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Publisher's Summary

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. Tacitus was born sometime before A.D. 62 during the reign of Nero. He died shortly before or after the accession of the emperor Hadrian, around A.D. 120. Almost nothing is known of him.

The Annals cover that period of Roman history from the reign of Tiberius to that of Nero. Parts of the work are missing, including a few sections from Tiberius, all the sections on Caligula, the early reign of Claudius, and the last two years of Nero's life. But what remains is breathtaking in its scope and velocity. Tacitus takes us on a mad river rafting voyage down a raging torrent of history. The story fluctuates between events at the court in Rome to the battlefields of Germany, between the bravest deeds of selfless courage and the most sordid acts of vengeful hostility. Nothing escapes the jaded eye of Tacitus as we experience the decadence of Rome in all its haughty grandeur.

Part 1 of The Annals begins with the death of Augustus and provides a brief look at his accomplishments and reign before proceeding with the story of Tiberius. Along with events at Rome, we are also taken to the scene of conflict in Parthia and Germany. We witness the rise of the evil Sejanus and learn how he poisoned the mind of Tiberius and turned his rule into a reign of terror.

This production uses the famous translation by Church and Brodribb, considered the finest in the English language.

The Annals concludes in Volume 2 of The Complete Works of Tacitus.

Public Domain (P)2006 Audio Connoisseur

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Tacitus

This is tough going. An audio version of Tacitus is really hard to follow even if you have a good background in Roman history and perhaps the best narrator in the business. There are many other excellent productions of works on ancient Rome that I would recommend before investing an effort in Tacitus, e.g. those of Robert Graves, Julius Caesar, Harold Lamb, Cyril Robinson, Sallust, Plutarch, Suetonius, (all available on Audible). I give you this list in the order that I would probably have preferred to hear them. MB

39 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ry
  • Bellingham, WA, United States
  • 11-21-09

Masterly reading

I've always wanted to read Tacitus but a shortage of free time never seemed to permit it; now, while I'm at work, I get to listen to the most epigrammatic prose in world literature and, what's more, performed by Charlton Griffin, whose lofty narration I find thoroughly mesmerizing. If you're into the grand style, you should like these performances of Tacitus.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

An EXCELLENT read!

How a person could not enjoy this book is beyond me. This is an excellent story narrated to perfection! love Love LOVE this story!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting...

The translation is good, the narrator speaks with a clear accent, over all, the production is a good effort for anyone interested in details of Roman political intrigue. But the long list of names and the minute nature of the subject can make this volume sound rather tedius.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great stuff

Really enjoy the history of Rome. I love the intrigue. The author is truly amzing.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Brain numbing

I love reading (listening to) history and I hate abridgement, but this reading was like listening to a modern version of Shakespeare. It requires ones full attention to hear sentences that your brain has to translate into modern American English. This is not the thing to listen to while you rebuild an engine. You just get lost and have to rewind to figure out what was said in the last 10 minutes. If I was British, I am sure that I would have had no problems. But I am not and it was too hard to follow.

10 of 28 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Francis
  • 09-10-06

A disappointing reading

To make Tacitus dull is quite an achievement .The translation used is a stilted Victorian crib which gives little idea of Tacitus' style. (The version by A.J. Woodman is much preferable).This perhaps would not matter if the text were well read - but Charlton Griffin, who alas is the reader for many long classical works- seems not to have prepared or to understand what he is reading and tries to compensate for this by the occasional random emphasis of a phrase.If you will not get to know Tacitus in any other way, it is worth listening to this recording but it is disappointing that Tacitus'compelling narrative has not been better served.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Francis
  • 09-10-06

A disappointing reading

To make Tacitus dull is quite an achievement .The translation used is a stilted Victorian crib which gives little idea of Tacitus' style. (The version by A.J. Woodman is much preferable).This perhaps would not matter if the text were well read - but Charlton Griffin, who alas is the reader for many long classical works- seems not to have prepared or to understand what he is reading and tries to compensate for this by the occasional random emphasis of a phrase.If you will not get to know Tacitus in any other way, it is worth listening to this recording but it is disappointing that Tacitus'compelling narrative has not been better served.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful