Publius Cornelius Tacitus[note 1] (/ˈtæsɪtəs/ TASS-it-əs, Latin: [ˈtakɪtʊs]; c.AD 56c.120) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars.[2][3]

Cornelius Tacitus
Modern statue representing Tacitus
outside the Austrian Parliament Building
Bornc.56 AD
Diedc.120 AD (aged approx. 64)
OccupationHistorian, politician
Years activeSilver Age of Latin
Academic background
Academic work
Main interestsHistory, biography, oratory
Notable worksAgricola
Dialogus de oratoribus
InfluencedVirtually all of subsequent historical inquiry in the Western World

The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals (Latin: Annales) and the Histories (Latin: Historiae)—examine the reigns of the emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero, and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors (69 AD).[4] These two works span the history of the Roman Empire from the death of Augustus (14 AD) to the death of Domitian (96 AD), although there are substantial lacunae in the surviving texts.

Tacitus's other writings discuss oratory (in dialogue format, see Dialogus de oratoribus), Germania (in De origine et situ Germanorum), and the life of his father-in-law, Agricola (the general responsible for much of the Roman conquest of Britain), mainly focusing on his campaign in Britannia (De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae). Tacitus's Annals are of interest for providing an early account of the persecution of Christians and the earliest extra-Biblical reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

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