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Encyclopedia > Gaius Cornelius Tacitus
Gaius Cornelius Tacitus
Gaius Cornelius Tacitus

Publius or Gaius Cornelius Tacitus (c. 56–c. 117), Roman orator, lawyer, and senator, is considered one of antiquity's greatest historians. His major works—the Annals and the Histories—took for their subject the history of the Roman Empire's first century, from the accession of the emperor Tiberius to the death of Domitian. Tacitus Source: [1] This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Tacitus Source: [1] This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... For other uses, see number 56. ... Events Emperor Trajan dies. ... Ancient Rome was a civilization that existed in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East between 753 BC and its downfall in AD 476. ... Oratory is the art of eloquent speech. ... A lawyer is a person licensed by the state to advise clients in legal matters and represent them in courts of law (and in other forms of dispute resolution). ... The Roman Senate (Latin, Senatus) was a deliberative body which was important in the government of both the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. ... A historian is a person who studies history. ... The Annals, or, in Latin, Annales, is a history book by Tacitus covering the reign of the 4 Roman Emperors succeeding to Caesar Augustus. ... The Histories ( Latin: Historiae) is a book by Tacitus, written c. ... The Roman Empire is the term conventionally used to describe the Ancient Roman polity in the centuries following its reorganization under the leadership of Octavian (better known as Caesar Augustus). ... The Emperor Tiberius enamelled terracotta bust at the Victoria and Albert Museum. ... Titus Flavius Domitianus (24 October 51 – 18 September 96), commonly known as Domitian, was a Roman emperor of the gens Flavia. ...

Contents


Biography

Tacitus's works contain a wealth of information about his day and age, but details on his own life are lacking. Even his praenomen (first name) is uncertain. What little we know 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[1], and educated guesswork. In the Roman naming convention used in ancient Rome, male names typically contain three proper nouns which are classified as praenomen (or given name), nomen gentile (or Gens name) and cognomen. ... For other uses, see Caria (disambiguation). ...


Tacitus was born in 56 or 57[2] to an equestrian family; like many other Latin authors of the Golden and Silver Ages, he was from the provinces, probably northern Italy, Gallia Narbonensis, or Hispania. The exact place and date of his birth are nowhere made explicit. Nor is his praenomen: in some letters of Sidonius Apollinaris and in some old and unimportant writings his name is Gaius, but in the major surviving manuscript of his work his name is given as Publius[3]. (One scholar's suggestion of Sextus has gained no traction[4].) For other uses, see number 56. ... For other uses, see number 57. ... An Equestrian (Latin eques, plural equites) was a member of one of the two upper social classes in the Roman Republic and early Roman Empire. ... In reference to Roman literature, the Silver age covers the first two centuries A.D. directly after the Golden age (which was the first century B.C., and the start of the first century A.D.) Literature from the Silver age has traditionally, perhaps unfairly, been considered inferior to that... Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis, 120 AD Gallia Narbonensis was a Roman province located in what is now Languedoc and Provence, in southern France. ... Hispania was the name given by the Romans to the Iberian Peninsula, and to two of the three provinces they created there: Hispania Baetica and Hispania Tarraconensis (the third being Lusitania). ... Gaius Sollius Modestus Sidonius Apollinaris (ca 430 - after 489), poet, diplomat, bishop, is the single most important surviving author from fifth-century Gaul according to Eric Goldberg (see link). ...


Descent and place of birth

His scorn for the social climber has led to the supposition that his family was from an unknown branch of the patrician gens Cornelius, but no Cornelii had ever borne the cognomen Tacitus, the older aristocratic families had largely been destroyed in the chaos surrounding the end of the Republic, and Tacitus himself is clear that he owes his rank to the Flavian emperors (Hist. 1.1). The supposition that he descended from a freed slave finds no support apart from his statement, in an invented speech, that many senators and knights were descended from freedmen (Ann. 13.27), and is easily dismissed[5]. Patricians (patricii) were originally the elite caste in ancient Rome. ... Cornelius (fem. ... See also Roman Republic (18th century) and Roman Republic (19th century) The Roman Republic (Latin: Res Publica Romanorum) was the representative government of Rome and its territories from 510 BC until the establishment of the Roman Empire, sometimes placed at 44 BC (the year of Caesars appointment as perpetual... A freedman is a former slave who has been manumitted or emancipated. ...


His father was probably the Cornelius Tacitus who was procurator of Belgica and Germania. A son of this Cornelius Tacitus is cited by Pliny the Elder as an example of abnormally rapid growth and aging (N.H. 7.76), implying an early death. This means that this son was not the historian, but his brother or cousin—the senior Cornelius Tacitus may have been an uncle[6]. From this connection, and from the well-attested friendship between the younger Pliny and the younger Tacitus, scholars draw the conclusion that the two families were of similar class, means, and background: equestrians, of significant wealth, from provincial families[7]. A promagistrate is a person who acts in and with the authority and capacity of a magistrate, but without holding a magisterial office. ... Belgica was and is the name of two Belgian research vessels, with a name derived ultimately from the Latin Gallia Belgica. ... Germanía or jerigonza is the term used in Spanish to refer to the argot used by criminals or in jails. ... Gaius Plinius Secundus, (23–79) better known as Pliny the Elder, was an ancient author and scientist of some importance who wrote Naturalis Historia. ... Naturalis Historia Pliny the Elders Natural History is an encyclopedia written by Pliny the Elder. ... Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus (63 - ca. ...

Tacitus is usually thought to have come from Gallia Narbonensis.
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Tacitus is usually thought to have come from Gallia Narbonensis.

