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A Roman historian, who probably flourished in the 2nd century A.D. He was the author of a work compiled in the style of annales, ending with the death of Caesar. Some considerable fragments have been found in modern times of books 28-36, covering the history of the years 163-78 B.C.
ANNALS 75.54%
Year-books. From early times a record of all important events at Rome had been kept in chronological order by the high priest (pontifex maximus) for the time, who every year exhibited in his official residence a whited board (album), on which, after the names of the magistrates for the year, occurrences of all kinds-war, dearth, pestilence, prodigies-were set down briefly according to their dates. These annales pontificum or annales maximi (supposed to be so called after the pontifex maximus), though destroyed at the burning of Rome by the Gauls, B.C. 389, were restored as far as possible, and continued till B.C. 130. Collected afterwards in eighty books, they were at once utilized and superseded by the so-called ANNALISTS (q.v.).
ALBUM 64.00%
The Latin word for a board chalked or painted white, on which matters of public interest were notified in black writing. In this way were published the yearly records of the pontifex (see ANNALES), the edicts of praetors (q.v.), the roll of senators, the lists of jurors, etc.
ENNIUS 32.42%
The founder of the Hellenized type of Latin poetry. He was born 239 B.C. at Rudiae in Calabria, and was by descent a Graecised Messapian. He was probably educated at Tarentum, and served with the Romans in the Second Punic War in Sardinia, whence Cato took him to Rome in 204 B.C. His poetical talent here came to his aid, not in a pecuniary way (for he was in slender circumstances to the end of his life), but as an introduction to the favour of the great men. Among these must be mentioned the Scipios, and Fulvius Nobilior, who took him in his retinue to the Aetolian war in B.C. 189,and whose son procured him the citizenship five years later (184). A gouty affection did not prevent him from continuing his literary work to an advanced age.He was in his sixty-seventh year when he finished his Annales, and he put a tragedy on the stage shortly before his death. He died in 170 B.C., in his seventieth year, It was said that the Scipios placed his image in their family vault. Ennius wrote poetry with success in a great number of styles. But in his own opinion, as well as in that of his fellowcitizens, his greatest work was his Annales in eighteen books. This was a chronological narrative of Roman history in verse. Like Naevius' Bellum Poenicum, it began with the destruction of Troy, and came down to the poet's own times. In this poem Ennius created for the Romans their first national epic, the fame of which was only eclipsed by Vergil. But he did more. By the introduction of the Greek hexameter Ennius did much to further the future development of Latin poetry. His predecessor, Naevius, had continued to write in the native Saturnian metre, which was hardly capable of artistic development. But the practice of writing in the strict dactylic measure enabled the Latin poets to assimilate the other metrical forms presented by Greek literature. Of the Annals we possess, relatively speaking, only a small number of fragments. Some of these can only be distinguished from prose by their metrical form; others are very fine, both in form and ideas. Ennius showed considerable capacity, too, as a writer of tragedies. His dramas, which were very numerous, were composed after Greek models, especially the tragedies of Euripides. More than twenty of these Euripidean plays are known to us by their titles and surviving fragments. He also wrote proetextoe, or tragedies on Roman subjects, as, for instance, the Ambracia, representing the siege and conquest of this city by his patron Fulvius Nobilior. His comedies were neither so numerous nor so important as his tragedies. Besides these he wrote several books of saturoe, or collections of poems of various contents and in various metres. Several of his adaptations or translations of Greek originals were probably included in these: as, for instance, the Hedyphagetica, a gastronomic work after Archestratus of Gela; Epicharmus, a didactic poem on the "Nature of Things"; Euhemerus, a rationalistic interpretation of the popular fables about the gods; Proecepta or Protrepticus, containing moral doctrines; and others of the same kind. There was a poem entitled Scipio, written in honour of the elder Africanus. Whether this was a satura or a drama is uncertain. The memory of Ennius long survived the fall of the Republic. Even after literary taste had taken quite a different direction, he was revered as the father of Latin poetry, and especially as having done much to enrich the Latin language.
