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Word Count: 959
Tacitus was very much a traditional Roman and he objected to the warping of Roman values seen during his own lifetime He had experienced tyranny first-hand under Domitian and wished his histories to be a judgement on the tyrants of the past The Annals are therefore not as impartial as Tacitus claims in his prologue and we see this clearly in his depiction of Nero Through subtly suggestive language and the deployment of pithy often acerbic observations Tacitus focuses on everything negative about Nero whilst carefully retaining the appearance of impartiality Thus our perception of Nero after reading book XV is one of an emperor excessively cruel yet paranoid cowardly and weak-willed a shameful artist untalented and even laughable whose vanity and na encourage sycophantic courtiers and finally a depraved and profligate monster who has brought chaos to Rome The sadism of Nero is most strongly conveyed in the description of the persecution of the Christians chapter 44 Tacitus makes it clear that he detests the Christians for odio humani generis though he does not allow Nero this motive for their persecution Instead Tacitus tells us that Nero is targeting them to abolendo rumori - a purely selfish motive Not only is Nero persecuting them for selfish reasons his methods of execution are barbaric Nero adds ludibria to their dying and Tacitus expands on their suffering in an emphatic tricolon laniatu canumcrucibus adfixi aut flammandi Indeed Neros saevitiam is so great that miseratio arises for the guilty We see further evidence of Neros cruelty in how he handles the plot Plautius Lateranus a man who Tacitus admires for his constantia and amor rei publicae is murdered adeo propere that he cannot even say goodbye to his family Furthermore Lateranus is a consul designatus and yet is murdered in locum servilibus poenis sepositum In Neros handling of the plot we also see his paranoia For example when Proculus betrays Epicharis Nero is sufficiently worried
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