The exact province of his origin is unknowable. His marriage to the daughter of the Narbonensian senator Gnaeus Julius Agricola may indicate that he, too, came from Gallia Narbonensis. The possibly-Spanish origin of the Fabius Iustus to whom Tacitus dedicates the Dialogus suggests a (family?) connection to Hispania. His friendship with Pliny points to northern Italy as his home[8]. None of this evidence is conclusive. Agricola could have known Tacitus from elsewhere. Martial dedicates a poem to Pliny (10.20), but not to the more distinguished Tacitus—which, had Tacitus been Spanish, might be unusual, were Martial's light and often scurrilous style not antithetical to Tacitus's grave and serious manner. No evidence exists that Pliny's friends from northern Italy knew Tacitus, nor do Pliny's letters ever hint that the two men shared a common home province[9]. The opposite, in fact: the strongest piece of evidence is 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. Since Pliny was from Italy, Tacitus must have been from the further provinces, and Gallia Narbonensis is the most likely candidate.[10] Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Gnaeus Julius Agricola (July 13, 40 - August 23, 93) was a Roman general responsible for much of the Roman conquest of Britain. ... Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis), Latin epigrammatist, was born in one of the years AD 38–41, for, in book x. ...


His ancestry, his skill in oratory, and his occasional sympathy for barbarians who resisted Roman rule (e.g. Ann. 2.9), have led some to suggest that he was of Celtic stock: the Celts had occupied Gaul before the Romans, the Celts were famous for their skill in oratory, and the Celts had been subjugated by Rome.[11] A Celtic cross. ...


Public life, marriage, and literary career

As a young man he studied rhetoric in Rome as preparation for a career in law and politics; like Pliny, he may have studied under Quintilian.[12] In 77 or 78 he married Julia Agricola, daughter of the famous general Gnaeus Julius Agricola[13]; we know nothing of their marriage or their home life, save that Tacitus loved hunting and the outdoors.[14] He owed the start of his career (probably meaning the latus clavus, mark of the senator[15]) to Vespasian, as he tells us in the Histories (1.1), but it was under Titus that he entered political life as quaestor, in 81 or 82[16]. 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.[17] He gained acclaim as a lawyer and orator; his skill in public speaking gave a marked irony to his cognomen Tacitus ('silent'). Rhetoric (from Greek ρητωρ, rhêtôr, orator) is one of the three original liberal arts or trivium (the other members are dialectic and grammar). ... Law (a loanword from Old Norse lag), in politics and jurisprudence, is a set of rules or norms of conduct which mandate, proscribe or permit specified relationships among people and organizations, provide methods for ensuring the impartial treatment of such people, and provide punishments for those who do not follow... Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (c. ... For other uses, see number 77. ... For other uses, see number 78. ... Gnaeus Julius Agricola (July 13, 40 - August 23, 93) was a Roman general responsible for much of the Roman conquest of Britain. ... Emperor Vespasian Caesar Vespasianus Augustus (November 18, CE 9 – June 23, 79), originally known as Titus Flavius Vespasianus and best known as Vespasian, was the emperor of Rome from 69 to 79. ... This is about the emperor of ancient Rome. ... Quaestors were elected officials of the Roman Republic who supervised the treasury and financial affairs of the state, its armies and its officers. ... For other uses, see number 81. ... For other uses, see number 82. ... The cursus honorum (Latin: succession of magistracies) was the sequential order of public offices held by aspiring politicians in both the Roman Republic and the early Empire. ... Definition According to Cicero, Praetor was a title which designated the consuls as the leaders of the armies of the state. ... For other uses, see number 88. ... The quindecemviri sacris faciundis were the fifteen members of a college for less clearly defined religious duties. ... The Sibylline Books were a collection of oracular utterances, set out in Greek hexameters, purchased from a sibyl by the semi-legendary last king of Rome, Tarquinius Superbus, and consulted at momentous crises through the history of the Republic and the Empire. ... Orator is a Latin word for speaker (from the Latin verb oro, meaning I speak or I pray). In ancient Rome, the art of speaking in public (Ars Oratoria) was a professional competence especially cultivated by politicians and lawyers. ... The cognomen (name known by in English) was originally the third name of a Roman in the Roman naming convention. ...


He served in the provinces from c. 89 to c. 93, perhaps in command of a legion, perhaps in a civilian post.[18] His person and property survived Domitian's reign of terror (9396), but the experience left him jaded and grim, perhaps ashamed at his own complicity, and gave him the hatred of tyranny so evident throughout his works.[19] From his seat in the Senate he became suffect consul in 97 during the reign of Nerva, being the first of his family to do so. During his tenure he reached the height of his fame as an orator when he delivered the funeral oration for the famous old soldier Verginius Rufus.[20] The Roman legion (from the Latin legio, meaning levy) was the basic military unit of ancient Rome. ... For other uses, see number 93. ... For other uses, see number 96. ... The Roman Senate (Latin, Senatus) was a deliberative body which was important in the government of both the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. ... For modern diplomatic consuls, see Consulate general. ... For other uses, see number 97. ... Marcus Cocceius Nerva (November 8, 35 AD - January 27, 98), Roman emperor (AD 96 - 98), was a member of the Italian nobility rather than one of the elite of Rome; in this he was like Vespasian, the founder of the Flavian dynasty. ... The term novus homo (literally, new man in Latin), referred in ancient Roman times to a person who was the first of his family to be serve in the Roman Senate, or, less generally, the first to be elected as consul. ...


