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The Histories by Tacitus
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The Histories

by Tacitus

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Showing 4 of 4
The death of Nero begins a Roman bloodletting that Augustus had thought he had completely ended as four men will within a year claim the title Emperor. 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 Pax Romana.

Tacitus begins his work with those who had prospered under Nero worrying for themselves while the rest of the populace celebrated and setting the stage for the eventual assassination for Galba and the rise of Otho, who the former had passed over as his chosen successor. Yet at the time of his death Galba was facing a mutiny on the German frontier that had installed Vitellius as their choice as emperor, a task that Otho took to quash and retain his own throne. The invasion of Italy by Vitellius’ legions brought war to the core of empire for the first time in almost a century and witnessed the defeat of Otho’s forces before he committed suicide. The rise of Vitellius brought Vespasian, the leader of the legions fighting the Jewish War, into the fray as he accepted the proclamation of his legions as emperor and soon found the supporters of Otho and others joining him. After the crushing defeat of his forces, Vitellius attempted to abdicate but the Guards wouldn’t let him resulting in his death by Vespasian’s soldiers. On top of civil war in Italy and the final phase of the Jewish War under Titus, a Gallo-German uprising at first claiming support for Vespasian became an invasion and rebellion that took numerous legions to suppress and the aftermath would be alluded to in Tacitus’ own Germany.

Although The Histories are incomplete, from the beginning Tacitus brings his aristocratic ideology and politics in focus early by showing only someone with political realism and firm hand on the legions can prevent civil wars and the rioting of the masses. The writing is quick-paced, going hand in hand with the rapid succession of events but Tacitus does give excellent portraits on the prime actors in this historical drama the played across the Roman world. The only thing a historian would have against Tacitus would be the twisting of the chronology to suit his own purposes. Yet like Agricola and Germany, my biggest complaint is how Oxford World Classics edition is structured with the Notes at the very end of the piece and making the reader use two bookmarks so they could go back and forth.

The Histories, the first of Tacitus’ two large scale historical works, shows the horrors of civil war and the according to Tacitus the dangers of leader who cannot control the legions and masses. Even though the we are missing over two-thirds of the overall work, the portion we have that covers the Year of Four Emperors shows the breakdown of society in vacuum of strong leadership that is important not only in that time but throughout all of history including down to our own time. ( )
  mattries37315 | Aug 4, 2018 |
Elegantly phrased and fascinating. ( )
  aurelas | Dec 23, 2016 |
Edition: // Descr: 453 p. 19.5 cm. // Series: Call No. { 878 T11 15 } With Notes for Colleges by W.S. Tyler Contains Indexes of Person and Places and to the Notes. // //
  ColgateClassics | Oct 26, 2012 |
The short lives of Galba, Otho, Vitellius and many other interesting Romans of around A.D. 60! Wish it were not a mutilated text.... Today Tacitus' "The Histories" are relavent to the world politically. Let us be so bold as to say that our American Republic is very close to an end, as those with opened eyes know. Like Orson Scott Card's "Empire" portrays, in a "novel" way, civil war could perhaps be at our doorstep once again. Read Tacitus and know that history repeats itself. Down with the Luciferian Globalists who use the Left and Right as Machivellian reigns! Shake off your polarization! Don't follow around your fat idiot lying leaders like sheep. Learn something from Tacitus! ( )
  endersreads | Apr 24, 2008 |
Showing 4 of 4
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» Add other authors (101 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tacitusprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bötticher, WilhelmTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Church, Alfred JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dessì, FeliceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fisher, C.D.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fyfe, William HamiltonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vretska, HelmuthHerausgebersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wellesley, KennethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Initium mihi operis Servius Galba iterum Titus Vinius consules erunt.
I shall begin my work with the year in which Sevius Galba and Titus Vinius were consuls, the former for the second time.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This contains all surviving books (i.e. Books 1-5) of Tacitus' Histories in translation (i.e. without a Latin text). Please do not combine with partial editions or versions with Latin texts.
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In AD 68 Nero's suicide marked the end of the first dynasty of imperial Rome. The following year was one of drama and danger, though not of chaos.

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, the martinet; Otho, conspirator, dandy and and symbol of self-sacrifice; Vitellius, the unambitious hedonist upon whom greatness was thrust to his own undoing; and hte ultimate victor, the no-nonsense Vespasian, who established the Flavian dynasty.

Tacitus sees history in terms of human sagacity and folly, of pathos and heroism, of chance and fate. In an incisive, rapid and smooth-running narrative which extends from Britain to Egypt and from Caucasus to Morocco, each episode and each sentence betray the verbal craftsman and the lover of epigram and paradox.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140441506, Paperback)

AD 69, the year following Nero's suicide and marking the end of the first dynasty of imperial Rome, was one of the most dramatic and dangerous in the city's history. In the surviving books of his Histories, the great barrister-historian Tacitus gives a gripping account of the long but single year' that saw the reigns of four emperors: disciplinarian Galba; conspirator and dandy Otho; unambitious hedonist Vitellius; and pragmatic victor Vespasian, who went on to establish the Flavian dynasty. In a narrative that extends from Britain to Egypt and from the Caucasus to Morocco, taking in revolt, conspiracy, battles and murder, Tacitus portrays history in terms of human sagacity and folly, pathos and heroism - and, ultimately, chance and fate.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:40 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"In AD 68 Nero's suicide marked the end of the first dynasty of imperial Rome. The following year was one of drama and danger. In the surviving books of his Histories the barrister-historian Tacitus, writing some thirty years after the events he describes, gives a detailed account of the 'long but single year' when four emperors emerged in succession: Galba, the martinet; Otho, conspirator and dandy; Vitellius, the unambitious hedonist; and the ultimate victor, Vespasian, who established the Flavian dynasty. With great vividness and emotional power, Tacitus' gripping narrative lays bare corruption, injustice and folly, and sheds lasting light on the nature of power. This revised version of Kenneth Wellesley's translation has sensitively updated it to render it more accessible to the modern reader. This edition contains a new introduction by Rhiannon Ash discussing Tacitus' life and his contemporary audience, a note on the text, further reading, a glossary of place and peoples, expanded notes and a chronology"--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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