Tacitus: Histories Book I: Bk. 1 (Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics) Paperback – 12 Jan 2008
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'I welcome and appreciate Cynthia Damon's new commentary on Book I as a lifeline to a difficult piece of Tacitean text and can only wish it had come much earlier. … the principles of Tacitean style and use of sources are easily transferable: this aspect of the commentary will greatly facilitate both the teaching of this difficult author, whose style is as much a part of his historical vision as it the material he chooses, and new scholarship, which can turn its attention in different directions. To those who know enough Latin to attempt Tacitus, D. has given an excellent example of what the genre of commentary can achieve in difficult literary circumstances.' Holly Haynes, Dartmouth College
Book I of the Histories covers the beginning of the infamous 'Year of the Four Emperors' (69 CE), which brought imperial Rome to the brink of destruction after the demise of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. This edition provides a full commentary and introduction suitable for students at intermediate level and above.See all Product Description
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Damon effectively fleshes out omitted material where Tacitus' style becomes terse and has done wonderful cross-referencing with Suetonius, Cassius Dio, Plutarch, and a few others. She does not often seem as interested in exploring the subtleties of the language as much as the content. Nevertheless, her perceptions shine when pointing out Tacitus' verbal irony between seemingly disparate excerpts in the Historiae.
The only major drawback to this edition of Hist. Liber I is the copy editing. Every single page of the text contained at least one typo, be it a missed space, added space, or letters mistakenly added/dropped. Usually this did not affect comprehension (but I vividly remember when an "e" should have been an "et"!) and having Damon's commentary more than makes up for the egregious publication flaws. The typographical errors are more frequent and glaring than in any professionally published classical work I have yet encountered, and I suspect that Damon has given a few people at Cambridge an well-deserved earful.
Do buy this book if you would like to try reading Tacitus in the original. Overall, Damon is very helpful in understanding Tacitus' place in the serious study of Roman history.
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