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Complete Works of Tacitus 1st Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0075536390
ISBN-10: 0075536390
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 773 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages; 1 edition (September 1, 1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0075536390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0075536390
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 1.8 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #448,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While Tacitus remains the most brilliant, eloquent, and important of all the Roman historians, his translators Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb have purged the excessive verbosity and superfluity of style common in other translations to form a complete and precise representation of Tacitus' original. An amazing anthology at an affordable price...there's no better deal or collective genius of works available.
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Format: Paperback
My experience with Tacitus in the original was brief and without professorial guidance, so I can't vouch for the accuracy of the translators; however, Church and Bodribb's English is certainly readable if a bit outdated (A trait I like in translations of ancient authors). The lack of footnotes or maps is what dooms this edition, though it probably is directly related to the excellent price. I would only advise purchasing this book if money is that much of a problem for you or if you're only buying as an aid for translation, you dirty cheat you.
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I became interested in Tacitus while reading Robert Graves' I, Claudius. Having familiarized myself with the labyrinthine Julio-Claudian family tree, I thought I would give the Annals a try. I assumed I would find a chronicle of the debauchery and intrigues of Livia, Tiberius, Sejanus et al, which I did, but I was pleasantly surprised to find much more.

Tacitus rose to prominence in an age of empire, but he nevertheless laments the decadence and complacency of his age, and looks back longingly to the stalwart and uncompromising republic. He caustically criticizes those of his own time who have traded freedom for safety under the imperial system. In the Annals, Tacitus focuses much on Germanicus, who he sees as a throwback to the days of the republic, and doomed never to realize his potential because he is born in the wrong era.

Tacitus' most devastating criticism of empire, however, appears in the later small work, Agricola, which Tacitus wrote as an encomium to his father-in-law, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, a renown Roman general who served in Britain. At one point in the story, Tacitus places a speech in the mouth of a Scottish chieftain named Galgacus, whose force is preparing to do battle with the Romans. Galgacus' speech is at once a condemnation of Roman depredations, and a rousing call to arms to Galgacus' followers. It is a very inspirational speech, containing elements similar to Shakespeare's St. Crispin's Day speech in Henry V and Richard II's sceptr'd isle. Galgacus's speech is the source of the quote now popular among critics of U.S. foreign policy: "They make a desert and call it peace." Although in this translation it is rendered, "They make a solitude and call it peace."
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First, there are some things not to like about this edition (why I'm subtracting a star):

* small format pages
* Narrow margins means it's difficult to hold onto book without blocking text.

Really this book needs to be printed on slightly larger paper and given a little more in the way of margin space. Yes, this would make it a bit more expensive but you get what you pay for.

Otherwise, I think this is a good complete translation of the works of Tacitus. I found the translation accessible and quite readable, and the character of the author came across very well. In this book you will find a wealth of information about Roman history as well as some misc. other writings by Tacitus (The Agricola, The Germania, and a dialog on oratory). The work covers a wide range of topics concerning Rome, and provides a clear sense of what Tacitus thought and was trying to achieve with his writings. While one can never put a writing into the author's context in translation, this comes remarkably close.

I'd recommend this edition. I just wish they'd do better book design....
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Tacitus is well worth reading; his history is given from the point of view of a Roman, so different form the Jewish viewpoint that I have previously read. To see things from another viewpoint is very useful to one's thinking and understanding. And to see the corroboration with the New Testament is also very useful.
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The book was advertised as brand new but it was obviously second hand with damaged cover and spine and browned pages, brown page edges and some pages were corner creased. The supplier did respond well to my complaint and make good efforts to compensate and a reduced price was agreed to avoid complexities in returning the book. I still need to get a good copy give as my gift though.
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