Historians: Record it All, Great and Small

Tacitus, Annals 4.32:

“I am aware that many of the things which I have set down here and which I will write later may perhaps seem small and too trifling to remember, but none of my Annals will contend with the writings of those who wrote out the ancient affairs of the Roman people. They recorded huge wars, the sackings of cities, kings driven to retreat or even captured; if they turned their attention to internal affairs, they related with a free passage the disagreements of the consuls and the tribunes, agrarian and grain legislation, and the contests between the plebeians and the nobles. But my work is narrowly confined and inglorious: an inert or at any rate only moderately disturbed peace, the affairs of a sad city, and an emperor who was wholly unconcerned with enlarging the limits of empire. Yet it would not be useless to look more closely at those things which seem at first sight to be trifling, from which quite often the first movements of great affairs take their start.”

Image result for cornelius tacitus

Pleraque eorum quae rettuli quaeque referam parva forsitan et levia memoratu videri non nescius sum: sed nemo annalis nostros cum scriptura eorum contenderit qui veteres populi Romani res composuere. ingentia illi bella, expugnationes urbium, fusos captosque reges, aut si quando ad interna praeverterent, discordias consulum adversum tribunos, agrarias frumentariasque leges, plebis et optimatium certamina libero egressu memorabant: nobis in arto et inglorius labor; immota quippe aut modice lacessita pax, maestae urbis res et princeps proferendi imperi incuriosus erat. non tamen sine usu fuerit introspicere illa primo aspectu levia ex quis magnarum saepe rerum motus oriuntur.

One thought on “Historians: Record it All, Great and Small

Leave a Reply