In the following year he wrote and published his Agricola and Germania, announcing the beginnings of the literary endeavors that would occupy him until his death.[21] Afterwards he disappears from the public scene, to which he returns during Trajan's reign. In 100, he, along with his friend Pliny the Younger, prosecuted Marius Priscus (proconsul of Africa) for corruption. Priscus was found guilty and sent into exile; Pliny wrote a few days later that Tacitus had spoken "with all the majesty which characterizes his usual style of oratory".[22] Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus (full title in Latin: IMP·CAESAR·DIVI·NERVAE·FILIVS·TRAIANVS. GERMANICVS·AVGVSTVS ¹) (September 18, 53 - August 9, 117), Roman Emperor from 98 - 117, commonly called Trajan, was the second of the so-called five good emperors of the Roman Empire, succeeding Nerva. ... Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus (63 - ca. ...


A lengthy absence from politics and law followed, during which time he wrote his two major works: first the Histories, then the Annals. He held the highest civilian governorship, that of the Roman province of Asia in Western Anatolia, in 112 or 113, as evidenced by the inscription found at Mylasa (mentioned above). A passage in the Annals fixes 116 as the terminus post quem of his death, which may have been as late as 125[23]. It is unknown whether he was survived by any children, though the Augustan History reports that the emperor Marcus Claudius Tacitus claimed him as an ancestor and provided for the preservation of his works—but like so much of the Augustan History, this story is probably fraudulent.[24] The Roman province of Asia was the administrative unit added to the late Republic, a Senatorial province governed by a proconsul who was an ex-consul, an honor granted only to Asia and the other rich province of Africa. ... Anatolia ( Greek: ανατολή anatolē or anatolí, rising of the sun or East; compare Orient and Levant, by popular etymology Turkish Anadolu to ana mother and dolu filled), also called by the Latin name of Asia Minor, is a region of Southwest Asia which corresponds today to the Asian portion of... 112 is also the standard emergency phone number in the European Union, analog to 911 in the US. Events Imp. ... Events Trajan starts an expedition against Armenia. ... Events Roman Emperor Trajan completes his invasion of Parthia by capturing the cities of Seleucia, Ctesiphon and Susa, marking the high-water mark of the Roman Empires eastern expansion. ... The Augustan History (Lat. ... Marcus Claudius Tacitus, (c. ...


Works

The front page of Justus Lipsius's 1598 edition of the complete works of Tacitus, bearing the stamps of the Bibliotheca Comunale in Empoli, Italy.
The front page of Justus Lipsius's 1598 edition of the complete works of Tacitus, bearing the stamps of the Bibliotheca Comunale in Empoli, Italy.

Five works ascribed to Tacitus have survived (or at least: large parts thereof). Years are approximate, and the last two (his "major" works), took probably more than a few years to write. Download high resolution version (823x1324, 376 KB)Front page of Justus Lipsiuss 1598 edition of the complete works of Tacitus, held by the Bibliotheca Comunale of Empoli. ... Download high resolution version (823x1324, 376 KB)Front page of Justus Lipsiuss 1598 edition of the complete works of Tacitus, held by the Bibliotheca Comunale of Empoli. ... Justus Lipsius, Joost Lips or Josse Lips (October 18, 1547 — March 23, 1606), was a Flemish philologian and humanist. ... Events January 7 - Boris Godunov seizes the throne of Russia following the death of his brother-in-law, Tsar Feodor I April 13 - Edict of Nantes - Henry IV of France grants French Huguenots equal rights with Catholics. ... Empoli is a town in Tuscany, Italy, about 30 km southwest of Florence. ...

For other uses, see number 98. ... The Agricola (Latin title: De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae) is a book by Tacitus, written c. ... For other uses, see number 98. ... The Germania (Latin title: De Origine et situ Germanorum), written by Gaius Cornelius Tacitus around 98, is an ethnographic work on the diverse set of Germanic tribes outside the Roman Empire. ... For other uses, see number 102. ... The Dialogus de oratoribus is a short book by Tacitus, in dialogue form, on the art of rhetoric. ... -1... The Histories ( Latin: Historiae) is a book by Tacitus, written c. ... Events Emperor Trajan dies. ... The Annals, or, in Latin, Annales, is a history book by Tacitus covering the reign of the 4 Roman Emperors succeeding to Caesar Augustus. ...

Major works

The two major works, originally published separately, were meant to form a single edition of thirty books[25], with the Annals preceding the Histories. This inverted the chronological order in which they were written, but formed a continuous narrative of the era from the death of Augustus (14) to the death of Domitian (96). Though parts have been lost, what remains is an invaluable record of the era. The Annals, or, in Latin, Annales, is a history book by Tacitus covering the reign of the 4 Roman Emperors succeeding to Caesar Augustus. ... Augustus (plural Augusti) is Latin for majestic or venerable. The greek equivalent is sebastos, or a mere grecization (by changing of the ending) augustos. ... For other uses, see number 14. ... For other uses, see number 96. ...


The Histories

Main article: Histories (Tacitus)

