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Germania * Tacitus (reclam 1972 – isbn 3150093910)

“De origine et situ Germanorum liber” is the actual title of this first century book. It was written by the Roman Publius or Gaius Cornelius Tacitus (±55-120) and as you can see the book got known under a much shorter name. The actual title means ‘book about the origins and location of the Germans’, which covers the text completely. I got this Latin/German book for only E 3,10. The German publisher Reclam always has these small and cheap books, many of them of old texts. The translation is of 1972. This small book has about 110 pages. About half of them are filled with the Latin text (on the left pages) and the German translation (on the right). The rest are notes/explanations and a biography of the writer.

Tacitus has travelled through the Germanic countries extensively and gives a nice overview of the differnt tribes, the Germanic culture, etc. Of course he wrote from his Roman background, so -for example- Germanic gods get Roman names. Also not all information has proven correctly too. Still the text is a very nice overview of the mass of Germanic tribes that were present in the first years of our era. Tacitus gives some history, where the different tribes had their territories, describes habbits and culture, a little bit of mythology. In any case it is good to have a copy of this often-quoted text at home yourself, especially when you also get the original language and even more especially when it is only E 3,10! There are more expensive German translations and all of the English translations are more expensive, but there is a Penguin Classic with the “Agricola” and “Germania” in one book for $ 10,50.

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