Tacitus, Annals, 15.20­-23, 33­-45. Latin Text, Study Aids with Vocabulary, and Commentary

Tacitus, Annals, 15.20­-23, 33­-45. Latin Text, Study Aids with Vocabulary, and Commentary Mathew Owen and Ingo Gildenhard
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78374-000-0 £15.95
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78374-001-7 £29.95
PDF ISBN: 978-1-78374-002-4 £5.95
epub ISBN: 978-1-78374-003-1 £5.95
mobi ISBN: 978-1-78374-004-8 £5.95


Affordable for anyone with access to the Internet (including a free printable version), this selection of excerpts from the Annals functions well for a college-level course of reading and interpreting Tacitus in Latin. [...] the overall approach for this edition has been to produce a very scholarly and thought-provoking textbook available to anyone regardless of cost. The philosophy of Open Book Publishers is part of a movement that is challenging the established publishing order not only in terms of price but in quality of scholarship, as this textbook proves [...]. With the source of this textbook housed on a website, any of these sections can be augmented, revised, and appended from day to day. Readers are allowed to comment on any paragraph, so the potential for interactive reading across geographical boundaries exists through this portal. This is the first textbook of this kind that I have encountered, and I hope it will not be the last of this caliber.

—Andre Stipanovic, Classical Journal online (5 December 2014)

Created to serve as a component of the British A-level curriculum in Latin, this textbook is designed for newcomers to Tacitus, offering background and support aimed at the novice reader of Latin historiography. I assess it here for a rather different remit than its designated purpose, concentrating on the possibilities of using it "off-label" for teaching college courses in the U.S. and elsewhere. Owen and Gildenhard offer an enticing window onto the range of modern scholarship on a small and manageable sliver of Tacitus’ capacious literary output, while highlighting the text’s intrinsic value and relevance. The central episode of the selected Latin text is Tacitus’ narrative of the Great Fire of 64 (with substantial amounts of build-up and aftermath), while the introduction and commentary offer thought-provoking explorations of Tacitean style, as well as of Neronian politics. [...] Virtues commending Owen and Gildenhard to advanced undergraduate students (or indeed, to early graduate students looking to familiarize themselves with the major interpretive issues of this section of the Annals) include a witty and engaging writing style, a wide-ranging and informative set of introductory essays, and a fluent command of past and current scholarship on Nero, Tacitus, and the Annals.Overall, this book’s exuberant and playful approach to Tacitus' grimly ironic narrative is one I find highly appealing [...].
—Virginia Closs (University of Massachusetts-Amherst), Bryn Mawr Classical Review (17 October 2014)

Should we invest in the (extremely reasonable) cost of this new publication? (Note that the convenient digital provision of the publication makes this vanishingly small when compared to traditional textbooks…!) Will it, moreover, make life easier, both for myself and my students? Will it, above all, make Tacitus even more enjoyable and interesting? The answer to all these questions is a resounding ‘Yes’.
— Paul J Cowie, Classics Head of Department, The John Lyon School, http://bit.ly/19A39rt
 
The emperor Nero is etched into the Western imagination as one of ancient Rome’s most infamous villains, and Tacitus’ Annals have played a central role in shaping the mainstream historiographical understanding of this flamboyant autocrat.
This section of the text plunges us straight into the moral cesspool that Rome had apparently become in the later years of Nero’s reign, chronicling the emperor’s fledgling stage career including his plans for a grand tour of Greece; his participation in a city-wide orgy climaxing in his publicly consummated ‘marriage’ to his toy boy Pythagoras; the great fire of AD 64, during which large parts of central Rome went up in flames; and the rising of Nero’s ‘grotesque’ new palace, the so-called ‘Golden House’, from the ashes of the city. This building project stoked the rumours that the emperor himself was behind the conflagration, and Tacitus goes on to present us with Nero’s gruesome efforts to quell these mutterings by scapegoating and executing members of an unpopular new cult then starting to spread through the Roman empire: Christianity.
All this contrasts starkly with four chapters focusing on one of Nero’s most principled opponents, the Stoic senator Thrasea Paetus, an audacious figure of moral fibre, who courageously refuses to bend to the forces of imperial corruption and hypocrisy.
This course book offers a portion of the original Latin text, study aids with vocabulary, and a commentary. Designed to stretch and stimulate readers, Owen’s and Gildenhard’s incisive commentary will be of particular interest to students of Latin at both A2 and undergraduate level. It extends beyond detailed linguistic analysis and historical background to encourage critical engagement with Tacitus’ prose and discussion of the most recent scholarly thought.
 
