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Universitatis Doctor aut 

Professor Associatus fuisset 

mense maio a.d mdccccxvii mortuus est 

dr}Kr]S ayaXiJiaT ai TraTOvy.evaL jSi/3Xot. 




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In this countiy, as well as abroad, pedagogical tradjtion 
has long treated the Agricola and the Germania as coordinal 
elements of the Latin curriculum. This book, the prepara^ 
tion of which has been retarded by pressure of other work, 
is now offered as the companion of my edition of the Agricola 
(Xew York, 1909). 

In so far as the intrinsic differences between the two 
treatises permit, the plan of this edition accords with that 
of its predecessor. The notes, necessarily somewhat more 
elaborate than the commentary on the Agricola, have been 
written primarily with an eye to the needs and interests of 
the learner. In conformity witb a suggestion of tlie editor 
of the series, parallel citations drawn from works that are 
presumably known to the young student by name only, if 
at all, have been translated. In general, origuiality has 
been less a desideratum than reliability ; however, I have 
essayed to present my owri summary and appraisal of the 
multifarious data whieli the last generation of criticism has 

No editor of this book of Tacitus can claim the right to 
a hearing who has not taken strict account of the work of 
German scholars, who, conscious that for them, in a peculiar 
sense, the Germania speaks of 

" virum monumenta priorum," 

have made this field so largely tlieir own and have delved 
in it 0071 amore. I gratefully acknowledge my indebted- 




iiess to Baumstark, Mulleiihoff, Zernial, Schweizer-8idler, 
Wliiisch, Schonemann, Wolti', and Andresen — to meution 
ouly a few of the loug liue. Of editions in English, I 
have cousulted with protit Furueaux, Gudeman, andAllen- 

I have to thauk Professor Egbert, the editor of the series, 
for his careful reading of the manuscript. ^fy friends, Pro- 
fessor David Magie, Jr., and Professor Johu Basore, were so 
good as to read the proof of the Latin text. 





Editions and Commextaries 

Text ..... 

XOTES ..... 

Appexdix - . 








The contents of the Germania were grouped by Tacitus 
under two main heads, the transition between which is 
indicated in chapter 27. The first of these divisions 
presents an exposition, general in character, of the 
geography of the country as a whole and of the universal 
features of the national civiUzation ; the second part 
deals with the separate tribes and their distinctive traits 
and institutions. 

In chaptfer 37 Tacitus gives a resum^ of the coUisions 
between Roman and German arms frora the invasion of 
the Cimbri down to his own day. He sets as the chrono- 
logical Umits of this outUne the consulship of CaeciUus 
MeteUus and Papirius Carbo, 113 b.c, and the second 
consulate of Trajan, 98 a.d. Evidently, then, the com- 
position of the treatise faUs in the latter year, which, 
it will be remembered, was marked also by the pubUca- 
tion of the Agricola. The biographical tribute antedates 
the Germania, but the interval between the two works 
was at the a matter of months only. 

In the introductory chapters of aU his other works, 
Tacitus takes his readers into his confidence and sets 
forth concretely the aims which have actuated him to 
treat his subject. In the case of the Germania alone, he 
departs from his practice elsewhere, and, with a direct- 
ness truly Caesarian, plunges at once into his theme. 



The fact that he was content that the title should speak 
for itself suggests that he regarded it as self-explanatory, 
as an adequate preface — unless we are willing to adopt, 
as an improbable alternative, the view that he chose 
to disguise his purpose and to force his readers to search 
for it between the Hnes. 

The title — whatever the form in which Tacitus cast 
it — promises a geographical and cthnological treatise on 
Germany. A thoughtful perusal of the work cannot 
fail to convince one that the motive that controlled 
Tacitus in writing was simply that which the title in- 
dicates. He sought to acquaint his reading pubUc with 
German lands and German peoples; the information 
which he proposes to impart forms his conscious end 
and aim. However, being Tacitus, he could not restrict 
himself to presenting an objective, encyclopedic body 
of facts. His personal bias and his subjective attitude 
toward his world frequently intrude themselves into the 
narrative. Tacitus was by nature too sincerely the cen- 
sor as well as the mentor of his time and milieu wholly 
to repress his tendencies for long. His temperament 
could not brook divorce from his work. 

Hence it is that many contexts of the Germania have 
a subjective coloring. This fact and the silence of Tacitus 
as to his object have given scope for speculation concern- 
ing the actual purpose of the treatise. 

Some one has wittily said, "In Tacitus only Agricola 
and the Germans are good." This comment is as far 
from the truth as are most epigrams of the sort. Tacitus 
by no means depicts German- Kfe and character as flaw- 
less. Nevertheless, he eagerly embraces such opportuni- 
ties as offer for contrasting the simple tastes and sturdy 


virtiics of tlie Germans with tho ovcr-rclinoinent imd 
moral decadence rife among the upper strata of urban 
society in his time. Hence one trend of criticism has 
insisted on discerning in thc spirit revealed in such con- 
texts the design underlying the composition of the Gcr- 
tnania. The treatise has been exalted into a sermon of 
ethical intent, uttercd in arraignmcnt of civiHzcd man ;;nd 
his ways, in ideahzation of priniitive, unsophisticated 

Tacitus has elements of the satirist and the morahst 
in his make-up. But it is not alone in the Gerinania 
that he breathes his conviction that "alFs" not "right 
with the world." iempora, mores flowed easily 
from the end of his pen in all his work. Utterances or 
impUcations in this vein are invited in the Germania, 
more frequently than elsewhere, by the nature of the 
subject matter. HowevTr, to magnify them into an 
animus pervading the whole narrative and motivating 
it, is to do violence to the proportions of the contcnts 
and to regard as an isolated characteristic a point of view 
that is, to be sure, conspicuous in the Germania, but 
none the less a chronic feature of the author's temper. 

Furthermore, comparison of the enhghtened and the 
barbarous worlds was not a tendency original with and 
pecuhar to Tacitus. Any civihzation worthy of the 
name is prone to turn its eyes inward on itself and to 
estimate pragmatically its degree of success or faihire. 
An integral part of this self-scrutiny must be inevitably 
comparative examination of othcr civihzations. Thc 
value of that which is local or present is measured most 
clearly by the foreign or the past. One result of the 
appraisal of itself undcrtaken by a culturc may be sclf- 


satisfaction, as illustrated in the attitude assumed by 
the Greek toward the barbarian, the Jew toward the 
Gentile. Or there may come an opposite conclusion, 
carrying with it a sense of failure and the conviction 
that it is necessary to look to other peoples, other times, 
for hfe lived in a manner closer to perfection. Such a 
consciousness is given to asserting itself in a revolt against 
the complexities and the artificiahties and the errors of 
the hfe of its own environment. Thus, a civihzation 
spleens against itself and ideahzes that which it is not. 

In such contingencies men become laudatores temporis 
acti and plead the urgency of a return to the ways of the 
past. Sighs are heard from the poets for the renascence 
of the Golden Age. This Romanticism, as it is termed, 
was an outstanding tendency of the Rome of Augustus. 
It expressed itself in imperial pohcy; the fabric of the 
poetry of Vergil, Horace, and Tibullus is shot with strands 
of this hue. However, a malcontent civihzation, pining 
to escape from itself, is not confined to focusing its gaze 
on the past. It may find exemplars of the ideal existence 
in circles of mankind contemporary with it but of a 
different environment. Thus, such an epoch discovers 
a devotion, more or less genuine, to an idylhc hfe in the 
fields and "under the greenwood tree.'' With Vergil 
it may exclaim, "0 fortunatos agricolas" and body forth 
its penchant in pastoral poetry and "bucohc masquerad- 
ing," as in the Alexandria of the Ptolemies, and the Paris 
of the later Louis. As a further variant of this enthusiasm, 
a movement back to nature may overstep the boundaries 
of nationahty and find its admiration in foreign races un- 
touched by the bhght of civihzation and still in the child- 
hood of their development, where absence of desire is 


equal to riches and, in tho words of Tacitus {Germ. 19), 
plus . , . boni mores valcnt quam alibi bonne leges. 

The Germania, in so far as it reflects tliis spirit, is to 
be viewed merely as one expression of an attitude of mind 
which cannot be Hmited to a single writer or to a single- 
age. Eulogy of the nature-pcoples — if we may anglicize 
a convenient German compound — in its rudimentary 
form is as old as the Homeric poems with thoir rcfcrences 
to the "blameless Ethiopians," dwolhng in a romote 
quarter of the world, and to the nations of the far North, 
"milk-eaters, most just of men." The theme continued 
to be a favorite sentiment in Greek hterature, prose and 
poetic. In Hellenistic times especially, when the strife 
and the unrest resident in social and pohtical conditions 
impelled men to contemplate with approval and envy 
the lot of those who enjoyed a serene existence apart 
from the madding crowd, the topos developed into a 
formal mode of thought. Life accorchng to nature was 
seriously advocated by the philosophers and its praises 
were sung by the poets. The historians did their part 
by extolhng in ethnological descriptions the virtues of 
barbarous races and primitive epochs of civihzation. In 
historiography the cuhnination of the tendcncy is rep- 
resented by Posidonius of Apamea, a Stoic philosopher, 1 
a friend and teacher of Cicero. In an elaborate historical 
work, a continuation of Polybius, he set a mode in geo- 
graphical digrcssion and ideahstic portraiture of peoples 
which exerted potent influence on subsequent exponcnts 
in kindred fields. In manncr and in method the Ger- 
mania is merely an exemphfication of the type. 

Knowledge of the hterary antecodonts of the Germania 
is important to us only as it contributes to an under- 


standing of the mood in which the book was written. 
That phase of criticism which argued that Tacitus was 
governed by a definite satirical or ethical purpose, now 
belongs to the past. Another interpretation has had its 
partisans even in the present century. This school has 
professed to see in the Germania a kind of pohtical bro- 
chure, composed primarily with the idea of shaping state 
policy in its relation to German affairs. Adherents of this 
view have formulated the author's motives in various 
ways : Rome was to be warned of the German peril, and 
the new emperor, Trajan, was to be moved to undertake 
vigorous offensive measures, or, vice versa, to be dissuaded 
from them ; the protracted sojourn at the German frontier 
on the part of Trajan, who had not as yet returned to 
the City since his elevation to the principate, was to be 
explained and justified. Any hypothesis of this sort neces- 
sitates the assumption that chapter 37 is the vital point 
of the treatise, and involves a deal of reading between 
the lines, a practice to which a writer who is so much a 
master of the subtleties of nuance and innuendo as Tac- 
itus, easily tempts the critic. It is characteristic of the 
older interpreters both of the Agricola and the Germania 
to be caught in the pitfalls which the hterary method of 
Tacitus prepares for them. Consensus of present criticism 
reahzes that it is only by putting a fictitious value on 
isolated passages of comparatively sUght extent and at- 
taching a primary significance to paissing allusions, that 
either work can be dignified into a piece of special plead- 
ing with pohtical intent. 

Nevertheless, the Germania stands in close relation 
to the events of its day. Rome's northern neighbors 
had been constantly obtruding themselves on her atten- 


tion. Doinitian's canipaign against the Chatti (83-84) 
was still in the pubUc niemory ; the great systeni of 
fortifications, which he had fathercd, was being extended 
along the frontier and even, at certain points, pushed 
forward into CJermany beyond previous hnes of defense. 
The Quadi and the Alarcomanni had sympathized with 
the Dacians in their outbreaks in 85-80. In the time 
of Nerva, Rome was threatened by a Suebian-Sarmatian 
entente. At the death of this ineffectual emperor, his 
energetic successor was at Cologne, where the problems 
of administration and organization of the German prov- 
inces were to claim his presence for a considerable period. 
In view of these facts the Germania may fairly be termed 
a timcl}' publication. It is justifiable to infer tliat Tacitus, 
when he was writing the book, reahzed that it was bound 
to challenge" attention. 

Nevertheless, it would l)e an error to assume that the 
timeUness of the work and the fact that it dealt with 
matters especially germane to pubhc interest, were the 
sole reasons which inspired Tacitus to treat the thcme. 
The Germania stands in vital relation to the intellectual 
interests of its author. Therefore, we may be sure that 
he would have devoted attention to the subject in any 
case, at some time and in some form. We know that 
when the Agricola was being written, Tacitus had blocked 
out a work that afterwards took shape as the Histories. 
Ancient Uterary theory had long accorded a place in 
historiography to accounts of peoples and countries, 
even though such contexts were reckoned as cHgressions, 
hence were frequently introduced by some apologetic 
or explanatory formula. See, for ilhistration, Ilistories 
5. 2. Many of the eveuts which faU iuto the period 


covered by the Histories were staged in Germany, and 
German races were frequent participants in the action, 
as is evident even in the fraction of the work that has 
come down to us. The necessity of orientating and 
instructing the reader would have demanded the in- 
sertion of a modicum of geographical and ethnological 
material. Literary precedent sanctioned the incorpora- 
tion of such data in a continuous context. That Tacitus 
followed formal practice in this respect, is shown by the 
presence of the digression on the Jews and their customs 
in the fifth book of the Histories. The stress which he 
laid on subject matter of the sort is conspicuously re- 
vealed in the Agricola, where he did not hesitate to trans- 
gress the canons of the biographical form in order to 
insert his account of the British peoples and country. 
In such a work as the Histories the extent of an excursus 
on Germany would necessarily be curtailed in comparison 
with the length of our treatise. Nevertheless, geography, 
ethnology, and pohtical history would doubtless be rep- 
resented, since all these elements are present in the simi- 
lar digressions in the Histories and the Agricola. 

In origin, therefore, and in kind, the Germania is a 
by-product of the historical studies of Tacitus. Whether 
he designed it to serve essentially as a substitute for an 
excursus in the Histories, deaHng with the same data in 
briefer compass, it is unsafe dogmatically to assert. 
Under similar circumstances, a modern writer would be 
disposed to shape a treatise, covering one division of 
his field, into a complete prehminary to his greater work 
and thereafter to refer his readers to it by cross-reference 
and footnote. However, the devices of the hterary tech- 
nique of the present day cannot be posited without 


modification of the methods of ancient mcn of letters. 
In the time of Tacitus, treatment, in a separate essay, of 
a country and its inhabitants vvas not without precedent. 
Thus, Seneca, who, as a styUstic model, at least, exerted 
influence on Tacitus, had pubhshed books on Egypt 
and India. Hence the Germania, although it developed 
as a result of the Uterary interests of our author, was 
probably framed as a distinct work by him and not 
especially designed to hold a formal place in the se- 
quence of his program of historical composition. 

Our age prides itself on its devotion to scientific ac- 
curacy and to information gained at first-hand. No 
beauties of style would win a high place in our esteem 
for a book on Spanish America — let us say — which 
was not based on intimate personal knowledge of the 
countries and peoples described. The Germania, how- 
ever, is the handiwork of the bookman and the styhst, 
and not of the traveler and the explorer. The treatise 
contains no convincing indication that Tacitus had ever 
visited Germany and studied the land and its inhab- 
itants at short range. Thc hterary ideals of his day 
would not have exacted such punctiliousness of him in 
amassing his material. Deference, of course, was paid 
to rehabihty, and artistic merits could not palliate falsi- 
fication of data, either in the opinion of Tacitus or of 
his reading public. His own uncompromising attitude 
in this regard is expressed at the beginning of his account 
of Britain (Agr. 10) and is doubtless typical of the most 
severe criticism of the time. Here he claims highest 
respect for information based on authoritative observa- 
tion by others, not on first-hand acquaintance. The 
same standards would hold good for the Gennania. 


According to the ancient criteria, of far greater moment 
in gaining the approbation of his readers than modern 
canons of taste would insist on in a work of corresponding 
content, were the presentation and manipulation of his 
material with a view to styhstic effectiveness. Although 
in the Germania Tacitus was handhng a subject that 
would have lent itself to dry, encyclopedic treatment, 
the desire of esthetic appeal to his audience was as omni- 
present as it was in the composition of the Agricola, 
notwithstanding the intrinsic difference in the themes 
of the two pieces. His favorite rhetorical devices and 
the stj^hstic mannerisms characteristic of this period of 
his writing are apparent throughout, from the typical 
locution in the first sentence, mutuo metii aut montibus 
separatur, io the poetic coloring of the ideahzation of 
the hfe of the wild Fenni in the last chapter. The con- 
spicuous features of style and diction which are present 
in the Agricola are also discernible in the Germania. 

It was not in consonance with the hterary method of 
Tacitus frequently to refer bj^ name to his authorities. 
Thus, in the Germania specific sources are disguised in 
such formulae as memoriae proditur, accepimus, quidam 
opinantur, eorum opinionibus accedo. Direct allusion is 
made to one author only, viz. Juhus Caesar, who in chapter 
28 is termed summus auctorum. In this passage as well 
as elsewhere in an instance or two, Tacitus reveals famihar- 
ity with the contents of the GalUc War, but in spite of his 
comphmentary estimate of Caesar's credibihty, Tacitus 
derived no data from him excepting the single quotation. 
Tacitus in numerous details stands at variance with his 
predecessor, and, as a whole, his picture of German civihza- 
tion is far in advance of that presented by Caesar. Be- 


sides Caesar, a scries of authors, Cireek hiuI Roinaii, luul 
devoted iiiore or less attentioii to Gennany and the 
Gerinans before Tacitus essayed to treat the subject. 
Worthy of especial inention are Posidonius, Livy, who 
in book 104 discussed the geography of Germany and 
tlic customs of the people, the annaUst Aufidius Bassus, 
an immediate successor to Livy and the author of a 
work cited as Libri Belli Germanici, Phny the Elder, in 
whose muhifarious hterary achievements was included 
a complete history in twenty books of the wars which 
the Romans had waged with the Germans. Owing to 
the loss of these works and others which might con- 
eeivably have served him, and because of the absence of 
surface references in the Germania, it is impossible to 
fix the sources from which he derived particular data. 
We are reduced to speculation in which possible sources 
figure far more extensively than probable. 

Dependence on the Bella Germaniae of Phnj'^ may be 
assumed with great confidence. The title of this work 
as given by the younger Phny, Epist. 3. 5, by no means 
justifies the conchision that the contents comprised 
merely records of campaigns. That such a work might 
contain descriptions of races and institutions is demon- 
strated by Caesar's Gallic War. It is certain that Tacitus 
would have found in the Bella Germaniae ready to his 
hand a mass of the sort of material of which he stood in 
need. The elder Phny had seen service in Germany 
and wrote as an eye-witness. He was a compiler of 
amazing industry, an observer who did not depend on 
memory to recall what he had seen but had notes taken 
on the spot. This work of his was used by Tacitus in 
writing the Annals ; see A?in. 1. 69. 


Although, as has been said, the Germania was essen- 
tially the creation of a htterateur, it was not merely a 
compilation based on the work of authors of past genera- 
tions. The occurrence in various passages of adverbial 
expressions such as hodie and adhuc (chap. 3), nunc (chaps. 
33, 36, 37, 41), mox limite acto (chap. 29), proximis tem- 
poribus (chap. 37), and the hke, shows that he took cog- 
nizance of events and conditions of his own day. He 
was informed as to recent shifts in tribal positions and 
changes of the frontier. His discussion of the tribes 
of the far north and of the eastern Germans bears, so 
far as our means of comparison extend, marks of greater 
originality and less dependence on hterary sources than 
does liis treatment of the peoples of southern and west- 
ern Germany. Now, there was no lack of informants 
to whom he might apply for a knowledge of such con- 
temporary affairs as had not been incorporated in books. 
Between the City and Germany there was a constant 
circulation of persons bound on mihtary and oflBicial 
missions or engaged in mercantile pursuits. In the 
social stratum of Tacitus there were, of a certainty, many 
who had seen service along the Rhine and the Danube 
and had come into close touch with German Hfe and 
affairs. The letters of his friend PHny bear witness 
to the pains Tacitus took -to secure data possessed by 
personal observers, when opportunity offered, in the 
composition of his purely historicarworks. We may be 
assured that the Germania contains the results of oral 
or epistolary inquiries directed to quahfied informants, 
since this procedure is in accord with his hterary method 
as we find it exemphfied elsewhere. 

In appreciating the Germania and estimating the value 


of the facts which it prescnts, it is well to bear in mind 
that Tacitus, a Roman, wrote for Romans and not with 
an eye upon the demands of a later age. We must re- 
member that he was intent, not mercly on disseminating 
information, but on imparting to his work the most 
artistic form of which his talent was capable. In this 
latter object he has been eminently successful, even 
though the niceties of criticism force us to confess that 
the booklet does not reveal the fruition of his powers. 
However, we do not have to divest ourselves of modern 
Uterary ideals and adopt those of his ovvn day to become 
sensible to the charm and the appeal of the Germania. 

But it is something more than a work of hterary art. 
Judged as an array of facts, it holds a position all its 
own. How far it would maintain preeminence in this 
respect, iri case, by some impossible miraclc, the works 
of all the other authors who dealt with the same thcme 
should be restored to us, it is idle to speculate. Actually 
it stands as an indispensa})le repertorium for all who en- 
gage in the task of reconstructing the Kultur of our 
Germanic forefathers. It is, as it were, the golden mili- 
arium about which center all the roads which the scientific 
excursionist into the domain of Anglo-German antiquity 
must tread. Modern scholarship would be thankful had 
Tacitus been more exphcit on ccrtain subjects, had in- 
dulged less in generahzations artfully phrased. It is 
tantahzing to suspect that rhetoric is sometimes invoked 
to cover a paucity of knowledge. Research in Germanic 
literary sources of later ages and the scientific apphcation 
of hnguistic evidence have thrown a flood of light on 
many obscure details. Since the nineteenth century 
the spade of the archaeologist has rendered yeoman 


service in uncovering the vestiges of Teutonic civiliza- 
tion from the Stone Age on. These discoveries have 
rnodified certain items found in the Germania and have 
largeh' supplemented it ; but the accuracy of Tacitus 
has also been confirmed in an impressive fashion. In 
any case, the Germania has been and must remain a 
necessary adjunct to our apparatus of scholarship in 
its field. The testimon}^ of the book and that of the 
remains interact. 

It was a fortunate impulse which moved a leader in 
the intellectual hfe of his time, a gifted representative 
of the highest culture, to paint, while they Uved in their 
land of forest, marsh, and mountain, those peoples who, 
in a few centuries, were to follow "the star of empire" 
to the south and the west, and, by destroying old worlds, 
were to make w&y for new. In modern Germany classical 
philologists and Germanic speciahsts have joined hands 
in the study of the Germania, with an enthusiasm sus- 
tained not alone by the spirit of scholarship, but by a 
patriotic fervor. Their pride in the possession of this 
monument of their antiquity and the intensitj^ of their 
interest in it should be shared bj^ the descendants of 
Angles and Normans in all lands and chmes. 


Among the numerous textual and exegetical editions 
of the Germania may be mentioned : 
R. G. Latham. London, 185L 
A. J. Church and W. J. Brodribb. London, 1869. 
K. Miillenhoff. Berhn, 1873 (text). 
A. Baumstark. Leipsic, 1876 ; revised 1881. 


F. Kritz. 4th cdition, Bcrlin, 1878. 

A. Baumstark. Ausfuhrliche Erlduterung, Leipsic, 1875 
and 1880. 

H. Furncaux. Oxford, 1894. 

U. Zcrnial. 2(1 cdition, Bcrlin, 1897. 

C. Halm. 4th cdition, Leipsic, 1883 (Teubner text, 
now in process of revision). 

K. Mullcnhoff. Erlduterung. Deutsche AUertumskunde, 
vol. 4, Berlin, 1900. 

A. Gudcman. Boston, 1900. 

E. Wolff. 2d edition, Leipsic, 1907. 

H. Schweizer-Sidlcr. 7th cdition revised by E. Schwyzer, 
Hallc, 1912. 

W. F. Allcn. Revised by Katharine Allen and G. L. 
Hcndrickson, Boston, 1913. 

IVL Hutton. Tcxt and translation in thc Loeh Classical 
Library, London and New York, 1914. 

The following handbooks of recent date are convenient 
for referencc on topics pertaining to Germanic history 
and antiquities : 

Fr. Kopp. Die Romer in Deutschland, 2d edition, 
Bielefcld and Lcipsic, 1912. 

K. Hclm. Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte, vol. 1, 
Hcidelberg, 1913. 

Fr. Kauffmann. Deutsche Altertumskunde, erste Halfte, 
Munich, 1913. 


Gepmania omnis a Gallis Raetisquc et Pannoniis Rheno i 
et Danuvio fluminibus, a Sarmatis Dacisque mutuo metu 
aut montibus separatur : cetera Oceanus ambit, latos sinus 
et insularum inmensa spatia complectens, nuper cognitis 
quibusdam gentibus ac regibus, quos bellum aperuit. 5 
Rhenus, Raeticarum Alpium inaccesso ac praecipiti ver- 
tice ortus, modico flexu in occidentem versus septen- 
trionaU Oceano miscetur. Danuvius molli et clementer 
edito montis Abnobae iugo effusus pluris populos adit, 
donec in Ponticum mare sex meatibus erumpat : sep- lo 
timum os paludibus hauritur. 

Ipsos Germanos indigenas crediderim minimeque aha-2 
rum gentium adventibus et hospitiis mixtos, quia nec terra 
ohm, sed classibus advehebantur cjui mutare sedes quae- 
rebant, et inmensus ultra utque sic dixerim adversus Ocea- 
nus raris ab orbe nostro navibus aditur. Quis porro, 5 
praeter periculum horridi et ignoti maris, Asia aut Africa 
aut Itaha rehcta Germaniam peteret, informem terris, 
asperam caelo, tristem cultu adspectuque, nisi si patria sit? 

Celebrant carminibus antiquis, quod unum apud ihos 
memoriae et annahum genus est, Tuistonem deum terra 10 
editum. Ei fihum Mannum, originem gcntis conditorem- 
que, Manno tris fihos adsignant, e quorum nominibus 
proximi Oceano Ingaevones, medii Herminones, ceteri 
B 1 


Istaevones vocentur. Quidain, ut in licentia vetustatis, 
15 pluris deo ortos plurisque gentis appellationes, Marsos 
Garabrivios Sucbos Vandilios adfirmant, eaque vera et 
antiqua nomina. Ceterum Germaniae vocabulum recens 
et nuper additum, quoniam qui primi Rhenum transgressi 
Gallos expulerint ac nunc Tungri, tunc Germani vocati 
20 sint : ita nationis nomen, non gentis evaluisse paulatim, 
ut omnes primum a victore ob metum, mox etiam a se 
ipsis, invento nomine Germani vocarentur. 

3 Fuisse apud eos et Herculem memorant, primumque 
omnium virorum fortium ituri in proelia canunt. Sunt 
illis liaec quoque carmina, quorum relatu, quem barditum 
vocant, accendunt animos futuraeque pugnae fortunam 

sipso cantu augurantur. Terrent enim trepidantve, prout 
sonuit acies, nec tam vocis ille quam virtutis concentus 
videtur. Adfectatur praecipue asperitas soni et fractum 
murmur, obiectis ad os scutis, quo plenior et gravior vox 
repercussu intumescat. Ceterum et Ulixen quidam opi- 

lonantur longo illo et fabuloso errore in hunc Oceanum 
delatum adisse Germaniae terras, Asciburgiumque, quod 
in ripa Rheni situm hodieque incohtur, ab illo constitutum 
nominatumque ; aram quin etiam Uhxi consecratam, 
adiecto Laertae patris nomine, eodem loco ohm repertam, 

15 monumentaque et tumulos quosdam Graecis htteris in- 
scriptos in confinio Germaniae Raetiaeque adhuc exstare. 
Quae neque confirmare argumentis neque refellere in animo 
est : ex ingenio suo quisque demat yel addat fidem. 

4 Ipse eorum opinionibus accedo, qui Germaniae populos 
nuhis ahis aharum nationum conubiis infectos propriam 
et sinceram et tantum sui similem gentem exstitisse ar- 
bitrantur. Unde habitus quoque corporum, tamquam in 

5 tanto hominum numero, idem omnibus : truces et caerulei 


oculi, rutilac comae, magna corpora et tantum ad impetum 
valitla : laboris atque operum non eadcm patientia, 
miniraeque sitim aestumque tolerare, frigora atque ine- 
diam caelo solove adsueverunt. 

, Terra etsi aliquanto specie differt, in universum tamens 
aut silvis horrida aut paludibus foeda, umidior qua Gallias, 
ventosior qua Noricum ac Pannoniam adspicit ; satis 
ferax, frugiferarum arborum inpatiens, pecorum fecunda, 
sed plerumque improcera. Ne armentis quidem suuss 
honor aut gloria frontis : numero gaudent, eaeque solae 
et gratissimae opes sunt. Argentum et aurum propitiine 
an irati di negaverint dubito. Nec tamen adfirmaverim 
nullam Germaniae venam argentum aurumve gignere : 
quis enim scrutatus est ? Possessione et usu haud lO 
perinde adficiuntur. Est videre apud illos argentea vasa, 
legatis et "principibus eorum muneri data, non in alia 
viHtate quam quae humo finguntur; quamquam proximi 
ob usum commerciorum aurum et argentum in pretio 
habent formasque quasdam nostrae pecuniae adgnoscunt 15 
atque ehgunt. Interiores simphcius et antiquius per- 
mutatione mercium utuntur. Pecuniam probant veterem 
et diu notam, serratos bigatosque. Argentum quoque 
magis quam aurum sequuntur, nulla adfectione animi, 
sed quia numerus argenteorum faciUor usui est promiscua 20 
ac viha mercantibus. 

Ne ferrum quidem superest, sicut ex genere telorume 
colhgitur. Rari gladiis aut maioribus lanceis utuntur : 
hastas vel ipsorum vocabulo frameas gerunt angusto et 
brevi ferro, sed ita acri et ad usum habih, ut eodem telo, 
prout ratio poscit, vel comminus vel eminus pugnent. 5 
Et eques quidem scuto frameaque contentus est ; pedites 
et missiha spargunt, pluraque singuh, atque in inmensum 


vibrant, nudi aut sagulo leves. Nulla cultus iactatio ; 
scuta tantum lectissimis coloribus distinguunt. Paucis 

10 loricae, vix uni alterive cassis aut galea. Equi non forma, 
non velocitate conspicui. Sed nec variare gyros in morem 
nostrum docentur : in rectum aut uno flexu dextros agunt, 
ita coniuncto orbe, ut nemo posterior sit. In universum 
aestimanti plus penes peditem roboris ; eoque mixti proe- 

isliantur, apta et congruente ad equestrem pugnam veloci- 
tate peditum, quos ex omni iuventute delectos ante aciem 
locant. Definitur et numerus ; centeni ex singulis pagis 
sunt, idque ipsum inter suos vocantur, et quod primo 
numerus fuit, iam nomen et honor est. Acies per cuneos 

20 componitur. Cedere loco, dummodo rursus instes, con- 
silii quam formidinis arbitrantur. Corpora suorum etiam 
in dubiis proeliis referunt. Scutum reliquisse praecipuum 
flagitium, nec aut sacris adesse aut concilium inire igno- 
minioso fas ; multique superstites bellorum infamiam 

25laqueo finierunt. 

7 Reges ex nobilitate, duces ex virtute sumunt. Nec 
regibus infinita aut libera potestas, et duces exemplo 
potius quam imperio, si prompti, si conspicui, si anto 
aciem agant, admiratione praesunt. Ceterum neque 
5 animadvertere neque vincire, ne verberare quidem nisi 
sacerdotibus permissum, non quasi in poenam nec ducis 
iussu, sed velut deo imperante, quem adesse bellantibus 
credunt. Effigiesque et signa quaedam detracta lucis 
in proelium ferunt; quodque praecipuunl fortitudinis 

10 incitamentum est, non casus, nec fortuita conglobatio 
turmam aut cuneum facit, sed familiae et propinquitates ; 
et in proximo pignora, unde feminarum ululatus audiri, 
unde vagitus infantium. Hi cuique sanctissimi testes, 
hi maximi laudatores. Ad matres, ad coniuges vulnera 


ferunt ; nec illae numerare aut exigere plagas pavent, 15 
cihosque et hortainina pugnantihus gestant. 

Menioriae proditur (luusdain acies inclinatas iani et 8 
labantes a feminis restitutas constantia precum et ohiectu 
pectorum et monstrata comminus captivitate, quam longe 
inpatientius feminarum suarum nomine timent, adeo ut 
efficacius ohligentur animi civitatum, quibus inter obsidess 
puellae quoque nobiles imperantur. Ine.sse quin etiam 
sanctum aliquid et providum putant, nec aut consilia 
earum aspernantur aut responsa neglegunt. Vidimus sub 
divo Vespasiano Veledam diu apud plerosque numinis 
loco hahitam ; sed et olim Alhrunam et compluris alias lo 
venerati sunt, non adulatione nec tamquara facerent 

Deorum maxime Mercurium colunt, cui certis diebus9 
humanis quoque hostiis litare fas hahent. Herculem et 
Martem concessis animahbus placant. Pars Suehorum 
et Isidi sacrificat : unde causa et origo peregrino sacro, 
parum comperi, nisi quod signum ipsum in modum lihur-5 
nae figuratum docet advectam religionem. Ceterum 
ncc cohihere parietihus deos neque in ullam humani oris 
speciem adsimulare ex magnitudine caelestium arhitran- 
tur : lucos ac nemora consecrant deorumque nominihus 
appellant secretum illud, quod sola reverentia vident. 10 

Auspicia sortesque ut qui maxime ohservant : sortium 10 
consuetudo simplex. Virgam frugiferae arhori decisam 
in surculos amputant eo.sque notis quihusdam discretos 
super candidam vestem temere ac fortuito spargunt. 
Mox, si puhlice consultetur, sacerdos civitatis, sin privatim, 5 
ipse pater familiae, precatus deos caelumque suspiciens 
ter singulos tollit, suhlatos secundum impres.sam ante 
notam interpretatur. Si prohibuerunt, nulla de eadem 


re in eundem diem consultatio ; sin permissum, auspi- 

lociorum adhuc fides exigitur. Et illud quidem etiam hic 
notum, avium voces volatusque interrogare ; proprium 
gentis equorum quoque pracsagia ac monitus experiri. 
Publice aluntur isdem nemoribus ac lucis, candidi et 
nullo mortali opere contacti ; quos pressos sacro curru 

15 sacerdos ac rex vel princeps civitatis comitantur hinnitus- 
que ac fremitus observant. Nec ulli auspicio maior fides, 
non solum apud plebem, sed apud proceres, apud sacerdo- 
tes ; se enim ministros deorum, illos conscios putant. 
Est et alia observatio auspiciorum, qua gravium bello- 

20rum eventus explorant. Eius gentis, cum qua bellum 
est, captivum quoquo modo interceptum cum electo 
popularium suormn, patriis quemque armis, commit- 
tunt : victoria huius vel iUius pro praeiudicio accipitur. 

11 De minoribus rebus principes consultant ; de maio- 
ribus omnes, ita tamen, ut ea quoque, quorum penes 
plebem arbitrium est, apud principes pertractentur. 
Coeunt, nisi quid fortuUum et subitum incidit, certis 
5 diebus, cum aut incohatur luna aut impletur ; nam agendis 
rebus hoc auspicatissimum initium credunt. Nec dierum 
numerum, ut nos, sed noctium computant. Sic constitu- 
unt, sic condicunt : nox ducere diem videtur. Illud ex 
libertate vitium, quod non simul nec ut iussi conveniunt, 

10 sed et alter et tertius dies cunctatione coeuntium absumitur. 
Vt tm"bae placuit, considunt armati. Silentium per sacer- 
dotes, quibus tum et coercendi ius est', imperatur. Mox rex 
vel princeps, prout aetas cuique, prout nobihtas, prout 
decus bellorum, prout facundia est, audiuntur, auctoritate 

15 suadendi magis quam iubendi potestate. Si displicuit sen- 
tentia, fremitu aspernantur ; sin placuit, frameas concuti- 
unt. Honoratissimum adsensus genus est armis laudare. 


Licet apud coneiliuin accusaro quoque et discrinicn 12 
capitis intenclere. Distinctio poenaruni ex delicto. Pro- 
ditores et transfugas arboribus suspendunt, ignavos et 
imbelles et corpore infames caeno ac palude, iniecta in- 
super crate, mergunt. Diversitas supplicii illuc respicit,5 
tamquam scelera ostendi oporteat, dum puniuntur^ flagitia 
abscondi. Sed et lovioribus delictis pro modo poena : 
equorum pecorumque numero convicti multantur. Pars 
multae regi vel civitati, pars ipsi, qui vindicatur, vel 
propinquis eius exsolvitur. Eliguntur in isdcm conciliis lO 
et principes, qui iura per pagos vicosque reddunt ; centeni 
singulis ex plebe comites consilium simul et auctoritas 

Nihil autem neque publicae neque privatae rei nisi armati 13 
agunt. Sed arma sumere non ante cuiquam moris, quam 
civita.s suff&cturum probaverit. Tum in ipso concilio vel 
principum aliquis vol pater vel propinqui scuto frameaque 
iuvenem ornant : haec apud illos toga, hic primus iuventae 5 
honos ; ante hoc domus pars videntur, mox rei pubhcae. 
Insignis nobihtas aut magna patrum merita principis 
dignationem etiam adulescentuhs adsignant : ceteris 
robustioribus ac iam pridom probatis adgrogantur, nec 
rubor inter comites adspici. Gradus quin etiam ipse comi- lO 
tatus habet, iudicio eius quem sectantur; magnaque et 
comitum aemulatio, quibus primus apud principem suum 
locus, et principum, cui phn-imi et acorrimi comites. Hacc 
(Ugnitas. hae vires, magno semper et electorum iuvenum 
globo circumdari, in pace decus, in bello praosidium. Nec 15 
solum in sua gente cuique, sed apud finitimas quoque civi- 
tates id nomen, ea gloria est, si numero ac virtute comita- 
tus eminoat ; expetuntur enim logationibus ot muneribus 
ornantur et ipsa plerumque fama bella profligant. 


14 Cum ventuin in acieni, turpe principi virtute vinci 
turpe coniitatui virtutem principis non adaequare. lam 
vero infame in omnem vitam ac probrosum superstitem 
principi suo ex acie recessisse. Illum defendere, tueri, 

6 sua quoque fortia facta gloriae eius adsignare praecipuum 
sacramentum est. Principes pro victoria pugnant, comites 
pro principe. Si civitas, in qua orti sunt, longa pace et 
otio torpeat, plerique nobilium adulescentium petunt 
ultro eas nationes, quae tum bellum aliquod gerunt, quia 

10 et ingrata genti quies et facilius inter ancipitia clarescunt 
magnumque comitatum non nisi vi belloque tueare ; exi- 
gunt enim principis sui liberalitate illum bellatorem 
equum, illam cruentam victricemque frameam. Nam 
epulae et quamquam incompti, largi tamen apparatus pro 

isstipendio cedunt. Materia munificentiae per bella et 
raptus. Nec arare terram aut exspectare annum tam 
facile persuaseris quam vocare hostem et vulnera mereri. 
Pigrum quin immo et iners videtur sudore adquirere 
quod possis sanguine parare. 

