• NAME: P.? Cornelius Tacitus

  • DATES : AD 56 - 118?
  • CONSULTED WORK : Annales - history of Rome AD 14 - 66 (Incomplete)
    Years lost: AD29-31, 37-47; 66-68 which would have included the banishment of Agrippina and of her sons Nero and Drusus, the fall of Sejanus, the reign of Caligula, the first six years of Claudius' reign and the last two of Nero's)


  • GENRE : (annalistic) history

  • LANGUAGE : Latin

  • STYLE : Tacitus chronicles events in an annalistic (yearly) framework alternating between events at home (which generally focus on the cruelty and excesses of the imperial house and the servility of the senate) with events abroad (which show that because of strong and courageous military leaders, the empire prospered). Tacitus is the master of a prose style which subtlely imposes his point of view on the reader. He does this through the use of innuendo and by supplying psychological motives for and analysis of his subjects. His narrative is so artfully compelling, that it has come to be viewed as the most reliable source for this period despite the fact that most of the work is missing.

  • RELIABILITY QUOTIENT : Somewhat Suspect
    In the intro to the Annales Tacitus claims to write "sine studio et ira" (without bias or malice). His treatment of Tiberius calls this claim into question. If Velleius is the exemplum of writing cum studio (with bias), then Tacitus seems to draw from those writing cum ira (with malice). Most of the unfavorable evidence for Livia comes from Tacitus.



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