Category Archives: Tacitus

TACITUS: The Histories [Book V]

The beginning of the Judaean War under Titus – Tacitus describes the origin of the Jews and asserts that they are the basest of peoples. Jerusalem is the capital city of the Jews. In the middle of the city is their temple, which is very well defended by natural hills and fortifications. Tacitus reports that all 600,000 of the Jews in the city were willing and eager to defend against the Romans. Titus draws up his forces at the base of the temple walls and orders the construction of siege weapons. Continue reading TACITUS: The Histories [Book V]

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TACITUS: The Histories [Book III]

Vitellius’ forces challenged by Vespasian’s in Italy – Vespasian desired to win the war by depriving Vitellius’ forces of food and money. Vespasian controlled the majority of Italy’s grain supply from Egypt, and he also controlled the richest provinces in the Roman Empire, so his plan was sound. Furthermore, he did not desire to unnecessarily shed the blood of Romans. However, his orders did not reach his commanders until after they had engaged Vitellius’ forces in Italy. Continue reading TACITUS: The Histories [Book III]

TACITUS: The Histories [Book II]

Otho’s forces are defeated by those of Vitellius at Bedriacum; Otho commits suicide – The armies of Vitellius and Otho meet at Bedriacum. Otho’s generals advise inaction, believing that Vitellius’ army will eventually expend all their resources and surrender. Otho, however, is impatient and orders his generals to engage the foe while he travels to the safety of a neighboring town. Both sides fight honorably. Vitellius’ army secures victory. Upon hearing the news, members of Otho’s praetorian cohort urge him to renew the war with fresh troops that just arrived. Despite their pleas, Otho decides to commit suicide rather than risk the deaths of more Roman soldiers. Thus, with posterity, Otho gained notoriety for killing Galba and won fame for his glorious and selfless act of suicide. Continue reading TACITUS: The Histories [Book II]

TACITUS: The Histories [Book I]

The short reign of Galba – After the forced suicide of Nero, the provincial armies elect Galba as emperor. Galba is weak and 77 years old. The soldiers begin to hate him because he does not give them the donative that he promised. Furthermore, he is severe in his treatment of them, a stark contrast to the indulgence of Nero. Continue reading TACITUS: The Histories [Book I]