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Tacitus quotes (showing 1-30 of 51)

“The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.”
Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome
“Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit, because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure”
Tacitus
“If you would know who controls you see who you may not criticise.”
Tacitus
“To show resentment at a reproach is to acknowledge that one may have deserved it.”
Tacitus
“They have plundered the world, stripping naked the land in their hunger… they are driven by greed, if their enemy be rich; by ambition, if poor… They ravage, they slaughter, they seize by false pretenses, and all of this they hail as the construction of empire. And when in their wake nothing remains but a desert, they call that peace.”
Tacitus, The Agricola and The Germania
“Viewed from a distance, everything is beautiful.”
Tacitus
“Great empires are not maintained by timidity.”
Tacitus
“It is the rare fortune of these days that one may think what one likes and say what one thinks.”
Tacitus, Histories of Tacitus
“The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.”
Tacitus
“Truth is confirmed by inspection and delay; falsehood by haste and uncertainty.”
Tacitus
“It is a principle of nature to hate those whom you have injured.”
Tacitus
“A bad peace is worse than war.”
Tacitus
“Crime, once exposed, has no refuge but in audacity.”
Tacitus, Annals
“The more corrupt the state, the more it legislates.”
Tacitus
“The more corrupt the republic, the more numerous the laws.”
Tacitus
“Rarely will two or three tribes confer to repulse a common danger. Accordingly they fight individually and are collectively conquered.”
Tacitus, The Agricola and The Germania
“Battles against Rome have been lost and won before, but hope was never abandoned, since we were always here in reserve. We, the choicest flower of Britain's manhood, were hidden away in her most secret places. Out of sight of subject shores, we kept even our eyes free from the defilement of tyranny. We, the most distant dwellers upon earth, the last of the free, have been shielded till today by our very remoteness and by the obscurity in which it has shrouded our name. Now, the farthest bounds of Britain lie open to our enemies; and what men know nothing about they always assume to be a valuable prize....

A rich enemy excites their cupidity; a poor one, their lust for power. East and West alike have failed to satisfy them. They are the only people on earth to whose covetousness both riches and poverty are equally tempting. To robbery, butchery and rapine, they give the lying name of 'government'; they create a desolation and call it peace...”
Tacitus
“There was more courage in bearing trouble than in escaping from it; the brave and the energetic cling to hope, even in spite of fortune; the cowardly and the indolent are hurried by their fears,' said Plotius Firmus, Roman Praetorian Guard.”
Tacitus, The Histories
“So obscure are the greatest events, as some take for granted any hearsay, whatever its source, others turn truth into falsehood, and both errors find encouragement with posterity.”
Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome
“Greater things are believed of those who are absent.”
Tacitus
“Think of it. Fifteen whole years-no small part of a mans life.-taken from us-all the most energetic have fallen to the cruelty of the emperor. And the few that survive are no longer what we once were. Yet I find some small satisfaction in acknowledging the bondage we once suffered. Tacitus, The Agricola”
Tacitus, The Agricola and The Germania
“All ancient history was written with a moral object; the ethical interest predominates almost to the exclusion of all others.”
Tacitus, The Histories I-II
“He realized that monarchy was essential to peace, and that the price of freedom was violence and disorder.”
Tacitus, The Histories I-II
“Secure against the designs of men, secure against the malignity of the Gods, they have accomplished a thing of infinite difficulty; that to them nothing remains even to be wished.”
Tacitus, Germania
“fortes et strenuos etiam contra fortunam insistere, timidos et ignoros ad desperationem formidine properare - the brave and bold persist even against fortune; the timid and cowardly rush to despair through fear alone”
Tacitus
“Who, to say nothing about the perils of an awful and unknown sea, would have left Asia or Africa or Italy to look for Germany?”
Tacitus
“for it is the rare fortune of these days that a man may think what he likes and say what he thinks.”
Tacitus, The Histories I-II
“The majority merely disagreed with other people's proposals, and, as so often happens in these disasters, the best course always seemed the one for which it was now too late.”
Tacitus
“To ravage, to slaughter, to steal, this they give the false name of empire; and where they create a desert, they call it peace.”
Tacitus
“it is the rare fortune of these days that a man may think what he likes and say what he thinks.”
Tacitus, The Complete Tacitus Anthology: The Histories, The Annals, Germania, Agricola, A Dialogue on Oratory (Illustrated)

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