Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the emperors Tiberius, Claudius and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors; these two works span the history of the Roman Empire from the death of Augustus, in 14 AD, to the years of the First Jewish–Roman War, in 70 AD. There are substantial lacunae in the surviving texts, including a gap in the Annals, four books long. Tacitus' other writings discuss oratory and the life of his father-in-law, the general responsible for much of the Roman conquest of Britain focusing on his campaign in Britannia. Tacitus is considered to be one of the greatest Roman historians, he lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature, is known for the brevity and compactness of his Latin prose, as well as for his penetrating insights into the psychology of power politics. Details about his personal life are scarce.
What little is known comes from scattered hints throughout his work, the letters of his friend and admirer Pliny the Younger, an inscription found at Mylasa in Caria. Tacitus was born in 57 to an equestrian family. One scholar's suggestion of Sextus has gained no approval. Most of the older aristocratic families failed to survive the proscriptions which took place at the end of the Republic, Tacitus makes it clear that he owed his rank to the Flavian emperors; the claim that he was descended from a freedman is derived from a speech in his writings which asserts that many senators and knights were descended from freedmen, but this is disputed. His father may have been the Cornelius Tacitus who served as procurator of Germania. There is no mention of Tacitus suffering such a condition, but it is possible that this refers to a brother—if Cornelius was indeed his father; the friendship between the younger Pliny and Tacitus leads some scholars to conclude that they were both the offspring of wealthy provincial families.
The province of his birth remains unknown, though various conjectures suggest Gallia Belgica, Gallia Narbonensis or Northern Italy. His marriage to the daughter of Narbonensian senator Gnaeus Julius Agricola implies that he came from Gallia Narbonensis. Tacitus' dedication to Lucius Fabius Justus in the Dialogus may indicate a connection with Spain, his friendship with Pliny suggests origins in northern Italy. No evidence exists, that Pliny's friends from northern Italy knew Tacitus, nor do Pliny's letters hint that the two men had a common background. Pliny Book 9, Letter 23 reports that, when he was asked if he was Italian or provincial, he gave an unclear answer, so was asked if he was Tacitus or Pliny. Since Pliny was from Italy, some infer that Tacitus was from the provinces Gallia Narbonensis, his ancestry, his skill in oratory, his sympathetic depiction of barbarians who resisted Roman rule have led some to suggest that he was a Celt. This belief stems from the fact that the Celts who had occupied Gaul prior to the Roman invasion were famous for their skill in oratory, had been subjugated by Rome.
As a young man, Tacitus studied rhetoric in Rome to prepare for a career in law and politics. In 77 or 78, he married daughter of the famous general Agricola. Little is known of their domestic life, save that Tacitus loved the outdoors, he started his career under Vespasian, but entered political life as a quaestor in 81 or 82 under Titus. He advanced through the cursus honorum, becoming praetor in 88 and a quindecimvir, a member of the priestly college in charge of the Sibylline Books and the Secular games, he gained acclaim as an orator. He served in the provinces from c. 89 to c. 93, either in command of a legion or in a civilian post. He and his property survived Domitian's reign of terror, but the experience left him jaded and ashamed at his own complicity, giving him the hatred of tyranny evident in his works; the Agricola, chs. 44–45, is illustrative: Agricola was spared those years during which Domitian, leaving now no interval or breathing space of time, but, as it were, with one continuous blow, drained the life-blood of the Commonwealth...
It was not long before our hands dragged Helvidius to prison, before we gazed on the dying looks of Mauricus and Rusticus, before we were steeped in Senecio's innocent blood. Nero turned his eyes away, did not gaze upon the atrocities which he ordered. From his seat in the Senate, he became suffect consul in 97 during the reign of Nerva, being the first of his family to do so. During his tenure, he reached the height of his fame as an orator when he delivered the funeral oration for the famous veteran soldier Lucius Verginius Rufus. In the following year, he wrote and published the Agricola and Germania, foreshadowing the literary endeav
Tarquinia Corneto, is an old city in the province of Viterbo, Italy known chiefly for its ancient Etruscan tombs in the widespread necropoleis or cemeteries which it overlies, for which it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. In 1922 it was renamed after the ancient city of Tarchna. Although little is visible of the once great wealth and extent of the ancient city, archaeology is revealing glimpses of past glories; the Etruscan and Roman city is situated on the long plateau of La Civita to the north of the current town. The ancient burial grounds, dating from the Iron Age to Roman times, were on the adjacent promontories including that of today's Tarquinia. Tarquinii was one of the most important Etruscan cities. Basing on archaeological finds, Tarchuna eclipsed its neighbours well before the advent of written records, it is said to have been a flourishing city when Demaratus of Corinth brought in Greek workmen. Descendants of Demaratus, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus and Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, became kings of ancient Rome.
