1576 Cornelius Tacitus, Annals (Roman, from 14 - 69 A.D.)


An attractive leather binding (with a golden wreath center medallion) holds the Annals of the Roman Tacitus. This printing originally included the Histories, following the Annals, but at some point in history they were bound into a second volume and then drifted apart. This volume holds the complete Annals.

About the Author -

Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus (c. 56 – c. 120 AD) was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. Tacitus is considered to be one of the greatest Roman historians. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature, and is known for the brevity and compactness of his Latin prose, as well as for his penetrating insights into the psychology of power politics.

About the Work -

The Annals, Tacitus' final work, covers the period from the death of Augustus Caesar in 14 AD. He wrote at least sixteen books, but books 7–10 and parts of books 5, 6, 11 and 16 are missing. Book 6 ends with the death of Tiberius and books 7 to 12 presumably covered the reigns of Caligula and Claudius. The remaining books cover the reign of Nero, perhaps until his death in June 68 or until the end of that year to connect with the Histories. The second half of book 16 is missing, ending with the events of 66. We do not know whether Tacitus completed the work; he died before he could complete his planned histories of Nerva and Trajan and no record survives of the work on Augustus Caesar and the beginnings of the Roman Empire, with which he had planned to finish his work. The Annals is one of the earliest secular historical records to mention Christ, which Tacitus does in connection with Nero's persecution of the Christians.

Physical Attributes -

Measures 12 x 7.5 x 2.5 cm. Leather. Gilt ruled boards, with central wreath medallion. Four compartments on spine, with a central floret in each. All edges gilt (AEG). Pages - 514, one manuscript leaf, (4)

Condition -

See pictures. Only the Annals are bound in this work. Repaired as visible from some glue on top-endband and a quire (gathering of papers) left out just slightly too far. Board edges and corners rubbed. I think it was respined, but it was done so well that the leathers match-up very very well, and it's difficult to even tell. Bookseller notes on the pastedown.

Some separation between the flyleaf and title page. There is a wormhole that runs through the 1st half of the book in the fore-edge margin. There is a moisture mark at the bottom right corner at the start that mostly fades out only several pages in. Also, occasional spots at top-edge throughout. There is annotations and underlining in the text. Pages 35-123 there is a spot in the fore-edge margin. Pages 396-451 there is an ink spot in the fore-edge margin. The last page is hand-written, because the recto began the histories (which must have been bound separately).

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