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After defeat in battle, Otho commits suicide and Vitellius is proclaimed emperor An unrestrained hedonist, he and his forces fall into despicable practices in Italy Vespasian is persuaded to proclaim himself emperor by his supporters and immediately gains the support of the Egyptian, middle Eastern and Asian parts of the empire, while the Balkan legions, angry at their treatment by Vitellius join him Vespasian and his commanders, in particular Mucianus and Antonius, launch an offensive, defea After defeat in battle, Otho commits suicide and Vitellius is proclaimed emperor An unrestrained hedonist, he and his forces fall into despicable practices in Italy Vespasian is persuaded to proclaim himself emperor by his supporters and immediately gains the support of the Egyptian, middle Eastern and Asian parts of the empire, while the Balkan legions, angry at their treatment by Vitellius join him Vespasian and his commanders, in particular Mucianus and Antonius, launch an offensive, defeat Vitellius and take Rome Vitellius is executed in the same place where Vitellius watched Vespasians brother murder.With Vespasians acension to principate the year of the 4 emperors ends and the Flavian dynasty established I am entering on the history of a period rich in disasters, frightful in its wars, torn by civil strife, and even in peace full of horrors Four emperors perished by the sword There were three civil wars there werewith foreign enemies there were often wars that had both characters at onceNever surely didterrible calamities of the Roman People, or evidenceconclusive, prove that the Gods take no thought for our happiness, but only for our punishment The Histories, BookI am entering on the history of a period rich in disasters, frightful in its wars, torn by civil strife, and even in peace full of horrors Four emperors perished by the sword There were three civil wars there werewith foreign enemies there were often wars that had both characters at onceNever surely didterrible calamities of the Roman People, or evidenceconclusive, prove that the Gods take no thought for our happiness, but only for our punishment The Histories, Book I.The Histories are an account of the Year of the Four Emperors 69 AD by the Roman Historian Tacitus Unlike most Roman histories, including Tacitus own Annals, the book doesn t cover a broad slice of history, instead diving deep into a specific period of crisis This is partly by chance the Histories originally covered the entire Flavian Dynasty 69 to 96 AD , but only the first few books have survived down to the modern era Still, the heightened focus on a smaller period probably makes this Tacitus most inviting book for modern readers An Empire DividedTacitus has an excellent eye for detail and a great sense of the dramatic, and he s at his best in the Histories The story itself is naturally compelling After the death of Nero, the most powerful empire in the world underwent a period of crisis where three pretenders fell in quick succession, before Vespasian seized power and was finally able to stop the bloodshed sort of like A Game of Thrones with togas His writing is famously fun to read, thanks to the knack Tacitus has for inserting memorable little aphorisms and moral judgments on Licinius Mucianus he was the sort of man who found itcongenial to make an emperor than to be one Ancient historians considered it acceptable even necessary to insert speeches into the mouths of their subjects in order to liven up the narrative, and Tacitus was one of the best at this Take this speech he shoves into Otho s mouthSo the state takes its stand here over there, against us, are the enemies of that state Do you really imagine that this most beautiful city depends on mansions, buildings, and piles of masonry These are dumb, lifeless things, and one or all can fall or be rebuilt The survival of our empire, peace between the nations and your life as well as mine find a firm support in the continued preservation of the senate The senatorial order was solemnly instituted by the patriarch and founder of our city From the regal period up to the principate it has survived in unbroken continuity We received it from our fathers Let us as surely transmit it to our sons Book IV.73Good stuff Tacitus also has a way of conveying the horror of civil war his description of the decapitation of political victims, and the way the victim s relatives would pay a ransom to recover the heads in order to keep them from becoming trophies, was particularly chilling Tacitus language can be naturally disapproving, even cynical on the Germans they use liberty and other fine phrases as their pretexts for invading Gaul Indeed, nobody has ever desired to enslave others and gain dominance for himself without using this very same language This fits in perfectly with his choice of subject here, which offers up plenty of examples of human folly.The Histories are also notable for Tacitus controversial description of the Jews Before