Numerous Roman religious rites and ceremonies derived from Tarchuna, in imperial times a collegium of sixty haruspices continued to exist there. The emergence of Tarchuna as a trading power as early as the 8th Century BC was influenced by its control of mineral resources located in the Tolfa Hills to the south of the city and midway to the Caeretan port of Pyrgi. In 509 BC, after the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, the family of Tarquinius Superbus went into exile in Caere, he sought to regain the throne at first by the Tarquinian conspiracy and, when that failed, by force of arms. He convinced the cities of Tarchuna and Veii to support him and led their armies against Rome in the Battle of Silva Arsia. Although the Roman army was victorious, it is recorded by Livy that the forces of Tarchuna fought well on the right wing pushing back the Roman left wing. After the battle the forces of Tarchuna returned home. At the end of the 5th century and during the first half of the 4th century BC a brief revival took place, both in the political and artistic sphere under the ascendancy of the Spurinna family, whose members contributed to the renewed expansion of Tarchuna and the repopulation and growth of towns in the hinterland.
The Spurinnas' tomb, known as the Tomba dell'Orco, is decorated with frescoes of a banquet uniting members of the family who are identified by inscriptions. The Spurinna family was prominent in Tarquinii up to the 1st century AD. Two fragmented slabs, known as the Elogia Tarquiniensis, pay tribute to Velthur Spurinnas and Aulus Spurinnas, give a rare glimpse of Etruscan history, including the mention of one King Orgolnium of Caere, recalling the family name of Urgulanilla, which included among its members the wife of the emperor Claudius. During this period, Tarchuna overtook Caere and other Etruscan cities in terms of power and influence. In this period colossal walls were built around the city in response to threats from the Celts and from Rome. Tarchuna, not affected by Celtic invasions colonised all its held territories in about 385 BC; this new flourishing state allowed a rapid recovery of all activities. Large burial monuments decorated by paintings, with sarcophagi and funerary sculptures in stone, reflect the eminent social position of the new aristocratic classes, but several inscriptions on walls and sarcophagi show the gradual process of an democratic transition was taking place.
However, during the 4th century BC when Tarchuna's expansion was at its peak, a bitter struggle with Rome took place. In 358 BC, the citizens of Tarchuna put to death 307 Roman soldiers; when Tarchuna came under Roman domination is uncertain, as is the date at which it became a municipium. Little is known about Tarquinii in Roman times, but the flax and forests of its extensive territory are mentioned by classical authors, Tarquinii offered to furnish Scipio with sailcloth in 195 BC. A bishop of Tarquinii is mentioned in 456 AD; the ancient city had shrunk to a small fortified settlement on the "Castellina" location during the early Middle Ages, while the more strategically placed Corneto grew progressively to become the major city of the lower Maremma sea coast after the destruction of the port of Centumcellae. The last historic references to Tarquinii are from around 1250, while the name of Corneto was changed to Tarquinia in 1922. Reversion to historical place names, was a frequent phenomenon under the Fascist Government of Italy as part of the nationalist campaign to evoke past glories.
