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Tacitus: Histories: Book 1

6. Past and Present

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this module, we think about how Tacitus and his contemporary readership would have approached the events of Histories 1, focusing in particular on: (i) the parallels between 69 AD and 97 AD; (ii) the cynicism with which Tacitus treats the adoption of Piso by Galba; and (iii) the question of whether Galba’s adoption of Piso should be seen as a precursor to Nerva’s of Trajan, or should be contrasted with it.

Course

In this module, Dr Chris Whitton (University of Cambridge) explores Tacitus’ Histories, Book 1. In the first module, we provide an introduction to Tacitus and the Histories at a whole, before turning in the second and third modules to the figures of Galba and Otho. In the fourth module, we think about the role of the Roman army in 69 AD and Tacitus’ views on the inversion of hierarchy, before turning in the fifth module to think about how truth and power work for Tacitus. Finally, in the sixth module, we consider how the events of 69 AD might have resonated with events of Tacitus’ own lifetime. In a short seventh module, we provide some ideas for further reading, including some of the highlights of the rest of the Histories, the work of Plutarch and Suetonius, Tacitus’ Annals, and some secondary literature.

Lecturer

Dr Christopher Whitton studied Classics at St John’s College, Cambridge, where he then wrote a PhD on the works of Tacitus and Pliny. He has taught at Cambridge since 2007, where he is now a Senior Lecturer in Classics and a Fellow of Emmanuel College.

His particular area of expertise is Latin imperial prose literature, in particular Pliny’s Epistles and the works of Tacitus. Among other things, he’s currently writing a commentary on Annals 14.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Whitton, C. (2019, November 27). Tacitus: Histories: Book 1 - Past and Present [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/tacitus-histories-book-1-1d57d270-4633-4b7c-9c39-9311d40a4d01/past-and-present

MLA style

Whitton, Christopher. "Tacitus: Histories: Book 1 – Past and Present." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 27 Nov 2019, https://www.massolit.io/courses/tacitus-histories-book-1-1d57d270-4633-4b7c-9c39-9311d40a4d01/past-and-present

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