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The Annals (Hackett Classics) Paperback – September 1, 2004

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The Annals (Hackett Classics) + The Twelve Caesars (Penguin Classics) + Livy: The Early History of Rome, Books I-V (Penguin Classics) (Bks. 1-5)
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Product Details

  • Series: Hackett Classics
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872205584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872205581
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #403,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Woodman has produced the most sophisticated English translation of Tacitus' Annals to date, one that will likely remain the standard for years to come. . . . Woodman successfully incorporates into his translation the sense and sound of the author's literary style. His deft rendering into English of Tacitus' word order and sentence structure, mimicking the ancient writer's preference for the unusual word and his propensity to employ metaphorical expressions, alliteration, and an unbalanced syntactic structure, imparts to his translation the artistic texture of this work of history. Woodman's Introduction provides an informative background to Tacitus and an explanation of how the translator has attempted to capture the artistry of the ancient historian. Annotations to the text increase understanding of events and and their participants without burdening the reader or interrupting the flow of the story. In addition to maps and a list of further readings, the work contains useful appendixes, such as a list of political and military terms and a stemma of the Julio-Claudian Emperors. Summing up: Highly recommended. Readers of all levels. --R. I. Curtis, CHOICE

An elegant addition to Tacitean scholarship. . . . The appendices are comprehensive and extremely useful for students, covering political and military terms that are cross-referenced to the text, the deployment of the army which can be confusing in the Annals, Rome, geographical and tribal names, and maps as well as a good index of names. . . . This translation has many eminently practical features, including clear layout, the use of footnotes, and numbering of the text. . . . The Introduction is very accessible and, coupled with the text, will be very useful for students. --Alisdair Gibson, Journal of Classics Teaching

This work is more than a superb translation. It is also in effect a succinct commentary on the whole of the Annals. The section in the Introduction on problems of translation is particularly valuable. --J.N. Adams, All Souls College, Oxford

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Latin --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By EKML on April 22, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
although tacitus has never been a favorite latin author of mine, he is the most valuable literary source we have for the reign of the emperor nero (AD 54-68). his latin, however, is not easy to read, and thus, a student new to ancient history may be discouraged to continue exploring the roman empire. this translation provides the student with both the tale hidden in tacitus' difficult latin, and with the insight into the mind of the historiographer. the english translation is almost tacitean in its density, but never so complex that it the reader gets lost. it is close enough to the latin original for a reader who is already acquainted with tacitus' latin to be able to appreciate it, and yet it is not overwhelming (which tacitus tends to be in latin). it is by far the best translation of tacitus I have come across, and I recommend it wholeheartedly. the commentary is useful, and the translator has done a great deal of research on his topic. well done indeed.
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Format: Paperback
This is the best translation available, hewing very closely to the Latin. This makes the English occasionally strange, but it is a small price to pay. What makes Tacitus so amazing (and dangerous) is that he is a master of delineating power and obsequiousness. Right at the beginning of the Annals, there is one of the great scenes, when Tiberius, first meeting the Senate after assuming power, throws out sentences about his reluctance, humility, etc., and then various Senators screw themselves by slight failures of response -- it is all a kind of deadly kabuki dance, which is mirrored in the taut, icy prose that Tacitus is a master of. There are many scenes like this, desperate close fighting. Milton (among others) was very clear that anyone really reading Tacitus becomes very well educated in the terrors of imperial politics.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ian J. Miller on March 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The text covers the early imperium of Tiberius through to the end of Nero's, however about half is lost. Since there is no point in my reviewing Tacitus (you either want to read it or you do not) I am reviewing this version. While Tacitus' views were probably tainted through living through Domitian's imperium he draws what is probably the only available picture of life for the aristocracy of Rome during the period.

This version has a good price and the text is translated. For the picky, some oddities should have been edited out, such as "prAetor", and the odd italicized note such as "Latin". Slightly more importantly, Tacitus wrote rather dense prose, with some rather long sentences. Latin is a condensed language and English usually requires about 30% more words to say the same thing. By retaining Tacitus' sentence structure, together with an overuse of commas, in parts it reads somewhat awkwardly and sometimes you have to read a sentence more than once to be certain what it means. Also, issues related to the imperia and presented for Victorians could mislead. However these are really minor issues.

More important is that Tacitus wrote for Romans, and he glossed over what would be obvious to them. They are not obvious to current readers, and this would usually result in the translator adding footnotes. There are none in this edition. (Tacitus wrote in short numbered sections, and explanatory footnotes could be placed at the end of these sections.) If you simply want the text and can put up with some flaws, then this is good value. If you are less confident and would like additional explanatory material, then perhaps you should try a more expensive edition.
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