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Agricola and Germania

de P. Cornelius Tacitus

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`Long may the barbarians continue, I pray, if not to love us, at least to hate one another.'Cornelius Tacitus, Rome's greatest historian and the last great writer of classical Latin prose, produced his first two books in AD 98. He was inspired to take up his pen when the assassination of Domitian ended `fifteen years of enforced silence'. The first products were brief: the biography ofhis late father-in-law Julius Agricola and an account of Rome's most dangerous enemies, the Germans. Since Agricola's claim to fame was that as governor for seven years he had completed the conquest of Britain, begun four decades earlier, much of the first work is devoted to Britain and its people.The second is the only surviving specimen from the ancient world of an ethnographic study. Each in its way has had immense influence on our perception of Rome and the northern `barbarians'. This edition reflects recent research in Roman-British and Roman-German history and includes newlydiscovered evidence on Tacitus' early career.… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porbiblioteca privada, tyeve, salzburgsemester, jobinsonlis, ejmw, jarichardsonsmyth, RachelPollock, dscottn, madinge
Bibliotecas HistóricasGillian Rose, Joseph Stevens Buckminster, Walker Percy
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The Germania, written around 98 AD is a historical and ethnographic work on the Germanic peoples outside the Roman Empire.

The Germania begins with a description of the lands, laws, and customs of the Germanic people (chapters 1–27); it then describes individual peoples, beginning with those dwelling closest to Roman lands and ending on the uttermost shores of the Baltic, among the amber-gathering Aesti, the Fenni, and the unknown peoples beyond them.

Tacitus says (chapter 2) that physically, the Germanic peoples appear to be a distinct nation, not an admixture of their neighbors, since nobody would desire to migrate to a climate as horrid as that of Germania. They are divided into three large branches, the Ingaevones, the Irminones, and the Istaevones, deriving their ancestry from three sons of Mannus, son of Tuisto, their common forefather.

In chapter 4, he mentions that they all have common physical characteristics, blue eyes (truces et caerulei oculi = "sky-coloured, azure, dark blue, dark green"), reddish hair (rutilae comae = "red, golden-red, reddish yellow"), and large bodies, vigorous at the first onset but not tolerant of exhausting labour, tolerant of hunger and cold, but not of heat or thirst.[1]

In chapter 7, Tacitus describes their government and leadership as somewhat merit-based and egalitarian, with leadership by example rather than authority, and punishments are carried out by the priests. He mentions (chapter 8) that the opinions of women are given respect. In chapter 11, Tacitus describes a form of folk assembly rather similar to the public Things recorded in later Germanic sources: in these public deliberations, the final decision rests with the men of the group as a whole.

Tacitus further discusses the role of women in chapters 7 and 8, mentioning that they often accompany the men to battle and offer encouragement. He says that the men are often motivated to fight for the women because of an extreme fear of losing them to captivity. Tacitus says (chapter 18) that the Germanic peoples are mainly content with one wife, except for a few political marriages, and specifically and explicitly compares this practice favorably to other cultures. He also records (chapter 19) that adultery is very rare, and that an adulterous woman is shunned afterward by the community regardless of her beauty. In chapter 45, Tacitus mentions that the people to the north of the Germanic peopls, the Sitones, "resemble [the Suevi Scandinavians] in all respects but one - woman is the ruling sex." "This," Tacitus comments, "is the measure of their decline, I will not say below freedom, but even below decent slavery."

The Agricola is a book by the Roman historian Tacitus, written c. AD 98, which recounts the life of his father-in-law Gnaeus Julius Agricola, an eminent Roman general and Governor of Britain from AD 77/78 – 83/84. It also covers, briefly, the geography and ethnography of ancient Britain. As in the Germania, Tacitus favorably contrasts the liberty of the native Britons to the corruption and tyranny of the Empire; the book also contains eloquent and forceful polemics against the rapacity and greed of Rome.

After the assassination of Domitian in AD 96, and amid the predictable turmoil of the regime change, Tacitus used his new-found freedom to publish this, his first historical work. During the reign of Domitian, Agricola, a faithful imperial general, had been the most important general involved in the conquest of a great part of Britain. The proud tone of the Agricola recalls the style of the laudationes funebres (funeral speeches). A quick résumé of the career of Agricola prior to his mission in Britain is followed by a narration of the conquest of the island. There is a geographical and ethnological digression, taken not only from notes and memories of Agricola but also from the De Bello Gallico of Julius Caesar. The content is so varied as to go beyond the limits of a simple biography, but the narration, whatever its form, serves to exalt the subject of the biography.

