Talk:Annals (Tacitus)

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Validity/Provenance of MSS[edit]

I'd be interested in learning more about how the documents survived, where the remaining copies were found, and if relevant, are stored. Any information connecting that to the conclusion about missing books etc would also help the make this article more complete.

I think we should mention claims that Annals is forgery:
I agree we should mention claims that Annals were forged in the 15th century; they were never referred to before then. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gekritzl (talkcontribs) 23 April 2011
Here is something about manuscripts, and rebuttal to forgery hypothesis:
Vid512 (talk) 19:57, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
My dear, that is not a rebuttal, that is a dismissal. The second website you introduce simply refers to the opinions of others and makes no attempt--systemic or otherwise--to refute the allegations made in the Ross book. In fact he admits that these claims were taken up by others and with more merit. His only response is to make a show of incredulity at the idea that an MSS could be forged. Anyone familiar with antiquities is well aware that forgery is a fact of life. Ross makes a good case for Bracciolini possessing the means, motive, and opportunity. If Pearce wishes to dismiss the idea of forgery he would have to make a very careful case from the MSS extant using physical and visual evidence. There is no attempt here to do so. I believe a new investigation using modern techniques would be quite illuminating. Even Pearce reports a wide range of opinions (=wild-assed guesses) as to the proper dating of the MSS, and he eventually makes Ross' point for him in his attempt to attribute the Annals before the 15th century, mentioning authors who quoted still lost work of Tacitus, rather than the portions that were 'found', precisely what we would expect if the 'found' portion were a fake, as well as the alleged quoting by Severus, which is disputed.
In my opinion it would be irresponsible not to mention the controversies surrounding this work, especially as the Annals have quite recently come under fire in the "existence of Jesus/1st century Christians" debate (a matter not even on Ross' radar--or even mentioned as late as the 1990's, as far as I know). (talk) 20:21, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
It sounds like you are arguing the truth of this position, which isn't how the encyclopedia gets written. If a position does not have active defenders who count as reliable sources, then WP:UNDUE argues against mentioning the theory. If it has only a few defenders, WP:FRINGE comes into play. I'm not familiar enough with the current state of the literature, but are there classics professors publishing in peer-reviewed outlets who argue that the Annals was a forgery? According to the website dedicated to rebutting the forgery hypothesis, no recent critical edition makes mention of there being any controversy. RJC TalkContribs 22:20, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Title of Annals[edit]

The article begins with the statement that "Annals" was "probably" not the name given by Tacitus. There is no "probably"--the name Annals dates to the 16th century and was specifically given to that work by the editor Justus Lipsius in 1574 to distinguish it from the Histories. The title from the MSS is "Ab Excessu divi Augusti Historiarum Libri" = "Books of history (stories) since the death of Augustus (the Divine)". (talk) 20:29, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Content section & suicide[edit]

I haven't edited the page, but hope the author will consider my comments:

The notion that the suicides of men such as Seneca and Thrasea Paetus were motivated by vanity seems incorrect to me. Roman law held that a man convicted of treason, (interpreted by tyrants like Nero and Domitian to mean political opposition), would have his wealth confiscated by the state, and his family subject to banishment. Given that conviction was assured, these men committed suicide to spare their loved ones, as under Roman law you could not try a dead man. No trial, no conviction, no punitive action against the family.

We have a modern day analogy in the WWII general, Erwin Rommel. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jbarntt (talkcontribs) 17:40, 4 September 2010 (UTC)


I've moved the following here because it doesn't seem to belong in the header, being incidental. It can well be incorporated into its own section in the future.

Tacitus is generally considered to be Rome's greatest historian.[1] Annals are important to Christian history for they refer to the execution of Jesus by Pontius Pilate. Tacitus' writings shows no sympathy towards Christians, or knowledge of who their leader was, [2][3] Scholars generally consider his reference to the execution by Pilate to be genuine, and of historical value an independent Roman source.[2][4][1][5] although the authenticity of the Annals has been challenged and disputed. [6]

Quadalpha (talk)

