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Tacitus and Bracciolini The Annals Forged in the XVth Century   By: (1818-1887)

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TACITUS AND BRACCIOLINI.

THE ANNALS FORGED IN THE XVth CENTURY.

by JOHN WILSON ROSS (1818 1887)

Originally published anonymously in 1878.

Non ulli Tacitus patuit manifestius unquam. SOSSAGO. Epigrammata .

Excellentissimum Poggium, immortalem quidem virum, sed prope hac aetate sepultum, redivivium donaveris nobis. BICCIONI. Epistola Hyacintho de Lan inscripta.

Is ... reliquit, quae et facundiam, et mirificam ingenii facilitatem ostendunt. Tendebat toto animo, et quotidiano quodam usu ad EFFINGENDUM ... Sed habet hoc dilucida illa divini hominis in dicendo copia, ut estimanti se imitabilem praebeat, experienti spem imitationis eripiat . Eam igitur dicendi laudem POGGIUS si non facultate, at certe voluntate complectebatur. Scripsit ... Historiam ... magnuum munus. PAOLO CORTESE (Bishop of Urbino). De Hominibus Doctis .

Quaestio ... contra communem totius orbis traditionem ac fidem, contra tot historicocum ... nemine contradicente, consensum, demum agitari coepta est; et a nobis ... tam abunde ventilate, ut magis copia quam inopia laborare videamur. GISBERT VOET. Spicilegium ad Disceptationem Historicam de Papissa Johanna.

LONDON: 1878

I DEDICATE TO MY ESTEEMED AND ESTIMABLE BROTHER ROBERT DALRYMPLE ROSS

This Research into The Authorship of the Annals of Tacitus

AS A VERY SLIGHT TOKEN OF MY AFFECTION AND ALSO OF MY ADMIRATION FOR HIS RARE ASSEMBLAGE OF QUALITIES LOFTY MORAL RECTITUDE THE KINDLIEST FEELINGS OF THE HEART DEVOTION TO HIGH OCCUPATION APTITUDE FOR BOOKS AS FOR AFFAIRS

AND

A REFINED ENLIGHTENMENT TO APPRECIATE THE GENIUS OF TACITUS AND OF BRACCIOLINI

AND

FULLY TO APPREHEND AN INVESTIGATION UNDERTAKEN IN THE TRUE INTERESTS OF HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE.

PREFACE

The theory broached in this book involves a charge of the grossest fraud against a most distinguished man, who rose to high posts in public affairs and won imperishable fame in letters. There being blots on his moral character, it would be censurable to fasten upon his memory this new imputation of dishonesty, were it not substantiated by irresistible evidence.

The title of this book quite explains what its design is, to contribute something towards settling the authorship of the Annals of Tacitus, which encomiastic admirers imagine to be the most extraordinary history ever penned, and the writer "but one degree removed from inspiration, if not inspired." This wondrous writer I assert to be the famous Florentine of the Renaissance, Poggio Bracciolini, in favour of which view I have tried to make out a case by bringing forward a variety of passages from the "History" and the "Annals" to show an extensive series of contradictions as to facts and characters, departures from truth about matters connected with ancient Roman life, laches in grammar and use of words that never could have proceeded from any patrician or plebian of the world renowned old Commonwealth, with a number of other things that will readily strike the intelligent and sober mind as utterly inconsistent with the existing belief of the "Annals" being the production of Tacitus. All this is case in the shade for the fullest light to be thrown on the subject, when not wishing to make my theory a matter of speculation but founded in common sense, I give a detailed history of the forgery, from its conception to its completion, the sum that was paid for it, the abbey where it was transcribed, and other such convincing minutiae taken from a correspondence that Poggio carried on with a familiar friend who resided in Florence.

A reader of acumen and critical faculty following a writer in an inquiry of this nature places himself in the position of a lawyer who will not accept the interpretation of an Act of Parliament, or even a clause in it, as correct, except, as his phrase goes, it "runs upon all fours:" he knows that it is with a speculation in a literary matter as with a chapter of a statute: he struggles to raise only a single valid objection against what is advanced: if successful he at one destroys the whole of the theory, from thus exposing it to view as not "running upon all fours;" the fabric is, in fact, discovered to be reared on a false foundation; it must, therefore, fall as at the slightest breath a child's house built of cards; and the theory becomes one more added to the list of those that are apocryphal... Continue reading book >>




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