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An Analysis of the Literary Purpose of Tacitus’ Germania

by Balaguer, Anna Marcella

Abstract

My thesis offers an interpretation of the literary purpose of the Germania informed by close analysis of the text and consideration of the literary and historical context of the document. I first contend that Tacitus positions the Germani as a foil to the Roman people and intentionally portrays the Germani as morally pure but primitive in order to comment on moral decay in Rome while simultaneously affirming the superior cultural sophistication of Roman society. In the subsequent section of the paper, I focus on the geographic backdrop of the ethnography and argue that Tacitus constructs the landscape in a manner that subverts Domitian’s claim of victory against the Chatti. I assert that while Tacitus seeks counter the Domitiantic narrative of Germanic conquest, by self-consciously inventing, rather than simply describing, the land and the people and by establishing himself as an authority on the region, he literarily colonizes Germania himself.

Note

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Includes bibliographical references.

Administrative Notes

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Copyright
Copyright restrictions apply.
Publisher
Colorado College Tutt Library
PID
coccc:31223
Digital Origin
born digital
Extent
34 pages
Thesis
Senior Thesis -- Colorado College
Thesis Advisor
Owen Cramer Sanjaya Thakur Marcia Dobson
Department/Program
Classics
Degree Name
Bachelor of Arts
Degree Type
bachelor
Degree Grantor
Colorado College Tutt Library
Date Issued
2019-05