The Ancient Library

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On this page: Tages – Tagos – Talassio – Talaus



is especially important as the source of all our knowledge of the ancient history of Germany. (4) A history of his own times, from Galba to the death of Domitian (69-96), under the title Historic?, in fourteen books, of which books i-iv and the first half of v, covering not quite two years (69-70), have alone been preserved. (5) The history of the Julian house, in sixteen books, published between 115 and 117, beginning with the death of Augustus. (Hence the original title Ab Excessu divi Auyusti ; the usual title, Annales, rests on no authority.) Books i-iv are still complete ; the latter part of the fifth and the beginning of the sixth is missing (the reign of Tiberius a.d. 14-37); while the second half of the eleventh, the whole of books xii-xiv and the first half of xv (the reign of Claudius from the year 47 and the history of Nero as far as 68) are still extant.

The two principal works of Tacitus thus give us a complete history of the em­perors from Tiberius to Domitian. He was probably prevented by his death from com­pleting his design by writing an account of the reign of Augustus, from the battle of Actium, and also including the reigns of Nerva and Trajan. In both works the chronological arrangement of the materials is predominant; they are founded on the most searching and comprehensive study of the historical authorities, and are marked by a thoroughly critical spirit. Tacitus is always extremely careful to ascertain and to record the truth ; he is never satisfied with a mere narrative of events, but seeks to elicit their causes from the facts them­selves. He is an adept in fathoming the hidden thoughts and motives of human agents. His method of treatment is, in exter­nal appearance, entirely objective; but an undercurrent of sympathy, now sad, now cheerful, with the events related, is every­where betraying itself. He is avowedly and resolutely impartial, and his judgment is eminently fair. It is only severe when he is dealing with wrongs done to the State, and to the moral laws of the universe. Thoroughly convinced of the value of virtue, he hates vice, which he seeks to terrify by exposing it to the ignominy of after ages. With all his admiration for the greatness of republican Rome, he is a stanch imperialist, being convinced of the necessity of the Empire for the stability of the State. In contrast with the bright elegance and rich­ness of expression characteristic of his earliest work, as he advances in his literary

activity his style becomes more sombre and pathetic, in accordance with the gloomy and tragic events which he has to describe. He becomes increasingly fond of rhetorical colouring, and avoids the ordinary diction of prose, while seeking to attain sublimity and novelty of style, less by archaisms than by an approximation to poetical expression. His grave and serious purpose finds its counterpart in his efforts to express himself with a terseness and precision which is often peculiarly pointed and epigrammatic. It is in the Annals that this last trait dis­plays itself in its most characteristic form, and on the most extensive scale.

Tages. The son of a Genius and grand­son of Jupiter, said to be a boy with the wisdom of an old man, who, at Tarqulnii, in Etruria, suddenly rose out of a freshly ploughed field. He taught the chiefs (luciimonCs) of the twelve Etruscan tribes, who were summoned by the ploughman Tarchon, how to interpret the sacrifices, together with the lore of thunder and lightning and other kinds of divination which in later times were practised by the hdrusplccs (q.v.). Having done this, he disappeared again as suddenly as he had appeared. The lore of Tages was at first transmitted orally from generation to gene­ration in the chief families, but was after­wards handed down in a comprehensive literature [Cicero, De Div. ii 50, 51; Ovid, Met. xv 558 ff; Lucan, i 637].

Tagfis. The federal commander who was elected by the States composing the Thes-salian federation. He was only elected when occasion required, usually in case of war. He was chosen from the most dis­tinguished of the nobility, generally from the Aleuadae. It was his duty to levy soldiers from the States belonging to the federation, to be their commander, and to fix the amount of tribute to be paid by each member of the league.

Talasslo (Talassius, Talassus). The Roman god of marriage, corresponding to the Greek Hymenasus. He was one of the unknown gods, and was only invoked by the appellation Talasse in the refrain to the epUhdlamla sung when the bride was brought home. A later account makes him one of those who, with Romulus, were principally concerned in the rape of the Sabine women, and hence explains the proverbial use of his name at all marriages [Livy, i 9 § 12].

Talaiis. Great-grandson of Cretheus, son of Bias and Pero, father of Adrastus, Par-

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