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Tacitus on Germany

Cornelius Tacitus

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .e lodged all the nearest and most interesting pledges of nature. Hence they hear the doleful howlings of their wives, hence the cries of their tender infants. These are to each particular the witnesses whom he most reverences and dreads; these yield him the praise which affect him most. Their wounds and maims they carry to their mothers, or to their wives, neither are their mothers or wives shocked in telling, or in sucking their bleeding sores. Nay, to their husbands and sons whilst engaged in battle, they administer meat and encouragement.

In history we find, that some armies already yielding and ready to fly, have been by women restored, through their inflexible importunity and entreaties, presenting their breasts, and showing their impending captivity; an evil to the Germans then by far most dreadful when it befalls their women. So that the spirit of such cities as amongst their hostages are enjoined to send their damsels of quality, is always engaged more. . . Read More

Community Reviews

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Tacitus is most famous for his Histories and Annals, but three of his shorter works also survive. The Agricola and Germania are his first books, published in AD 98.

Agricola
The Agricola is a short biography of Tacitus’ father-in-law. Gnaeus Julius Agricola served as governor of Britain from 77-85...more

Akıcı bir şekilde okunabilen bir tarih kitabı. Yalnız okurken şunu göz önünde bulundurmak lazım; kitap Romalı bir tarihçinin gözünden subjektif bir şekilde yazılmıştır.

İlk bölümde Tacitus'un gözünden Germen halklarının alışkanlıkları, gelenekleri yaşayış biçimleri anlatılmış. Kitapta anlatılan Ge...more

It’s not for nothing that Tacitus is considered both the greatest historian as well as one of the greatest prose stylists to write in Latin, and even reading him in translation (I read Mattingly's) it’s easy to understand why. I really liked his dry, terse style of writing. My main reason for pic...more

3.75 stars

I often came across this title in bookshops but I had no motive in reading it, I asked myself what's the use of reading such a boring title with respect to the fame of Tacitus. Eventually, I was sorry for such a rash decision due to my seeming ignorance. One of the reasons, I think, is...more

An interesting and well written volume containing Tacitus' first 2 works. Agricola is a brief biography of Tacitus' father in law, Julius Agricola, and The Germania is a short ethnographical study into the people's and tribes of Germany. An interesting insight into Roman knowledge of central/east...more

Penguin Classics edition, translated by Harold Mattingly; introduction, notes & revision by J.B. Rives

I'm not a big fan of the Romans, so it's unsurprising that one of the few Roman texts I've read cover to cover isn't even about the Romans themselves - it's mostly about barbarians.

I read mo...more

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...more

For fans of the great Roman historian Tacitus who gave us "The Histories" and "The Annals," his two short works, "Agricola" and "Germania" will give you a mild fix.

"Agricola" is a short biography of Tacitus' father-in-law, Julius Agricola, who was governor of Britannia. This is the beginning of T...more

I don't read a lot of classics anymore (probably from having to binge on them in grad school) but these short works were both engaging and enjoyable. Like a lot of ancient writers, Tacitus is something of a jack of all trades.

He doesn't simply write history, or political commentary or cultural/a...more

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