A Nostalgic View of the Past and the Degradation of Roman Politics Under the Principate: The Role of Germanicus in Tacitus' Annales

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dc.contributor.advisor Walker, Cheryl
dc.contributor.author Miserendino, Deanna M.
dc.date.accessioned 2016-03-14T14:59:16Z
dc.date.available 2016-03-14T14:59:16Z
dc.date.issued 2016
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10192/31813
dc.description.abstract Tacitus, in his first two books of the Annales, spends a great portion of his time discussing Germanicus, the young prince of the budding Roman Empire and adopted son of Emperor Tiberius. The historian’s portrayal of the young man seems contradictory in nature, as he is presented as both an ignorant and inept leader and also an overwhelmingly popular man on par with Alexander the Great. This paper intends to provide a fresh analysis of the duality of Tacitus’ portrayal of Germanicus and begin to understand the purpose for presenting him in such a way. An analysis of the young prince’s personality traits reveals that his comitas, civilitas, overdramatic tendencies and lack of rational thinking are all consistent within his portrayal, but the duality is a product of the diversity of their results. This makes Tacitus’ representation of him similar to that of Alexander the Great, in addition to the heroic characters from the Homeric epics and Virgil’s Aeneid. Moreover, his representation’s strong stylistic and circumstantial connection to men of the past, ranging from the more recent Republican men like Scipio Africanus and Drusus, to heroes like Odysseus, Hercules, and Aeneas show that Germanicus is meant to be viewed nostalgically as a symbol of a better time. These themes allow him to become a point of comparison for his present circumstances. By exploring the prince as a counterpart to various contemporaneous rulers and political figures in Rome this paper reveals that the romantic and idealized past, and members of that past like Germanicus, are no longer effective or appropriate in the effective and yet unscrupulous political atmosphere of the principate. All of these results lead to the conclusion that the purpose of the presentation of Germanicus was to highlight the necessity of the inception of the principate while also emphasizing the inadequacies of the institution and the potential dangers of the misuse of consolidated power.
dc.description.sponsorship Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso eng
dc.publisher Brandeis University
dc.relation.ispartofseries Brandeis University Theses and Dissertations
dc.rights Copyright by Deanna M. Miserendino 2016
dc.subject Germanicus
dc.subject Tacitus
dc.title A Nostalgic View of the Past and the Degradation of Roman Politics Under the Principate: The Role of Germanicus in Tacitus' Annales
dc.type Thesis
dc.contributor.department Graduate Program in Ancient Greek and Roman Studies
dc.degree.name MA
dc.degree.level Masters
dc.degree.discipline Ancient Greek and Roman Studies
dc.degree.grantor Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences


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