Tacitus exalts the character of his father-in-law, by showing how — as governor of Roman Britain and commander of the army — he attends to matters of state with fidelity, honesty, and competence, even under the government of the hated Emperor Domitian. Critiques of Domitian and of his regime of spying and repression come to the fore at the work's conclusion. Agricola remained uncorrupted; in disgrace under Domitian, he died without seeking the glory of an ostentatious martyrdom. Tacitus condemns the suicide of the Stoics as of no benefit to the state. Tacitus makes no clear statement as to whether the death of Agricola was from natural causes or ordered by Domitian, although he does say that rumors were voiced in Rome that Agricola was poisoned on the Emperor's orders. ( )
  Marcos_Augusto | Feb 26, 2021 |
They ravage, they slaughter, they seize by false pretenses, and all of this they hail as the construction of empire. And when in their wake nothing remains but a desert, they call that peace.

Tacitus as Graham Greene. Whether offering a biography or an anthropological survey, Tacitus remains both terse and eloquent, all the way with a taste that all is certainly going to shit. I liked both pieces equally, I was struck in the latter by what I fathomed to be the respect shown for the Nasser of the Danube. The first section, a portrait of his father-in-law can't help but appear regal in defeat. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Every one of Roman’s greatest historians began their writing career with some piece, for one such man it was a biography of his father-in-law and an ethnographic work about Germanic tribes. Agricola and Germany are the first written works by Cornelius Tacitus, which are both the shortest and the only complete pieces that he wrote.

Tacitus’ first work was a biography of his father-in-law, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, who was the governor of Britain and the man who completed the conquest of the rest of the island before it was abandoned by the emperor Domitian after he recalled Agricola and most likely poisoned him. The biography not only covered the life of Agricola but also was a history of the Roman conquest of Britain climaxed by the life of the piece’s hero. While Agricola focused mostly one man’s career, Tacitus did give brief ethnographic descriptions of the tribes of Britain which was just a small precursor of his Germany. This short work focused on all the Germanic tribes from the east bank of the Rhine to the shores of the North and Baltic Seas in the north to the Danube to the south and as far as rumor took them to the east. Building upon the work of others and using some of the information he gathered while stationed near the border, Tacitus draws an image of various tribes comparing them to the Romans in unique turn of phrases that shows their barbarianism to Roman civilization but greater freedom compared to Tacitus’ imperial audience.

Though there are some issues with Tacitus’ writing, most of the issues I had with this book is with the decisions made in putting this Oxford World’s Classics edition together. Namely it was the decision to put the Notes section after both pieces of writing. Because of this, one had to have a figure or bookmark in either Agricola or Germany and another in the Notes section. It became tiresome to go back and forth, which made keeping things straight hard to do and the main reason why I rate this book as low as I did.

Before the Annals and the Histories were written, Tacitus began his writing with a biography of his father-in-law and Roman’s northern barbarian neighbors. These early works show the style that Tacitus would perfect for his history of the first century Caesars that dramatically changed the culture of Roman. ( )
  mattries37315 | May 23, 2018 |
Tacitus' AGRICOLA bio, and his GERMANIA, a moral ethnological essay are bracketed here. These are his first works, later he turned to larger histories. Professor Mattingly has done a workman-like job, and this Penguin paperback was a standard text for roman historians. I am very surprised about the lack of retrieval of this edition.
The Latin original was completed about 98 CE, according to the introduction. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Apr 23, 2016 |
The Germania was very witty. This book was a fabulous means to learn about the early Germans and was very helpful while I was writing my Thesis on Beowulf and the Goddess Nerthus. ( )
  BridgettKathryn | Sep 6, 2015 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Tacitus, P. CorneliusAutorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Church, Alfred J.Tradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Handford, S. A.Tradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Mattingly, HaroldTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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It is now twenty-two years since the translation of Tacitus's Agricola and Germania (under the title On Britain and Germany) by Harold Mattingly first appeared.

Preface (Penguin Classics, 1976 reprint)
The Agricola of Tacitus, the biography of the most famous of Roman Britain, is part of our national story, and as such has a direct claim on our interest.

Introduction (Penguin Classics, 1976 reprint)
Famous men of old often had their lives and characters set on record; and even our generation, with all its indifference to the world around it, has not quite abandoned the practice.

Agricola (Penguin Classics, 1976 reprint)
The various peoples of Germany are separated from the Gauls by the Rhine, from the Raetians and Pannonians by the Danube, and from the Sarmatians and Dacians by mountains - or, where there are no mountains, by mutual fear.

Germania (Penguin Classics, 1976 reprint)
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`Long may the barbarians continue, I pray, if not to love us, at least to hate one another.'Cornelius Tacitus, Rome's greatest historian and the last great writer of classical Latin prose, produced his first two books in AD 98. He was inspired to take up his pen when the assassination of Domitian ended `fifteen years of enforced silence'. The first products were brief: the biography ofhis late father-in-law Julius Agricola and an account of Rome's most dangerous enemies, the Germans. Since Agricola's claim to fame was that as governor for seven years he had completed the conquest of Britain, begun four decades earlier, much of the first work is devoted to Britain and its people.The second is the only surviving specimen from the ancient world of an ethnographic study. Each in its way has had immense influence on our perception of Rome and the northern `barbarians'. This edition reflects recent research in Roman-British and Roman-German history and includes newlydiscovered evidence on Tacitus' early career.

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