Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Tacitus, fully Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus NULL

Roman Senator and Historian

"Kindness, so far as we can return it, is agreeable."

"Laying aside his resentment, he stores it up to bring it forward with increased bitterness."

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

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

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

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

"Necessity reforms the poor, and satiety reforms the rich."

"Nature gives liberty even to dumb animals."

"Neglected calumny soon expires; show that you are hurt, and you give it the appearance of truth."

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

"No one in Germany laughs at vice, nor do they call it the fashion to corrupt and to be corrupted."

"None grieve so ostentatiously as those who rejoice most in heart."

"Neither above nor below his business."

"None make a greater show of sorrow than those who are most delighted."

"On the whole, one would say that their strength is in their infantry, which fights along with the cavalry; admirably adapted to the action of the latter is the swiftness of certain foot soldiers, who are picked from the entire youth of their country, and stationed in front of the line."

"Not because of any extraordinary talents did he succeed, but because he had a capacity on a level for business and not above it."

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

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

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

"People flatter us because they can depend upon our credulity."

"One who sets off to the best advantage his every act and speech."

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

"Power is more safely retained by cautious than by severe councils."

"Power acquired by guilt has seldom been directed to any good end or useful purpose."

"Posterity will pay everyone their due."

"Power won by crime no one ever yet turned to a good purpose."

"Rulers always hate and suspect the next in succession."

"So, as you go into battle, remember your ancestors and remember your descendants."

"Step by step they were led to things which dispose to vice, the lounge, the bath, the elegant banquet. All this in their ignorance they called civilization, when it was but a part of their servitude."

"Style, like the human body, is specially beautiful when the veins are not prominent and the bones cannot be counted."

"The changeful change of circumstances."

"The Germans themselves I should regard as aboriginal, and not mixed at all with other races through immigration or intercourse. For in former times, it was not by land but on shipboard that those who sought to emigrate would arrive; and the boundless and, so to speak, hostile ocean beyond us,is seldom entered by a sail from our world."

"The gods are on the side of the stronger."

"The love of dominion is the most engrossing passion."

"Such being the happiness of the times, that you may think as you wish, and speak as you think."

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

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

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

"The most detestable race of enemies are flatterers."

"The powerful hold in deep remembrance an ill-timed pleasantry."

"The repose of nations cannot be secure without arms, armies cannot be maintained without pay, nor can the pay be produced except by taxes."

"The proper qualities of a general are judgment and deliberation."

"The most seditious is the most cowardly."

"The views of the multitude are neither bad nor good."

"The principal office of history I take to be this: to prevent virtuous actions from being forgotten, and that evil words and deeds should fear an infamous reputation with posterity."

"Then there is the usual scene when lovers are excited with each other, quarrels, entreaties, reproaches, and then fondling reconcilement."

"There were in him candor and generosity, which, unless tempered by due moderation, lead to ruin."

"They even say that an altar dedicated to Ulysses, with the addition of the name of his father, Laertes, was formerly discovered on the same spot, and that certain monuments and tombs with Greek inscriptions, still exist on the borders of Germany and Rhaetia."

"They make a desert and they call it peace."

"They make a wilderness and call it peace."