Tacitus’ Lost Book: de Manicula

Readers have previously been treated to recently discovered lost texts of Caesar’s Bellum Incivile. We have also recently unearthed a lost appendix to Tacitus’ Annals, translated here for the first time:

“At first, presidents managed the state; gradually, the power of the people was reduced; the domination of Reagan and Bush were not intolerable, and the power of Bush was quickly transferred to Obama. While the state was prosperous, savagery and cowardice invaded minds, and people we contending among each other in their hatred. When Obama had discharged his office, there was no probity, no leader left, but all things were handed into the tiny hands of Manicula who, simulating the president was acting the dictator, was goading everyone on with hatred, and was appropriating for himself the powers of the senate, the magistrates, and the laws with many opposing him in vain. The more prone one was to stupidity, the more he was raised up with honors. Virtue, intelligence, and industry were considered malice. Many, with their hatred turned on other people, were urging Manicula to built a wall, eliminate justice, elevate drunkards to the highest court, and devastate the earth. His first crime was quickly turned into the second, third, fourth… Manicula himself, as his fortune continued to plummet, was conducting himself all the more savagely and promised that he would leave nothing but the ash of a once great nation if all the power of perpetrating evil were not placed in his hands. And so, liberty was lost as many people assisted Manicula.”

Primo civitatem praesidentes habuere; gradatim potestas populi minuta est; non Regani, non Fruticis intolerabilis dominatio, et potentia Fruticis cito in Obamam versa est. florentibus rebus saevitia ignaviaque in animos invasit, et homines inter se odiis decertabant. cum Obama imperio defunctus esset nulla probitas nullusque dux reliquus sed omnia in parvas manus Maniculae tradita sunt qui se praesidentem ferens dictaturam agebat, cunctos odio incitabat, munia senatus magistratuum legum in se trahebat multis frustra adversantibus. quanto quis stultitia promptior honoribus extolleretur. virtus prudentia industria pro malitia habita. multi iam odio in alios verso Maniculam urgebant ut muros aedificaret iustitiam deleret ebrios ad summum tribunal extolleret orbem terrarum vastaret. primum facinus statim in secundum tertium quartum versum. Manicula ipse fortuna in peius cadente eo ferocius se agebat et saepe promisit se nihil praeter cinerem e quondam magna civitate relicturum esse nisi omnis potestas male agendi in se poneretur. ita libertate amissa plerisque Maniculam adiuvantibus.

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3 thoughts on “Tacitus’ Lost Book: de Manicula

    1. I *tried* to imitate that masterful Tacitean style, but when you really look hard at it, he’s such a literary anarchist that it feels wholly inimitable!

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