winning the principate, Vespasian was fighting Jewish rebels in Judea, which leads Tacitus to a discursion on Judaism early in Book V Tacitus opinions are not particularly well informed in this area, and he comes across sounding like a bit of a bigot But the passage is valuable as a window into how Romans perceived Jewish culture, and helps shed some light into why the two peoples butted heads so fiercely in the 1st and 2nd centuries Overall, this book is ancient history at its finest The Annals is generally considered Tacitus masterpiece, but for my money the Histories is the author s best surviving work, and the second best ancient history I ve read behind Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War 4.5 stars, highly recommended A meaningless rating, that just means I didn t really enjoy reading this, but I m glad I did There s just too much movement of arms and men in the story Tacitus tells to really grab me, too many generals moving and shaking When he focuses away from generals and onto people, I m all in The one liners, of course, are fabulous The introduction to the World s Classics edition is well worth reading, too, which is something you can t normally say for these introductions This one makes an intere A meaningless rating, that just means I didn t really enjoy reading this, but I m glad I did There s just too much movement of arms and men in the story Tacitus tells to really grab me, too many generals moving and shaking When he focuses away from generals and onto people, I m all in The one liners, of course, are fabulous The introduction to the World s Classics edition is well worth reading, too, which is something you can t normally say for these introductions This one makes an interesting argument about what s happening in Tacitus writings, without banging on about current obsessions except to make the reasonable point that Tacitus isn t anti semitic, even though he s no fan of the Jews in Palestine at this time The argument is, basically, that Tacitus is most interesting in his attention to the power of rumor He does have his own interpretations of events, and he backs them up, but he also rarely describes an event say, general Y concedes a battle without pointing out how other people understood that event at the time And those understandings are often the result of ignorant speculation, but sometimes people get it right It s a nice reminder that our actions and reactions are entirely mediated by our interpretation of actions, and that those interpretations are often undertaken with very little evidence or knowledge Plus ca change Well, there goes the last major work of Tacitus Over the last month and a bit its been a fun experience going through the Annals and the Histories The histories is an extremely chaotic book both in content and narration Tacitus constantly switches back and forth between events Sometimes this change can be quite unforgiving and without the footnotes I would have probably struggled to notice the change especially for the discussion of Vitellius time in Rome Overall, I would divide this book Well, there goes the last major work of Tacitus Over the last month and a bit its been a fun experience going through the Annals and the Histories The histories is an extremely chaotic book both in content and narration Tacitus constantly switches back and forth between events Sometimes this change can be quite unforgiving and without the footnotes I would have probably struggled to notice the change especially for the discussion of Vitellius time in Rome Overall, I would divide this book into two parts, both in terms of themes and my enjoyment The first portion of the book spans book 1 to book 3 and this is by far my favourite part of the histories Tacitus is at his most cynical and brutal in this section There are very few redeeming moments Tacitus very clearly deals with what he perceives to be a disruption of Roman traditions At the centre of this narrative is the crowd They are fickle, sycophantic and quick to change sides Galba and Piso are brutally murdered in the forum, senators degrade themselves by dressing as slaves or freedmen Galba, Otho and vitellius are all shown as incompetent in commanding troops and dealing with sycophants Even the victorious Vespasian is treated in a negative light By far my favourite part of this section is book 3 No where else is Tactius absolute disgust at this periodclearly seen than in the destruction of Cremona and the burning of the capitol This disgust created one of the best books written by a classical historian I have ever read.The second major part of this book comes from books 4 to 5 The themes of the first 3 books give way to new ideas the Senate dealing with Neros former informers, a precursor to the tyranny of Domitian and the revolts of Germany and Judea This part was not as good as the first section Perhaps this is because this section is so incomplete After reading the first part I cannot say that this part was as good In fact, I would be lying if I did not