Friesland historically known as Frisia, is a province of the Netherlands located in the northern part of the country. It is situated west of Groningen, northwest of Drenthe and Overijssel, north of Flevoland, northeast of North Holland, south of the Wadden Sea. In 2015, the province had a population of 646,092 and a total area of 5,100 km2; the capital and seat of the provincial government is the city of Leeuwarden, a city with 91,817 inhabitants. Since 2017, Arno Brok is the King's Commissioner in the province. A coalition of the Labour Party, the Christian Democratic Appeal, the Frisian National Party forms the executive branch; the province is divided into 18 municipalities. The area of the province was once part of the ancient, larger region of Frisia; the official languages of Friesland are West Dutch. In 1996 the States of Friesland resolved that the official name of the province should follow the West Frisian spelling rather than the Dutch spelling, resulting in "Friesland" being replaced by "Fryslân".
In 2004 the Dutch government confirmed this resolution, putting in place a three-year scheme to oversee the name change and associated cultural programme. The province of Friesland is referred to as "Frisia" by, amongst others, Hanno Brand, head of the history and literature department at the Fryske Akademy since 2009. However, the English-language webpage of the Friesland Provincial Council refers to the province as "Fryslân"; the Frisii were among the migrating Germanic tribes that, following the breakup of Celtic Europe in the 4th century BC, settled along the North Sea. They came to control the area from present-day Bremen to Brugge, conquered many of the smaller offshore islands. What little is known of the Frisii is provided by a few Roman accounts, most of them military. Pliny the Elder said their lands were forest-covered with tall trees growing up to the edge of the lakes, they lived by raising cattle. In his Germania, Tacitus would describe all the Germanic peoples of the region as having elected kings with limited powers and influential military leaders who led by example rather than by authority.
The people lived in spread-out settlements. He noted the weakness of Germanic political hierarchies in reference to the Frisii, when he mentioned the names of two kings of the 1st century Frisii and added that they were kings "as far as the Germans are under kings". In the 1st century BC, the Frisii halted a Roman advance and thus managed to maintain their independence; some or all of the Frisii may have joined into the Frankish and Saxon peoples in late Roman times, but they would retain a separate identity in Roman eyes until at least 296, when they were forcibly resettled as laeti and thereafter disappear from recorded history. Their tentative existence in the 4th century is confirmed by archaeological discovery of a type of earthenware unique to 4th-century Frisia, called terp Tritzum, showing that an unknown number of Frisii were resettled in Flanders and Kent as laeti under the aforementioned Roman coercion; the lands of the Frisii were abandoned by c. 400 as a result of the conflicts of the Migration Period, climate deterioration, the flooding caused by a rise in the sea level.
The area lay empty for one or two centuries, when changing environmental and political conditions made the region habitable again. At that time, during the Migration Period, "new" Frisians repopulated the coastal regions; these Frisians consisted of tribes with loose bonds, centred without great power. The earliest Frisian records name four social classes, the ethelings and frilings, who together made up the "Free Frisians" who might bring suit at court, the laten or liten with the slaves, who were absorbed into the laten during the Early Middle Ages, as slavery was not so much formally abolished, as evaporated; the laten were tenants of lands they did not own and might be tied to it in the manner of serfs, but in times might buy their freedom. Under the rule of King Aldgisl, the Frisians came in conflict with the Frankish mayor of the palace Ebroin, over the old Roman border fortifications. Aldgisl could keep the Franks at a distance with his army. During the reign of Redbad, the tide turned in favour of the Franks.