In one of the first chapters of the Agricola Tacitus said that he wished to speak about the years of Domitian, of Nerva, and of Trajan. In the Historiae the project has been modified: in the introduction, Tacitus says that he will deal with the age of Nerva and Trajan at a later time. Instead, he will cover the period that started with the civil wars of the Year of Four Emperors and ended with the despotism of the Flavians. Only the first four books and 26 chapters of the fifth book have survived, covering the year 69 and the first part of 70. The work is believed to have continued up to the death of Domitian on September 18, 96. The fifth book contains—as a prelude to the account of Titus's suppression of the Great Jewish Revolt—a short ethnographic survey of the ancient Jews and is an invaluable record of the educated Romans' attitude towards that people. The Histories ( Latin: Historiae) is a book by Tacitus, written c. ... Titus Flavius Domitianus (24 October 51 – 18 September 96), commonly known as Domitian, was a Roman emperor of the gens Flavia. ... Marcus Cocceius Nerva (November 8, 35 AD - January 27, 98), Roman emperor (AD 96 - 98), was a member of the Italian nobility rather than one of the elite of Rome; in this he was like Vespasian, the founder of the Flavian dynasty. ... Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus (full title in Latin: IMP·CAESAR·DIVI·NERVAE·FILIVS·TRAIANVS. GERMANICVS·AVGVSTVS ¹) (September 18, 53 - August 9, 117), Roman Emperor from 98 - 117, commonly called Trajan, was the second of the so-called five good emperors of the Roman Empire, succeeding Nerva. ... The forced suicide of emperor Nero, in 68 AD, was followed by a brief period of civil war (the first Roman civil war since Antonys death in 31 BC) known as the Year of the four emperors. ... The Flavian dynasty was a series of three Roman Emperors who ruled from 69, the Year of the Four Emperors, to 96, when the last member was assassinated. ... ... For other uses, see number 70. ... Titus Flavius Domitianus (24 October 51 – 18 September 96), commonly known as Domitian, was a Roman emperor of the gens Flavia. ... September 18 is the 261st day of the year (262nd in leap years). ... For other uses, see number 96. ... The Great Jewish Revolt (66–73 CE), sometimes called The first Jewish-Roman War, was the first of two major rebellions by the Jews of Judea against the Roman Empire (the second was Bar Kokhbas revolt in 132-135). ...


The Annals

Main article: Annals (Tacitus)

The Annals was Tacitus' final work, covering the period from the death of Augustus Caesar in the year 14. He wrote at least 16 books, but books 7-10 and parts of books 5, 6, 11 and 16 are missing. Book 6 ends with the death of Tiberius and books 7-12 presumably covered the reigns of Caligula and Claudius. The remaining books cover the reign of Nero, perhaps until his death in June 68 or until the end of that year, to connect with the Histories. The second half of book 16 is missing (ending with the events of the year 66). 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 an historian. The Annals, or, in Latin, Annales, is a history book by Tacitus covering the reign of the 4 Roman Emperors succeeding to Caesar Augustus. ... Augustus Caesar Caesar Augustus (Latin: IMP·CAESAR·DIVI·F·AVGVSTVS)¹ (23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14), known earlier in his life as Gaius Octavius or Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, was the first Roman Emperor and is traditionally considered the greatest. ... For other uses, see number 14. ... The Emperor Tiberius enamelled terracotta bust at the Victoria and Albert Museum. ... Gaius Caesar Germanicus Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus (August 31, 12 – January 24, 41), also known as Gaius Caesar or Caligula, was the third Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, ruling from AD 37 to 41. ... A statue of Emperor Claudius Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar Drusus (August 1, 10 BC - October 13, 54), originally known as Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus, was the fourth Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, ruling from January 24th 41 to his death in 54. ... Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (15 December 37–9 June 68), born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, also called (50–54 AD) Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus, was the fifth and last Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. ... For other uses, see number 68. ... For other uses, see number 66. ... Augustus Caesar Caesar Augustus (Latin: IMP·CAESAR·DIVI·F·AVGVSTVS)¹ (23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14), known earlier in his life as Gaius Octavius or Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, was the first Roman Emperor and is traditionally considered the greatest. ...


Minor works

Tacitus also wrote three minor works on various subjects: the Agricola, a biography of his father-in-law Gnaeus Julius Agricola; the Germania, a monograph on the lands and tribes of barbarian Germania; and the Dialogus, a dialogue on the art of rhetoric. Gnaeus Julius Agricola (July 13, 40 - August 23, 93) was a Roman general responsible for much of the Roman conquest of Britain. ... Rhetoric (from Greek ρητωρ, rhêtôr, orator) is one of the three original liberal arts or trivium (the other members are dialectic and grammar). ...


Germania

Main article: Germania (book)

The Germania (Latin title: De Origine et situ Germanorum) is an ethnographic work on the diverse set of Germanic tribes outside the Roman Empire. Ethnography had a long and distinguished heritage in classical literature, and the Germania fits squarely within the tradition established by authors from Herodotus to Julius Caesar. Tacitus himself had already written a similar, albeit shorter, piece in his Agricola (chapters 10–13). The book begins with a description of the lands, laws, and customs of the Germans (chapters 1–27); it then segues into descriptions of individual tribes, beginning with those dwelling closest to Roman lands and ending on the uttermost shores of the Baltic, with a description of the primitive and savage Fenni and the unknown tribes beyond them. The Germania (Latin title: De Origine et situ Germanorum), written by Gaius Cornelius Tacitus around 98, is an ethnographic work on the diverse set of Germanic tribes outside the Roman Empire. ... Latin is the language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ... Ethnography (from the Greek ethnos = nation and graphein = writing) refers to the qualitative description of human social phenomena, based on months or years of fieldwork. ... The term Germanic tribes applies to the ancient Germanic peoples of Europe. ... The Roman Empire is the term conventionally used to describe the Ancient Roman polity in the centuries following its reorganization under the leadership of Octavian (better known as Caesar Augustus). ... Bust of Herodotus Herodotus (Greek: ΗΡΟΔΟΤΟΣ, Herodotos) was an ancient historian who lived in the 5th century BC (484 BC - c. ... Gaius Julius Caesar (Latin: IMP·C·IVLIVS·CAESAR·DIVVS¹) (b. ... The Fenni were a people described by Tacitus in his Germania. ...


