Lives Journal 8

Branko J. Hribovshek






Once upon a time in the good old times, the alchemists tried to turn lead in gold, the heretics and the witches were fried alive on the stake and who was not saved by the black death enjoyed by the god's will and blessings in the plunder, slaughter and rape, either as a doer, or as a victim or both.

Nowadays it is done much better!


... fateor – magnam esse humani generis imbecillitatem ... (G. F. Poggio Bracciolini)[1]


The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources ... (Albert Einstein)


Yes, you will this confirm by reading further this text. In any case your choice will be in my or against my favor. My intention is not to write a recension of this book or to repeat in short its contents. My humble aim is to point on some other facts concerning Tacitus's book Germania. The emphases are on the aspects, which are still loudly promoted and on the other, which are intended to be concealed or are pushed forward under the false pretext. I do not claim to be fully capable to do it, neither to grasp it completely, but there are the circumstances which are also understandable to a layman.


The Kreb's [2] book is well written. The story from the beginning to the end and the narrative don't lack the tension. The book is also well documented with references, sources and literature. Where this is not possible, very plausible, well linked, sly and ingenious assertions are made, Krebs himself says (p.77):


... But evidence is scant and eristic, and once again what seems plausible must stand in for what is known as fact. ...


It would be better said: for what is not known as a fact. ...


Krebs concludes his book with the words (p. 250):


... In the end the Roman historian Tacitus did not write a most dangerous book; his readers made it so.

Very, very true, but it depends all on the standpoint.


The title is very preposterous in spite of the letter »a«. One of the most dangerous books ever written is surely The Bible, with all parts of it. Even today it essentially influences as well the politics as well the everyday life of the millions. Just in this moment there are the people tortured, they are dying, they are imprisoned, regardless of their age and gender, directly or indirectly, all justified by the The Bible or its derivates.


The Krebs's book is written for the West, so a preposterous, bombastic title is usually a must, it catches the eye and the book should sell well.


From the beginning of the written word, there were scriptures, later certain books, declared as dangerous and were therefore destroyed. Among them all Bibles except The Holy Bible as accepted, and also not Germania.

The story in Kreb's book starts with the Roman Empire, continues with Tacitus and his time, then with the »discovery« of his Germania, followed with the answers on the question (followed with the explanation): Why should Germania became so dangerous?

The essence of answer that Krebs gave in his book is just a very real case, described without a lot of philosophic discussion, but clearly shown how an idea, a notion, real or imaginary, can be used or misused to achieve certain goal, to influence the people to commit the most outrageous deeds.


Krebs states the aim of his book as an intellectual epidemiology (p. 23):


... The Germania virus, imported from the late fifteenth century from Italy ... progressed to a systemic infection culminating in the major crisis of the twentieth century ...

To write an intellectual epidemiology means to visit the patients and to inspect the various historical and cultural contexts in which this innocuous yet noxious text figured ...


He describes very concisely the use and the misuse of Germania – from the Roman Empire, or better, from possible 15th century »Tacitus«, over the Reformation to Nazis, Hitler and to Heinrich Böll and actually to professor Krebs himself.


Krebs states generaly on Germania (p.20):

... Tacitus work wielded so great an influenceover so extended a period of time – 450 years in all –because »Germany« for many centuries was but a product of imagination ...

Just therefore or at least therefore – is this the main reason?

The very short resume on the role of Germania gave Monaldi and Sorti in their novel I dubbi di Salai (p. 345) [3]:


... The morbid ideological perspective that has undertaken all from the beginning to Hitler to ignite the war and all what followed, was not the fruit of the immediate eruption of the collective murderous insanity, not even the burning German frustration from the time after the Versailles, but the fruit of the centuries of propaganda, which injected the poison in the veins of the whole German nation and the aversion to anything that is not German, slowly and silently ...


Yes, but not only – the predisposition for the racist thoughts is omnipresent ... Just remember the almost everyday commentaries – how she or he could marry, be friend of or associate with this or that person, which is of this or that origin, nation or religion ... or education ... or village ... or vocation or color? It starts actually always with these reflections!


For countless Americans, Germany remains the ultimate metaphor of evil, the frightening remainder of the fragility of civilization. – Deidre Berger.

Hitler was »the mirror of every German’s unconscious ... the loudspeaker which magnifies the inaudible whispers of the German soul«. – Carl Jung. [4]

Indeed, it was not Germania the cause for the evolution of the German and Austrian Nazism and racism. It was and is just in line of the (not only, but generally) the western, but from the perspective of especially European nations, the German mentality. This way of thinking – hubris, arrogance, superiority in any way – was and is present, perhaps not more dominant and perhaps not more akin to majority, as well also by the French, by the British and by the Americans, not to mention Dutch, Belgians, Danes, Italians, Spaniards and Portuguese, all the very core of the nations, which boast themselves as the bearer of the western civilization, pointing the finger on Germans. This attitude had also the old Greeks and the Romans towards the others.


