Agricola and Germania (Penguin Classics) 1st Edition
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About the Author
J. B. Rives received his PhD in Classics from Stanford University (1990) and taught at Columbia University and at York University in Toronto before moving to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is Kenan Eminent Professor of Classics. He is the author of Religion and Authority in Roman Carthage (1995) and Religion in the Roman Empire (2006), as well as numerous articles on aspects of religion in the Roman world. He has also published a translation, with introduction and commentary, of Tacitus' Germania (1999) and, for Penguin Classics, has revised Robert Graves' translation of Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars (2007).
Harold Mattingley was born in 1884 and died in 1964. He is best known for his study of Roman coinage at the British Museum where he worked from 1920 to 1948. He wrote over four hundred articles and books and his Roman Imperial Civilization, first published when he was seventy-two, embodied the reflections of a lifetime devoted to the study of the Roman world.
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Overall, this book is probably not very compelling reading for the general reader, despite its brevity. But for the scholar, this book is extremely valuable on many levels. I’d also recommend it to anyone who is visiting an archaeological site on the former Roman frontier. I read it right after visiting Hadrian’s Wall; the site and the reading were mutually enriching experiences. J.B. Rives’ notes and introduction are excellent. Good maps and a glossary are appended. Four stars.
By the time I got to through the introduction, I felt like I had a good basis and background for which to interpret the words of Tacitus. I bought this book because of what Tacitus writes about, but what I got was SO much more, thanks to the extra effort and work of J.B. Rives. Thank you so much.
Agricola is the story of Tacitus' father-in-law, a Roman officer that was involved in the conquest of Britain. The story is a biography that includes insights into Roman Britain and includes the famous barbarian speech indicting Rome's Greedy Expansion. "...The Romans make a desolation and call it peace."
Germania is a study of the tribes of Germany. It shows insights into the early culture of the German People and Tacitus favorably compares the Germans to the Romans in his own day.
The editor has many good notes, a fine appendix, and maps which allows the reader to infer modern names to the places described.
The reader is given a vivid look into an ancient world, but through the eyes of the conqueror and not the conquered. Still, this is a masterpiece of information about a lost time. The translation was done very well by Harold Mattingly and his introduction sheds light on Tacitus' life and literary career, the governorship of Agricola and Rome's political backgroud in an everchanging empire. The two maps of Roman Britain and Germania were an added surprise.
I was a little disappointed that Tacitus did not give more descriptions on the native tribes of Scotland in The Agricola. For this reason, I felt that The Germania stood out much more. His vivid descriptions of the German tribes and their religious beliefs was wonderful to read.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Roman history and/or the native tribes of Scotland and Germania.
Top international reviews
The book may not be of interest to the average reader of history, but is a good start for someone who is interested specifically in Historical writing of the Classical era. It deals with very specific topics in the 1st century AD relating to the Roman Empire.