From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Biography / Arts and Entertainment (Rated B-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Biography, a collaborative effort to create, develop and organize Wikipedia's articles about people. All interested editors are invited to join the project and contribute to the discussion. For instructions on how to use this banner, please refer to the documentation.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by the arts and entertainment work group (marked as High-importance).
WikiProject Latin (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Latin, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Latin on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the importance scale.
WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome (Rated B-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is part of the WikiProject for Classical Greece and Rome, a group of contributors who write Wikipedia's Classics articles. If you would like to join the WikiProject or learn how to contribute, please see our project page. If you need assistance from a classicist, please see our talk page.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
Former good article nominee Tacitus was a History good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
June 29, 2006 Good article nominee Not listed


The translation of the quotation is my own, so don't worry about copyright violation. Note that "solitudinem" can be translated in a number of ways -- void, desolation, desert, emptiness, wasteland, and other variations on that theme -- so feel free to edit that bit for flow or style. --MIRV 17:52, 8 Dec 2003 (UTC)

How exactly Publius and Gaius are equivalent? They are as different as John and James. Can anybody explain the mistery? Muriel 17:41, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Gladly. Pliny the Younger and the inscriptions from the early 2nd century, when he was governor of Asia, both name him "Cornelius Tacitus"; Sidonius Apollonaris says his praenomen is "Gaius"; one later manuscript (of the Annals, IIRC) is attributed to "Publius". Nobody knows for sure which is correct. -- 17:49, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Cheers, Muriel 17:52, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC) (get an account!)

I've moved the page to Tacitus. Tacitus already redirected here, and he's the person 90% of people looking for "Tacitus" would be looking for, I should think. Also, there seems to be some confusion as to what his actual prenomen was, so keeping it simple is probably better. john k 00:51, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Traslation from it:Tacito[edit]

As from Wikipedia:Translation_into_English I have traslate the article on the Italian site it:Tacito. Into English. I have put the traslation below the English article. The new article is bigger than the ols English, but there are some point that are not presente in the old (upper) one. A merge is needed. Since I am not English fluent speaking, a cleanup, grammar an spelling correction is needed. AnyFile 22:13, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

"rejecting any anacronistic position"[edit]

The Italian is "Probabilmente, Tacito partecipò al consiglio imperiale nel quale, respingendo ogni posizione anacronistica, fu decisa l'adozione di Traiano.": "Probably, Tacitus participated in the imperial council which, rejecting and anachronistic position, was decisive in the adoption of Trajan". I don't find that particularly clear. Someone should probably research this. Until then, I have dropped the phrase about anachronism. -- Jmabel | Talk 19:20, Jan 27, 2005 (UTC)

On a guess, I would say that the "anachronistic position" was republicanism. It does need checking though, as does the rest of the translated material; I've seen much of it in English sources before, so that should be no problem. —Charles P. (Mirv) 22:26, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Sorry for the the translation. In the Italian it is a subordinate sentence in indirect form. So I can not guess anything. Also in the Italian version it is not clear. I have not understood if you do not understand the words (what I have written is not English) or if you can not understand what it refears to. Anachronistic could be better traslated as Archaic. The meaning of it, to my opinion, is that there was a change against the previous way of doing. For me the omission is rather good!AnyFile 15:56, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

"the apology of Seneca"[edit]

What the heck is "the apology of Seneca"?

Anyway, looking at the Italian, "È una linea di pensiero che arriva a Diderot e alla sua giustificazione (attraverso un'apologia di Seneca) della collaborazione del filosofo coi sovrani," I read this as "It is a line of thought that eventually leads to Diderot and to his justification (through an apology for Seneca) of collaboration of the philosopher with the sovereign." That is, Diderot's justification, made in the form of an apology for Seneca. I don't know the work of Diderot in question, or I would just edit accordingly, but can this really mean anything else? -- Jmabel | Talk 06:40, Jan 28, 2005 (UTC)

