PRINT January 2005


Juergen Teller

AS THE HISTORIAN Simon Schama tells us in his informative and enriching Landscape and Memory (1995), Cornelius Tacitus completed his monumental study Germania; or, On the Origin and Situation of the Germans, around the year 98. For approximately two hundred years before that, Roman legions had been spending a great deal of time, money, and manpower attempting to suppress those “children of nature” who inhabited a northern land- scape antithetical to the sophisticated Romans’ manicured own. That German landscape, which Tacitus described as “for the most part bristling forests and foul bogs,” was commonly believed to have shaped its fierce, warmongering people. The Germans, according to Tacitus, did “no business, private or public, without arms in their hands.” But what they did not feel the need to combat was nature, the only power they recognized as being greater than their own.


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