Roman dating system
This training was a systematic preparation for administrative office.
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.
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.
is a biographical account of his father-in-law’s career, with special reference to the governorship of Britain (78–84) and the later years under Domitian.
It is laudatory yet circumstantial in its description, and it gives a balanced political judgment.
The is another descriptive piece, this time of the Roman frontier on the Rhine.
This was only the first stage of Tacitus’ historical work.
As he approached the reign of Domitian, he faced a Roman policy that, except in provincial and frontier affairs, was less coherent and predictable.
In any event he grew up in comfortable circumstances, enjoyed a good education, and found the way open to a public career.