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torian and of his peculiarities as a writer; and its most valuable results have been freely incorporated with the notes. Freund's Wörterbuch der Lateinischen Sprache, and Smith's Dictionaries, of Greek and Roman Antiquities, and of Biography and Mythology, the former republished in this country under the supervision of Dr. Anthon, and the latter still issuing in numbers from a London press, have been found very useful, and are often referred to. References are also made to Becker's Gallus, and to the Roman Histories of Niebuhr, Arnold and Schmitz.

It will be seen, that there are not unfrequent references to my edition of the Germania and Agricola. These are not of such a nature, as to render this incomplete without that, or essentially dependent upon it. Still, if both editions are used, it will be found advantageous to read the Germania and Agricola first. The Treatises were written in that order, and in that order they best illustrate the history of the author's mind. The editor has found in his experience as a teacher, that students generally read them in that way with more facility and pleasure, and he has constructed his notes accordingly.

The notes on the Histories have been prepared with the same general views and principles, as those on the Germania and Agricola. In accordance with suggestions in some of the public journals, they have been made somewhat more grammatical. Their value in this respect has been enhanced by more copious references to the excellent grammar of Zumpt in addition to that of Andrews and Stoddard. It is chiefly by way of such references, that the general principles of grammar have been illustrated. Sometimes, however, a concise statement of the principle referred to has been added; and in regard to such idioms and constructions as are more or less peculiar to Tacitus, it has been found necessary to enter into more extended comments. It is hoped, that the notes will be found to contain not only the grammatical, but

likewise all the geographical, archæological and historical illustrations, that are necessary to render the author intelligible. The editor has at least endeavored to avoid the fault, which Lord Bacon says "is over usual in annotations and commentaries, viz. to blanch the obscure places, and discourse upon the plain." But it has been his constant, not to say his chief aim, to carry students beyond the dry details of grammar and lexicography, and introduce them into a familiar acquaintance and lively sympathy with the author and his times, and with that great empire, of whose degeneracy and decline, in its beginnings, he has bequeathed to us so profound and instructive a history. It was for this end, that the Preliminary Remarks were composed; and if they accomplish this result in any considerable degree, though long, they will hardly be thought too long, and they will not have been written in vain.

The Indexes have been prepared with much labor and care, and, it is believed, will add materially to the value of the work.

The editor takes this opportunity to express his grateful sense of the kind reception which has been given to his edition of the Germania and Agricola, and his thanks especially for such notices, whether by letter or in the public journals, as, while they fully appreciate its merits, point out its faults. for correction. If this edition is in any degree more meritorious or less faulty, the superiority will be owing, in no small measure, to such acts of kindness. Besides his obligations to those who have thus favored him, he acknowledges his particular indebtedness to Professor B. B. Edwards of Andover, and Professor H. B. Hackett of Newton, for the aid and encouragement, which they have in various ways extended to him. He has been aided in the correction of the press by Mr. Marshall Henshaw, whose accurate and patient scholarship well fit him to render such and still higher services to classical learning.

With these explanations, the editor takes leave of a work, on which he has bestowed much time and toil, and which, he would fain hope, may contribute in some humble measure to the better understanding and appreciation by his youthful countrymen of an author, a language and a people, formed by nature beyond most, if not beyond all others, to be severally the writer, the vehicle and the subject of history. AMHERST, 1848.


In this Revised Edition, the text and the notes have been carefully collated with those of Ritter in his new edition (Bonn and Cambridge, 1848), and such corrections and additions, as were deemed just and important, have been adopted from this source. I cannot, however, by any means, accept the many gratuitous emendations and dogmatic assertions which disfigure and depreciate this otherwise excellent commentary. Other corrections and improvements have also been made, which have been suggested by use of the book in classes, or to which my attention has been called, whether by private correspondence, or by notices and reviews in the public journals. I have been especially indebted to the critical acumen and accurate scholarship of my friend, Mr. Charles Short, of Roxbury, writing in the Bibliotheca Sacra, for not a few valuable sugges tions and amendments.




