Classics 210: Greek & Roman Classics in English 12/5
Prologue, Transition from Augustus to Tiberus
Tacitus writes to discuss real facts and the history about the emperors (i.e. such as Augustus)
who had previously censored all writing in Rome.
States that he is writing “without either bitterness or partiality, from any motives to which I am
far removed” seems unlikely after reading his work. He seems bias and presents negative
opinions of the emperors.
Livy got to write about exciting events: glorious wars of conquest, Punic Wars, Hannibal, etc.
Tacitus writes about emperors and their indiscretions (what history has been reduced to)
Wants Romans to look ahead – where they have been AND where they are going to go. What
kind of people are they? What kind of society do they want to be from this point?
Both historians believed that history could be understood by people who made it.
Tiberius = successor of Augustus. Shown as cruel and wicked – (i.e. put many people to death
on trumped up charges)
Transition from Claudius to Nero, Murder of Britannicus
As Nero advances in his teenage years, he dislikes his mother’s growing power –rebels. Her
power over him begins to decrease.
Begins to favor Britannicus (adopted brother) who is later poisoned at a dinner party but no
more is said about him.
“Timeless feuds of brothers” = stock scene (i.e. Romulus & Remus)