Tacitus (c. 56-117+)

“Robbery, butchery, rapine, these liars call ’empire’: they create desolation and call it peace.”

  • Tacitus wrote this quote from the point of view of Calgacus, said to have been a tribal leader in Britannia. It is part of a larger pre-battle speech supposedly made by Calgacus before the Battle of Mons Graupius (83 CE), where he ultimately lost to the forces of Julius Agricola. Tacitus was Julius Agricola’s son-in-law, and he wrote a eulogy/biography in his honor, which he simply titled the Agricola. This quote can be found in section 30 of that work. The translation quoted here was by Harold Mattingly and edited by J. B. Rives (Penguin Classics, 2009).

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