15 Quotiens bella non ineunt, non multum venatibus, plus 
per otium transigunt, dediti somno ciboque, fortissimus 
quisque ac bellicosissimus nihil agens, delegata domus 
et penatium et agrorum cura feminis senibusque et in- 

6 firmissimo cuique ex famiha ; ipsi hebent, mira diversitate 
naturae, cum idem homines sic ament inertiam et oderint 
quietem. Mos est civitatibus ultro ac viritim conferre 
principibus vel armentorum vel frugum,' quod pro honore 
acceptum etiam necessitatibus subvenit. Gaudent prae- 
lOcipue finitimarum gentium donis, quae non modo a 
singulis, sed et pubHce mittuntur, electi equi, magna 
arma, phalerae torquesque; iam et pecuniam accipere 


Nullas Germanoruin populis urbcs habitari satis notuni 16 
est, ne pati quideni inter se iunctas sedes. Colunt discrcti 
ac diversi, ut fons, ut campus, ut nemus placuit. Vicos 
locant non in nostrum morem conexis et cohaerentibus 
aedificiis : suam quisque domum spatio circumdat, sive6 
adversus casus ignis remedium sivc inscitia aedificandi. 
Ne caementorum quidem aputl illos aut tegularum usus : 
materia ad omnia utuntur informi et citra speciom aut 
delectationem. Quaedam loca diligentius inUnunt terra 
ita pura ac splendente, ut picturam ac lineamenta colorum lo 
imitetur. Solent et subterraneos specus aperire eosque 
multo insuper fimo onerant, suffugium hiemis et recep- 
taculum frugibus, quia rigorem frigorum eius modi loci 
molliunt, et si quando hostis advenit, aperta populatur, 
abdita autem et defossa aut ignorantur aut eo ipso fallunt, 15 
quod quaerenda sunt. 

Tegumen omnibus sagum fibula aut, si desit, spina 17 
conscrtum : cetera intccti totos dies iuxta focum atque 
ignem agunt. Locupletissimi veste distinguuntur, non 
fluitante, sicut Sarmatae ac Parthi, sed stricta et singulos 
artus exprimente. Gerunt et fcrarum pelles, proximis 
ripae neglegenter, ulteriores exquisitius, ut quibus nuUus 
per commercia cultus. Ehgunt feras et detracta velamina 
spargunt maculis peUibusque beluarum, quas exterior 
Oceanus atque ignotum mare gignit. Nec alius feminis 
quam viris habitus, nisi quod feminae saepius lineis 10 
amictibus velantur eosque purpura variant, partemque 
vestitus superioris in manicas non extendunt, nudae 
brachia ac lacertos ; sed et proxima pars pectoris patet. 

Quamquam severa ilUc matrimonia, nec ullam morum I8 
partcm magis laudaveris. Nam prope soH barbarorum 
singulis uxoribus contenti sunt, exceptis admodum paucis, 


qui non libidine, sed ob nobilitatcin plurimis nuptiis 

5 ambiuntur. Dotem non uxor marito, sed uxori maritus 
offcrt. Intersunt parcntes et propinqui ac munera pro- 
bant, munera non ad dclicias muliebrcs quaesita nec quibus 
nova nupta comatur, sed boves et frenatum equum et 
scutum cum framea gladioque. In haec muncra uxor 
10 accipitur, atque in vicem ipsa armorum aliquid viro adfert : 
hoc maximum vinculum, haec arcana sacra, hos coniugales 
deos arbitrantur. Ne se mulier extra virtutum cogitationes 
extraque bellorum casus putet, ipsis incipientis matrimonii 
auspiciis admonetur venire se laborum periculorumque 
i5sociam, idem in pace, idem in proeho passuram ausuram- 
que. Hoc iuncti boves, hoc paratus equus, hoc data 
arma denuntiant. Sic vivendum, sic pereundum : acci- 
pere se, quae Hberis inviolata ac digna reddat, quae nurus 
accipiant, rursusque ad nepotes referantur. 
19 Ergo saepta pudicitia agunt, nulhs spectaculorum 
inlecebris, nulhs conviviorum inritationibus corruptae. 
Litterarum secreta viri pariter ac feminae ignorant. 
Paucissima in tam numerosa gente adulteria, quorum 

5 poena praesens et maritis permissa : abscisis crinibus 
nudatam coram propinquis expelht domo maritus ac 
per omnem vicum verbere agit ; pubhcatae enim pudicitiae 
nulla venia : non forma, non aetate, non opibus maritum 
invenerit. Nemo enim ilhc vitia ridet, nec corrumpere 

10 et corrumpi saeculum vocatur. Mehus quidem adhuc 
eae civitates, in quibus tantum virgines niibunt et cum 
spe votoque uxoris semel transigitur. Sic unum accipiunt 
maritum quo modo unum corpus unamque vitam, ne 
uha cogitatio ultra, ne longior cupiditas, ne tamquam 

ismaritum, sed tamquam matrimonium ament. Numerum 
hberorum finire aut quemquam ex adgnatis necare flagi- 


tiuin habetur, plusque ibi l^oni inores valent quam alibi 
bonae leges. 

In omni domo nudi ac sordidi in hos artus, in haec20 
corpora, quae miramur, excrescunt. Sua quemque mater 
uberibus aUt, nec ancillis ac nutricibus delegantur. Domi- 
num ac servum nullis educationis deUciis dignoscas : 
intcr eadein pecora, in eadem humo degunt, doiiec aetass 
separet ingenuos, virtus adgnoscat. Sera iuvertum 
venus, eoque inexhausta pubertas. Nec virgines festinan- 
tur ; eadein iuventa, simihs proceritas : pares vahdaeque 
miscentur, ac robora parentum hberi referunt. Sororum 
fihis idein apud avunculum qui ad patrem honor. Quidam lO 
sanctiorem artioremque hunc nexum sanguinis arbitrantur 
et in accipiendis obsidibus magis exigunt, tamquam et 
animum finnius et doinuin latius teneant. Heredes 
tamen successoresque sui cuique hberi, et nuhuin testa- 
mentum. Si hberi non sunt, proximus gradus in posses- 15 
sione fratres, patrui, avuncuh. Quanto plus propin- 
quorum, quanto maior adfinium numerus, tanto gratiosior 
senectus ; nec uha orbitatis pretia. 

Suscipere tam inimicitias seu patris seu propinqui21 
quam amicitias necesse est ; nec implacabiles durant : 
luitur enim etiam homicidium certo armentorum ac 
pecorum numero recipitque satisfactionem universa domus, 
utihter in pubhcum, quia periculosiores sunt inimicitiaes 
iuxta hbertatem. 

Convictibus et hospitus non aha gens effusius indulget. 
Quemcumque mortahum arcere tecto nefas habetur ; 
pro fortuna quisque apparatis epuhs excipit. Cum de- 
fecere, qui modo hospes fuerat, monstrator hospitii et lO 
comes; proximam domum non invitati adeunt. Nec 
interest : pari humanitate accipiuntur. Notum ignotum- 


que qiiantum ad ius hospitis nemo discernit. Abeunti, 
si quid poposcerit, concedere moris ; et poscendi in vicem 
iseadem facilitas. Gaudent muneribus, sed nec data im- 
putant nec acceptis obligantur : victus inter hospites 

22 Statim e somno, quem plerumque in diem extrahunt, 
lavantur, saepius cahda, ut apud quos pkn-imum hiems 
occupat. Lauti cibum capiunt : separatae singuhs sedes 
et sua cuique mensa. Tum ad negotia nec minus saepe 

6 ad convivia procedunt armati. Diem noctemque continu- 
are potando nuUi probrum. Crebrae, ut inter vinolentos, 
rixae raro conviciis, saepius caede et vulneribus transigun- 
tur. Sed et de reconcihandis in vicem inimicis et iun- 
gendis adfinitatibus et adsciscendis principibus, de pace 

10 denique ac beho plerumque in conviviis consuhant, tam- 
quam nuho magis tempore aut ad simphces cogitationes 
pateat animus aut ad magnas incalescat. Gens non astuta 
nec calhda aperit adhuc secreta pectoris hcentia ioci ; 
ergo detecta et nuda omnium mens. Postera die retrac- 

15 tatur, et salva utriusque temporis ratio est : dehberant, 
dum fingere nesciunt, constituunt, dum errare non possunt. 

23 Potui umor ex hordeo aut frumento, in quandam 
simihtudinem vini corruptus : proximi ripae et vinum 
mercantur. Cibi simphces, agrestia poma, recens fera aut 
lac concretum : sine apparatu, sine blandimentis expellunt 

5famem. Adversus sitim non eadem temperantia. Si 
indulseris ebrietati suggerendo quantum concupiscunt, 
haud minus facile vitiis quam armis vincentur. 

24 Genus spectaculorum unum atque in omni coetu idem. 
Nudi iuvenes, quibus id ludicrum est, inter gladios se 
atque infestas frameas saltu iaciunt. Exercitatio artem 
paravit, ars decorem, non in quaestum tamen aut mer- 


cedcm : quamvis audacis lasciviac prctium cst voluptas 5 
spectantiuni. Alcani, quod mircre, sol)rii inter seria 
exercent, tanta lucrandi perdenclivc temeritatc, ut, cum 
omnia defecerunt, extremo ac novissimo iactu de libertate 
ac dc corpore contendant. Victus voluntariam servitutem 
adit : quamvis iuvenior, quamvis robustior adligari se ac 10 
venire patitur. Ea est in re prava pervicacia ; ipsi fidem 
vocant. Servos condicionis huius per commercia tradunt, 
ut se quoque pudore victoriac cxsolvant. 

Ceteris servis non in nostrmn morem, descriptis per25 
familiam ministeriis, utuntur : suam quisque sedem, suos 
penates regit. Frunienti modum dominus aut pecoris 
aut vestis ut colono iniungit, et servus hactenus paret : 
cetera domus ofiicia uxor ac Hberi exsequuntur. Ver-5 
berare servum ac vinculis et opere coercere rarum : oc- 
cidere solent, non disciplina et severitate, sed impetu et ira, 
ut inimicum, nisi quod impune est. Liberti non multum 
supra servos sunt, raro aliquod momentum in domo, 
numquam in civitate, exceptis dumtaxat iis gentibus 10 
quae regnantur. Ibi enim et super ingenuos et super 
nobiles ascendunt : apud ceteros impares Hbertini Hber- 
tatis argumentum sunt. 

Faenus agitare et in usuras extendere ignotum ; ideoque 26 
magis servatur quam si vetitum esset. Agri pro numero 
cultorum ab universis in vices occupantur, quos mox inter 
se secundum dignationem partiuntur; faciHtatem par- 
tiendi camporum spatia praestant. Arva per annoss 
mutant, et superest ager. Nec enim cum ubertate et 
ampHtudine soH laborc contendunt, ut pomaria conserant 
et prata scparent et hortos rigent : sola tcrrac scgcs im- 
peratur. Vnde annum quoque ipsum non in totidem 
digerunt species : hiems et ver et aestas intcHcctum 10 


ac vocabula habent, autumni perinde nomen ac bona 

27 Funerum nulla ambitio : id solum observatur, ut 
corpora clarorum virorum certis lignis crementur. Struem 
rogi nec vestibus nec odoribus cumulant : sua cuique arma, 
quorundam igni et equus adicitur. Sepulcrum caespes 

5 erigit : monumentorum arduum et operosum honorem ut 
gravem defunctis aspernantur. Lamenta ac lacrimas cito, 
dolorem et tristitiam tarde ponunt. Feminis lugere hones- 
tum est, viris meminisse. 

Haec in commune de omnium Germanorum origine ac 
lomoribus accepimus : nunc singularum gentium instituta 
ritusque, quatenus differant, quae nationes e Germania 
in GaUias commigraverint, expediam. 

28 Vahdiores ohm Gahorum res fuisse summus auctorum 
divus luHus tradit ; eoque credibile est etiam Gahos in 
Germaniam transgressos : quantulum enim amnis ob- 
stabat quo minus, ut quaeque gens evaluerat, occuparet 

5 permutaretque sedes promiscuas adhuc et nuUa regnorum 
potentia divisas ? Igitur inter Hercj^niam silvam Rhenum- 
que et Moenum amnes Helvetii, ulteriora Boii, Gahica 
utraque gens, tenuere. Manet adhuc Boihaemi nomen 
significatque loci veterem memoriam quamvis mutatis 

10 cultoribus. Sed utrum Aravisci in Pannoniam ab Osis, 
Germanorum natione, an Osi ab Araviscis in Germaniam 
commigraverint, cum eodem adhuc sermone institutis 
moribus utantur, incertum est, quia pari olim inopia 
ac hbertate eadem utriusque ripae bona malaque erant. 

15 Treveri et Nervii circa adfectationem Germanicae originis 
ultro ambitiosi sunt, tamquam per hanc gloriam sanguinis 
a simihtudine et inertia Gallorum separentur. Ipsam 
Rheni ripam haud dubie Germanorum popuh cohmt. 


Vangiones, Triboci, Nemetes. Ne Ubii qiiidem, quam- 
quam Romana colonia esse meruerint ac libentius Agrip-20 
pinenses conditoris sui nomine vocentur, origine erube- 
scunt, transgressi olim et experimento fidei super ipsam 
Rhcni ripam conlocati, ut arcerent, non ut custodiientur. 

Omnium harum gentium virtute praecipui Batavi non 29 
multum ex ripa, sed insulam Rheni amnis cohmt, Chat- 
torum quondam populus et seditione domestica in eas 
sedes transgressus, in ciuibus pars Romani imperii ficrent. 
Manet honos et antiquae societatis insigne ; nam nec 5 
tributis contemnuntur nec pubhcanus atterit ; exempti 
oneribus et conlationibus et tantum in usum proehorum 
sepositi, velut tela atque arma, belhs reservantur. Est 
in eodiem obsequio et Mattiacorum gens ; protuht enim 
magnitudo popuh Romani uhra Rhenum ultraque veteres 10 
terminos imperii reverentiam. Ita sede finibusque in 
sua ripa, mente animoque nobiscum agunt, cetera similes 
Batavis, nisi quod ipso adhuc terrae suae solo et caelo 
acrius animantur, 

Non numeraverim inter Germaniae populos, quamquam 15 
trans Rhenum Danuviumque consederint, eos qui de- 
cumates agros exercent. Levissimus quisquc Gallorum et 
inopia audax dubiae possessionis solum occupavere ; mox 
hmite acto promotisque praesidhs sinus imperii et pars 
provinciae habentur. 20 

Ultra hos Chatti initium sedis ab Hercynio saltu inco-30 
hant, non ita effusis ac palustribus locis, ut ceterae civi- 
tates, in quas Germania patescit ; durant siquidem 
colles, paulatim rareseunt, et Chattos suos saltus Hercynius 
prosequitur simul atque deponit. Duriora genti corpora, 5 
stricti artus, minax vultus et maior animi vigor. Multum, 
ut inter Gcrmanos, rationis ac .sollcrtiae : praeponere 


electos, audire praepositos, nosse ordines, intellegere oc- 
casiones, differre impetus, disponere diem, vallare noctem, 

lofortunam inter dubia, virtutem inter certa numerare, 
quodque rarissimum nec nisi ratione disciplinae conces- 
sum, plus reponere in duce quam in cxercitu. Omne robur 
in pedite, quem super arma ferramentis quoque et copiis 
onerant : alios ad proelium ire videas, Chattos ad bellum. 

i5Rari excursus et fortuita pugna. Equestrium sane 
virium id proprium, cito parare victoriam, cito cedere : 
velocitas iuxta formidinem, cunctatio propior constantiae 

31 Et aliis Germanorum populis usurpatum raro et privata 
cuiusque audentia apud Chattos in consensum vertit, ut 
primum adoleverint, crinem barbamque submittere, nec 
nisi hoste caeso exuere votivum obhgatumque virtuti 

5oris habitum. Super sanguinem et spoHa revelant fron- 
tem, seque tum demum pretia nascendi rettulisse dignos- 
que patria ac parentibus ferunt : ignavis et imbelhbus 
manet squalor. Fortissimus quisque ferreum insuper 
anulum (ignominiosum id genti) vehit vinculum gestat, 

10 donec se caede hostis absolvat. Plurimis Chattorum hic 
placet habitus, iamque canent insignes et hostibus simul 
suisque monstrati. Omnium penes hos initia pugnarum ; 
haec prima semper acies, visu nova ; nam ne in pace 
quidem vultu mitiore mansuescunt. Nulh domus aut 

15 ager aut ahqua cura : prout ad quemque venere, aluntur, 
prodigi aheni, contemptores sui, donec exsanguis senectus 
tam durae virtuti impares faciat. 

32 Proximi Chattis certum iam alveo Rhenum, quique 
terminus esse sufficiat, Usipi ac Tencteri colunt. Tencteri 
super sohtum bellorum decus equestris disciphnae arte 
praecellunt ; nec maior apud Chattos peditum laus 


quara Tencteris equitiim. Sic instituere maiores ; postcris 
iniitantur. Hi lusus infantiuni, hacc iuvcnum acmulatio: 
persevcrant scncs. Intcr familiam ct pcnatcs ct iura 
successionum equi traduntur : excipit filius, non ut cetera, 
maximus natu, scd prout fcrox l)cllo ct mclior. 

luxta Tcnctcros Bructcri olim occurrebant : nunc33 
Chamavos et Angrivarios inmigrasse narratur, pulsis 
Bructeris ac penitus excisis vicinarum conscnsu nationum, 
seu supcrbiae odio seu pracdac dulcedine seu favore 
quodam erga nos deorum ; nam ne spectaculo quidem 5 
proclii invidere. Super sexaginta milia non armis telisque 
Romanis, sed, quod magnificentius est, oblectationi oculis- 
que ceciderunt. Maneat, quaeso, duretque gentibus, 
si non amor nostri, at ccrte odium sui, quando urgentibus 
imperii fat^is nihil iam praestarc fortuna maius potest lO 
quam hostium discordiam. 

Angrivarios et Chamavos a tergo Dulgubnii et Chasu-34 
arii cludunt, aliaeque gentcs haud perindc memoratae, a 
fronte Frisii excipiunt. Maioribus minoribusque Frisiis 
vocabulum est ex modo virium. Utraeque nationes usque 
ad Oceanum Rhcno practoxuntur, ambiuntquc inmensoss 
insuper lacus et Romanis classibus navigatos. Ipsum 
quin etiam Oceanum illa temptavimus : et supercsse 
adhuc Herculis columnas fama vulgavit, sivc adiit 
Hercules, seu quidquid ubique magnificum est, in clari- 
tatem eius referre consensimus. Nec defuit audentia lo 
Druso Germanico, sed obstitit Occanus in se simul atque 
in Herculem inquiri. Mox nemo temptavit, sanctiusque 
ac reverentius visum de actis deorum crcdere quam scire. 

Hactenus in occidcntem Germaniam novimus ; in 36 
septentrionem ingenti flexu redit. Ac primo statim Chau- 
corum gens, quamquam incipiat a Frisiis ac partcm litoris 


occupet, omnium quas exposui gentium lateribus obtendi- 
5tur, donec in Chattos usque sinuetur. Tam inmensum 
terrarum spatium non tenent tantum Chauci, sed et im- 
plent, populus inter Germanos nobihssimus, quique mag- 
nitudinem suam maht iustitia tueri. Sine cupididate, 
sine impotentia, quieti secretique nulla provocant bella, 
10 nulhs raptibus aut latrociniis populantur. Id praecipuum 
virtutis ac virium arguinentum est, quod, ut superiores 
agant, non per iniurias adsequuntur; prompta tamen 
omnibus arma ac, si res poscat, exercitus, pkirimum viro- 
rum equorumque ; et quiescentibus eadem fama. 

36 In latere Chaucorum Chattorumque Cherusci nimiam 
ac marcentem diu pacem inlacessiti nutrierunt : idque iu- 
cundius quam tutius fuit, quia inter impotentes et vahdos 
falso quiescas : ubi manu agitur, modestia ac probitas 

snomina superioris sunt. Ita qui oHm boni aequique 
Cherusci, nunc inertes ac stulti vocantur : Chattis victori- 
bus fortuna in sapientiam cessit. Tracti ruina Cherusco- 
rum et Fosi, contermina gens. Adversarum rerum ex 
aequo socii sunt, cum in secundis minores fuissent. 

37 Eundem Germaniae sinum proximi Oceano Cimbri 
tenent, parva nunc civitas, sed gloria ingens. Veterisque 
famae lata vestigia manent, utraque ripa castra ac spatia, 
quorum ambitu nunc quoque metiaris molem manusque 

Sgentis et tam magni exitus fidem. Sescentesimum et 
quadragesimum annum urbs nostra agebat, cum primum 
Cimbrorum audita sunt arma, Caeciho Metello et 
Papirio Carbone consulibus. Ex quo si ad alterum im- 
peratoris Traiani consulatum computemus, ducenti 

10 ferme et decem anni colhguntur : tam diu Germania vin- 
citur. Medio tam longi aevi spatio multa in vicem damna. 
Non Samnis, non Poeni, non Hispaniae Galliaeve, ne 


Parthi quidem saepius adinonuore : quippe regno Ar- 
sacis acrior est Gernianoruni libertas. Quid enini aliud 
nobis quam caedem Crassi, amisso et ipse Pacoro, infra 15 
Ventidium deiectus Oriens obiecerit? At Germani Car- 
bone et Cassio et Scauro Aurelio et Servilio (raepione 
Gnaeoque Mallio fusis vel captis quinque simul consularis 
exercitus populo Romano, Varum trisque cum eo legiones 
etiam Caesari abstulerunt ; nec impune C. Marius in 20 
Italia, divus lulius in Gallia, Drusus ac Nero et Germani- 
cus in suis eos sedil)us perculerunt. Mox ingentes Gai 
Caesaris minae in ludibrium versae. Inde otium, donec 
occasione discordiae nostrae et civilium armorum expug- 
natis legionum hibernis etiam GalHas adfectavere ; ac 25 
rursus inde pulsi proximis temporibus triumphati magis 
quam victi sunt. 

Nunc de Sucbis dicendum est, quorum non una, ut 38 
Chattorum Tencterorumve, gens ; maiorem enim Ger- 
maniae partem obtinent, propriis adhuc nationibus 
nominibusque discreti, quamquam in commune Suebi 
vocentur. Insigne gentis obHquare crinem nodoques 
substringere : sic Suebi a ceteris Germanis, sic Sueborum 
ingenui a servis separantur. In ahis gentibus seu cog~ 
natione ahqua Sueborum seu, quod saepe accidit, imita- 
tione, rarum et intra iuventae spatium ; apud Suebos 
usque ad canitiem horrentem capihum retro sequuntur. 10 
Ac saepe in ipso vertice rehgatur ; principes et ornatiorem 
habent. Ea cura formae, sed innoxia; neque enim ut 
ament amenturve, in altitudincm quandam et terrorem 
adituri bella compti, ut hostium ocuhs, armantur. 

Vetustissimos se nobihssimosque Sueborum Semnones39 
memorant ; fides antiquitatis rohgione firmatur. Stato 
tempore in silvam auguriis patrum et prisca formidino 


sacram omnes eiusdem sanguinis populi legationibus 
5 coeunt caesoquc publice homine celebrant barbari ritus 
horrenda primordia. Est et aUa luco reverentia : nemo 
nisi vinculo hgatus ingreditur, ut minor et potestatem 
numinis prae se ferens. Si forte prolapsus est, attolh et 
insurgere haud hcitum : per humum evolvuntur. Eoque 

lOomnis superstitio respicit, tamquam inde initia gentis, 
ibi regnator omnium deus, cetera subiecta atque parentia. 
Adicit auctoritatem fortuna Semnonum : centum pagi iis 
habitantur magnoque corpore efficitur ut se Sueborum 
caput credant. 

40 Contra Langobardos paucitas nobilitat : plurimis ac 
valentissimis nationibus cincti non per obsequium, sed 
proehis ac perichtando tuti sunt. Reudigni deinde et 
Aviones et Anghi et Varini et Eudoses et Suardones et 
5 Nuithones fiuminibus aut silvis muniuntur. Nec quicquam 
notabile in singuhs, nisi quod in commune Nerthum, id est 
Terram matrem, colunt eamque intervenire rebus hominum, 
invehi populis arbitrantur. Est in insula Oceani castum 
nemus, dicatumque in eo vehiculum, veste contectum ; 

loattingere uni sacerdoti concessum. Is adesse penetrah 
deam intehegit vectamque bubus feminis multa cum vene- 
ratione prosequitur. Laeti tunc dies, festa loca, quaecum- 
que adventu hospitioque dignatur. Nou bella ineunt, 
non arma sumunt ; clausum omne ferrum ; pax et quies 

15 tunc tantum nota, tunc tantum amata, donec idem sacer- 
dos satiatam conversatione mortalium deam templo 
reddat. IMox vehiculum et vestes et, si credere vehs, 
numen ipsum secreto lacu abluitur. Servi ministrant, 
quos statim idem lacus haurit. Arcanus hinc terror 

20sanctaque igndrantia, quid sit illud, quod tantum perituri 


Et haec quirlom pars Supl>oruin in secrotiora nennaniae^i 
porrigitur. Propior, ut, (juo niodo paulo ante Rhenuin, 
sic nune Danuvium sequar, Hermundurorum eivitas, fida 
Romanis ; eoquc solis Germanorum non in ripa eommer- 
cium, sed penitus atque in splendidissima Raetiae pro-5 
vinciae colonia. Passim et sine custode transeunt ; et 
eum ceteris gentilnis arma modo castraque nostra ostcnda- 
mus, his domos villasque patefecimus non concupiscenti- 
l)us. In Hermunduris Albis oritur, flumen inclutum 
et notum olim ; nunc tantum auditur. lo 

luxta Hermunduros Naristi ac deinde Marcomani et42 
QuacH agunt. Praecipua Marcomanorum gloria viresque, 
atque ipsa etiam sedes pulsis olim Boiis virtute parta. 
Nec Naristi Quadive degenerant. Eaque Germaniae 
velut frons est, quatenus Danuvio peragitur. Marco-5 
manis Quadisque usque ad nostram memoriam reges 
mansere ex gente ipsorum, nobilo Marobodui et Tudri 
genus : iam et externos patiuntur, sed vis et potentia 
regibus ex auctoritate Romana. Raro armis nostris, 
saepius pecunia iuvantur, nec minus valent. lo 

Retro Marsigni, Cotini, Osi, Buri terga Marcomanorum 43 
Quadorumque claudunt. E quibus Marsigni et Buri 
sermone cultuque Suebos referunt : Cotinos Gallica, 
Osos Pannonica lingua coarguit non esse Germanos, et 
quod tributa patiuntur. Partem tributorum Sarmatao, 5 
partem Quadi ut alienigenis imponunt : Cotini, quo magis 
pudeat, et ferrum effodiunt. Omnesque hi populi pauca 
campestrium, cetenmi saltus ot vertices montium iugumquc 
inscderunt. Dirimit enini scinditque Suebiam continuum 
montium iugum, ultra quod plurimae gentes agunt, ex lo 
quibus latissime patet Lygiorum nomen in plures civitates 
diffusum. Valentissimas nominassc sufficiet, Harios, 


Hclveconas, Manimos, Helisios, Nahanarvalos. Apud 
Nahanarvalos antiquae religionis lucus ostenditur. Prae- 

issidet sacerdos muhebri ornatu, sed deos interpretatione 
Romana Castorem Pollucemque memorant. Ea vis 
numini, nomen Alcis. Nulla simulacra, nullum pere- 
grinae superstitionis vestigium ; ut fratres tamen, ut 
iuvenes venerantur. Ceterum Harii super vires, quibus 

2oenumeratos paulo ante populos antecedunt, truces in- 
sitae feritati arte ac tempore lenocinantur : nigra scuta, 
tincta corpora; atras ad proeha noctes legunt ipsaque 
formidine atque umbra ferahs exercitus terrorem in- 
ferunt, nuho hostium sustinente novum ac velut infer- 

25 num adspectum ; nam primi in omnibus proelus ocuh 

Trans Lygios Gotones regnantur, paulo iam adductius 
quam ceterae Germanorum gentes, nondum tamen supra 
hbertatem. Protinus deinde ab Oceano Rugii et Lemovii ; 

30 omniumque harum gentium insigne rotunda scuta, breves 
gladii et erga reges obsequium. 

44 Suionum hinc civitates ipso in Oceano praeter viros 
armaque classibus valent. Forma navium eo differt, 
quod utrimque prora paratam semper adpulsui frontem 
agit. Nec vehs ministrantur nec remos in ordinem lateri- 
5 bus adiungunt : solutum, ut in quibusdam fiuminum, 
et mutabile, ut res poscit, hinc vel ihinc remigium. Est 
apud ihos et opibus honos, eoque unus imperitat, nulhs 
iam exceptionibus, non precario iure parendi: Nec arma, 
ut apud ceteros Germanos, in promiscuo, sed clausa sub 
locustode, et quidem servo, quia subitos hostium incursus 
prohibet Oceanus, otiosae porro armatorum manus facile 
lasciviunt. Enimvero neque nobilem neque ingenuum, 
ne hbertinum quidem armis praeponere regia utilitas est. 


Trans Suionas aliud niaro, pifiiuin ac propo inmotuin,45 
quo cingi chuliquo tcrraruin orhcni liinc fides, quod extrc- 
mus cadentis iam solis fulgor in ortus edurat adeo clarus, 
ut sidera hebetet ; sonuin insupcr emergentis audiri 
forniasque equorum et radios capitis adspici persuasios 
adicit. IUuc usque (et fama vera) tantum natura. Ergo 
iam dextro Suebicimaris litorc Aestiorumgentes adluuntur, 
quibus ritus habitusque Sueborum, Hngua Britaunicae 
propior. Matrem deum venerantur. Insigne supersti- 
tionis formas aprorum gestant : id pro armis omniumque lo 
tutela securum deae cultorem etiam inter hostis praestat. 
Rarus ferri, frequens fustium usus. Frumenta ceterosque 
fructus patientius quam pro sohta Germanorum inertia 
laborant. Sed et mare scrutantur, ac soh omnium 
sucinum, quod ipsi glesum vocant, inter vada atque in 15 
ipso htore legunt. Nec quae natura, quaeve ratio gignat, 
ut barbaris, quaesitum compertumve ; diu quin etiam 
inter cetera eiectamenta maris iacebat, donec luxuria 
nostra dedit nomen. Ipsis in nuho usu ; rude legitur, 
informe profertur, pretiumque mirantes accipiunt. Sucum 20 
tamen arborum esse inteUegas, quia terrena quaedam 
atque etiam vohicria anirnaha plerumque interlucent, 
quae hnphcata umore mox durescente materia cluduntur. 
Fecundiora igitur nemora lucosque sicut Orientis secretis, 
ubi tura balsamaque sudantur, ita Occidentis insuhs25 
terrisque inesse crediderim, quae vicini sohs radiis expressa 
atque hquentia in proximum mare labuntur ac vi tem- 
pestatum in adversa htora exundant. Si naturam sucini 
admoto igni temptes, in modum taedae accenchtur ahtque 
fJammam pinguem et olentem ; mox ut in picem resinamve 30 

Suionibus Sitonuin gentes continuantur. Cetera similes 


uno diif erunt, quod femina dominatur ; in tantum non 
modo a libertate sed etiam a servitute degenerant. 

46 Hic Suebiae finis. Peucinorum Venedorumque et 
Fennorum nationes Germanis an Sarmatis adscribam 
dubito, quamquam Peucini, quos quidam Bastarnas 
vocant, sermone, cultu, sede ac domiciliis ut Germani 
6 agunt. Sordes omnium ac torpor procerum ; conubiis 
mixtis nonnihil in Sarmatarum habitum foedantur. 
Venedi multum ex moribus traxerunt ; nam quidquid inter 
Peucinos Fennosque silvarum ac montium erigitur latro- 
ciniis pererrant. Hi tamen inter Germanos potius re- 

loferuntur, quia et domos figunt et scuta gestant et pedum 
usu ac pernicitate gaudent : quae omnia diversa Sarmatis 
sunt in plaustro equoque viventibus. Fennis mira feritas, 
foeda paupertas : non arma, non equi, non penates ; 
victui herba, vestitui pelles, cubile humus : solae in 

15 sagittis spes, quas inopia ferri ossibus asperant. Idemque 
venatus viros pariter ac feminas aht ; passim enim comi- 
tantur partemque praedae petunt. Nec ahud infantibus 
ferarum imbriumque suff ugium quam ut in ahquo ramorum 
nexu contegantur : huc redeunt iuvenes, hoc senum re- 

20 ceptaculum. Sed beatius arbitrantur quam ingemere 
agris, inlaborare domibus, suas ahenasque fortunas spe 
metuque versare : securi adversus homines, securi ad- 
versus deos rem difficihimam adsecuti sunt, ut iUis ne voto 
quidem opus esset. Cetera iam fabulosa : Hellusios et 

25 Oxionas ora hominum voltusque, corpora atque artus 
ferarum gerere : quod ego ut incompertum in medio 


Chapter 1. 

The boundaries of Germany ; the courses of the Rhiue and the 

1. Germania omnis : Germany as a whole; Taeitus ochoes the 
opening wurds of Caesar's Bellum Gallicum. Germany proper 
is here considered as a geographical unit apart from the Roman 
provinces of Upper and Lower Germany, which were situated 
on the left bank of the Rhine. — Raetisque et Pannoniis : these 
nouns, connected by et, stand in chjse relation as tlie seeond 
member of the eoordinate series. The Raeti inhabited Eastern 
Switzerland, the Tyrol. and Southern Bavaria. 

The western boundary of Pannonia lay somewhat to the west 
of Vienna ; on the north and the east the provinee was bordered 
by the Danube. Between Raetia and Pannonia lay Noricum, 
whieh Tacitus here leaves unmentioned. 

2. Sarmatis : peoples containing Slavic elements and also 
possessing racial affinity with the Medes and Persians ; their 
domain in general comprised the steppes of Russia north of the 
Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains. One tribe, the lazyges, 
oecupied at this time that part of Ilungary that lies between 
the Danube and the Theiss. — Dacisque : a Thracian stoek which, 
a decade before the Germania was written, had inflieted severe 
defeats on the armies of Domitian ; Trans^Ivania and adjacent 
regions were included in Dacian territory. — mutuo metu aut 
montibus : a striking example of the combination of concrete 
and abstract ideas ; cf. the note on Agricola 25. 8. This usage is 
favored especially by Tacitus and the poets of the Empire ; 
one of the earliest instances in Latin is Plautus, Rudcns 436 : 
nostro illum puteum periclo et ferramentis fodimus (' I dug that 
well with peril to myself and with iron tools '). The mountains 
referred to are the Carpathians. 

3. Oceanus : the North Sea and the Baltic. — sinus : used 
here, as in Agricola 23. 6 and Gerrnania 37. 1, in the sense of a 
' projection of the land.' 



4. insularum : ineluding the Seandinavian Peninsula, re- 
garded for c(mturies af ter Taeitus as an island. — nuper : this word 
may be extended in meaning to include an event not too remote 
in the past ; cf. the indefiniteness of our expression " in modern 
times " and the extensibility of such Latin words as antiquilus, 
vetus, et. eet. See note on Agricola 1. 2. The furthest advance 
of Roman forces in these regions was aehieved in 5 a.d., when 
an expedition under the command of Tiberius penetrated as far 
as the Cattegat. Roman fleets also operated along the German 
coast of the North Sea in 12 b.c. under Drusus and in 15 and 
16 A.D. under Germanicus. — cognitis . . . gentibus : a loose 
ablative absolute construction, added to justify the assertion 
made with referenee to the vast extent of the peninsulas and 

5. aperuit : cf. the similar metaphor in Agricola 22. 1 : tertius 
annus . . . novas gentis aperuit. 

6. vertice ortus : the Rhine proper is actually formed by the 
confluenee of two tributaries, the ' Hinter ' Rhine and the 
' Vorder ' Rhine, which rise in different parts of the Swiss canton 
Grisons. The source of the Vorder Rhine is near St. Gotthard, 
aneient Adula, the vertex here referred to. 

7. versus : a participle, reflexive in force. 

8. moUi et clementer edito : cf. our English expression '* a 
gentle slope " ; there is a contrast with inaccesso ac praecipiti. 

9. Abnobae : the name applied in ancient times to the Black 
Forest. The source of the Danube is on the eastern slope. — 
pluris : here equivalent to compluris. 

10. donec . . . erumpat : as is not infrequent in late Latin, 
donec introduces a subjunetive in a statement of fact where 
classical usage would demand an indicative. — septimum os : 
almost without exeeption, Greek "«Titers, from the time of He- 
rodotus on, assigned five mouths to the Danube. Among the 
Romans, traditional computation af ter the Augustan age declared 
for seven, which the fame of the Nile Delta rendered a favored 
number for rivers' mouths. Thus Vergil, Aeneid 9. 30, ascribes 
seven outlets to the Ganges. As a matter of fact the Danube, 
before entering the Black Sea, divides into three branches, 
the Kilia, the Sulina, and the St. George's ; the Kilia dis- 


charges through seven channels and the St. George's through 

11. paludibus : the whole delta is marshland and covors aa 
area of 1000 sq. m. 

Chapter 2. 

The origin of the German race ; its reputed progenitors ; ex- 
tension of the name. 

1. ipsos : as in Agricola 13. 1, the pronoun marks a transition 
frora physical geography to peoples. 

2. hospitiis : as a resiilt of rclations of hospitality (established 
with non-German peoples). — terra : zeugraa with advehebantur is 
involved ; supply adveniebant. 

3. olim : in primilive iimes. — classibus advehebantur : Taci- 
tus's rejection of the possibility of folk migration by land is, of 
course, out of keeping with the facts of history. He had espe- 
cially in mind the mj^thological traditions as to the wanderings of 
the peoples of the Mediterranean Basin, e.g. Greeks, Trojans, 
and Phoenicians. 

