Top Tacitus Quotes

Browse top 10 famous quotes and sayings about Tacitus by most favorite authors.

Favorite Tacitus Quotes

1. "Chief among the forces affecting political folly is lust for power, named by Tacitus as "the most flagrant of all passions."
Author: Barbara W. Tuchman
2. "His books were part of him. Each year of his life, it seemed, his books became more and more a part of him. This room, thirty by twenty feet, and the walls of shelves filled with books, had for him the murmuring of many voices. In the books of Herodotus, Tacitus, Rabelais, Thomas Browne, John Milton, and scores of others, he had found men of face and voice more real to him than many a man he had met for a smoke and a talk."
Author: Carl Sandburg
3. "As to the ancient historians, from Herodotus to Tacitus, we credit them as far as they relate things probable and credible, and no further: for if we do, we must believe the two miracles which Tacitus relates were performed by Vespasian, that of curing a lame man, and a blind man, in just the same manner as the same things are told of Jesus Christ by his historians. We must also believe the miracles cited by Josephus, that of the sea of Pamphilia opening to let Alexander and his army pass, as is related of the Red Sea in Exodus. These miracles are quite as well authenticated as the Bible miracles, and yet we do not believe them; consequently the degree of evidence necessary to establish our belief of things naturally incredible, whether in the Bible or elsewhere, is far greater than that which obtains our belief to natural and probable things."
Author: Herodotus
4. "...soon dinner will run into bed-time, and we shall all eat reclining like the ancient Romans--about whose digestion, you know, I have often wondered. Whether a dose of rhubabrb might have made a difference to Nero or Caligula is a question you might ponder, my dear, next time you go through your Tacitus."
Author: Jude Morgan
5. "Read the Bible as you would Livy or Tacitus. For example, in the book of Joshua we are told the sun stood still for several hours. Were we to read that fact in Livy or Tacitus we should class it with their showers of blood, speaking of their statues, beasts, etc. But it is said that the writer of that book was inspired. Examine, therefore, candidly, what evidence there is of his having been inspired. The pretension is entitled to your inquiry, because millions believe it. On the other hand, you are astronomer enough to know how contrary it is to the law of nature (Works, Vol. ii., p. 217)."
Author: Livy
6. "12. Historians today rely on classics like Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, Caesar's Gallic War, and Tacitus's Histories. The earliest copies we have for these date from 1,300, 900, and 700 years after the original writing, respectively, and there are eight extant copies of the first, ten of the second, and two of the third. In contrast, the earliest copy of Mark's gospel is dated at AD 130 (a century after the original writing), and there are 5,000 ancient Greek copies, along with nearly 20,000 Latin and other ancient manuscripts. The sheer volume of ancient manuscripts provides sufficient comparison between copies to provide an accurate reproduction of the original text. Ironically, a number of fashionable scholars attracted to the so-called gnostic gospels as an "alternative Christianity" have far fewer manuscripts, and the original writings cannot be dated any earlier than a century after the canonical Gospels."
Author: Michael S. Horton
7. "It is difficult at times to repress the thought that history is about as instructive as an abattoir; that Tacitus was right and that peace is merely the desolation left behind after the decisive operations of merciless power."
Author: Seamus Heaney
8. "Tacitus appears to have been as great an enthusiast as Petrarch for the revival of the republic and universal empire. He has exerted the vengeance of history upon the emperors, but has veiled the conspiracies against them, and the incorrigible corruption of the people which probably provoked their most atrocious cruelties. Tyranny can scarcely be practised upon a virtuous and wise people."
Author: Tacitus
9. "Think of it. Fifteen whole years-no small part of a mans life.-taken from us-all the most energetic have fallen to the cruelty of the emperor. And the few that survive are no longer what we once were. Yet I find some small satisfaction in acknowledging the bondage we once suffered. Tacitus, The Agricola"
Author: Tacitus
10. "There was room for them. A great deal of Italy, back then, was forest. Where man goes, trees die; or, to paraphrase Tacitus, we make a desert and call it progress."
Author: Ursula K. Le Guin

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The finest thing under the sun and moon is the human soul. I marvel at the small miracles of kindness that pass between humans, I marvel at the growth of conscience, at the persistence of reason in the face of all superstition or despair. I marvel at human endurance."
Author: Anne Rice

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