This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Germania: Tacitus’ Perceptions Of Pax Romana Rome

1493 words - 6 pages

Germania: Tacitus’ Perceptions of Pax Romana Rome

While the early 2nd century is usually considered to be the height of the Roman Empire, closer examinations reveal a deteriorating state hiding behind a façade of power and wealth. As modern day historian C. Warren Hollister described, “life in Rome’s ‘golden age’ could be pleasant enough if one were male, adult, very wealthy, and naturally immune to various epidemic diseases. But if this was humanity’s happiest time, God help us all!” (14). Living during this time period, Cornelius Tacitus perceived of the rust slowly consuming through Rome’s golden shine. He writes, “the destinies of the Empire have passed their zenith,” predicting the end of an era 300 years before it occurred (33). He makes this conclusion based on observations of a deterioration of loyalty to the Empire due to weakened patriotism and societal values. His criticisms on the flaws of the Empire are interwoven into the text of his Germania, some being obvious while others are more discreet.

Written in 98 AD, Germania is a description of barbarian lifestyle and culture that Tacitus compiled from different accounts and sources. What makes it a somewhat unreliable historical source is that Tacitus interjects the text with his own opinions about the Empire. For example, Tacitus’ cynicism with the supposed power and strength of the Empire is revealed through his descriptions of the strength of the Germans. In this time period, the Empire represented the paragon of strength in a society, but Tacitus immediately brings attention to the hardiness and unity of the Germans in their barbaric wasteland. While the Romans enjoyed a temperate Mediterranean climate, the Germans lived in a place where the “wild scenery and harsh climate [make it] pleasant neither to live in nor look upon unless it be one’s home” (2). These people not only survive, but also thrive on cold and hunger, being unable to handle heat and thirst (4). Tacitus further comments that “the children in every house grow up amid nakedness and squalor into that girth of limb and frame which is to our people a marvel” (20). Even though the Germans live in such a hostile environment, they grow into physiques that awe the Romans. Moreover, unlike the Romans, they reject wine and sun. In these descriptions, Tacitus insinuates that the Romans are “soft.” He also implies that the Germans, a group of many tribes, had more unity and loyalty than the great, civilized Empire. In one passage, he describes a chant the Germans use in battle:

“The chant seems to them to mean not so much union of voices as union of hearts; the object they specially seek is a certain volume of hoarseness, a crashing roar, their shields being brought up to their lips, that the voice may swell to a fuller and deeper note by means of the echo” (3)

This description reveals Tacitus’ admiration for this unity and how something as simple as a chant can conjure up patriotism and unify a...

Find Another Essay On Germania: Tacitus’ Perceptions of Pax Romana Rome

Christianity and Pagans Essay

1346 words - 5 pages – right and wrong. Appointed as the emperor of Rome by the senators, Augustus calmed republican civil wars by creating the Pax Romana – or Roman Peace – which was a long-standing treaty creating the establishment of order within the provinces. This treaty warded off exterior threats for nearly 200 years and lasted until the death of the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius in 180 A.D. Around In 450 B.C.E., The Twelve Tables were established to serve as a

"Gladiator" Essay

746 words - 3 pages king who was tired of war. In real life he was probably not suited to take the responsibility as king. He was a man who would rather have peace and quiet than wars. During his term of being king, the Pax Romana which was a long period of peace in Rome failed, and like in the movie he was having tons of wars with the Germanian people. The Germanian tribes were hard to conquer. The movie was true because he died before he finished his conquest of

Rome Unit Exam

2178 words - 9 pages -interest and knew that this was the right thing to do. It was virtues such as these, led by early Romans like Aeneas that defined The Republic, made up of citizens acting to enhance Rome, that led to the great successes of Rome and added on to the greatness of their empire. Tacitus’ writings Agricola and Germania begin to display Rome’s corruption and how the virtues found in The Republic are disappearing. Tacitus recognizes Agricola for his superior

What Caused the Fall of the Roman Empire?

1014 words - 5 pages (508 – 26 B.C.E) collapsed because Rome had expanded to such an extent that the political system wasn’t able to administrate it efficiently. This was followed by civil war and then the Rise of the Roman Empire (Roman Republic). This rise of the Roman Empire brought a period called Pax Romana, “a state of comparative tranquility throughout the Mediterranean world from the reign of Augustus (27 BC–AD 14) to that of Marcus Aurelius (AD 161–180

Some causes for the fall of the Roman Empire (Massive Slavery, invasion, curruption of the government) (also talks about Christianity)

872 words - 3 pages wanted and liked reason. In the Midst of the corrupt rule, they might have thought that reason could not be returned to the government as it was during the Pax Romana, along with the senate which had been turned into a dictatorship. They had lost the hope that reason could help them because they had lost hope that it could be brought back.Near the ending of the Roman Empire the population was converted to Christianity, turning away from reason and

