Read by David Timson
Beginning at the end of Augustus’s reign, Tacitus’s Annals examines the rules of the Roman emperors from Tiberius to Nero (though Caligula’s books are lost to us). Their dramas and scandals are brought fully under the spotlight, as Tacitus presents a catalogue of their murders, atrocities, sexual improprieties and other vices in no unsparing terms. Debauched, cruel and paranoid, they are portrayed as being on the verge of madness. Their wars and battles, such as the war with the Parthians, are also described with the same scrutinising intensity. Tacitus’s last major historical work, the Annals is an extraordinary glimpse into the pleasures and perils of a Roman leader, and is considered by many to be a masterpiece.
Running Time: 18 h 12 m
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Digital ISBN: 978-1-78198-320-1 Cat. no.: NA0460 Edited by: Sarah Butcher Translated by: Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb BISAC: HIS002020 BIC: HBJD, HBLA1 Released: November 2020
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Tacitus writes a warning to the powerful that history will judge them. He himself is critical, even savagely judgemental, in his second-century history of the four Roman emperors who followed Augustus. (Only parts of it survive.) Narrator David Timson captures the author’s frequent scorn and disgust; he reads many quotations in a mocking voice. His pronunciation is flawless and his pacing a shade quick. He is effortlessly skilled in matching emphasis and the shaping of phrases and sentences to sense. While he brings an actor’s expressiveness to the text, his exuberance and energy sometimes seem excessive for this censorious historian. Nonetheless, Timson’s energy helps engage the listener and hold their attention. His clarity and skill deliver a commendable programme.