I can not help you on this. Sorry for the mistake. I do not know English very well, and when the dictionary gime me no example for the preposition I have to guess it. The only fink i can guess (but it is just a guess) is that Diderot speaks about Seneca and not of Tacitus, and tha when defending Seneca uses some Tacitus' idea (and emorover something he had read from Tacitus).AnyFile 16:07, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Precisely. "di" would normally be "of", but here it isn't. -- Jmabel | Talk 18:04, Jan 28, 2005 (UTC)

"ragione di stato"[edit]

I'd say "reasons of state". It's not as much of a catchphrase in English as in Italian or as the French "raison d'état", but I think that would be the right translation. If someone has a better-known English phrase, correct me (in the article) but for now, I'm using "reasons of state". The sentence it was in was a bit of a mess, even in the original Italian; I think I've sorted it out half decently, but it's not exactly felicitous, someone else is welcome to take a shot. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:44, Jan 28, 2005 (UTC)

It represent a idologiacal and philosophical (or more honestly polical) movment. It borne in French, but spread out in some outher state. Your traslation inn French is correct and show me you got the point. I do not how you (in English) call these philosofical movemnt / philosofical period. The main ethical point of this philosofy is that the needing of the state are more important than other needing AnyFile 16:16, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Hmm, I wouldn't say it was born in France. Doesn't Machiavelli predate this concept being invoked in France? Probably a topic that merits an article, but for starters someone needs to work out what political philosophers call it in English! -- Jmabel | Talk 18:04, Jan 28, 2005 (UTC)
I do not remember well. My studies on this are far away. Yes of course Machiavelli did that. But I am not sure that with "raison d'état" we consder also his period or only a later period. It may also be that I remember of France because this type of argument was used to justified Franch way of goverment. I can tell you that often in Italy it is said with the French spelling, but I could not tell you if this is becouse the name was originally in French or it is just for snobAnyFile 11:38, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)

featured article drive[edit]

I've started a drive to get this article up to featured standards, which will be no small task; the article is already good, but there's much more that could be done. Details are on User:Mirv/Tacitus; additions, comments, and help would be eagerly welcomed. I'll move it to a subpage of this talk page if there's much interest in the project. —Charles P. (Mirv) 23:32, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Can someone clarify this line? --

"Tacitus was born in 56 or 57[2] ( to an equestrian family, probably in northern Italy, Gallia Narbonensis, or Hispania—in the provinces, like so many other famous authors."

-- as in seperate which specific characteristics he shares with "other famous authors?" Does he share a common birth period, a socioeconomic origin, and/or a geographical origin?

No, yes, and (broadly) yes. Many of the well-known authors of the Golden and Silver ages of Latin literature were members of the new élite from the provinces (meaning anywhere outside Rome proper, and Latium I suppose), the old upper classes having been mostly destroyed in the 1st century BCE. I'll make that clearer. —Charles P. (Mirv) 05:14, 31 Mar 2005 (UTC)


About a decade ago, an article came out about a newly discovered very short work by T. If I'm not mistaken, it was in Altsprachliche Unterricht.

Thanks Mirv[edit]

Thanks for the kind words and also for correcting my blunder. I am not a Tacitean scholar, so I assumed that Senecio was a mistake for Seneca. Apologies. User:FeanorStar7

Accuracy & Methodology[edit]

How accurate was Tacitus Germania, and Annals? What do we know about his methodology? Would this be better put in another subheading - I would like to see a discussion about the means by which the Classical historians gathered information. L Hamm 09:54, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Good Article Failure[edit]

I recommend some work (especially updating the citation format) before trying for FA, but overall this is a well-written, interesting, and comprehensive article. Certainly worthy of the GA tag. Nice job! Kafziel 15:24, 30 March 2006 (UTC) (I've failed this article against Kafziel's decision.)


