Ab Excessu Divi Aucusti P. Cornelii Taciti
I. Vrbem Romam a principio reges habuere; libertatem et consulatum L. Brutus instituit. Dictaturae ad tempus sumebantur; neque decemviralis potestas ultra biennium, neque tribunorum militum consulare ius diu valuit. Non Cinnae, non Sullae longa dominatio; et Pompei Crassique potentia cito in Caesarem, Lepidi atque Antonii arma in Augustum cessere, qui cuncta discordiis civilibus fessa nomine principis sub imperium accepit. Sed veteris populi Romani prospera vel adversa claris scriptoribus memorata sunt; temporibusque Augusti dicendis non defuere decora ingenia, donec gliscente adulatione deterrerentur. Tiberii Gaique et Claudii ac Neronis res florentibus ipsis ob metum
The Annals Of Tacitus
I. Rome at the outset was a city state under the government of kings: liberty and the consulate were institutions of Lucius Brutus. Dictatorships were always a temporary expedient: the decemviral office was dead within two years, nor was the consular authority of the military tribunes long-lived. Neither Cinna nor Sulla created a lasting despotism: Pompey and Crassus quickly forfeited their power to Caesar, and Lepidus and Antony their swords to Augustus. who, under the style of “Prince,”1 gathered beneath his empire a world outworn by civil broils.2 But, while the glories and disasters of the old Roman commonwealth have been chronicled by famous pens, and intellects of distinction were not lacking to tell the tale of the Augustan age, until the rising tide of sycophancy deterred them, the histories of Tiberius and Caligula, of Claudius and Nero, were falsified
- 1This rendering is generally so convenient as to be inevitable, but the English reader should be careful to strip the word of its monarchical connotation.
- 2The principal dates for the opening sentences are:—b.c. 753 Foundation of Rome; 509 Consulate of L. Brutus; 451–450 (with part of 449) Decemvirate; 445 Institution of Tribuni militum consulari potestate (found with little interruption from 408 to 367); 87–84 Four Consulates of Cinna; 82–79 Dictatorship of Sulla; 53 Battle of Carrhae and death of Crassus; 48 Battle of Pharsalia and death of Pompey (in Egypt); 36 Lepidus divested of his powers by Octavian; 31 Defeat of Antony at Actium; 27 Octavian receives the title of Augustus.