Born in c. A.D. 55 and died in c. A.D. 117, Publius Cornelius Tacitus
was a prominent Roman historian. He is unique
in the way he openly criticized
Autocrats in a way that had not been done since Cicero
in 43 B.C. Here is a list
of Tacitus' works:
- The Annals of Imperial Rome - The Annals is a complete work on the Julio Claudian (Iulio Claudian) Emperors, and indeed is the most important work of this period that has survived to this day. Even though key sections are missing, including two years of Tiberius, all of Gaius' (Caligula) reign, and the last two years of Nero, 48 out of 54 total years have been preserved. The Annals is arguably Tacitus' greatest work.
- The Histories - The Histories picks up where the Annals left off. It begins in 69 A.D. and carries through to 96 A.D. with the death of Domitian. The Emperors it covers include Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus and Domitian. Most of this work has survived over the years, and is the most prominent source on this period.
- Agricola (Roman Britain) - The complete biography of Tacitus' uncle, and governor of Roman Britain, Agricola Cornelius; although much of it is missing. Whether its a sensationalised account to bolden the Cornelius family name, or a genuine account, is open to debate, but it is the greatest work we have on Agricola.
- Germanicus (The Germanic Wars) - Another biography on Drusus Germanicus (son of Nero Drusus) and his war on the Rhine in the barbaric Germanic swamp lands. While it is essentially a biography, it tends to focus more on the war than Germanicus.
When reading Tacitus, one must consider that first and foremost he was a Republican, and thus was partial to exaggerate certain acts committed by authoritarians, whereas he would over glorify acts by Republicans. If one can keep this in mind, and especially when compared with other contemporaries, Tacitus' is the greatest historian for this time period. I definetly reccomend buying his books if you are interested in this topic, he is quite an accomplished author.
Other contemporanous historians: