Tacitus, fully Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus

Tacitus, fully Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus

Roman Senator and Historian

Author Quotes

Mark where his carnage and his conquests cease! He makes a solitude, and calls it — peace.

Other men have acquired fame by industry, but this man by indolence

The hatred of those who are most nearly connected is the most inveterate.

They plunder, they slaughter, and they steal: this they falsely name Empire, and where they make a wasteland, they call it peace.

When a woman has lost her chastity she will shrink from nothing.

Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit, because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure

Our magistrates discharge their duties best at the beginning; and fall off toward the end.

The love of dominion is the most engrossing passion.

They shone forth the more that they were not seen.

When men of talents are punished, authority is strengthened.

Mercury is the deity whom they chiefly worship, and on certain days they deem it right to sacrifice to him even with human victims.

People flatter us because they can depend upon our credulity.

The mob have neither judgment nor principle,--ready to bawl at night for the reverse of what they desired in the morning.

Things are not to be judged good or bad merely because the public think so.

Who, to say nothing about the perils of an awful and unknown sea, would have left Asia or Africa or Italy to look for Germany?

Modest fame is not to be despised by the highest characters.

Pliability and liberality, when not restrained within due bounds, must ever turn to the ruin of their possessor.

The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government.

This I hold to be the chief office of history, to rescue virtuous actions from the oblivion to which a want of records would consign them, and that men should feel a dread of being considered infamous in the opinions of posterity, from their depraved expressions and base actions.

Yet the age was not so utterly destitute of virtues but that it produced some good examples.

More colloquially: They rob, kill and plunder all under the deceiving name of Roman Rule. They make a desert and call it peace.

Posterity will pay everyone their due.

The most detestable race of enemies are flatterers.

This is in the sense that the matrimonial bond was strictly observed by the Germanic peoples, this being compared favorably against licentiousness in Rome. Tacitus appears to hold the fairly strict monogamy (with some exceptions among nobles who marry again) between Germanic husbands and wives, and the chastity among the unmarried to be worthy of the highest praise.

Zealous in the commencement, careless in the end.

Author Picture
First Name
Tacitus, fully Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus
Birth Date
Death Date

Roman Senator and Historian