Agricola and the Germania: As written by Tacitus
The Agricola and the Germania were written by Tacitus in around 97A.D. The Agricola is an account of the life of Tacitus’ father-in-law Gnaeus Julius Agricola. The Germania is a description of the geography and culture of Germanic tribes. Agricola and the Germania give insight into Roman history. When Tacitus was writing this work, he was campaigning for office. He wanted these works to show his “expertise” and insight into the inner workings of Rome as well as show a world view by describing his knowledge of the “Barbarians” in Germania. This work gives insight into Roman culture, in areas such as military structure, the gender roles of Romans, and societal norms.
Through Tacitus’ writings, one can see that Roman society placed a huge importance on their military services. It is shown that all of the ranks have an importance placed on them for their military service. During the time period of Tacitus there is military conquest of Britannia by the Romans. In Agricola, Tacitus paints a picture of the Roman ideals of strong military as portrayed through Gnaeus Julius Agricola. Tacitus shows the importance of Roman ideals for their military system such as empathy, leadership, discipline. Empathy is shown in Julius Agricola through Tacitus stating that “He would condone minor offences, but dealt severely with major crimes. However, he did not always pronounce a sentence.” (71) This shows that Julius Agricola was not just a good military leader but he also was just and fair. By painting this picture of a fair and just military leader, Tacitus tries to show that he is tied to these ideals, which is important for him while trying to become politically involved. Tacitus also shows how Julius Agricola embodies the military discipline and leadership in that he expresses that Julius Agricola “praised the energetic and scolded the slack; and competition for honor proved as effective as compulsion.” (72) Again, through...
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