say that I found Civilis revolt to be boring That being said, Tacitus discription of Jews and Jewish history was very fascinating I ve decided to come back after a month of really letting this work sink in I still stand by my stance that the second half of the book is not as good as the first but I do believe there is a real importance to it Yes, the narrative is cut off All we get is the rebellion of Civilis and a history of Judea, but there is the essence of some really intriguing ideas It always seems to me that a focus is placed on the actions of the major parties during a civil war and not so much the effects of said civil war on the provinces Perhaps this is the case because Marius and Sulla are immediately followed by the mithridatic war and the rise of Pompey The same can be said with the war between Octavian and Antony, the brilliance of the beginning of the principate takes centre stage With the histories, we get the sense of the real damage that a civil war can have on volatile regions of the empire Tacitus really helps to answer the question of what happens when large number of troops are moved away from the Rhine, or political instability threatens Romes control of her borders This may be a somewhat incoherent ramble, but I ve really come to appreciate this second half Civilis may be insignificant in the grand scheme of Roman history, but he shows just how precarious the relationship between Rome and tribes of Gaul and Germany really are Excellent background for reading Lindsay Davis s mystery series about a Roman detective Tacitus is relating the story of the turbulence after Nero s death when there was no clear line of succession to the position of emperor and military discipline was beginning its long years of decline It s the year of four emperors, ending with Vespasian The events in Gaul and Germany described by Tacitus are woven into Davis s plots But of course it s good background in general as well Who should I suppo Excellent background for reading Lindsay Davis s mystery series about a Roman detective Tacitus is relating the story of the turbulence after Nero s death when there was no clear line of succession to the position of emperor and military discipline was beginning its long years of decline It s the year of four emperors, ending with Vespasian The events in Gaul and Germany described by Tacitus are woven into Davis s plots But of course it s good background in general as well Who should I support Would I be better off selling him out or pretending to be loyal while secretly negotiating just in case How depraved can someone be How much loot can I carry off All good but, of course, historical questions 3 Stars Good bookLots of information in a pretty small book The amount of information was slightly overwhelming, but overall fascinating Tacitus takes us back to aftermath of the fall of Nero He gives us a detailed history of Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian father of the Flavian Dynasty The years covered are 68 CE to 70 CE There are a lot of names in this book that are unknown to most though nonetheless fascinating The writing isn t hard to understand, just jam packed with info 3 Stars Good bookLots of information in a pretty small book The amount of information was slightly overwhelming, but overall fascinating Tacitus takes us back to aftermath of the fall of Nero He gives us a detailed history of Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian father of the Flavian Dynasty The years covered are 68 CE to 70 CE There are a lot of names in this book that are unknown to most though nonetheless fascinating The writing isn t hard to understand, just jam packed with information I wouldn t necessarily say I enjoyed this one,like I m glad I read it Would I recommend it If you really like ancient history Ancient Rome ancient writers then yes If not, no It s like a soap opera but with swords Part II. 3.5 Stars Mighty and wretched, Rome had endured an Otho and Vitellius in the same year and suffered every variety of humiliations at the hands of men like Vinius, Fabius, Icelus and Asiaticus, until finally Mucianus and Marcellus succeeded them fresh faces rather than a new outlook Mighty and wretched Tacitus writes almost like a dramatist There is no melodrama here, though Just vivid descriptions and hard observations that perfectly capture what happened from April 68AD to September 70AD 3.5 Stars Mighty and wretched, Rome had endured an Otho and Vitellius in the same year and suffered every variety of humiliations at the hands of men like Vinius, Fabius, Icelus and Asiaticus, until finally Mucianus and Marcellus succeeded them fresh faces rather than a new outlook Mighty and wretched Tacitus writes almost like a dramatist There is no melodrama here, though Just vivid descriptions and hard observations that perfectly capture what happened from April 68AD to September 70AD The end of Book five is lost, making the work incomplete For Books 1 4, he really had me hooked.However, Book 5 happened, and it caused