1. TACITUS was the inventor of an entirely new style of historic composition; or rather he did not himself designedly form it, but, while he applied himself to writing history with a different design and spirit from other authors, a new style of expression was the natural and necessary result. For formerly it had been a prevalent custom among writers of history, not only to defer writing till they had arrived at a mature age, but also to compose with calm and tranquil feelings; differing in this respect from orators, who were wont to believe that the effect of their speaking would correspond with the degree of energy and emotion with which they spoke. Hence the calm, smooth and flowing style of the ancient historians, even of those who desired to be distinguished from the others by a sort of peculiar dignity.

Now Tacitus was the first to depart from the rules of these writers. For it was the natural bent of his genius, not so much to narrate the mere facts and events of history, which are often fortuitous, but he labored especially to exhibit the character and spirit of the actors in his scenes. Hence his chief merit, his great power, is seen in the delineation of character: whether he labors by description to place before us the image of some distinguished man; or so relates his deeds, that the reader, by his own discernment, forms an opinion of his secret motives and principles of action.

But since constant reflection upon virtue or vice has a very great influence over the passions, he came to write in an excited rather than a tranquil state of mind, so that he seems to possess more of the ardor of youth than of the maturity of age. Now of such a state of mind, a rapid and energetic style is the natural expression and the necessary result. In a word, his style is impetuous, always hastening on to the issue, impatient of delay. And this arose not merely

* Abridged from the Prolegomena of L. Döderlein to his edition of Tacitus, tom. ii., Halle, 1847, and translated from the Latin by Mr. Marshall Henshaw, A, M, Tutor in Amherst College.

from his own natural disposition, but he adapted the style of his narrative to the taste of his age. For, as is usually the case in a time of great moral declension, not only lassitude and listlessness, but also, at the same time, a sort of morbid desire for haste, had taken possession of the spirits of men; while those qualities which are a proper mean between them-calmness of spirit and a healthy activity —are the characteristic of but few. Hence what was formerly considered simplicity and dignified repose, then began to appear dull, spiritless and insipid. Tacitus was therefore impelled at the same time by his own genius, and by the taste of his age, to a hurried style of expression.

But rapidity is opposed to dignity, a grace which cannot be sepa rated from equability and moderation. And since dignity, in ancient times, was the peculiar characteristic and requisite of a good history, so skill was necessary in the later historians to temper rapidity with dignity. To accomplish this purpose, Tacitus employed the utmost diligence in producing an ornamented diction.

Now since I must briefly treat of the style of Tacitus, I will first show by what arts, nay, even by what artifices, he attained to that brevity which we admire as appropriate and peculiar to this writer; secondly, by what means he made his style at the same time dignified and beautiful.*

2. The conciseness of Tacitus is proverbial. But an incorrect notion has prevailed among some, viz. that this consists mostly in the brevity of single expressions, such as resemble the responses of oracles. And this style of writing does indeed prevail in the treatise on Germany, inasmuch as it is best adapted to description; and while John Mueller and others, who seek a reputation for the same, imitate it, they think they are rivalling Tacitus. But, on the contrary, the acute judgment and the consummate skill of this writer are seen in this very thing, that he adopted this style, so rare, only in treating those subjects, the nature of which demanded it, while in other connections he is scarcely less fond of full and rounded periods, not being inferior, in this respect, to Cicero and Livy. At the commencement of the Annals, he hastens, in a series of very brief propositions, to premise whatever was important, from which he passes to a very full and brilliant period, and thus introduces the history itself, as if he would show the difference between the preface and the real history, by a sudden change of diction. The orations, inserted in the narrative, consist, according to the character of the speaker, sometimes of con

* I have been assisted much in this Essay by the Prolegomena of G. Boetticher to the Lexicon on Tacitus, Berlin, 1830; and by the Excursus ad Tac. Agricolam of C. L. Roth, Norimb. 1833.

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