¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 The assigned portion of text begins in medias res. We parachute right into the middle of a meeting of the Roman senate that took place towards the end of the year 62 (15.20.1). Tacitus’ account of it began in the previous paragraph (15.19) and continues until 15.22.1. The set text carries on for a bit, covering the end of AD 62 and the beginning of AD 63 (15.22.2 – 15.23), before vaulting over nine sections (15.24 – 15.32). We re-enter the narrative in 15.33 (the beginning of AD 64) and are then asked to read continuously until the end of 15.45. The text breaks off with the unsuccessful attempt by Nero to have his old tutor Seneca poisoned. There is a certain rationale behind this stopping and starting. Those in charge of setting the text excised with surgical precision those portions of the Annals that cover the military situation in the Near East, specifically Rome’s ongoing conflict with Parthia (15.1–18; 24–32). The focus of the assigned portion is squarely on Italy and Rome – the city, the senate, and, not least, the imperial court, with the corresponding personnel, in particular the emperor Nero.
Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0
This cut-and-paste approach, while understandable, results in a distortion of Tacitus’ overall picture of the Neronian principate. In particular the geopolitical dimension of his text, the way in which he interweaves centre and periphery, Rome and the world, disappears from view. It is important to bear in mind here that Nero’s reign ended when provincial governors decided to march on Rome.