In the pantheon of ancient men of letters, none hold a more venerated position than the Roman historian, Tacitus, venerated alike for the accuracy of his chronicles as well as for the superiority of his style. He was a writer of unexcelled genius and consummate skill. But his work fell into oblivion not long after his death, and has come down to us based on the text of a single tattered manuscript from the Middle Ages.
The exemplary life of a noble soldier/statesman, a description of ancient Germany, and a discussion of oratory are the subjects of three short masterpieces by the brilliant Roman historian, Tacitus.
The Annals, Part 2 picks up in the year A.D. 32 with the increasingly menacing and tyrannical behavior of Tiberius. With hundreds murdered or driven to suicide and many more in exile, Tiberius descends steadily into growing lust and debauchery on his private estate on the isle of Capri. Overseas, Rome is victorious in her struggle with Parthia, and as Tiberius is being smothered to death in A.D. 37 by Macro, peace at last comes to the eastern frontier.
"Uninteresting - Not an "Easy Read""
In all of Roman history there was never a more turbulent year than A.D. 69, the ill-omened "Year of the Three Emperors". By some miracle, the greatest historian of the age, Tacitus, was able to chronicle those momentous events in a work he called The History. In its pages are some of the most memorable events of Roman history described in some of the most intensely passionate prose ever devised.
"Ex Verus Res"
These three vibrant texts show different sides of the Roman historian Tacitus. Agricola was a successful general and Governor of Britain (77-83CE), a task which he carried out with firmness and probity. Tacitus' account of Germania shows a very different land with its many tribes, their habits and qualities in a strongly rural and resistant environment. A Dialogue Concerning Oratory, by contrast, is placed decidedly at the heart of Roman culture, a survey of rhetoric and the art of eloquence.
This superbly written, highly listenable account of the tumult of A.D. 69 focuses on the four men who sought imperial power in the void left by Nero: an old man, a soldier, a playboy, and an extravagant debaucher. The empire-wide, year-long civil war that resulted is brought to life in this sustained narrative, which is rich in detail, intrigue, and insight, as well as the aristocratic biases of the author.
"Warning this is not the complete History"
The Annals, the last and greatest achievement of Tacitus, records the history of the Julio-Claudian emperors from the death of Augustus (A.D. 14) to the reign of Nero (54–68). These are stories of mutiny and murder, of whole armies disappearing beyond the Rhine, of an unstable and gloomy frontier. Tacitus brings us Nero himself, whose reign saw the burning of Rome and the mass slaughter of Christians, and whose vices still captivate and startle us with their imagination and cruelty.