Notes on the Annals of Tacitus

Scope and Content

An incomplete printed edition (Lyons, 1542) of the Annals of Tacitus in Latin, dismembered and laid down on blank sheets of paper, interleaved with many blank pages. Some pages contain manuscript annotations in Latin, and there are a few leaves completely in manuscript, written in the same hand, in French, at the present beginning of the volume (which lacks at least four folios) on political ideas, with particular reference to the works of Nicolo Machiavelli. The printed titlepage is inscribed 'Naples, 1 July, 1721', and the otherwise blank page on which it is mounted is dated 'Sep 1, 1721, Naples'. The suggestion of English ownership (and authorship) is strengthened by the further inscription on the titlepage 'Pret. 5 Carl. (?) Eng. 2s'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Publius Cornelius Tacitus (c AD 56-117) was a Roman orator, public official and historian. He was a friend of Pliny the Younger and married the daughter of Gaius Julius Agricola. In AD 97 he was appointed substitute consul under Nerva, and later he was proconsul of Asia. Tacitus was the author of several works, including Dialogus , a discussion of oratory, and Germania , on the origins and location of the Germans. A sense of moral purpose and severe criticism of contemporary Rome, fallen from the virtuous vigor of the old republic, underlies his two longer works, commonly known as the Histories (of which four books and part of a fifth survive) and the Annals (of which twelve books survive). The extant books of the Histories cover only the reign of Galba (AD 68-69) and the beginning (to AD 70) of the reign of Vespasian, and the surviving books of the Annals tell of the reign of Tiberius, of the last years of Claudius, and of the first years of Nero.


Single item.

Access Information

Access to this collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the supervised environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Uncatalogued material may not be seen. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Acquisition Information

Bought from the Shaftesbury Bookshop in 1963.

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

14½" x 9"

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.