In 733, Charles Martel sent an army against the Frisians. The Frisian army was pushed back to Eastergoa; the next year the Battle of the Boarn took place. Charles ferried an army across the Almere with a fleet; the Frisians were defeated in the ensuing battle, their last king Poppo was killed. The victors began burning heathen sanctuaries. Charles Martel returned with much loot, broke the power of the Frisian kings for good; the Franks annexed the Frisian lands between the Vlie and the Lauwers. They conquered the area east of the Lauwers in 785; the Carolingians laid Frisia under the rule of grewan, a title, loosely related to count in its early sense of "governor" rather than "feudal overlord". About 100,000 Dutch drowned in a flood in 1228. When, around 800, the Scandinavian Vikings first attacked Frisia, still under Carolingian rule, the Frisians were released from military service on foreign territory in order to be able to defend themselves against the heathen Vikings. With their victory in the Battle of Norditi in 884 they were able to drive the Vikings permanently out of East Frisia, although it remained under constan
Runes are the letters in a set of related alphabets known as runic alphabets, which were used to write various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialised purposes thereafter. The Scandinavian variants are known as futhark or fuþark. Runology is the study of the runic alphabets, runic inscriptions and their history. Runology forms a specialised branch of Germanic linguistics; the earliest runic inscriptions date from around 150 AD. The characters were replaced by the Latin alphabet as the cultures that had used runes underwent Christianisation, by 700 AD in central Europe and 1100 AD in northern Europe. However, the use of runes persisted for specialized purposes in northern Europe; until the early 20th century, runes were used in rural Sweden for decorative purposes in Dalarna and on Runic calendars. The three best-known runic alphabets are the Elder Futhark, the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, the Younger Futhark; the Younger Futhark is divided further into the long-branch runes.
The Younger Futhark developed further into the Medieval runes, the Dalecarlian runes. The runic alphabet is a derivation of the Old Italic scripts of antiquity, with the addition of some innovations. Which variant of the Old Italic family in particular gave rise to the runes is uncertain. Suggestions include Raetic, Etruscan, or Old Latin as candidates. At the time, all of these scripts had the same angular letter shapes suited for epigraphy, which would become characteristic of the runes; the process of transmission of the script is unknown. The oldest inscriptions are found in northern Germany. A "West Germanic hypothesis" suggests transmission via Elbe Germanic groups, while a "Gothic hypothesis" presumes transmission via East Germanic expansion; the runes were in use among the Germanic peoples from the 1st or 2nd century AD. This period corresponds to the late Common Germanic stage linguistically, with a continuum of dialects not yet separated into the three branches of centuries: North Germanic, West Germanic, East Germanic.
No distinction is made in surviving runic inscriptions between long and short vowels, although such a distinction was present phonologically in the spoken languages of the time. There are no signs for labiovelars in the Elder Futhark The term runes is used to distinguish these symbols from Latin and Greek letters, it is attested on a 6th-century Alamannic runestaff as runa and as runo on the 4th-century Einang stone. The name comes from the Germanic root run-, meaning "secret" or "whisper". In Old Irish Gaelic, the word rún means "mystery", "secret", "intention" or "affectionate love." In Welsh and Old English, the word rhin and rūn means "mystery", "secret", "secret writing", or sometimes in the extreme sense of the word, "miracle". Ogham is a Celtic script carved in the Norse manner; the root run- can be found in the Baltic languages, meaning "speech". In Lithuanian, runoti means both "to cut" and "to speak". According to another theory, the Germanic root comes from the Indo-European root *reuə- "dig".
The Finnish term for rune, means "scratched letter". The Finnish word runo means "poem" and comes from the same source as the English word "rune"; the runes developed centuries after the Old Italic alphabets from which they are historically derived. The debate on the development of the runic script concerns the question regarding which of the Italic alphabets should be taken as their point of origin and which, if any, signs should be considered original innovations added to the letters found in the Italic scripts; the historical context of the script's origin is the cultural contact between Germanic people, who served as mercenaries in the Roman army, the Italian peninsula during the Roman imperial period. The formation of the Elder Futhark was complete by the early 5th century, with the Kylver Stone being the first evidence of the futhark ordering as well as of the p rune; the Raetic alphabet of Bolzano is advanced as a candidate for the origin of the runes, with only five Elder Futhark runes having no counterpart in the Bolzano alphabet.