The main necropolis of Tarchuna, part of which can be visited today, is the Monterozzi necropolis with some 6,000 tombs, at least 200 of which include beautiful wall paintings, many of which were tumulus tombs with chambers carved in the rock below. The painted scenes are of a quality unrivalled elsewhere in the Etruscan world and give a valuable insight into the secretive world of the Etruscans, docume
Tusculum is a ruined Roman city in the Alban Hills, in the Latium region of Italy. Tusculum was one of the largest Roman cities in the Alban Hills and today is amongst the largest ruins of a Roman city in the region; the Tusculum is located on Tuscolo hill on the northern edge of the outer crater rim of the Alban volcano. The volcano itself is located in the Alban Hills 6 kilometres south of the present-day town of Frascati. Tuscolo Hills' summit is 670 metres above sea level and affords a view of the Roman Campagna, with Rome lying 25 kilometres to the north-west. Rome was reached by the Via Labicana to the north. Tusculum was most famous in Roman times for the many great and luxurious patrician country villas sited close to the city, yet a comfortable distance from Rome. Strabo wrote about Tusculum in Geography, V 3 § 12.: But still closer to Rome than the mountainous country where these cities lie, there is another ridge, which leaves a valley between them and is high as far as Mount Albanus.
It is on this chain, a city with no mean equipment of buildings. According to legend, the city was founded either by Telegonus, the son of Odysseus and Circe, or by the Latin king Latinus Silvius, a descendant of Aeneas, who according to Titus Livius was the founder of most of the towns and cities in Latium; the geographer Filippo Cluverio discounts these legends, asserting that the city was founded by Latins about three hundred years before the Trojan War. Funerary urns datable to the 8th–7th centuries B. C. demonstrate a human presence in the late phases of Latin culture in this area. Tusculum is first mentioned in history as an independent city-state with a king, a constitution and gods of its own; when Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the last King of Rome, was expelled from the city in 509 B. C. he sought military help from his son-in-law Octavius Mamilius, one of the leading men of Tusculum. After the war between Clusium and Rome failed to win back the throne for Tarquinius, he sought refuge with Mamilius in Tusculum.
The Mamilii claimed to be descended from the founder of the city. Mamilius commanded the army of the Latins against the Romans at the Battle of Lake Regillus, where he was killed in 498 B. C; this is the point. According to some accounts Tusculum subsequently became an ally of Rome, incurring the frequent hostilities of the other Latin cities. In 460 B. C. the Sabines occupied the Capitol. Of the Latin cities, only Tusculum sent troops, commanded by the dictator Lucius Mamilius, to help the Romans. Together with the forces of the consul Publius Valerius Poplicola they were able to quash the revolt. Poplicola was thankful to the Tusculans for their help, conferred on Lucius Mamilius the honour of Roman citizenship. In 459 B. C. the Aequi captured its citadel. Because of the assistance given Rome the previous year, the Romans came to their defense, helped regain the citadel, with soldiers under the command of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, who defeated the Aequi at the battle of Mount Algidus. In 381 BC, after an expression of complete submission to Rome, the people of Tusculum received a franchise from Rome.
Tusculum became self-governing city. The Tusculum citizens were therefore recorded in the "Tribus Papiria". Other accounts, speak of Tusculum as allied with Rome's enemies, the last being the Samnites in 323 BC. Several of the chief Roman families were of Tusculan origin, e.g. the gentes Mamilia, Fonteia, Oppia, Quinctia, Javonelia, Manlia and Porcia. In 54 BC, in his Orationes Pro Cn. Plancio, Marcus Tullius Cicero said: "You are from the most ancient municipium of Tusculum, from which so many consular families are originating, among which the gens Iuventia—all other municipia do not have so many coming from them". Varro wrote about the laws of Tusculum in De Lingua Latina, Volume 5: "New wine shall not be taken into the town before the Vinalia are proclaimed"; the town council kept the name of senate. Notwithstanding this, the fact that a special college of Roman equites was formed to take charge of the cults of the gods at Tusculum, of the Dioscuri, the citizens resident there were neither numerous nor men of distinction.