4. ultra : used attributively, as in Agricola^O. 16: nulla iam, 
ultra gens. Translatc : beyond the lindls of the known world. — 
adversus : lying over against us. The word does not necessitate 
the assumption of an allusion to the spherical shape of the earth, 
a view which Tacitus did not accept, as is clear from Agricola 12. 
The Ocean is in imagination transferred to a separate quarter of 
the earth fronting the known world ; it is a hyperbole coramon 
among Roman writers to refer to a remote clime as ' another 
world '; Pliny, Natural History 4. (27). 96: clarissima est Sca- 
dinavia incompertae magnitudinis . . . quae (i.e. Hillevionum 
gens) alterum orbem lerrarum eam appcllal (' most famous (of these 
islands) is Seadinavia, (a land) of unknown vastness, . . . the 
race of the Hilleviones calls it another world ') ; sometimes, as 
in this passage, the boldness of the coneeption is tempered by the 
insertion of a limiting word or clause ; thus Velleius Paterculus, 
a historian of the time of Tiberius, writes in 2. 46. 1 : cum . . . 
in Britanniam traiecisset exercitum, allerum paene . . . quaerens 
orbem (' when . . . he had transported his army to Britain, in 
quest of what is well nigh another world '). 


7. informem : lit. shapeless, henee here applied to the savage 
aspeet of aii uncultivated land. The Romans had little taste for 
the pietiiresque and the wild in natural scenery. 

8. tristem cultu adspectuque : gloomy to dwell in ahd to view. — 
nisi si patria sit : an oft-repeated sentiment ; cf. Cicero, De Ami- 
citia 68 : consuetudo valet, cum locis ipsis delectemur, montuosis 
etiam et silvestribus, in quibus diutius commorati sumus (' famil- 
iarity has its effect, in that we find delight in the very country, 
mountainous and wooded even though it be, in which we have 
sojourned a longer time than usual'); James Montgomerj^^s 

" Man through all ages of revolving time, 
Unchanging man in every varying clime, 
Deems his own land of every land the pride, 
Beloved of Heaven o'er all the world beside." 

9. carminibus antiquis : sagas, or lays dealing with the geneal- 
ogies and deeds of heroes, such as preceded prose history writing 
among the Greeks and probably among the Romans. — quod 
unum . . . annalium genus : in the case of the Britons, Tacitus 
was unable to cite explicitly even poetic tradition as to their 
origin ; ef. Agricola 11. 2. 

10. Tuistonem : i.e. ' the twofold one ' ; compare Ger. zwei, 
zwischen ; Eng. two. He may have been coneeived of as bi- 
sexual ; an interesting, though not a complete, analogy is 
Ceerops, mythical founder of the royal line of Athens, who, as 
did Tuisto, sprang from the earth and was portrayed as biformis, 
half man and half serpent. 

11. Mannum : i.e. ' the thinldng creature,' derived from the 
root whieh appears in Gk. fiiiJLvrjffKU}, Lat. memini, Ger. Mensch, 
Eng. man. Mannus was thus the first human being endowed with 
the power of thought. There is reason to believe that we have 
here the Germanie offshoot of the Indo-European myth of the 
creation of man. 

12. tris filios : three sons are eharacteristie of the third 
generation in mythical genealogies ; thus, Uranus, Cronus, and 
Zeus, Poseidon, Pluto ; Deucalion (the Greek Noah), Hellen, 
and Dorus, Xuthus, Aeolus. We may recall in this eonnection 
Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the " three sons of Noah and of them 


was the wholo earth overspread." It is possible that Mannus 
was the Germanic Noah. — e quorum nominibus : th<' naines of 
these eponymous ancestors have been reconstructed as Ingvas or 
Ing, Erminas or Irmin, and Istvas. Xote the alliteration char- 
acteristic of such ^oups of gods or heroes in Germanic rayth. 
Around each of the three centered a cult group eonsisting of 
peoples supposedly united by ties of relationship in their common 
descent from the heroic forefather. In the process of religious 
development the worship of some one of the chief gods of the 
German pantheon beeame dominant among the tribes composing 
each of the three groups, although not necessarily restricted to 
the group or adopted by all the tribes in it. Thus the cults of 
FrejT and Tiu flourished especially among the Ingaevones and 
the Herminones respectively ; the worship of Wodan had its 
center in the regions occupied by the Istaevones. In each case 
the original eponymous hero tended to merge with the personaUty 
of the greater divinity and the name of the progenitor to become 
an epithet of the god. 

This classifieation into three races does not pretend to be com- 
plete and is not utilized by Taeitus in his detailed discussion of 
German ethnology, chap. 28 and foUowing. Hence it should 
not be assumed that he meant to imply that these three groups 
included all the peoples of Germany. He is concerned here 
chiefly with the mythical genealogy of the Germans and so 
singles out for mention these three divisions as being those which, 
according to the tradition of the Germans themselves, preserved 
in their names proof of origin from the sons of Mannus, the com- 
mon aneestor. Therefore he deemed it necessary to locate thera 
only roughly. As a matter of fact, this classification appUes 
only to the peoples west of the Oder. Pliny, Natural Hislorij 
4. (28). 99, gives a more coraprehensive, though not exhaustive, 
division of the raees of Germany, in which he adds to the three 
groups here mentioned the Vandili of Northeastern Germany 
and the Pcucini along the eastern border. 

13. Ingaevones : PUny's transcription, Ingvaeones, is closer 
to the original German than the spelling of Tacitus, which has 
been modified to suit Roman vocal organs. Modern scholars 
differ as to the transUteration of aU three names. 


This group included especiallj' the inhabitants of the Danish 
Peninsula, e.g. the Cimbri and the Teutons ; the Anglo-Saxons 
are assigned by some scholars to the Ingaevones, by others to the 
Herminones. Herminones : comprising peoples which dwelt on 
the east and the west of the Upper Elbe, as the Langobardi, the 
Semnones, the Chatti, the Cherusci, and the Hermunduri. 
The Hessians and the Thuringians of later times sprang from this 

14. Istaevones : transliterated more accurately by Pliny, 
Istvaeones. They numbered among them the tribes which 
occupied the territory along the Lower Rhine, sueh as the Sugam- 
bri, Bata\i, Chamavi, Ubii, Usipi, and were the forefathers of 
the Franks of West Germany and Holland. 

The specimens of pottery and the numerous articles of bronze 
and iron work which have been unearthed in the sepulehral 
mounds found in the regions once occupied by the Istaevones 
and the Herminones, indicate that the latter peoples reached a 
higher degree of civilization than the former. The Istaevones 
seem deliberately to have resisted the more advanced culture of 
their Celtic neighbors. — quidam : Roman scholars and writers, 
whose views are continued in chap. 3. — ut in licentia vetustatis : 
as is io be expected in connection with the freedom of opinion attach- 
ing itself to matters of the remote past. 

15. pluris deo ortos : a much discussed passage, best explained 
asfollows : more {than three) descendants of the god (i.e. Tuisto). — 
gentis appellationes : race narnes. The four names following are 
eited as examples only and are not intended as a eomplete list. 
We may be eertain that the names of the eponymous ancestors 
not meutioned here were invented by Roman authorities or 
German informants, to aeeount for existing tribal names. This 
was the usual aetiological practice of the ancients ; cf. Hellenes, 
from a mythieal Hellen, lonians from lon. — Marsos : a branch 
of the Sugambri ; they suffered severely in the campaigns waged 
by Germanicus in 14 a.d. against the peoples dwelling near the 
Lippe and the Ruhr, and subsequently dispersed into the interior. 

16. Gambrivios : they also lived in Western Germany, in the 
vicinity of the Cherusci and the Chatti. Kinship with the Su- 
gambri is indicated by the presence of the root gambr- in both 


names. — Suebos : the applifalion of this naino was subjoot to 
variation on tho part of Roinan writors. As used horo by Taoitus, 
it embraces tho Somnones, Chatti, and other tribes of Southorn 
and Western Germany, living on and about the Elbe. In chap. 
38 we shall see that the peoples inoludod under the name were 
much more widely extended. — Vandilios : originally applied, 
as in Pliny, Ndtural History 4. (28). 90 and in this passago, to 
an ethnic division comprising many peoples of Eastern Germany, 
the name, in its later form Vandali, was restricted to tho tribe 
famous in tho poriod of tho Germanic migrations into the Empire. 
— eaque vera . . . nomina : supply esse; the indirect discourse 
continuos to the end of the ehaptor. 

17. ceterum : whereas {Ihey assert). The conjunction intro- 
duces a contrast between vera et antiqua nomina and vocabulum 
recens et cet. 

18. primi Rhenum transgressi Gallos expulerint : in close 
agreement with Caesar, Bellum Gallicmn 2. 4. 1, who asserts 
that most of the Belgae were deseended from Germanic invaders 
who, tempted by the fertility of the soil, had crossed the Rhine 
and ejected the Celtic inhabitants. Antiquitus is the word 
used by Caesar to define the date of this migration ; it was at 
least prior to the incursion of the Cimbri and the Teutons. 
The Remi furnished Caesar with the data for this part of his 
narrative ; however, there seems to be no ground for distrusting 
the accuracy of the account, although elsewhere in the Gallic 
War the reliability of information derived from native sources is 
open to question. 

19. ac nunc Tungri, tunc Germani : according to Caesar, 
Bellum Gallicum 2. 4. 10, a confodoration of four tribes of Belgic 
Gaul, the Condrusi, Eburones, Caerosi, and Caemani, bore col- 
lectively the name Germani. A view which has gained wide 
acceptance is that this was the term applied by the Celts to the 
Teutonic intruders. Its etymology is uncertain. The accuracy 
of the statement of Tacitus, that peoples onee called Germani 
were in his time known as Tungri, is substantiatod by the fact 
that, in the first century of the Empire, Tungri occupied the 
territory adjacent to Aduatuca, once the chief city of Caosar's 
Eburones (Germani), and later called Aduatuca Tongrorura, 


surviving in modern Tongres near Liege. Tungri served in 
Agrieola's army in Britain ; cf . Agricola 36. 5. 

20. nationis nomen . . . evaluisse : in history instanees are 
plentiful in which the name of a tribe (the sense of natio here) has 
been extended over a wliole race or people ; cf . the extension of 
the name Hellenes, originally a Thessalian tribe. The French 
word Allemand is derived from the name of a single race, the 

21. omnes : the main body of the Germans who still remained 
in their own domain on the right bank of the Rhine. — a victore 
ob metum : the original Teutonic invaders, in order to overawe 
the conquered Celts, appUed the name bestowed on themselves 
to their eompatriots across the Rhine. They would thus inspire 
the beUef among the Gauls that others of the same race as them- 
selves, hence just as formidable foemen, stood ready to cross and 
assist them to hold what they had gained. This interpretation 
of a difficult passage understands ob metum in an active sense, as 
equivalent to oh metum iniciendum. — a se ipsis : subsequently 
the name received universal sanction among the Germans. 
Recall that it is the view of Roman critics (quidam) that Tacitus 
is still expounding. In point of fact, it is scarcely credible that 
at this period the Germans had adopted for themselves any col- 
lective racial designation, comparable to the later Deutsch, 
which beeame estabUshed in the eleventh century a.d. It was 
only among the Romans and the Gauls that the generic name 
Germani had currency. 

Chapter 3. 

Hercules and Ulysses among the Germans ; German war- 

1. et : the Germans had various native heroes. Hercules also, 
a hero of foreign origin, sojourned among them. — Herculem : in 
this passage Taeitus has blended two separate ideas : (1) a myth 
as to the presence in Germany, on some one of his peregrinations, 
of the Hercules of Greek and Roman mythology. Similarly, we 
are informed below of a tradition aecording to whieh the Greek 
Ulysses penetrated to Germany. (2) Beginning with primum- 
que, Hercules is merged in the German god Donar or Thor, af ter 


thp fashion, usual with Greek and Roman writors, of identifyinK, 
nn the hasis of resemhhmees in attributo or function, foreign 
divinities with prods of their own pantheon. Thus Caesar found 
Mereury, Apollo, and Mars in Gaul, Belluin Gallicum 6. 17. 

Hercules and Thor both fought with monsters, both were 
benefactors of mankind ; Thor's weapon, the hammer, suggested 
the club of Hercules. — memorant : alluding to Greek or Roman 
literary sourees. — primum : Ihe original hcro of Ihem all. 

2. canunt : the sul)ject has ehanged abruptly. 

3. haec quoque carmina : mention of the battle-hymn cele- 
brating the deeds of Donar suggested a digression dealing with 
a chant of a dififerent type, but also sung as a prelude to the 
conflict^ Haec = talia. — relatu : by the rendition. — barditum : a 
Latinized German word, the etymology of which is uncertain. 
It has been connected ^vith bardhi, ' shield,' and bard, bart, 
' beard,' bartrede being an iraitation of the hoarse utterance of 
Donar, the god of the thunder. 

5. ipso cantu : by the mere sound, irrespeetive of the content 
of the song. 

6. sonuit acies : cf. the description of the attack of Civilis 
and the Batavi on the Romans, Historiae 4. 18 : ut virorum cajitxi, 
feminarum ululatu, sonuit acies (' while the line resounded with the 
chanting of the men and the whoops of the women '). — nec tam 
vocis ille quam virtutis concentus : seek to render the rhetorical 
features of the diction Vjy some sueh translation as : a harmony 
not so much of voices as of valiant hearts. 

7. fractum murmur : a pulsating roar. The reverberation 
from the shields would give the sound a muffled and tremulous 

9. ceterum : taking up the thread of the narrative proper 
af ter the digression. Translate : to resume. — quidam : Greek 
and Roman antiquarians and writers ; ancient savants were 
given to extending the wanderings of Ulysses to any land where 
his presence would most plausibly account for the name of a city 
or for the existence of some local monument. Here both motives 
were present. 

10. fabuloso : famed in story, as Horace, Odes 1. 22. 7 : fnbulo- 
8us . . . Hydaspes, — or fraught ivith legends. — hunc Oceanum: 



the North Sea ; Taeitus projects in thought the reader and himself 
to the region which he is describing. 

11. Asciburgium : a mihtary post on the left bank of the 
Lower Rhine. The name perhaps survives in the modern 
Asberg, situated north of Cologne, near Diisseldorf. 

12. hodieque : =hodie quoquc, even lo this day. 

13. nominatum : Tacitus does not present the etymological 
details on which the theory rested. These were doubtless fanei- 
ful enough, since the demands of ancient philologists in such 
respects were easily satisfied. Perhaps they saw in the name a 
reminiscence of the famous bag (dcr/v6s) in which Aeolus impris- 
oned the unfavorable wdnds, Odyssey 10. 19-29. — Ulixi : best 
explained as a dative of agent ; an altar dedicated to Ulysses 
would coustitute no definitive proof of his stay. 

15. Graecis litteris inscriptos : aecording to Caesar, Bellum 
Gallicum 1. 29 and 6. 14, the Helvetians and the Druids were 
acquainted with the Greek alphabet. The inscriptions here 
referred to were probably written in an alphabet which ar- 
chaeological discoveries made in the Tyrol have shown was in use 
among the Raetians, and was closely akin to the Etrusean 

18. ex ingenio suo : according to his especial bent. 

Chapter 4. 

The purity of the German stock ; the resultant uniformity of 
physical type and characteristics. 

2. nullis aliis aliarum nationum : i.e. nullis conubiis aliis 
aliarum nationum. Taeitus emphasizes as strongly as possible 
the freedom with which exogamy would have been practieed, if 
it had been indulged in at aU. Translate : by no intermarriages, 
promiscuously contracted with various races. — infectos : con- 
taminated : some editors attach to the word the inilder connota- 
tion, modified. 

4. tamquam . . . numero : so far as can be judged in the case 
of so great a population. 

5. truces et caerulei oculi : the Gauls assured Caesar's soldiers 
that the mien and the glances of the Germans struek terror to 
theheartsof theirantagonists, 5eWM?/iGaZZicu/Hl. 39. 1; caeruleus 


is the standing word of dcsoription appliod in Latin to the eolor 
of the eyes of the Germans ; cf. Ilorace, Epodes 10. 7 and Juvonal, 
Satircs V.i. 104. 

6. rutilae comae : the samo charaeteristic is attributed to the 
Caledonians, Agricola 11.4. — magna corpora : cf. Agricola 11.4; 
Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 1. 39. 1 : ingeiUi magniludine corporum 
Germanos. The large frames of the Gauls and the Germans were 
always a source of wondor to the shorter, more stocky Romans. 
— tantum ad impetum valida : in Annalcs 2. 14 Gcrmanicus is 
represented as encouraging his soldiors before a battle with the 
assurance : inm corpas {(krmanorum) ut visu torrum et ad brcvem 
impetum validum, sic nulla vulncrum patientia et avq. (' moroovor, 
the (German) physique, while grim to behold and powerful in a 
brief onsot, has no capability in enduring wounds '). 

7. non eadem : not on a par with their aggressiveness. 

8. aestumque tolerare : in Historiae 2. 93 we are told that the 
heat of tho Roman summer, and a reckless recourse to the waters 
of the Tiber, plajed havoc with the health of the German and 
Gallic troops of Vitellius. — frigora atque inediam : the force of 
tolerare is continued with these words ; noto the chiastic arrange- 
ment with referenee to the proceding pair. The asyndeton con- 
ceals an adversative conjunction, as in Agricola 12. 18 : tarde 
mitescunt, cito proveniunt. 

9. caelo solove : causal ablatives. These words dexterously 
mark the transition to the description of the country and the 
produets -svith which the next chapter begins. 

Chapter 5. 

The country and its products; the precious metals and the 
valuation attached to them. 

1. aliquanto : to some extent. 

2. silvis : according to Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 6. 25, the 
Hercynian Forest was nine days' journey in width and so long 
that a march of sixty days would not bring a traveler to its 
furthest borders. Other forests were the Teutoburgiensis, 
Bacensis, and Caesia. — paludibus : the typical doscription of 
the German terrain always contains reference to the marshos ; 
e.g. Hisloriae 4. 73 : eadem semper causa Germanis transcendcndi 


in Galliam . . . ut relictis paludibus et solitudinihus suis fecundis- 
simum hoc solum . . . possiderent (' an always invariable reason 
moved the Germans to cross into Gaul . . . (the desire) to leave 
behind their native swamps and wildernesses and oeeupy this 
highly fertile soil '). — umidior qua Gallias : not primarilj^ a 
direct allusion to a heavier rainfall, but to the swampy nature of 
the country in West Germany and HoUand, the scenes of most 
of the Roman eampaigns in Germany in the first century a.d. 
Cf. Taeitus, Annales 1. 61, umido paludum; 1. 68, egressos . .-. 
per umida et impedita; 2. 23, umidis Germaniae terris. 

3. ventosior : eontrasted with umidior, sinee the prevalence of 
winds would make for a drier country. — ^adspicit: ef. Agricola 
24. 3-4: eamque partem Britanniae quae Hiberniam adspicit. — 
satis : ablative. 

4. frugiferarum arborum inpatiens : written from the point 
of view of one familiar with the opposite conditions existing in 
Italy. Total absence of fruit trees is not implied but only of their 
cultivation ; henee there is no inconsistency involved in the 
mentiou of agrestia poma in chap. 23. 3. 

5. improcera : supply sunt pecora. — armentis : horned cattle. 
— suus honor : their generic attractions, referring especially to 
size and appearanee. 

6. gloria frontis : flowery dietion — proud adornment of the 
brow. They were not hornless, but lacked the branching horns 
seen on Italian cattle to this day. — numero : instead of in fine 
breeds. — solae et gratissimae opes : solae is a somewhat ex- 
aggerated statement ; gratissimae is more exact. In certain 
Old Germanic languages the same word signified ' cattle ' and 
' wealth ' ; similarly, in Latin, pecunia is conneeted etymologi- 
cally with pecus. In the Homeric poems vakies are sometimes 
expressed in terms of cattle, e.g. Iliad 2. 449.and 6. 236 iKardfxfioios, 
Odyssey 1. 431 ieiKoa-d^oios. 

7. propitii : the sentiment that " money is the root of all 
evil " is as hackneyed in ancient literature as in modern; e.g. 
Vergil, Aeneid 3. 56 : Quid non mortalia pectora cogis, auri sacra 
fames ! Propertius, 3. 13. 49-50 : 

auro pulsa fides, auro venalia iura, 
aurum lex sequitur, moz sine lege pudor 


(' gold has baaished honor, gold purchases Justice's deerees, law 
follows in the traia of gold, and anon the sense of shame, once 
law is gone '). 

9. nullam Germaniae venam : over fifteen years later, 
when Tacitus was writing tlic Annals, he had learned of the 
presence of small deposits of silver near modern Wiesbaden; cf. 
Annales 11. 20: in agro Maltiaco recluserat {Curtius Rufus) specus 
quaerendis venis argenti et seq. (' in the territory of the Mattiaci 
Curtius Rufus had opened up mines in a quest for veins of 

10. haud perinde : not especially; literally there is an elUp- 
tical comparison, ac aliae nationes or the like, as in Agricola 
10. 21. 

11. est videre : Uke the Greek ecrTiv bpav. 

12. principibus : here used iu a broad sense, i.e. headmen, 
including cliieftains and kings. 

13. quae humo finguntur : unlike the argentea vasa, the earthen- 
ware was of domfstic origin. We have learned from the excava- 
tion of prehistoric tombs that the Germans had a pottery tech- 
nique reacMng back to very primitive times. — quamquam : and 
yet; the elause limits the preceding sentence. — ^proximi: i.e. 
to the Roman frontier. The numismatic finds araply confirm 
the assertion of Tacitus that, in his time, only the Germans who 
lived close to the boundaries had coins, and that these were 
exclusively of Republican mintage. 

15. formas : types. — adgnoscunt : they know well. 

17. probant : they welcome. 

18. serratos bigatosque : supply nummos; the coins here 
referrcd to are two types of the silver denarius, which were not 
issued afler the middle of the first century b.c. The former had 
milled edges, the latter was stamped with the picture of a biga 
or two-horsed chariot. Besides the natural partiality of peoples 
in any age for currency of a long-established value (compare the 
standing of the English sovereign and the Freneh Napoleon 
nowadays), another reason for the Germans' preference lay in the 
fact that in the time of the Empire. notably after Nero, tho 
denarius was debased with a bronze aUoy. 

19. adf ectione animi : penchant. 


20. facilior usui : more serviceable; the right " change," as we 
say, could be made more easily with a large number of coins of 
small denominations. — promiscua : commgn wares. 

Chapter 6. 

Weapons ; miUtary tactics and formations ; the code of honor. 

1. ne f errum quidem : mention of the precious metals is 
logically succeeded by reference to iron among the Germans, and 
this forms an easy transition to the foUowing description of arms 
and warfare. — superest : is -present in abundance. Remains 
found in mounds in the region of the Elbe would indieate that, 
at least among the peoples of this locaHty, iron was present in 
large quantities. 

2. rari gladiis : rari is not to be taken with strict literalness ; 
the use of the sword was merely relatively less frequent than that 
of the framea (see below). In chap. 18 the sword is mentioned 
as a usual article of the marriage dower ; the use of short swords 
was a. racial charaeteristic of the East Germans ; cf. chap. 43. 
Thus swords were scarcely a rarity in primitive Germany, taken 
by and large. They may, however, have been seen but seldom 
in the hands of the tribes of West Germany and it was with 
these that the Romans came in closest contact. — lanceis : 
these had stout shafts, broad iron heads, and were used only 
for thrusting. 

3. frameas : the framea, styled by Taeitus except in this 
treatise simply hasta, was the characteristic national weapon of 
the Germans. In comparison with the pilum of the Romans the 
shaft seemed excessively long and the iron head short. In 
Christian literature framea means ' sword ' ; thus in the Latin 
Bible it is the regular equivalent for pofKpala. Cf . the analogous 
development in meaning of eyxos, in Homer ' spear,' in the 
tragedians ' sword.' 

5. vel comminus vel eminus : notwithstanding the words of 
Taeitus here, there was a limit to the effectiveness of the framea 
atclosequarters ; cf. .4 nnaZes 2. 21 : (Germani) . . . genere pugnae 
et armorum superabantur, cum ingens multitudo artis locis prae- 
longas hastas non protenderet, non colligeret (' the Germans were 
put at a disadvantage by the nature of the combat and the style 


of weapons employed, sinee. fighting in an iinraense crowd in a 
confinod space, thcy couhl not thrust forward their very long 
lances and could not recover them '). 

6. scuto : the Gerinan shields wcre made of wicker or of thin 
boards, sometimes reenforced with hide. Among the East Ger- 
mans they were round in shape, elsewhere they were recLangular 
or hexagoual. 

7. missilia : not only light javelins, but also stones and slung- 
shots. — in inmensum : to an enormous distnnce. 

8. nudi aut sagulo leves : nudus, as well as the GreekyvfxuSi, is 
frequently used in the niodified sense seen in our expression, 
" stripped for action." The German infantry removed all 
encumbering outer garments or else the light mantle that they 
wore left their movements unimpeded. — cultus iactatio : osten- 
tatiousness in equipment. 

9. coloribus : in Plutarch, Marius 25, we read of the white 
shields of the Cimbri ; the Harii, Germania 43. 21, carried black 
shields. The escutcheons of the age of chivah-y originated in 
this custom ef the Germans. In the Roman army each cohort 
had its distinctive device or digma painted on its shields ; on the 
column of Trajan at Rome such designs as a winged thunderbolt, 
a garland, and a laiirel crown can be distinguished. 

10. cassis aut galea : for the eonventional distinetion between 
these words, see lexicon. — equi non . . . conspicui : Caesar 
was forced to supply the German horscmen whom he requisitioned 
for service against Vercingetorix with new mounts, quod minus 
idoneis equis utebnntur, Bellum Gallicum 7. 05. 4-5. 

11. sed : agihty in evolutions might have offset their natural 
defects, but, et seq. — variare gyros : to execute changcs of Jront 
in either direction; such shifts were involved in describing the 
figure 8, a favorite maneuver in Roman equestrian drill. An 
essential difTerence between Roman and German methods of 
horsemanship is implied in the comment made in Annnles 11. 16 
on Italicus, a prince of the Cherusci, ipse . . . armis equisque in 
patrium nostrumque morem exercitus (' he . . . was trained in 
arms and in horsemanship after the mode of his country and in 
our fashion '). 

12. uno flexu : with a wheel constantly in one direction, in 


contrast with variare gyros. — dextros : the language of Tacitus 
should not be so pressed as to lead to the inference that the Ger- 
nian cavaky could not execute a left wheel but that they ordina- 
rily did not. The point whieh Tacitus wished to emphasize is 
that the Germans were not trained to match the mobiUty whieh 
enabled a troop of Roman horsemen suddenly to shift from a 
turn in one direction into a turn in the other without breaking 
the alignment. In the case of a German column, a wheel begun 
in one direction was always eompleted. The right wheel alone 
is speeified beeause it is the one which would more naturally 
occur to the mind as an example ; f urthermore, this evolution 
would be resorted to more commonly, sinee the side protected 
by the shield woidd be thus presented to the foe. 

13. coniuncto orbe : not a very lucid expression, because it 
was actually the horsemen who were coniuncti, orbe being the 
circle or the arc of the circle of which the file of wheeling troops 
was the radius. Translate : the wheeling file preserving its 
alignment. — in universum aestimanti : the same phrase occurs 
in Agricola 11. 10. 

14. plus . . . roboris : ef. Agricola 12. 1, in pedite robur; Germa- 
nia 30. 12, omne robur {Chattorum) in pedite. — eoque : = ideoque. 
The mode of fighting practiced by these combined forces is de- 
seribed in detail by Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 1. 48. We should 
infer from his aeeount that each contingent eontained an equal 
number of horse and foot, each eavalryman choosing his comrade 
from the infantry. The foot soldiers supported the horsemen in 
action and came to their rescue in case they were unhorsed. 
Caesar himself recognized the servieeabiUty of such troops and 
utilized them in the war with Vereingetorix' (ef . Bellum Gallicum 
7. 65. 4r-5) and in the Pharsalian campaign ; cf. Bellum Civile 
3. 75 and 84. 

15. congruente . . . velocitate : ef. Bellum Gallicum 1. 48. 7 : 
si quo erat longius prodeundum aut celerius recipiendum, tanta 
erat horum exercitatione celeritas, ut iubis sublevati equorum 
cursum adaequarent. 

16. ante aciem locant : not, of course, alone, but with their 
equestrian companions, whose presence in the same place foUows 
as a matter of course. 


17. numerus : i.e. peditum deleclorum. As we should e.xpect 
and as is illustrated hy tlie passages froin Caesar referred to 
above, the funetions of the cavalry in eoinbats in which the 
iiiixti were engaged, was taken for granted, hence in description 
is subordinated to the part played by the chosen infantry, the 
agiUty and prowess displayed by them. They were regarded as 
an ehte body — thus in the PharsaHan campaign we find Caesar 
selecting them from the antesignani — and inight well receive a 
distinetive name. — pagis : here a large territorial subdivision of 
a civitas, such as those into which the Suebi were divided accord- 
ing to Caesar, Belluin Gallicum 4. 1. The size of the Siiebian 
pagus maj' be inferred from the fact that each was populous enough 
to put a thousand warriors in the field every year and to retain an 
equal number of men at home to till the fields. 

19. acies : the main body of the army. — per cuneos : later 
•WTiters liken this formation to a boar's head, caput porcinum. 

20. cedere loco : the regular idiom for deserting one's post. 
Roman military theory disapproved even of strategic with- 
drawals ; failure to maintain a prescribed position rendered 
soldiers liable to severe penalty, as the foUo^ving passage in the 
JAfe of Augustus, Avritten by Suetonius, a contemporary of Taci- 
tus, well attests : ' If any cohorts gave way in battle (si cessissent 
loco), Augustus deeimated them and fed the rest on barley (in- 
stead of the usual rations of wheat) ; when centurions left their 
posts, he punished them with death just as he did the rank and 
file' (chap. 24, Rolfe's translation). 

21. quam : with ellipsis of potius, as in various passages else- 
where in the works of Taeitus. 

22. praecipuum flagitium : the height of infamy; praecipuus 
has here a superlative force, a frequent connotation of the word 
in Latin of this period. Cf. Montesquieu, Spiril of the Laws 
xxviii, chap. xxi : ' The ancient Salic Law allows a composition 
of fifteen sous (120 denarii) to any person tliat had been injuri- 
ously reproached with having left his buckler behind.' The 
severity of Spartan feeUng toward the pi^a<nri% is weU known ; 
however, Greek poets and, after them, the Roman Horace were 
not above jesting on the subject. 

23. concilium : the popular assembly described in chap. 11-12. 


Chapter 7. 

Military leaders, their choice and the extent of their powers ; 
ineentives to valor in battle. 

1. reges : among the tribes of Germany supreme power was 
vested sometimes in one person, called by Taeitus the rex, some- 
times in two or more principes. Rex and principes alike were 
scions of the family or families which, by virtue of ancient lineage, 
formed the top of the social structure of the tribe. Such 
preeminence was due ordinarily to a supposed divine origin. 
The king, where he existed, was that one of the principes in 
whose hands authority was centraUzed by popular choice. 
Eligibility only was hereditary ; final option rested with the 

As is shown by the case of the Cherusci, who, in the year 47 a.d. 
with the eonsent of the emperor Claudius, set up as king Italicus, 
the sole surviving member of the regia stirps, although in previous 
years they had been ruled by principes, monarchy and oligarchy 
might interchange in one tribe. However, in general the peoples 
of East Germany inclined to a single ruler, whereas in the West 
control was commonly in the hands of principes. — ex nobilitate : 
on the ground of noble lineage. — duces : called in Old High Ger- 
man herzoga, modern German, Herzog. Among tribes that had no 
king, the natural leader in war where he existed, a dux was chosen 
to exereise chief eommand ; sueh tribal duces were Brinno among 
the Canninefates {Historiae 4. 15), Gannascus, chosen dux by 
the Chauci though himself a member of the Canninefates {Annales 
11. 8). As in the cases of Ariovistus, Arminius, the conqueror of 
Varus, and Civilis, leader of the revolt of 69-70 a.d., a dux might 
head a eonfederation of several tribes. The selection of a dux was 
indieated by carrying him on an upraised shield, a eeremony 
whieh was perpetuated in the choiee of a king among the later 
Goths and Franks. — nec . . . infinita . . . potestas : the 
German kings, owing as thej^ did their position to popular choice, 
were inevitably limited in initiative and remained the instruments 
of the tribal will as expressed in the folk assembly. 

2. exemplo : ablative of meaus, explained by the following 

4. admiratione : ablative of cause. 


6. animadvertere : to inflict copital punishment. Thc Roman 
geiHTal iii tlu' livU\ had powtT of Ufe and death over his mon, an 
authority syinbuli/A-d by the attendant lictors and their fasces. 
— ne verberare quidem : in conscious contrast with conditions in 
the Roman army, where a flogging inflieted by the centurions was 
a common punishment. In the mutinj- of the Pannonian and 
German legions (14 .\.d.), the scourgings which they had suffered 
formed one of the grievances of the maleontents : Annalesl. 17: 
verbera et vulnera . . . sempiterna (' blows and wounds (were) con- 
tinual ') ; 1.35: nudnnt universi corpora . . . verberum notas 
eiprobrant (' all as one man bare their bodies . . . give voice to 
reproaches because of the scars of floggings '). — nisi sacerdoti- 
bus : aecording to Caesar, Bcllum Gallicum 6. 23. 4. command- 
ers-in-chief did wield power of life and death. Caesar, influ- 
enced by his familiarity with Roman practice, may have gener- 
alized on insnfficient data, or, in the interval between Caesar and 
Tacitus, conditions may have changed. Caesar's assertion, 
Bellum Gallicum 6. 21. 1 : neque druides habent, qui rebus divinis 
praesint, neque sacrificiis studcnt, in so far as it tends to minimize 
the functions of the priest in German life, is also at variance with 
the conditions portrayed by Tacitus, who, altliough he does not 
imply the existence of a hierarchy comparable with the Druids, 
assigns important prerogatives to the priest. The priest is the 
authorized instrument of divine punishment, presides over 
di\ination (chap. 10), has power to enforce silenee in council 
(chap. 11). 

7. quem adesse . . . credunt: besides Tiu and Wodan, the 
ehiof war gods of German mythologj', Donar, FrejT, and other 
divinities were endowed with martial character and pictured as 
participating in battlos. 

8. effigiesque et signa : in chap. 9 Tacitus says that the 
Gerraans did not make statues portraying the gods in human 
form. Effigies were images of animals s\'mbolizing the gods and 
saered to them ; thus the wolf was the animal of Wodan, the 
boar of FrejT, the bear of Donar. The custom here referred to is 
mentioned also in Historiae 4. 22: depromptae silvis lucisque 
fernrum imagines, ut cuique genti inire proelium mos est (' eflfigies 
of wild beasts were brought forth from forests and groves, accord- 


ing to the custom of eaeh tribe in entering battle ') ; signa were 
representations of the attributes of the several gods, such as the 
spear of Wodan, and the hammer of Donar. — lucis : the saered 
groves mentioned in chap. 9 ; the eagles captured from the legions 
of Varus were kept in such precincts. Cf. Annales 1. 59: (dixit) 
cerni adhuc Germanorum in lucis signa Romana, quae dis patriis 
suspenderit (' he said that to the present day the Roman standards, 
whieh he had hung up in honor of (their) ancestral gods, were 
seen in the groves of the Germans'). 

11. turmam aut cuneum : the former a division of cavah-y, the 
latter of infantry. — familiae et propinquitates : a mihtary ahgn- 
ment based on kinship is the natural arrangement in a society in 
which family and clan retain their primitive places as distinct 
soeial and territorial units. In the Iliad 2. 362 f. Nestor com- 
mends the system to Agamemnon ; in comparatively modern 
times the Scotch fought by clans. 

12. pignora : the women and children usually aecompanied a 
barbarian army in the field ; cf. Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 1. 51 ; 
Tacitus, Agricola 38. 1 ; Historiae 4. 18 et al. — audiri : probably, 
if the text be correct, to be explained as an historieal infinitive, 
although of tlie several instances in which Tacitus uses the con- 
struction in a subordinate clause, there is none in which it ex- 
presses eustomary action. 

15. exigere : to inspect, not only with a view to employing 
eurative measures, a function of the woman in primitive soeiety, 
but also, as nutnerare suggests, to make sure that the warrior had 
acquitted himself with honor. 

16. cibosque et hortamina : another example of a favorite 
stylistic turn ; cf. 1. 2, metii aut montihus. 

Chapter 8. 

The deference paid to woman. 

2. obiectu pectorum : as a token that death at the hands of 
their own compatriots was to be preferred to faUing into the 
power of the enemy. The behavior of the German women 
before the battle between Caesar and Ariovistus was actuated 
by the same motive : (mulieres) ad proclium proficiscentes 
milites passis manibus flentes implorabant, ne se in servitutem 


Romanis traderent, Bellum Gnllicum 1. 51. 3. The women of 
the Cinibri, oxhil)iting a moro desperate courage, killed the 
fugitives before eommitting suicide themselves, Plutarch, 
Marius 27. 

3. comminus captivitate : join in translation — the imminence 
of captivity. — quam longe inpatientius . . . timent : an un- 
usual combination of words, since inpatientius is naturally 
used of adversitj' borne in praesenli rather than dreaded in 
futuro. Here both ideas are blended. Translate : thc terrors 
of which theij regard as far more unbearablc on the women's ac- 
count {than on their own). 

6. puellae quoque nobiles : puellae is the emphatic word ; asa 
rule, only persons of high rank were aceeptable as hostages, hence 
nobiles is, strictly speaking, dispensable. — inesse : sc. feminis. 

7. providum : the Pythias, Sibyls, witches, and fortune- 
tellers of many races and epochs prove that the tendency to 
endow woman %vith mystic powers is universal. — nec aut 
consilia earum aspernantur : recall Caesar's words, Bellum 
Gallicum l."50. 4: apad Germanos ea consuetudo (erat) ut maires 
familiae eorum sortibus et vaticinationibus declararent, ulrum 
proelium committi ex usu esset necne. In deference to the pro- 
phetic advice of the women, Ariovistus refused to give battle 
until the moon was full. 

8. vidimus : the first person does not prove that Tacitus 
saw Veleda with his own eyes ; we know that she was taken 
captive but not that she was actually brought to Rome. Tacitus 
may well be expressing himself as spokesman for his time and 
mean simply nostra aetas vidit. 

