When Edgar Allan Poe began his short career as a student at the University of Virginia, he wrote home to his guardian, John Allan, asking him to send soap and a text of Tacitus’ Histories. It would be odd for a student to make such a request now, but anyone doing so would gain access to one of the most extraordinarily rich and detailed historical narratives from the ancient world still available to us today.

The Histories (published c.AD109) was Tacitus’ first full-scale historical work. In his earlier publications (the Agricola, a biography of his father-in-law published in AD98; the Germania, an ethnographical study of the German tribes published in AD98; and the&…

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Ash, Rhiannon. "Histories". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 December 2012
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=13472, accessed 25 November 2015.]