The histories of Roman senator Cornelius Tacitus constitute the most influential examination of tyranny, political behavior and public morality from the classical age. For centuries these portraits of courageous martyrs to freedom, of paranoid tyrants, and of sycophantic flatteres and informers shaped modern political attitudes. Ronald Mellor provides a compelling analysis of the ideas of the greatest historian of evil in the western intellectual tradition.
In Tacitus, Ronald Mellor passionately argues for reclaiming this ironic genius whose cynical world view is particularly well-suited to an analysis of the tyranny and brutality in our own century.
Tacitus is presented as a moralist, psychologist, political analyst and literary artist. Tacitus' greatest impact has never been on historians. Rather, his political vision and dramatic images left their mark on painters, poets and thinkers.
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The Historian and His Histories
The Historians Method
The Historian as Moralist
The Historian as Psychologist 6 8
The Historian as Political Analyst
The Historian as Literary Artist
The Impact of Tacitus
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admired Agricola Agrippina ancient historians Annals 14 Annals Tacitus armies Augustus Ben Jonson berius biography Caesar Caligula century character Cicero cited civil Claudius corruption courage court courtiers criticism death decline Despite Dialogue Domitian dramatic emperor Empire epigram evil facts favor Flavian freedmen freedom Galba Gaul German Germania Germanicus Greek ical ideal imperial intellectual irony itus Jonson Julio-Claudian later Latin linked literary Livy Luce Machiavelli merely Messalina modern Momigliano Montesquieu murder narrative Nero Nero's Nerva orators oratory passion philosophers Pliny poets praetorian praetorian prefect praise princes psychological reader reign Republic republican rhetorical Roman historians Rome Rome's rule rulers rumors Schellhase 1976 scholars Sejanus Senate senatorial Seneca sexual soldiers sources speech Stoic style Suetonius survive Syme Taci Tacitean Tacitus provides Tacitus's Tiberius Tiberius's tion torian traditional Trajan troops truth tyranny tyrants Vespasian virtue Vitellius women Woodman writing wrote