Posted Thursday, September 5th, 2013 at 11:22 pm under books.

The mockery pervading human affairs in all their aspects

tacitusFrom Tacitus, on the eventual rise of Claudius to Roman emperor, from The Annals of Imperial Rome (Penguin Classics, p127):

The more I think about history, ancient or modern, the more ironical all human affairs seem. In public opinion, expectation, and esteem no one appeared a less likely candidate for the throne than the man for whom destiny was secretly reserving it.

The Cambridge Companion to Tacitus (p169) translates as follows:

The more I consider recent events or those in the distant past, the more I am confronted by the mockery pervading human affairs in all their aspects. For in public opinion, expectations and esteem, no one was less likely a candidate for the throne than the man whom fortune was secretly holding in reserve.

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