Spring for 2017-2018
Tacitus' Annals are a masterly study of politics, power and corruption in first century AD Rome, with the institution of the principate as their focal point. This course will cover the opening 15 chapters of his great work and then turn to episodes that focus on the infamous emperor Nero (e.g. 12.41-69; 13.1-30; 14.1-28; 15.33-47), including his rise to power, the murders he perpetrated (including that of his mother), and the execution of Christians. These sections of Tacitus' narrative concern important issues such as imperial succession, the nature of history, the role of a leader in relation to his larger community, and all sorts of reflections upon Roman culture and civilization. Particular emphasis will be placed upon Tacitus' style and its relation to earlier Latin prose authors as well as the artistry of the historian in constructing his account.
Students will develop a strong understanding of Tacitus’ handling of topics such as religion, sexuality, and the family; most of all, their command of Latin will greatly improve.
Other academic years
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