The villas of the neighbourhood had indeed acquired greater importance than the town itself, not accessible. By the end of the Republic, still more during the imperial period, the territory of Tusculum was a favorite place of residence for wealthy Romans. Seneca wrote: "Nobody who wants to acquire a home in Tusculum or Tibur for health reasons or as a summer residence, will calculate how much yearly payments are". In 45 BC Cicero wrote a series of books in his Roman villa in the Tusculanae Quaestiones. In his times there were eighteen owners of villas there. An example is the so-called villa of Lucullus, which belonged to Flavia gens, built in terraces on the slope of Tusculum facing Rome: the vast terrace now houses all the
Tanaquil was the queen of Rome by marriage to Tarquinius Priscus, fifth king of Rome. She had four children, two daughters and two sons, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the seventh and last king of Rome, Arruns Tarquinius, co-conspirator in the foundation of the Republic of Rome. One of her daughters married Servius Tullius; the daughter of a powerful Etruscan family in Tarquinii, Tanaquil thought her husband would make a good leader, but since he was the son of an immigrant, he would not be able to gain power in Tarquinii, where they lived. Knowing this, Tanaquil encouraged him to move to Rome, not at the time dominated by a strong local aristocracy, her strong prophetic abilities helped her to install Tarquin as king and Servius Tullius as the next king. While on the road to Rome, an eagle flew off with Tarquin's hat and returned it to his head. Tanaquil interpreted this as a sign. Tanaquil's prophecy was realized for Tarquin - he became friends with King Ancus Marcius, who made Tarquin guardian of his children.
When the king died before his children were old enough to become successors to the throne, Tarquin used his popularity in the Comitia to be elected the fifth king of Rome. He ruled from 616 to 579 BC. Tanaquil played a role in the rise of Servius Tullius, the sixth king of Rome. Raising him as her own child, Tanaquil believed, her dreams would be realized when, one day Servius was sleeping and his head was surrounded with flames. The fires danced around his head without hurting him and when Servius awoke, the fire disappeared. Taking this as an omen, Tanaquil knew; when Tarquin was assassinated, Tanaquil hid his death from her subjects, instead telling them that Tarquin had been wounded and had Servius himself appointed regent until he got better. After gaining the people's respect and commanding the kingship and Tanaquil announced Tarquin's death; the Senate named Servius king and Tanaquil's son, Arruns Tarquinius, married Servius' daughter, Tullia. In an alternate tradition reported by several Roman chroniclers, Tanaquil changed her name to Gaia Caecilia when she arrived at Rome.
Under this name she was regarded as the model of womanly virtue, skilled in the domestic arts spinning and weaving, she was associated with the origin of various Roman wedding customs. Pliny reports that in his day, six hundred years her spindle and distaff were preserved in the Temple of Sancus, where stood a bronze statue of the queen, together with a purple tunic she had woven for Servius Tullius, according to some authorities a belt upon which Tanaquil had placed a number of healing charms, to which miraculous properties were ascribed. Tanaquil was said to have woven the first tunica recta, the dress traditionally woven by Roman brides for their wedding day, it was supposed that the ancient wedding formula recited by the bride and groom, "ubi tu Gaius, ego Gaia", was a reference to Tanaquil. During the Renaissance, Boccaccio cited Gaia Caecilia in his De Mulieribus Claris as a model of frugality and the simple living style of Roman antiquity. Stemma Tarquiniorum Pliny the Elder, Natural Histories VIII.74.194 Livy, Ab urbe condita I.34, 39, 41 Cassius Dio, Roman History, II Tanaquil..
In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved May 9, 2007, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online:. Raia, Ann R. and Sebesta, Judith Lynn. The World of State. 2006. Retrieved May 9, 2007:. Spalding, Tim; the Ancient Library 2005. Retrieved May 9, 2007:. Thayer, Bill. Roman History, vol.1 Loeb Classical Library edition, 1914. Web page made 2003. Retrieved May 9, 2007:. Bowder, Diana. Who was who in the Roman World. Oxford: Phaidon Press Limited, 1980. Lightman and Benjamin Lightman. Biographical dictionary of ancient Greek and Roman women: notable women from Sappho to Helena. New York: Facts On File, 2000. Salisbury, Joyce E. Encyclopedia of women in the ancient world. Santa Barbara, Calif.:Abc-Clio, 2001
The gens Tarquinia was a plebeian family at ancient Rome associated with Lucius Tarquinius Priscus and Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the fifth and seventh Kings of Rome. Most of the Tarquinii who appear in history are connected in some way with this dynasty, but a few appear during the Republic, others from inscriptions, some dating as late as the fourth century AD; the legendary origin of the Tarquinii who reigned at Rome begins with Demaratus of Corinth, a member of the house of the Bacchiadae at Corinth, expelled in 657 BC. Demaratus settled at Tarquinii in Etruria, where he married an Etruscan noblewoman, had two sons and Arruns, who took the surname Tarquinius after the town of their birth. Denied political advancement due to his father's foreign birth, encouraged by his wife, determined to settle at Rome, where he could hope to attain high station based on his merits, he fell into the retinue of the fourth Roman king, becoming his trusted advisor. Since the Roman monarchy was elected, rather than hereditary, when Marcius died, Tarquinius argued that he should be named the next king, in preference to the sons of Marcius.
Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the seventh and last Roman king, was said to have been the son or grandson of the elder Tarquin, while Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus, one of the first Roman consuls was his cousin. Other Tarquinii are mentioned as part of this family, although it is not clear how some of them were related, it is that there were additional kings and other members of the Tarquin dynasty during this period. It is not clear whether the early Tarquinii should be regarded as plebeians; the consul Collatinus is regarded as a patrician, but as Cornell explains, none of the families that claimed descent from or kinship with the Roman kings were considered patrician in times, while none of Rome's leading patrician families is represented among the kings. The patricians may have chosen the king, but were not eligible for the office, it is unlikely that the kings themselves were admitted to the patriciate once chosen, it may be. The Tarquinii of the Republic were plebeians; the nomen Tarquinius appears to be the Latin form of the Etruscan Tarchna the same as the Tarchunies named in one of the frescoes in the famous François Tomb at Vulci.
The nomen is derived from the city of Tarquinii, in Etruscan Tarchna or Tarchuna, after its legendary founder, the folk-hero Tarchon, although in historical times the Tarchna family had branches at both Tarquinii and Caere. This list includes abbreviated praenomina. For an explanation of this practice, see filiation. Arruns Tarquinius, the elder son of Demaratus, died shortly before his father, who accordingly left his entire fortune to his younger son, unaware that Arruns' wife was pregnant, that his first grandson would inherit nothing. Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, or Tarquin the Elder, the fifth Roman king, according to tradition conquered a number of Latin and Sabine, built the Cloaca Maxima and drained the Roman Forum, laid out the Circus Maximus, doubled the size of the senate, the number of the equites, the Roman cavalry, instituted the Ludi Romani. Arruns Tarquinius Ar. f. Collatinus, the first grandson of Demaratus, was deprived of his inheritance when his grandfather died shortly after his elder son, unaware that his daughter-in-law was pregnant.
According to tradition, young Arruns became known as the needy one. However, when he was grown, his uncle had become King of Rome, he received the command of the Roman garrison at Collatia, thereby obtaining the surname Collatinus. Tarquinia L. f. daughter of the elder Tarquin, married Servius Tullius, was the mother of the two Tulliae. Lucius Tarquinius L. f. Superbus, the seventh and last king of Rome, was the son, or more grandson, of the elder Tarquin, he overthrew his predecessor, Servius Tullius, behaved as a tyrant, but he established Roman hegemony over the Latin League, the Hernici. He built the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitol, but was overthrown by members of his own family and the Roman aristocracy in 509 BC. Arruns L. f. Tarquinius, the brother of Tarquin the Proud, married Tullia, the younger daughter of Servius Tullius, his wife was ambitious, while he was not. Lucius and Tullia murdered their spouses, married one another. Lucius Tarquinius Ar. f. Ar. n. Collatinus, one of the commanders in the army of his cousin, Tarquin the Proud.
He boasted of the fidelity of his wife, which excited the passions of the king's son, Sextus. Sextus' rape of Lucretia set in motion the events that led to the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, but Lucretia took her own life out of shame. Collatinus was elected one of the first consuls, but was called upon to resign and enter into exile by his cousin and colleague, Lucius Junius Brutus, so that none of the hated Tarquins would rule at Rome, to this demand he reluctantly consented. Tarquinia L. f. the sister of Tarquin the Proud, married Marcus Junius Brutus, was the mother of Marcus, whom the king put to death, perceiving in him a potential threat, Lucius, who survived by feigning stupidity becoming one of the first consuls. Titus Tarquinius L. f. L. n. the eldest son of Tarquin the Proud, led
The Etruscan civilization is the modern name given to a powerful and wealthy civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding to Tuscany, south of the Arno river, western Umbria and central Lazio, with offshoots to the north in the Po Valley, in the current Emilia-Romagna, south-eastern Lombardy and southern Veneto, to the south, in some areas of Campania. As distinguished by its unique language, this civilization endured from before the time of the earliest Etruscan inscriptions until its assimilation into the Roman Republic, beginning in the late 4th century BC with the Roman–Etruscan Wars. Culture, identifiably Etruscan developed in Italy after about 900 BC with the Iron Age Villanovan culture, regarded as the oldest phase of Etruscan civilization; the latter gave way in the 7th century BCE to a culture, influenced by Ancient Greek culture, during the Archaic and the Hellenistic period. At its maximum extent, during the foundational period of Rome and the Roman Kingdom, Etruscan civilization flourished in three confederacies of cities: of Etruria, of the Po Valley with the eastern Alps, of Campania.
