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

Book Series


Mathew Owen; Ingo Gildenhard

Published On





  • English
  • Latin

Print Length

278 pages (vi + 272)


Paperback156 x 15 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.58" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 17 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.69" x 9.21")


Paperback870g (30.69oz)
Hardback1253g (44.20oz)



OCLC Number





  • HBLA1
  • CFP
  • 4KL


  • HIS002020
  • FOR033000
  • LIT004190


  • PA6705.A9


  • Tacitus
  • Nero
  • Annales
  • historiography
  • ancient Rome
  • Latin
  • ancient literature

Tacitus, Annals, 15.20-23, 33-45

Latin Text, Study Aids with Vocabulary, and Commentary

  • Mathew Owen (author)
  • Ingo Gildenhard (author)
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.


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

"Book Review: Tacitus, Annals, 15.20­-23, 33­-45. By Mathew Owen and Ingo Gildenhard". Classical Journal Online (0009-8353), 2014.

Full Review

Additional Resources

[website]The Classics Library interactive edition

The Classics Library has created an interactive edition of the entire work. This edition is made free to read by all, while members of the Classics Library (membership is free but restricted to secondary an tertiary teachers in Latin and classics) are able to comment on, extend and ask questions on every aspect of the text. Of course, if you are not eligible to become a member of the Classics Library your comments and questions are still very welcome and can be made in the comments section of this site.



(pp. 5–38)
  • Mathew Owen
  • Ingo Gildenhard
  • Mathew Owen
  • Ingo Gildenhard


(pp. 75–251)
  • Ingo Gildenhard
  • Mathew Owen


Mathew Owen


Ingo Gildenhard

Reader in Classics and the Classical Tradition at University of Cambridge