Agricola (De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae)

Main article: Agricola (book)

The Agricola (written c. 98) recounts the life of Gnaeus Julius Agricola, an eminent Roman general and Tacitus' father-in-law; it also covers, briefly, the geography and ethnography of ancient Britain. As in the Germania, Tacitus favorably contrasted the liberty of the native Britons to the corruption and tyranny of the Empire; the book also contains eloquent and vicious polemics against the rapacity and greed of Rome. The Agricola (Latin title: De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae) is a book by Tacitus, written c. ... Gnaeus Julius Agricola (July 13, 40 - August 23, 93) was a Roman general responsible for much of the Roman conquest of Britain. ...


Dialogus

The style of the Dialogus follows Cicero's models for Latin rhetoric.
The style of the Dialogus follows Cicero's models for Latin rhetoric.
Main article: Dialogus

When the Dialogus de oratoribus was written remains uncertain, but it was probably written after the Agricola and the Germania. Many characteristics set it apart from the other works of Tacitus, so much so that its authenticity may be questioned, even if it is always grouped with the Agricola and the Germania in the manuscript tradition. The way of speaking in the Dialogus seems closer to Cicero's proceedings, refined but not prolix, which inspired the teaching of Quintilian; it lacks the incongruities that are typical of Tacitus's major historical works. It may have been written when Tacitus was young; its dedication to Fabius Iustus would thus give the date of publication, but not the date of writing. More probably, the unusually classical style may be explained by the fact that the Dialogus is a work dealing with rhetoric. For works in the rhetoric genre, the structure, the language, and the style of Cicero were the usual models. Scanned from a book dated 1900. ... Scanned from a book dated 1900. ... The Dialogus de oratoribus is a short book by Tacitus, in dialogue form, on the art of rhetoric. ... Marcus Tullius Cicero (January 3, 106 BC – December 7, 43 BC) was an orator and statesman of Ancient Rome, and is generally considered the greatest Latin prose stylist. ... Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (c. ... Rhetoric (from Greek ρητωρ, rhêtôr, orator) is one of the three original liberal arts or trivium (the other members are dialectic and grammar). ...


The sources of Tacitus

Tacitus was able to consult the official sources of the Roman state: the acta senatus (the minutes of the session of the Senate) and the acta diurna populi Romani (a collection of the acts of the government and news of the court and capital). He could read the collections of speeches by some emperors, such as Tiberius and Claudius. Generally, Tacitus was a scrupulous historian who paid careful attention to his historical works. The minor inacurracies occurring in the Annals might be due to the fact that Tacitus died before completely finishing (and supposedly final proofreading) of this work. He used a great variety of historical and literary sources as well; he used them with freedom and he chose from varied sources of varied tendency. The Emperor Tiberius enamelled terracotta bust at the Victoria and Albert Museum. ... A statue of Emperor Claudius Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar Drusus (August 1, 10 BC - October 13, 54), originally known as Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus, was the fourth Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, ruling from January 24th 41 to his death in 54. ...


Tacitus cites some of his sources directly, among them Pliny the Elder, who had written Bella Germaniae and an historical work which was the continuation of that of Aufidius Bassus. Tacitus could use some collections of letters (epistolarium) and various notes. He also took some information from the works of the historical genre named exitus illustrium virorum. These were a collection of books on and by those who opposed the emperors. They tell of the sacrifice of the martyr to freedom, especially the men who committed suicide, following the theory of the Stoics. Tacitus used these materials to give a dramatic tone to his stories, while he placed no value on the theory of the suicides. These suicides seem, to him, ostentatious and politically useless, while, on the other hand he is sometimes over the hill about the "swansong" speeches of some of those about to commit suicide, for example Cremutius Cordus' speech in Ann. IV, 34-35. Aufidius Bassus was a Roman historian who lived in the reign of Tiberius. ...


Literary style

Tacitus' writings are known for their instantly deep-cutting and dense prose, seldomly glossy, in contrast with the more placable style of some of his contemporaries, like Plutarch. Mestrius Plutarch (c. ...


When he describes a near-to-defeat of the Roman army in Ann. I,63 this is one of the rare occasions where he applies some kind of gloss, but then still rather by the brevity with which he describes the end of the hostilities, than by embellishing phrases.


In most of his writings he keeps to a strictly chronological ordering of his narration, with only seldomly an outline of the bigger picture, as if he leaves it to the reader to construct that "bigger picture" for himself.


Nonetheless, when he sketches the bigger picture, for example in the opening paragraphs of the Annals, summarizing the situation at the end of the reign of Augustus, he needs no more than a few condensed phrases to take the reader to the heart of the story.


Approach to history

Tacitus' historical style combines various approaches to history into a method of his own (owing some debt to Sallust): seamlessly blending straightforward descriptions of events, pointed moral lessons, and tightly-focused dramatic accounts, his history writing contains deep, and often pessimistic, insights into the workings of the human mind and the nature of power. Sallust (Gaius Sallustius Crispus) (86-34 BC), Roman historian, belonging to a well-known plebeian family, was born at Amiternum in the country of the Sabines. ...


Tacitus' own declaration regarding his approach to history is famous (Ann. I,1): The Annals, or, in Latin, Annales, is a history book by Tacitus covering the reign of the 4 Roman Emperors succeeding to Caesar Augustus. ...

inde consilium mihi [..] tradere [...] sine ira et studio, quorum causas procul habeo.   Hence my purpose is to relate [...] without either bitterness or partiality, from any motives to which I am far removed.

Although this is probably as close as one can get to a neutral point of view intention in antiquity, there has been much scholarly discussion about Tacitus' alleged "neutrality" (or "partiality" to others, which would make the quote above no more than a figure of speech). Shortcut: WP:NPOV Wikipedia policy is that all articles should be written from a neutral point of view. ... A figure of speech, sometimes termed a rhetorical figure or device, or elocution, is a word or phrase that departs from straightforward, literal language. ...


