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Quotes of Tacitus

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Tacitus (Publius Cornelius Tacitus) lived in the years 55 – 120 CE. An outstanding Roman historian; author of the works: “Annales”, “Germania” or “Agricola”.

  • “By a bizarre natural quirk, find peace hateful but cherish idleness”
    • latin: [Mira diversitate naturae, cum iidem homines sic ament inertiam et oderint quietem]
    • description: about Germans.
    • source: Tacitus, Germania, 15
  • “Without anger and passion”
    • latin: [Sine ira et studio]
    • description: about writing the history without the emotions.
    • source: Tacitus, Annals, 1.1
  • “Nature has willed that every man’s children and kindred should be his dearest objects”
    • latin: [Liberos cuique ac propinquos suos natura carissimos esse voluit]
    • source: Tacitus, Agricola, 31
  • “It is human nature to hate the man whom you have injured”
    • latin: [Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris]
    • source: Tacitus, Agricola, 42
  • “But Brutus and Cassius shone brighter than all by the very fact that their portraits were unseen”
    • latin: [Sed praefulgebant Cassius atque Brutus eo ipso quod effigies eorum non visebantur]
    • description: describing the approach of Romans towards Brutus and Cassius monuments during the funerary of Junia Tertia, half-sister of Marcus Junius Brutus.
    • source: Tacitus, Annals, III.76
  • “Drugs kill slower than the illness”
    • latin: [Tardiora sunt remedia quam mala]
    • source: Tacitus, Agricola, 3
  • “Judge of elegance”
    • latin: [Arbiter elegantiarum]
    • description: with those words Tacitus describes Petronius – Roman courtier during the reign of Nero.
    • source: Tacitus, Annals, XVI.18
  • “Even the bravest men are frightened by sudden terrors”
    • latin: [Etiam fortis viros subitis terreri]
    • source: Tacitus, Annals, XV.59
  • “Rulers are mortal – the state is eternal”
    • latin: [Principes mortales, res publica aeterna]
    • source: Tacitus, Annals, III.6,3
  • “It is part of human nature to hate a man you have hurt”
    • latin: [Proprium ingenii humani est odisse, quem laeseris]
    • source: Tacitus, Agricola, 42
  • “Everything unknown is taken as grand”
    • latin: [Omne ignotum pro magnifico]
    • source: Tacitus, Agricola, 1.30
  • “Honorable death is better than shameful life”
    • latin: [Honesta mors turpi vita potior]
    • source: Tacitus, Agricola, 33
  • “When the state is most corrupt, then laws are most multiplied”
    • latin: [Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges]
    • source: Tacitus, Annales, III 27
  • “They make a wasteland, they call it peace”
    • latin: [Solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant]
    • source: Tacitus, Agricola, 30
  • “Zwykle niewinny nie sprosta nowej zawiści”
  • “Żadna z ludzkich spraw nie jest tak niestała i przemijająca jak rozgłos potęgi, która nie na własnej opiera się sile”
  • “Lust of power is the most flagrant of all the passions”
    • latin: [Cupido dominandi cunctis affectibus flagrantior est]
    • source: Tacitus, Annales, XV.53

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