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.
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Published June 12, 2008
by OUP Oxford.