A biography of tacitus a roman writer
Essentially, Tacitus' sources are an unsolved riddle - which is less surprising than it seems: he was not a real historian, but a moralist. Tacitus cites some of his sources directly, among them Pliny the Elder, who had written Bella Germaniae and a historical work which was the continuation of that of Aufidius Bassus. The strongest piece of evidence that he was not from Italy is found in Book 9, Letter 23, which reports how Tacitus was asked if he were Italian or provincial, and upon giving an unclear answer, was further asked if he were Tacitus or Pliny. Official Career In 77 the young Tacitus was betrothed to, and soon after married, the only daughter of Gnaeus Julius Agricola, an able soldier and administrator. As sources for anthropological knowledge, the Agricola and Germania must be read with great caution. Bonner, Roman Declamation , and Martin L. I, 63 Tacitus does euphemize, more by the brevity with which he describes the end of the hostilities, than by embellishing phrases. It can at times become monotonous, and occasionally its weightiness seems out of scale with the content, but at its best its strength and vigor enabled Tacitus to present unforgettably vivid accounts of important events. The first one, by a British nobleman named Calgacus, contains a series of reproaches: the Romans are the "robbers of the world", who have "exhausted the land by universal looting", who "give robbery, slaughter and plunder the name empire" and "create a desert and call it peace". Additional Sources Benario, Herbert W. It has been dated as early as about 80, chiefly because it is more Ciceronian in style than his other writing. The famous description of Nero's persecution of the first Christians is part of this book.
Discussing Augustus Caesar 's rise to power, Tacitus says that after the battle of Actium, the unification of the power in the hands of a prince was necessary to keep the peace. Though he hated imperial power and in his writings tries to paint every emperor as a corrupt despot, he hated civil war and anarchy even more.
Dunn states that Tacitus seems to be under the impression that Christians were some form of Judaism, although distinguished from them. He advanced steadily through the cursus honorum, becoming praetor in 88 and holding a position among the quindecemviri sacris faciundis, members of a priestly college in charge of the Sibylline Books and the Secular Games.
Ogilvie and I. Dudley, The World of Tacitusmay also be consulted.
This distinction not only reflected his reputation as an orator but his moral authority and official dignity as well. In the first book of the Historiae, a speech put in the mouth of Galba establishes Tacitus' ideological and political position. As in the Germania, Tacitus favorably contrasts the liberty of the native Britons with the tyranny and corruption of the Empire; the book also contains eloquent polemics against the greed of Rome, one of which, that Tacitus claims is from a speech by Calgacus , ends by asserting that Auferre trucidare rapere falsis nominibus imperium, atque ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant. Particularly notable is his ability to sum up the salient characteristics of an individual in a few sharp, epigrammatic phrases, as in his description of Nero as "haudquaquam sui detractor by no means a man to denigrate himself " or his famous remark about Galba, "omnium consensu capax imperii nisi imperasset all would have agreed that he was capable of ruling, if he had not actually reigned. Tacitus himself had already written a similar but shorter piece in Agricola chapters 10— The account contains incisive character sketches, ironic passages, and eloquent moral conclusions. Later chapters focus on descriptions of particular tribes, beginning with those who lived closest to the Roman empire, and ending with a description of those who lived on the shores of the Baltic Sea , such as the Fenni.
Brodribb, : But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order.
As we have already seen, the author seized the opportunity to stress that many magistrates had found it difficult to perform their duties during Domitian's reign.
Brandon suggests that there is no real difference between the two ranks. In Latin : Sed non ope humana, non largitionibus principis aut deum placamentis decedebat infamia, quin iussum incendium crederetur.
His work has been read for its moral instruction, its gripping and dramatic narrative, and its inimitable prose style. The moral purpose and severe criticism of contemporary Rome, fallen from the virtuous vigor of the old republic, also underlies his two long works, commonly called in English the Histories of which four books and part of a fifth survive and the Annals of which twelve books-Books I-VI, XI-XVI-survive. Tacitus records that Claudius was the ruler who gave procurators governing power. In most of his writings he keeps to a chronological ordering of his narration, with only an occasional reference to the broader picture, leaving the reader to piece together the background for himself. What little is known comes from scattered hints throughout the corpus of his work, the letters of his friend and admirer Pliny the Younger, an inscription found at Mylasa in Caria  , and educated guesswork. First literary works In 98 Tacitus wrote two works: De vita Julii Agricolae and De origine et situ Germanorum the Germania , both reflecting his personal interests. Hamilton Fyfe 2 vols. In both major works he retained the annalistic system of chronology, though he sometimes found it awkward and had to put into a single year series of events which in fact had been spread over several. We do not know whether Tacitus completed the work or whether he finished the other works that he had planned to write; he died before he could complete his planned histories of Nerva and Trajan, and no record survives of the work on Augustus Caesar and the beginnings of the Empire with which he had planned to finish his work as a historian. By 93 Agricola was dead, but by this time Tacitus had achieved distinction on his own. Martial dedicates a poem to Pliny  , but not to the more distinguished Tacitus, which, had Tacitus been Spanish, might be unusual. This has often been regarded as an early work, mainly on stylistic grounds, but it was probably written and published between and
The same style has been both derided as "harsh, unpleasant, and thorny" and praised as "grave, concise, and pithily eloquent.
based on 14 review