• The Annals

  • By: Tacitus
  • Narrated by: Martyn Swain
  • Length: 17 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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The Annals  By  cover art

The Annals

By: Tacitus
Narrated by: Martyn Swain
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Publisher's summary

The Annals, written by Gaius Cornelius Tacitus (56c-120 CE), is regarded as one of the great literary works of history in the Roman world. Tacitus is considered by many to be the greatest of Roman historians, and The Annals is his’ outstanding achievement.

Originally comprising 18 volumes, books 7 to 10 and parts of books 5, 6, 11 and 16 have been lost, but those that remain, read here by Martyn Swain, tell the fascinating tale of the Julio Claudian emperors and their times. Writing many years after their deaths, in the reign of the emperor Trajan, but still within living memory of his subjects, Tacitus describes the corrupting nature of Roman society with an analytical eye and a critical mind, seeking to present an accurate and considered view of the key events and characters of the preceding century.

Beyond the scope of any Hollywood epic, his canvas is vast, and he paints the picture of the incipient decline of Roman values and society following the death of the Divine Augustus. His descriptions of the lives and deaths of the Julio Claudian emperors (14-68 CE) paint portraits of some of the most monstrous and notorious individuals the world has ever seen: he describes the gradual moral decay and corruption of the hypocritical Tiberius; the weakness of the unfortunate Claudius and his infamous wives Messallina and Agrippina; and the unmitigated malignant evil of the despicable Nero.

Tacitus, who was also known as Publius Cornelius Tacitus, chronicles the intrigues and excesses of the rulers of empire as well as their overpowering pride and vanity within the setting of fabulous wealth, absolute power and a range of pernicious wickedness of unparalleled variety.

The Annals are remarkable as a work of literary accomplishment written by a master of rhetoric and have a poetic, tragic quality often focusing on the seemingly implacable nature of fate and the widespread bloodshed, disaster and doom so often unleashed by intransigent human greed and malevolence. John Jackson’s translation of The Annals chronicles a series of events filled with multiple examples of the limitless appetite for power, wealth and glory and the interplay between the rulers of the state, its populace, its institutions and its military. As well as detailing the conflicts, battles and conquests of the empire stretching from North Africa to Persia and from Palestine to Britain, Tacitus recounts fascinating details of insurrection, mutiny and rebellion in the armies of Rome; battles won and lost; storms at sea; shipwrecks; suicides; assassinations; torture; executions; murder by poison, rope and blade; incest and worse; and the commonplace of family members scheming, plotting, and killing each other to satisfy their lusts and achieve their ambitions.

Public Domain (P)2019 Ukemi Productions Ltd
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History