Tacitus - FAILED - 30.3.06


  • Lead image has expired tag
  • Sloppy intro
  • Use "BC", "AD", "CE" or "BCE" alongside dates
  • Don't use "-" between phrases, prose into opening
    • Don't use parenthesis in this style "(first name)", prose into paragraph
    • Don't use "we" as possessive, use "they"
    • Use "BC", "AD", "CE" or "BCE" alongside dates
    • Explain significance of "of the Golden and Silver Ages"
    • Don't use iffy words such as "probably"
    • "The exact place and date of his birth are nowhere made explicit" should not be it's own sentence, merge with previous
    • "Nor is his praenomen" is repetition from earlier in the paragraph, and should be merged also if the earlier mention is removed
    • Don't use iffy words such as "some"
    • The whole paragraph involving "Cornelii" is lost in language which only amateurs of the subject could understand, I kinda grasped that he hated a clan perhaps?
    • "Descent and place of birth" is a horrid paragraph that I could barely understand, this needs to be made acessible
      • Fix dates (as above)
      • Remove uses of "we" (as above)
      • why are there "[...]" links in your centered paragraph? Fix!
      • Move "See also" to above "Notes"
  • *Head implodes* I guess you get the idea : P, this is an enjoyable and informative article, but I could barely understand it. Also, not many people have made any continuous edits, a few in the last couple days, then the 9th March. Revise this article with my notes (please don't take them personally), put in a block of work and then re-nominate Highway 15:45, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree with most of your points. I guess we just differ on GA standards; seems to me your standards are more suited for FAC than GA. GA is supposed to be an informal way to acknowledge better-than-average articles, which I still say this is. If he has to jump through flaming hoops just to get a GA tag (which isn't even an official policy), why shouldn't he just get a peer review and go straight to FAC? He can get the same inquisition there, and at least his hard work would pay off.
But the idea of GA is (and should be) that anyone can put the tag on, and anyone can take it back off. So I bow to your Buddha nature. Kafziel 16:22, 30 March 2006 (UTC)


  • Lead image has expired tag
    yeah, fair comment. I've had no luck tracing the original (probably printed) source of the sketch by searching; I guess the next step would be to e-mail the authors of the various sites on which it appears and ask whence it was scanned.
  • Sloppy intro
    Sloppy how? I think it's a good concise statement of who he was and why anyone should care.
  • Use "BC", "AD", "CE" or "BCE" alongside dates
    I think I took these out because of date style editwarring ("BC is Christian POV!" "Nobody knows what BCE means!" "Tis!" "Tisn't!" "rv" "rv" "rv"). I suppose since this article started with AD, that's what it should use. Date styles in the opening paragraph ought to be enough to establish which era is used throughout.
  • Don't use "-" between phrases, prose into opening
    I don't understand this objection. Can you clarify? Do you think emdashes shouldn't be used?
    • Don't use parenthesis in this style "(first name)", prose into paragraph
      I don't understand this one either.
    • Don't use "we" as possessive, use "they"
      seems to have been taken care of—thanks Kafziel.
    • Use "BC", "AD", "CE" or "BCE" alongside dates
      as above
    • Explain significance of "of the Golden and Silver Ages"
      I think the links to Golden Age of Latin literature and Silver Age of Latin literature do that; anyone who needs an explanation can read the articles.
    • Don't use iffy words such as "probably"
      in some cases these words are valid. For some points there's just a certain degree of uncertainty: the balance of evidence and scholarly analysis indicates that certain facts are more likely, but nobody can really say for sure. Some of the uses here are unnecessary, though, and I'll take them out.
    • "The exact place and date of his birth are nowhere made explicit" should not be it's own sentence, merge with previous
      this has been taken care of—thanks again, Kafziel.
    • "Nor is his praenomen" is repetition from earlier in the paragraph, and should be merged also if the earlier mention is removed
      this is repetition, but that was a conscious choice: the first mention is in a paragraph that explains just how little we know about him, how even his first name is a mystery; the second repeats the point that we don't know his first name, but then explains the various guesses and where they came from. That said, Kafziel's reworking of the paragraphs is fine, though I think the flow has suffered a little.
    • Don't use iffy words such as "some"
      which uses, precisely, do you object to?
    • The whole paragraph involving "Cornelii" is lost in language which only amateurs of the subject could understand, I kinda grasped that he hated a clan perhaps?
      added the question that the paragraph is trying to answer. clearer?
    • "Descent and place of birth" is a horrid paragraph that I could barely understand, this needs to be made acessible
      what don't you understand? what needs clarification?
      • Fix dates (as above)
      • Remove uses of "we" (as above)
        check (third thanks to Kafziel).
      • why are there "[...]" links in your centered paragraph? Fix!
        ellipsis. do you think they shouldn't be bracketed? that's fair.
      • Move "See also" to above "Notes"