me to doubt Tacitus s complete reliability as a historian There were occasional anti semitic comments in the earlier books But when he begins describing Jewish customs, it is absolutely clear that he did not do his homework His blas treatment reveals also that he did not care to He has some strange offerings as to where they came from, his main one being that they came from Crete He also claims that the charms of idleness made them devote every seventh year to indolence He informs us that they keep an idol of an asses head in the inner temple, but later says they believe it is sinful to make idols this was under his list of sinister and revolting practices and that Pompey had discovered that there was no image or idol in the inner temple This is a really strange charge to me, especially since it is one that apparently stuck around for a long time Tertullian addresses this charge at some length over one hundred years later However, he does grudgingly admit that the physical health of the Jews is good, and they can endure hard work Glowing words I could really go on and on with all of the errors in this book, but I suppose this is enough There is no doubt that this is an important work, and it is engaging, but it should definitely be read with caution A Feast of Thrones29 June 2016 Tacitus Annals of Imperial Rome, with all of its political maneuverng, backstabbing, plotting, and of course sex was there sex in the Annals Actually I m not really all that sure, it s not like it was some sort of Roman novel, it was a history, and from my experience the Histories tend to be nowhere near as sexually explicit as the one and a half Roman novels that we have , reminded me a lot of an episode or a season or the entire show of A Game of Thrones, A Feast of Thrones29 June 2016 Tacitus Annals of Imperial Rome, with all of its political maneuverng, backstabbing, plotting, and of course sex was there sex in the Annals Actually I m not really all that sure, it s not like it was some sort of Roman novel, it was a history, and from my experience the Histories tend to be nowhere near as sexually explicit as the one and a half Roman novels that we have , reminded me a lot of an episode or a season or the entire show of A Game of Thrones, or at least the television series, since I haven t read the book Well, now we come to the sequel, which isn t actually a sequel because Tacitus wrote the Histories before he wrote the Annals, but it pretty much starts where the Annals end or at least where it was supposed to end, if somebody hadn t lost it Also, like the Annals, and the Song of Fire and Ice, the Histories are also unfinished it fact from what I gather we only have about 30% of the Histories, namely because some monk in the 10th century found it and thought it might be a good idea to preserve it, it was just that he couldn t remember where he placed the remaining parts of the book Mind you, it s probably not a bad thing that we have lost the remaining parts of the Histories because it is supposed to chronicle the period between Nero s fall and, well, up to the point that Tacitus decided to start writing the Histories, or even up to the point where he finished writing the Histories because we can be assured that history didn t stop simply to allow Tacitus to chronicle it Mind you, the part of the book that is missing sounds as if it was emperor ascends throne, emperor does emperorish things, emperor dies, next emperor ascends the throne and so on and so forth Well, maybe the scene where they decide that Domitian is a bit of a prick and decide they want to kill him might have been interesting, but it probably doesn t beat the murder of Caligulia and the praetorian guards then dragging Claudius out from the closet, kicking and screaming, and crowning him emperor not that we have that section of the Annals because, you guessed it, some monk lost it So, you might be wondering what the connection between the Histories and Game of Thrones is other than the fact that both are unfinished Well, from what I recall from the television series I haven t read the books, and am unlikely to do so because, well, with the number of books on my too read list, they sort of find themselves on the might get to one day in the future if I can be bothered, and if George R R Martin bothers to finish them pile , when Eddard Stark is murdered the armies of the North rise up in rebellion against Kings Landing, and the two Baratheon brothers also rise up in rebellion, and there is a forth dude rising up in rebellion as well, not that I can remember who it was because it was a while ago when I watched the second and third seasons, and we entered a period known as the war of five kings where people are running all over Westeros pretty much killing each other at will as if anything else happens in Westeros Well, a similar thing happens when Nero abdicates the throne and then kills himself, I believe, though since I haven t read the end of the Annals because some Monk lost it, I am only going by some pretty