Scandinavian scholars tend to favor derivation from the Latin alphabet itself over Raetic candidates. A "North Etruscan" thesis is supported by the inscription on the Negau helmet dating to the 2nd century BC; this features a Germanic name, Harigast. Giuliano and Larissa Bonfante suggest that runes derived from some North Italic alphabet Venetic: but since Romans conquered Veneto after 200 BC, the Latin alphabet became prominent and Venetic culture diminished in importance, Germanic people could have adopted the Venetic alphabet within 3rd century BC or earlier; the angular shapes of the runes are shared with most contemporary alphabets of the period that were used for carving in wood or stone. There are no horizontal strokes: when
The IJsselmeer is a closed off inland bay in the central Netherlands bordering the provinces of Flevoland, North Holland and Friesland. It measures 1,100 km2 with an average depth of 5.5 m. The river IJssel flows into the IJsselmeer; the first two letters of the name are capitalized because IJ is a digraph or a ligature in Dutch, so it is treated as a single letter. Two thousand years ago Pomponius Mela, a Roman geographer, mentioned a complex of lakes at the current location of the IJsselmeer, he called it Lacus Flevo. Over the centuries, the lake banks crumbled away due to flooding and wave action and the lake grew considerably. During the 12th and 13th centuries, storm surges and rising sea levels flooded large areas of land between the lake and the North Sea, turning the lake into a bay of the North Sea, called the Zuiderzee; the Zuiderzee continued to be a threat to the Dutch when northwesterly storms funnel North Sea waters towards the English Channel, creating high tides along the Dutch coast.
During the 17th century, Zuiderzee dikes collapsed several times and plans were drawn up to eliminate the threat by draining the bay. Drainage plans focused on creating fertile farmland, but it never got beyond the planning stage. It was only after the flood of 1916 that the legislature approved the Zuiderzee Works, a major hydraulic engineering project that involved building dikes, draining parts of the Zuiderzee and constructing the Afsluitdijk to keep tides and high water out. In 1932 the Zuiderzee was closed off by the Afsluitdijk, a 32-kilometre dike connecting Friesland and Noord-Holland on either side of the Zuiderzee; the Zuiderzee was renamed IJsselmeer. The continued flow of riverwater flushed out the saltwater. From 1929 till 1967, over half the IJsselmeer was drained, creating 1,979 km2 of polders: Wieringermeerpolder, Noordoostpolder and South Flevoland. In 1975, a dike was built between Enkhuizen and Lelystad as northern boundary of the Markerwaard, a planned but never realized polder in the IJsselmeer.
This dike, the Houtribdijk or Markerwaarddijk, split the IJsselmeer in two parts. The former southern part of the IJsselmeer is now the hydrologically separate Markermeer. In 1986 three polders in the IJsselmeer constituted the new province of Flevoland, the twelfth province of the Netherlands. Due to considerable amounts of water from the Rhine flowing through its distributary IJssel into the IJsselmeer, the closed off bay functions as a large freshwater reservoir, serving as a source for agriculture and drinking water. Outlet sluices in the Afsluitdijk regulate the water level of the IJsselmeer; the IJsselmeer is used for fishing. It offers a number of opportunities for recreational activity, both on the water and on its shores. Due to the shallowness of the IJsselmeer, the Markermeer and the bordering lakes, its cities and fishing villages remained unspoilt and have many historical buildings. To note the IJsselmeer is home to the offshore segments of Windpark Noordoostpolder. In the future, Windpark Fryslan will be built in this bay.
Ketelmeer, a small bay between the IJsselmeer and the mouth of the river IJssel. IJsseloog, an artificial island in the Ketelmeer, built as a repository for contaminated silt
International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based on the Latin alphabet. It was devised by the International Phonetic Association in the late 19th century as a standardized representation of the sounds of spoken language; the IPA is used by lexicographers, foreign language students and teachers, speech-language pathologists, actors, constructed language creators and translators. The IPA is designed to represent only those qualities of speech that are part of oral language: phones, phonemes and the separation of words and syllables. To represent additional qualities of speech, such as tooth gnashing and sounds made with a cleft lip and cleft palate, an extended set of symbols, the extensions to the International Phonetic Alphabet, may be used. IPA symbols are composed of one or more elements of two basic types and diacritics. For example, the sound of the English letter ⟨t⟩ may be transcribed in IPA with a single letter, or with a letter plus diacritics, depending on how precise one wishes to be.