9. Veledam : as we learn from several passages in the Ilis- 
tories in which mention of her is made, Veleda was an inspired 
maiden of the tribe of the Bructeri. She lived apart in a tower 
on the banks of the Lippe and, as a result of the prestigo gained 
by the fulfillment of her prophecies as to the success of German 
arms, she shared with Civilis chief prominence in the revolt of 
the Batavi in 69-70 a.d. 

10. Albrunam : not mentioned elsewhere. The name rests 
on conjecture and means one ' endowed with tho magic power 
of the elves.' 


11. nec tamquam facerent deas : on the surface this context 
expresses the faet that, iii c-ontrast with the simple reverence 
paid to prophetesses in earlier times, a later generation tended 
to exalt mystically endowed women into the standing of divini- 
ties ; cf. Veledam . . . nuviinis loco habitam 1. 9 and also His- 
toriae 4. 61. A Roman reader would inevitably see in the 
sentence a satirical thrust at the deification of the unfit among 
the women of the imperial houses, c.g. Poppaea Sabina, wife 
of Nero, and their daughter, who died in early infaney. Trans- 
late : not in the thought that they were manufacturing goddesses; 
there is a similar sarcastic toueh in Horace, Satires 1. 8. 1-3: 
Olim truncus eram ficulnus, inutile lignum, 
cum faber, incertus scamnum faceretne Priapum, 
maluit esse deum 
(' Once on a time I was the trunk of a fig tree, a useless log, when 
the craftsman, debating whether to fashion a settle or a Priapus, 
preferred that I should be a god '). Cf. Isaiah xliv. 15: " Yea, 
he kindleth it, and baketh bread ; yea, he maketh -a god and 
worshippeth it." 

Observe the dexterous transition effected by the last 
elause in this ehapter to the subject treated in the foUowing 

Chapter 9. 

The chief divinities of the German pantheon. 

1. deorum maxime Mercurium colunt : perhaps an eeho of 
the sentenee of Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 6. 17. 1, deorum maxime 
Mercurium colunt, in which, however, it is the ehief di\anity 
of the Gauls that is identified A^dth Mereury. Caesar's asser- 
tion, Bellum Gallicum 6. 21. 2, that the Germans worshiped 
only the \dsible and beneficent phenomena of nature, such as 
the Sun, Moon, and Fire, and knew nothing of other gods, is 
widely at variance with the aceount of Taeitus and is based 
on insufficient knowledge. Worship of the powers of nature, 
universal among Indo-Europeans at one time, undoubtedly 
survived to some extent among the Germans of the first cen- 
tury B.c. ; vestiges of sun worship are most readily traeeable. 
Nevertheless, even at that period, anthropomorphic eults, 


such as those raentioned in this cliaptcr, had (juite overshadowcd 
nature worship. 

Merourius is tho Roman anah^tjue of Wodan, partial corre- 
spondenco in attributos and funotions suffieing, as is usual in 
instances of this sort, to estabUsh idontilication. Thus the 
pelasus and the caduceus of Alercury were coraparablo to the 
broad-brimmed hat and the magic wand of Wodan. Wodan 
was the god of death ; the Greek Herraes was a psychopompus 
or eonductor of souls to the other world. Each god presided 
over trade and commerce. The question is debatable as to 
which of these analogies especially contributed to the iden- 
tification, clear evidenee of whieh still survivos in the corre- 
spoudence of EngUsh Wednesday, derived from the Wodanstag 
of certain German tribes, with the French Mercredi {dies Mer- 

Tacitus writes as though Wodan were the ehief divinity of 
the whole German race. As a raatter of fact, his cult had no 
such universal currency ; his worship flourished especiaUy 
araong the" peoples who dwelt noar the Rhine and Tacitus 
generaUzed frora this fact. — certis diebus : al slaled festivals. 

2. humanis quoque hostiis : the eustora of human sacrifiee, 
charaeteristio of tho lowor stages of religious dev^elopment and 
surviving even in raore enlightened epochs, was by no raeans 
so restrieted araong the Gerraans as the words of Taeitus in 
this passage would indicate. Wodan, as the god of death, 
was a favored recipient of huraan victiras oflfered as a prophylactic 
measure by those whose livos were, or raight be, in jeopardy. 
However, in his case the practice was not liraited to fixed oc- 
casions, and, furtherraore, it was a feature of other eults, e.g. 
that of the sovereign god of the Suebi, that of Nerthus (cf. 
chap. 39 and 40), and of Tiu, tho war god ; cf. Annales 13. 57, 
where it is related that the Herraunduri iramolated tho defeated 
army of the Chatti to Tiu and Wodan. Huraan sacrifice was 
resorted to also in tiraes of faraine and to avert the perils of the 
sea ; instances of the persistenee of the rite araong Teutonic 
races are found throughout the first ten centuries of our era 
and even beyond. — Herculem : i.c Donar ; cf. note on chap. 


3. Martem : i.e. Tiu, originally the lord of the heavens, 
akin to Zeus and Jupiter, and chief of all the gods ; he gradually 
developed into the war god par excellence of the Germans, 
henee his identifieation in the interprelatio Romana with Mars, 
proof of which appears in the translation of dies Marlis, Freneh 
Mardi, into the old Germanic originals of Dienstag, Tuesday. 
The divine province of Tiu underwent some modification as 
the result of the extension among certain races of the functions 
of Wodan, who displaced Tiu to a certain extent from supremacy 
in the pantheon. As a death god Wodan also tended more and 
more, especially among the Scandinavian peoples, to usurp a 
place as a god of war. — concessis animalibus : with victims 
ichich are permissible; written from the point of \aew of Roman 
rehgion whieh, in the age of Tacitus, would regard human 
^nctims as incastae. 

4. Isidi : it is impossible to establish the deflnite Germanic 
counterpart. Evidently the connection of a sacred ship or a 
shiphke symbol with the cult ritual of some Teutonic goddess, 
suggested to Tacitus or his souree the so-ealled Xavigium 
Isidis ; in the course of this festival, celebrated ISIarch 5, a 
vessel laden with spices, and eonsecrated to Isis, was launehed 
on the sea. This rite commemorated the advent of spring 
and the opening of na\agation. It is possible, but not certain, 
that it was a native goddess of producti^dty to whom the name 
Isis is here appUed. 

5. nisi quod : introdueing a quahfieation of the preceding 
statement as in Agricola 6. 5. — signum ipsum : the very emblem. 
— liburnae : see on Agricola 28. 5. It is not the type of the 
ship as sueh that impels Tacitus to regard the cult as an im- 
portation, but simply the fact that the symbol is a ship. 

6. religionem : do not render by the EngUsh derivative. — 
ceterum : indicating a retm-n to the topic of the hative reUgion 
after the digression eoneerning a di^-inity assumed to be an 

This sentenee refleets a tendency, frequently discernible in 
this treatise, to exalt German ideals and Ufe above Roman. 
Taeitus here ascribes to the Germans of his time a degree of 
spiritual reflnement and philosophical insight quite beyond them. 


7. nec cohibere parietibus : pjovps, stone cairns, and pre- 
cincts feneod iii hy stonfs but open to the sky, eonstituted the 
Germans" sanctuaries, to which, however, the word lemplitm in 
its literal sense of ' sacred inclosure,' may be applied; cf. chap. 
40. 16, where it is a synonym for nemus. The statement of 
Tacitus as to the non-e.xistence of temples is confirmed by the 
archaeological evidence, but his e.xplanation of the fact is er- 
roneous. The absence of temple structures was dae not to 
philosophical eon\iction but to the primitive stage of religious 
development reached by the Germans. A striking parallel 
to this passage is the account of the nature-worshiping Persians, 
found in Herodotus 1. 131 : ' The Persians, I am aware, observe 
usages of this sort, not deeming it lawi^ul to set up statues, 
temples, and shrines ; but they impute foUy to such as do these 
things, according to my way of thinking, because they do not 
believe, as do the Greeks, that the gods have human forms.' — 
in tillam humani oris speciem : a few speeimens of wooden 
idols, fashioned into a rude semblanee of the human form, 
have been unearthed in Teutonic lands, notably in Denmark. 
At present the data do not suffice to show that such anthropo- 
morphie representations of gods had developed independently 
among the Germans in prehistoric times ; they raay well be 
due to Roman influence. Hence the assertion of Tacitus may 
stand, especially in view of the fact that, as appears from the 
context, he had in mind chiefly the temple statues of the Roman 
gods, T^-ith whieh, of course, there was nothing strictly com- 
parable among the Germans. 

8. ex : in keeping with. 

9. lucos ac nemora : " the groves were God's first temples " 
(Bryant, A Foresl Ilymn). Mention of sacred groves is not 
infrequent in Tacitus ; thus, chap. 39. 3-4, in silvam . . . 
sacram; 40. 8-9, the caslum nemus of Nerthus; Annales 2. 12, 
in silvam Herculi sacram. 

10. secretum illud : that mysterious entity. Compare with 
the spirit of this context the words of Tacitus as to the Jews, 
Historiae 5. 5 : I udaei mente sola unumque numen intellegunt ; pro- 
fanos qui deum imagines mortalihus materiis in species hominum 
effingant (' the Jews believe in one god, comprehensible to 



the mind alone ; thej^ regard as impious those who fashion 
idols out of perishable material into the forms of human 
beings '). 

Chapter 10. 

Methods of divination. 

1. auspicia sortesque : the former is the broader term and 
includes the several raethods of divination mentioned in the 
ehapter exchisive of the lot. Recall Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 
1. 50. 4 (quoted in note on 8. 7), where we are told that the 
German matrons resorted to the lot in order to discover the 
propitious time for battle ; also 1. 53. 7, in which it is narrated 
that the Germans had recom-se to the lots three times to deter- 
mine the fate of Valerius Proeillus, a friend of Caesar held 
captive by Ariovistus. — ut qui maxime : elliptical for ut ii qui 
maxime observant. — sortium : divination by lot was so wide- 
spread as to amount to a folk custom in antiquity. The prac- 
tice existed among peoples so far separated as Seythians, Celts, 
ItaUans, Finns, and Teutons. Among the Italians Caere, 
Falerii, and Patavium were centers of the process and the 
sortes of the temple of Fortune at Praeneste were especiaUy 
famous. Cicero, De Divinatione 2. 41. 85-87, flouts the method 
as a tissue of fraud ; nevertheless the sortilegus continued to 
be a feature of the Ufe of Augustan and imperial Rome ; cf . 
Horace, Satires 1. 9. 29 f. ; TibuUus, 1.3.11-12; Juvenal, 
6. 583 ; Apuleius, Metamorphoses 9. 8. 

2. simplex : uniform. — virgam : wood, since it was most 
readily obtainable and easily incised, was the material most 
used for the sortes among primitive peoples. In Italy as weU, 
the wooden lot seems to have been the sanctioned type in gen- 
eral : Plautus, Casina 384, refers to those made of poplar or 
fir wood ; the lots used at Praeneste were made of oak ; cf . 
Cicero's description, De Divinatione 2. 41. 85 : declarant . . . 
perfracto saxo sortis erupisse in robore insculptas priscarum 
litterarum notis (' they assert . . . that, when the rock had 
been eleft, there burst from it lots composed of the characters 
of an archaie alphabet incised on oak wood '). However, 
interesting specimens of bronze sortes have been found ; see 


the Corpm Inftrriptionum Lalinnrum, vol. 1, nos. 1438 et seq. 
— frugiferae arbori : not a fruit tree in our aense of the term. 
Frugifer is applied to any tree or shrub which produces nuts 
or berries, e.g. the oak, beech, elder, and juniper. The pre- 
requisite here mentioned was not observed universally by all 
peoples who resorted to divination of this mode. Thus the 
Fians took no cognizance of such a rule; the Scytliians used 
willow wands (Herodotus, 4. 67) ; see also the reference in 
Plautus mentioned above. 

3. notis : signs or symbols, carrying with them some definite 
implieation and, as the following sentence shows, widely in- 
telligible, since the father of the household was able to interpret 
them as well as the priest. Some scholars have preferred to 
see in these notae a reference to the characters of the Runic 
alphabet, derived from the Latin capitals. However it is 
doubtful whether the Runes were known to the Germans in 
the first century a.d. In any case, so strong is the conservative 
tendency in matters pertaining to reUgion and the occult, that 
the traditional signs would have maintained themselves for a 
time in the face of an innovation. The prestige of the lots of 
Praeneste rested partly on the fact that they were written in 
an archaic alphabet ; cf. Cicero, De Divinatione 2.41.85, 
quoted above. 

6. publice : «s- an affair of state. 

6. pater familiae : as was the case in Roman religion, the 
fathcr officiated as family priest in the ceremonies of the house- 
hold ritual. It is noteworthy that, in contrast with Caesar, 
Bellum Gallicum 1. 50. 4, Tacitus ignores the matres familiae 
as diviners by lot. In Roman usage procedure varied. Often, 
owing to the common folk belief that the guilelessness of child- 
hood commended it especially as the vehiclo for expressing the 
divine purposes, a puer played an important part in the cere- 
mony ; at Praeneste he shuffled and drew the lots ; sometimes 
he seems to have acted as interpreter; cf. TibuIIus, 1. 3. 11-12. 
In Horace's parody of the practice, a Sabino crone acts as sorli- 
legus; Salires 1. 9. 29 f. — caelumque suspiciens : not to avoid 
seeing the surculi but as an exprcssion of a petition for divine 
guidance to be disclosed in the lots. 


7. ter singulos : a choiee was made three times and each 
time one was " raised," as the operation was technically termed. 
Numero deus impare gaudet, says Vergil, Eclogues 8. 75 ; the 
number three has been espeeially favored in ritual and cere- 
mony among all peoples from early times down to the present. 
Besides the present passage, Herodotus, 4. 67, Caesar, Bellum 
Gallicum 1. 53. 7, and TibuUus, 1. 3. 11-12, bear ^vitness to its 
significance in divination by lot. — impressam : incised. Eng- 
lish write, akin to German einritzen, testifies to the fact that 
incision was the primitive method of ehirography. 

10. adhuc : besides. In Roman practiee as well, results 
obtained by one method of divination might be subjected to 
further test ; thus in Pliny, Letters 2. 20, the legacy hunter 
Regulus, after assuring his dupe, Verania, that her horoseope 
portends reeovery from her illness, resorts to an haruspex to 
confirm the propheey of the stars. — quidem : implying, as 
usual, a contrast, which in this ease is contained in proprium 
. . . experiri foUowing. — hic : apud Germanos. As in chap. 
3. 10, hunc Oceanum, the reader is transported in thought to 

11. proprium : the characteristic (method of divination). 
Among the Persians also, the actions of horses were regarded 
as eonstituting omens ; hence it was, aceording to Herodotus, 
3. 84, that, prior to the aecession of Darius to the throne, it 
was agreed among the rival elaimants that he whose horse should 
first neigh at sunrise should reign. 

13. isdem . . . lucis : the sacred groves referred to in 
chap. 9. — candidi : the canonical eolor for sacred animals 
and those of eelestial breed ; reeall the white bull of Eiu-opa, 
the white steeds of Castor and PoUux, to say nothing of the 
white elephant of Siam ! Saered white horses aeeompanied 
the Persian armies ; cf. Herodotus, 1. 189; 7. 40. 

14. pressos : aetually, of course, by the yoke of the chariot. 

15. rex vel princeps : aeeording to whether the government 
of the state was monarchical or oligarchieal. — comitantur : 
to be understood literally ; they eseorted the sacred ehariot 
on foot. So in the army of Xerxes the eight white horses which 
drew the chariot of Ahuramazda were driven by a charioteer 


who followed on foot because no mortal was allowed to mount 
to the ear ; cf. the similar procedure in the case of tlie vehiculum 
of Xerthus, chap. 40. 10 f. 

16. fremitus : (olhcr) sounds, such as stampings and snortings. 

17. apud sacerdotes : faith in these oracles was not restricted 
to the credulou.s populace but was shared by the upper classes, 
who, as judged by the attitude of their Koman compeers in 
these matters, might have been expected to hold skeptical /iews 
concerning the iiifallibiHty of auspices and to have manipulated 
them to suit their own ends. 

18. putant : supply proceres et sacerdotes. 

22. committunt : a technical " sporting " formula from the 
language of the arena : cf. Juvenal, 1. 162: 

securus licet Aenean Rutulumque ferocem 
committas, et seq. 

(' you may without eoncern match Aeneas and the doughty Ru- 
tulian '). E.xcept in Suetonius componere is the commoner term. 
Such combats of chosen champions were ordinarily resorted to to 
effect a final .settlement of au issue, e.g. in the*story of the 
Horatii and the Curiatii (Livy, 1. 24 f.), in the dispute between 
the Argives and the Spartans for the possession of Thyreatis 
(Herodotus, 1. 82), and in the " judgment of God," a custom 
of the age of chivalry familiar to readers of Ivanhoe. 

Chapter 11. 

Tlie popular assembly. 

1. principes : as in 5. 12, used in the broad sense of lcading 
men. In monarchical states the king shared in the deliberations 
of the principes, who probably formed a standing couneil or 
senate. — consultant : they deliberated, as we say, " with 

2. omnes : in the popular assembly or Thing, eomprising all 
men of free birth, both the commons and the principes, and in 
this respect comparable to the ayop-q of the Homeric Greeks. 

3. pertractentur : the results reached after careful delibera- 
tion by the principes were presented as reports to the assembly, 
to be accepted or rejected. 


4. certis : regularly appoinled. Regular sessions were held 
only at the time of the new or the fuU moon, not at every such 
period, but two or three times a year. 

6. auspicatissimum initium : on the adviee of the prophet- 
esses, Ariovistus avoided battle until the time of the fuU moon, 
Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 1. 50; the Spartans refused to march 
to the aid of the Athenians at Marathon until the moon was at 
its fuU, Herodotus, 6. 106. 

7. numerum . . . noctium computant : a procedure which 
logieally aecompanied the computation of time aceording to 
the moon's phases. The Gauls also calculated time in terms 
of nights ; cf. Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 6. 18. Our English 
fortnight and tivelfthnight are survivals of this practice of our 
Teutonic forefathers. — constituunt . . . condicunt : supply 
diem; they set a day and agree upon it. 

8. nox ducere diem videtur : cf . the language of Caesar, 
Bellum Gallicum 6. 18. 2: Galli . . . et mensium et annorum 
initia sic observant ut noctem dies subsequatur. The same con- 
ception, which still holds good among the Jews and the Mo- 
hammedans, reveals itself in the marked preference in the 
Homeric poems for the word order viJKras re Kai rifiaTa. 

9. nec ut iussi : not like persons acting in response lo a com- 
mand. The penchant for individual freedom of aetion exhibited 
by the Germans was bound to provoke comment on the part 
of a Roman, sinee his prejudice was all in favor of carefuUy 
ordered parliamentary procedure and punctilious cooperation ; 
cf. Historiae 4. 76 : {dixit) Germanos . . . non iuberi, non regi, 
sed cuncta ex libidine agere (' he said that the Germans . . . 
were not subject to orders or control, but acted in all things ac- 
cording to their fancy '). Throughout this account of the 
German assembly, the contrasts with Roman usage are present 
in the mind of the writer. 

11. ut turbae placuit : the formal call to order waited on 
the convenience of the throng, an ultra-democratic arrange- 
ment. — armati : cf. ehap. 13. 1. The attitude of the Roman 
toward this practice, so essentially at variance with his own, 
but characteristic of a stage of civilization in which military 
organization is the basis of civic life, is well illustrated by Livy, 


21. 20, who refers (as does Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 5. 56. 1) 
lo the armalum concilium of the Gauls : in iis nova lcrribilisque 
species visa est, quod armali — ita mos gentis eral — in concilium 

12. per sacerdotes : as representatives of the gods, in whose 
name a sacred Iruee, observed during the session, was pro- 
claimed. In Homeric times the ofificials who convened the 
assembly were not the priests but the heralds, who were, how- 
ever, sacrosanct as being under the protection of Zeus ; hence 
their epithets deioi, ' divine,' and Ad iplXoi, ' dear to Zeus.' — et 
coercendi : a breach of the peace would be an offense against the 
gods, for whom the priests would act as deputies in inflicting 
punishment, precisely as in the case of infractions of military dis- 
cipline ; cf. chap. 7.7: velut deo imperante. Upon the Homeric 
herald also devolved the task of keeping order in the assembly 
and quolling disputants ; cf. Iliad 7. 274. 

13. rex vel princeps : as in 10. 15, the e.xpression is adapted 
to eover assemblies of either monarehical or non-monarchical 
states. — prout . . . audiuntur : the Roman reader would be 
impressed with the contrast here presented with the procedure 
followed in the senate, the sole Roman legislative body at this 
time. In the senate, ius sententiae dicendae was controlled solely 
by official position, i.e. membership in the body of the con^ 
sulares, praetorii, et cet., within these classes by seniority, and 
was not subject to variation in favor of such elements of per- 
sonal prestige as decus hellorum, facundia. 

16. concutiunt : they clash one upon the other. The Gauls 
employed this method of applause under similar circumstanees ; 
cf. Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 7. 21. 1. 

Chapter 12. 

The judiciary ; the penal code. 

1. accusare quoque : the assembly was not only a deliberative 
body but could also legally exercise judieial functions. — dis- 
crimen capitis intendere : to lay a charge involving capital pun- 

3. arboribus suspendunt : among the Greeks and the Romans 
hanging was resorted to as a means of suicide ; strangulation, 


however, the nearest approach to hanging, had a recognized 
place in the Roman penal code. — ignavos et imbelles : these 
words are paired also in Agricola 15. 11 and in Germania 31. 7. 

4. corpore infames : niorally degenerate. — caeno ac palude : 
combine in translating. 

5. crate mergunt : Livy, 1. 51, describes an isolated instance 
of the infliction of this penalty in the time of Tarquinius Super- 
bus : ut novo genere leti deiectus (Turnus) . . . crate superne 
iniecta saxisque congestis mergeretur. Among the ancient and 
the medieval Germans this mode of execution was reserved 
primarily for female offenders ; hence its employment in the 
case of male culprits branded their transgressions as espeeiaUy 

6. tamquam : here, as frequently in Tacitus, introducing 
the motive whieh is present in the mind of the agent and 
controls his action. — scelera . . . flagitia : crimes and 
abominations : the former looks toward the vietim, the latter has 
primary reference to the personal infamy ineurred by the 

7. levioribus delictis : among these was homieide ; cf . ehap. 
21. 3. — pro modo poena : a Roman reader would not see in 
the allusions contained in this ehapter to the Germanic method 
of graduating punishments according to the magnitude of the 
offense, a superfluous stressing of the only justifiable procedure. 
Though in practice the Roman method did not differ in this 
respect from the German, yet a cardinal doctrine of Stoicism, 
the regnant school of thought in the time of Taeitus, was that 
in theory all offenses were equal ; see, e.g., Cieero, Academica 
2. 43. 133 : placet Stoicis omnia peccata esse paria. Horaee, 
Satires 1. 3. 96 f., ridicules this tenet as repugnant to reason and 
unworkable in practice, and recommends : adsit \ Regula peccatis 
quae poenas inroget aequas. 

8. equorum pecorumque numero : live stoek, being the chief 
source of wealth, was the natural legal tender. From the 
usage here described, developed in later Germanic laws the 
elaborate system of regulating the compounding of erimes 
and felonies on the basis of peeuniary eompensation, known 
as Wergeld. Fines were adjusted " to fit the crime." 


9. regi vel civitati : this procodure was based on the theory 
that the perpetrator of a erime had sinued agaiust the state as 
well as agaiust the victim. Hence in monarchical states the 
king, elsewhere the community, received as corapensation for 
the breaeh of public peace which had been committed, a per- 
centage of the Wergeld. 

10. propinquis eius : when murder had been done or when 
for some other cause the injured party had not lived to rvjceive 
his compensation. — eliguntur . . . et principes : the judicial 
administration of the cantons was in the hands of eertain qualified 
members of the existing body of principes; selection of the 
principes to be intrusted with this function was another pre- 
rogative of the tribal assembly. These officials were perhaps 
the principes regionum mentioned by Caesar, liellum Gallicum 
6. 23. 5: in pace nullus esl communis magistratus sed principes 
regionum atque pagorum inter suos ius dicunt controversiasque 

11. per pagos vicosque : the pagi were extensive subdivisions 
of the civitas; see note on 6. 17 ; each formed a judicial district 
throughout which the presiding princeps held court in circuit. 
The addition of vicos simply characterizes in a general way the 
pagus as an aggregation of village communities ; in certain of 
them the sittings were held. — iura . . . reddunt : this formula 
and Caesar's ius dicere (see note 10 above) give in Roman legal 
phraseology the technical definition of the activity of the prae- 
tors, with whom, however, the judicial principes were analogous 
only in their capacity of presiding justices. Verdicts were 
dependent on the consilium, ' advice,' and auclorilas, ' sanction,' 
of the hundred assessors, representing the people of a pagus. 
The princeps was responsible for the announcement and the 
exeeution of the coUective decision. — centeni : in later times 
ealled Ilunnones. When Tacitus was describing this judicial 
institution of the Germans, he must have compared it in thought 
with the cenlumviri or ' court of the hundred men,' of whieh 
we read so frequently in the Lelters of Pliny. This name was 
an approximation to the number, since there were at first 105 
members, and was retained after the chamber was inereased 
to 180. Similarly, in later times, assistants at German courts 


were called Hunnones, when the name had eeased to have any 
numerieal signifieanee. 

Chapter 13. 

The investiture with arms ; the comitatus. 

1. nihil . . . nisi armati agunt : Thucydides, 1. 6, tells how 
in early times in Greece"men lived always under arms, ' as do 

2. moris : a eharaeteristie usage ; ci. Agricola2>'i. 1 and 42. 20. 

3. suflfecturum probaverit : has passed favorahly on his com- 

4. principum aliquis : the eeremony of investiture would 
normally be performed by the father if he were alive ; however, 
one of the ehiefs, on whose favor the novitiate had a claim, 
might act in loco parcntis for the reasons mentioned below. 

5. apud illos toga : being the German counterpart of the 
assumption of the toga virilis. 

6. pars . . . rei publicae : inasmueh as he thereafter par- 
tieipated in the privileges and the duties of citizenship ; the 
sentence does not imply that there was a complete breaking 
of home ties and emancipation from the patria potestas. 

7. insignis nobilitas aut . . . merita : or both, since the 
two attributes are not mutually exclusive. — principis digna- 
tionem : condescension on ihe part of a chief, i.e. investiture 
with arms at his hands. 

8. etiam adulescentulis : those below the period of iuventa, 
the normal age for military service. — adsignant : entitle to. 

9. robustioribus : the mature and seasoned members of the 
foUowing but who may not possess inherited claim to distinetion. 
— adgregantur : they align themselves with. — nec rubor . . . 
adspici : they are not ashamed to waive their inherited claims 
to priority and take a place in the ranks, as it were, of the fol- 

10. quin etiam : what is more; herewith is expressed a further 
possible qualification of the standing of the young noble in the 
following ; he not only takes a plaee among his fellows as one 
among many, but he is liable to see others on the seore of merit 
and experience enjoy a higher position in the esteem of the 


princcps than doos ho. — comitatus : in tliis institution is the 
orig^in of foudal \assalago — tho group of honohmon paying 
fealty to a chief, his followers in war and his table companions 
in peace. 

13. locus : supply sit. 

16. decus . . . praesidium : these words aro also joined in 
one conto.xt in tho fuinous Hnes whieh hogin Horace, Odcs 1. 1 : 

Maecenas alavis edile regibus, 

O el pracsidium el dulce decus meum. 

17. comitatus : proforably taken as a genitive. 

19. profligant : they all hut Jinish. It is unnecessary to take 
this word iii a senso othor than that most frequent in Livy and 
Tacitus, where it commonly imphos virtual, not total, com- 
pletion in contrast with conficere; cf. Livy, 21. 40. 11 : bellum 
. . . commissum ac profligatum conficere. Tacitus means that 
the terror of the name of a famous comilatus often decides the 
issue of a war, whioh, however, is not ended until they actually 
engage in the conflict. 

Chapter 14. 

The cnmitatus in war. 

2. iam vero : moreover; a transition to a stronger statement 
as in Agricola 9. 8 ; 21. 6. 

3. superstitem . . . recessisse : among othor examples of 
the loyalty of the comites to their ehief, wo are told by Am- 
mianus MareolHnus, a historian of the fourth century a.d., 
that the two hundred comites of Chnodomar, king of the Ala- 
manni, voluntarily surrendored themselves whon he had been 
defeated and captured at the battle of Strassburg in 357 a.d. ; 
Ammianus Marcellinus 16. 12. 60. As an illustration of similar 
personal devotion, though from anothor fiold, we may recall 
that whon Cyrus tho Younger died, his friends and table eom- 
panions foll fighting in his dofense with the exception of Ariaeus ; 
Xenophon, Annhasis 1. 9. .31. 

5. sua . . . facta gloriae eius adsignare : niontionod in 
Agricnla S. 9 1 1 as a worthy act of a dutiful subordinate. — 
praecipuum sacramentum : the comites are represented as 


binding themselves by an oath of service analogous to that 
sworn in allegiance to the emperor by the Roman soldiers and 
renewed yearly. Vegetius, a writer of the early flfth cen- 
tury A.D., quotes this oath as follows : iurant autem milites, 
omnia prae se strenue facturos quae praeceperit imperator, num- 
quam deserturos, nec mortem recusaturos pro Romana republica 
(' the soldiers take oath that they will discharge to the best of 
their ability the commands of the general, will never desert 
their post, will never refuse to die in defense of the Roman 
state ') ; De Re Militari 2. 5. 

10. inter ancipitia : amid the hazards (of warfare). 

12. liberalitate : a departure, typical of our author and other 
writers of the Empire, from the strict usage of classical prose, 
according to which a prepositional phrase would be the normal 
construction. — bellatorem : the use of verbal substantives as 
adjectives is not uncommon in Latin of all periods, especially 
with nouns in -tor and their feminines, and occurs with other 
nouns as well ; cf. Catullus, 68. 46, a?ius charta; Livy, 1. 34. 5, 
Lucumonem exsule advena ortum. 

13. nam : giving the reason why their demands on the gener- 
osity of the ehief are thus limited ; a preceding sentence stipen- 
dium non exigunt is implied. 

14. epulae . . . apparatus : the former word has reference 
to the feast itself ; the latter to the various ingredients and 
concomitants, which among the Romans would inelude not 
only food and drink but garlands and perfumes ; cf . Horace, 
Odes 1. 38, Persicos odi, puer, apparatus, et seq. Such refine- 
ments, of eourse, were lacking to German banquets, hence 

16. annum : = annonam, as in Agricola 31. 5. 

17. vocare : = provocare. The thought of this passage, 
which, although it applies to the comites, is nevertheless colored 
by the typical Roman conception of the Germans, is paraileled 
by the ideals of life attributed b^^ Herodotus, 5. 6, to the Thra- 
eians : ' It is deemed that the idler is the most honorable, the 
tiller of the soil the least honorable ; that a livelihood gained 
from war and pillage is the best.' 

18. sudore adquirere .... sanguine parare : the chapter 


closes in the Taeitean manner, with an eflfective sentenee — 
note the antithesis, heightened by alliteration. 

Chapter 16. 

The comitatus in time of peaee. 

I. ineunt : the subject is the princeps and the corniies. The 
comilatus is still uppermost in the mind of the writer, as the 
allusion to principes in line 8 shows. — non multum venatibus : 
on the surface a restriction of Caesar's testimony as to the 
devotion to the chase characteristic of the Germans ; cf. Bellum 
Gallicum 4. 1. 8 : multumque sunt in venationibus (Suebi) ; 6. 21. 3 : 
vita omnis in venationibus atque in studiis rei militaris consislit. 
However, Caesar is speaking of a universal racial trait ; Tacitus 
is thinking primarilj^ of a privileged warrior class. 

3, nihil agens : explained by tlie following ablative absolute 
construction. — domus et penatium : pcnatium cura has refer- 
ence to the more intimate concerns of the household. The 
eombination domus et penatium bears much the same connota- 
tion as our " house and home." 

5. f amilia : here in the restricted sense of the English derivative. 

6. ament inertiam et oderint quietem : an oxymoron based 
on the double meaning of quies, which, like English repose, may 
mean either rest or slumber — Ihey love indolence and hate re- 
pose (of peace). 

7. viritim : the gifts were bestowed on the princeps by in- 
dividuals direetly, not bj^ the state as a whole. In later times 
these voluntary donations passed into a compulsory tax. 

8. armentorum : sueh a partitive genitive, foUowing a verb 
" whose action affects the object only in part," is a frequent 
construction in Greek. 

II. magna arma : in chap. G we are told that, owing to the 
comparative scarcity of iron, swords were rare among the Ger- 
mans, comparatively speaking, and that the framea had only 
a short point. Hence large weapons, involving as they would 
a more lavish expenditure of iron for blade and point respectively , 
would be held at a premiura. 

12. phalerae : medallions, used as trappings for horses and 
worn as articies of personal adornment. Specimens have been 


found in aneient graves in Germany. — torques : metal rings, 
worn as armlets or coUars. These, as well as phalerae, were 
deeorations bestowed on Roman soldiers as rewards for bravery. 
— pecuniam accipere docuimus : bribery of native ehieftains 
liad on more than one oeeasion served Rome as an effeetive 
deviee in her dealings with her northern foemen. Transaetions 
of this kind, earried on by Domitian with Chariomerus, king 
of the Cherusei and Deeebalus, king of the Dacians, were still 
fresh in the publie memory when Tacitus was \\Titing the Ger- 
mania; ef. also ehap. 42. 10 and Historiae 4. 76: pecuniam ac 
dona, quis solis corrumpaniur {Germani) (' money and gifts, 
the sole means by whieh the Germans are eorrupted '). 

Chapter 16. 

Habitations and houses. 

1. nuUas urbes : walled towns of some size, sueh as had been 
from time immemorial the civie eenters typical of Greek and 
Roman life. We hear of oppida among the Germans, but these, 
though fortified, were not intended as plaees of permanent 
residenee ; like the stoekades of pioneer times in this country, 
they were plaees of refuge in time of war. The Roman regarded 
the founding of walled towns as markdng a milestone in human 
progress ; cf. Lueretius, De Rerum Natura 5. 1108 : 

condere coeperunt urbis arcemque locare 
praesidium reges ipsi sibi perfugiumque 

('kings began to found cities and to lay out a eitadel as a 
buttress to their power and a place of refuge '), eehoed by Horaee, 
Satires 1. 3. 104-105 : 

. . . dehinc absistere bello, 

oppida coeperunt munire et ponere leges 

(' then they began to eease from war, to' fortify towns, and to 
enaet laws'). On isolation of residenee as an attribute of bar- 
barism, see Agricola 21. 2. 

2. sedes : it has been assumed ordinarily that this word 
means dwellings, hence that this clause merely anticipates the 
thought of i,he eontext vicos locant, et cet. A reeent and plausible 
explanation takes the word in the eommon sense of tribal seat 


or domain; the referpnee will then be to the racial desire for 
isuiation mentioned hy Caesar, Bclluin Gallicum 4. \i. 1 and 
6. 23. 1, which impcUed eaeh stock to seek to maintain a zone 
of deserted land ahout its country. Take inler se with iunclas. 
— discreti ac diversi : these words refer to the dispersion of 
the village communities throughout the country and to their 
unmethodical arrangement in respeet to communication with 
one another. 

3. ut fons . . . placuit : henee the frequency to this day in 
Germany of names of towns ending in -brunn, -bach, -wald, and 
occasioually in -fcld. 

4. conexis et cohaerentibus aedificiis : as in the " blocks " in 
our larger cities, and in the cities aiid towns generally in Europe. 

5. spatio : a court or xjard. EngHsh ijard, German Garlen, 
Latin horlus, and Greek x^^P^*" ar^ all traceable to an Indo-Ger- 
maoic base gharta, ' a place surrounded.' 

6. adversus casus ignis remedium : a suggestion based on 
famiUarity with Homan lire ordinanees. A regulation in the 
Laws of thcTwelve Tabks provides for a space of 5 feet between 
the outer waUs of adjacent buildings. However the statute had 
e^idently become a dead letter before the time of Tacitus. 
After the fire of Nero, one of the precautions taken to provide 
against the repetition of the calamity was the prohibition of 
single partition waUs ; see Annales 15. 43. 

The wooden houses of the Germans were, of course, easily 
combustible, but the explanation of the practice is to be sought, 
at least partly, in the racial insistence on the domestic inde- 
pendence of the individual. The saying " An EngUshman's 
home is his castle " iUustrates the persistence of this spirit among 

8. materia : timber. — informi : rough-hewn. In a primitive 
type of German house, not mentioned by Tacitus, the waUs 
were composed of a kind of basketry, which was eovered with 
clay. — citra : lacking; on this Tacitean use of citra instead 
of sine, see Agricola 1. 12. 

10. pura : free from foreign subslances, hence it could be 
appHed in a sraooth coat. — ut . . . imitetur : so thal il gives 
the itnpression of painting and patterns in color. 


11. subterraneos specus : utilized by various races in an- 
tiquity for different purposes. Xenophon and his army en- 
countered them in Armenia, where they served at once as 
stables, store-rooms, and places of abode. Similar chambers 
have been found in modern times in these regions ; see H. F. 
Tozer, Turkish Armenia, p. 396. Vergil, Georgics 3. 376, de- 
scribes the peoples of the frozen North as taking their ease in 
defossis specubus . . . sub alta . . . terra. Underground rooms 
were used for spinning by German women, ancient and medieval. 

12. receptaculum frugibus : ef. Xenophon, Anabasis 4. 5. 25 : 
' In these underground dweUings were wheat, barley, pulse, and 
barley wine in bowls.' 

15. fallunt : escape detection. 

Chapter 17. 

1. tegumen omnibus : the distinetive national dress, worn 
by all classes, was comparable to the Roman sagum, a short 
woolen mantle, fastened only at the neck and worn especially 
by soldiers and laborers. Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 6. 21. 5, 
describes the Germans as clothed in skins or furs. — fibula : 
many specimens, made of various metals and representing 
periods of technique extending from the early bronze age to 
Roman times, have been found in graves. For the various 
types see F. Kauffmann, Deutsche Altertumskunde, vol. 1 (Munich, 
1913), Plates 14, 22, 25, and 32. 

2. cetera : otherivise; this applies only to the garb worn in 
the house. — totos dies . . . agunt : some editors take ago in 
its common intransitive sense, equal to vivere, and explain 
dies as an accusative of duration. However, such passages as 
Dialogus 7, non diem laetiorem egi, Historiae 3. 38, quod . . . 
laetos dies ageret, and Historiae 2. 49, noctem quietam . . . egit, 
strongly support the alternative view. 

