Cornelius Tacitus, De origine et situ Germanorum [On the Origin and Geographical Situation of the Germani]

Rhiannon Menai Evans (University of Melbourne)
Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error

Dated to 98 (


. 37.2) and describing the origins, religion and customs of the Germani, an ethnic group said to inhabit northern central Europe, Tacitus’s


is the only entirely ethnographic ancient text extant (ancient ethnographies tend to be a subsection of primarily historical or geographical texts). The work, however, does begin with a brief description of the geographical parameters of “All of Germania” (

Germania omnis

, a verbal reference to Julius Caesar’s

Gallic Wars

, which begin

Gallia est omnis

). The


is also strongly influenced by Caesar’s comparative ethnography of both Gauls and Germans (

Gallic Wars

6.11-28). Tacitus quickly moves on to the Germani’s origins, the first of many occasions on which the Germani are made the antithesis of Romans, as he…

1034 words

Citation: Evans, Rhiannon Menai. "De origine et situ Germanorum". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 December 2009 [, accessed 05 March 2024.]

13475 De origine et situ Germanorum 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.