Throughout his writings, Tacitus appears primarily concerned with the balance of power between the Roman senate and the Roman Emperors. His writings are filled with tales of corruption and tyranny in the governing class of Rome as they failed to adjust to the new imperial régime; they squandered their cherished cultural traditions of free speech and self-respect as they fell over themselves to please the often bemused (and rarely benign) emperor. Sociologists usually define power as the ability to impose ones will on others, even if those others resist in some way. ... The Roman Senate (Latin, Senatus) was a deliberative body which was important in the government of both the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. ... Roman Emperor is the title historians use to refer to rulers of the Roman Empire, after the epoch conventionally named the Roman Republic. ... Social class refers to the ranking of people into a hierarchy within a culture. ...


Another important recurring theme is the role of having the sympathy of the army in the coming to power (and staying there) of an Emperor: throughout the period Tacitus is describing, the leading role in that respect sways between (some of) the legions defending the outer borders of the Empire, and the troups residing in the city of Rome, most prominently the Praetorian Guard. The Praetorian Guard (sometimes Prætorian Guard) (in Latin: praetoriani) comprised a special force of bodyguards used by Roman emperors. ...


Tacitus' political career was largely spent under the emperor Domitian; his experience of the tyranny, corruption, and decadence prevalent in the era (81–96) may explain his bitter and ironic political analysis. He warned against the dangers of unaccountable power, against the love of power untempered by principle and against the popular apathy and corruption, engendered by the wealth of the empire, which allowed such evils to flourish. The experience of Domitian's tyrannical reign is generally also seen as the cause of the sometimes unfairly bitter and ironic cast to his portrayal of the Julio-Claudian emperors. The Roman Empire is the term conventionally used to describe the Ancient Roman polity in the centuries following its reorganization under the leadership of Octavian (better known as Caesar Augustus). ... The Julio-Claudian dynasty was the series of the first five Roman Emperors. ...


Nonetheless the image he builds of Tiberius throughout the first six books of the Annals is neither exlusively bleak nor approving: most scholars analyse that the image of Tiberius is predominantly positive in the first books, becoming predominantly negative in the following books relating the intrigues of Sejanus. Even then, the entrance of Tiberius in the first chapters of the first book is a crimson tale dominated by hypocrisy by and around the new emperor coming to power; and in the later books some kind of respect for the wisdom and cleverness of the old emperor, keeping out of Rome to secure his position, is often transparent. The Emperor Tiberius enamelled terracotta bust at the Victoria and Albert Museum. ... Lucius Aelius Sejanus (or Seianus) (20 BC– October 18, 31 AD) was an ambitious soldier, friend and confidant of Tiberius, and for a time the most influential and feared citizen of Rome. ...


In general Tacitus does not fear to give words of praise and words of rejection to a same person, often explaining openly which he thinks the commendable and which the despicable properties. Not conclusively taking sides for or against the persons he describes is like his hallmark, and led thinkers in later times to interpret his works as well as a defense of an imperial system, as as a rejection of the same (see Tacitean studies, Black vs. Red tacitists). A better illustration of Tacitus' "sine ira et studio" is scarcely imaginable. Justus Lipsiuss 1598 edition of the complete works of Tacitus. ...


Prose style

Tacitus' skill with written Latin is unsurpassed; no other author is considered his equal, except perhaps for Cicero. His style differs both from the prevalent style of the Silver Age and from that of the Golden Age; though it has a calculated grandeur and eloquence (largely thanks to Tacitus' education in rhetoric), it is extremely concise, even epigrammatic—the sentences are rarely flowing or beautiful, but their point is always clear. The same style has been both derided as "harsh, unpleasant, and thorny" and praised as "grave, concise, and pithily eloquent". Marcus Tullius Cicero (January 3, 106 BC – December 7, 43 BC) was an orator and statesman of Ancient Rome, and is generally considered the greatest Latin prose stylist. ... In reference to Roman literature, the Silver age covers the first two centuries A.D. directly after the Golden age (which was the first century B.C., and the start of the first century A.D.) Literature from the Silver age has traditionally, perhaps unfairly, been considered inferior to that... The golden age of Latin literature is a period consisting roughly of the time from approxiately 75 BC to 14 AD, covering the end of the Roman Republic and the reign of Augustus Caesar. ... An epigram is a short poem with a clever twist at the end or a concise and witty statement. ...


His historical works focus on the psyches and inner motivations of the characters, often with penetrating insight—though it is questionable how much of his insight is correct, and how much is convincing only because of his rhetorical skill. He is at his best when exposing hypocrisy and dissimulation; for example, he follows a narrative recounting Tiberius' refusal of the title pater patriae by recalling the institution of a law forbidding any "treasonous" speech or writings—and the frivolous prosecutions which resulted (Annals, 1.72). Elsewhere (Annals 4.64–66) he compares Tiberius' public distribution of fire relief to his failure to stop the perversions and abuses of justice which he had begun. Though this kind of insight has earned him praise, he has also been criticized for ignoring the larger context of the events which he describes. Psyche can refer to: In psychology and related fields, the psyche is the entirety of the non-physical aspects of a person. ... The Emperor Tiberius enamelled terracotta bust at the Victoria and Albert Museum. ...


Tacitus owes the most, both in language and in method, to Sallust; Ammianus Marcellinus is the later historian whose work most closely approaches him in style. Sallust (Gaius Sallustius Crispus) (86-34 BC), Roman historian, belonging to a well-known plebeian family, was born at Amiternum in the country of the Sabines. ... Ammianus Marcellinus, thought by some to be the last Roman historian of worth, was born about A.D. 325‑330 likely at Antioch (the likelihood hingeing on whether he was the recipient of a surviving letter to a Marcellinus from a fellow citizen of Antioch). ...