Thanks for the critique—very helpful. there were a few points of it I didn't understand, but they should be easy to clear up. —Charles P._(Mirv) 15:01, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Thanks, replies being (I'm SO talkative :D) :
    • Prose means simply to work into the paragraph. Example - "Billy had a new dog (the old one died)." "Billy had a new dog because the old one died". You got the point.
    • There is a Wikipedia article on Dates if I dig for it, don't have the time right now, but I'd got BCE to clarify, end the wars, it's part of GA :P
    • Yes I mean do not use emdashes are as bad as brackets
    • The intro is sloppy! Comparison times:
Your version: Publius or Gaius Cornelius Tacitus (c. AD 56–c. AD 117), Roman orator, lawyer, and senator, is considered one of antiquity's greatest historians. His major works—the Annals and the Histories—cover the history of the Roman Empire's first century, from the death of the emperor Augustus in AD 14 to the death of the emperor Domitian in 96.
The first paragraph of a Pokémon article: Torchic (known as アチャモ Achamo in Japanese) is one of the 493 fictional species of Pokémon creatures from the multi-billion-dollar[4] Pokémon media franchise – a collection of video games, anime, manga, books, trading cards and other media created by Satoshi Tajiri. Torchic is most famous for being one of the three Pokémon players can choose from at the beginning of their adventure in the Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire and Pokémon Emerald versions of the Pokémon series. Its main purpose in the games, as with all other Pokémon, is to battle both "wild" Pokémon, untamed creatures that are encountered while players pass through various natural environments in the game, and to fight against "tamed" Pokémon owned by Pokémon trainers.
  • Can you see the difference? It's bigger, more indepth and it's much more informative. Notes to improve your intro:
  1. Remove that "or"
  2. "Roman orator, lawyer, and senator".. what was he famous for? Use that! No listing!
  3. Kill those emdashes
  4. Don't confirm something then question it later
  5. Expand..
  • My comments on the Golden and Silver Ages are because you mention "like many other Latin authors of the Golden and Silver Ages", any particular reason why?
  • Brackets? No! I am going to go through this entire Wiki and delete all the brackets! All of them! What purpose do they do? (English lost at 2pm fine)

I'll go over rest tomorrow. Highway 01:18, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Although I don't agree with half of the recommendations given above (IMHO the "Good Article" project shouldn't be overestimated in this respect), I attempted a rewrite of the intro section. But, as you may understand, not in an attempt to get this through the "Good Article" Project's meanderings (and certainly not if the quite uninteresting Pokemon character's intro would be used as a "good" example). --Francis Schonken 15:19, 9 April 2006 (UTC)
That article was just up for FAC ¬_¬ Hows yours doing? And I'm not speaking on behalf of the Wikiproject, the intro you had wasn't particularly good and I gave an example. Highway Rainbow Sneakers 20:45, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
One thing that needs sorted out straight away, is to distinguish between BC and AD dates. This is vital to avoid confusion and maintain accuracy. I'm an ancient historian by training and I realise that there is some discussion about the desirability of using a distincition based on the birth of Jesus of Nazareth; however, this would still be preferable to leaving it blank. As such, I will add these in where I am able to, and leave it to others to change them to BCE and CE if they so wish.

Use of the term 'Knight'[edit]

