throne; the Elder Agrippina—granddaughter of Augustus and wife of Germanicus—who accompanied her husband on military service and even on occasion commanded the troops; Messalina—wife of Claudius—who was so indiscreet in conducting her affairs with her paramours that all of Rome knew what was going on, except for her bumbling husband; and finally the Younger Agrippina—mother of Nero—whose domineering behavior towards her son was cut short only after several increasingly unsubtle attempts at assassination.

 

 

Nevertheless, we are left wondering what Tacitus really thought about his subject matter because of his pithy, elusive, often almost epigrammatic style of writing. It is quite possible, however, that this very obscurity is far from accidental, but is intended to reflect the key problem faced by Tacitus of how to represent the intrigues at the court of the early Roman emperors. The theme of dissimulation permeates his whole work. His portrayal of the emperor Tiberius, whose inscrutable features present a problem for friend and foe alike, sets the tone for all later emperors.

 

When reading Tacitus, it is essential to appreciate some key differences between history writing in Roman times and today. You will find no footnotes and very few references of any kind to specific sources of information. Very occasionally, Tacitus alludes to earlier historians or other types of written source material, but he does so in a competitive spirit, simply to demonstrate his own accuracy. More surprising is the way in which Tacitus often alludes to rumor or vague unconfirmed reports, even if he specifically discounts their veracity. This allows him to present multiple interpretations of characters and events, leaving his audience to decide for themselves what to think. Some aspects of his historical writing seem alien to modern ideas of history. For instance, in elaborating some episodes in the Annals, he draws upon similar episodes included in his earlier works. Whereas very few people who had actually witnessed events recorded in the Annals would still have been alive in Tacitus’ day, he would have been able to elaborate upon eyewitness accounts which he would have consulted for the Histories, which covers events closer to his own time.

 

This technique of elaboration has been dubbed “self-imitation” by scholar Tony Woodman. Above all, it is crucial to realize that all the speeches recorded in his works are imaginative reconstructions, not accurate renditions. This is true of all history writing in both Rome and Greece, and reflects the aim to produce a work of literature. If Tacitus had reproduced speeches verbatim, the different styles adopted by the individual speakers would have disrupted the unified stylistic flow of his work, and would have impaired its literary quality. In the case of a speech made by the emperor Claudius to the Senate, we actually have an independent record of the speech inscribed upon a bronze tablet, which was found in modern Lyons. This reveals that Tacitus makes the emperor’s speech a much more effective piece of rhetoric, cutting out his tendency towards rambling asides. But his adaptations go beyond simply rewriting the speeches in his own style. He also modifies them to suit his own historical themes. This too emerges from the same speech, where he inserts one of his pet themes, the rise of freedmen in public life. Consequently, it is always crucial to assess Tacitus’ literary aims alongside his historical aims.

In many ways, Tacitus’ Annals represents the apogee of Roman historical writing. As it turns out, his contemporary Pliny the Younger was not mistaken in his conviction that Tacitus’ writings would be immortal. After Tacitus, no other major histories were composed in Latin for more than two hundred years, until Ammianus Marcellinus in the late fourth century AD. It may be that, after all, Tacitus was right to imply that writing history under emperors presented particular problems, with the result that no later Roman chose to face up to the task.

 

Dr. Alison E. Cooley is lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick, specializing in Roman history. She has recently published two books on Pompeii: Pompeii (2003) and Pompeii: A Sourcebook (with M. G.  L. Cooley; 2004).

 

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 28 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(19)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2005

    The world moans under unchecked power.

    This edition of Tacitus' phenomenal story is outstanding. Follow the tragic death of Germanicus and the rise Tiberious. Even Jesus is mentioned here by Tacitus, a secular historian. The tragedy of Rome in its grandeur, spite, and drama is all here. As Caesar Augustus lay dying, the seeds of Rome's eventual collapse was already being sewn.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2012

    A missle to all

    Sets fire to the camp. In the shade logan laughs and leaves. FROM LA RESISTANCE

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2012

    Kaydence

    Stu.pid La Resistance. I didnt know they lived on.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2012

    Kyo

    Yawns and stretches. Here. She said.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    Shiann

    Hey

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    Alyss

    She walks in hey u guys

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    Dax

    .I.m h.e.r.e.B.o.r.e.d.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    To jag

    Most apprentices are spys. I know cuz i was both.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    America

    Im back!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    Josh

    Is bored.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2012

    Cale

    ... hates B&N.... so much... so much.........................

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2012

    Harley quinn

    I dont belong in this world im to different or i guess everyone thinks i am. Im insane. Im crazy. Im loopy. I wish people would see what i really am like inside instead of jidging me from the rumors and gossip but i dont think that will ever happen. I say this not in strain or pain but in peace and good will. I know we have not really known eachother that long but i know most of you from scarlet letter and xmen. I wish i could stay but theres a place i long and desire to be. Thats heavan cause i want to meet someone very specail there. Good bye. See ya guys in another life. Sometime we will meet again. * i take out my pistol amd shoot myself five times in the stomach. I fall to the ground and grin insanly one last time then my hand softens around my pistol and it falls to the floor. I i close my eyes and close my smile then go motionless.*

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2012

    Demise

    *puts vthe building in lockdown mode as it blows up, his satisfaction proved* Ha.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    Xavier

    Heyo...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    Mustang

    Starts t cry

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    Storm

    (Jag, me?)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2012

    Batu

    Ur gonn force her on u jag. u and telia are horrible people. Both of u will rot in hell irl.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2012

    Logan

    Lol miya

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2012

    Storm

    Jaggy?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    Miya to Nora and America

    Go to Scarlet Letter. And Nora, America likes Alyss. So... your dreams of ever being with him... just got crushed. Bye all!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)