TACITUS 12.69%
The celebrated Roman historian, born about the year 54 A.D., apparently of an equestrian family. Nothing is known of his birthplace, and it is only a conjecture that he was born at Interamna (Terni). In his rhetorical education he came under the immediate influence of the most distinguished orators of the time, Marcus Aper and Julius Secundus, and he made his first appearance as an advocate at an early age. In 77 he married the daughter of the consul of that year, Julius Agricola, shortly before the latter's departure for Britain [Tac., Agr. 9]. In 78-79 he held the quaestorship under Vespasian,; in 80-81 he was aedile or tribune under Titus, and in 88 under Domitian. In 90 he left Rome with his wife on some official commission, and had not returned in 93, when his father-in- law died [ib. at end]. In 97, under Nerva, he was consul suffectus. He appears for the last time in active public life in 100, when, with his friend the younger Pliny, be appeared on the side of the prosecution in an important law-suit [Pliny, Ep. ii 12 Section 2]. The date of his death is unknown, but be probably survived the accession of Hadrian in 117. His writings are: (1) A dialogue on the decline of eloquence (Dialogus de Oratoribus), one of his earliest works, written apparently [under the influence of Quintilian] in the early part of the reign of Domitian, and originating in a close study of Cicero's rhetorical writings. It is one of the ablest works of the imperial age, and in language and style is so different from his later works that its genuineness has frequently been disputed. (2) The life of his father-in-law Agricola (De Vita et Moribus Iulii Agricoloe), published at the beginning of Trajan's reign, and written in dutiful commemoration of the deceased; it is in the manner of Sallust, from whom Tacitus to a large extent borrowed his style. (3) The "Germania" (De Sita, Moribus, ac Populis Germanioe), written soon after his Agricola; a description of the Germany of that time, which is founded on careful research, and is especially important as the source of all ours knowledge of the ancient history of Germany. (4) A history of his own times, from Galba to the death of Domitian (69-96), under the title Historioe, in fourteen books, of which books i-iv and the first half of v, covering not quite two years (69-70), have alone been preserved. (5) The history of the Julian house, in sixteen books, published between 115 and 117, beginning with the death of Augustus. (Hence the original title Ab Excessu divi Augusti; the usual title, Annales, rests on no authority.) Books i-iv are still complete; the latter part of the fifth and the beginning of the sixth is missing (the reign of Tiberius A.D. 14-37); while the second half of the eleventh, the whole of books xii-xiv and the first half of xv (the reign of Claudius from the year 47 and the history of Nero as far as 68) are still extant. The two principal works of Tacitus thus give us a complete history of the emperors from Tiberius to Domitian. He was probably prevented by his death from completing is design by writing an account of the reign of Augustus, from the battle of Actium, and also including the reigns of Nerva and Trajan. In both works the chronological arrangement of the materials is predominant; they are founded on the most searching and comprehensive study of the historical authorities, and are marked by a thoroughly critical spirit. Tacitus is always extremely careful to ascertain and to record the truth; he is never satisfied with a mere narrative of events, but seeks to elicit their causes from the facts themselves. He is an adept in fathoming the hidden thoughts and motives of human agents. His method of treatment is, in external appearance, entirely objective; but an undercurrent of sympathy, now sad, now cheerful, with the events related, is everwhere betraying itself. He is avowedly and resolutely impartial, and his judgment is eminently fair. It is only severe when he is dealing with wrongs done to the State, and to the moral laws of the universe. Thoroughly convinced of the value of virtue, he hates vice, which he seeks to terrify by exposing it to the ignominy of after ages. With all his admiration for the greatness of republican Rome, he is a stanch imperialist, being convinced of the necessity of the Empire for the stability of the State. In contrast with the bright elegance and richness of expression characteristic of his earliest work, as he advances in his literary activity his style becomes more sombre and pathetic, in accordance with the gloomy and tragic events which he has to describe. He becomes increasingly fond of rhetorical colouring, and avoids the ordinary diction of prose, while seeking to attain sublimity and novelty of style, less by archaisms than by an approximation to poetical expression. His grave and serious purpose finds its counterpart in his efforts to express himself with a terseness and precision which is often peculiarly pointed and epigrammatic. It is in the Annals that this last trait displays itself in its most characteristic form, and on the most extensive scale.
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