Slashes are used to signal broad or phonemic transcription. Letters or diacritics are added, removed or modified by the International Phonetic Association; as of the most recent change in 2005, there are 107 letters, 52 diacritics and four prosodic marks in the IPA. These are shown in the current IPA chart, posted below in this article and at the website of the IPA. In 1886, a group of French and British language teachers, led by the French linguist Paul Passy, formed what would come to be known from 1897 onwards as the International Phonetic Association, their original alphabet was based on a spelling reform for English known as the Romic alphabet, but in order to make it usable for other languages, the values of the symbols were allowed to vary from language to language. For example, the sound was represented with the letter ⟨c⟩ in English, but with the digraph ⟨ch⟩ in French. However, in 1888, the alphabet was revised so as to be uniform across languages, thus providing the base for all future revisions.
The idea of making the IPA was first suggested by Otto Jespersen in a letter to Paul Passy. It was developed by Alexander John Ellis, Henry Sweet, Daniel Jones, Passy. Since its creation, the IPA has undergone a number of revisions. After revisions and expansions from the 1890s to the 1940s, the IPA remained unchanged until the Kiel Convention in 1989. A minor revision took place in 1993 with the addition of four letters for mid central vowels and the removal of letters for voiceless implosives; the alphabet was last revised in May 2005 with the addition of a letter for a labiodental flap. Apart from the addition and removal of symbols, changes to the IPA have consisted of renaming symbols and categories and in modifying typefaces. Extensions to the International Phonetic Alphabet for speech pathology were created in 1990 and adopted by the International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association in 1994; the general principle of the IPA is to provide one letter for each distinctive sound, although this practice is not followed if the sound itself is complex.
This means that: It does not use combinations of letters to represent single sounds, the way English does with ⟨sh⟩, ⟨th⟩ and ⟨ng⟩, or single letters to represent multiple sounds the way ⟨x⟩ represents /ks/ or /ɡz/ in English. There are no letters that have context-dependent sound values, as do "hard" and "soft" ⟨c⟩ or ⟨g⟩ in several European languages; the IPA does not have separate letters for two sounds if no known language makes a distinction between them, a property known as "selectiveness". Among the symbols of the IPA, 107 letters represent consonants and vowels, 31 diacritics are used to modify these, 19 additional signs indicate suprasegmental qualities such as length, tone and intonation; these are organized into a chart. The letters chosen for the IPA are meant to harmonize with the Latin alphabet. For this reason, most letters modifications thereof; some letters are neither: for example, the letter denoting the glottal stop, ⟨ʔ⟩, has the form of a dotless question mark, derives from an apostrophe.
A few letters, such as that of the voiced pharyngeal fricative, ⟨ʕ⟩, were inspired by other writing systems. Despite its preference for harmonizing with the Latin script, the International Phonetic Association has admitted other letters. For example, before 1989, the IPA letters for click consonants were ⟨ʘ⟩, ⟨ʇ⟩, ⟨ʗ⟩, ⟨ʖ⟩, all of which were derived either from existing IPA letters, or from Latin and Greek letters. However, except for ⟨ʘ⟩, none of these letters were used among Khoisanists or Bantuists, as a result they were replaced by the more widespread symbols ⟨ʘ⟩, ⟨ǀ⟩, ⟨ǃ⟩, ⟨ǂ⟩, ⟨ǁ⟩ at the IPA Kiel Convention in 1989. Although the IPA diacritics are featural, there is little systemicity in the letter forms. A retroflex articulation is indicated with a right-swinging tail, as in ⟨ɖ ʂ ɳ⟩, implosion by a top hook, ⟨ɓ ɗ ɠ⟩, but other pseudo-featural elements are due to haphazard derivation and coincidence. For example, all nasal consonants but uvular ⟨ɴ⟩ are based on the form ⟨n⟩: ⟨m ɱ n ɳ ɲ ŋ⟩.
However, the similarity between ⟨m⟩ and ⟨n⟩ is a historical accident. Some of the new letters were ordinary Latin letters tu
The North Sea is a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean located between the United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and France. An epeiric sea on the European continental shelf, it connects to the ocean through the English Channel in the south and the Norwegian Sea in the north, it is more than 970 kilometres long and 580 kilometres wide, with an area of 570,000 square kilometres. The North Sea has long been the site of important European shipping lanes as well as a major fishery; the sea is a popular destination for recreation and tourism in bordering countries and more has developed into a rich source of energy resources including fossil fuels and early efforts in wave power. The North Sea has featured prominently in geopolitical and military affairs in Northern Europe, it was important globally through the power northern Europeans projected worldwide during much of the Middle Ages and into the modern era. The North Sea was the centre of the Vikings' rise. Subsequently, the Hanseatic League, the Netherlands, the British each sought to dominate the North Sea and thus access to the world's markets and resources.
