why Tacitus? Tacitus was a man of the past -- a man who yearned for a bygone Republic, and a man upon whom the Caesars imparted no awe. In an age of pandering, syncophantic rhetoric, his Annals were an unsparing look at the crimes and depravity of the imperial houses -- not to mention the degradation and loss of liberty that came with the advent of Empire. If his nostalgia for the Republic was assuredly too rosy, his eye for tyranny was nonetheless keen.
Why Tacitus? Because we too live in an era of early empire, with a simpler republic still in living memory. And because we too can do nothing more than write about it.
Tac promises to address these topics in the near future:
- War predictions I got wrong.
- What the "Islamic" opposition to US occupation of Iraq means.
- Why the WMD casus belli is coming back to bite us.