LATN 403 Spr 20: Intro to Agricola & chap. 1

This blogcast on Tacitus’s Agricola is divided into three section. Please scroll down and listen to the audio recordings under each section.

  1. Brief Introduction to Tacitus 
  2. Life of Agricola Up to Governorship of Britain
  3. Preface to the Agricola


Some Resources 

You may want to bookmark these


OK, but before we get started though, we just need to wrap up the whole Nero and the Christian martyrs thing– this video should this clear everything up.


1. Brief Introduction to Tacitus and Agricola

Names and phrases mentioned in the audio:

  • Publius Cornelius Tacitus (56 – 120 AD)
  • Annals, Histories, Germania, Dialogus de Oratoribus
  • Gnaeus Julius Agricola
  • 69 AD: Year of the Four Emperors (Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian)
  • Britannia
  • brevity
  • epigram (epigrammatic)
  • irony
  • Histories 1. 49, on Galba: capax imperii nisi imperasset

A useful review of Tacitus’s life and literary contribution is found on
More about Tacitus’s style can be read at this link.


2. Life of Agricola Up to Governorship of Britain

Please read chapters 4-9 of Tacitus’s Agricola before listening to this audio

  • Forum Julii (modern Fréjus, on the French Riviera)
  • Suetonius Paulinus
  • Boudicca (Boadicaea)
  • Salvius Titianus
  • 69 AD: Year of the Four Emperors (Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian)
  • tribunate, consulship, plebeian, patrician
  • Chap. 5.3:  Intravitque animum militaris gloriae cupido, ingrata temporibus quibus sinistra erga eminentis interpretatio nec minus periculum ex magna fama quam ex mala.
  • Chap. 6.3:   … tribunatus annum quiete et otio transiit, gnarus sub Nerone temporum, quibus inertia pro sapientia fuit.

Modern statues of Suetonius Paulinus, Julius Agricola, and other Roman governors (and me)        at the Roman bath complex in Bath, England. Summer, 2018.

III. The Preface (Agricola chap. 1)

Please look over Agricola 1.1 & 1.4 before listening to the audio

Agricola 1.1

  • perfect passive participle, used as a substantive (noun)
  • objective genitive
  • apposition

Clarorum virorum facta moresque posteris tradere, antiquitus usitatum, ne nostris quidem temporibus quamquam incuriosa suorum aetas omisit, quotiens magna aliqua ac nobilis virtus vicit ac supergressa est vitium parvis magnisque civitatibus commune, ignorantiam recti et invidiam.


True of Tacitus, as well!

Agricola, 1.2-3  

And just as, in our predecessors’ times, the age was more favourable and open to actions worth recording, so distinguished men of ability were led to produce those records of virtue, not to curry favour or from ambition, but for the reward of a good conscience. Many indeed considered it rather a matter of self-respect than arrogance to recount their own lives, and a Rutilius Rufus or an Aemilius Scaurus could do so without scepticism or disparagement; virtue indeed being most esteemed in those ages which give birth to it most readily.

Agricola 1.4

  • future active participle
  • dative of reference
  • past contrary-to-fact condition (pluperfect subjunctive)

At nunc narraturo mihi vitam defuncti hominis venia opus fuit, quam non petissem incusaturus: tam saeva et infesta virtutibus tempora.


Next Blogcast: Agricola, Chapters 2-3 with Assignment #A, to be posted soon


Just For Fun:

If you are interested to know more about Boudicca’s famous rebellion, put down by Suetonius Paulinus while Agricola was on his staff, you can watch this documentary



About Uncomely and Broken

I am a classicist in Sewanee, Tennessee.
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