By Christopher B. Krebs
Winner of the 2012 Christian Gauss publication Award
"A version of well known highbrow heritage. . . . In each way, A most threatening Book is a so much fabulous achievement."--Washington Post
When the Roman historian Tacitus wrote the Germania, a none-too-flattering little booklet concerning the old Germans, he couldn't have foreseen that centuries later the Nazis could extol it as "a bible" and vow to resurrect Germany on its grounds. however the Germania inspired--and polarized--readers lengthy prior to the increase of the 3rd Reich. during this dependent and eye-catching background, Christopher B. Krebs, a professor of classics at Harvard collage, lines the wide-ranging impact of the Germania, revealing how an historic textual content rose to take its position one of the most threatening books on this planet.
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Extra info for A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich
Those who venture farther north would need to take care, however, the father admonished, because the Greenland Sea is prone to hafger∂ingar (probably tsunamis) and features many monsters, including the margygr with long hands and the large-breasted upper body of a woman, but with a man’s long hair and beard. They had not been seen very frequently, the father believed, but ‘people have stories to tell about them, so men must have seen or caught sight of them’. Rather more useful to traders would be the rostungr (walrus) found in Greenland waters and described as a species of seal, with two big tusks in its upper jaw yielding ivory, and with tough hide which, when cut into strips, provided strong ropes.
7 One of the things learned since the mid-nineteenth century is that the medieval North Atlantic expansion, which resulted in the Norse Greenland colony, preserved a remarkable cultural affinity among all the Norse societies around the North Atlantic and the North Sea. At the same time, settlers in their various new island homes very soon came to regard 6 no forwarding address themselves as denizens of their new homelands, not of Norway. This two-edged situation gives added significance to contemporaneous comments on Greenland found in the Historia Norvegiæ, and also to statements in the Konungsskuggsjá (King’s Mirror).
The structure had been surrounded by a small, circular graveyard, evidently used from the end of the tenth century until the end of the twelfth. It contained the remains of 144 persons, among them fifteen small children and a male with a knife still stuck in his ribs. A mass grave just a bit south of the church held the jumbled bones of fourteen males of various ages, their skulls facing west as in the other burials. 27 The horseshoe-shaped outline of the church is still visible today, and the view east across the iceberg-studded fjord is essentially the one which the first tiny congregation would have enjoyed a thousand years ago.