As Germany's only outlet to the ocean, the North Sea continued to be strategically important through both World Wars. The coast of the North Sea presents a diversity of geographical features. In the north, deep fjords and sheer cliffs mark the Norwegian and Scottish coastlines, whereas in the south, the coast consists of sandy beaches and wide mudflats. Due to the dense population, heavy industrialization, intense use of the sea and area surrounding it, there have been various environmental issues affecting the sea's ecosystems. Adverse environmental issues – including overfishing and agricultural runoff and dumping, among others – have led to a number of efforts to prevent degradation of the sea while still making use of its economic potential; the North Sea is bounded by the Orkney Islands and east coast of Great Britain to the west and the northern and central European mainland to the east and south, including Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and France. In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean.
In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively. In the north it is bordered by the Shetland Islands, connects with the Norwegian Sea, which lies in the north-eastern part of the Atlantic; the North Sea is more than 970 kilometres long and 580 kilometres wide, with an area of 570,000 square kilometres and a volume of 54,000 cubic kilometres. Around the edges of the North Sea are sizeable islands and archipelagos, including Shetland and the Frisian Islands; the North Sea receives freshwater from a number of European continental watersheds, as well as the British Isles. A large part of the European drainage basin empties into the North Sea, including water from the Baltic Sea; the largest and most important rivers flowing into the North Sea are the Elbe and the Rhine – Meuse watershed. Around 185 million people live in the catchment area of the rivers discharging into the North Sea encompassing some industrialized areas.
For the most part, the sea lies on the European continental shelf with a mean depth of 90 metres. The only exception is the Norwegian trench, which extends parallel to the Norwegian shoreline from Oslo to an area north of Bergen, it has a maximum depth of 725 metres. The Dogger Bank, a vast moraine, or accumulation of unconsolidated glacial debris, rises to a mere 15 to 30 m below the surface; this feature has produced the finest fishing location of the North Sea. The Long Forties and the Broad Fourteens are large areas with uniform depth in fathoms; these great banks and others make the North Sea hazardous to navigate, alleviated by the implementation of satellite navigation systems. The Devil's Hole lies 200 miles east of Scotland; the feature is a series of asymmetrical trenches between 20 and 30 kilometres long and two kilometres wide and up to 230 metres deep. Other areas which are less deep are Fisher Bank and Noordhinder Bank; the International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the North Sea as follows: On the Southwest.
A line joining the Walde Lighthouse and Leathercoat Point. On the Northwest. From Dunnet Head in Scotland to Tor Ness in the Island of Hoy, thence through this island to the Kame of Hoy on to Breck Ness on Mainland through this island to Costa Head and to Inga Ness in Westray through Westray, to Bow Head, across to Mull Head and on to Seal Skerry and thence to Horse Island. On the North. From the North point of the Mainland of the Shetland Islands, across to Graveland Ness in the Island of Yell, through Yell to Gloup Ness and across to Spoo Ness in Unst island, through Unst to Herma Ness, on to the SW point of the Rumblings and to Muckle Flugga all these being included in the North Sea area.
Anglo-Saxon runes are runes used by the early Anglo-Saxons as an alphabet in their writing. The characters are known collectively as the futhorc, from the Old English sound values of the first six runes; the futhorc was a development from the 24-character Elder Futhark. Since the futhorc runes are thought to have first been used in Frisia before the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain, they have been called Anglo-Frisian runes, they were used from the 5th century onward, recording Old English and Old Frisian. They were supplanted in Anglo-Saxon England by the Old English Latin alphabet introduced by Irish missionaries. Futhorc runes were no longer in common use by the eleventh century, though manuscripts show that accurate understanding of them persisted into at least the twelfth century. There are competing theories about the origins of the Anglo-Saxon futhorc. One theory proposes that it was developed in Frisia and from there spread to England. Another holds that runes were first introduced to England from Scandinavia where the futhorc was modified and exported to Frisia.