3. locupletissimi veste distinguuntur : veste is the keyword 
of the sentence. The obvious implication is that vestis, i.e. 
underwear, consisting of tunic and leggings, of woven material, 
was worn only by the very rich. Common sense, however, 
would forbid us to infer that the sagum was the sole out-door 


apparel of the masses, at least in severe weather. Even a primi- 
tive people suits its costume to the elimate. Those Germans 
who eould not afford or ohtain ehjth, suhstituted skins, and 
since this undouhtedly included the majority of the population, 
Caesar's generuhzation, referred to above, had some justifica- 
tion. — non fluitante : referring not so much to the flowing 
garments in general characteristic of Oriental garb as to the 
loose trousers, anaxyrides, which, in the eyes of the Greeks and 
the Romans, formed the outstanding feature of the costume 
of the Eastern peoples. 

5. gerunt : sc. Germani. 

6. neglegenter . . . exquisitius : among the peoples who 
dwelt near the Rhine and the Danube and had become famiUar 
with civilized garb, skins were no longer highly esteemed as 
artieles of apparel, hence those who wore them were careless in 
their choice. Tribes that Uved apart from the zone of Roman 
influence and trade were discriminating. 

7. cultus : finery. — velamina : a poetic word, chosen not 
only because of our author's partiahty for novel locutions but 
also because it can be apphed ahke to the skins and to the gar- 
ments made from them. Our Enghsh word " vestures " might 
suggest the styhstic efifect. 

8. spargunt : Vergil, Eclogues 2. 41, WTitesof the dappled roe : 
capreoli sparsis etiam nunc pellibus albo (' roes with their skins 
even now dappled with white '). — maculis pellibusque : hen- 
diadys for maculis pellium.. Pieces cut from the skins of animals 
not native to Germany were attached to the original pelt ; being 
different from it in color, these patches are called maculae. — 
beluarum : we may eonjecture that seals were among the 
animals here alluded to ; the ideas of Taeitus as to the genus 
and species of his beluae were probably vague enough. 

9. Oceanus atque ignotum mare : as in chap. 2. 4 f., adver- 
sus Oceanus . . . praeler pcriculum . . . ignoti maris, the far 
reaches of the mysterious Northern Ocean, the mare pigrum 
et grave of Agricola 10. 20, are doubtless meant. — nec alius 
f eminis quam viris habitus : this is also true of the Eskimo. 

10. saepius : rathcr frequently. — lineis amictibus : taking 
the plaee of the woolen sagum as outer garment. 


11. purpura : a red border or stripe. 

12. vestitus : like vestis above, the undergarment. — superioris : 
at its upper edge. — - in manicas non extendunt : implying, 
therefore, an opposite arrangemeut in the case of the men's 

Chapter 18. 

Marriage eustoms. 

1. quamquam : and yet; the apparent lack of modesty in 
costume was not aceompanied by moral laxity. 

4. non libidine : by anticipation of the following clause, the 
polygamy is viewed as consummated. Supply in translation, 
" who resort to polygamy." — plurimis nuptiis ambiuntur : 
are the objects of sollicitation for plural marriage. As an his- 
torical instance of a polygamous marriage initiated for reasons 
of state, recall Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 1.53: duae fuerunt 
Ariovisti uxores . . . altera Norica, regis Voccionis soror, quam 
in Gallia duxerat a fratre missam. 

5. dotem non uxor marito : in contrast with the classical 
Greek and Roman practice, according to which the marriage 
of a portionless woman was well nigh unthinkable. The action 
in the TiHnumjnus of Plautus centers in such a proposal, re- 
garded by the brother and the guardian of the bride-to-be as 
spelling family disgrace ; see, c.g., line 612, fiagitium quidem hercle 
fiet, nisi dos dabitur virgini (' it will be a sin out and out if a 
dowry isn't given to the maiden '). — uxori maritus oflfert: 
Tacitus deseribes inexactly the marriage by purchase, prevalent 
in his time in Germany. This usage, which in primitive society 
succeeded marriage by capture, was in vogue in Homeric Greece 
and existed among the Thracians in the time of Xenophon, 
to whom Seuthes says, Anabasis 7. 2. 38, ' If you have a daughter, 
I will buy her according to the Thracian eustom.' The dos 
constituted the price paid for the transfer of the woman from 
the potestas of her father to that of her husband ; it was not 
paid to her, as Tacitus says, but to her parents. The inaccuraey 
of Tacitus is due to his desire to make the contrast between 
Roman and German practice as pointed as possible. A later 
step involved giving the portion or a part of it to the bride. 


6. munera : repeated for the sake of emphasis. Such anaphora 
is a favuriti' (ievice of the poets, notably at the ending and the 
beginuiug of lines ; e.g. Catullus, 63. 8-9 : 

niveis cilata cepil manibus leve lypanum, 
typanum, tubam Cybelles, et cet. 

(' in his hands white as snow he quickly grasped the light tympa- 
uum, the tympanum, trumpet of Cybele '). Vergil, Aeneid 2. 

ad caelum tendens ardenlia lumina fruslra, 
luiyiina, naui leneras arcebant vincula manus. 

7. ad delicias muliebres : a disparaging side glance at the 
jewels and the other articles of adornment prized by the bride 
of civilization. 

9. in haec munera : on proriso of these gifts. 

10. armorum aliquid viro adfert : a sword was given, not by 
the bride but by the bride's father, in token of the power of 
life and death which the husband was henceforth to possess 
over her. The interpretation put by Taeitus on the custom 
is that which best aecords with his idealizing tendency. 

A spear figured in the Roman marriage ceremony, not, how- 
ever, as a gift ; the hair of the bride was parted with it, a cere- 
mony ordinarily cxplained as a reminiscence of the days of 
marriage by capturc. 

11. haec arcana sacra : Tacitus alludes to the traditional 
form of patrieian marriage, the confarreatio, a ceremony which 
partook of a sacramental character and was celebrated with 
religious rites (arcana sacra) in the presence of the Flamen 
Dialis. — coniugales deos : the divinities invoked in the mar- 
riage formuhi, such as Jupiter Farreus, Juno Pronuba, and the 
agrarian deities Tellus, Picumnus, and Pilumnus ; in the time 
of the Empire we hear also of Venus, Suadela, and Diana as 
patron goddcsscs of marriag(>. 

12. extra virtutum cogitationes : untouched by the concerns 
of heroism. It is interesting to compare with the thought of 
this context one of the explanations hazarded by Plutarch, 
Roman Questions 87, as to why the hair of the Roman bride 
was parted with a spear : ' Is it that they may instruct them 


that they are to dwell with husbands that are soldiers and 
warriors and that they should put on such ornamental attire 
as is not luxurious but plain ? ' Chauncy 's translation. 

14. auspiciis : an apposite word, suggested by the place of 
the auspicia in the Roman marriage ceremony. Originally 
the auspiees were taken as an essential preUminary to the rite ; 
in the time of Cicero divination from entrails had superseded 
the auspicia proper and even this was not invariably resorted 
to ; see De Divinatione 1. chap. 16. In the Empire, though 
the practice itself seems to have fallen into disuse, traces of it 
survived in the participation in the ceremony, as sponsors and 
witnesses, of the so-ealled auspices nuptiarum. Henee auspiciis 
here should not be translated merely by the beginning but rather 
by the initial ceremonial. Incipientis is redundant. 

17. denuntiant : proclaim. 

18. quae : serving in a double capacity as object of accipiant 
and subject of referantur. 

Chapter 19. 

Feminine morahty ; moral standards. 

Throughout the following eulogy of German womanhood, 
Tacitus by implication is arraigning the decadent moraUty of 
Roman society. 

1. ergo : marking the featiires of German life set forth in this 
chapter as consequent on the sanctity of the marriage relation 
discussed in the preceding chapter. — saepta pudicitia agunt : 
they live a life of sheltered modesty. — spectaculorum . . . 
inritationibus : the pubhe speetacles and liLxurious banquets 
were proHfic sourees of social depravity under the Empire, as 
many aUusions in the poets and satirists show. See Fried- 
lander, Roman Life and Manners under the Early Empire, Eng. 
Trans., 1, p. 245 f. 

3. Utterarum secreta : secret missives; Tacitus does not say 
that the Germans did not know how to write, though there is 
reason to beUeve that this was the case, generaUy speaking, but 
simply that they were not schooled in the use of the billet doux 
as an instrument of intrigue. Ovid's Amores 1. 11 and 12 are 
Uterary iUustrations of the device. 


5. praesens et maritis permissa : the Lex lulia, enactod by 
Augustus in 17 n.c, restricted such private vengeance in Rome 
and subjected the offender to due process of eriminal law. In 
earlier times the husband, by virtue of the patria potestas which 
he possessed, could slay a guilty wife at once. 

6. nudatam . . . expellit : aocording to Maspero, Peuples 
flc rOricnt, 1, p. 73(), iu aucient Chaldaea an adulterous woman, 
ckithcd only in a h)in doth, was driven into the street, and left 
to tlic incrcy of the passers-by. 

7. publicatae . . . venia : for the surrender of chnstily mects 
xvith no mercy. The harshness, as judged by the Roman stand- 
ards of the time of Tacitus, of the punishment meted out to 
the adulteress, is explained by this generalizing comment on the 
uncompromising attitude of the Germans toward the fallen 
woman, married or single. This attitude is elucidated by the 
context following. 

8. aetate : youth. 

9. invenerit : the subject for the moment uppermost in the 
niind of Tacitus is the unmarried woman who has lost her virtue ; 
naturally, he intended that the reader should regard it as 
self-evident in the Hght of the context that the denounced 
adultera could not hope for a second husband. — nemo . . . 
ridet : a pessimisfs side thrust at the Roman code of social 

10. saeculum : the spirit of the times or the way of the world; 
cf. Phny, Epistulae 10. 97 : namet pessimi exempli nec nostri saeculi 
est (' for (sueh an act) is of the nature of the worst precedent 
possible and is not in accord with the spirit of our age '). — 
melius quidem adhuc : still better even; supply faciunt or a Uke 

With the frequency of divorce and remarriage in Roman 
society in mind, Tacitus speaks with approval of the lengths to 
which conjugal loyalty was carried by tlie women — nothing is 
said as to the men — of certain states in which the remarriage 
of widows was frowned on. Such imposition of wifely loyalty 
has expressed itself variously among different races, in the social 
neglect and degradation of the widow, in hor enforced suicide ; 
cf. the Suttee of the Hindoo widow. 


12. semel transigitur : an end is made once for all. The spirit 
of devotion wliich liept a woraan eontent with one marriage was 
highly approved by thc Romans themselves in early times (see 
Valerius Maximus, 2. 1. 3), nor was appreciation of it entirely 
foreign to social ideals under the Empire, as the frequent recur- 
rence in epitaphs of the epithet univira shows ; cf. also Propertius 
in the beautiful Consolatio Quintiliae 4. 11. 36 ; also 67-68 : 

filia . . . 

fac teneas unum nos imitata virum 

(' Daughter . . . look to it that in emulation of me, you cleave 
to one husband '). Such writers as Juvenal, with his reference, 
Satires 6. 229-230, to a woman who liad eight husbands in five 
years, and Seneca, in his satirical allusion to women reckoning 
years by their husbands instead of in terms of the consuls, pre- 
sent a too dark picture ; cf. Seneca, De Beneficiis 3. 16. 

14. longior cupiditas : nursing of desire. 

15. tamquam . . . ament : they are enamored not with the 
man qua. man, but with the idea of marriage which he makes 
possible ; cf. our EngUsh saying " to be in love with love." — ■ 
numerum liberorum finire : in eontrast with the race suicide 
rife in Roman societj^ under the Empire. It was to offset this 
menace that Augustus enacted a body of laws, includiug the 
celebrated Lex Papia Poppaea (cf. on Agricola 6. 3), by which 
he sought to foster parenthood by imposing disabilities on celi- 
bates and childless persons, and conferring prerogatives on 
fathers of famiUes. 

16. adgnatis : here in the sense of younger children, born 
after the heir. — necare flagitium habetur : in his zeal for ideal- 
izing German folkways at the expense of Roman, Tacitus has 
fallen into misstatement. Exposing infants at the behest of 
the father — a practiee the legal justification of which was a 
blot on ancient eiviUzation in general — obtained among the 
Germans as well as elsewhere. On the reported prevalence of 
infanticide in Rome in the days of the Empire, see Lecky, His- 
tory of European Morals, 2. chap. 4. p. 24 f. 

18. bonae leges : such as the Lex Papia Poppaea; for the 
sentiment compare Propertius, 4. 11. 47-48: 


mi natura dedil leges a sanguine ductas 

ne possem inelior iudicis esse metu 
(' to me nature gave a code derived from my blood, making me 
a woman beyond the possibility of betterment through fear of 
a judge '). 

Note the epigrammatie and rhetorically balanced structure of 
this closing sentence of the chapter. 

Chapter 20. 
Child nurture ; laws of relationship and inheritance. 

1. in omni domo : among rieh and poor alike. — nudi ac 
sordidi : to take these epithets Uterally is not to do violence to 
the probabilities. This is the systera (?) of child nurture usual 
among a primitive people, and that, after all, is what the Ger- 
mans of Tacitus were. Note in this connection the following : 
" Cliildrcn of the Eskimo on the eastern coast of Greenland go 
naked in the house until they are si.xteen years old. Then they 
put on the nqtil (loin-cloth) and that is the only tliing worn in 
the house bj' adults. It is the eustom of wearing fur next the 
skin (see note on 17. 3) wliich compels them to go naked in the 
house." W. G. Sumner, Folkways, p. 441. 

2. quemque mater . . . alit : referred to in Dialogus 28 as an 
old-time Roman virtue. The diseontinuance of this practiee 
was deplored by educational theorists, especially because of the 
supposed deleterious effects on the mentality and character of 
the rising generation ineurred by intrusting children to the care 
of hireUngs ; cf. Agricola 4.8; Dinlogus 29; Plutareh, Dis- 
course on Ihc Tniining of Cldldren, chap. 5. 

3. nec ancillis ac nutricibus : cf. the language of Dialogus 28 : 
Nam pridem suus cuique filius ex casta parente natus, non in 
cellula emptae nutricis sed gremio ac sinu matris educabatur 
(' In the good old days, every man's son, born in wedlock, was 
brought up not in the chamber of some hireling nurse, but in 
his mother's lap and at her knee ' — Peterson) ; 29 : At nunc 
natus infans delegatur Graeculne nlicui ancillae (' Nowadays, on 
the other hand, our children are handed over at their birth to 
some silly littlf Greek serving-maid ' — Peterson). — dominum : 
strictly, in old-time Southern parlance, the " young master." 


4. educationis deliciis : by any refinements in their up-bring- 
ing. As a rule, in primitive societies the slave is treated as only 
a slightly iiiferior member of the family. See for a full discus- 
sion of this topic Westermarck, The Origin and Development 
of the Moral Ideas, vol. 1, p. 678 f. The verna, or house-born 
slave, was proverbially a privileged character iu Roman private 
lif e ; cf. the picture of the idyllie life in Tibullus, 1. 5.25-26: 

. . . consuescet amantis 

garrulus in dominae ludere verna sinu, et seq. 

(' the prattling home-born slave child will be wont to frolie on 
the lap of the doting mistress '). 

5. inter eadem pecora : as travelers ean testify, among the 
peasantry of many a country to this day " quarters for nian 
and beast " are not separate. — humo : the dirt floor of the 

6. sera . . . venus : according to Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 
6. 21, marriage before the twentieth year was strongly discoun- 

7. nec . . . f estinantur : another contrast with Roman 
eustom ; Agrieola's daughter was thirteen when Tacitus married 
her (see note on Agricola 9. 24), and instances of earlier mar- 
riages are plentiful. 

8. eadem iuventa : i.e. the age of maturity was reaehed no 
sooner by women than by men, a eondition of affairs grounded 
on arbitrary theory and not on physiological faets. In an old 
poem, entitled Dietrichs Flucht, thirty years is mentioned as 
the marriageable age of both sexes in the good old times ; a 
similar view held good in Italy in the thirteenth century; see 
Weinhold, Die Deutsche Frauen in dem Mittelalter, 3d ed., p. 266. 
— pares : sc. aetate. 

9. sororum filiis . . . apud avunculum . . . honor : at dif- 
ferent periods of culture and among various races of manidnd, 
descent and inheritance have been reclioned through the mater- 
nal side. This system, termed formerly the matriarchate, but 
recently and more correctly the mother-right or the mother- 
family, existed, e.g. among the Lyeians of Herodotus, 1. 173, 
among the ancient Arabs (see Robertson Smith, Kinship and 


Marriuge in Earhj Arnhin) as well as othor Somitic races, and is 
fouiul in certain savago and sonii-civilizoil pooplos at tho pros- 
ont time. Undor it the mothor's brothor {avunculua) naturally 
tonds to stand in such a oloso rolation to his sister and hor 
chiUlron as is dosoribed in this sentenoo. E.g. a modorn Abys- 
sinian proverb runs " the niatornal uncle has ehildren without 
bojjotting them " (eommunicated to the editor by Professor E. 

The present context has been frequently cited as proof that 
the mother-right prevailed among prehistoric Germans and 
survived in the time of Taeitus to the dogree here indicated. 
However, the existenee of the institution among Indo-Europeans 
has not been cortainly demonstratod. It is safer, in the present 
state of our knowledge, to assume that the position occupied 
by a brother as " next friond " of his sistor and her otTspring, 
originated in the desirability of a wife and her childron having 
some representative to champion their interests against a too 
rigorous exercise of the husband's potestas, or, in the event of 
his death, to maintain a son's right of inheritance against his 
father's kinsfolk. The fact that after the death of her father a 
maidon passed legally iuto the guardianship of her eldest brother, 
raay also have been a contributory causo. 

10. ad : not infrequently in Latin of various periods, ad has 
the sense of npud; e.g. Plautus, Captivi G99, in lihertatest ad 
palrein in patria; Livj% 7. 7, neque segnius ad hostes hellum ap- 
paratur; Taeitus, Annales 1. 8, iactantia gloriaque ad posteros. 
Ilere the change is made for variety's sake. — quidam : certain 
tribes of Germany or the leaders who represent them iu negotia- 

12. tamquam . . . teneant : expressing the conviction of the 
persons reprosented in quidam. Make this fact clear in trans- 

13. domum latius : as tending to secure the loyalty of both 
the patornal and the maternal sido of the house. 

14. tamen : notwithstanding tho intimate rolation existing 
between maternal unde and nephow, the privih'ges of inhori- 
tance and succession were not afToctod. Tiioso wore rosidont 
in the paternal line. — nuUum testamentum : inheritance, 


which followed the male line, was regulated by consanguinity 
onlj^ and logacies to others than kinsmen were unknown. 

17. adfinium : connections by marriage. — gratiosior : the 
more an objcct of esteem. 

18. nec uUa orbitatis pretia : in Roman society the childless 
rich were overwhehned by the blandishments of would-be 
heirs. AUusions to the legacy hunter or captator are common- 
places in the Uterature of the Empire ; Horace, Satires 2. 5, is a 
jocular ars captandi " testamenta senum " and the Regulus of 
Pliny, Epistulae 2. 20, is a type of the profession. 

Chapter 21. 

Blood feuds ; hospitality. 

Friendships and enmities are also objeets of inheritance ; 
herein lies the nexus between this chapter and the preceding. 

1. inimicitias : the later Latin equivalent in the German laws 
was faida, whence Mod. Ger. Fehde, Eng. feud. The doctrine 
that the infliction of vengeanee is the right and the duty of the 
kinsmen of the victim was axiomatic in early stages of society 
and has been perpetuated among raees who have attained a 
high degree of culture, e.g. the aneient Greeks and the Japanese. 
The Corsican vendetta, the family feuds of the Scottish clans, 
and of their descendants, the southern mountaineers in this 
country, are modern survivals of this custom of blood revenge. 
This subject is discussed at length by Westermarck, The Origin 
and the Development of the Morcd Ideas, chap. 20. 

2. necesse est : it is obligatory. — nec : a negative adversative 
— and yet . . . not. 

3. luitur : in the evolution of society it was seen that the 
acceptance of material compensation in the form of eattle, money, 
or other property offered a means of escape from the dangers 
and inconveniences attendant on the view that an injury can 
be canceled only by the infliction of a like • injury. Blood 
revenge or acceptance of compensation was ordinarily at the 
option of the injured party. The German term, Wergeld, 
applied to this compensation, Latin satisfactio, compensatio, 
means ' man-price.' The system can only flourish where there 
is a certain amount of wealth. — armentorum ac pecorum : 


Wergcld was naturally computed in terms of the prevalent 
standard of valuation. Compensatory daniages varied with the 
rank of the victim. 

4. universa domus : responsibility in a blood feud is eollee- 
tive and rests on the family ; hence all those concerned share in 
the settlement. 

5. utiliter in publicum : eharacterizing the compensatory 
system as a whole, not simply the detail last mentioned, satis- 
factionem . . . domus. Compare with this conte.xt the following 
comment of Westermarek, op. cit., p. 485 : " Whilst the carry- 
ing out of the doctrine a ' Ufe for a Hfe ' often leads to pro- 
tracted hostihties between the parties, compensation has a 
tendeney to bring about a durable peace. For this reason it is 
to the inlerest of society al large (editor's italics) to encourage the 
latter practice." 

6. iuxta : when coupled with; the absence of state control 
would tend toward individual e.xcess in enmity. 

7. convictibus et hospitiis : the former word refers broadly 
to occasions of good eheer, convivial entcrtainments ; the latter 
to the reception of strangers, a topic to which the rest of this 
chapter is devoted. — effusius indulget : unquestioning hospi- 
tality is the rule in primitive societies. The twofold meaning 
resident in Greek ^^vos, Latin hospes, ' stranger and guest,' 
attests the original dominance of the custom. On the other 
hand Latin hoslis, akin etymologically to German Gast, meant 
first ' stranger,' then ' enemy.' 

UnHke other social vlrtues, hospitality tends to decline with 
the advance of civihzation, when increased facility of inter- 
course between communities makes strangers less of a novelty, 
and the establishment of public places of entertainment renders 
private benevolence less essential. 

8. nefas habetur: cf. Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 6.23.9: 
hospilem violare fas non {Germani) putant. Qui quacumque de 
causa ad eos venerunt, ab iniuria prohihent, snnctos habent hisque 
omnium domus patent victusque communicatur . 

In the code of hospitality kindly treatment of the guest is a 
moral obHgation, sometimes extended so far as to necessitate 
the reception and inviolabiHty of a foe. Frequently, the 


stranger is regarded as undor the protection of the gods and 
hence is sacrosanct ; we may recall the Zei>s ^fivws of the Greeks 
and the dii hospitales of the Romans, also " The Lord pre- 
serveth the strangers," Psalms 146.9, and Odyssey 9. 270: 
Zeiis . . . ^elvios 6s ^elvoicriv (iix aiooloicnv dvridei (' Zeus . . . 

protector of guests, who attendeth on revered stranger 

9. pro fortuna . . . epulis excipit : " Quelque encorabree 
que soit une hutte et si reduite que soit la quantite d'aliments 
dont on dispose, le nouvel arrivant est toujours assure d'avoir 
une place pres du foyer et une part de la nourriture." Hyades 
and Deniker, Mission Scientifique du Cap Horn, VII. 243. — - 
cum defecere : folk custom, instead of governing the length of 
a guest's stay by the contents of the host's larder only, fre- 
quently sets a definite limit for the dispensing of hospitality. 
Three days and nights was a period accepted by several races, 
including the later Teutons. 

13. quantum ad ius hospitis : cf. quantum ad gloriam, Agricola 
44. 8. — abeunti : so often in the Homeric poems it is etiquette 
for the host to speed the departing guest with gifts, ^eivriLa, 
(e.g. Odyssey 4. 589 f. ; 24. 273 f. ; 285) which, however, are 
usually not subject to the option of the guest, although in 4. 600 
Telemaehus excuses himself from aecepting the horses and ehar- 
iot offered by Menelaus, who thereupon substitutes other pres- 
ents, 4. 612 f. 

14. moris : sc. est. — poscendi in vicem : an exchange of 
presents between host and guest, not, however, the result of 
stipulation, is mentioned in Iliad 6. 218. Among some peoples 
superstitious dread of the malevolent power with which it is 
believed a stranger is endowed, prevents the acceptance of gifts 
from him, lest they may contain the potency for evil. 

15. facilitas : freedom from constraint. — imputant : set doivn 
to iheir credit, i.e. the donors are not actuated by the spirit of 
quid pro quo. 

16. victus . . . comis : many editors regard this sentenee as 
a mere summary of the thought of the whole paragraph and 
have taken exception to it as superfluous and weak. Rather, it 
should be joined closely in thought with the preceding sentence, 


the asyndeton having the force of nam; cf. Germania 22. 15-16 : 
et salva utriusque temporis ratio est: deliberant . . . constituunt; 
Historiae 'S. S4 : rnultis increpantibiis, nullo inlacrimante : defor- 
mitas exitus inisericordiam abstulerat (' midst the jeers of many, 
(but) with dearth of tears ; (for) the iguominy of his end had 
removed eompassion '). 

The sense is : hospitality is not governed by a system of debits 
and eredits, expressed in gif ts ; for the intereourse between host 
and guest is gracious, i.e. based on kindhness, not on mercenary 

Chapter 22. 

Daily Ufe. 

1. statim . . . lavantur : this chapter aims to present, for 
the edifieation of the Roman reader, a series of contrasts between 
the everyday life of Roman and German. Thus, among the 
Romans the customary hour for the bath was in the middle of 
the afternoon just before cena (see Becker, Gallus, Eng. trans., 
p. 396), and the variation which naturally followed individual 
preferenee and habit, does not seem to have placed it much 
before noon, e.g. in the case of Horace, who bathed before 
prandium; ast ubi me fessum sol acrior ire lavatum admonuit 
(' but when the too intense heat of the sun has warned me to 
betake my wearied Hmbs to the bath '), Satires 1. 6. 125. The 
Elder Pliny had finished his bath by the seventh hour on August 
24, i.e. 12-1 : 09 p.m. ; cf. Pliny, Epistulae 6. 16. 4-5. — in diem : 
among the Romans of all classes the social and business day be- 
gan, as a rule, with the sun and the serious occupations of the 
man of affairs were finished eorrespondingly early ; note the 
words of Pliny, Epistulae 2. 17. 2 : decem et septem milibus passuum 
ab urbe secessit (Laurentinum), ut peraclis quae agenda fuerint 
salvo et composito die possis ibi manere (' (my Laurentine villa) 
is distant seventeen miles from the city ; hence, after dispatch- 
ing the program of business, one ean take up one's sojourn there 
and not lose the day's work or leave it unfinished ') ; Horace, 
Epistulae 1. 17. 6, mentions sleep primam in /io?am as a comfort- 
able night's rest. The hardships which the necessity for early 
rising inflicted on the elient and the professional man are a fa- 


vorite topic in the literature of the Empire ; cf. Horace, Satires 
1. 1. 10; 2. 6. 34; Juvenal, Satires 5. 19-23. 

2. saepius calida : sc. quam aqua frigida. Tho language of 
Tacitus does not forbid the reader to assume that, at least at 
certain seasons of the year, the Germans resorted to bathing in 
the rivers. Hence there is no essential variance with Caesar's 
account, Bellum Gallicum 4. 1. 10 : ut frigidissimis locis . . . 
{Suebi) lavarentur in fluminibus; 6. 21. '5 : (Gerinani) . . . pro- 
miscue in fluminibus perluuntur. The different purpose of each 
author leads him to emphasize different features of the Ger- 
mans' practiee. 

3. separatae . . . sedes : contrast the Roman triclinium, 
three guests to each couch. 

4. sua cuique mensa : so in the Odyssey each banqueter has 
an individual table ; cf. 1. 111 ; 20. 259, and especially 22. 74, 
where the suitors iise their tables as shields. — negotia . . . 
convivia : as is made clear below, the two were of ten combined. 

5. armati : cf. 13. 1 : nihil autem neqne puhlicae neque privatae 
rei nisi armati agunt. — diem noctemque continuare : to make 
day and night one. In Rome good form disapproved of the 
tempestivum convivium, a banquet which " began early to last 
late " ; participation in such entertainments was one of the hall- 
marks of a dissolute life ; cf. Cicero, Pro Archia 13 ; Ad Atticum 
9. 1. 3 ; Suetonius, Caligula 45 ; Tacitus, Historiae 2. 68. 
The eomment of Horaee, Satires 1. 4. 51 f., on eonviviality by 
daylight, is typieal : At pater ardens saevit quod . . . ebrius 
(filius) et magnurn quod dedecus ambulet ante noctem cum facibus, 
et seq. (' But the wrathful father storms because . . . his 
tipsy son parades the streets with torches before nightfall — a 
dire disgrace '). 

6. crebrae ut inter vinolentos rixae : cf. Horace, Odes 3. 21. 
1-3 to the wine jar : 

O nata mecum consule Manlio 
seu tu querellas sive geris iocos, 
seu rixam et insanos amores 

(' O thou that saw the Ught with me when Manlius was consul, 
whether thou hast in store plaints or mirth, whether brawl and 


frenzied loves *) ; also Odes 1. 18.8. For this use of ut see 
Germanin 2. 14. 

7. transiguntur : nrc dispaiched. 

9. adsciscendis principibus : adopting leaders or Jonning rela- 
tionships with leaders. The e.xpression is apparently chosen to 
emphasize the e.xtent to which power of decision rested with the 
constituency and is widely eomprehensive. Such alliances with 
principes of other tribes, as are mentioned in chap. 14, could 
come under this head. Probably, however, Tacitus was think- 
ing chiefly of the canvassing at these " business and political 
dinners " of the merits of the native principes available for 
duces in war or for district judges (chap. 12). It is easily con- 
ceivable that the party strife existing between rival principes, 
such as is attested by Annales 1. 58 : et inieci (Segestes) catenas 
Arminio et a factione eius iniectas perpessus sum (' I both put 
fetters on Arminius and suffered those placed on me by his 
partisans '), was a prolific source of " rixae " between their 
adherents on these occasions. 

11. simpjices : guileless. They actod in the spirit of the 
proverbial in vino verilas and would have agreed with the senti- 
ment of Ovid, Ars Amatoria 1. 241-242: 

tunc (i.e. post merum) aperit mentes aevo rarissima nostra 

simplicitas, artes excutiente deo (Baccho) 
(' then artlessness, weU nigh a stranger to our times, unbars 
the thoughts, when the god (of wine) doth banish wiles '). 

12. ad magnas incalescat : quite in the vein of the famous 
lines of Burns, 

" Inspiring, bold John Barleycorn ! 
What dangers thou canst make us scorn," 

but among the many descriptions, ancient and modern, of "the 
heart who great and puffed up with this retinue doth any deed 
of courage and this valour comes of sherris," Bacchylides, Frag. 
20 (Blass) has not been improved upon ; ' That power sends a 
man's thoughts soaring ; straightway he is stripping cities of 
their diadems of towers, — he dreams that he shall be monarch 
of the world ; — ■ . . . such are the raptures of the reveller's 
soul.' Jebb's trans. 


13. adhuc : still; there is a contrast between the eandor of 
the simplc-hcarted Germans in their cups and the reticence of 
the sophisticated and politic man of civilization ; see Ovid, 
Ars Amaloria 1. 241-2, quoted above, aevo rarissima nostro 
simplicilas. — - secreta pectoris, et seq. : a sentiment as old as 
Horaer, ' wildering wine that sets even a wise man on to sing 
aloud . . . and uttereth a word that were better left unsaid,' 
Odysscij 14. 463 f., and often repeated since but never more 
effectively than by Horace ; cf. Odes 3. 21. 14 f. : 

tu sapientium 

curas et arcanum iocoso 

consilium retegis Lyaeo 
(' thou dost unveil the broodings of the wise and the secret pur- 
pose by the spell of the joeund Releaser ') ; see also Epistulae 
1.5. 16: quid non ebrietns designat? Operta recludit, et seq. 
(' what doth not the cups disclose? They reveal the covert 
thought ') ; cf. also Satires 1. 4. 89. 

These parallels have been quoted to show how through this 
whole context Tacitus writes in the language and presents the 
sentiments of the literatiire of conviviality ; the parallels f ur- 
nish the best commentary on the passage. 

14. retractatur : (the discussion) is reopened. 

15. salva . . . ratio est : the regard belonging to each occasion 
is preserved. 

16. nesciunt : in poetry nescire is often used as a synonym of 
non posse, henee here nesciunt commended itself as a variant of 
the following non possunt; cf. Vergil, Georgics 3. 83-4 : tum, si 
qua sonum procul arma dedere, stare loco nescit (equus) ; Horace, 
Ars Poetica390: nescit vox missa reverti; for a similar collocation 
of the two verbs see Propertius, 1.5. 23-4: nec tibi nobilitas 
poterit succurrere amanti; nescit Amor priscis cedere imaginibus 
(' nor will high lineage have power to rescue thee when thou 
dost love ; Oupid knoweth not surrender unto ancestral por- 
traits '). — dum errare non possunt : an overstatement for 
the sake of an epigrammatic ending. An interesting parallel 
to this whole context is furnished by Plutarch's discussion, 
Symposiaca 7. 9 and 10, as to the wisdom of following the eustom 
of the Persians and " debating state affairs midst the cups." 


Chapter 23. 

Fuud aiui drink. 

1. potui umor ex hordeo : beer ; cf. the ohoi Kpldivos of the 
anoiont Armenian.s, Xenophon, Annhasis 4. 5. 26, and Vergirs 
alhision to the national beverage of the northern peoples, Georgics 
3. 379-380 : 

hic noctem liido ducunt et poculn Ineti 

fermento (j^east or fermented grain) atque 

ncidis imitnnlur vitea sorbis. 

— frumento : i.e. wheat, in practice the usual connotation of 

frumentum, since this was the grain ordinarily served out as 

rations in tho Roman armies and given in doles to the citizens. 

— in . . . similitudinem vini : cf. Vergirs pocula imitantur vitea. 

2. proximi ripae : this same expression is used in chap. 17. 5-6. 

— vinum mercantur : Caesar, Bellum Gnllicum 4. 2. 6, writes of 
the Suebi of his time : vinum omnino nd se importari non patiuntur 
quod ea re ad laborem ferendum remollescere homines atque effemi- 
nari arbitrantur. The German words relating to the culture of 
the grape and the manufacture of wine are mostly Latin deriva- 
tives : e.g. Wein, vinum; Most, mustum; Keller, cellarium, et cet. 

3. poma : not only the fruits of trees, such as apples, pears, 
and the like, but also berries and nuts. There is no equally 
comprehensive word in English. — recens : the Romans shared 
the predilection of the modern palate for meat rendered tender 
by " hanging " and even tended to carry the appreciation of a 
gamey flavor to extremes. 

4. lac concretum : curds, clotted cream, et cet. ; on the menu 
of the ancient Germans cf. also Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 6. 22. 1 : 
vinior pars eorum victus in lacte, caseo, carne consistit. — blandi- 
mentis : whets and sauces sueh as figured extensively in the 
Roman bill of fare ; note the list in Horace, Sntires 2. 8. 8-9 : 

rapula, lactucae, radices, qualia lassum 

pervellunt stomachum, siser, allec, faecula Coa 

(' rapes, lettuce, radishes, such condiments as stimulate the 

jaded stomach, skirret, fish-pickle, tartar-lees of Coan wine '). 

7. haud minus facile . . . vincentur : this sentence was ob- 

viously written to bring the chapter to an epigrammatic close, 


hence the meaning of facile should not be pressed. Tacitus did 
not mean that the Germans could be conquered easily in any 
case, only that alcohol would be as effective against them as 
would armed force ; the introduction of luxury and dissipation 
is mentioned also as an agency of conquest in Agricola 21. 10 f. 

Chapter 24. 
National amusements and games. 

1. coetu : social gathering. 

2. ludicrum : a sport. 

3. infestas : the weapons were poised so as to point at the 
dancers or leapers. Analogous exhibitions sometimes occurred 
at Greek and Roman feasts ; cf. Xenophon, Symposium 2. 11, 
where a dancing girl performs acrobatic feats in and out from a 
circle of upright swords. 

4. non in quaestum : in contrast with the professional enter- 
tainers at Rome. In has its frequent final force. 

5. quamvis : its force is limited to audacis; cf. the use of 
quamquavi in Agricola 1.3. — lasciviae : abandon. — pretium 
est voluptas : the spear dance, in origin at least, was probably a 
rehgious ceremony connected with the cult of the war god. 

6. quod : the antecedent is the idea contained in the follow- 
ing words. — inter seria : as a serious occupation, whereas at 
Rome gambling was a feature of debauchery and the gamester 
was coupled, in the opinion of the respeetable, with offenders of 
the worst sort ; cf. Cieero, Catiline 2. 23 : in his gregibus omnes 
aleatores, omnes adulteri, omnes impuri, impudicique versantur; 
Juvenal, Satires 11. 176: alea turpis, turpe et adulterium medio- 
cribus. In RepubUean times dicing was forbidden by law and 
Justinian placed legal restrictions on it in the late Empire ; at 
the most, it was countenaneed as a diversion permissible at 
times of festivity, such as the Saturnalia, and excess exposed 
even an emperor to criticism, as we learn from Suetonius, 
Augustus 71. For a satirisfs account as to its prevalence in 
the society of Rome at the time of Tacitus, see Juvenal, 1. 87-93. 

8. extremo ac novissimo iactu : final, decisive throw. 

9. corpore : life. Power of punishment, even to killing, was 
vested in the master. Gambling for high stakes is frequently 


a racial trait of barbarous peoples ; cf. for example, Francis 
Parkman, The Jesuits in North A inerica, Introd. xxxvi : " Like other 
Indians, the Hurons were desperate gamblers, staking their all, — 
ornainents. clothing, canoes, pipes, weapons, and wives." — vol- 
untariam : in contrast to bondage incurred under pressure of some 
extornal agency, as eaptiu"e in war or infliction of legal penalty. 

10. iuvenior : this form oceurs only in writers of the Empire. 
— adligari : if we may judge from other passages in whieh this 
compound occurs, this word was appHed in a technical sense to 
fettering the hands and feet of slaves. 

12. per commercia: cf. Agricola 28. 15, per commercia venum- 
datos (servos) ; 39. 5, emptis per commercia. 

