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Tacitus Quotes


Publius Tacitus or Gaius Cornelius Tacitus, Roman orator, lawyer, and senator.
(ca. 56 – ca. 117)

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A bad peace is even worse than war.
[War]
 

A desire to resist oppression is implanted in the nature of man.
 

A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.
 

Abuse if you slight it, will gradually die away; but if you show yourself irritated, you will be thought to have deserved it.
 

All enterprises that are entered into with indiscreet zeal may be pursued with great vigor at first, but are sure to collapse in the end.
 

All things atrocious and shameless flock from all parts to Rome.
 

All things now held to be old were once new. - What today we hold up by example, will rank hereafter as precedent.
[Antiquity]
 

Be assured those will be thy worst enemies, not to whom thou hast done evil, but who have done evil to thee. And those will be thy best friends, not to whom thou hast done good, but who have done good to thee.
[History]
 

Candor and generosity, unless tempered by due moderation, leads to ruin.
[Ruin]
 

Custom adapts itself to expediency.
 

Fear is not in the habit of speaking truth; when perfect sincerity is expected, perfect freedom must be allowed; nor has anyone who is apt to be angry when he hears the truth any cause to wonder that he does not hear it.
[Truth]
 

Flatterers are the worst kind of enemies.
[Flattery]
 

Greater things are believed of those who are absent.
[Absence]
 

He that fights and runs away, May turn and fight another day; But he that is in battle slain, Will never rise to fight again.
 

He who is next heir to supreme power, is always suspected and hated by him who actually wields it.
[Jealousy]
 

In a state where corruption abounds, laws must be very numerous.
 

It is human nature to hate the man whom you have hurt.
[Hatred]
 

It is less difficult to bear misfortunes than to remain uncorrupted by pleasure.
 

It is of eloquence as of a flame; it requires matter to feed it, and motion to excite it; and it brightens as it burns.
[Eloquence]
 

Love of fame is the last thing even learned men can bear to be parted from.
 


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