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Bill Thayer

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Tacitus
The Annals The Histories

The Author

The Introduction by the editor of the edition used on this site provides an overview of Tacitus' career, his work, and the manuscripts. A more accessible introduction to Tacitus, also in some ways better, may be found at Livius.

The Text of Tacitus on LacusCurtius

As usual, I retyped the text rather than scanning it: not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if successful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

This transcription of both Annals and Histories has been meticulously proofread. In the table of contents below, the items are therefore shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the texts to be completely errorfree. (Otherwise, pages still not proofread would be shown on red backgrounds. As elsewhere on this site, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme.) Should you spot an error, however . . . please do report it.

Further details on the technical aspects of the site layout are given after the Table of Contents.

Elsewhere online, there are several copies of a different, older, translation (by Church and Brodribb), and the original Latin text can also be found on the Web; probably the best of all those transcriptions, certainly for convenience, since both Latin and English together, facing, in small chunks, is the one on J. B. Hare's site.

The Annals
Introduction to the Annals (by the 20c editor)
Death and funeral of Augustus; accession of Tiberius.
Drusus and the mutiny of the Pannonian legions.
Germanicus and the mutiny of the German legions.
The war in Germany.
Intrigues in Rome.
More war in Germany.
The opposition in Rome to Tiberius: Libo Drusus, Piso, and Asinius Gallus.
Intrigues in Rome; Tacfarinas' revolt in Numidia; Germanicus' grand tour thru Asia as special foreign affairs envoy. Piso against Germanicus, and death of Germanicus, poison widely suspected.
Rome after Germanicus: eulogies, intrigues, and adjustment.
Roman domestic politics and legal matters.
Revolt in Gaul. Intrigues in Rome.
Intrigues in Rome: Tiberius against Silanus. Tacfarinas' revolt in Numidia, continued.
Intrigues in Rome: the continued rise of Sejanus, who poisons Drusus. Prosecutions of C. Silius and others.
The war against Tacfarinas finally over. More prosecutions.
The beginning of the fall of Sejanus.
War in Thrace. Plots set in motion against Agrippina.
Tiberius abandons the capital for Campania. Fire on the Coelian Hill in Rome. Condemnation of Titius Sabinus.
Fragmentary book: the death of the dowager Empress Livia. (The fall of Sejanus must have been told in this book, but it is among the parts missing.)
The purges after the fall of Sejanus.
Parthian War, centered on Armenia. Fire on the Aventine Hill in Rome. Death of Tiberius.
Claudius is emperor. In Rome, Suillius prosecutes many. Turmoil in Armenia.
Corbulo settles a Frisian revolt. Senatorial rights extended to the provinces. Debaucheries and execution of Messalina.
Claudius remarries. Adjustments with Parthia. Nero adopted. The pomerium enlarged. War in Britain against Caratacus.
The young Nero groomed to succeed Claudius. Disorders in Armenia. Extravagant inauguration of the draining of Lake Fucinus, which turned out a massive failure. Death of Claudius, maybe by poison.
Nero becomes emperor and starts his slide into lust and cruelty; the murder of Britannicus. Continued trouble with Parthia over Armenia.
Disaster to Roman arms in Armenia, partly saved by Corbulo. Revolts and wars among the Germans.
Nero murders his mother Agrippina. Nero exhibits himself as a charioteer. Institution of the Neronia. Corbulo composes Armenian difficulties in favor of Rome, at least for the time being.
In Britain, the Icenian revolt under Boudicca.
Criminal trials and political purges in Rome. Murder of Rubellius Plautus and of the 20‑year‑old Octavia.
Roman defeat in Armenia, although "spun" as a victory; followed, however, by a further adjustment with Parthia in which the Parthian king Tiridates travels to Rome to become a nominal vassal of Rome.
Nero exhibits himself as a singer and a harpist. The Great Fire of Rome; Christians are executed as scapegoats.
Piso's conspiracy: it fails.
Nero seeks to destroy the Stoic opposition: murder of Paetus and Soranus.
Ancient Jerusalem; Germania in Roman times.
The Histories
The short reign of Galba.
Otho, now emperor, prepares to take the field against the rival claimant Vitellius.
Otho's forces are defeated by those of Vitellius at Bedriacum; Otho commits suicide.
Vitellius now emperor, but yet another claimant, Vespasian, is raising troops in the Orient.
Vitellius' forces challenged by Vespasian's in Italy.
Vitellius' forces give way rather fast, eventually only holding Rome and the Latium.
Vitellius murdered in Rome by troops favoring Vespasian.
Batavian units in the Roman army revolt under Civilis.
Politics and maneuvering in Vespasian's Rome and in the eastern theater of operations.
The Batavian War with Civilis, continued.
A view into the psyche and concerns of Vespasian and his son Domitian.
The beginning of the Judaean War under Titus.
The end of the Batavian War, more or less — although the fate of Civilis is left hanging as our manuscripts abruptly fail.

Edition Used, Copyright

Loeb Classical Library, 5 volumes, Latin texts and facing English translation: Harvard University Press, 1925 thru 1937. Translation by C. H. Moore (Histories) and J. Jackson (Annals).

The volumes were published in various years, but — except for Volume I — each is in the public domain pursuant to the 1978 revision of the U. S. Copyright Code, since the copyright was not renewed at the appropriate time, which would have been in 1952/1953 for Vol. II, in 1958/1959 for Vol. III, and in 1964/1965 for Vols. IV and V.

Volume I contains the Agricola, the Germania, and the Dialogus de Oratoribus, but the original translation was revised in 1970 and thus remains under copyright. (Details on the copyright law involved.) English translations of the Agricola and the Germania can be found at Elfinspell.

Chapter Numbering, Local Links

Chapters mark local links, according to a consistent scheme; you can therefore link directly to any passage.



[image ALT: A round metal plaque with an inscription surrounded by a stylized laurel wreath. It is a Roman military decoration, further discussed in the text on this webpage. On this site, it serves as the icon for the works of Tacitus.]

The color of the icon with which I indicate works by Tacitus onsite is the purple that I use in the Roman Gazetteer section of the site as the background for Roman monuments of the imperial period, to which our author belongs; the motif of the icon itself is based, by kind permission, on a photo, © Jona Lendering 2008, of a military decoration — a phalera — belonging to a centurion of the Eighth Legion. Tacitus mentions the Eighth Legion five times in the Histories, and appears to mention Aquillius himself (Hist. IV.15): the name is not all that common, the rank is right, and he's in the right area, now the Netherlands. For a full photo of this handsome object, with the inscription transcribed and translated, see Jona Lendering's page of Roman inscriptions at Nijmegen (click thumbnail there to open the photo larger).


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Site updated: 8 May 09