  • I well remember reading Latin and studying Roman Equistrian class, but I have severe doubts about using that 'KNIGHT' word in any Roman context. Is this a Commonwealth English affection, or some loose recasting of a more modern term that nonetheless enjoys fairly widespread usage amongst writers expert in the era, or a slip into an anachronistic term that doesn't belong in favor of 'Equistrian'? Or perhaps 'Minor Nobility'? FrankB 04:09, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
"Minor Nobility" sound much too medieval. "Equestian" can be confused with the adjective, whereas "knight" is pretty unambiguous and is in common academic use. Also, "equestian" is easily misspelt. :) --Quadalpha 05:43, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
Ha! The jokes on you ('Equestian', forsooth, is as badly spelled— sans it's 'R', methinks—you actually used the archaic 'mispelt' term too! <g>),but matters not. The truly well educated know there is no such thing as correct spelling, it's all a myth by ancient school-marms not getting enough and the O.E.D. who assumes authority never given it. Small minds focus on... <g>.
  1. How is it do you suppose that the Early Middle ages adopted the idea of nobility... or are you proposing that the Gaels, Visigoths, et. al. had no nobles of their own, nor the Greeks, Egyptians,..., Persians, ..., (Well a long list). Such terms annedate the Empire, and indeed, remain with us still in a few places (House of Lords, for starters).
  2. I'm intrigued with the concept of Knight having less 'baggage' than noble! Shades pov a bit too close to me, and some might call it 'Original Research'. Since the purpose of the exercise is education, seems to me sensible to let the reader become aquainted with the adjective and the noun. It's hardly the only word in the language which is used both ways!
  3. If 'academics' have truly perverted the meaning OF KNIGHT as you suggest and select it regularly over 'equestrian class', seems like it's time to restore the wheel, rack, FLOGGING and Crucifixion for lack of common sense! So a few good acedemic web references would seem to be in order. Hope you don't mind. I'll ask a few British friends to opine as well. Regards // FrankB 18:49, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Per the request of FrankB, I took a look at the text in question. The pertinent word is equitam, from Tacitus' Annals of Imperial Rome (as cited in the text). About 400 B.C., the equites were originally men of the cavalry who owned their own horses (equites equo privato); later (3rd century & after), the equites are described as "almost equal to senators", and forming "the non-political section of the upper class rather than (as in the empire) an intermediate class." [The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 1996.] The word "knight" is defined as "A medieval gentleman-soldier, usually high-born, raised by a sovereign to privileged military status after training as a page and squire." [Webster's] So I suppose the terms can be considered interchangeable, as long as one doesn't start picturing the equites as Arthur and His Silly English K-nights. Your pocket librarian, Her Pegship 19:25, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Goodness, you're right! As regards to your other points, my point is simply that in current usage "minor nobility" seems to imply something rather feudal (of course it's POV; the truly well-educated know there is no such thing as correct usage). I'm not quite sure what original research is involved in point 2; how about "knight" is more common than "minor nobility"? I do not say that "knight" regularly over "equestrian class"; my impression is that academics tend to be fine with using "knight" when "equestrian class" becomes too much of a mouthful. In any case, the original debate was about "equestrian" vs. "knight"; I'm by no means suggesting that "knights" replace "equestrian class". --Quadalpha 19:20, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

I've been asked to comment on this. I can't add much, except to say that "Knight" is a common academic and non-academic translation (pulling a book of the shelf at random, David Levene's introductory material in his revision of W.H. Fyfe's transation of Tacitus' Histories says: "Wealthy citizens who would not or [...] could not be politically involved might be enrolled as KNIGHTS (or EQUESTRIANS)" (Tacitus, The Histories; Oxford: OUP, 1997. ISBN 0192831585. P.xxvi). --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 10:19, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

What is the correct pronunciation..[edit]

..of the word Tacitus?

1. Is the "c" a hard K sound or a soft S sound? 2. Does the last syllable rhyme with "bus" or with "loose"? --Peripatetic 16:20, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

It doesn't really matter. In English, it's pronounced with a soft "c" and rhymes with "bus", but the thinking about classical pronounciation makes it a hard "c" and rhymes it with "loose". --Quadalpha 19:22, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Pardon me? The Romance languages that evolved from Latin certainly do not follow that line of thought. A Reliable Source that has gained some traction in academia is needed before moving away from the classic pronunciation. HammerFilmFan (talk) 15:24, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

Good Article nomination has failed[edit]

The Good article nomination for Tacitus has failed, for the following reason(s):

Issues in the Literary style section; with no citations statements like "Tacitus's skill with written Latin is unsurpassed; no other author is considered his equal" violate NPOV and the entire section as a whole threatens charges of Original Research. TonyJoe 14:53, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Ridicolous, simply ridicolous.

