The Roman Empire and Roman civilization.


• What can we learn from Tacitus’s account about the economy, politics,
society, and culture of the Germanic peoples of the first century C.E.?
• In what ways are his accounts descriptive of the economy, politics, society,
and culture of the Romans of the first century C.E.? In what ways are his
descriptions of the Germans implicitly comments on the Romans? Please
provide specific examples.
• As described by Tacitus, what were some of the principle values that
governed German society? How did those values compare with values of
imperial Roman societies, as evidenced implicitly in Tacitus’s account?
• Modern scholars have argued that Tacitus used the Germanic peoples to
implicitly criticize aspects of his own Roman culture. What evidence might
support this point of view? From what you have read about Roman
civilization, what does this document reveal aspects of Romans?
• Given that Tacitus’s intended audience are Romans, why wouldn’t Tacitus
make his criticisms of Roman culture more explicit?
• Which statements of Tacitus might you regard as reliable, and which are
more suspect? Why?
• In what ways did Tacitus regard Germanic peoples as distinctly inferior to
Romans? In what ways were they not?

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