By Christopher B. Krebs
Winner of the 2012 Christian Gauss publication Award
"A version of well known highbrow historical past. . . . In each way, A most threatening Book is a so much very good achievement."--Washington Post
When the Roman historian Tacitus wrote the Germania, a none-too-flattering little e-book concerning the historic Germans, he couldn't have foreseen that centuries later the Nazis could extol it as "a bible" and vow to resurrect Germany on its grounds. however the Germania inspired--and polarized--readers lengthy prior to the increase of the 3rd Reich. during this dependent and pleasing historical past, Christopher B. Krebs, a professor of classics at Harvard collage, strains the wide-ranging effect of the Germania, revealing how an old textual content rose to take its position one of the most deadly books on the earth.
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Extra resources for A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich
In the more recent broader social view, we find on the one hand that many ‘medieval’ traits were actually alive and very well during Roman imperial rule, and on the other, that many ‘Roman’ traits lasted long into the Middle Ages. An increased awareness of geographical diversity also cautions against any idea of ubiquitous decline. The magnificent ruins of the fourth-century Roman villa at Chedworth in the English county of Gloucestershire, with its mosaics, water-borne sanitation and hypocaustic heating, indicated that, at least for the very few, life on the Tiber was transported far beyond the Thames.
Gone now was the institutionalised corruption that had squeezed the provinces and poured wealth into the coffers of the Roman upper classes. But the regularised and ever-growing imperial bureaucracy, which replaced the senatorial system, brought its own attendant evils. The cities were the points through which the central government governed and taxed locally. Towns and cities of the various legal statuses were usually governed by a town council, or curia. Its officials, the curiales or decuriones, represented the imperial government as well as the locality and knew how to make immense personal fortunes from the taxing of the countryside.
After the reign of Theodosius (378–395), the Empire would be divided, with one emperor ruling the West from Milan and then Ravenna and the other ruling the East from Constantinople. Furthermore, Diocletian’s smaller provincial boundaries in Roman Gaul would enjoy a truly remarkable longevity, becoming, for the most part, the administrative divisions of medieval France (the civitates) and remaining so until the French Revolutionary government replaced them with the D´epartements. The Roman Catholic church, no friend of the Revolution, has retained them still further, and they are still today the basis of France’s ecclesiastical dioceses.
A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich by Christopher B. Krebs