THE WORLD OF TACITUS by Donald Dudley

THE WORLD OF TACITUS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Cornelius Tacitus wrote his histories in the first century A.D. with a perspective on the writing of history alien to our times, a compunction to exert a moral influence through ringing judgments on the characters of captains and kings. He recorded noble, or mainly in his view, ignoble, actions of the Romans. Also peculiar to this style of history is Tacitus' use of oratory very often unsupported by a grain of plausibility. However, for the modern reader, the historian's dramatic skill in reconstructing imperial and civil in-fighting, his merciless characterizations and his happy use of aphorisms still offer much. Mr. Dudley discusses Tacitus' accounts and-views of Emperors and Courts, the Senate, the Army, The Provinces. Most interesting besides some of the livelier and lurid domestic blood baths of the tyrants, is a brief account of the death of ""Christos"" whom Tacitus considered to be a leader of an extremist sect of Jews. With his perspective as translator of Tacitus and interpreter of his historian's role, Mr. Dudley succumbs often to the academic temptation to qualify and over-annotate -- as well as insert fine bits of Latin -- and therefore this is for a fairly special audience. However, sic semper scholaribus.

Pub Date: April 10th, 1969
Publisher: Little, Brown