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Agricola had risen in the imperial service to the consulship, in 77 or 78, and he would later enhance his reputation as governor of Britain.Tacitus appears to have made his own mark socially and was making much progress toward public distinction; he would obviously benefit from Agricola’s political connections.They cover the fall of Galba and Piso before Otho (book i); Vespasian’s position in the East and Otho’s suicide, making way for Vitellius (book ii); the defeat of Vitellius by the Danubian legions on Vespasian’s side (book iii); and the opening of Vespasian’s reign (books iv–v).This text represents a small part of what must have been a brilliant as well as systematic account of the critical Flavian period in Roman history, especially where Tacitus wrote with firsthand knowledge of provincial conditions in the West and of Domitian’s last years in Rome.

But its style arises from its form and subject matter and does not point to an early stage of stylistic development.Tacitus studied to be an advocate at law under two leading orators, Marcus Aper and Julius Secundus; then he began his career with a “vigintivirate” (one of 20 appointments to minor magistracies) and a military tribunate (on the staff of a legion).In 77 Tacitus married the daughter of Gnaeus Julius Agricola.Tacitus studied rhetoric, which provided a general literary education including the practice of prose composition.This training was a systematic preparation for administrative office.

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