The Importance Of The Tyrants Of Rome In Tacitus

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The “tyrants” of Rome in Tacitus’s work were the embodiment of what he felt was wrong with the imperial system of government. From Messalina, driven by her desire, to Nero, who might have tried to burn Rome or at least used the burning city as a backdrop for a rendition of the fall of Troy, the tyrants were used to show the descent of Rome and how it became its own greatest enemy . Unlike Greek Historians who tried to distance themselves from the events that they recounted, Romans viewed history as a form of moral instruction for future generations and wrote about it passionately . Thus, impartiality had a different meaning to them than it does to us today, when Tacitus promised to be impartial, he is not promising not to judge, because that would take away one of the most important aspects, he is promising to judge fairly “without either bitterness or partiality” . The “tyrants” mentioned in this essay, Nero, Messalina and Agrippina the Younger, were all used by Tacitus to show how far the Roman state had fallen and because Romans took their ideas of public morality from their ancestors to attempt to prevent such behaviour in future generations. To…show more content…
Messalina was, in part, used by Tacitus to show the weakness of Claudius, he was so passive that he appears to be a minor character in the stories of his wives and his freedmen rather than the main feature of the reign that bears his name . Traditionally in Roman society it was thought that there was a link between morality and social status, Tacitus looked down on slaves, freedmen and the lower classes , and the heavy involvement of freedmen in the Claudian Annals can be linked to the moral decline of Rome that Tacitus is trying to

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