The league in northern Italy is mentioned in Livy. The decline was gradual, but by 500 BCE the political destiny of Italy had passed out of Etruscan hands; the last Etruscan cities were formally absorbed by Rome around 100 BCE. Although the Etruscans developed a system of writing, the Etruscan language remains only understood, only a handful of texts of any length survive, making modern understanding of their society and culture dependent on much and disapproving Roman and Greek sources. Politics was based on the small city and the family unit. In their heyday, the Etruscan elite grew rich through trade with the Celtic world to the north and the Greeks to the south and filled their large family tombs with imported luxuries. Archaic Greece had a huge influence on their art and architecture, Greek mythology was evidently familiar to them; the Etruscans called themselves Rasenna, syncopated to Rasna or Raśna, while the ancient Romans referred to the Etruscans as the Tuscī or Etruscī. Their Roman name is the origin of the terms "Toscana", which refers to their heartland, "Etruria", which can refer to their wider region.
In Attic Greek, the Etruscans were known as Tyrrhenians, from which the Romans derived the names Tyrrhēnī, Tyrrhēnia, Mare Tyrrhēnum, prompting some to associate them with the Teresh. The origins of the Etruscans are lost in prehistory, although Greek historians as early as the 5th century BC associated the Tyrrhenians with Pelasgians, which could both be broad descriptive terms. Strabo and the Homeric Hymn to Dionysus make mention of the Tyrrhenians as pirates. Thucydides and Strabo all denote Lemnos as settled by Pelasgians, whom Thucydides identifies as "belonging to the Tyrrhenians". Although both Strabo and Herodotus agree that Tyrrhenus / Tyrsenos, son of Atys, king of Lydia, led the migration, Strabo specifies that it was the Pelasgians of Lemnos and Imbros who followed Tyrrhenus to the Italian Peninsula. A link between Lemnos and the Tyrrhenians was further manifested by the discovery of the Lemnos Stele, whose inscriptions were written in a language which shows strong structural resemblances to the language of the Etruscans.
This has led to the suggestion of a "Tyrrhenian language group" comprising Etruscan and the Raetic spoken in the Alps. Hellanicus of Lesbos records a Pelasgian migration from Thessaly to the Italian peninsula, noting that "the Pelasgi made themselves masters of some of the lands belonging to the Umbri". By contrast, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, a Greek writer living in Rome, dismisses many of the ancient theories of the other Greek historians and postulates that the Etruscans were indigenous people who had always lived in Etruria. For this reason, therefore, I am persuaded that the Pelasgians are a different people from the Tyrrhenians, and I do not believe, that the Tyrrhenians were a colony of the Lydians. For they neither worship the same gods as the Lydians nor make use of similar laws or institutions, but in these respects they differ more from the Lydians than from the Pelasgians. Indeed, those come nearest to the truth who declare that the nation migrated from nowhere else, but was native to the country, since it is found to be a ancient nation and to agree with no other either in its language or in its manner of living.
Furthermore, Dionysius of Halicarnassus is the first ancient writer who reports the endonym of the Etruscans: Rasenna. The Romans, give them other names: from the country they once inhabited, named Etruria, they call them Etruscans, from their knowledge of the ceremonies relating to divine worship, in which they excel others, they now call them, rather inaccurately, but with the same accuracy as the Greeks, they called them Thyoscoï, their own name for themselves, however, is the same as that of one of Rasenna. Livy in his Ab Urbe Condita Libri says the Rhaetians were Etruscans driven into the mountains by the invading Gauls, asserts that the inhabitants of Raetia were of Etruscan origin; the Alpine tribes have no doubt, the same origin the Raetians.
