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Tacitus, born in about AD 56 in southern Gaul (modern Provence) under the emperor Nero, was probably the son of an equestrian. He enjoyed success as a both a politician and writer, publishing the Agricola (a biography of his father-in-law) and the Germania (an ethnographical study of the peoples of Germany) in 98. Today he is best known as a historian, the author of The Histories and the Annals. The culmination of Tacitus' public career was when he won the prestigious post of proconsul of Asia (112/13). He died at some point after 115 and probably lived into the reign of Hadrian, but there is no evidence for his later life or the date of his death. Cynthia Damon received her PhD from Stanford University and taught at Harvard University and at Amherst College before moving to the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of The Mask of the Parasite, a commentary on Tacitus' Histories 1, and, with Will Batstone, Caesar's Civil War.