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Tacitus’ The Burning of Rome Essay

Tacitus’ “The Burning of Rome” translated by George Gilbert Ramsay shows its significance, style, and beliefs of the burning of Rome. A large portion of Ancient Rome flares during the Emperor Nero’s reign. Rather than rebuild the city to it’s old plan, Nero built a gigantic palace where the burned buildings had been. Rumors were told that Nero started the fire. To put an end therefore to this rumor, he shifted the charge onto others, and inflicted the most cruel tortures upon a body of men detested for their abominations, and popularly known by the name of Christians (Ramsay 327).

The significance of Ancient Rome limit was placed to the height of houses; open spaces were left; and colonnades were added to protect the fronts of tenements, Nero undertaking to build these at his own cost, and to hand over the building sites, cleared of rubbish, to the proprietors (327). He offered premiums and he assigned the marshes at Ostia for the reception of the rubbish, which was taken down the Tiber in the same vessels, which had brought up the corn. But a devastating fire burns down the city before Nero came.

At this moment, people were suffering from the fire and blamed Nero for starting this. But Nero promised to give land and establish buildings in order to magnify his name. This event is outrages and slaughters that were part of Ancient Rome. The author’s style in Title of Burning of Rome is impassionate. His style is more traditional such as the writing being superior, and having reasonable expressions. It shows the process of adding details with mental images of what the author is writing. Something ambiguous in the story would be “And now came a calamitous fire—whether it was accidental or purposely contrived by the Emperor remains uncertain for on this point authorities are divided—more violent and destructive than any that ever befell our city.” (323-324).

It could be ambiguous because it doesn’t have the accurate detail of who started the fire, whether it was the Christians or Tacitus. Tacitus’ beliefs tell us that we must be careful to reach our goal. It’s never too late to start again. For example, Nero had the ambition to build a new city to be called after his own name (325). Nero basically made a new Rome even better. In this case, he didn’t make Rome just for himself, but for other people. Unfortunately he was considered as evil. People believe that he wanted to burn down Rome, because Rome was unpleasant looking.

Tacitus’ beliefs tell us that we must be careful for our mistakes. He has taught us about the past. This answer made perfect sense and is easily accepted. Because historians, such as Tacitus help us understand change and how the community, nation and world we live in came to be. Nero had the ambition to build a new city to be called after his own name (325). In this case, Nero made Rome even better for himself. Tacitus also believed that evil deeds of powerful people shouldn’t be ignored after their death. Nero is part of history that should not repeat itself today. Most of all, Nero made a new Rome and without him, Rome wouldn’t be as beautiful before the fire started.

Works Cited Page

Tacitus, Publius C. The Burning of Rome. Trans. George Gilbert Ramsay. Elements of Literature. Ed. Patricia Mcambridge. Austin: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 2006. Print. 321-27.


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