Content and Style[edit]

I'm slowly working my way through this article, nipping and tucking the grammar, language and structure. I will also be looking to revise some of the paragraphs to run more fluidly and to make it more scholarly and objective. The main thrust of the piece is good, but needs significant improvement to be a featured article.

Suggestions on clarifications and extra sections are welcomed.

Starfunker 19:46, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

The idea on descending of slavery can be true, as i see on :

"In the preface to the Agricola he foreshadows the larger work on which he is engaged. 'I shall find it a pleasant task to put together, though in rough and unfinished style, a memorial of our former slavery and a record of our present happiness.' His intention was to write a history of the Principate from Augustus to Trajan."

This may sugest too that he was of spanish origin.

Date of birth[edit]

The article says he was born in 56 or 57 because he was appointed quaestor during the reign of Titus. The article on cursus honorum however states that 30 was the minimum age for the quaestorship. This would place his date of birth around 51, or 52. Any clarification? --Steerpike 15:22, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Lord Bath[edit]

at lord bath claims him as an ancestor, any one know about this?

This is rather complicated. See Christian Settipani's books about descent from antiquity for details. --Ghirla-трёп- 21:09, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Clio on Tacitus[edit]

Copied from Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2007 August 29 for processing. --Ghirla-трёп- 21:07, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

I suppose if people remember anything of Tacitus it will be for the words he put into the mouth of the Caledoanian leader Calgacus just before the battle of Mons Graupius;

Whenever I consider the origin of this war and the necessities of our position, I have a sure confidence that this day, and this union of yours, will be the beginning of freedom to the whole of Britain. To all of us slavery is a thing unknown; there are no lands beyond us, and even the sea is not safe, menaced as we are by a Roman fleet. And thus in war and battle, in which the brave find glory, even the coward will find safety. Former contests, in which, with varying fortune, the Romans were resisted, still left in us a last hope of succour, inasmuch as being the most renowned nation of Britain, dwelling in the very heart of the country, and out of sight of the shores of the conquered, we could keep even our eyes unpolluted by the contagion of slavery. To us who dwell on the uttermost confines of the earth and of freedom, this remote sanctuary of Britain's glory has up to this time been a defence. Now, however, the furthest limits of Britain are thrown open, and the unknown always passes for the marvellous. But there are no tribes beyond us, nothing indeed but waves and rocks, and the yet more terrible Romans, from whose oppression escape is vainly sought by obedience and submission. Robbers of the world, having by their universal plunder exhausted the land, they rifle the deep. If the enemy be rich, they are rapacious; if he be poor, they lust for dominion; neither the east nor the west has been able to satisfy them. Alone among men they covet with equal eagerness poverty and riches. To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a solitude and call it peace

It is perhaps the most devastating critique of Roman power, of the whole 'civilising' mission of Empire ever written, all the more forceful because they were put together by an insider, the son-in-law of Agricola, the man who won the battle. It is a case against aggression; it is also, at a deeper level, the voice of the dead Republic, speaking against the Emperors.

In the Annals Tacitus concedes that the peace of Augustus was a necessary corrective to the chaos of the Civil Wars, though he does not agree that his dictatorship should have been made permanent. But his criticism is even more trenchant; for it is not a call for a return to the Republic, dead and gone; it is a critique of the Roman people, who lacked the strength of will and purpose to stand by their ancient freedoms. By this measure the despotism of Augustus was based on abdication and consensus. The Emperor, he wrote, had "won over the soldiers with gifts, the populace with cheap corn and all men with the sweets of repose." Bread and peace, in other words, had a higher value than freedom. After all, for the hungry, and for the fearful, even slavery has attractions.

For Tacitus safety and submission came at a high price; an Empire established by a desire for peace was maintained by terror. He takes great pains in his writing to record the 'tools of despotism', making note even of the names of informers, whom he considers to be especially loathsome. Rome, the master of the world, was a city ruled by fear, a fear that created a space between people, forcing them into solitude and isolation.