Natural History (Pliny)
The Natural History is a book about the whole of the natural world in Latin by Pliny the Elder, a Roman author and naval commander who died in 79 AD. It is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman Empire to the modern day and purports to cover all ancient knowledge; the work's subject area is thus not limited to. It is encyclopedic in scope; the work is divided into 37 books, organised into ten volumes. These cover topics including astronomy, geography, anthropology, human physiology, botany, horticulture, mining, sculpture and precious stones. Pliny's Natural History became a model for encyclopedias and scholarly works as a result of its breadth of subject matter, its referencing of original authors, its index; the work is dedicated to the emperor Titus, a son of Pliny's close friend, the emperor Vespasian, in the first year of Titus's reign. It is the only work by Pliny to have survived, the last that he published, he began it in 77, had not made a final revision at the time of his death during the AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius.
Pliny's Natural History was written alongside other substantial works. Pliny combined his scholarly activities with a busy career as an imperial administrator for the emperor Vespasian. Much of his writing was done at night; as for the nocturnal hours spent writing, these were seen not as a loss of sleep but as an addition to life, for as he states in the preface, Vita vigilia est, "to be alive is to be watchful", in a military metaphor of a sentry keeping watch in the night. Pliny claims to be the only Roman to have undertaken such a work, in his prayer for the blessing of the universal mother: Hail to thee, thou parent of all things! and do thou deign to show thy favour unto me, alone of all the citizens of Rome, have, in thy every department, thus made known thy praise. The Natural History is encyclopaedic in scope. However, it does have structure: Pliny uses Aristotle's division of nature to recreate the natural world in literary form. Rather than presenting compartmentalised, stand-alone entries arranged alphabetically, Pliny's ordered natural landscape is a coherent whole, offering the reader a guided tour: "a brief excursion under our direction among the whole of the works of nature..."
The work is unified but varied: "My subject is the world of nature... or in other words, life," he tells Titus. Nature for Pliny was divine, a pantheistic concept inspired by the Stoic philosophy which underlies much of his thought, but the deity in question was a goddess whose main purpose was to serve the human race: "nature, life" is human life in a natural landscape. After an initial survey of cosmology and geography, Pliny starts his treatment of animals with the human race, "for whose sake great Nature appears to have created all other things"; this teleological view of nature was common in antiquity and is crucial to the understanding of the Natural History. The components of nature are not just described in and for themselves, but with a view to their role in human life. Pliny devotes a number of the books to plants, with a focus on their medicinal value. Pliny's premise is distinct from modern ecological theories, reflecting the prevailing sentiment of his time. Pliny's work reflects Rome's imperial expansion which brought new and exciting things to the capital: exotic eastern spices, strange animals to be put on display or herded into the arena the alleged phoenix sent to the emperor Claudius in AD 47 – although, as Pliny admits, this was acknowledged to be a fake.
Pliny repeated Aristotle's maxim. Nature's variety and versatility were claimed to be infinite: "When I have observed nature she has always induced me to deem no statement about her incredible." This led Pliny to recount rumours of strange peoples on the edges of the world. These monstrous races – the Cynocephali or Dog-Heads, the Sciapodae, whose single foot could act as a sunshade, the mouthless Astomi, who lived on scents – were not new, they had been mentioned in the 5th century BC by the Greek historian Herodotus but Pliny made them better known."As full of variety as nature itself", stated Pliny's nephew, Pliny the Younger, this verdict explains the appeal of the Natural History since Pliny's death in the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. Pliny had gone to investigate the strange cloud – "shaped like an umbrella pine", according to his nephew – rising from the mountain; the Natural History was one of the first ancient European texts to be printed, in Venice in 1469. Philemon Holland's English translation of 1601 has influenced literature since.
The Natural History consists of 37 books. Pliny devised a summarium, or list of contents, at the beginning of the work, interpreted by modern printers as a table of contents; the table below is a summary based on modern names for topics. Pliny's purpose in writing the Natural History was to cover all learning and art so far as they are connected with nature or draw their materials from nature, he says:My subject is a barren one – t