As a rule in slave-holding races, intra-tribal slaves are treated 
better than extra-tribal. In particular, slave debtors, the head 
under which the slaves of the class here described, would natu- 
rally fall, are treated with lenience, being often as little restricted 
in their movements and existenee as they would be if they were 
free agents. Among the Israelites, for example, the native 
who had lost his liberty through debt met with far more consid- 
eration than slaves of foreign extraetion ; see Levit. 25. 39 f . 

On the other hand, it is easy to see how the relation of master 
and slave brought to pass in the way described between two 
men who had been social equals, would be a painful and diffieult 
situation. The transfer of " servi huius condicionis " into a 
bondage removed from their erstwhile life, and the motives 
whieh, aecording to Tacitus, actuated their sale, find an instruc- 
tive analogy in old Roman practice. That a Roman should be 
slave to a feUow-citizen was repugnant to Roman ideas ; so 
it was that in Tabula 3 of the Laws of the Twelve Tables it was 
ordained that, after the third day, the debtor who had been made 
over to his ereditor should be punished with death or sold abroad, 
i.e. trans Tiberim; see Mackenzie, Studies in Roman Law, p. 94. 

Chapter 25. 

Slaves and freedmen. 

1. ceteris servis : turning from the special type of slave, 
whose treatment forms a case apart, to the status of the ordinary 
slave population. — descriptis : marked out. 


2. familiam : the staff of slaves belonging to an establishment. 
The eomplexity of Roman private life naturally ealled for a spe- 
cialization of functions as between the familia urhana and the 
familia rustica and within these two groups, espeeially the 
former; see Sandys, A Companion to Lalin Studies, Art. 539. 

— suam . . . sedem . . . regit : an analogous arrangement 
was in vogue in Italy, where, for a eonsideration in money or 
produee, a slave might hold and work a parcel of land, but only 
on sufferance of the master. TitjTUs, in the First Eclogue of 
Vergil, is sueh a slave tenant. However, those to whom Taeitus 
here, in want of a better word, appUes the generie term servi, 
were a grade above the Italian slave farmer. They were ac- 
tuaUy held in serfdom or villeinage, the condition into which in 
later times slavery in Europe was transformed. Sueh serfs 
were bound to the soil and liable to requisition in labor or 
produce, but preserved their personal freedom. 

4. ut colono : the coloni, or free tenant farmers, were the class 
on which the great landowners of the Empire mainly depended 
for working their estates ; see, e.g., Pliny, Epistulae 9. 37. The 
tenant leased a parcel of land on shares (colonus partiarius) — 
herein lies the point of resemblanee with the German serf — or 
for a money rental (colonus qui ad pecuniam numeratam conduxit). 

— hactenus paret : cf. Agricola 10. 19, hactenus iussum. In 
order to throw into reUef the harshness of Roman slavery, Taci- 
tus has painted the lot of the German slave in too bright colors ; 
he treats the tenant serf as the typical slave and probablj^ under- 
states his disabilities. Furthermore, as modern ethnologieal 
parallels show, the conditions of slavery would not have been 
the same throughout aU Germany, but would have varied greatly 
among separate tribes, aeeording to their eeonomie position and 
mode of Ufe. 

5. cetera domus officia : thc other services, ihose of the house- 
hold. The implieation eontained in this sentence, to the etfect 
that the Germans did not have household slaves, is at odds with 
Taeitus's own statement in ehap. 20. 4 and with linguistie 
evideuee, from which it appears that various German words 
for ' slave,' ' servitor,' like Greek olKir-rjs ■n-ais, Latin puer, 
denote also ' member of the household,' ' boy,' ' girl,' et cet. We 

NOTES ' 85 

may be sure that in primitive (lermany slaves formed a part of 
at least every well-to-do liousehold and that they were treated 
as a sort of inferior inember of the family. — verberare . . . ac 
vinculis et opere coercere : Roman literature, especially eomody, 
teems with references to these, the regular punishments inflicted 
on refractory slaves. Vinculis and opere are coupled together 
because the slave condemned to labor in quarry, mill, or on the 
farm, was shacided and made a member of a chain gang (com- 
pedili) ; cf. Cato, De Agri Cultura 56; Plautus, Caplivi 944 : in 
lapicidinas conpeditum (eum) condidi (' I have shackled him and 
consigned him to the quarry ') is typical. 

7. disciplina et severitate : = severa disciplina. — impetu et 
ira : a sndden accesa of fury. 

8. nisi quod impune est : otherwise the murderer would have 
been liable for Wergcld. It is by no means the universal rule in 
systems of slavery that the master cannot be held accountable 
for killing his slave. In various races and strata of soeiety, 
custom and law have acted to protect the slave from extreme 
violence. The power of life and death which the Teutonic 
master possessed was in ancient times the prerogative of the 
Roman master, but, before the time of Tacitus, legislation by 
the emperor Claudius had placed eertain checks on the master's 
power ; see Suetonius, Claudius 25. The Roman reader would 
be well aware of this fact. — non multum supra servos : they 
usually remained in a state of clientage and labored under 
various disabilities. 

9. raro aliquod momentum : this whole account of the German 
freedmen is colored by the re.sentment with whieh Tacitus and 
the senatorial class \iewed the dominating position usurped in 
the soeiety and the political life of the Empire by the clever and 
unscrupulous lihcrtini under such emperors as Caligula, Claudius, 
Nero, and Domitian ; see note on Agricola 40. 6. 

10. gentibus quae regnantur : the monarchical states are 
here distinguishcd from those ruled by principes. 

11. super ingenuos . . . ascendunt : a comment penned 
with the conditions holding good in Rome in the prineipate of 
the absolutist Domitian in mind, but intrinsically credible, 
nevertheless. The king's freedmen would be bound to fill 


important positions in his household and henee to "«ield influ- 
ence on pohcj-. 

12. impares libertini : the inferior ponition of the class of freed- 
men. Libcrtini is not merely a synonym for liberli but is used 
in its literal sense to refer to the freedmen as a soeial elass in 
eontrast with ingenui above. 

Chapter 26. 

Finaneial operations ; partition of land ; agriculture; 

1. faenus agitare : faenus here means ' capital ' and the sense 
of the expression is to engage in dealings with capital. — in 
usuras extendere : sc. faenus; to let it increase with a vieio to 
(resuUant) interest returns. The operations of high finanee had 
more than once created trouble in the Roman money market 
and had necessitated legislation restricting the amount of capital 
which could be put out at interest, the percentage rate, et cet. 
Tacitus knew that his readers would be cognizant of the abuses 
in question, and so eonfines himself to generaUties. 

2. servatur: guarded against; the word is here equivalent 
to cavetur; cf. Livy, 39. 14. 10: triumviris capitalibus inandatum 
est ut vigilias disponerent per urbem servarentque ne qui nocturni 
coetus fierent (' the board of three in charge of prisons and exe- 
cutions was commissioned to dispose watchmen throughout the 
eity and to guard against the occurrence of nocturnal assem- 
blages '). — vetitum esset : i.e. by law, as was the case at Rome. 
It is self-evident that " erooked " financial operations eould not 
have existed among peoples to whom money was a rarity and 
barter the rule ; hence this context is rather superfluous, a fact 
overlooked by Tacitus o^Wng to liis chronic anxiety to disparage 
by contrast the ways of civiUzation. — pro numero cultorum : 
in proportion to the number of homesteaders, i.e. the free heads of 
households. The center of the account of Taeitus is the riu"al 
viUage community which, we have seert in chap. 16, was the typi- 
cal civie unit among the Germans. Each village had as its 
environs an expanse of territory, comprising woodland, pasture, 
and plowland, all of which was owned by the community as 
a corporation. This difficult and mueh-discussed sentence is 
best explained as referring to a system of rotation under which 


separatp tracts of plowland wore put undor cultivation. From 
the wholc traot of arahh' land, a seetion adequate to the needs 
of the eomraunity was sequestrated and worked for a eertain 
period, while the residuum was allowed to lie fallow. How 
frequently a shift in the field of operations oecurred and a dif- 
ferent area was broken, Tacitus does not say. This might be 
after a longer or shorter period, according to the fertility of the 
tract. Whenever a change was made, the new tract chosen for 
cultivation naturally had to be eommensurate with the number 
of households in the community, a number whieh, of course, 
would be subject to variation. 

3. ab universis : by them collectively ; the tenure of land was 
communal but the individual held property rights over the 
homestead, yard, and the household chattels. In certain 
primitive civilizations to-day, notably in the South Seas, collec- 
tive ownership is theoretically absolute and extends to all 
property and chattels. — in vices occupantur : are taken up 
successively, literally, loith a view to changes. As has been said, 
Tacitus says nothing about any flxed interval of rotation. 
However, it is evident that the successive oecupations of tracts 
of plowland did not involve a change in the loeation of the vil- 
lage eommunity. Any sueh annual series of expropriations as 
that described by Caesar, Belliim Gallicum, 6. 22. 2 : magistratus 
ac principes in annos singulos gentibus cognationibusque hominum 
quique una coierunt, quantum et quo loco visum est agri attribuunt 
atque anno post alio Iransire cogunt, an arrangement suitable for 
a predatory race of nomadic instincts as were the Suebi, whom 
Caesar had mainly in mind, is out of keeping with Taeitus's 
picture of German life, a feature of which is permanenee of 
abode, comparatively speaking. Furthermore, the following 
eontext implies that tenure of a given territory was continuous 
or for a period of some duration. — quos mox . . . partiuntur : 
each new tract selected for cultivation by the village corporation 
was subdivided into quotas to be worked by the individual house- 
holders. This system presupposes for the time being a differ- 
entiation among the individual parcels and hence marks a devel- 
opment over the eonditions depieted by Caesar, who says 
that, at least among the Suebi, there was a total absence of 


defined areas and private holdings ; Bellum Gallicum 4. 1. 7; 
0. 22. 2. 

4. secundum dignationem : on the basis of rank; when the 
land was parcelcd out among individuals, chieftains and nobles 
would receive greater acreage or a choicer plot than those below 
them in the social scale. This again is at variance with Caesar, 
who implies (6. 22. 4) that all shared alike : cum suas quisque 
opes cum potentissimis aequari videat. 

5: camporum spatia : the large extent of territory held by a 
community assured the satisfaction of all accredited claimants 
of a share. — arva per annos mutant : arvum is land actually 
put under eultivation as opposed to ager, arable land. It is 
hardly possible to understand arva as referring to the whole 
traet of plowland taken up by the eomraunity, as does a recent 
eritic, and to conclude that this sentence develops the thought 
of the preceding agri . . . occupantur, per annos elucidating 
in vices. The idea contained in per annos could easily have 
been ineluded at the outset and this would have been in the 
manner of Tacitus, who is prone to avoid wasting words. Fur- 
thermore, the thought of the two clauses directly preceding the 
sentence relates exclusively to the assignments turned over to 
individuals and it is natural to suppose that this subject is 
continued. We may interpret thus : each year the husband- 
man worked a different pieee in his apportioned plot and per- 
mitted the rest to lie fallow ; this practice was made possible 
by the size of each individuaFs share and was naturally resorted 
to beeause of ignorance of what manure, abundant enough among 
them (see c. 5. 4 ; 16. 12), could have accompUshed for the enrich- 
ment of the soil. 

6. nec enim . . . labore contendunt ; introdueing a eontrast be- 
tween the simple and wasteful methods of German husbandrj' and 
the intensive and diversified operations of ItaUan agrieulture and 
hortieulture. Translate : for they do nct by work compete, i.e. their 
methods do not measure up to their opportunities. The German 
words for fruits and vegetables are mostly of foreign origin, a 
faet which goes to show that these artieles were not indigenous. 

8. seges : grain. — imperatur : the erop is, as it were, a trib- 
ute requisitioned by the farmer from his subjeet, the soil. 


Tho figruro is a favorite one ; cf. Cieoro, De Senectute 51 : hnhcnt 
enim {agricolne) rotionem citm terra quae numqunm recusnt 
imperium (' for they {i.e. the farmers) have dealings with the 
land, which never refuses their sway ') ; also the liues prefixed to 
the Aeneid: egressus silvis vicina coegi \ ut quamvis avido parerent 
arva colono (' departing from the woodland {i.e. sylvan themes), 
I compelled the neighboring plowlands to subniit to the husband- 
inan, however grasping '). 

9. totidem : as do the Romans. 

10. species : categorics. — hiems et ver et aestas : the same 
three soasons are recognized in the Ilomeric poems as x"A'<*"', 
(ap, and O^pos rospoetively. Tho primiti\o division of the year, 
common to all Indo-Eiiropoan peoples, differentiated winter and 
summer only. 

11. autumni . . . nomen : Herbst, ' autumn,' is an original 
word eommon to the Germanic stocks. However, it means 
literally ' harvest-time,' which to a Roman would coincide with 

Chapter 27. " 

Funeral customs. 

1. ambitio : ostentation. On the other hand, great pomp 
always marked the funeral ceremony of a Roman of any stand- 
ing. So early as the fifth century b.c, the Laws of the Twelve 
Tables incorporated regulations intended to curb extravagance 
and display in funeral rites. Further sumptuarj'^ legislation of 
this eharacter was enacted by SuUa, who then led the way in 
disregarding it on the occasion of the funeral of his wife Metella ; 
cf. Plutarch, Sulla 35, and on the topic as a whole, Friedlander, 
Roman Lije nnd Manners, Eng. trans., vol. 2, p. 210. 

The simplieity of German funerals was in direct contrast to 
the customs of the . Gauls in this regard ; cf . Caesar, Bellum 
Gallicum 6. 19. 4 : funera sunt pro cultu . . . magnifica et sump- 

2. certis : especial. In the deposits of incinerated wood 
marking the sites of funeral pyres in the cemeteries of ancient 
Germany, ashes from the oak, boecli, fir, and juniper have been 
discovered. It has been observed that oak was the wood com- 


monly used in Northwest Germany, fir in the East. — crementur : 
in the earliest prehistoric period, interment was the sole method 
of disposing of tho dead. The praetice of creraation of the corpse 
and subsequent burial of the ashes, occurring sporadieally in 
the later Stone Age and thereafter increasing in frequeney, in 
the later Bronze Age had developed into a universal folk custom, 
which, once estabhshed, was maintained tenaciously by the 
Germans through eenturies. Tacitus reeognizes it as the exelu- 
sive method in his time ; this, however, was not strictly true 
for all German lands. Both methods were utiUzed, sometimes 
existing side by side in the same region. Nevertheless cremation 
was the dominant praetice in the Roman period ; exceptions 
reflect local usage or family preference. 

3. nec vestibus nec odoribus : the opposing Roman custom is 
often attested ; cf. VergiFs deseription of the funeral of Misenus, 
which eorresponds closely to the ceremonial of his own day, 
Aeneid 6. 221 f. : purpureasque super vestes, velamina nota coniciunt 
. . . congesta cremantur turea dona, dapes, fuso crateres olivo. 
At the funeral of Caesar the populaee threw robes and ornaments 
on the pyre, Suetonius, Caesar 84. The poet Propertius, stipu- 
lating for a simple burial, writes, 2. 13. 23, desit odoriferis ordo 
mihi lancibus (' let me lack the line of dishes incense-Iaden '). — 
sua cuique arma : to bury or burn with the corpse typical articles 
of use or adornment is a folk custom which has prevailed among 
races so far removed from each other as the ancient Greeks and 
the North American Indians, and was indigenous with the pre- 
historic Germans. In the graves of the Stone Age the presenee 
of an ax- or spear-head attests the antiquity of the practiee of 
consigning the weapons of the dead to the last resting place. 
Relies of this character are found more abundantly in the graves 
of later epochs. In the Bronze Age, after the introduction of 
eremation, the arms of the dead man were not burned with the 
corpse but laid beside the urn ; of ten miniat\ire models took the 
place of the actual weapons. At a relatively late period, reck- 
oned as about 400 b.c, it became customary to place the arms 
on the pjTe, a practice perhaps borrowed from the Celts. The 
damaged remains were buried together mth the ashes of the 
dead ; precautions were taken to bend or otherwise to render 


useless such parts of the weapons as were not subject to injury 
by the flamos. 

4. quorundam : naturally thc chieftains and the well-to-do. 
Ar('haeulof,'icaI resoarfh has fully confirmed the statement of 
Tacitus and even supplemented it ; tho remains prove that not 
ooly the horse but other domestic animals also accompanied the 
master to the pyre. The presence, in graves of the Roman 
period, of the bones of swine, sheep, and goats probably indicates 
that popular behef dictated the propriety of supplying the 
departed with means of subsistence in the other world. 

In Rome the immolation of animals at the pyre was not un- 
known ; in the time of Tacitus and Pliny, the notorious juris- 
consult, Regulus, in the extravaganee of his grief at the doath of 
his son, killod at the p^TO the boy's ponies, dogs, and pet birds ; see 
Pliny, Epislulae 4. 2. 3. The tone of the letter sufficiently shows 
the abnormal character of the procedure of Regulus as judged by 
the ordinary standards of the day. — sepulcrum caespes erigit : 
a bold, rhetorical locution, justified if not inspired by Seneca, 
Epistulae Morales 1. 8. 4 : hanc utrum {domum) caespes erexerit 
an varius la^pis . . . nihil interest (' it matters not whether this 
abode is reared in air a mound of sod or a structure of variegated 
marble '). Such mounds, heaped over the ashes of the dead, 
were technically called busta and were common enough in Italy. 
The hillock grave, which was typical in earlier periods of civiliza- 
tion, especially tho Bronze Age, was by no means the mode in 
the Germany of Tacitus but was utili^ed at the most only in iso- 
lated instances. As a rule, the urn was buried in a shallow 
cavity and the ground over it was raised only to a slight elevation 
above the surrounding level. The bustum of sod, familiar to 
Tacitus, presented the natural foil to the pyramidal and cyhndri- 
cal stone sepulchers to be seen in and about Rome, hence is 
cited as the tomb par excellence of an unpretentious civilization, 
by an author who was intont on making a contrast, and not on 
presonting dotails with modorn arehaeological preeision. 

5. monumentorimi . . . honorem : such as the Pyramid of 
Cestius, the Tomb of Caecilia Metella, and other elaborate 
mausoleums still to be seen at Rome, especially along the Appian 
Way. — ut gravem def unctis : Tacitus ascribes to the Germans a 


Roman sentiment expressed in the formula sit tibi terra levis, a 
commonplace in epitaphs, and often rendered in paraphrase by 
the poets, e.g. by Propertius, 1. 17. 23-24: 

illa meum extremo clamasset pulvere nomen 

ut mihi non ullo pondere terra foret 
(' she would have called aloud my name over my final dust, 
(praying) that the earth might rest upon me without weight '). 

6. lamenta ac lacrimas cito : it is Tacitus's own ideal as to 
the conduet befitting mourners with which the Germans are 
here endowed ; cf. Agricola 46. 3 f . : nosque domum tuam ab 
infirmo desiderio et muliehrihus lamentis . . . voces; see also 
Agricola 29. 2-4. 

7. ponunt : = deponunt. — feminis lugere . . . viris memi- 
nisse : so, with a sUght difference, Charles Kingsley's antithesis : 
" Men must work and women must weep " (The Three Fishers). 

9. in commune : in general. This context forms the dividing 
hne between the general and the particular in the treatise. 

10. accepimus : indieating that his information is gained at 
second-hand, whether from literary sources or oral tradition ; cf . 
Agricola 11. 17. — instituta ritusque : the former refers to civie 
and social usages, the latter primarily to religious ceremonies. 

11. quatenus differant : in so far as individual nations 
depart from the traits and eustoms usual to the race. — quae 
nationes . . . commigraverint : this sentence is introductory to 
chap. 28, the nexus being as foUows : Correlative with the topic 
of German migration into Gaul, tlie direetion of race movement 
naturally to be predicated because of the superior strength of the 
Germans at the time at which Taeitus was writing, is, nevertheless, 
the question as to the opposite possibility, Celtic migration into 
Germany. To this latter theme Tacitus turns first, as a logical 
preliminary to the former. 

Chapter 28. 

Foreign tribes that have entered Germany ; German tribes 
settled on the left bank of the Rhine. 

1. validiores : i.e. quam Germanorum. — summus : most 
reliable, because of his first-hand knowledge of the subject. 
Caesar's testimony is found in Bellum Gallicum 6. 24. 1 : ac fuit 


antea tempus cum Germanos Galli virtute superarent, . . . propter 
hominum multitudinem agrique inopiam trans Rhenum colonias 
viittcrent; this passage is also referred to in Ayricola 11. 14. 

2. etiam : said with reference to the eountermigration ex- 
pressed in quae . . . commigraverint above. As a matter of 
ethnological fact, the so-called Gauls resident in Germany had 
not migrated thither from Gaul, but were remnants of Celtic 
peoples who had formerly occupied the territory east of the 
Rhine and had dominated Central Europe until the pressure of 
German tribes had largely forced them across the river. — in 
Germaniam transgressos : recall that, in chap. 2, Tacitus has 
denied the Ukelihood of migrating tribes being attracted to Ger- 
many. He is, however, speaking primarily of migrations by 
sea in earlier times. 

5. promiscuas : common property. 

6. Hercyniam silvam : in Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 6. 25, 
the vast e.xpanse of wooded mountain ranges extending from the 
Rhine along the Danube and northeast to the Vistula. Here 
the mountains separating the German Empire and Bohemia, 
i.e. the Erzgebirge, the Bohmerwald, and the Sudetic IMts., are 
referred to. — Rhenumque et Moenum : together forming a 
pair and conneeted with Hercijniam silvam by qae. Moenus is 
the modern Main. 

7. Helvetii : in Caesar's time dwelling in the western part 
of Switzerland. Formerly they had held Southwestern Ger- 
many, including Western and Northern Bavaria, and parts of 
Franconia, Wiirtemberg, Baden, and Hesse. Their migrations, 
which carried them not only to Switzerland but also into Gaul, 
began in the second century b.c. — ulteriora: east of the Boh- 

8. Boihaemi : lit. ' home of the Boii,' whence the modern 
name of the territory, Bohemia. 

9. mutatis cultoribus : the Boii had long since been expelled, 
and the land which bore their name was, in the time of Tacitus, 
held by the Marcomanni ; cf. ehap. 42. 

10. Aravisci : they lived west of the modern Budapest, in 
the territory within the great bend of the Danube. — ab Osis : 
in Northwestern Hungary, north of the bend of the Danube. 


11. Germanorum natione : not said with reference to ethnic 
origin — we learn in chap. 43 that the Osi were Pannonians — 
but with reference to geographieal situation, the lands north 
of the Danube being included by Tacitus in Germania; see 
chap. 1. 

13. incertum est: since the seat of the Pannonian races, of 
which the Aravisei and the Osi were branehes, was south of 
the Danube, it is more likely that the Osi were the emigrants. 
In any case the assumption must be based on inference rather 
than on ethnological data. 

14. eadem . . . bona malaque erant : recall the principle 
correctly assumed in chap. 2, that trend of migration is affected 
by the natural advantages possessed by one country over another. 
Here poUtical conditions are Ukewise predicated as exerting an 

15. Treveri : here begins the treatment of the topic proper, 
German migration into Gaul. Note that Tacitus here merely 
quotes the claim of the Treveri and the Nervii to Germanie 
origin and makes no attempt to support it. In Historiae 4. 73 
the Treveri are definitely included with the Gauls. As a matter 
of fact, both peoples were true Celtie nationaUties, although they 
had received accessions of Germanic blood from the assimilation 
of Teutonic invaders. The Treveri, the most prosperous and 
flourishing people of the Belgae, Uved in the vaUey of the MoseUe. 
The name of their capital, Augusta Treverorum, survives in the 
modern Treves or Trier, situated in Rhenish Prussia not far from 
the border of Luxemburg. — Nervii : Caesar's famous foes ; they 
dwelt west of the Sambre and were backward in culture as eom- 
pared with the Treveri. — circa : in regard to, a meaning of this 
preposition frequently found in the writers of the Empire. 

16. ultro ambitiosi : pretentious to a degree. 

18. haud dubie : joined to Germanorum attributively. 

19. Vangiones, Triboci, Nemetes : these three tribes oeeupied 
the territory on the west bank of the Rhine but not in the order 
named. The Vangiones were in the vicinity of Worms, the 
Triboei near Strassburg aud the Vosges, while between them, 
near Speyer, were the Nemetes. AU three fought on the side 
of Ariovistus against Caesar : cf. Bellum Gallicum 1. 51. 2. — 


Ubii : a powerful tribe, dwelling in Caesar's time in Ilesse- 
Nassau, opposite Co))lentz. Having been harried constantly by 
the Suebi, they put themselves under the protection of Caesar, 
and it was partiy iu response to their solicitations that he crossed 
the Rhiue in 55 b.c. Some years later, probably in 38 b.c, 
although there is some evidence pointing to 19 b.c. as the date 
of the event, they were transported across the Rhine under the 
patronage of Agrippa and established in the vicinity of Cologne 

20. Romana colonia : in 50 a.d. the eapital of the expatriated 
Ubii, Oppidum or Ara Ubiorum, was orgauized as a Roman 
colony at the instigation of Xero's mother, Agrippina, whose 
birthplace it was. — meruerint : earned thc right. — Agrip- 
pinenses : the colony was variously designated Colonia Agrip- 
pinensis or -ium, also, with official formality, Colonia Claudia 
Angusta Agrippinensium and Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensis. 

21. conditoris : the word is used in a broad, not in a technical, 
sense and refers to Agrippina, under whose patronage the colony 
was organized. According to Annales 12. 27, the epithet had a 
subsidiary significance in perpetuating the memory of Agrippa's 
relation to the Ubii. 

Conditrix is used only in late Latin ; even if there had been 
precedent for the word, Tacitus might well have chosen the 
form in -tor here, as he does in the case of laudator in 7. 13-4, 
hi (i.e. feminae) . . . sanctissimi testes, hi maximi laudatores. 

22. experimento fidei : as a result of their proved loyalty. 

Chapter 29. 

Romanized tribes on the right bank of the Rhine ; the Agri 

1. virtute praecipui : cohorts of the Batavi had rendered 
yeoman service to Rome in the German wars waged by Drusus, 
Tiberius, and Germanieus ; they had also served with great 
distinction in Britain ; cf. Hisloriae 4. 12 and note on Agricola 
36. 5. In the great revolt under Civilis, 69-70 a.d., they offered 
stubborn resistance, and, peace having been made on terms 
favorable to them, they retained immunity from taxation and a 
privileged position as regards military service. 


2. insulam Rheni : before the time of Caesar, the Batavi had 
establishcd themselves on the islaiid formed l)y the Old Rhine, 
the Waal, and the ISIaas. — Chattorum quondam populus : the 
origin of the Batavi and their expulsion from their native haunts 
are referred to in similar terms in IJistoriae 4. 12. On the Chatti 
see Germania 30. 1. 

6. insigne : token. 

6. tributis contemnuntur : they do not suffer the slight of taxa- 

7. conlationibus : theoretieally, voluntary contribulions, but 
sometimes extorted under duress, as, e.g., by Nero after the Fire ; 
conlalionibusque non receptis modo verum efflagitatis provincias 
privatorumque census prope exhausit (' as a result of the contri- 
butions which he not only reeeived but even demanded, he 
nearly ruined the provinees and drained the fortunes of indi- 
viduals ') Suetonius, Nero 38. — in usum proeliorum sepositi : 
for a similar use of seponere as appUed to choice troops, cf. 
Agricola 31. 23 : ostendamxis quos sibi Caledonia viros seposuerit. 
The Batavi were expert cavalrymen and swimmers, and were in 
demand as members of the imperial bodj^-guard. 

9. Mattiacorum gens : they lived across the Rhine from 
Mainz, in the vieinity of the modern Wiesbaden. Their name 
perhaps survives in JNIetze, southwest of Kassel. — protulit 
enim magnitudo populi Romani : most critics see in this sentence 
an allusion to the extension and the fortification of the Roman 
frontier in Germany carried out by Domitian (see note on limite 
acto below), whose name Tacitus, true to his detestation of that 
emperor, has suppressed. 

However, the locution is quite in the usual manner of Tacitus ; 
cf. Agricola 23. 2 : si ... . Romani nominis gloria pateretur, inven- 
tus in ipsa Britannia terminus. Secondly, the country of the 
Mattiaci, famed for its silver deposits and its niedicinal springs, 
had been brought into the sphere of Roman domination by Drusus 
and Germanicus and had remained under the control of the Em- 
pire except during the revolt of Civilis. It may well be that 
it is to the original occupation of the eountry of the Mattiaci 
in the Early Empire that Tacitus here refers. 

10. veteres terminos : the Rhine, 


12. agunt: the verb has a different shade of raeaning with 
eat'h ablative pair ; they Uve on the Cierman side of the Rhine 
but they side with us. 

13. adhuc: slill, to this day. The Batavi had been expelled 
from their original abode ; the Mattiaei still occupy their native 
land and have preserved their national consciousness. Hence 
they are endowed with a more ardent spirit. 

16. decumates agros : titlic htnds, i.c. land leased by the 
emperor to settlers in consideration of the payment of a tenth of 
the annual produce. Decuinates, which occurs only here, is a 
by-form of the normal term dccumanus. Its presence, perhaps, 
is due simply to our author's preference for unusual technical 
expressions ; or it may be that decumates, ' tenners,' was the 
term applied to the inhabitants, the form sanctioned in the local 
GaUic Latin usage, and then accepted as the official designation 
of the territory. Decumas, like Arpinas and similar formations, 
would be usable either as noun or adjective. 

The territory lay between the Rhine, the Main, and the Upper 
Danube, thus comprising Western Wiirtemberg and most of 
Baden. Formerly it had been held by the Helvetians. 

18. dubiae possessionis : tenure was insecure because, so 
hjng as the frontier was unfortified, the settlers were exposed to 
the forays of their German neighbors. 

19. limite acto : to Tacitus and his readers limes in this pas- 
sage meant the fortified boundary line separating Roman from 
German territory. Vespasian (69-79) took steps to secure Roman 
possession of the Agri Dccumales by extending a military road 
east from Strassburg and planting castella in the vaUey of the 
Neekar. The real credit for achieving permanent extension of 
the Roman frontier north and east of the Middle Rhine belongs 
to Domitian. As a result of his eampaign against the Chatti, 
83 A.D., this emperor began a great sj^^stem of fortifications, 
which, strengthened and extended by Trajan, Hadrian, and An- 
toninus Pius, ultimately stretched from Honningen, situated on 
the Rhine not far above Bonn, to Hienheim on the Danube, near 
Regensburg. The original line, after diverging from the Rhine, 
follows the course of this river and that of the Main to a point 
north of Frankfort, whence it juts out in a saUent converging 


toward Giessen. Thence it returns in a southerly direetion to 
the Main and is earried south from Worth on the Main, along 
the Neckar to Rottweil, southwest of Stuttgart. In the prin- 
cipate of Iladrian the limes was advanced about 13 miles east of 
the former line and extended from the Main to Lorch, east of 
Stuttgart, thence it was continued by the Raetian limes to the 

Excavations carried out in Germany and Austria in the last 
twenty-five years have revealed extensive remains, represent- 
ing the several periods of fortifieation. As begun bj' Domitian, 
the li7nes eonsisted of a series of wooden bloekhouses and earthen 
redoubts, in some regions connected by a wattled fence, which 
must have been designed to serve as an entanglement rather than 
as a permanently effeetive barrier. Within the outer line were 
located at intervals other castella as secondary defenses. Ha- 
drian strengthened the works of his predecessors by erecting a 
strong palisade and by replaeing the earlier wood and earth 
strongholds by forts and watch-towers of stone. The completed 
line from the Rliine to the Danube was 550 kilometers and more 
(340+ ms.) in length. — sinus imperii : corner. As in chap. 1 
a projection of land into the water is ealled sinus, so here the 
term is appHed to the angle of Roman territory jutting into the 

20. provinciae : Gcrmania Superior; the formal organization 
of the lands held by Rome along the Rhine into the separate 
provinces of Upper and Lower Germany was seemingly the work 
of Domitian. 

Chapter 30. 

The Chatti. With this people begins the aceount of the 
tribes of Germany proper. 

1. ultra hos : the Mattiaci as well as the inhabitants of the 
Agri Decumates. — Chatti : at this time they occupied the land 
beyond the limes between the Lahn and the Werra. Their name 
survives in modern Hesse. It is evident from the tone of the 
chapter that Tacitus entertained an adrairation for the prowess 
of the race, which, from the time of Drusus, had come into eolli- 
sion wath Roman arms on various occasions. Domitian's cam- 


paigns against them wero still roeent historj' and the praiso 
hostowetl on theni by Taoitus is of a pioco with his disparagement 
of Domitian's achio\emonts against them ; cf. note on Agricola 
39. 4. — Hercynio saltu : appUed, as is the case with Hercyniam 
silvatn in chap. 28, to a part of the whole tract. The wooded 
ranges are a feature of the topography of Hesse. 

2. effusis . . . locis : wide reaches. The ablative is best 
e.xplained as local, joined with the idea of situation expressed 
in the preceding sentonee. 

3. durant siquidem : giving the reason of the mountainous 
character of tho whole country ; inasmuch as the highlands 

4. rarescunt : diminish. — suos : the Chatti are, as it were, 
the children or proteges of the forest. The overstrained rhetoric 
of the passago is perilously near " fine writing," as measured by 
modern standards. 

5. deponit : sets (thetn) dowti; where the hills sink to the plain, 
the country of the Chatti ends. 

6. stricti : Ihick-set; in contrast with the huge frames typical 
of tho CJormaus as a whole. 

8. nosse ordines : they observe rank and formation; they do 
not trust to individual prowess but, as we might say, to " team- 

9. differre impetus : unlike the proverbial impetuosity of 
savage peoples, who, as thc Roman tactician had learned to his 
advantage, could generally be tempted to attack irrospective of 
inferiority of position or difficulty of retreat. — disponere diem : 
they regulated performance of military duties and details by a 
fixed order for the day. — vallare noctem : they make the night 
secure by intrenching themselves ; experienee may have taught the 
Chatti to take this leaf from the Romans' book. It was thus 
that the Nervii learned to follow Roman methods of fortifica- 
tion ; cf. Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 5. 42. 2. 

11. ratione . . . concessum : vouchsafed under a studied 
plan of discipline. 

12. robur in pedite : ef. Agricola 12. 1 : in pedite robur. 

13. ferramentis : intrenching tools. The arrangement here de- 
scribed was modeled on the Roman system under whieh the 

100 NOTES 

heavy sarcina of the legionary comprised rations, valli, and other 
appurtenanees of intrenchment. 

15. f ortuita : haphazard — in contrast with intellegere occasiones 

16. parare : to gain, to obtain; cf. Ciaero, De Amicitia 15. 55: 
quid autem stuUius . . . quam cetera parare quae parantur 
pecunia, equos, famulos, vestem egregiam, vasa pretiosa : amicos 
non parare, et cet. (' moreover, what is denser than to get those 
other things, sueh as are purchasable, viz. horses, servants, fine 
elothing, eosth' dishes — and not to get friends '). 

17. iuxta : like our metaphorical " next door to." — cunctatio : 
in the good sense resident in the epithet Cunctator applied to 

Chapter 31. 
A folk usage of the Chatti. 

1. et : etiam. The thought is : usurpatum etiam aliis 
Germ. populis sed raro. — usurpatum : a practice resorted to; the 
participle is in apposition with the following infinitive clause. For 
a similar usage see Agricola 1. 1 : facta moresque posteris tradere, 
antiquitus usitatum. — privata cuiusque audentia : as a matter 
of individual daring. 

2. in consensum vertit : has developed into a general usage. — 
ut primum adoleverint : contrast the practice of the Athenian 
youths, who wore their hair unshorn until they reached the age 
of ephebia, when their locks were cut for the first time and dedi- 
cated to a di^dnity. 

4. nisi hoste caeso : instances in wliich a vow is made not to 
cut hair or beard until a eertain purpose is brought to pass, are 
frequent in history and legend. Thus, Civilis vowed not to cut 
hair or beard until he had won a suceess against the Romans ; 
cf. Historiae 4. 61. The act of Caesar in lettjng his hair and 
beard grow until he had taken vengeance on Ambiorix for the 
destruction of Titurius and his cohorts (Suetonius, Caesar 67), is 
also regularly quoted as another illustration. However, in 
Caesar's case his unshorn locks may easily be regarded as marking 
his moiu-ning in the conventional Roman fashion. Suetonius 
says nothing about a formal vow in this connection, and, if we 

NOTES 101 

may judge from Tacitus's characterization of the act of Civilis 
as barburum votum, such a pledge on the part of Caesar would 
have been un-Roman. 

5. super sanguinem et spolia : the vivid description is 
heightonid hy thf uHitiTatioii. For a similar combination of 
the words in a rhotorical passage see the speech of Civilis 
Historiac 4. 14 : quos ubi spoliis et sanguine expleverint. 

7. ignavis et imbellibus : combined also in chap. 12. 3-4 and 
in Afjricold 15. 11. 

8. squalor : this word and its cognates, squalidus, squaleo, are 
frequently used of the unkempt, matted eondition resulting 
from negleet of the hair or beard. 

There is no real inconsistency involved between this sentence 
and the account following, from whieh it appears that the 
bravest warriors left their hair and beard uncut. Tacitus does 
not say that only the ignavi el imbelles remained unshorn. The 
members of the warrior brotherhood, whose flo\\ing locks were 
a token of valor, would be easilj' distinguishable as a class 
apart. — ferrgum . . . anulum : under other circumstances, 
symbolieal of servitude or personal liability, hence a badge of in- 
famy ; in this case the ring is plausibly to be regarded as betoken- 
ing a self-imposed bondage to the war god, Wodan. 

10. plurimis : a goodly number. — hic . . . habitus : the flow- 
ing hair and beard, also thc ring. 

11. iam . . . canent insignes : they become already gray with 
age while bearing these distinctions. 

13. nova : uncanny. — nam : explanatory not onlj^ of nova 
but also of prima . . . acies. Their forbidding exterior, unaltered 
even in times of peace, is an effective means of striking terror to 
the hearts of the foe at the first outbreak of hostilities. Hence 
they are utilized in the front rank. The hideous masks once 
worn by the Japanese Samurai and the war paint of the Indian 
may be cited as analogous devices. 

Chapter 32. 

The Uslpi and the Tenctfiri. 

1. certum iam alveo : for the moment Tacitus, reversing 
natural order, is proceeding in thought from the moutb of the 

102 NOTES 

Rhine upstream, and has in mind the single channel of the 
Middle Rhine as contrasted mth the branches into whieh the 
river divides in its lower reaches about the Insula Batnvorum. 
Most critics understand the contrast to refer to the shifting 
course of the Upper Rhine after it issues from Lake Constance. 

