Effects Of Tacitus On Germania

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Tacitus, a senator of the Roman Empire, has been regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians of his time. Among titles such as Annals and the Histories, Tacitus is also the author of a piece of writing that ethnographically speaks in regards to the social structure, climate, and geography of Germany entitled Germania. With the Germanic people neighboring the Roman Empire, these writings must have been crucial to the efforts to understand the enemy and, although not deliberately stated, provide a comparison between the two in order to opinionate the problems of the German people. At times, when reading this piece, it is tough to understand whether Tacitus is admiring the Germans for their ways of living, or is against them completely. To…show more content…
To begin, the entire region was divided into three groups: the Ingaevones, the Herminones, and the Istaevones. Among these three groups was an example of the modern look for a German that consists of similar physical characteristics such as blue eyes, red or blondish hair, and large bodies that compare to that of warriors, or in this case barbarians for the sake of the time that Germania was written; around 100 CE. The bodies of the Germans took a beating from the words of Tacitus in that he criticized the reasoning for these massive figures if were not to be used for war, but rather are less able to perform hard work. The Roman writer associates the region to the behavior of the German people by adding, “heat and thirst they cannot in the least endure; to cold and hunger their climate and their soil inure them” (Tacitus, 4). One must certainly see a reason to argue against this view of the western Europeans, as it cannot be proven and should not be believed that every German was accounted for when Tacitus was there to describe them; rather, when the person who gave this information to Tacitus, was able to describe them. Of course, today’s readers of Germania were not present either, so who is to say that, at this time in age, the entire population of Germany was not all blonde and had blue eyes and…show more content…
Tacitus reveals that the German people established system of government in which kings were given the position if they were born into it and generals were promoted based on their worthiness and value to the rest of the population. With these high roles came the issue of leadership and how it was regarded and respected among individuals. “If they are energetic, if they are conspicuous, if they fight in the front, they lead because they are admired” (Tacitus, 7). These concepts of a leader could continue to hold strong in today’s day in age as many people see those who carry with them the characteristics of strong fighter as someone to look to in times of doubt. Although these types of leaders were seen as individuals of high power, Tacitus does not fail to state the fact that Germanic society was run based on the idea of egalitarianism, which also shares a similarity to the idea that “all men are created equal.” Despite this equality among all people concept, there are still figures of authority that carry out punishments as they are needed. Rather than some sort of law enforcement agency, the local priests were the ones who performed disciplinary actions. These actions, however, were performed under the mandate of God and were seen as being an inspiration to the warrior or anyone who received them. One could easily see how

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