Were a historian like Tacitus to write a history of the best of our kings, giving an exact account of all the tyrannical acts and abuses of authority, the majority of which lie buried in the profoundest obscurity, there would be few reigns which would not inspire us with the same horror as that of Tiberius.
[Si un historien, tel que Tacite, eût écrit l’histoire de nos meilleurs rois, en faisant un relevé exact de tous les actes tyranniques, de tous les abus d’autorité, dont la plupart sont ensevelis dans l’obscurité la plus profonde, il y a peu de règnes qui ne nous inspirassent la même horreur que celui de Tibère.]
Products of Perfected Civilization [Produits de la Civilisation Perfectionée], Part 1 “Maxims and Thoughts [Maximes et Pensées],” ch. 8, ¶ 482 (1795) [tr. Hutchinson (1902)]
(Source (French)). Alternate translations:
If such an historian as Tacitus had written the chronicle of our nobler kings, making an exact statement of all those tyrannical actions and abuses of authority which are now for the most part buried in deep darkness, few of their reigns would inspire less horror than that of Tiberius.
[tr. Mathers (1926)]
If a historian such as Tacitus had written the histories of our best kings, with precise accounts of their tyrannical actions, and all their abuses of authority, most of which have been buried in the deepest obscurity, there are few reigns that would not arouse in us the same horror as that of Tiberius.
[tr. Merwin (1969)]
If a chronicler such as Tacitus had written the history of our best kings, preparing an exact amount of all tyrannical acts, of all the abuses of authority, of which the majority are concealed by fathomless obscurity, there would be few reigns which would [not?] inspire us with the same horror as that of Tiberius.
[tr. Pearson (1973)]
Added on 31-Jul-23 | Last updated 31-Jul-23
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