A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich
The riveting story of the Germania and its incarnations and exploitations through the ages.The pope wanted it, Montesquieu used it, and the Nazis pilfered an Italian noble's villa to get it: the Germania, by the Roman historian Tacitus, took on a life of its own as both an object and an ideology. When Tacitus wrote a not-very-flattering little book about the ancient Germans in 98 CE, at the height of the Roman Empire, he could not have foreseen that the Nazis would extol it as "a bible," nor that Heinrich Himmler, the engineer of the Holocaust, would vow to resurrect Germany on its grounds. But the Germania inspired—and polarized—readers long before the rise of the Third Reich. In this elegant and captivating history, Christopher B. Krebs, a professor of classics at Harvard University, traces the wide-ranging influence of the Germania over a five-hundred-year span, showing us how an ancient text rose to take its place among the most dangerous books in the world.
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Agricola Ahnenerbe ancient Germans Annius Aryan Aventinus bards Bebel Berlin Berosus blood Campano Celtis century chap classical Clüver Codex Aesinas Conrad Celtis contemporary Cornelius Tacitus culture Deutsche deutschen Domitian emperor Enoch fatherland Faulhaber following quotation French Friedrich German ancestors German humanists German nation Germanen Germanic past Germanic tribes Geschichte Gobineau Greek Günther Heinrich Himmler Herder historian Hitler Holy Roman Empire honor human humanists ideology indigenous Italian Italy Jacob Grimm Jacob Wimpfeling Justus Justus Möser Klopstock language later Latin letter Library linguistic manuscript Montesquieu moral Möser Munich National Socialist Nazi Niccoli Noah’s Nordic race Opitz orig original people’s Piccolomini Pliny Pliny the Younger Poggio political purity quoted racial readers Reich Reichsführer Rhenanus Rhine Roman Empire Rome Rome’s Schottelius spirit Taci Tacitean Tacitus’s Tacitus’s Germania Tacitus’s text tion translation Tuisto Tuysco Volk völkisch völkisch movement warriors Wimpfeling words write