With regard to Tacitus, what do different historians have to say about his view of the principate and the issue of tyranny versus freedom?I would like the names of the different historians and...

With regard to Tacitus, what do different historians have to say about his view of the principate and the issue of tyranny versus freedom?

I would like the names of the different historians and their viewpoints about this issue

Expert Answers
marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

  Tacitus wrote about all the corruption and hypocricy of his day.  Because he lived mostly under the emperor Domitian he knew firsthand the emperor's tyranny, corruption, and decadence.  He was very prone to speaking his mind in bitterness and irony.   I quote from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus   "He warned against the dangers of unaccountable power, against the love of power untempered by principle, and against the popular apathy and corruption, engendered by the wealth of the empire, which allowed such evils to flourish."  He was clearly distraught by all the dishonesty and corruption that was prevalent in the Roman Empire at the time and in his later works especially.  But he didn't always report the facts exactly, often omitting important facts in his exhuberance to expose the wrongs he saw.  One historian said, "Though his work is the most reliable source for the history of his era, its factual accuracy is occasionally questioned."  Historians are quick to note that his writings were very positive in the earlier years of his life but turned negative and almost bitter in the later years!  Some historians claim he had a grandeur and eloquence rare for his time and was comparable only to Cicero. 

Tacitus' writing are very valuable in that his is sometimes the only history we have of a turbulent time. 

If you go to the Internet source I used and scroll down to the Notes, you can find many historians who's works are cited there.