From the Trade Paperback edition.
Tacitus' Annals recounts the major historical events from the years shortly before the death of Augustus to the death of Nero in AD 68. With clarity and vivid intensity Tacitus describes the reign of terror under the corrupt Tiberius, the great fire of Rome during the time of Nero and the wars, poisonings, scandals, conspiracies and murders that were part of imperial life. Despite his claim that the Annals were written objectively, Tacitus' account is sharply critical of the emperors' excesses and fearful for the future of imperial Rome, while also filled with a longing for its past glories.
This new Penguin Classics edition also includes chronologies, notes, appendices, a genealogy and an introduction discussing Tacitus's life and his approach to history.
The victory of Actium (Sept. 2, 31 BC), and the death of Marcus Antonius (Aug. 1, 30 BC) placed the supreme power in the hands of Caesar, for so we may best call him until he becomes Augustus. The Roman world lay at his feet and he had no rival. He was not a man of genius and his success had perhaps been chiefly due to his imperturbable self-control. He was no general; he was hardly a soldier, though not devoid of personal courage, as he had shown in his campaign in Illyricum. As a statesman he was able, but not creative or original, and he would never have succeeded informing a permanent constitution but for the example of the great dictator. In temper he was cool, without ardor or enthusiasm. His mind was logical and he aimed at precision in thought and expression. His culture was wide, if superficial; his knowledge of Greek imperfect. In literary style he affected simplicity and correctness; and he was an acute critic. Like many educated men of his time, he was not free from superstition. His habits were always simple, his food plain, and his surroundings modest. His family affections were strong and sometimes misled him into weakness. His presence was imposing, though he was not tall, and his features were marked by symmetrical beauty; but the pallor of his complexion showed that his health was naturally delicate. It was due to his self-control and his simple manner of life that he lived to be an old man.
The Emperor Nero features clear, contemporary translations of key literary sources along with translations and explanations of representative inscriptions and coins issued under Nero. The informative introduction situates the emperor's reign within the history of the Roman Empire, and the book's concise headnotes to chapters place the source material in historical and biographical context. Passages are accompanied by detailed notes and are organized around events, such as the Great Fire of Rome, or by topic, such as Nero's relationships with his wives. Complex events like the war with Parthia—split up among several chapters in Tacitus's Annals—are brought together in continuous narratives, making this the most comprehensible and user-friendly sourcebook on Nero available.
Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.
In the surviving books of his Histories the barrister-historian Tacitus, writing some thirty years after the events he describes, gives us a detailed account based on excellent authorities. In the 'long but single year' of revolution four emperors emerge in succession: Galba, Otho, Vitellius and Vespasian - who established the Flavian dynasty.
Rhiannon Ash stays true to the spirit of Wellesley's prose whilst making the translation more accessible to modern readers.