Loeb 35 - Tacitus: Agricola, Germania, Dialogus - LT/EN

Tacitus

Tacitus (Cornelius), famous Roman historian, was born in 55, 56 or 57 CE and lived to about 120. He became an orator, married in 77 a daughter of Julius Agricola before Agricola went to Britain, was quaestor in 81 or 82, a senator under the Flavian emperors, and a praetor in 88. After four years’ absence he experienced the terrors of Emperor Domitian’s last years and turned to historical writing. He was a consul in 97. Close friend of the younger Pliny, with him he successfully prosecuted Marius Priscus.

Works: (i) Life and Character of Agricola, written in 97–98, specially interesting because of Agricola’s career in Britain. (ii) Germania (98–99), an equally important description of the geography, anthropology, products, institutions, and social life and the tribes of the Germans as known to the Romans. (iii) Dialogue on Oratory (Dialogus), of unknown date; a lively conversation about the decline of oratory and education.

Tacitus is renowned for his development of a pregnant concise style, character study, and psychological analysis, and for the often terrible story which he brilliantly tells. As a historian of the early Roman empire he is paramount.

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