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The Histories (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – July 15, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Review

`plenty here to savour ... Tacitus was not just a fine writer, he was also a senior Roman politician.' Max Davidson, The Daily Telegraph

About the Author


D. S. Levene is Lecturer in Classics at the University of Durham. He was educated at the City of London School and Brasenose College, Oxford. His writings include Religion in Livy (Leiden, 1993) and articles on Sallust and Tacitus.

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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; 1 edition (July 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199540705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199540709
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.8 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By reader 451 on September 26, 2014
Format: Paperback
Tacitus' Histories ought to be more difficult than the Annals. They concern the struggle for imperial succession in the aftermath of Nero's death, in the second half of the first century AD, whereas the Annals run through the scandal-ridden reigns of Tiberius, Claudius, and Nero. They are more militaristic and conventional than the Annals, preoccupied as these are with imperial abuse and elite Roman politics. Yet I found the Histories more accessible. Tacitus' bad luck is that key parts of the Annals have been lost. If the Annals follow a year-by-year format, moreover, the Histories return to more easily graspable narrative. Tacitus' reputation as a historian is meanwhile exalted, resting on his accuracy, judgement, and caution as to sources. His style has also been praised, though surely that comes out less well in translation. Finally, he is held in high regard for having been the first to take the corruption of power as his subject.

The Histories begin just after the death of Nero in 68 AD. The claims of his successor Galba are disputed, and there soon arise two rival pretenders: Otho, back by the praetorians, and Vitellius, supported by the army of the Rhine. After Galba is murdered, though, and as the rivals battle it out in Italy, there arises a third pretender: Vespasian, father of Titus and governor in the Asian provinces. The Histories track the civil war's progress until the triumph of Vespasian, the founder of the new, Flavian dynasty. In a sense, they mark a return to conventional classical history, with its large share of military narrative punctuated by high-political machinations. At the same time, they describe a turning point and form a sequel to the Annals.
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Excellent work. Fantastic translation. Invaluable resource. Great price. I particularly love his perspective of Jewish history. But this would be a great addition to any library.
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By Robert W. McClure on August 28, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent
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