The histories of Roman senator Cornelius Tacitus constitute the most influential examination of tyranny, political behavior and public morality from the classical age. For centuries these portraits of courageous martyrs to freedom, of paranoid tyrants, and of sycophantic flatteres and informers shaped modern political attitudes. Ronald Mellor provides a compelling analysis of the ideas of the greatest historian of evil in the western intellectual tradition.
In Tacitus, Ronald Mellor passionately argues for reclaiming this ironic genius whose cynical world view is particularly well-suited to an analysis of the tyranny and brutality in our own century.
Tacitus is presented as a moralist, psychologist, political analyst and literary artist. Tacitus' greatest impact has never been on historians. Rather, his political vision and dramatic images left their mark on painters, poets and thinkers.