Tacitus on Britain and Germany

Tacitus on Britain and Germany

Introduction

The Agricola of Tacitus, the biography of the most famous governor of Roman Britain, is part of our national story, and as such has a direct claim on our interest. The Germania, a detailed account of a great people that had already begun to be a European problem in the first century of our era, should still have a message for us in the twentieth. The story of the hero and the story of strange countries that were combined in Homer`s `Odyssey` have now, at a later stage of literature, come to receive separate treatment.

 

It is to the modern British reader, then, that this version is offered. As he is probably unfamiliar with much detail that is necessary for the full understanding of the story, it will be well to say something about the author and his works and the conditions of the age in which he wrote. The early parts of the introduction will be better understood when the whole of it has been read.

The general reader may like to be warned that sections xi – xiv of this Introduction are less immediately necessary to the understanding of the text than sections i – x, and that the Notes on Manuscripts and passages of the text and the Bibliography are specially intended for classical students.