The Annals : The Reigns of Tiberius, Claudius, and Nero, Paperback

The Annals : The Reigns of Tiberius, Claudius, and Nero Paperback

Part of the Oxford World's Classics series

4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


'He was atrocious in his brutality, but his lechery was kept hidden...In the end, he erupted into an orgy of crime and ignominy alike' Such is Tacitus' obituary of Tiberius, and he is no less caustic in his opinion of the weak and cuckolded Claudius and the 'artist' Nero. The Annals is a gripping account of the Roman emperors who followed Augustus, the founder of the imperial system, and of the murders, sycophancy, plotting, and oppression that marked this period in Rome.

Tacitus provides the earliest and most detailed account of Boudicca's rebellion in Britain, and his history also relates the great fire of Rome in the reign of Nero, and the persecution of the Christians that followed. He deplores the depravity of the emperors, whose behaviour he sees as proof of the corrupting force of absolute power.

J. C. Yardley's translation is vivid and accurate, and Anthony A.

Barrett's introduction and notes provide invaluable historical and cultural context.

ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 592 pages, 3 maps
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Literary essays
  • ISBN: 9780192824219



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Review by

A steady diet of death and destruction, enlivened only by debauchery and dishonesty. Gripping read for all that. I would expect the real ancient Rome was probably not quite so bad as the judgmental Tacitus would have it, largely on the evidence that the empire lasted another 400 years past the events described. A good read for anyone interested in Roman history, and for anyone who enjoys watching the soaps.

Review by

In the year of the consulship of x and y, military events occurred, as did these notable moments of jurisprudence. There was the following scandal. The emperor plotted the deaths/punishment/exile of the following people. And so forth. <br/><br/>Tacitus himself apologizes for the monotony of some of the stories in 16.16, which is obviously a bit mischievous, since the continuous deaths, sexual escapades and military idiocies are, in their own way, pretty entertaining. He's great at telling small scale tales, particularly of Nero (his discussion of Tiberius is a little dull, unfortunately). But it's hard to see the overall arc here. That might be because I didn't read it in Latin and give it my undivided attention, it might be because we're missing big chunks of the text, it might be because the annalistic organization doesn't really allow for overarching arc. Or might be because there is no arc: it's just descent from one repulsive, disgusting emperor to the next. <br/><br/>Otherwise, I had to skim hefty portions of the text because I couldn't really be bothered to look up notes on every 'barbarian' tribesman, or every obscure Roman advocate. And I imagine that will go for anyone who's reading this but isn't a classics student or professor or obsessive. But the high (i.e., low) points make it very much worth while, and anyone who thinks Hollywood and Television and Modern Art are destroying the olde time morals should take note that there's more bloodletting, sexual misconduct and greed in Tacitus than in anything that would make it to your local cinema.

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