‘Germania’: Tacitus and the Long Reach of Ancient Roman Propaganda

The text, first published in 98 C.E., has a long legacy. By Emily T. Simon Ask a well-read individual to list the most dangerous books in history, and a few familiar titles would most likely make the cut: Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” Marx and Engels’ “The Communist Manifesto,” Chairman Mao’s “Little Red Book.” But what about[…]

The Life and Works of Ancient Roman Historian Tacitus

Publius Cornelius Tacitus (l. c. 56 – c. 118 CE) was a Roman historian, active throughout the reign of Trajan (r. 98-117 CE) and the early years of Hadrian (r. 117-138 CE). His best-known works are Histories and Annals, which cover the history of the empire from the time of the Julio-Claudians to the reign of Domitian (r. 81-96[…]

Tacitus’ ‘Annals’ and Its Enduring Portrait of Monarchical Power

Though his work was little read in the Roman world, it has influenced great thinkers such as Hobbes and Montesquieu. Introduction Sometime in the 9th century AD, a monk in the Benedictine monastery of Fulda in modern Germany copied out an extensive Latin history into Carolingian minuscule, a script promoted by the emperor Charlemagne to aid in the[…]