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Who was Tacitus?
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero, and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors. These two works span the history of the Roman Empire from the death of Augustus in AD 14 to the years of the First Jewish–Roman War in AD 70. There are substantial lacunae in the surviving texts, including a gap in the Annals that is four books long.
Other writings by him discuss oratory, Germania, and the life of his father-in-law, Agricola, the Roman general responsible for much of the Roman conquest of Britain, mainly focusing on his campaign in Britannia.
Tacitus is considered to be one of the greatest Roman historians. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature. He is known for the brevity and compactness of his Latin prose, as well as for his penetrating insights into the psychology of power politics.
- To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire; and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace.
- Forbidden things have a secret charm.
- They make a wilderness and call it peace.
- Abuse if you slight it, will gradually die away; but if you show yourself irritated, you will be thought to have deserved it.
- Things are not to be judged good or bad merely because the public think so.
- It is less difficult to bear misfortunes than to remain uncorrupted by pleasure.
- Old things are always in good repute, present things in disfavor.
- Posterity gives every man his true value.
- All bodies are slow in growth but rapid in decay.
- Things forbidden have a secret charm.