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4. The Army
About this Lecture
In this module, we focus on the third major player in Book 1 of the Histories, the Roman army, focusing in particular on: (i) the importance of the army in dictating events, which impacts even where Tacitus chooses to start his narrative; (ii) the importance of the Praetorian Guard in Rome; (iii) the side-lining of the Senate; and (iv) the inversion of hierarchy and its dire consequences for Rome and the Empire.
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.
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
Whitton, C. (2019, November 27). Tacitus: Histories: Book 1 - The Army [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/tacitus-histories-book-1-1d57d270-4633-4b7c-9c39-9311d40a4d01/the-army-670bc7fc-09a1-4690-8fd4-162271e7993d
Whitton, Christopher. "Tacitus: Histories: Book 1 – The Army." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 27 Nov 2019, https://www.massolit.io/courses/tacitus-histories-book-1-1d57d270-4633-4b7c-9c39-9311d40a4d01/the-army-670bc7fc-09a1-4690-8fd4-162271e7993d