Short Essay Questions Key
1. What did Tacitus intend to write in his old age, but why was it never written?
Tacitus planned to write an account of happier times than that of the reign under Domitian. However, it was never written. Mattingly is unsure whether the work was incomplete due to an untimely death or if something else might have stopped Tacitus.
2. What are some of Mattingly's criticisms of Tacitus' works as a historian?
Mattingly commends Tacitus as one of the great historians of his time. However, he notes the lack of detail in geography, dates, and battle names and even legions that Agricola served under. Mattingly also notes Tacitus as somewhat biased in certain points in his books and narrow in his views.
3. What about Agricola 's military strategy and career was criticized by Tacitus?
Although Tacitus wrote highly of Agricola, he did note some concerns that others had about Agricola's strategy. In particular was Agricola's overzealous nature. At times, Tacitus called it optimistic, but when the men were on the battlefield, optimistic might not be the word they were thinking of. Another critique was Agricola's inability to permanently hold the conquered areas. Once his presence was gone, many of the forts were disabled and left or lost in revolt.
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