Tacitus' The Agricola and The Germania

909 words - 4 pages Imperial Rome, during the first century A.D. was expanding it's boundaries by adding new territories. They expanded into northern Europe and Britain and conquered or attempted to conquer various types of people. Based on my reading of Tacitus' The Agricola and The Germania, I have knowledge of the life and customs of the Britons, subject of the Agricola, and the Germans, subject of the Germania. This of course being the Romans, and more

Western Civilization: A Very Brief Overview from the Romans to the Counter-Reformation

1056 words - 4 pages world enjoyed two hundred years of peace known as the “Pax Romana,” the Roman peace. During this period, Rome was enjoying peace and prosperity even after the death of Augustus. The Romans saw the “Pax Romana” as the fulfillment of Rome’s mission; a world-state providing peace, security, ordered civilization and the rule of law, “the time of Happiness.’ During this period, thousands of cities served as the centers of “Greco-Roman civilization. This

1686 words - 7 pages , Octavian ended the civil war and brought peace to Rome by stabilizing the roman government and society. Octavian also changed the oligarchic Roman Republic into the autocratic Roman Empire. During the time of peace he established (Pax Romana) he expanded the empire, and rebuilt almost all of the city of Rome. He also made peace with the Parthian Empire, established the Praetorian Guard, and reformed Rome’s taxation system, among many other things

Notes on the Roman Empire: A World State

1381 words - 6 pages particular savior-god would protect them from misfortune and ensure their soul's immortality.* Classical civilization was being transformed. Philosophy had become subordinate to religious belief; secular values seemed inferior to religious experience.THE DECLINE OF ROME* In the third century, the ordered civilization of the Pax Romana ended. Several elements caused this disruption:- The Roman Empire was plunged into military anarchy.- Raided by German

Augustus Caesar

1421 words - 6 pages poisoned herself. Octavian now stood alone, one ruler who now controlled all of Rome and now a new Roman province, Egypt.Octavian now was ruler of Rome. Since he was Julius Caesar's adopted son, in January, 27 BC the senate changed his name from Octavian to Augustus Caesar. From this point on, Pax Romana had begun. Pax Romana is Latin for Rome in peace. Peace was finally restored in Rome, And Augustus was the imperator. Imperator later became know

The Roman Army Pax Romana

1825 words - 7 pages J.C Yardley. The Annals. London: Oxford UP, 2008. Print. Tacitus, Cornelius, and W. H. Fyfe. AT THE CLARENDON PRESS. Web. 14 Mar. 2012. . Warry, John Gibson. Warfare in the Classical World: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Weapons, Warriors, and Warfare in the Ancient Civilisations of Greece and Rome. Norman: University of Oklahoma, 1995. Print.

Similar Essays

Pax Romana To The Pax Mundi: Perception Collusion Of Post Hellenistic Civilizations

1699 words - 7 pages higher classes, skeptically labeled the Pax Romana as an attempt to assimilate political offices with sweet incentives to a lower class and a juxtaposition of “sparring dignitaries and extortionate officials” (HR 129). Basically, the patricians and political figures were forced, through the silent majority’s smiling want of change, to relinquish power and forfeit “political equality” (HR 129). Patricians would most likely feel disenfranchised

Tacitus : The Rise Of The Immoral Rome

1982 words - 8 pages Tacitus Cornelius, born during the reign of the emperor Nero, gives us a grim and cynical narration of Roman history. Despite his political success, he lamented a century's worth of continually reduced aristocratic power. It is from this bias that he describes the reigns of the Julio-Claudian emperors in the "The Annals of Imperial Rome". Though in the early parts of the text Tacitus claims to be an impartial judge, "I shall write

Analysis Of “Herodotus’ Scythian Narrative, Sima Qian’s Account Of The Xiongnu, Tacitus’ Germania”

1047 words - 5 pages similarities in the relationships between territorial empires and outsiders, there are also many differences, which can be distinguished by observing these three works. For example, some empires viewed outsiders with admiration. This can be observed in Tacitus’ Germania during which Germania is used as a way to frame Rome and shows Roman admiration for some values of the Germans. Tacitus’ mentions in his book that Germans “choose their kings for

The Character And Achievements Of Roman Emperor Augustus

842 words - 3 pages Augustus was more concerned with self preservation than the advancement of the senate, the armies and his citizens. He rejected absolute power, but had an ulterior motive. With the fate of Julius Caesar in his mind, Augustus was well aware of the dangers of absolute power. So he saw dispersing power as a means to offset those potential threats to his lift. I have used the primary sources such as Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome by Tacitus