Cornelius Tacitus brilliantly chronicles the moral decline and rampant civil unrest in the Roman Empire in a period when the earliest foundations of modern Europe were being laid. The Annals commence in a.d. 14, at the death of Augustus, recounting the reigns of Tiberius, Gaius (Caligula), Claudius, and Nero, and conclude in a.d. 68, the year of Nero’s suicide. The Histories document the tumultuous year a.d. 69, when Emperors Galba, Otho, and Vitellius all perished in quick succession, ushering in Vespasian’s ten-year reign. According to historian Will Durant, “[We must] rank Tacitus among the greatest. . . . The portraits he draws stand out more clearly, stride the stage more livingly than any others in historical literature.” This Modern Library Paperback Classic includes newly commissioned endnotes.
Shelby Foote, novelist, historian, and playwright, authored The Civil War, a three-volume narrative that is one of the greatest works of twentieth-century history. He lives in Memphis.
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