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The Life And Works Of Cornelius Tacitus

1587 words - 7 pages

Tacitus was a Roman senator and writer that lived from circa 56-117. He was born in Gaul, a town in what is now modern day France. He had a wealthy father, and his family raised horses. Growing up, Tacitus loved the outdoors and enjoyed hunting as a pastime. When he was in school, he studied rhetorics. Tacitus’ friend, Pliny the Younger, also studied rhetorics. This was helpful for Tacitus when pursuing a career in law and politics.
Tacitus became a Quaestor, which was a Roman official, and later became a senator. In 113, Tacitus became the governor of the Roman province called Asia. During this time, Tacitus married a woman with the last name Agricola. Her father was a ...view middle of the document...

Histories are about “The Year of the Four Emperors,” and “The Great Jewish Revolt.” The year of four emperors came after Nero’s death. A Roman civil war broke out and four new emperors rose to power. In the year 69, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian all held power. Vespasian was the last of the four, and continued to reign for the next ten years until 79. Tacitus also wrote about the “Great Jewish Revolt,” which was a rebellion of the Jews against the Roman Empire. This war took place in Judaea and lasted seven years, and ended with the romans winning.
The other popular writing by Tacitus was called the Annals. This was made up of at least sixteen books, many of which are missing. This was his final work, which he wrote in 116. This series of books discusses five different people: Augustus Caesar, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. While his final work mentions all five, the ones Tacitus focused on the most were Tiberius and Nero. According to Tacitus, both Tiberius and Nero were frightening leaders and often times brought fear to the citizens. Tacitus also mentions that while Tiberius was a tolerable leader at one point, Nero was always harsh.
During Nero’s reign, the “Great Fire” broke out in Rome in 64. The people of Rome thought that Nero was to blame for this disaster. Nero didn’t want the blame to be on him, so he decided to target the christians and say they were the cause for the fire. He used this as one excuse to kill off the christians, because he did not favor them. Many people now suspect that Nero did start the fire, but didn’t want the blame. After the fire, Nero committed suicide, therefore ending his reign. This led to the civil war known as the “Year of the Four Emperors”, which is discussed in Histories by Tacitus.
In Annals, Tacitus also briefly mentions Jesus Christ, Pontius Pilate, and Jesus’ crucifixion. Tacitus was the only roman writer that mentioned Judea’s governor, Pontius Pilate. He wrote, “Their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius’s reign by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate.” (Jesus Christ, His Mission and Ministry, 62). Tacitus also confirms to his readers that Jesus’ public ministry occurred while Tiberius was in power.
At the time, Christians were tortured because of their beliefs. Tacitus said that Christians would be “arrested, mocked, and then crucified or torn to pieces by bloodthirsty dogs,” and that Nero would “soak the corpses of Christians in oil and then burned them as torches.”
Tacitus did not favor the Christian religion or ideas. Tacitus was a Pagan, like many romans at the time. He described christianity as being “a degrading and shameful superstition.” He did, however, agree that Jesus was real, and not a made up person. This was important because it gives proof to believers and nonbelievers alike that Jesus was real. It is even more significant because this proof was coming from someone who was not a follower of Jesus or the Christian religion....

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