Isque habitus animorum fuit ut pessimum facinus auderent pauci, plures vellent, omnes paterentur.

 In fact the general attitude was this: few dared to undertake so foul a crime, many wished to see it done, and everybody was ready to condone it. (Tacitus)


Should I mention the colonies, the past and the present wars and the propaganda related, the export of »democracy«, the support against »oppressors« to »freedom fighters«, the war on »terrorism«, the »protection« of »human rights«, the »help« to »regime change« ? Just listen carefully today’s news!


In old empire:

Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant. – Tacitus


In the new »want to be empire«:

The bombing, slaughter and torture they misnamed liberation, creating a burnt wasteland they call peace. (free after Tacitus)


They all think and they are educated to have the birthright to do this – the small, nameless, misused, indoctrinated, expendable western sheeple from the street – but the lead is only the power, greed and avarice of their »elite«, which holds them only for consumers and consumable goods itself.

The Germania-like indoctrination has made it with the slogans: we, the chosen and the exceptional, we are born to lead the humankind, we, with the leading culture and science, the others don't like our noble way of life, they all want to live on our expense and they envy us, we are for them »Schlaraffenland – Cockaigne« and they want a piece of »our« cake, this disinformation propaganda culminating with the Nial Fergussons imbecile apps in »The West and the Rest« [5] ...


In old empire:

Idque apud imperitos humanitas vocabatur, cum pars servitutis esset. – Tacitus

In the new »want to be empire«:

Uneducated, they called it democracy, being a part of their slavery. (free after Tacitus)


Germans belonged in the history just vaguely to the West. In the moment as Germany became the adversary in the WWI and WWII, it did not belonged any more to the West as seen from the Western standpoint. It was demonized as currently are demonized, perhaps not just in the same way, Russia and China, but surely in the same way as the islamists.

But the very West reduced the Germans to their sins in the WWII. It was clear: besides their sins, they worked out precisely the corresponding ideology, based on Germania, extended it »scientifically«, put it in the historical and philosophical context by Spengler [6], the goal was the Third Reich with the world capital Germania. Italian fascists were not much better ; they were just less systematic as they wanted the revival of the Roman Empire in their way.

The fact is that every bigger western nation has also in the cellar of its newer and older history just as many victims as the Germans themselves. They just didn't explicitly industrialize the murder, but they legalized and automatized it. It was and is also automatically legal , if it was or is committed by a westerner on a non westerner – the very examples are also in today’s news.


The United States and Great Britain may speak English but, more than they know, they think German. – (Peter Watson) [4]


This evil spirit of power, greed and avarice, has found in Germania just the right context, as also in the (mis?) interpretation of The Bible, Torah, Koran, Kapital ... or any other work, which stirs people's emotions, to rise them against each other, the disaster for the majority, the benefit for the few.


Just a short scan over the comments on Krebs's book in the web shows that Germania's thematic causes still a lot of unrest. As in the past, is in the present Germania still actual.





As it is to be expected, these facts are naturally not mentioned in Krebs's book. But they are not only dangerous for Germania, they are actually most interesting facts concerning this book.


Before we proceed further, let me make a small digression.


In the Western scientific and the less scientific literature, works or publications, an omission of references, citations or the acknowledgment to »non-domestic« works – for example east European, Chinese etc. – is almost the rule, especially if there is something really new in their contents. Usually, declined to be published in the western journals, or even just kept it years not published, are the works possibly plagiarized and later published under for the West »kosher« name. The usual excuse is: We have made a research also on this subject and we didn't know that somebody other was also working on it. The same excuse is applied for publishing the facts already previously published somewhere in the east – with addition that this literature was not at the time accessible to them.

There are also problems with the peer review prior to publication. The work which is not in his, the peer's line, will frequently not be published. So something new, against the official »beliefs« is hard to accept for peers, being well established and renown scientists in their field; the work will be often cast in the trash, which is naturally also present – as may be confirmed by anybody from the scientific academic circles.

The theft of the scientific work and the omission of reference to the original work of somebody else, even in the same academic institution, is nothing uncommon. Also the forgery of scientific results is nothing seldom. Just remember the famous »Einstein's« equation, found and published a couple of times before Einstein's publication, where it is not at all referred [7]. Luckily are such plagiarism and forgery in technical and natural sciences sooner or later discovered, they simply can not be kept secret due to the nature of the subject.

The worst are the circumstances in the religion alias philosophy, in history and partially in linguistics, where the first two are actually not sciences but beliefs, the second two covertly very near to that.