We welcome feedback on this edition, critical and otherwise, as well as suggestions of what further supplementary material or digital resources could be made available on this website. Please leave your comments in the comment tab on this site, or email us directly at ig297@cam.ac.uk and mathew.owen@caterhamschool.co.uk


Tacitus, Annals, 15.20-35. 33-45. Latin Text, Study Aids with Vocabulary, and Commentary.
Matthew Owen and Ingo Gildenhard (eds; translators) | September 2013
vi + 268 | Maps: 2 Black and White| 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
Classics Textbooks, vol. 3 | ISSN: 2054-2437 (Print); 2054-2445 (Online)
ISBN Paperback: 9781783740000
ISBN Hardback: 9781783740017
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781783740024
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781783740031
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781783740048
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0035
BIC subject codes: HBLA1 (Classical civilization), CFP (Translation), 4KL (A-Levels Aid)


You may also be interested in:

1. Preface and acknowledgements

2. Introduction
   2.1 Tacitus: life and career
   2.2 Tacitus’ times: the political system of the principate
   2.3 Tacitus’ oeuvre: opera minora and maiora
   2.4 Tacitus’ style (as an instrument of thought)
   2.5 Tacitus’ Nero-narrative: Rocky-Horror-Picture Show and Broadway on the Tiber
   2.6 Thrasea Paetus and the so-called ‘Stoic opposition’

3. Latin text with study questions and vocabulary aid

4. Commentary
   Section 1: Annals 15.20–23
     (i) 20.1–22.1: The Meeting of the Senate
     (ii) 22.2: Review of striking prodigies that occurred in AD 62
     (iii) 23.1–4: Start of Tacitus’ account of AD 63: the birth and death of Nero’s daughter by Sabina Poppaea, Claudia Augusta
   Section 2: Annals 15.33–45 (AD 64)
     (i) 33.1–34.1: Nero’s coming-out party as stage performer
     (ii) 34.2–35.3: A look at the kind of creatures that populate Nero’s court – and the killing of an alleged rival
     (iii) 36: Nero considers, but then reconsiders, going on tour to Egypt
     (iv) 37: To show his love for Rome, Nero celebrates a huge public orgy that segues into a mock-wedding with his freedman Pythagoras
     (v) 38–41: The fire of Rome
     (vi) 42–43: Reconstructing the Capital: Nero’s New Palace
     (vii) 44: Appeasing the Gods, and Christians as Scapegoats
     (viii) 45: Raising of Funds for Buildings

5. Bibliography

6. Visual aids
   6.1 Map of Italy
   6.2 Map of Rome
   6.3 Family Tree of Nero and Junius Silanus
   6.4 Inside the Domus Aurea


Mathew Owen
is a teacher in Classics at Caterham School, Surrey. In 2009, he gained a first class degree in Classics at Brasenose College, Oxford. He is also author of Ovid Unseens: Practice Passages for Latin Unseen Translation and Comprehension (London, 2014).
 
Ingo Gildenhard is Reader in Classics and the Classical Tradition at Cambridge University, and a Fellow of King’s College Cambridge. His previous publications include the monographs Paideia Romana: Cicero's Tusculan Disputations (Cambridge, 2007) and Creative Eloquence: The Construction of Reality in Cicero's Speeches (Oxford, 2011). He has also published three textbooks with Open Book Publishers: Cicero, Against Verres, 2.1.53-86. Latin Text with Introduction, Study Questions, Commentary and English Translation, Virgil, Aeneid, 4.1-299: Latin Text, Study Questions, Commentary and Interpretative Essays, and more recently Cicero, On Pompey’s Command (De Imperio), 27–49. Latin Text, Study Aids with Vocabulary, Commentary, and Translation.


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