All rights reserved. Tacitus first had to determine the factual reliability and political attitude of his authorities and then to adjust his own general conception of the empire, in case it was anachronistic, to the earlier conditions. Tacitus’s general carefulness in drawing upon credible sources and the fact that he was referring to an official act by a Roman governor support the viewpoint that he was not merely repeating Christian propaganda, even if Roman officials learned some of the details from Christians. Encyclopedia.com. The Histories covered the years 69 to 96. The Roman “annalistic” form, after years of development, allowed this varied play of style in significant episodes. Similarly he regularly included in his narrative speeches by leading figures, some of which, like the address of a Caledonian chieftain in the Agricola, were certainly free compositions by Tacitus himself. New Catholic Encyclopedia. Although not himself of aristocratic birth, Tacitus was allowed by the emperor Vespasian to start on a political career. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. He is most pointed on the theme of Tiberius, but his technique here is only a concentrated form of the stylistic force that can be found throughout his narrative. His De vita Iulii Agricolae, a laudatory biography of his beloved father-in-law (d. 93) who established Roman rule in Britain on a solid foundation, reveals vividly the atmosphere of fear and terror at Rome under Domitian and the indelible impression left by the tyranny and savagery of that Emperor on the minds of men of senatorial rank. Tacitus (c. 56/57-ca. Its style is so different from that of his other works that its Tacitean authorship was often challenged in past centuries. Retrieved October 16, 2020 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tacitus. There are numerous English translations of Tacitus's works, most of which are reasonably reliable. m. schanz, c. hosius, and g. krÜger, Geschichte der römischen Literatur, 4 v. in 5 (Munich 1914–35) 2:603–643. Cornelius Tacitus, one of the greatest of Roman historians and the first pagan author to record the crucifixion of Christ and, possibly, the persecution of the Christians;b. of a senatorial family, very probably in north Italy or south Gaul, c. a.d. 56; d. shortly after a.d. 115. Earn Transferable Credit & Get your Degree. A. Richmond, Roman Britain (1947; rev. Yet contemporary writing may lack perspective. But Tacitus did not spare any man in power. ." In particular Tiberius, who in spite of his political ineptness struggled with real difficulties, suffered in reputation from this treatment. r. syme, Tacitus, 2 v. (Oxford 1958). . Each method had its technique, and the greater writer could combine elements from all three. "Tacitus Even when he cannot condemn outright, a turn of phrase leaves an unanswered doubt in the mind of his readers. We have Dio Cassius from about a century later, and Suetonius, a contemporary of Tacitus, who, as court secretary, had access to imperial records. Further Reading. . (Oxford 1949) 876–878. Tacitus (full name, Publius Gaius Cornelius Tacitus, ca. This has often been regarded as an early work, mainly on stylistic grounds, but it was probably written and published between 102 and 107. 1964), and the events of Agricola's governorship are well discussed in the introduction to the edition of Tacitus's De vita Agricolae, edited by R. M. Ogilvie and I. Encyclopedia of World Biography. Then came Dialogus de oratoribus, a discussion in dialogue form of the decay of Roman oratory. Post-Civil War U.S. History: Help and Review, History 106: The Civil War and Reconstruction, Post-Civil War American History: Homework Help, Western Europe Since 1945: Certificate Program, Major Events in World History Study Guide, Middle School US History: Help and Review, Western Civilization 1648 to the Present: Help and Review, Biological and Biomedical But in the Agricola and Germania, and still more in the two major works, Tacitus evolved a quite remarkable style of his own, which owed much to Sallust and the Augustan poets but still more to his own genius and his rhetorical training. It is finally his masterly handling of literary Latin that impresses the reader. "Tacitus Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. Services, Tacitus's Writings & Impact on Historiography, Working Scholars® Bringing Tuition-Free College to the Community. (October 16, 2020). . The Oxford Companion to British History. . 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. ." A. Richmond (1967). on events in Rome itself and extended to the provinces only in time of war, so that he failed to note the excellent work that was done, sometimes even by "bad" emperors, for the more efficient, honest, and peaceful administration of the Roman world. 1 to 4⅓ are extant (the years 69–70). The Annals of Tacitus . 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. 