09-0b Rome PT

09-0b Rome PT - Voices from the Dust! ! Unit 9: Rome! ! ! !...

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Unit 9: Rome Primary Readings 9.1. Tacitus, Agricola , 30-32 Latin, 98 AD. This work is a biography of Tacitus's father-in-law. The passage represents a speech of the British Celtic chieftain Calgacus to his soldiers on the eve of battle with the Romans. ( The Works of Tacitus , (Bohn Classical Library, 1872) 2:372-374) When I reflect on the causes of the war, and the circumstances of our situation, I feel a strong persuasion that our united efforts on the present day will prove the beginning of universal liberty to Britain. For we are all undebased by slavery; and there is no land behind us, nor does even the sea afford a refuge, whilst the Roman fleet hovers around. Thus the use of arms, which is at all times honourable to the brave, now offers the only safety even to cowards. In all the battles which have yet been fought, with various success, against the Romans, our countrymen may be deemed to have reposed their final hopes and resources in us: for we, the noblest sons of Britain, and therefore stationed in its last recesses, far from the view of servile shores, have preserved even our eyes unpolluted by the contact of subjection. We, at the farthest limits both of land and liberty, have been defended to this day by the remoteness of our situation and of our fame. The extremity of Britain is now disclosed; and whatever is unknown becomes an object of magnitude. But there is no nation beyond us; nothing but waves and rocks, and the still more hostile Romans, whose arrogance we cannot escape by obsequiousness and submission. These plunderers of the world, after exhausting the land by their devastations, are plundering the ocean: stimulated by avarice, if their enemy be rich; by ambition, if poor: unsatiated by the East and by the West: the only people who behold wealth and indigence with equal avidity. To rape, to slaughter to usurp under false titles, they call empire; they make a wasteland and call it peace. Our children and relations are by the appointment of nature the dearest of all things to us. These are torn away by levies to serve in foreign lands. Our wives and sisters, though they should escape the violation of hostile force, are polluted under names of friendship and hospitality. Our estates and possessions are consumed in tributes; our grain in contributions. Even our bodies are worn down amidst stripes and insults in clearing woods and draining marshes. Wretches born to slavery are once bought, and afterwards maintained by their masters: Britain every day buys, every day feeds, her own servitude. And as among domestic slaves every new comer serves for the scorn and derision of his fellows; so, in this ancient household of the world, we, as the newest anal vilest, are sought out to destruction. For we have neither cultivated lands, nor mines, nor harbours, which can induce them to preserve us for our labours. The valour too and unsubmitting, spirit of subjects only render them more obnoxious to their
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This note was uploaded on 10/23/2011 for the course HIST 201 taught by Professor Sabey during the Fall '08 term at BYU.

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09-0b Rome PT - Voices from the Dust! ! Unit 9: Rome! ! ! !...

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