Who is Tacitus?

Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus allegedly was a senator and historian of the Roman Empire. It is commonly believed he was born around 56 AD and died around 120 AD. Poggio Bracciolini (1380-1459) is commonly credited as the main rediscoverer of Tacitus’ manuscripts, and is less commonly accused of completely forging the documents.

Tacitus’ works;

1 – Annales, 1-6

2 – Annales, 11-16, Historiae

3 – Minor Works

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Annales 1-6

These 6 books survive in a single manuscript which is held at the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence as MS. put. 68.1. It is called Codex Mediceaus.

This manuscript is believed to have been written around 850 AD in Germany. The manuscript appears out of obscurity in the 16th century.

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Annales 11-16, Historiae

There are reportedly 31 late Italian manuscripts which are copies of a single mediaeval manuscript. It is in the Laurentian library marked as 68.2. It is called “M. II” or “second Medicean”.

This manuscript is believed to have been written in the 11th century. The manuscript appears out of obscurity in the 14th-15th centuries.

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Minor Works

1 – Dialogus

2 – Agricola

3 – Germania

The only surviving copy containing these is the Codex Aesinas Latinus 8 (E). This manuscript was discovered in 1902, it was thought lost, and then it reappeared in 1980.

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Conclusions;

Tacitus’ earliest surviving manuscript was supposedly written in the 9th century. The character of Tacitus appears out of obscurity well after the 14th century.

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References;

(1) – http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/tacitus/

(2) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus

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