Studies and reception history

Main article: Tacitean studies
"Auguror nec me fallit augurium, historias tuas immortales futuras"
"I predict, and my predictions do not fail me, that your histories will be immortal." —Pliny the Younger, to Tacitus (Letters 7.33)

Tacitus is remembered first and foremost as Rome's greatest historian, the equal—if not the superior—of Thucydides, the ancient Greeks' foremost historian; the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica opined that he "ranks beyond dispute in the highest place among men of letters of all ages". His influence extends far beyond the field of history. His work has been read for its moral instruction, its gripping and dramatic narrative, and its inimitable prose style; it is as a political theorist, though, that he has been (and still is) most influential outside the field of history.[26] The political lessons taken from his work fall roughly into two camps (as identified by Giuseppe Toffanin): the "red Tacitists", who used him to support republican ideals, and the "black Tacitists", those who read his as a lesson in Machiavellian realpolitik.[27] Justus Lipsiuss 1598 edition of the complete works of Tacitus. ... Thucydides (between 460 and 455 BC–circa 400 BC) was an ancient Greek historian, and the author of the History of the Peloponnesian War, which recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens. ... The Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1911) in many ways represents the sum of knowledge at the beginning of the 20th century. ... This article is on the political theory of republicanism. ... Realpolitik (German for politics of reality) is foreign politics based on practical concerns rather than theory or ethics. ...


Though his work is the most reliable source for the history of his era, its factual accuracy is occasionally questioned: the Annals are based in part on secondary sources of unknown reliability, and there are some obvious minor mistakes (for instance confusing the two daughters of Mark Antony and Octavia Minor, both named Antonia). The Histories, written from primary documents and intimate knowledge of the Flavian period, is thought to be more accurate, though Tacitus' hatred of Domitian seemingly colored its tone and interpretations. Bust of Mark Antony Marcus Antonius (Latin: M·ANTONIVS·M·F·M·N¹) (c. ... Octavia was the name of three women of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty of ancient Rome: two were sisters of Augustus Caesar, and the younger was the daughter of Claudius and wife of Nero. ... Antonia can refer to: Roman Antiquity The name of any women of the Antonius family in Ancient Rome, according to the Roman naming convention. ...


Notes

  1. ^  OGIS 437, first brought to light in Bulletin de correspondance hellénique, 1890, pp. 621–623.
  2. ^  Since he was appointed to the quaestorship during Titus's short rule (see note below), and 25 was the minimum age for the position, the date of his birth can be fixed with some accuracy.
  3. ^  See Oliver, 1951, for an analysis of the manuscript from which we take the name Publius; see also Oliver, 1977, which examines the evidence for each suggested praenomen (the well-known Gaius and Publius, the lesser-known suggestions of Sextus and Quintus) before settling on Publius as the most likely.
  4. ^  Oliver, 1977, cites an article by Harold Mattingly in Rivista storica dell'Antichità, 2 (1972) 169–185.
  5. ^  Syme, 1958, pp. 612–613; Gordon, 1936, pp. 145–146
  6. ^  Syme, 1958, p. 60, 613; Gordon, 1936, p. 149; Martin, 1981, p. 26
  7. ^  Syme, 1958, p. 63
  8. ^  Syme, 1958, pp. 614–616
  9. ^  Syme, 1958, pp. 616–619
  10. ^  Syme, 1958, p. 619; Gordon, 1936, p. 145
  11. ^  Gordon, 1936, pp. 150–151; Syme, 1958, pp. 621–624
  12. ^  That he studied rhetoric and law we know from the Dialogus, ch. 2; see also Martin, 1981, p. 26; Syme, 1958, pp. 114–115
  13. ^  Agricola, 9
  14. ^  Pliny, Letters 1.6, 9.10; Benario, 1975, pp. 15, 17; Syme, 1958, pp. 541–542
  15. ^  Syme, 1958, p. 63; Martin, 1981, pp. 26–27
  16. ^  From the Histories (1.1) we learn of his debt to Titus; since Titus's rule was short, these are the only years possible.
  17. ^  In the Annals (11.11) he mentions that he, as praetor, assisted in the Secular Games held by Domitian, which are dated precisely to 88. See Syme, 1958, p. 65; Martin, 1981, p. 27
  18. ^  The Agricola (45.5) indicates that Tacitus and his wife were absent at the time of Julius Agricola's death in 93. For his occupation during this time see Syme, 1958, p. 68; Benario, 1975, p. 13; Dudley, 1968, pp. 15–16; Martin, 1981, p. 28; Mellor, 1993, p. 8
  19. ^  Agricola, 44–45: "[Agricola] was spared those later years during which Domitian, leaving now no interval or breathing space of time, but, as it were, with one continuous blow, drained the life-blood of the Commonwealth. [. . .] It was not long before our hands dragged Helvidius to prison, before we gazed on the dying looks of Manricus and Rusticus, before we were steeped in Senecio's innocent blood. Even Nero turned his eyes away, and did not gaze upon the atrocities which he ordered; with Domitian it was the chief part of our miseries to see and to be seen, to know that our sighs were being recorded[. . .] ." For the effects on Tacitus's ideology see Dudley, 1968, p. 14; Mellor, 1993, pp. 8–9
  20. ^  Pliny, Letters, 2.1 (English)
  21. ^  In the Agricola (3) he announces what must be the beginning of his first great project: the Histories. See Dudley, 1968, p. 16
  22. ^  Pliny, Letters 2.11
  23. ^  Annals, 2.61, says that the Roman Empire "now extends to the Red Sea". If by "mare rubrum" he means the Persian Gulf, as is possible, then the passage must have been written after Trajan's eastern conquests in 116, but before Hadrian abandoned the new territories in 117. This may indicate only the date of publication for the first books of the Annals; Tacitus himself could have lived well into Hadrian's reign, and there is no reason to suppose that he did not. See Dudley, 1968, p. 17; Mellor, 1993, p. 9; Mendell, 1957, p. 7; Syme, 1958, p. 473
  24. ^  Augustan History, Tacitus X. Scholarly opinion on this story is divided as to whether it is "a confused and worthless rumor" (Mendell, 1957, p. 4) or "pure fiction" (Syme, 1958, p. 796). Sidonius Apollinaris reports (Letters, 4.14; cited in Syme, 1958, p. 796) that Polemius, a 5th-century Gallo-Roman aristocrat, descended from Tacitus—but this too, says Syme (ibid.) is of little use.
  25. ^  Jerome's commentary on the Book of Zechariah (14.1, 2; quoted in Mendell, 1957, p. 228) says that Tacitus's history was extant triginta voluminibus, 'in thirty volumes'.
  26. ^  Mellor, 1995, p. xvii
  27. ^  Burke, 1969, pp. 162–163