16 Oct. 2020 . It is characterized by lapidary brevity, contrast, variety of expression that approaches the extreme, deliberate avoidance of symmetry, aphorism, and irony. Christus, the founder of their name, had been sentenced to death by the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius. ." Tacitus’ work did not provide an easy source for summaries of early imperial history, nor (one may guess) was his political attitude popular in the ruling circles; but he was read and his text copied until in the 4th century Ammianus Marcellinus continued his work and followed his style. JOHN CANNON "Tacitus 1914) and The Histories; The Annals (trans., 4 vols., 1925-1937), the following individual versions can be recommended: The Annals and the Histories by Alfred J. Tacitus's one failure in this respect is his picture of Tiberius in the early books of the Annals, where he could not shake himself loose from the traditional picture of that emperor as a morose, cruel, and suspicious tyrant. Hence, in spite ofa guilt which merited such novel and excessively severe forms of punishment, a feeling of pity arose because it was thought that they were being destroyed not in the interest of the public welfare but to serve the savagery of one individual." It has been noted that the work of Aufidius Bassus and its continuation by Pliny the Elder covered these years; both historians also treated the German wars. 56-120 CE) was a Roman historian and statesman. ." Moreover, unlike Livy, Tacitus possessed considerable insight into political life and a deep understanding of human nature, especially its darker sides; and he managed for the most part to live up to his own expressed intention to write "without anger and partiality.". But in most cases Tacitus seems to have taken pains to reproduce in his own words the general sense of what was actually said: that was certainly the case with a speech of Claudius to the Senate reported in book 6 of the Annals, where the preservation of most of the original text in an inscription shows clearly that Tacitus wrote his own version with a copy of the original before him. . ." https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tacitus-0, "Tacitus His monograph on the Germans, De origine et situ Germanorum, written in 98, is on the whole a reliable account based on good sources but tends to idealize too much in the direction of the "noble savage" tradition. This was probably the case with many of the other speeches. Even if Tacitus's qualities as a historian had been negligible—and they are far from that—the power and originality of his writing would still have placed him among the greatest writers of imperial Rome. Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. 15.44) is typical of his style and outlook: "To suppress the rumor [that he had ordered the burning of Rome] Nero singled out the Christians as guilty, and punished them with refined cruelty—a class of men who were hated for their vices, and whom the masses called Christians. Tacitus had copious sources at his disposal and used them critically and independently. Tacitus's first published work was Agricola, a laudatory biography of his late father-in-law, which came out between 96 and 98. . But as far as we know, none of these posts was offered to Tacitus. © 2019 Encyclopedia.com | All rights reserved. Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA). His Dialogus de oratoribus, perhaps his earliest work, blames the changed political conditions for the decline of oratory. After 100 CE, he focused more on writing history, and his most famous writings like Annals of Rome come from this period. and there is no evidence that he held any further public office. He also turned, as far as he felt necessary, to the Senate’s records, the official journal, and such firsthand information as a speech of Claudius, the personal memoirs of Agrippina the Younger, and the military memoirs of the general Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo. This was a history of Rome from the death of Augustus in 14 to the suicide of Nero in 68. Become a Study.com member to unlock this Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. It is ironic that Gaius Iulius Caesar, a contemporary of Cicero and Catullus, and certainly another contender for the title of Most I…, Eutropius The strength of his conviction limited his judgment at both points. On the whole, he showed good judgment in his handling of the material he found in earlier writers—he passed over in silence most of the more scandalous stories that enliven the pages of Suetonius—and he almost certainly did extensive research into the available documentary evidence, especially the records of meetings of the Senate. 16 Oct. 2020 . In 77 the young Tacitus was betrothed to, and soon after married, the only daughter of Gnaeus Julius Agricola, an able soldier and administrator.

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