Translated by Alfred J. Church. Regarded as his finest work, Tacitus’s Annals remain one of the most important sources of early Roman history. Written while he was a serving senator, and having access to the official senate records, Tacitus provided one of the most complete records of Roman politics, foreign policy, domestic issues—and personal crises of the emperors of Rome from the reign of Tiberius to that of Nero.
Encompassing the years AD 14-68, The Annals provide fascinating insights into the post-Augustan Roman state, at a time when it was arguably at its greatest position of power.
It includes riveting accounts of the mutinies in Pannonia and Germany; the activities of Germanicus and Agrippina; the epic battle between Arminius (Hermann) and Varus in the forests of Germany; Tacfarinas and the African wars; the uprising in Britannia under Caractacus and his eventual defeat, capture, and pardon; the revolt in Britain under Boudica; the great fire of Rome and Nero’s blaming of the Christians for the city’s destruction; the Parthian War, and many more history-making events.
Along the way, Tacitus provides accompanying insights into the nature of Roman society: the huge number of slaves (and slave uprisings), the censor Claudius and his introduction of new letters for the alphabet, the purpose of history, the origin of writing, Gauls as Roman magistrates and senators, Claudius’s speech on the extension of Roman citizenship, ineffectual Senate decrees demanding the expulsion of astrologers from Rome, and a mock naval battle, with real blood, on the Fucine Lake.
The Annals originally comprised at least 16 books, but books 7-10 and parts of books 5, 6, 11 and 16 have unfortunately been lost. This edition contains all the original paragraph numbering, and is thus suitable for recreational and academic purposes alike.
About the author: Publius Cornelius Tacitus (ca. 56‒117 AD) is regarded as Rome’s greatest historian. Born in northern Italy, he became praetor in 88 AD, and a quindecimvir, a member of the priestly college in charge of the Sibylline Books and the Secular games. He also gained acclaim as a lawyer and as an orator. By 112 he had been appointed governor of the Roman province of Asia in Western Anatolia and also served in the Senate, but after that, all trace of him disappears from the surviving records.
About the translator: Alfred John Church (1829–1912) was an English classical scholar and teacher, who worked as professor of Latin at University College, London. His notable works include the translation of Tacitus, Pliny, and much of his own original Latin and English verse.