Conshelf II in the Red Sea (Sudan) The Red Sea (Arabic البحر الأحمر Baḥr al-Aḥmar, al-Baḥru l-’Aḥmar; Hebrew ים סוף Yam Suf) is a gulf or basin of the Indian Ocean between Africa and Asia. ... Regional map showing the word Bahr Fars, (Persian Gulf) in Arabic, from the 9th century text Al-aqalim by the great geographer Istakhri. ... Events Emperor Trajan dies. ... Gaius Sollius Modestus Sidonius Apollinaris (ca 430 - after 489), poet, diplomat, bishop, is the single most important surviving author from fifth-century Gaul according to Eric Goldberg (see link). ... This article covers the culture of Romanized areas of Gaul. ... , by Albrecht Dürer , by Peter Paul Rubens Jerome (about 340 - September 30, 420), (full name Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus) is best known as the translator of the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin. ... Zechariah or Zecharya (זְכַרְיָה Renowned/Remembered of/is the LORD, Standard Hebrew Zəḫarya, Tiberian Hebrew Zəḵaryāh) was a person in the Bible Old Testament and Jewish Tanakh. ...

References

  • Baron, Hans. The Crisis of the Early Italian Renaissance. (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1966)
  • Benario, Herbert W. An Introduction to Tacitus. (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1975) ISBN 0820303615
  • Burke, P. "Tacitism" in Dorey, T.A., 1969, pp. 149–171
  • Dorey, T.A. (ed.). Tacitus (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1969) ISBN 0710064322
  • Dudley, Donald R. The World of Tacitus (London: Secker and Warburg, 1968) ISBN 0436139006
  • Gordon, Mary L. "The Patria of Tacitus". The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 26, Part 2. (1936), pp. 145–151.
  • Haverfield, F. "Tacitus during the Late Roman Period and the Middle Ages". The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 6. (1916), pp. 196-201.
  • Martin, Ronald. Tacitus (Los Angeles, UC Press, 1981)
  • Mellor, Ronald. Tacitus (London: Routledge, 1993) ISBN 0415906652
  • Mellor, Ronald (ed.). Tacitus: The Classical Heritage (NY: Garland Publishing, 1995) ISBN 0815309333
  • Mendell, Clarence. Tacitus: The Man and His Work. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1957) ISBN 0208008187
  • Oliver, Revilo P. "The First Medicean MS of Tacitus and the Titulature of Ancient Books". Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 82. (1951), pp. 232–261.
  • Oliver, Revilo P., "The Praenomen of Tacitus". The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 98, No. 1. (Spring, 1977), pp. 64–70
  • Schellhase, Kenneth C. Tacitus in Renaissance Political Thought (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1976) ISBN 0226737004
  • Syme, Ronald. Tacitus, Volumes 1 and 2. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1958) (reprinted in 1985 by the same publisher, with the ISBN 0198143273) is the definitive study of his life and works.
  • Syme, Ronald. Ten Studies in Tacitus. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1970) ISBN 0198143583
  • Woodman, Anthony John. Tacitus Reviewed (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998) ISBN 0198152582

Ronald Syme Sir Ronald Syme (11 March 1903 – 4 September 1989), New Zealand-born historian, was the preeminent classicist of the 20th century. ...

See also

3097 Tacitus is a main belt asteroid, which was discovered by Cornelis Johannes van Houten, Ingrid van Houten_Groeneveld and Tom Gehrels in 1960. ... Plato. ... The Roman historian Tacitus wrote, in AD 116: The following is a translation of the above Latin text: But, despite kindly influence, despite the leaders generous handouts, despite appeasing the gods, the scandal did not subside, rather the blaze came to be believed to be an official act. ... Christ, from the Greek in english known as Χριστός, or Khristós, means anointed, and is equivalent to the Hebrew term Messiah. ...

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Gaius Cornelius Tacitus (539 words)
Tacitus is one of the earliest and most important of the authors who described early Latvian mythology, though his conclusions are suspect because he did not speak the Latvian language and did not stay in Latvia long.
Tacitus uses what he reports of the German character as a kind of 'noble savage' as a comparison to contemporary Romans and their (in his eyes) 'degeneracy'.
Tacitus survived a reign of terror and from a senator he advanced to the consulship in AD Fifteen years later he held the highest civilian governorship, that of Western Anatolia.
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