2. Usipi ac Tencteri : these peoples, two branches of the same 
stock, are associated in history from the time of Caesar, who in 
55 B.c. defeated their attempt to settle west of the Rhine ; 
Bellum Gallicum 4. 1-15. After various wanderings thej' were 
allowed to establish theraselves on the right bank of the Rhine, 
in the territory opposite Cologne and extending south from the 
Lippe. See also note on Agricola 28. 1. 

Tacitus refers through the rest of the chapter to the Tencteri 
only, but merely for brevity. What is said of them applies 
equally to their kindred, the Usipi. 

3. super solitum . . . decus : they surpass the measure of 
prowess, eommoa to all the Germans, in the one detail. — 
equestris disciplinae arte : in this differing from the Chatti, 
their neighbors. Eight hundred horsemen of the Tencteri 
routed tive thousand of Caesar's cavaky. Their tactics con- 
sisted iu dismounting and stabbing the horses of their opponents 
from beneath ; cf. Bellum Gallicum 4. 12. 2. 

6. lusus inf antium : so Caesar writes, Bellum Gallicum 6. 21. 3 : 
ab parvulis labori ac duritiae student; cf. Seneca, Epistulae 
Morales 36. 7: si in Parthia natiis esset, arcum infans statim 
tenderet, si in Germania, protinus puer tenerum hastile vibraret 
(' if he had been born in Parthia, straightway in his infancj^ he 
woiild bend the bow, if in Germany, forthwith in boyhood he 
would launch the flexible sapling '). 

7. inter: together .loith. — f amiliam : the slaves. — penates : 
the " home," including house and household chattels. — iura 
successionum : inherited titles to possession, e.g. the right to a 
holding of land. 

9. maximus natu : it cannot be shown that the right of primo- 
geniture existed as a principle universally observed in the German 
laws of inheritance. Hence, if the statement of Tacitus as to 
the procedure among the Teneteri be correct, it is an isolated 
instance. — melior : not in a moral but in the physical sense, 

NOTES 103 

as \ve uso the exprossion " botter man " with referenco to the 
siiporiority of one of two eombatants over his rival. 

Chapter 33. 

The Bructfiri, the Chamavi, and the Angrivarii. 

1. iuxta : said from the point of view of one who is going north 
into tho iuterior, away from the Rhine. — Bructeri : divided by 
other ancient sources into the Greater Bructeri and the Losser ; 
the latter, whose defeat by the Chamavi and the Angrivarii is 
hero alludod to, had dotachcd themselves from the rest of their 
tribe and taken possossion of tho territory between the Uppor 
Lippe and the Uppor Eras. The race was well known to the 
Romans as a redoubtable foe. At the battle of the Teutoburg 
Forest they captured the eagle of the 19th Legion but the stand- 
ard was recovered by a punitive expedition sent among thom 
by Germanicus. The Lessor Bruetfiri and their prophetess, 
Veleda (see note on 8. 9), had taken a prominent part in the revolt 
of Civihs. — occurrebant : in a gcographical sense, oquivalont to 
habitabant. — nunc : the ovont was, thereforo, a rocent occurrenee. 
This defeat — it by no means amountod to annihilation of the 
Lossor BructSri, as Tacitus reports — oecurred in the interval 
botwoon the j'ear 70 a.d. and the date of this treatise. 

2. Chamavos : their seat was in Holland, southeast of the 
Zuyder Zee. Thoir conquest of the Bructori onabled them to 
extend their domain south toward the Lippe ; however, thoy did 
not desort their original abode, as is ovidont from tho fact that 
thoir name survived in the district callod Ilamaland in the Middle 
Ages. — Angrivarios : they lived along the Weser in raodern 
Hanover. They rotained thoir tribal unity and thoir narae, 
shortoned to Angrarii, Angarii, down to the time of Charle- 

3. penitus excisis : nevertheless they are mentioned in sub- 
sequont conturies and continuod to hold torritory betweon the 
Lippe and the Ruhr ; thoir narae survived in the raodieval can- 
ton Borahtra in Wostphalia. 

5. ne spectaculo quidem : Taeitus uses both the dative and 
the ablativo aftor invidere : the ablative of tho thing is the more 
frequent construction in the Latin of the Empire. 

104 NOTES 

7. oblectationi oculisque : best handled in translation as a 
hendiadys ; with ocuiis, nostris or liomanis is iinderstood. 

Tacitus writes as though the battle were a huge gladiatorial 
contest, staged by the gods for the benefit of the Roman troops 
who witnessed it. There was, however, the additional satis- 
faction that the strife of the Germans helped secure the position 
of Rome. 

9. odium sui : for a similar sentiment as to the value to Rome 
of dissension among native raees, see Agricola 12. 4-5 : nec aliud 
adversus validissimas genlis pro nobis utiliii.s quam quod in com- 
munc non consulunt. — urgentibus imperii fatis : to interpret 
these words, as has been done by some editors, as implying that 
the last hour of Rome is drawing near and that the destruction 
of the Empire by the Teutonic peoples is threatening, is out of 
keeping with the Uvely hopes as to the principate of Trajan ex- 
pressed in Agricola 3. 1-4 : quamquam primo statim beatissimi 
saeculi ortu . . . augeat . . . cotidie felicitatem temporum Nerva 
Traianus. Compare also the statement as to Rome's expansion 
in Germania 29. 9 : protulit . . . magnitudo populi Romani ultra 
Rhenum, et eet. Fatis is not doom., but destiny, " star of Empire," 
which, of course, carries with it heavy responsibiUties. The 
thought may berendered : under the stress of (our) imperial destiny. 

Chapter 34. 

The Dulgubnii, the Chasuarii, and the Frisians. 

1. a tergo : as the words afronte Frisii indicate, the Chamavi 
and the Angrivarii are thought of as faeing west and northwest 
toward the sea. Hence a tergo means to the south and east. — 
Dulgubnii : east of the Weser, in modern Hanover. — Chasuarii : 
located on the right bank of the Ems, along the Hase. 

3. Frisii : they extended along the coast of HoUand between 
the Rhine and the Ems. Their name and their place of abode 
have remained unaffected by the vieissitudes of history. — exci- 
piunt : this verb develops the meaning of ' eoming next to' 
precisely as does Greek ^Kfi^xo/xat ; see, e.g., Herodotus 4. 39: 
dTrb TavTr]s (ttjs HepatKrjs dKTTJs) eKdeKo/xivr] t/ ' AffcvpiTi Kai dwb ' Aaavplris i) 
' Apa^ir) (' and next to Persia Assyria, and to Assyria Arabia '). — 
maioribus minoribusque : Taeitus is the only ancient author 

NOTES 105 

to mention such an ethnic partition of the Frisians, although 
the Brueteri wcre so divided (ef. note on 33. 1), and Pliny the 
Elder distinguishes the Chauci. closely akin in origin to the 
Frisians, and their near neighbors on the coast of the North Sea, 
by the same terminology {Naturalis Ilistoria 16. (1). 2), It 
is probable, that, as has been assumed in the case of the Brueteri, 
Ihe epithets indicate the separation between a mother stock 
{rnaioren) aiid an emigrated colony {ininores). 

4. utraeque : ulerque is not infrequently used in its plural 
forms when either of the two members involved denotes a col- 
lectivity, or when the members of the pair are closely aUied. 

6. praetexuntur : the river is conceived as a fringe or edging, 
comparable to the stripe which bordered the toga praetexta. 

6. insuper : in addition to the river. — lacus : in ancient times 
the land of the Frisians was a eountry of lagoons and salt marshes 
which nowadays the dikes have reelaimed. The most consider- 
able of the lakes was the Flevo, sinee the great inundation in the 
thirteenth century merged in the Zuyder Zee. — Romanis . . . 
navigatos : in the expeditionsof Drusus, 12 b.c, Tiberius, 5 a.d., 
and (lermanicus, 15 and 16 a.d. 

7. illa : sc. parte. — superesse adhuc : are still to be reached; 
the explorations had stopped short of the farthest goal possible. 
Thus Pliny the Elder, Naluralis Historia 2. (67). 167, is careful 
to say : Septenlrionalis vero Oceanus maiore e.r parte navigatus est 
auspiciis divi Augusti ('but the greater part of the Northern 
Ocean was traversed under the auspiees of the deified Augustus '). 

8. Herculis columnas : the fame of the Pillars of Hercules at 
Gibraltar, marking the liraits of the known world to the west, 
and of such rocky barriers as the Symplegades in the east at the 
entranee of the Black Sea, stimulated the location of analogous 
portals elsewhere, and naturally in the mysterious north. Some 
traveler's " yarn " of great cliffs or rocky islets (cf. Pliny, 
Naturalis Hisloria 6. 199, ila (i.e. columnae) appellantur parvae 

insulae) doubtless furnished a basis for the tradition. 

9. magnificum : ini/iosiug. 

11. Druso Germanico : the l)rother of Tiberius, the elder 
Drusus, on whom the cpithet Oermanicus, to be borne also by 
his descendants, was conferred after his death. In the words of 

106 NOTES 

Suetonius, Claudius 1, is Drusus . . . dux . . . Germanici belli 
Oceanum septentrionalem primics Romanorum ducum navigavil 
(' this Drusus, whilc in chargo of the war with Germany, first of 
Roman generals sailed the Northern Ocean '). This feat, as the 
first venture into unknown waters, put a spell on the popular 
imagination and is hence singled out here as if it were the only 
achievement of the kind, at the cost of suppressing mention of 
later expeditions. 

12. nemo temptavit : nevertheless the fleet of Tiberius had 
operated extensivelj' in these waters in its voyage to the Elbe ; 
cf. note on 1. 4. In 16 a. o.the fleet of Germanicus, son of Drusus, 
had been wrecked off the Ems and scattered over the Northern 
Ocean. Failure to mention acquaintance with the North Sea 
gained under duress, and not as the result of deliberate explora- 
tion, is, however, not so surprising as the omission of allusion 
to the voyage of Tiberius. 

Chapter 35. 

The Chauei. 

1. novimus : we have been acquainting oxirselves with. 

2. redit : bears back. According to the geographical notions 
of the times, the northwest coast of Germany was coneeived of as 
bending inward in a great curve, ending in the peninsula of the 
Cimbri (Jutland), which was erroneously located far to the east. 
— Chaucorum gens : they oceupied the coast and the adjacent 
regions of the interior lying between the Ems and the Elbe. 
They were divided by the Weser into Maiores and Minores. 

3. quamquam incipiat : the subjunctive is the predominiint 
mood with quamquam in Tacitus and writers of his period. 

4. obtenditur : abuts on. 

5. in Chattos usque : this junction of the boundaries of the 
Chauci and the Chatti could have been effec.ted if these two 
peoples had between them absorbed or expelled the Cherusei, 
whose power had been on the wane for two generations at this 
time. As a matter of faet, the Cherusci had been pushed east 
of the Weser. On the other hand, this aecount of the extension 
of the domain of the Chauci to the south is at variance with all 
other data as to the location of the tribe at this period. The 

NOTES 107 

fdllow-ing eulogistie dosoription, in whioh tho charaotoristics of a 
liumauizcd and pacitically iucliucd pcoplc arc attributcd to thcm, 
has a suspiciously rhetorical tone. It is possible that, lacking 
cxact information as to the situation and traits of this remote 
tribe of northwest Germany, Tacitus has done here what he 
accuses his prcdecessors of doing in their accounts of Britain, 
viz. rcsorting to rhctorio as a substitute for facts. 

7. populus . . . nobilissimus : Tacitus's eulogy of the Chauci 
is notably at odds with thc aecount of them given by Pliny, 
Xaturalis Historia 10. (1). 2, who WTites as an eyc-witness and 
describes them as a poor fisherfolk, ekcing out a wretched e.xist- 
ence in huts, which were situated on dunes and artificial em- 
bankments and which were entirely surrounded at high tide. 
Pliny's narrative doubtless applied only to the fringe of the 
tribe along the coast and is as much too restricted as the account 
of Tacitus is too gcneral. 

8. iustitia : selected as the chief motif in this enconiium of the 
Chauci and developed in the following sentenee. 

9. impotentia : " the weakness of uncontrolled passion," as 
it has been happily defined. — secreti : this epithet would fit the 
Chauci of the coast, but not those who, according to Tacitus, 
peopled the inmensum terrarum spatium in the interior, and were 
surrounded by neighbors. 

10. nuUis raptibus . . . populantur : nevertheless, under the 
leadership of Gannasous, a chieftaiii of the Canninefates, the 
Chauci, after the manncr of the Vikings of a later age, had com- 
mitted a piratieal foray against the coast of Gaul in 47 a.d. ; 
cf. Annales 11. 18. 

11. quod : the fact that. — ut superiores agant : the verb has 
here its intransitive sense of live, exist, and the clause may be 
rendered by an abstract noun, e.g. (their) ascendancy. 

12. non per iniurias : a repetition of the theme iustitia. 

13. exercitus : this word, when applied to a force of barbarians, 
connotes an organized army and not an undisciplined host. So 
in Agricola 32. 24 the words of Calgacus, hic dux, hic exercitus, 
voice a claim in keeping with the hortatory spirit of the address. 
The Chauoi, like the Chatti, had adopted Roman methods. 

14. et : = etiam. 

108 NOTES 

Chapter 36. 
The Cherusci. 

1. in latere : i.e. on the east. — Cherusci : when at the height 
of its power, in the first two decades of the first centnry a.d., 
the nation of the Cherusci oeeupied the territory north of the 
Hartz Mts. between the Elbe and the Weser, and reached to the 
west beyond the latter river. At the time of Tacitus the Chatti 
had pushed them east of the Weser. 

With their ehieftain, the famous Arminius, thej'^ were the lead- 
ing spirits in the war which ended with the destruction of Varus 
and his three legions in 9 a.d. ; it was their effective resistance 
in the first years of the principate of Tiberius that rendered 
abortive the ambition of the Romans to extend their limits of 
domination beyond the Rhine. — niniiam . . . pacem : the 
decUne of the power of the Cherusei was due to ci^dl feuds and 
to the aggression of the Chatti. Nevertheless, it was consoling 
to the pride of the Romans to contemplate the deeadence of the 
redoubtable foe which had dealt them a blow whieh hadnever 
been adequately revenged. Taeitus's picture of the Cherusci 
is colored by this consideration. 

2. diu . . . inlacessiti : the Cherusci had been in conflict 
with the Chatti, their inveterate enemies, as recently as 84 a.d., 
only fourteen years before the Gerviania was written. 

4. falso quiescas : one makes a mistnke to remain inactive. — 
manu : by farce; ef. the metaphor " the mailed fist." 

5. nomina : strictlj' speaking, not the abstracts themselves but 
the quahtative epithets impUed by them. — plim : in the days 
of their supremacy. 

8. Fosi contermina gens : this people is not mentioned else- 
where but was evidently one of the peoples acting under the 
hegemony of the Cherusci ; cf. Annales 1. 60 : conciti per haec non 
modo Cherusci sed conterminae gentes. 

Chapter 37. 

The Cimbri ; resume of Romano-German relations. 

1. eundem . . . sinum : the elbow of land referred to in 
ingenti flexu redit, 35. 2. — proximi Oceano : an expression so 
vague that it is difficult to say whether Tacitus located the rem- 

NOTES 109 

nants of the Cinibri just north of th<' niouth of tho Elbo, in modern 
Schk's\vi^-nolstt'iii, or iii X^jrthcra Juthmd, where other ancient 
writers <ictiniti'ly placed theni and where, to this day, the names 
of the districts, Himmerland (Cirabrij and Thythaesyssel (Teu- 
toni), perhaps furnish philological evidence of the presence in 
olden times of the two peoples. At all events the Cimbri gave 
their name to the peninsula of Jutland, called by ancient writers 
Cimbronan chcnionesu.s or proinunturium. 

2. parva nunc civitas : descendants of a section of the Cimbri 
which did not join in the great migration. Cimbri are also men- 
tioned as denizens of the " farthest east " in these regions in the 
time of Augustus, and, together with neighboring tribes, as suing 
for the friendship of Rome ; cf. Res gestae divi Augusti (a great 
inscription found at Ancyra) 5. 14-15. — gloria : probably an 
ablative of specification, balancing a spatio implied with parva. 
It may, however, be explained as a nominative. 

3. utraque ripa : ripa, without further definition, refers in 
Tacitus generuUy to the Rhine, but also to the Danube according 
to the context ; cf. Agricola 41. 6 f. : tot exercitus in Moesia Dacia- 
que et Germania et Pannonia . . . amissi . . . nec iam de limite 
imperii et ripa {Danuvii) . . . dubitatum. Although the Cimbri 
had wandered along the Danube during several years prior to 
113 B.c, the date of their first contact with Roman forces, dnring 
the period in which they chiefly menaced Rome their movements 
were in the west. Hence it is probably the Rhine, ordinarily 
regarded as the boundary par excellence between Roman and 
(ierman lands, of whieh Tacitus was thinking; cf. Agricola 
15. 14-15 : sic Germanias excussisse iugum, et flumine, non Oceano 
defendi; Velleius Paterculus, 2. 8: tum Cimbri et Teutoni tran- 
Hcendere Rhenum. — castra ac spatia : encampment areas. The 
identification of these abandoncd fortified sites with camps con- 
structed by the Cimbri rested probably on tradition rather than 
on exact information. Whether sueh a migratory horde would 
take pains to protect itself by bivouacs so durable as to be visible 
two centuries later, is questionable. Certainly they would not 
intrench themselves each night, after the thoroughgoing custom 
of the Romans. In the case of the Chatti in the tim.! of Taeitus, 
vallare noctem is emphasized as a practice exceptional among the 
Germans ; cf. 30. 9. 

110 NOTES 

4. ambitu . . . metiaris : similarly the abandoned camp sites 
of Vanis and his lcfjfions, which were discovered by the army of 
Germanieus in 15 a.d., gave mute testimony as to the size of the 
forces which built and occupied them ; ef. Annales 1. 61: prima 
Varicastra lato amhitu et dimensis principiis trium legionum manus 
ostentabant (' the first encampment of Varus by its broad cireuit 
and its regularly marked officers' quarters, gave evidence of the 
work of three legions '). — molem manusque : not necessarily a 
hendiadys, as often explained. Moles is the whole mass of the 
tribe, inchiding women and eliildren, which the camp would have 
to be large enough to contain ; manus refers to the fighting 
strength . 

5. tam magni exitus fidem : the authenticity of so great an 
emigration. The Cimbri and the Teutons are said by Plutareh, 
Marius 11, to have numbered 300,000 fighting men besides the 
women and the children ! An accurate determination of their 
number is impossible ; it doubtless increased in the course of 
their wanderings. — sescentesimum et quadragesimum annum: 
according to our generally accepted method of reckoning, the 
Varronian era, Metellus and Carbo were consuls in 113 b.c, on 
April 21 of which year, A. U. C. 641 began. Sometime during 
the eampaigning season of the year, Carbo by negotiations suc- 
ceeded in preventing the Cimbri from crossing the Carnian Alps 
but was subsequently defeated by them. The news of the ap- 
proach of the Germans may coneeivably have reached Rome 
before April 21, i.e. in the elosing weeks of the year 640, although 
such an hypothesis assumes a meticulous regard for chronological 
minutiae in general foreign to Tacitus and the other ancient his- 
torians. The divergenee in calculation is at most a matter of 
months and we may be sure that Tacitus in any ease would have 
preferred the round number ; cf. Agricola 34. 14, where with 
greater lieense forty-two years are expanded into half a hundred. 

8. ad alterum . . . Traiani consulatum : 98 a.d., the year in 
which the Germania was ^Titten. 

10. vincitur : the tense implies that the conquest is not yet 
eomplete. If this is a thrust at Domitian and his celebration of a 
triumph over Germany, as is generally assumed, it is none the 
less a reminder to Trajan. 

NOTES 111 

11. medio . . . spatio : throughout the interval; for a like 
combination of aciunt and spatium see Agricola 3. 11 : per quin- 
decim annos, grnndc mortalis acri .spatinm. 

12. non Samnis . . . ne Parthi quidem : oiily those enemies 
that menaced Rome through a considerable period areinchided — 
henee, doubtless, the omission of mention of the invasion of 
PjTrhus. Xote the shifts from singular to plural, from name of 
people to that of country. 

Rome's struggle with the Samnites for ascendaney in Central 
Italy was protraeted through three wars, the first beginning in 
343 B.c, the last ending in 290 b.c. At the battle of the Caudine 
Forks, an entire army of Romans was forced to eapitulate. So 
late as the time of Sulla, the Samnites attempted unsuceessfuUy 
to throw oflf the yoke of Rome. — non Poeni : especially, of 
course, in the conflict \\ith Hannibal, 218-201 b.c. — Hispaniae : 
the subjugation of Spain, to which Rome acquired the title after 
the Second Punic War, was marked by a long series of disasters 
to the Roman arms ; the reverses were due alike to the deter- 
mined opposition of the Lusitanians under the brave and able 
leadership ofViriathus, and to the ineapacity and knavery of the 
Roman commanders. The capture of Xumautia by Scipio 
Aemilianus in 133 b.c. ended the resistance of the natives. — 
Galliae : in the invasion of the Senones, 390-387 b.c, markedby 
the annihilation of a Roman armj' at the Allia and by the siege 
of the Capitol, and in subsequent forays of the Celts in 360 and 
348 B.c Gallie wars in 238-222 b.c ended in the oecupation of 
Cisalpine Gaul by the Romans. The uprising of the Gauls under 
Vercingetorix was the most serious crisis in Caesar's conquest of 
Transalpine Gaul. 

13. Parthi : the ill-fated expedition of Crassus, which came to 
grief in 53 b.c, and the abortive ending of Antony's attempt at an 
invasion of Parthia in 36 b.c, are the outstanding features of the 
continued disputes between Rome and the Parthians for the 
possession of S\Tia and Armenia, and the control of the East. 
The return (20 b.c) of the standards captured from Crassus 
raarked only a luU in the protracted clash of interests between 
these two traditional foes. — Arsacis : founder and first mon- 
arch of the Parthian Empire who, about 250 b.c, brought about 

112 NOTES 

the secession of the Parthians from the rule of the Seleucids. 
His name was assumed as a title by his successors ; cf. the analo- 
gous history of the name Caosar. 

14. acrior : a sharper slimulus. Even in the monarchical 
states the Germans enjoyed a fuUer measure of poi)ular freedom 
than obtained in the Oriental despotism. 

15. et ipse : as in Agricola 25. 22, diviso et ipse in tris partis 
exercitu incessit, emphasizing a supplementary fact or considera- 
tion ; translate : the East ou its part. — Pacoro : son of Orodes I 
and commander of the Parthian armies in several unsuccessful 
invasions of Syria, the last of which, in 38 b.c, ended in the eom- 
plete defeat of Pacorus and his death in battle. Thus the deaths 
of two conspicuous leaders, one on each side, offset each other. — 
infra Ventidium deiectus Oriens : the personification is similar 
to that eontained in the lines from Halleek's Marco Bozzaris : 

" The Turk was dreaming of the hour 

When Greece, her knees in suppliance bent, 
Should tremble at his power." 

Abasement at the feet of a Ventidius was insult added to injury, 
insinuates Tacitus, breathing the scorn of the aristocrat forthe 
upstart. P. Ventidius Bassus, consul suffeetus 43 b.c, legate of 
Antony and eonqueror of Pacorus, had risen from a lowly origin, 
having, so scandal asserted, onee been a muleteer. 

16. Carbone : Papirius Carbo, consul in 113 b.c, mentioned 
above. He treacherously attaeked the Cimbri, though they had 
complied with his orders to withdraw from the territory of the 
Taurisci, and was defeated. A storm alone saved his army from 
utter destruction. 

17. Cassio : in 107 b.c, L. Cassius Longinus, the consul, was 
killed and his army eut down or captured by the Tigurini, a 
Helvetian people which, as an incident to the great tribal move- 
ments of the time, made common cause with the Cimbri and 
pressed into Southern Gaul. — Scauro . . . Caepione . . . Mallio : 
consular legate, proconsul, and consul respeetively, commanders 
of the Roman armies which in 105 b.c essayed to oppose at the 
Rhone the advance of the Cimbri toward Italy. The battle of 
Arausio, which ensued, ended in a disaster to Roman arms 

NOTES 113 

" whioh materially and niorally surpassed tho day of Cannao " 
(Moinmsi'n). Cacj^ioin aiul Mnllio ari' joined closely, apart from 
Scauro, hocause his dftaclimciit was fut to pieees and hv him- 
self captun-d in an cngagcment separate from the battle proper. 
18. quinque : for the sake of making as strong a case as possi- 
ble, Tacitus has eommitted a slight exaggeration ; Carbo's army 
. suffered a reverse but was not destroyed. Another defeat which 
Taeitus might have added to his catalogue was that inflicted on 
M. lunius Silanus and his army in 109 b.c. 

20. Caesari abstulerunt : for, under the Empire, the princeps 
was de jurc comnian(l<T-in-chief of the armies and expeditions 
were carried out under his auspices. In conncction with ab- 
stulerunt we may compare the wail of Augustus, Suetonius, 
Augustus 23: Quintili Vare, legiones redde. — Marius in Italia : 
of the two great victories, one at Aquae Sextiae in Gaul (102 
B.c.) and the other at Vercellae near the Po (101 B.c), by 
which Italy was saved for the time being from conquest by the 
Germans, the latter only is mentioned, doubtless because it 
was thc finaL and decisive engagement. 

21. lulius in Gallia : the victory over Ariovistus in 58 b.c. 
and the rout of the Usipetes and the Tencteri in 55 b.c, are 
instanees in point. — Nero : i.e. Tiberius. 

22. ingentes Gai Caesaris minae : Caligula's expedition of 
39 A.D., referred to in Agricola, 13. II {.:ni . . . ingenles ad- 
versus Germaniam conatus frustra fuissent. As has been pointed 
out in the note on this passage of the Agricola, the actual aehieve- 
ments of the campaign were out of keeping with its pretensions, 
though as a military demonstration it may not have been entirely 
futile. We may be sure that CaHguIa's acts lost nothing of the 
picturesquc in the accounts givcn of him by the ancient historians. 

24. occasione . . . civilium armorum : coineident with the 
civil wars of 09 a.d., the " Year of the Four Emperors," was the 
insurrection of the Batavi under the leadersliip of Civilis ; the 
revolt was undertaken ostensibly to further the cause of Ves- 
pasian against Vitellius, but was eontinued after the former 
liad made good his claim to the principate. 

26. proximis temporibus triumphati : an allusion to the 
so-called faisus e Germania iriuniphus {Agricola 39. 4), cele- 


1 14 NOTES 

brated by Domitian after his campaign against tho Chatti in 
83-84 A.D. The extension and fortifieation of the frontier were 
tangible and signifieant results of his operations, which, how- 
ever, in the eyes of his critics, did not justify a triumph. 

Chapter 38. 

The Suebian raees ; their characteristic national head-dress. 

1. nunc de Suebis : the account of the peoples gathered by 
Tacitus under the generic term Suebi is continued through 
chap. 45. From the information here given, the sources of 
which it is impossible to fix, it would appear that the name was 
apphed to a confederation of separate, though cognate, races, 
united in the worship of a common divinity. Their original 
habitat, bounded on the west by the Elbe, extended far to the 
east and northeast, whence it is that the Baltie eould be called 
Suehicum Mare (chap. 45). Their adventurous and aggressive 
temperament led to constant expansion of their domination, 
mentioned by Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 4. 3, as a national am- 
bition. Large bodies of them had migrated from their native 
haunts before the time of Caesar and had established them- 
selves in Southern and Southwestern Germany. Here they 
made such races as the Usipetes, Tencteri, and Ubii chronie 
vietims of their " will to power," and ultimately beeame known 
to Caesar as gens longe maxima et bellicosissima Germanorum 

The name, in all probabiUty originating in non-Suebian peoples 
and having the general force of an epithet, was easily extensible 
and naturally as applieable to any one of the raees of the eon- 
federation as their ethnie name proper. Furthermore, the rapid 
growth of Suebian power doubtless caused confusion between 
the true Suebi and raees whieh had come under their sphere 
of influenee. These eonsiderations help to explain the varia- 
tion of the appUeation of the name diseernibre in the ancient 
sourees. The term, as utilized by Taeitus in chap. 2, is com- 
posite but is restrieted to true Suebian stocks which had oeeupied 
territory west and south of the Elbe, being set off from the 
peoples of Eastern Germany, embraced under the name Vandilii. 
(See notes on 2. 16.) The extension of the name in this and the 

NOTES 115 

ft)llo\ving ohaptcrs, to incliulo all tho peoples of Eastern Ger- 
iiiany between the Danube and the Baltic, the Suiones of the 
Scandinavian Peninsula, and even some non-Germanic races, 
transcends all limits of usage elsewhere and rests upon a differ- 
ent set of data from that utilized in chap. 2. 

3. adhuc : besides, i.e. in addition to the collective name 

5. obliquare crinem : to comb Ihe hair athwart (from its natural 
dircction or ' liang '). The locks thus arranged lay across or 
at an angle with the perpendicular lines in w^hieh they would 
havc hung had they been coinbed down. — nodo . . . sub- 
stringere : the position of the knot on the head was subject to 
variation, as we might surmise and as is evident from line 1 1 below. 
In certain artistie representations of aneient Germans the knot 
is to be seen on ono side of the head, over the ear. 

6. Suebi a ceteris Germanis : according to the testimony of 
Tacitus, this stylc of dressing the hair would be widespread 
among the Germans and would have cspecially attracted the 
observation oE the Romans. Naturallj% therefore, as is evident 
from referenccs in other wTitors of the Empire, the nodus came 
to be regardod as the distinctive racial coiffure of all Germans. 

8. imitatione : as the fashionablc youths of Athens are said 
to have worn their hair long in imitation of the Spartan mode ; 
see Lysias, "^irip Mavnd^ov 18 ; Aristophanes, Equites 580. 

9. rarum : sc. est. 

10. usque ad canitiem : balances intra iuventae spatium. 
No member contrasting with rarum is cxpressed beeause the 
fashion has becn eharacterized as common to the whole body of 
Suebian freemen. — retro sequuntur : thc locution is surprising ; 
perhaps the image prescnt in the mind of the writer is the movc- 
ment of the comb baek from the forehead in the process of 

11. ornatiorem : a more elaborate arrangement; sc. capillum. 

12. ut ament amenturve : a shaft directcd at the fop and 
debauche of Roman society. A too punetilious arrangcmcnt 
of the hair was proverbially a mark of effeminaey ; sec, e.g., 
the biting epigram of Calvus on Pompey, Magnus quem metuunt 
omnes, digito caput uno scalpit, et seq. (' Magnus, of whom all 

116 NOTES 

are in awe, seratches his head with one finger ' ; Mviller, Frag- 
menta, p. 86, no. 18) ; Cicero, Pro Sestio 8. 18-19, the contrast 
between the young profligate unguentis adfiuens, calamistrata 
coma (' dripping with perfumes, with locks curled by the iron '), 
and the type of old-time Roman capillo ita horrido; Catiline, 
2. sect. 22 (of CatiUne's partisans), quos pexo capillo, nitidos 
. . . videtis. 

13. in . . . altitudinem quandam : there is an eUipsis of an 
adversative idea before the preposition, which is used in its 
frequent final sense, vnth a view to. The phrase is joined closely 
to compti. 

14. ut hostium oculis armantur : this is the .eUiptical use of 
ut, to Umit an assertion to particular conditions or circumstances, 
which is to be seen in such contexts as Livy, 4. 13. 1 : Spurius 
Maelius . . . ut illis temporibus, praedives (' Spurius MaeUus 
. . . for those times a very rich man ') ; Cicero, Brutus 10. 41 : 
Themistocles . . . ut apud nos, perantiquus, ut apud Athenienses, 
non ita sane vetus (' Themistocles . . . as judged by our stand- 
ards, belonging to a very early age — as judged by Athenian 
standards, not of such an ancient epoch ') ; cf. also Germania, 
30. 7. Translate : they are armed, — for the eyes of the enemy 
that is (not, of course, for the give-and-take of physical combat 
for which they need other weapons than an awe-inspiring ap- 

The influence of oeular impressions on the issue of battle is a 
rhetorical commonplaee ; cf . Gorgias, Encomium of Helen 16 ; 
in Xenophon, Symposium 2. 14, the coward Pisander, the 
Athenian Bob Aeres, does not enUst 5ta rb ixt) dvvacrdaL \6yxo-is 
d.vTip\4Treiv (' by reason of inabiUty to stand the sightof spears ') ; 
Propertius, 4. 6. 49-50 ; Tacitus, Agricola 32. 14 f ., and Germania 
43. 25. 

Chapter 39. 

The Semn6nes ; the central eult of the Suebi. 

1. nobilissimos : cf. the similar claim made by Calgacus, 
Agricola 30. 10, nobilissimi totius Britanniae. — Semnones : 
they occupied at this time the territory between the Elbe and 
the Oder of whieh the Duehy of Brandenburg is now a part. 

NOTES 117 

In later times, they were merged with other races under the 
appollatioa Alainanni ; however, they did not lose their original 
ethnie identity as Suebi, for it is from them that modern Suabia, 
once a part of the domain of the Alamanni, received its name. 

2. stato tempore : al a slanding festal season, not necessarily 
of annual recurrence. 

3. silvam . . . sacram : cf. 9. 9, lucos ac nemora consecrant. 
— auguriis patrum et prisca formidine sacram : these words 
form a complete he.xameter. Tacitus doubiless slipped into the 
rhythm unconsciously ; similar lapses — for so ancient stjlists 
considered them — occur semi-occasionally elsewhere in Latin 
prose ^\Titers. The first clause in Li\"y's preface to his history 
forms part of a he.xameter and in Book 22. 50 the words haec ubi 
dicta dedil, stringit gladium cuneoque facto per medios are a hexam- 
eter and a half. The dietion here has a poetic color, com- 
parable to Vergil, Aeneid 7. 172, (tectum) horrendum silvis et 
religione parentum, and this fact rendered it easy for Tacitus 
to glide into a rhythmie cadence. The ablatives are causal ; 
translate : ou-dng tn porlents which appeared lo their sires, et cet. 

4. eiusdem sanguinis : i.e. Sueborum. 

5. publice : in the name of the association. On human sacrifice 
among the Germans, see note on 9. 2. 

6. horrenda primordia : gruesome introductory ceremonies. 

7. nisi vinculo ligatus : the interpretation given by Tacitus 
of the inner significanee of this usage is correct. Cords and 
bonds figure not infrequently in ritual and religion as symbols 
of the subjection of a devotee to a deity. The fiUet used in 
Greek and Roman worship was in origin a badge of devotion 
and consecration to a higher power. See on the subject, Bonner, 
The Sacred Bond, American Philological Associalion, Transac- 
tions and Proceedings, 44 (1913), esp. p. 239. — minor : an 
inferior; cf. Horace, Epistulae 1. 1. 106, sapiens uno minor est 
love (' the philosopher is inferior to Jove alone '). 

8. prae se ferens : giving open testimony lo. Cf. Agricola 
43. 14, speciem doloris . . . prae se tulit. — attolli : reflexive in 
meaning, as is also evolvuntur below. The notion underlying 
the observance was doubtless that a fall was due to the visita- 
tion of providence and that he whom the god had cast down 

118 NOTES 

could not, without defying the divine will, raise himself to his 
feet while within the limits of the precinct. 

10. superstitio : not to be translated by the English deriva- 
tive. It was the torm applied by the Romans to any barbarian 
cult that had not received the sanction of the state religion. 
The word had somewhat the same connotation to the Roman 
as heathenism has to the Christiau. — tamquam : sinl is to be 
supplied. — initia gentis : the god to whom the grove was 
sacred was regarded as the progenitor of the Suebi, his precinct 
as the " eradle of the race." The claim of the Semnones to 
be the original Suebi and the " ehosen people," rested on the 
fact that the grove was in their land and under their eustody. 

11. deus : this supreme divinity of the Suebi was, in all 
probability, Tiu. 

12. centum pagi : Caesar, Belliun Gallicuvi 4. 1. 4, makes a 
similar assertion eoncerning the Suebi of Southwest Germany. 

13. magno . . . corpore : referring to the numerical prepon- 
derance of the " body politic." 

Chapter 40. 

The Langobardi ; the seven tribes that worshiped the god- 
dess Nerthus ; her cult. 

1. Langobardos : the forefathers of the powerful Lombards 
who, in 568 a.d., under the command of Alboin, invaded Italy. 
Some critics believe that the Langobardi had their seat origi- 
nally in Scandinavia, whenee they emigrated to Germany. How- 
ever this may be, we find them in Roman times estabhshed 
along the lower Elbe, south and southeast of modern Hamburg. 
— plurimis ac valentissimis nationibus : such as the Chauci 
to the north and west, the Angrivarii to the west, the Dulgubnii 
and the Semnones on the south and southeast. 

3. proeliis ac periclitando : editors quote in this connection 
the comment of Velleius Paterculus, 2. 106, who, writing in the 
prineipate of Tiberius, characterizes this race as etiam Germana 
feritnte ferocior. We should temper this statement bj'' recalUng 
that the history of Velleius is encomiastic and that he was con- 
cerned to magnify the deeds of his hero, Tiberius, against the 
Langobardi. The topical form of the comment betrays its 

NOTES 119 

rhetorieal nature ; ef. the locution of the same type in Livy, 21. 4, 
pirjidia {Hannibalis) plun quam Puiiica. — deinde : next in 
posilion, i.c. to the north, since Tacitus in his description pro- 
ceeds from the interior to the sea. 

The tribes here named, united in a cult group, were located 
north of the Elbe, in the vicinity of Hamburg and Liibeck, and 
still farther to the north in Schleswig-Holstein. Thc Anglii 
or Angles, the later invaders of Britain, may be definitelj' placed 
along the east coast of Sehleswig, north of the Kiel canal. The 
neighboring Varini were closely related to them. 

6. in commune : thej' are united in a cult association. — 
Nerthum : closely analogous to the rites of Xerthus here de- 
scribed were those celebrated in Rome, during the Empire, in 
honor of Magna Mater or Cybele. A feature of the festival of 
Magna Mater was the lavatio, performed on Alarch 27 of eaeh 
j-ear ; . the cult symbol of the goddess, the famous meteorite 
brought from Phrygia iu 205 b.c, was placed on a car drawn 
by cows, and was escorted by a proeession to a small tributary 
of the Tiber,.the Almo. The idol, the ehariot, and the other 
paraphernalia of the cult underwent a ceremonial lustration in 
the waters of the brook. 

