“…And People Opening Veins in Baths”

“'...And People Opening Veins in Baths',” Encounter, May 1956.  (A review of Tacitus on Imperial Rome translated by Michael Graves and Tiberius: A Study in Resentment by Gregorio Maranon.)


We have lost the habit of judging tyrants so harshly, for we are more attentive to their historical roles, their “objective” tasks, than to their human meanings. It is the supreme virtue of Tacitus that, as we read him, the mists of History fade away, and we see only “persecutions and the persecuted, and people opening veins in baths.”