Friday, 24 February 2017

Tacitus & Sea

Before I began to make use of my Book Tokens this Xmas I began to re-read Tacitus.  This was somewhat disappointing for me as I liked it last time but was more aware of his bias, deliberate choice of view and admiration for Vespasian the new Emperor.  
I agree after three poor Emperor's, each one devoted to replacing the disgraced Nero, Vespasian was a good practical choice.  His ability to secure the Empire and salvage Rome from the muddle was useful and Tacitus came to fame under Domitian Vespasian's rather unfortunate second son.
The book goes into too much detail, much of which finds me wondering about its veracity, and often speeches are made Thucydides style, that is made up by Tacitus.  This does not mean he in inaccurate but he is not totally truthful and people might sound as he wished.  
When Nero was removed Galba took his place until bumped off by the crowd, Otho was next and he happily committed suicide to save Rome, Vitellius was next but after a short but bloody civil warhe came to an end thankfully.
It is easy to see which Emperor Tacitus liked because the bad ones are full of greed, laziness or incompetence, their people are often divided and confused, always without discipline and not very nice.  The good guy's side however are the opposite.  Now again he is probably right as civil wars tend to leave a lot of confusion and mixed feelings, father against son etc.  However he on occasion sounds like something written in the 'Daily Mail' rather than an objective source.
Still without actually doing anything but be crowned Emperor by his troops Vespasian takes the position and before he even reaches Rome the book ends as so many parts of the writing have not survived.  So much we do not know!
It's worth a look just to get a grip on how class ridden the Roman society was.  To see how easily armies dump their generals and run amok, and to be glad we live in such a secure and loving society like ours.  

I've done nothing but read books and tidy up today so here is a picture of the sea.  Isn't it wonderful?  The sea not the picture.  Where would we be without it?  Just sitting beside it relaxes the mind and allows us to dream of places far away.  
The sound of waves lapping against the shore, the sight of boats, some with sails, moving around is so good as easing the days troubles.  I wish I lived next to the sea I do miss it.  However it never writes to me.  
At night at sea you see the stars above.  How wonderful to get an uninterrupted view of the night sky.  I caught such a glimpse the other night coming home as the light opposite was out.  At sea you will be able to see for miles and above you a panorama of stars must appear.  I want to see that!  Ah well, one day perhaps...


Lee said...

Tactfully I say I'm glad it was you who read "Tacitus", and not I!

I'd like to be living by the sea again...but it's not likely to be...unless I win a sizeable amount in the lottery...and that's not likely to be, you see.

the fly in the web said...

Propaganda, as always!

Kay G. said...

The book, "Sailing Alone Around The World" is waiting for you.

Oh, wait, let me just say, you may read any book you like but if you read the above book, you will thank me.

Adullamite said...

Lee, Illiterate antipodean!!! (Almost by the sea)

Fly, Indeed. The 'Daily Express' of the day.

Kay, Maybe....

Jenny Woolf said...

One of those seashells you hold up to your ear is not quite as good as the sea but it is not bad if you close your eyes.

I think Roman society sounds absolutely grim, but I seem to be almost alone in this. I do admire their technology and military might, though, they were way ahead of their time and if you could put up with the social set up, life must have been a lot more comfortable in 2 AD if you had proper toilets and central heating.

Adullamite said...

Jenny, The more I read the worse it appears. If rich it could be decent but position & fame could also lead to death just the same. The lower orders and slaves had a rough time. Those who glorify it do not live in it.