Event Title

Distinguishing Between Romans and Non-Romans in Tacitus' Germania and Agricola

Presenter Information

Tara Wells, Oberlin CollegeFollow

Location

King Building 243

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-27-2018 1:00 PM

End Date

4-27-2018 2:20 PM

Abstract

In this paper, I explore the ways in which the Roman Historian Tacitus distinguishes between Roman and non-Roman peoples throughout his Germania and Agricola. In particular, I examine the diction and literary forms that Tacitus uses when describing Romans, Britanni, and Germani. Ultimately, the greatest significance which arises through exploring Tacitus’ descriptions of Romans and non-Romans is that non-Romans are more closely aligned with their morals and socio-cultural customs, whereas Romans are defined primarily in terms of political structures. By piecing together these defining moments it is possible to recognize Tacitus’ positive and negative attitudes towards social organization in general, and the Roman state in particular. Tacitus’ distinctions between Roman and non-Roman peoples reveal, in other words, Tacitus’ ideals for a successful state.

Keywords:

Latin, diction, textual analysis, Romans, customs, race, social structure, groups, identity

Notes

Session III, Panel 9 - Cross-Cultural | Languages
Moderator: Kirk Ormand, Nathan A. Greenberg Professor of Classics

Major

Latin Language and Literature

Advisor(s)

Kirk Ormand, Classics

Project Mentor(s)

Kirk Ormand, Classics

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Apr 27th, 1:00 PM Apr 27th, 2:20 PM

Distinguishing Between Romans and Non-Romans in Tacitus' Germania and Agricola

King Building 243

In this paper, I explore the ways in which the Roman Historian Tacitus distinguishes between Roman and non-Roman peoples throughout his Germania and Agricola. In particular, I examine the diction and literary forms that Tacitus uses when describing Romans, Britanni, and Germani. Ultimately, the greatest significance which arises through exploring Tacitus’ descriptions of Romans and non-Romans is that non-Romans are more closely aligned with their morals and socio-cultural customs, whereas Romans are defined primarily in terms of political structures. By piecing together these defining moments it is possible to recognize Tacitus’ positive and negative attitudes towards social organization in general, and the Roman state in particular. Tacitus’ distinctions between Roman and non-Roman peoples reveal, in other words, Tacitus’ ideals for a successful state.