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  • Thumbnail for An Analysis of the Literary Purpose of Tacitus’ Germania
    An Analysis of the Literary Purpose of Tacitus’ Germania by Balaguer, Anna Marcella

    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.