It seems probable, therefore, that, after the fashion of the 
Roman student of comparative religion (see also note on 3. 1), 
Taeitus has identified Nerthus with Magna Mater on the basis 
of these striking external resemblances in cult rites and did not 
possess any accurate information as to the essential natnre of 
the German goddess. She is commonly regarded as tho feminine 
counterpart of a male divinity, Njordr, worshiped by the Norse 
peoples as a god of fertility, the weather, and trade. 

7. Terram matrem : stress has been laid on the fact that 
Nerthus is defined, not as Magna Mater but as Terra Mater; 
hence the theory has been advanced that Tacitus intended 
that his readers should regard her, not as the German Cybele, 
but as a goddess of tha earth and vegetation, comparable to 
the Roman Tellus (also Terra) Mater, whose festival was cele- 
brated on April 15 and who stood in close connection with the 
Manes as a divinity of the lower world ; see, e.g., Suetonius, 
Tiberius 85. This view, however, presupposes a rituaUstio 

120 NOTES 

preeision in the language of Taeitus which seems unlikely in 
the face of the tendency, constantly visible in lioman mythology 
and religion, to blend the personalities and the functions of 
Ops, Terra, ]\Iagna Mater, Ceres, et cet. — intervenire : mingles in. 

8. invehi populis : populis is dative. The image of the god- 
dess, we are to understand, was drawn from place to place ; 
cf. the allusion in TibuUus, 1. 4. 68-9, to the similar progress 
of the car of Cybele, escorted by her priests : 

Idaeae currus ille sequalur Opis 
et tercentenas erroribus expleat urbes 

(' let him foUow the cars of Idaean Ops and complete the tale 
of thrice a hundred cities in his wanderings '). — insula Oceani : 
an old but erroneous folk tradition settled on Riigen, off the 
coast of Pomerania, in the Baltie, as the sacred isle and furnished 
it with a Lake Hertha, a name derived from a manuscript 
corruption of Nerthus (cf. the similar origin of " Grampian " 
from a mistaken reading Grampius for Graupius in Agricola 
29. 8). Later scholarship, with an enthusiasm pardonable but 
barren of results, has advanced the claims of other islands both 
in the Baltic and the North Sea. — castum nemus : the grove 
was kept unviolated by mortal tread ; cf. Ovid, Fasti 4. 751, 
the prayer of the shepherd to Pales : Si nemus intravi vetitum 
. . . da veniam culpae (' If I have entered a forbidden grove, 
grant mercy to my fault '). 

9. veste : a trapping of cloth. 

10. penetrali : the wagon is the ark of the goddess. 

11. bubus feminis : the chariot of Magna Mater was also 
drawn by cows. 

12. quaecumque . . . dignatur : it has been assumed by 
a recent critic that, because the center of the eult of Nerthus 
was on an island, the whole eeremonial. was necessarily conflned 
to the one district and that large deputations, the populi re- 
ferred to above, were sent by the participating states and es- 
tablished themselves in separate camps around the sacred grove. 
Even though Tacitus does not say how the goddess and her 
car were transported to the mainland, his language eertainly 
makes for the view that they were. Populi can hardly mean 

NOTES 121 

lcgationcs populorum (of. 39. 4) and quaecumque . . . dignalur 
points to an e.xtended itinerary as does also the analogy fur- 
nished by siniilar progresses from place to place of wagons, 
ships on wheels, and the like on festive occasions in later ages. 

13. non bella ineunt : such truces of ten accompanied inter- 
state religious festivais ; cf. the iKcxfipia, or ' sacred armis- 
tice ' proclaimed for the month in which the Olympic Games 
were celebrated. A similar " truce of God " was observed 
during the period of the Feriae Latinae, the common festival 
of thc Latins held in honor of Jupiter Latiaris on the Alban Mt. 

16. templo : not a building (cf. uote on 9. 7), but the holy 

18. numen ipsum : the convietion of the devotees was that 
not an image but the goddess herself was bathed ; otherwise 
the clause si credere velis would not have been evoked, eognizant 
as Taeitus and his generation were of the lavatio of the cult 
symbol of Magna Mater. An analogous rite was performed by 
women on the statue of Venus Verticordia on April 1 ; ef. Ovid, 
Fasli 4. 13G. . Instances of the lustration of eult statues were 
not uncommon in Greek rituals ; e.g. the xoanon of Athene 
was bathed at Athens on the occasion of the festival of the 
Plynteria; in the tragedy of Euripides, Iphigenia among the 
Taurians, the stratagem by whieh Iphigenia steals the image 
of Artemis and makes good the escape of Orestes, Pylades, and 
herself from King Thoas, centers about a feigned intent to purify 
the statue by bathing it in the sea. 

19. quos . . . haurit : the story of Actaeon is perhaps a 
mythical expression of the feeling underlying the German rite, 
viz. that he to whom the person of a goddess has been revealed 
unveiled should not live to tell the tale. Or the destruetion of 
the ministrants may have been conceived of frankly as a human 
sacrifice. — arcanus : mysterious. 

Chapter 41. 

The Hermunduri and their relations with Rome. 
1. secretiora : more rcmote from the limcs. 
3. nunc Danuvium sequar : he proceeds from west to east 
in his narrative. — Hermundurorum : eastern neighbors of the 

122 NOTES 

Chatti ; their lands extended north to the Hartz Alts. and east 
to the Elbe, thus embraeing the Saxon Duchies and Southern 
Saxony. They figure in later history as the Thuringi. 

4. in ripa : of the Danube. Their territory did not extend to the 
river but they were allowed free access to it for purposes of trade. 

5. penitus : said from the point of view of the Hermunduri, 
who were permitted to pass into Roman territory. 

6. colonia : Augusta Vindelicorum, situated somewhat north 
of the modern Augsburg, and founded as a market town by 
Drusus in 15 b.c. The place did not, in the time of Trajan, 
have technieally the standing of a colonia, hence Tacitus has 
used the term here in a free, not a formal, sense. — passim et 
sine custode : the limes ordinarily formed a customs-barrier 
whieh rigorously controlled the entry of the Germans even 
when bound on peaeef ul errands ; passage was allowed at specified 
places only, the incoming barbarian had to pay a fee and to 
submit to disarmament and surveillance. 

8. domos villasque : they were allowed access to town- and 
countrj'-houses alike. 

9. Albis oritur : the domains of the Hermunduri certainly 
did not embrace Bohemia, where the Elbe takes its rise. Either 
Tacitus was under the impression that the source of the river 
was in the Erzgebirge between Saxony and Bohemia, or he mis- 
took the Saale, a tributary of the Elbe, for the Elbe proper. 

10. notum olim : Drusus and Tiberius had penetrated to the 
Elbe and, in 2 b.c, L. Domitius Ahenobarbus had operated on 
the eastern bank. In 17 a.d. Germanicus, after his recall from 
Germany, celebrated a triumph over the Cherusei, the Chatti, 
the Angrivarii, and ' the other nations whieh extend as far as 
the Elbe,' with more reclame, however, than his conquests 
justified. — nunc . . . auditur : because, with the recall of 
Germanicus by Tiberius, the policy of wide expansion in Ger- 
many had been rehnquished. 

Chapter 42. 

The Xaristi, the JSIarcomanni, and the Quadi. 
1. Naristi : they lived east of the Hermunduri, in what is 
now Northeastern Bavaria. — Marcomani : i.e. ' Border-men,* 

NOTES 123 

cf. modern German Mark, ' boundary.' Since the last decado 
B.c, they had oocupied Bohemia, where, under the leadership 
of their kinjj. Maroljod, they formed the nucleus of a powerful 
confederacy. Their suprenuiey was ended for the time being 
when Kiug Marobod was dcfeated in a war with the Cherusci, 
begun in 17 a.d., was abaudoned by his allies, and forced to 
take refuge in Italj'. The second century a.d. witnessed a 
renascence of their power and, in a series of wars with Rome 
in the time of Marcus Aurelius, they were put down only after 
a stubborn contest. 

2. Quadi : akin to the Marcomanni and closely united with 
their history during the first two centuries of the Empire. Their 
territory was the modern Moravia. 

3. pulsis olim Boiis : the fact that the great mass of the 
Boii had left their original seats and been dispersed in various 
lands in the west and the south some years prior to the time 
of Caesar's campaigns in Gaul, whereas the Mareomanni under 
Marobod did not settle in Bohemia until the close of the century, 
has caused the accuracy of this assertion to be questioned. How- 
ever, bands of the Marcomanni, abandoning their former abode 
between the Main and the Danube, had established theraselves 
in Bohemia during the period of the emigrations of the Boii. 
These earlier ineursions had at least paved the way for the 
occupation of the territory by Marobod, and it is possible that 
remnants of the Boii that still maintained a foothold oflfered a 
futile resistance to him. 

5. velut frons : these tribes are thought of as facing Rome. 
— peragitur : is constituted by; a different region, of course, 
would he frons Germaniae Vfhere the Rhine formed the bound- 

7. Tudri : mentioned here only. 

8. iam et externos : as iam indicates, recent events are here 
referred to, but we are ignorant as to the details of the change 
in dynasty. 

10. nec minus : their position is maintained as effectively by 
financial aid as by armed intervention ; cf . 15. 12, iam et pecuniam 
accipere docuimus. 

124 NOTES 

Chapter 43. 

The East Germans. 

I. retro : north and east. The point of view is the same 
as that implied in velut frons, 42. 5. The four tribes here men- 
tioned, inhabiting a country for the most part mountainous, 
were, thereforc, loeated in and near the Riesengebirge and the 
Western Carpathians. The Buri lived in the vicinity of modern 
Cracow, the Cotini on the Upper Gran, the Osi, also referred to 
in 28. 10 f., in Northwestern Hungary, north of the great bend 
of the Danube. 

3. referunt : reproduce. — Cotinos Gallica : the Cotini were 
undoubtedly a survival of the Celtie tribes which, mainly grouped 
under the coUeetive name Boii, were in possession of the lands 
north of the Danube at the time of the great migration of the 

5. Sarmatae : the lazyges, a Sarmatian tribe living between 
the Danube and the Theiss. 

6. quo magis pudeat : to heighten their disgrace, they submit 
to exaetions, although thej' have at their disposal material for 
fashioning weapons with which to assert their independence. 

9. continuum . . . iugum : the watershed formed by the 
Erzgebirge, the Riesengebirge, the Sudetics, and continued to the 
east by the Carpathians. 

10. ultra quod : to the north. 

II. Lygiorum : Lygii and Vandilii were both collective names, 
each of which comprehended a number of the peoples of East 
Germany ; the names existed for a time side by side and were to 
some extent interchangeable until, in later times, the second 
name gained exelusive currency in the derived form Vandali. 

The several tribes of the Lygian confederaey, which are here 
listed, occupied the eountry now comprised bj^ Silesia, Posen, 
and Poland, the Vistula forming their eastern bbundary. 

14. antiquae religionis lucus : the eult center of the tribal 
union, comparable to the grove of the Semnones, 39. 3. 

15. sacerdos muliebri ornatu : he was dressed in flowing 
robes and wore his hair arranged in the feminine mode. From 
the fact that the name of the royal line of the Vandals, Has- 
dingi, signifies ' men vnth women's coiffure,' it has been plausibly 

NOTES 125 

conjectured that, as was the ease in the primitive Greco-Roman 
kinKship, the functions of monaroh and priest were united in 
the ruling house of these eastern Iribes. 

16. vis : the inhercnl character. 

17. Alcis : regarded bj- most crities as a dative plural ; how- 
ever, neither this point nor the identity of thc di\iiit' pair itself 
has been absolutely demonstrated. — peregrinae superstitionis : 
the cult was indipenous, not imported as was, according to 
Taeitus, the worship of Isis, alluded to in chap. 9 ; cf. 9. 4, 
peregrino sacro, et seq. 

18. tamen : not^^ithstanding the lack of concrete data making 
for the identifieation of these deities \vith Castor and PoUu.x, 
their divine personahty eonforms with that of the Twin Brethren. 

19. ceterum : indicating a return to the dcseription of the 
people after the digression eoneerning the eult ; for a Hke usage 
see Agricola 11. 1. — super : = praeler. 

21. arte ac tempore : itemized below. — lenocinantur : they 
heighten, promote. 

22. tincta": b\' appUeation of a black pigment or " war-paint " 
before going into battle. The Britons resorted to a more durable, 
vegetable dye for a similar purpose ; cf. Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 
5. 14: omnes vero se Britanni vitro inficiunt quod caeruleum efficit 
colorem atque hoc horrihiliores sunt in pugna aspectu. — ipsa . . . 
formidine . . . exercitus : by the sheer dread inspired by the 
shailowy iippearance of their unearthly host. 

24. novum : weird. 

25. primi . . . oculi vincuntur : on this sentiment scc note 
on 38. 14. 

27. Gotones : the Goths. This famous race, destined to play 
so great a r61e in the future history of the Roman world, lived at 
this time north of the Lygii along the lower Vistula. By the 
third century a.d., as the result of a series of folk-movements, 
thcy had cstablished a powcrful kingdom in Southern Russia. — 
regnantur : the ideas of looation and government are blended in 
the one word ; as wc might put it — ' is situated the kingdom of 
the Goths.' — adductius : the metaphor may be reprodueed 
by some such rendition as, the reins of government being drawn 
more tightly. 

126 NOTES 

28. supra libertatem : the monarehieal form was not so des- 
potic as to have abolished the popular freedom tj^pical of all Ger- 
man states. 

29. Rugii et Lemovii : on the shore of the Baltic between the 
Oder and the Vistula. 

30. rotunda scuta, breves gladii : that arms of these shapes 
were, as Taeitus says, eharaeteristie of the equipment of the East 
Germans is amply demonstrated by the finds made in graves, 
notably in West Prussia. Here numerous bosses have been dis- 
covered, whieh evidently were once attaehed to round shields, 
and a type of short, iron sword, resembUng a saber and edged on 
one side only . Arms of these types were oecasionally in use among 
tribes dwelling west of the Oder, the Suebi, for example. For 
illustrations see F. Kauffmann, Deutsche Altertumskunde, vol. 1, 
Plates 27. 3-5 and 34. 3. 

Chapter 44. 

The Suiones. 

1. Suionum : the Latinized form of the ancient Swedish name 
of the inhabitants of the Seandinavian Peninsula ; the modem 
term ' Swede ' is a derivative of the original root. — hinc : the 
point of view is the coast between the Oder and the Vistula. — 
ipso in Oceano : Seandinavia was regarded as an immense island. 

2. classibus valent : thus the later vikings eame naturally by 
their nautical skill and daring. — differt : from Roman models. 

3. utrimque prora : the adverb is used attributivelj^ The 
shape of sueh boats was similar to that of the modern eanoe and 
whaleboat. Craft of this type were eonstrueted by Germanicus 
for use in his expedition to the North Sea in 16 a.d. ; cf. the de- 
scription in Annales 2. 6 : plures (naves) adpositis utrimque gubertia- 
culis, converso ut repente remigio hinc vel illinc adpellerent (' a 
number of the ships were equipped with steering gear at both 
ends that, by a sudden shift of the oars, they might put in to 
shore either way ') . They were espeeially suited to the naviga- 
tion of rivers and narrow fiords where " sea-room " for turning 
might be lacking. 

4. nec . . . in ordinem : the boats were not rigged so as to 
have the oars in a permanent, fixed arrangement, symmetrical 

NOTES 127 

on each side in respect to nunibor of sweeps and intervals apart, 
as was the case with Ronian galleys. 

6. solutum : detachablc. — in quibusdam fluminum : a styUs- 
tic variant of in . . . fluminibus. 

7. opibus : weallh. — unus imperitat: an inference which 
would naturally be suggested to a Roman by the traditional com- 
bination of riehes and absolutism in the persons of the Oriental 
despots ; see as a typical illustration Phraates, Horace, Odes 
2. 2. 16 f. The proverbial point of \-iew of the Roman is ex- 
pressed by !Milton, Paradise Lost 2. 3 : 

" Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand 
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold." 
— nullis iam exceptionibus : in this instance without limitations; 
iam implies a contrast with the more or less restricted power 
wielded gcnorally by tlie German kings. 

8. non precario iure parendi : with a claim on obedience not 
subject to approval. on the part of his constituency, as it were. 

9. clausa sub custode : it has been suggosted that Tacitus 
here erroneously reports as a standing condition of affairs what 
was only a temporarj' disarmament, enforced during a sacred 
truce which accompanied the celebration of a religious festival ; 
cf. the similar custom among the worshipers of Xerthus, ehap. 
40. Disarmament of the subject population was a traditional 
device of the ancient Greek tjTanny, and it was naturally from 
this point of view that an ancient writer might interpret the 
practice elsewhere. Reeall the disarmament of the Athenians 
by the Thirty (Xenophon, Hellenica 2. 3. 20) and the stratagem 
(perhaps apocryphal, Busolt, 2. p. 34. note 2) by which Pisistra- 
tus secured the weapons of the citizens ; Aristotle, Constitution of 
Athens 15. 4. 

11. manus : best taken literally — ." Satan findeth mischief 
still for idle hands to do." 

Chapter 45. 

The inert Northern Ocean ; the Aestii and their goddess ; 
amber ; the Sitfines. 

1. aliud mare : distinct from Oceanus, the term applied to the 
seas adjacont to the German coast, the North Sea or the Baltic 

128 NOTES 

accordiag to the context. pigrum ac prope inmotum : the same 
qualities, density and lack of mobility, are ascribed in Agricola 
10. 20 to the waters about Thule ; see the note on this passage. 

2. hinc : anticipating the evidenee contained in the following 
quod clause. It should be remembered in this context that the 
explanation of the cause of the Midnight Sun as given in Agricola 
12. 14, scilicet extrema et plana terrarum huinili umbra non erigunt 
ienebras, assumes that the phenomenon is visible only at the 
edge of the world. 

6. radios capitis : a regular feature of literary and artistic 
portrayals of the Sun God ; he even places them on the head of 
Phaethon before the fatal course, Ovid, Metamorphoses 2. 124. 
Cf. Vergirs description of the crown of Latinus, Aeneid 12. 162 f . : 

. . . cui tempora circum 
aurati bis sex radii fulgentia cingunt, 
Solis avi specimen. . . . 

— persuasio : popular belief. It can scarcely be to opinions 
actually em-rent among the peoples of the far North to which 
Tacitus alludes. The notions here referred to accord so evidently 
with the conception of the Sun God as we find it in Greco-Roman 
mythology, that it is a fair inference that Tacitus is repeating in 
a deprecatory tone statements found in Uterary sources, Roman 
or more probably Hellenistic ; at least such naive ideas of natural 
phenomena suggest the age and manner of Pytheas, the Greek 
traveler who, in the second half of the fourth century b.c, 
reported to the civilized world the existence of the coagulated 
sea, or even of the Stoic philosopher, Posidonius, Cicero's older 
contemporary, who asserted that the sun, when it dropped in the 
Western Ocean, hissed Uke a mass of red-hot iron. 

Note that Tacitus does not assume responsibility for the data 
in this sentence, whereas, in those which preoede and foUow, 
fides and fama vera respectively show that he vouches for the 
truth of his assertions. 

6. tantum natura : the meaning of natura here, ' the natural 
world,' ' creation,' is the same as in Agricola 33. 28. Taeitus 
may have beUeved his eonfident assertion justified by his knowl- 
edge of the information gained by Agricola's expedition of 

NOTES 129 

exploration. — ergo iam : the connection is : since this northern 
region niarks the enil of the known world and there is nothing 
more to be said coneerning this loeaHty, I turn accordingly at 
this point to the east coast of the Baltic. 

7. Aestiorum gentes : the peoples who dwelt along the Baltic, 
in East Prussia and Russia as far as the Gulf of Finland. They 
were non-Germanic in origin and were the ancestors of the Old 
Prussians, Lithuanians, and Letts. It is supposed that the 
modern Esthoiiians, though of Finnish stock, have perpetuated 
the name. 

8. lingua Britannicae propior : the ears of unseientific ob- 
servers, probably traders, detected in the language of the Aestii 
sounds which bore a certain resemblance to the more familiar 
Celtic. Similarly, in Agricola IL 12, Tacitus cites the resem- 
blance between the languages of the Gauls and the southeast 
Britons as an indication that the latter were of GaUic extraction. 
However, neither Tacitus nor the ancient world in general had 
anj-thing but a rudimentary conception of the utilization of 
linguistie eriteria in the differentiation of races. 

9. matrem deum : the data are too meager to justify our 
assuming on the basis of this context the actual existence among 
these peoples of the cult of a mother goddess. Figures of boars 
were worn as amulets by the devotees of Magna Mater in Rome 
and similar insignia, seen on the natives of the East Baltic coast, 
may have without further reason inspired the theory. 

10. omnium : neuter. The genitive is objective. 

Belief in the efficacy of inanimate objects to protect the bearer 
from harm, emanating frora natural or supernatural sources, is 
ages old and still finds expression in modern times, e.g. in the 
Italian's faith in his coral prophylactic against the evil eye. 
The superstition has never been confined to one race or braneh 
of mankind. In Northern Europe graves, dating back to the 
Stone and Bronze Ages, have yielded amulets of many types and 
fashioned from many materials, sueh as stone, horn, shell, the 
teeth, bones, and claws (cf. ' the rabbit's foot ' of Negro supersti- 
tion) of various animals. 

14. laborant : in Augustan poetry, the accusative foUows 
laborare to denote the thing \\Tought out or produced by work. 

130 NOTES 

Here they take pains in cultivating is an approximate rendition. — 
sed et : they do not confine themselves to thc hmd in the quest 
of a livelihood, biit, et seq. — omnium : i.e. Germanorum. 

15. glesum : English glass, glare, German Glanz, gldnzen are 
from the root which appears in this word. — inter vada atque in 
ipso litore : from the Stone Age to the present day the Prussian 
coast has been famed for its amber. In tlie time of Tacitus 
Samland, north of Konigsberg in East Prussia, had practically a 
monopoly of this commodity and is still the ehief source of the 
world's supply ; Dantzig is the principal depot of the trade. 

Amber is still gathered on the coast by searchers who are 
equipped with nets attached to long poles, and who ransack the 
shallows at low tide. Dredging operations and divers are also 
employed. Amber is likewise found in pit deposits at some 
distance from the sea and is in this case obtained by mining 

17. ut barbaris : as would naturally he the case among barba- 
rians; ef. Agricola 11. 2, ut inter barbaros. 

18. luxuria nostra : as a matter of fact, however, amber was 
prized at very early periods of civilization. In the Stone Age 
amber ornaments were thefavorite articles of personal adornment, 
as the graves of the period testify. In the Bronze Age amber 
ceased to be so highly favored among the northern peoples, who 
had learned to know bronze and gold, but it became an article 
of commerce and was spread by various trade routes over 
Mediterranean and Western Europe, where it was eagerly wel- 
comed. Objects of amber have been found in the Mycenaean 
tombs of Greece, in the lake dwellings of Italy, and even among 
relics of the Bronze Age in England. 

Of these facts Tacitus, of course, had no knowledge, so con- 
fines hiinself to mentioning amber as an article of Roman luxury, 
in which it began to have a place in the late Republic and the 
early Empire. Great quantities of it were brought to Rome in 
the principate of Nero to be used in enhaneing the magnificence 
of a gladiatorial exhibition ; ef . Pliny, Naturalis Historia 37. 3. 
11. 45. The substance was used chiefly in the manufacture of 
necklaces and other articles of feminine adornment ; sword- 
hilts, utensils of various sorts, and statuettes were fashioned 

NOTES 131 

from it, and it was also esteomed for certain medicinal qualities 
whicii it was supposed to possess. 

19. nomen : reputation. 

20. profertur : is ojfered for sale. — sucum . . . arborum : in 
modern scientific parlance, fossilized resin. 

21. terrena . . . volucria animalia : an assertion complctely 
verified by modern observation ; among the inclosures have 
been found remains of insects, worms, crustaceans, occasional 
fragraents of hair and feathers, and also leaves and plant strue- 

See Herrick " On a Fly buried in Amber," a theme imported 
into poetry by Martial, 4. 32 ; cf. Bacon, Sylva Sylvarum, 
Century I. Experimenl 100 : " We see how flies, and spiders, and 
the like, get a sepulclire in amber, more durable than the monu- 
ment and embalming of the body of any Idng," and Pope, 
Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot 169: 

" Pretty in amber to observe the forms 

Of hairs, or straws, or dirt, or grubs, or worms." 

24. fecundiora : the comparative denotes the possession of the 
quality in an unwonted degree. 

26. quae : the conneetion is rendered hazy by the fact that 
the antecedent is not expressed but was felt to be implied by the 
substancesinvolved in/^cwndiora; translate : Jusl as in out-of-the- 
way corners of the Orient, where frankincense and halsam are dis- 
tilled (Jrom the trees), so . . . ihere are forests and groves teeming 
to an unusual degree (with subslances) ivhich, et cet. 

29. in modum taedae : it is reported — the editor cannot 
personally vouch for the facts — that at the present time the 
rough fragments of amber which are cast up on the west coast of 
Schles^^ig-Holstein are utilized by the poorer classes for light ; cf. 
the name Bernstein (Brennstein). 

30. in . . . lentescit : it turns into a viscoxis subslance resern- 
bling, et cet. 

32. Sitonum gentes : it is conjectured that they were Finnish 
tribes who occupiod the northern part of Scandina\na. To 
dassify them with the Suebi is an ethnological error pure and 
simple. — continuantur : are next to. 

132 NOTES 

33. f emina dominatur : probably a myth and perhaps founded 
on a popular etymology which compared Kainulaisel, i.e. ' Low- 
landers,' the name of a Finnish tribe, with an old German word 
for woman preserved in Engl. quean, queen. In later times a 
race of Amazons was localized in the far north. 

Chapter 46. 

The Eastern Peoples. 

1. Peucinorum : the name is here used as eoextensive with 
Bastarnae (see below), a Germanic race of whieh the Peucini, 
so-called from UevK-rj, ' Isle of Pines,' their dweUing-plaee in the 
delta of the Danube, were strictly only a branch. The hesitancy 
on the part of Tacitus in classing the Peueini as Teutons is 
elearly based merely on their proximity to non-Germanic 
peoples and on the hybrid physieal type which resulted 
from their intermarrying with the Sarmatae. — Venedorum : 
they were Slavs — compare the later German designation 
Wends — - who Uved east of the Vistula, in Polaud and adjacent 

2. Fennorum : dweUing in Northern and Northeastern Russia. 
The connection of the name with latter-day Finn, is unmistak- 
able ; however, it does not foUow from this fact that the aneestors 
of the enUghtened raee of modern Finns are to be sought among 
these peoples to whom Tacitus attributes so low a scale of 
civiUzation. — Sarmatis : see note on 1. 2. The Ufe here ascribed 
to them, that of the tj^pical nomads, wandering on horseback or 
in wagon-houses in quest of pasturage for their herds, is paraUeled 
by the picture given by Herodotus of the Scythians, who once 
stretched northward from the Danube and the Black Sea. The 
Scythians had been merged '«dth the Sarmatae as the result of 
eonquest and assimilation. 

3. Bastarnas : this brave and warUke people, so early as 
200 B.C., had estabUshed itself in the lands north of the lower 
Danube, after an emigration that was first in the historical 
series of Germanic raee movements to the south. Here they 
were brought into immediate contaet with both Greece and Rome, 
for they served as aUies of PhiUp V of Maeedon and of his son 
Perseus in the Second and Third Macedonian Wars, 200-196 

NOTES 133 

and 171-168 b.c. A century later Mithradates recruited frora 
llit'm especially effieient forces. 

4. sede : permanence of abode; they were not nomads as were 
tbe Sarmatae. 

6. sordes omnium : a quality attributed in chap. 20. 1 more 
particularly to the children. — torpor procerum : said with 
rcference to times of peaee ; recall the general description of the 
h'thargic e.xistence of the members of the comitatus quotiens 
belln non ineunl, chap. 15. 1. 

6. foedantur : thexj show debasement. 

7. ex moribus : Sarmatarum is understood. 

9. hi . . . inter Germanos : Tacitus was ignorant of 
the basic ethnological distinction between Teuton and 

10. pedum usu ac pernicitate : habitual riders are proverbially 
clumsy when on their feet, and besides are generally handicapped 
by an apparel or equipment primarily designed for Ufe in the 
saddle. Thus, in Historiae 1. 79, we read that the Rhoxolani, 
a Sarmatian tribe, were quite helpless as foot-soldiers. The Huns 
of later history were also inefficient infantrymen, since they were 
shod with shapeless boots which impeded their steps (Ammianus 
Marcelhnus, 31. 2. 6) ; the high-heeled boots of the traditional 
American cowboj' are ill-adaptod to walking. 

12. in plaustro : in such folk migrations as that of the Cimbri 
and the Teutons, wagons were in daily use among the Germans. 
— equo . . . viventibus : the Scythians and the Huns were por- 
trayed as performing on horseback such habitual acts of every- 
day Ufe as eating, drinking, and sleeping ; ef. Ammianus Mar- 
celUnus, 31. 2. 6. 

13. foeda paupertas : the level of culture attributed by Tacitus 
to tho Fcnni is pruftially on a par with that of the famous African 
pygmies. — non arma : their arrows, employed as a means of 
obtaining sustenance, were used only against A\ild animals, a 
state of affairs which coincides with Ufe in the pacific long-ago 
approved by TibuUus, 1. 10. 5-6: 

An nihil ille miser (the inventor of " cold steel ") meruit, nos 
ad mala nostra 
vertimus in saevas quod dedit ille feras? 

134 NOTES 

(' Or lias that unfortunate earned no blame ? Have we turned to 
our evil purposes what he gave us to use against savage beasts? '). 

15. asperant : they tip with. 

16. venatus . . . alit: the pygmies are seldom, if ever, tillers 
of the soil ; they build only temporary habitations as they are 
always roving from place to place in the forest in pursuit of game. 

18. in aliquo ramorum nexu : a wattled shelter of boughs, 
eomparable to the wickiup of the North American Indian. The 
dweUings of the pygmies in Africa ar^ arbors constructed of bent, 
interlaced branches and plantain leaves. 

For all Tacitus says to the contrary, these structures of boughs 
served the Fenni as summer and winter habitations alike ; sueh 
an arrangement is very improbable in these latitudes and is con- 
tradicted by modern conditions among the denizens of these 
regions. Among the least civiUzed branches of Finno-Ugrian 
races, " the most primitive form of house consists of poles inclined 
towards one another and eovered with skins or sods, so as to form 
a circular screen round a fire ; winter houses are partly under- 
ground." Encyc. Brit., llth ed., vol. 10, p. 392. 

20. beatius arbitrantvu: : Taeitus writes as though their primi- 
tive mode of life were the result of deliberate option, whereas, of 
course, it was due to the fact that they were at a level of eulture 
below those in which agriculture and trade flourish. The Fenni, 
it is unnecessary to state, had not indulged in such philosophizing 
as to the summum bonum of existence, but Tacitus, rhetorician 
and romanticist, poses as the champion of the simple life. — 
ingemere : a figurative expression for hard labor, borrowed from 
the poets ; the editors cite Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 5. 209, 
vis humana . . . valido consueta bidenti ingemere (' the force of 
man, accustomed to groan beneath the stout hoe '), and Vergil, 
Georgics 1. 45. We may add the similar usage in Horace, 
Epodes 5. 29-31, Veia . . . ligonibus duris humum exhauriebat 
ingemens laboribus (' Veia, with the toilsome mattoek, was casting 
up the earth and groaning over her exertions '), though here 
perhaps the groans were conceived of as literally forthcoming 
from Lhe toiUng witch. 

21. inlaborare domibus : the preceding reference to work in 
the fields, the proviuce of the man, would suggest that we have 

NOTES 135 

horo, by waj' of oontrast, an allusion to tho duties of the home, 
housework and spinning, regarded as belonging in civilized society 
to wonian's sphere ; cf. for example, the famous epitaph of Clau- 
dia, Biicheler, Carmina Epigraphica 52, domum servavit, lanam 
fccit. Many editors, however, prefer the interpretation to toil 
at {building) houses and assume the allusion to be to the ease with 
which the shelters referred to above were constructed. 

In any case, inlaborare is unique in this sense and was perhaps 
eoined by Tacitus to match ingemere. ■— spe metuque : they lived 
in a "Goldless age, where gold disturbs no dreams" (Byron, 
The Island). 

22. versare : to manipulnte in the activities of trade. 

23. rem difficillimam : Tacitus pretends, perhaps somewhat 
maliciously, that the natural man, here represented by the primi- 
tive Fenni, had attained what philosophers of different schools, 
but especially the Stoics, had exerted themselves through centu- 
ries to commend to civihzed man as the only source of true happi- 
ness, viz. serene indifference to the manifold objeets of human 
desire ; for one exposition of the theme out of many, see Horace, 
Epistulae 1. 6 beginning 

Nil admirari prope res est una, Numici, 
solaque quae possit facere et servare beatum 
(' Indifference to everything is almost the one and only thing that 
can make and keep one happy, O Numicius '). — ne voto quidem : 
for the sense compare Horace, Satires 2. 6. 1-3 : 

Hoc erat in votis: modus agri non ita magnus, 
hortus ubi et tecto vicinus iugis aquae fons 
et paulum silvae super his foret. Auctius atque 
di melius fecere. . . . 

(' This was among my prayers : a plot of land of not too great 
extent, where there would be a garden and, hard by the house, a 
rill of water ever flowing, and, besides, a bit of woodland. 
With more generous bounty the gods have favored me '). 

24. fabulosa: human credulity in all ages has delighted to 
people unknown lands wnth monstrous beings of many kinds. 
E.g. Herodotus, 4. 191, speaks, though skeptically, of the ex- 
istence in Afriea of a ' dogheaded raee' and of ' headless men, 

136 NOTES 

having their eyes in their breasts ' ; Othello, Act 1, Scene 3, Hne 
167, woos Desdemona with stories of — 

" The Anthropophagi and raen whose heads 
Do grow beneath their shoulders." 

On the currency of such tales in 16th century England, see 
the note on the passago in the Variorum edition by Furness. 
Even the modern world has scarcely ceased to react to reports of 
the existence of men with monkeys' tails. — Hellusios et 
Oxionas : we ean say of these only that they were regarded as 
denizens of the fabled North. 

26. incompertum : expressive of an agnostie rather than of a 
rationalistic, negative attitude. 


Below are tabulated the chicf deviations from the text of the 
Germania eontained in Halm's fourth edition, which, until the 
appearance of the second volunie of the revision now being pre- 
pared by Andresen, raust remain the generallj' accepted means of 
textual comparison. 

B = the Vatican manuscript no. 1862. 

b = the Leyden manuseript. 

C = the Vatican manuscript no. 1518. 

e = the Xaples manuscript. 

E = the Jesi manuscript. 

T = the Toledo manuscript. 


2. 11. Ei (BE) . . . conditoremque 

(conditorisque, mss.), 
Manno ; see Andresen, 
Wockenschrifl fiir klassische 
Philologie, 1903, col. 276-8 ; 
1910, col. 1317. 

4. 1. opinionibus, mss. 

4. 2. nullis aliis. 

4. 4. tamquam, B on the margin, 

Cc ; see Andresen, Jahres- 
berichte des philologischen 
Vereins zu Berlin, 28 
(1902), p. 308; Zernial, 
ibid. 29 (1903), p. 269 f. 

8. 9. Veledam, BcET ; Valedam, 

C ; Volednm, b. 

9. 2. Herculem et Martem, ET ; 

Herculem ac Martem, Cc ; 
Martem . . . placanl el Her- 
culem, Bb. 



et . . . conditoresque. 

nuUis [aliis]. 

Herculem ac Martem. 



10. 17. apud sacerdotes ; se enim, 


11. 3. pertractentur, BbET. 
11. 11. turbae, luss. 

13. 8. ceteris, tnss. 

13. 14. semper et, ET. 

14. 12. enim principis, mss. 
16. 10. lineamenta, BCET. 

18. 1-5. quamquam . . . ambiuntur. 

20. 3. ancillis ac, CcET. 

20. 10. ad patrem, BCcET. 

21. 16. obligantur : victus . . . comis. 

See notc on the passage. 

25. 1. descriptis, mss. 

26. 3. in vices, BE. 

27. 11. quae nationes, mss. 

28. 11. Germanorum natione. 

30. 1. ultra hos Chatti initium ... 

incohant, cE ; inchoant, 

30. 11. ratione disciplinae, b-e ; see 

Mulleuhoff, Deutsche Al- 

tertumskunde, 4, p. 411 ; 

roe, CE ; rde, T ; romane, 

B ; romanc, b. 

30. 16. parare, mss. 

31. 14. vultu, BbET. 
35. 2. redit, mss. 

35. 13. exercitus. 

36. 5. nomina superioris {nomine 

supcrinris, mss.) 

37. 18. consularis, luss. 

38. 10. retro sequuntur, BbET, se- 

cuntur, c. 

sacerdotes enim. 





enim a principis. 


Chapter 17. 13-16. 

ancillis aut. 

apud patrem. 

obligantur, [victus . . . 
comis]. See An- 
dresen, Wochen- 
Philologie, 1915, 
eol. 885. 


universis [vices]. 

quaeque nationes. 

[Germauorum na- 

ultra hos 


Chatti : 
. . in- 






nomina superiori. 






religatur, BhET. 




ut. S.c note on tho pas.sage. 




armantur, BET in text, all 
showiug a variant ornan- 
tur; ornanlur, b with su- 
I)erscribed ann; ornantur, 
Cc ; armanlur, c-, above 




vetustissimos se, BbET. 




Nuithones, BoP]. 




passim et sine, Cc. See 
Andresen, Wochen.schriflfur 
klassische Philologie, 1910, 
col. 1317 ; Jahresberichte 
des philologischen Vereins 
zu Berlin, 36 (1910), p. 281. 

passim sine. 



peragitur, mss. 




mansere, BET. 




l^ygiorum, correction in BE. 




Helisios, ET ; Helysios, BCc. 




trans . . . obsequium. 

Chapter 44. 1-5. 



Lygios, BCcET. 




ministrantur, mss. 




ortus, (V-ET. 




(et fama vera), mss. ; editor's 

si fama vera. 



omnium, mss. 




glesum. mss. 




profertur, bET. 




interlucent, mss. 

interiacent (ai 



torpor procerum, mss. 

torpor : ora pi 



usu ac, mss. 

usu et (an error) 



cubile. mss. 

cubiU (an error). 



spes, mss. 



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