Tacitus' Annals now online

30 July 2017

Tacitus' Annals are now online, covering the reigns of the emperors from Tiberius to Nero inclusive, though sadly the text of the reign of Caligula, the early part of Claudius' reign, and the final end of Nero's tyrannical rule, have not survived. Nevertheless Tacitus is a magnficent historian, and refines and enlarges on Suetonius' tales of the Caesars.

I have now started work on a new translation of Silius Italicus' Punica, his epic of the Second Carthaginian War (the exploits of Hannibal etc.). Silius was consul in the year of Nero's death, a friend and ally of the emperor Vitellius,  proconsul of Asia Minor under Vespasian, then retired and bought Cicero's villa in the Alban Hills, as well as the land at Naples on which Virgil's tomb stood, renovating the tomb, and ultimately outliving the Flavian Dynasty. 

The Punica, the longest Roman epic, is a wonderful example of fluent Roman verse at its strongest and most imperious, after the fashion of Virgil whom Silius greatly admired. Constantly downrated in the past by critics for some peculiar reason of their own, it is in fact a fine rendering of a fascinating segment of Roman history, and should now be finding favour again after unfortunate and unmerited neglect.