I agree - the text doesn't not summarize any of the main body. I suggest that it be it's own section titled something like "Life" or "Pedigree" or something like that since it's important info that isn't mentioned in the rest of the text. Ckruschke (talk) 18:56, 3 April 2012 (UTC)Ckruschke‎
Yes, that is the case. However, the article itself is no gem. It has large pieces of totally unsourced text and uses 19th century texts as main references etc. Those items are seriously outdated scholarship. I might as well just clean it up with more modern sources, clarify the outdated items, etc. The text of the Annals is in Wikisource anyway, so the external links need to be trimmed to avoid WP:Linkrot and Wikisource used instead, etc. Should not be hard, but as is the article is both outdated and unsourced. Will fix.... History2007 (talk) 19:05, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
I have started cleaning it up now, adding sources, etc. The funniest thing was that amid all this ancient scholarship, one of the references used in the article was one of the For Dummies books.... Poor Tacitus I thought, but I did get a chuckle out of that. Anyway, I should be done in a day. History2007 (talk) 16:52, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

Edit War[edit]

There seems to be an edit war going on here. How about both you stop acting like children and discuss your differences here so independent third parties might perhaps contribute to the discourse of what should be written here. Flaviusvulso (talk) 15:49, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

If you are referring to the edits/reverts by user:Kill censorship, Reject censorship etc. they are all the same blocked user puppets. That user opens a new account every few weeks, shows up on SPI and gets reverted by different people. History2007 (talk) 16:08, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes that is what I am referring to. Well if the reverts are being conducted in accordance with policy I am happy to let the matter rest. Flaviusvulso (talk) 03:44, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes, there have been several sockpuppets of that user.. and a few more will probably appear within the next 3 months and get blocked again. History2007 (talk) 04:22, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for being happy to let the matter rest. Maybe next time you could look at the situation more closely before you call people children. --OnoremDil 04:45, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

Ronald Mellor[edit]

The phrase <<Historian Ronald Mellor considers it "Tacitus's crowning achievement" which represents the "pinnacle of Roman historical writing".>> is repeated 3 times during this very short article, which makes it seem ridiculous. (talk) 00:04, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Now, once in body, then also in lede per WP:LEDE. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 00:19, 27 November 2012 (UTC)


The article currently says that "At the beginning of the year AD 69, six months after the death of Nero, Tacitus started working on his Histories", which is cited to "Tacitus and the Writing of History by Ronald H. Martin 1981 ISBN 0520044274 pages 104-105". I've got to assume that the editor who inserted it misunderstood the cited work, because in AD 69 Tacitus was 13. Can someone with access to the cited book check the accuracy of the cite? --Nicknack009 (talk) 09:49, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Of course. I fixed it. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 12:06, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Provenance and authenticity[edit]

That is the name of a section in this article.

But until I have read almost to the end of the article, I have no idea what this refers to. "Provenance" of what exactly? I believe that it refers to an actual copy, or two portions of copies, that, (I am guessing) were united in Florence at the efforts of Boccacio, but I'm not sure from the text.

We have a picture labelled "Medici" annals. What have the Medici got to do with this? Well, (I'm guessing here) the Medici founded a library at San Lorenzo's church; maybe they owned an important codex of the Annals, the one shown in the picture, and possibly/probably the one/s mentioned as having been found at Corvey and Monte Casino. Am I right, because, I am trying to construct this from the jigsaw? Amandajm (talk) 13:31, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Robert Van Voorst[edit]

Wikipedia must find a way to stop this ultra fundamentalist Christian spaming all pages related to his religion.

I see no evidence that citation was added by Van Voorst himself, who is a reputable academic and whose book is a reliable source. Removing well-sourced content merely because we don't like what it says is not acceptable. Huon (talk) 19:16, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

The Annals authenticity is dependent on a few historians saying it is authentic?[edit]

The Annals authenticity is dependent on a few historians saying it is authentic? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:56, 12 March 2016 (UTC)

Not really. There's no serious doubt about the authenticity of the Annals; if the current article implies otherwise, that's a problem with the way the article is written, and perhaps with the way Wikipedia encourages articles to be written. --Akhilleus (talk) 16:18, 13 March 2016 (UTC)
    • ^ a b Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence, Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2000. p 39 Link
    • ^ a b Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies by Craig A. Evans 2001 ISBN 0-391-04118-5 page 42
    • ^ Ancient Rome by William E. Dunstan 2010 ISBN 0-7425-6833-4 page 293
    • ^ Mercer dictionary of the Bible by Watson E. Mills, Roger Aubrey Bullard 2001 ISBN 0-86554-373-9 page 343
    • ^ Pontius Pilate in History and Interpretation by Helen K. Bond 2004 ISBN 0-521-61620-4 page xi
    • ^ John Wilson Ross, Tacitus and Bracciolini: The Annals Forged In The XVth Century (The Echo Library, 2007). ISBN 978-1-4068-4051-3. Originally published London: Diprose and Bateman, 1878.