shocking TV mini series that I watched about Nero and according to the mini series Nero killed himself , the Romans suddenly realise that there actually isn t anybody to take over from him because Nero doesn t have any heirs not that he Romans particularly wanted a Neronian heir to take the throne, if their father was anything to go by , so some guy named Galba takes the throne, but another guy named Otho objects, kicks him out, and installs himself as emperor However some guy named Vitellius objects, goes to war against Otho, kicks him out, and takes the throne, and then Vespasian, who is busy crushing a Jewish uprising in the east, marches his troops over to the Italian Peninsula leaving his son Titus to mop up the mess , and goes to war with Vitellius Vitellius then decides that being emperor isn t as crash hot as he thought it was going to be, and attempts to abdicate, except the people of Rome refuse and force him back into the Palace, where he is subsequently defeated by Vespasian As you can probably tell, Rome was pretty chaotic around this time In fact, after 70 to 80 odd years of stability with a few mad emperors to make things interesting, including one who made a horse a senator though a horse would probably do a better job that half the senators we have today hey, lets start nominating horses for the senate, though Michael Moore did try that with a Ficus, and unfortunately it didn t work we ended up getting stuck with a politician instead , the entire Roman experiment looks like it it was pretty much on the verge of collapse much like the EU experiment is today Actually, Rome s enemies saw it as much, especially over the Rhine in Germanica, because the Germans suddenly launched an invasion of Gaul or at least the provinces of Upper and Lower Germania during this time So, when the Histories aren t talking about the Romans going at each other, its talking about the Germans invading Rome and causing them no end of trouble Actually, it wasn t just the Germans who saw an opportunity because the Jews, who didn t particularly like the Romans, despite everything the Romans had done for them, decided that it might be a pretty good idea of go to war against the Romans and liberate their country As it turned out, despite the fact that Rome was embroiled in an almost never ending civil war, it still seemed as if they were able to hold out on their own Mind you, it probably at a lot to do with Vespasian being a pretty strong, and capable leader, as he was able to bring peace to the Empire, and then not only drive back the Germans, but also crush the Jews, and to bring grain to the city to ward off starvation As we know, after this one dreadful year, known as the Year of the Four Emperors, Rome when on to last for another 150 odd years One final interesting thing is what Tacitus says about the Jews It is actually really interesting hearing the theories of the Jewish origins from the point of view of a Roman Mind you, having had the Old Testament history drummed down my through for most of my life, reading Tacitus opinion makes me want to scream out in objection, however what we are seeing are suppositions coming from somebody who lived at the time, giving us a rundown on the various beliefs at the time, which I believe helps us understand, much better, how the Jews were perceived by the Romans The other thing is that it provides a background for the Jewish War Up until I read the Histories this is the second time , I didn t realise that the Jewish revolt, and the Roman civil war, occurred around the same time In fact it is my belief that the civil war that broke out after Nero s fall actually provided the catalyst for the Jewish revolt It certainly does put things into perspective `Download Book ↠ The Histories of Caius Cornelius Tacitus: With Notes for Colleges (Classic Reprint) ⇻ Excerpt from The Histories Of Caius Cornelius Tacitus With Notes For CollegesIR this Revised Edition, the text and the notes have been carefully collated With those of Ritter in his new edition bonn and Cambridge, and such corrections and additions, as were deemed just and important, have been adopted from this source I cannot, however, by any means, accept the many gratuitous emendations and dogmatic assertions which disfig nre and depreciate this otherwise excellent commentary Other corrections and improvements have also been made, which have been suggested by use of the book in classes, or to which my attention has been called, whether by private correspond ence, or by notices and reviews in the public journals I have been especially indebted to the critical acumen and accurate scholarship of my friend, Mr Charles Short, of Roxbury, wri ting in the Bibliotheca Sacra, for not a few valuable sugges tions and amendmentsAbout the PublisherForgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books Find at forgottenbooksThis book is a reproduction of an important historical work Forgotten Books uses state of the art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works