It is now twenty-two years since the translation of Tacitus's Agricola and Germania (under the title On Britain and Germany) by Harold Mattingly first appeared.
Preface (Penguin Classics, 1976 reprint)
The Agricola of Tacitus, the biography of the most famous of Roman Britain, is part of our national story, and as such has a direct claim on our interest.
Introduction (Penguin Classics, 1976 reprint)
Famous men of old often had their lives and characters set on record; and even our generation, with all its indifference to the world around it, has not quite abandoned the practice.
Agricola (Penguin Classics, 1976 reprint)
The various peoples of Germany are separated from the Gauls by the Rhine, from the Raetians and Pannonians by the Danube, and from the Sarmatians and Dacians by mountains - or, where there are no mountains, by mutual fear.
Germania (Penguin Classics, 1976 reprint)
On such unverifiable stories I shall express no opinion.
"The Agricola" is both a portrait of Julius Agricola - the most famous governor of Roman Britain and Tacitus' well-loved and respected father-in-law - and the first detailed account of Britain that has come down to us. It offers fascinating descriptions of the geography, climate and peoples of the country, and a succinct account of the early stages of the Roman occupation, nearly fatally undermined by Boudicca's revolt in AD 61 but consolidated by campaigns that took Agricola as far as Anglesey and northern Scotland. The warlike German tribes are the focus of Tacitus' attention in the "Germania", which, like the "Agricola", often compares the behaviour of 'barbarian' peoples favourably with the decadence and corruption of Imperial Rome.
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Julius Agricola was the most famous governor of Roman Britain who almost lost control during Boudicca's revolt. Tacitus's succinct account of Agricola's Britain is complemented by his realistic portrayal of the Germanic tribes who were wrongly considered to be barbarians by his Roman contemporaries.… (more)