Both theories have their inherent weaknesses, a definitive answer may come from further archaeological evidence. The early futhorc was identical to the Elder Futhark, except for the split of ᚨ a into three variants ᚪ āc, ᚫ æsc and ᚩ ōs, resulting in 26 runes; this was necessary to account for the new phoneme produced by the Ingvaeonic split of allophones of long and short a. The earliest ᚩ ōs rune is found on the 5th-century Undley bracteate. ᚪ āc was introduced in the 6th century. The double-barred ᚻ hægl characteristic of continental inscriptions is first attested as late as 698, on St Cuthbert's coffin. In England the futhorc expanded. Runic writing in England became associated with the Latin scriptoria from the time of Anglo-Saxon Christianization in the 7th century; the futhorc started to be replaced by the Latin alphabet from around the 7th century, but it was still sometimes used up until the 10th or 11th century. In some cases, texts would be written in the Latin alphabet, þorn and ƿynn came to be used as extensions of the Latin alphabet.
By the Norman Conquest of 1066, it was rare and disappeared altogether shortly thereafter. From at least five centuries of use, fewer than 200 artefacts bearing futhorc inscriptions have survived. Several famous English examples mix runes and Roman script, or Old English and Latin, on the same object, including the Franks Casket and St Cuthbert's coffin; the coffin is an example of an object created at the heart of the Anglo-Saxon church that uses runes. A leading expert, Raymond Ian Page rejects the assumption made in non-scholarly literature that runes were associated in post-conversion Anglo-Saxon England with Anglo-Saxon paganism or magic; the letter sequence and letter inventory of futhorc, along with the actual sounds made by those letters could vary depending on location and time. That being so, an authentic and unified list of runes is not possible; the sequence of runes given above comes from the Anglo-Saxon rune poem. The first 24 of these runes directly continue the elder futhark letters, do not deviate in sequence.
The next 5 runes represent additional vowels, comparable to the five forfeda of the ogham alphabet. While the rune poem and some manuscripts present ᛡ as "ior", ᛄ as "ger", epigraphically both are variants of ger. R. I. Page designated ior a pseudo-rune; the runes above were not included in the rune poem. Calc appears in manuscripts, epigraphically on the Ruthwell Cross, the Bramham Moor Ring, the Kingmoor Ring, elsewhere. Gar appears in manuscripts, epigraphically on the Ruthwell Cross and on the Bewcastle Cross; the unnamed ᛤ rune only appears on the Ruthwell Cross, where it seems to take calc's place as /k/ where that consonant is followed by a secondary fronted vowel. Cweorð and stan only appear in manuscripts; the unnamed ę rune only appears on the Baconsthorpe Grip. The unnamed ᶖ rune only appears on the Sedgeford Handle. There is little doubt that calc and gar are modified forms of cen and gyfu, that they were invented to address the ambiguity which arose from /k/ and /g/ spawning palatalized offshoots.
R. I. Page designated cweorð and stan pseudo-runes, noting their apparent pointlessness, speculating that cweorð was invented to give futhorc an equivalent to Q; the ę rune is a local innovation representing an unstressed vowel, may derive its shape from ᛠ. The unnamed ᶖ rune is found in a personal name, where it stands for a diphthong. Anglo-Saxon expert Gaby Waxenberger speculates that ᶖ may not be a true rune, but rather a bindrune of ᛁ and ᚩ, or the result of a mistake. Sundry runic combinations are found in the futhorc corpus. For example, the sequence ᚫᚪ appears on the Mortain Casket where ᛠ could theoretically have been used. A rune in Old English could be called a "rúnstæf", or "rúne". Futhorc inscriptions hold diverse contents. Ocher has been detected on at least one English runestone. Bind runes are not uncommon in futhorc, were used most to ensure the runes would fit in a limited space. Futhorc logography is attested to in a few manuscripts; this was done by having a rune stand for a similar sounding word.
In the sole extant manuscript of the poem Beowulf, the
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