Octavia is a work of exceptional historical and dramatic interest. It is the only surviving complete example of the Roman historical drama known as the fabula praetexta. Written shortly after Nero's death by an unknown author, the play deals with events at the court of Nero in the decisiveyear 62 CE, for which it is the earliest extant (almost contemporary) literary source; its main themes are sex, murder, politics, power and the perceptions and constructions of history. It is a powerful, lyrical and spectacular play. This is the first critical edition of Octavia, with versetranslation and commentary, which aims to elucidate the text dramatically as well as philologically, and to locate it firmly in its historical and theatrical context. The verse translation is designed for both performance and serious study.