Tacitus, in a sense, identifies with an ideal of freedom, not represented in the self-interested anti-imperail conspiracies of his day. He finds this ideal far beyond Rome in the barbarian tribes of the north, in the Caledonians and in the Germans; in men like Calgacus and Arminius, to whom he also gave a voice in defence of freedom. In the Germania he contrasts the virtues of the barbarians with the vices of the Romans. Their courage, their simplicity and their sense of honour are all admired because, at the deepest level, they recall a time when such values were held high by the Romans themselves.

In the end even the peace secured at the price of freedom was a false trade for Tacitus, a 'dreadful peace', diminishing by degrees through the reign of Tiberius, Nero, and, worst of all, Domitian, savage rulers who produced a savage people. Yet there was still sources of redemption, examples to be followed, none better the Consul Marius Lepidus, who lived through difficult times, always observing the highest standards of conduct. Even under the worst forms of tyranny, Tacitus concludes, moral choices can and should be made. Clio the Muse 02:02, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Pruning and reorganizing the link list[edit]

I'd started by removing only the items that were duplications, inferior, irrelevant (the play on Agrippina) or commercial sites (for example: The Online Books list is merely a list of links to Gutenberg or other duplicate Church & Broadribb; The Intratext people grab things from everywhere else, and sell the result on CD's. In the case of Tacitus, they give the source for the Latin as Latin Library; and for one English item of theirs as ForumRomanum).

But finally the simplest and best option was to link to ForumRomanum which gives an wider selection, and in a variety of languages. I kept the Internet Sacred Text Archive item because it is (a) complete; (b) not listed at ForumRomanum. All the English items are transcriptions of the same Church & Broadribb translations, by the way; yet 4 of the 5 volumes of the Loeb edition — the entire Histories and Annals — are now public domain in the US. Bill (talk) 13:47, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Heavy-handed delete[edit]

Yes, Christ is mentioned in Tacitus; or, more precisely, someone taken to be Christ is mentioned in the text now received as that of Tacitus. No wonder good editors run away from Wikipedia. It's almost as fast to hunt down the ref as to delete. The whole "citation" thing has got way out of hand; encyclopedias don't normally cite — but of course here the problem is we don't trust in anyone's intelligence or good faith; rightly so, I guess, from the amount of vandalism. No solution in sight. Bill (talk) 10:44, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Hi Bill, didn't know (and would have to check), but wasn't Josephus older than Tacitus, and didn't he write a "secular" history (largely on Jewish topics, but still a "secular" history)? --Francis Schonken (talk) 18:17, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Good catch; yes, of course Joseph is slightly earlier than Tacitus, and qualifies as secular; I wuz only looking at the "Christ in Tacitus" bit, which is noteworthy I suppose, and should have caught the "first-known" bit. Now fixed, natch. Best, Bill (talk) 15:15, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Was Pliny Italian or provincial?[edit]

In one paragraph it is stated that Pliny was provincial. namely, the paragraph that says:

"This connection, and the friendship between the younger Pliny and Tacitus, led many scholars to the conclusion that the two families were of similar class, means, and background: equestrians, of significant wealth, and from provincial families".

while in the one next to the above it is stated that the statement in Pliny Book 9, Letter 23 led many scholars to the conclusion that one of them is Italian and the other is provincial. and scince Pliny was from Italy, some believe that Tcitus is provincial. I just wonder how can we be sure that Pliny is Italian while there is a possibility that he is provincial as stated in the preceding paragraph? Muslim-Researcher (talk) 00:57, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

I think in Roman terms a "provincial family" means a family from outside of Rome (or Latium), not outside of Italy. --Saddhiyama (talk) 09:07, 4 July 2010 (UTC)


The list of (general) references seems way to long and needs some pruning.--Kmhkmh (talk) 21:56, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

I've boldly removed all the references which aren't referenced. carl bunderson (talk) (contributions) 00:32, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Thanks looks much better now.--Kmhkmh (talk) 02:08, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Undue weight[edit]

I cannot say emphatically enough that it's undue weight in this article to expand the section on a single passage referring to Christianity so that it's longer than the section on the entire Germania. Frankly, I don't think it belongs in this article at all, except in the "See also" section. Cynwolfe (talk) 22:45, 15 August 2014 (UTC)