An analysis of the ancient passages and the histories by tacitus

Augustus, introduced through his funeral; note summing up of his achievements in Annals 1. Paullus Fabius Maximus 1. Sallustius Crispus, adopted son of the historian 1.

An analysis of the ancient passages and the histories by tacitus

Germania | work by Tacitus |

By contrast The Annals covers a longer period fairly strictly year by year which breaks up the flows of particular events and works against analysis. Tacitus may be working from sources that are less detailed in The Annals, he is certainly at a greater remove from the events and his own experience as a Senator under the Emperor Domitian probably colours his attitudes to the treason trials under Tiberius and the plots against Nero.

Of course it is a power grab when Livia seals off the house in which Augustus is dying and holds off announcing his death until Tiberius arrives, but since at the time before Augustus the Roman world had a series of civil wars, securing a peaceful succession is also perhaps, wise, prudent and stateswomanlike?

There are reasons for his negative attitude. Men were originally equal and good in his view, you can imagine Hobbes choking on his breakfast beer as he read that while inequality led to despotism and a fall from the Golden Age.

This sounds nice but he qualifies this by telling us that the Twelve Tables the first Roman law code circa BC were the last equitable laws.

Tacitus | Roman historian |

Later equalising legislation like the land reforms of the Brothers Grachii is dismissed by Tacitus as as "class warfare". Therefore by definition things for Tacitus are always getting worse in the Roman world. The time when things were good was long ago.

Standards today are slipping like togas, revealing secret orgies all over the place. But on the slightly positive side this does mean that Tacitus quite likes his noble savages.

An analysis of the ancient passages and the histories by tacitus

The more savage, the more noble, because they are primitive and simple like the ancient Romans. They fight for freedom, which Tacitus seems to quite like, so long as this freedom is restricted to regions beyond the Imperial frontier like Germany he is not keen on people within the Empire rebelling for freedom.

So Arminus, leader of the freedom loving Germans, gets some good speeches as does the Caledonian leader in the Agricola.

This does mean that his views do seem to be out of tune with Roman public opinion even as he describes it. Tacitus dislikes all these things.

Ovid at the beginning of The Art of Love compares the rustic theatre of Romulus to that of his own day, where men and women go to see and be seen, seduction is a hunt, a military triumph an opportunity to impress your sweetheart.

Of a sudden Ovid conjures up a history of Rome that is driven by sexual, not military, conquest. Such a viewpoint must have been anathema for Tacitus. For him the relative good times of peace after decades of civil war were a sad fall from the days of ancient virtue when power struggles involved armies and not informants.

Their pay was low, their service periods had been unilaterally extended under Augustus, they were subject to disciplinary beatings, and Tacitus describes their clothes as rags.

An analysis of the ancient passages and the histories by tacitus

When Germanicus view spoiler [ at that point an heir to Imperial power, later he was dead, some suspect the relationship between those two data points is not coincidental hide spoiler ] arrives at a camp to smooth things over, soldiers seize his hand as if to kiss it, but instead slip his fingers in their mouths so he can feel that they have no teeth left presumably army rations were provided in the form of soup to demonstrate the privations they have endured in the service of the Empire.

Which they successfully do. Either toothless, ragged and aged soldiers are a mysteriously effective combat force or Tacitus is having his cake here and enjoying eating it view spoiler [though to be fair that cake was going to go to waste, what with the general lack of teeth hide spoiler ] although he may be reflecting his sources here.The histories of Roman senator Cornelius Tacitus constitute the most influential examination of tyranny, political behavior and public morality from the classical age.

For centuries these portraits of courageous martyrs to freedom, of paranoid tyrants, and of sycophantic flatteres and informers shaped modern political attitudes. Ronald Mellor provides a compelling analysis of the ideas of the.

An Oxford translation of the Agricola by Tacitus. An Oxford translation of the Agricola by Tacitus. Translation of the Agricola by Tacitus. Here's Why These Are the Most Important People in Ancient History.

De Bello Gallico Passages for the AP Latin Caesar Liber I. Although Tacitus wrote the Histories before the Annals, the events in the Annals precede the Histories; together they form a continuous narrative from the death of Augustus (14) to the death of Domitian (96).

Though most has been lost, what remains is an invaluable record of the era. The Histories by Tacitus follows the aftermath of Nero’s death as a succession of men claimed the throne until the Flavians emerge to return the Roman Peace.

Fascinating to revisit ancient Roman history with Tacitus' The Histories, an account of civil war of 69 a.d. Quotes from The Histories/5. The Histories Tacitus introduces his themes and most of the major players at the beginning; he does not describe the death of Nero and accession of Galba because those events belong to an account of the reign of Nero (not yet written, as Tacitus wrote the Annals after he wrote the Histories).

Tacitus drew parallel and drew templates from other ancient writers, into which he forced the events and characters he was recording. His Annals are a personal construct (for some, an historical novel), not an objective analysis.

Agrippina - Sources: Tacitus