If there was something accepted as a »general« truth, even in the remote past, there are not enough even the most obvious opposite facts to change this »belief«. The bearer of the »heresy« are perhaps tolerated as the sect, in the history and linguistics as a rule ignored – they were, are and will be »totgeschwiegen – dead silenced« or maybe declared as »revisionists«, »conspiracy theorists« or »terrorist sympathizers«, but in any case they were, they are and they will remain they deadly foes for the corresponding professional establishment. By publishing their work they made a sure professional suicide.

The works generally accepted are only the works, which confirm, complete or supplement the official beliefs.


For the reader, even slightly acquainted with the Tacitus, is very puzzling that some essential facts concerning Tacitus's works are almost in all publications, referencing his works, simply omitted. Also Krebs's book is absolutely »tacit« about them. It is the questionable omission of the fact, that Tacitus's Germania and other works were declared a couple of times as a fake or a forgery, mostly stated to be written by a »Tacitus« in 15th century, and there are quite reasonable arguments for that.


The first substantial problem for the authenticity of Tacitus's works is the time in which they appear some 13 hundred years after they were allegedly written. There was prior to this appearance not a single credible reference to allegedly »Tacitus's« works, which could be taken as a genuine one – and the existence of »Tacitus« himself is also questionable.

This is problem with the majority of the classic manuscripts, allegedly written in the Roman Empire.

They are very cited, but seldom is asked who found them, where are the »originals« from which are they compiled. Even, if they are possibly genuine, is seldom clear what was added to, what was omitted from their contents and why. There was only a bunch of people – the »humanists«, that »discovered the originals«, nobody else really saw the majority of these originals, they are as a rule »lost«. I

The authentic manuscripts of this age require a very high state of technology just to open or to roll them out, even if they were all the time completely protected – as the Kumran scrolls – not to mention the problems to decipher the damaged parts. It is absurd to imply that the originals could be preserved in medieval monasteries, which were built many hundred years later as the manuscripts should have been written. Allegedly »discovered« in the most out-of-the-way places, as described by the discoverers, where it was physically impossible for manuscripts to stay preserved even a couple of decades.

So it is necessary to explain, how the works were preserved. If genuine, they were surely only the transcriptions. But by whom were they transcribed and why their »original transcriptions« were lost, why were they till discovery unknown or at least completely ignored?

The next question will then concern the credibility of their contents, especially if they are suspected not to be genuine.

The proofs for the authenticity of Tacitus's works should be the scarce and not so clear reference to them in the works of Jordanes [7], Ammianius Marcellinus [8] etc. This covers the time and the end of Roman Empire. The problem is that these works all have been discovered by the same forgery suspects and so not valid as the reliable proofs.


The immortality of one is often bought by the anonymity of many ... Illustrations show them bent over their sloping desks, skilfully wielding their quills-and, it may be added sometimes compensating with calligraphic diligence what they lacked in linguistic competence ... Within the walls of the library and the school, the scratching of parchments could increasingly be heard ...


So describes Krebs in his book (p. 62) vividly the monkish scribes from Fulda (in German state Hessen) in the times of the mythic emperor Charlemagne [9] – the reader gets the impression that they are probably just copying Germania ... uh, I envy him for such a picturesque eloquence betraying a diligent studiosus.


So the next reference should stem from the Charlemagne's times. It is usually stated that Rudolfus von Fulda (800?- 865), with Meginhard (also: Eginhard) the alleged author of Annales Fuldensis [10], in the story »Translatio sancti Alexandri« [11] almost word by word copied the Germani's description from Germania , changing just the grammatical tense and applying it to heathen Saxons ... The proof should be his mention of Tacitus in the Annales Fuldensis (Ann. Fuld. Pars II. (Fuldensis), year 852).

This reference is obviously an insertion – somehow it is not congruent with the surrounding text, standing there sole in the whole Annales Fuldensis.

Only the transcriptions of the Annales Fuldensis exist, the original is »lost«. The manuscript – allegedly the original – »Translatio sancti Alexandri« was bought from a certain Swiss gentleman, named Dr. Huber [10] – the English name equivalent of this gentleman would be Dr. Smith or Dr. Brown – in the year 1735 for the King's Library in Hannover. Where it was harbored, found, where from it came is not known. Allegedly it was the manuscript, which was announced for sale from Bibliotheca Federici Pacii in Leipzig 1734 ...

At first was the manuscript ascribed to 11th century and later was declared as »unverkennbar – unmistakeable« originating from the 9th century ... But, keep in mind, this manuscript, if authentic, was surely known in Rome as a report on the transport of the reliquary, other German scriptures – Thietmar's, Adam's, Helmhold's, Rudolf's, Saxo's ... probable not known at all.


As it was found out in the Monumenta Germanie Historica, that the round twenty thousand medieval scripts, allegedly written before the eleventh century, were actually written in eleventh century and later [11], so is the authenticity of the Annales Fuldensis also questionable. The later chroniclers as Thietmar von Merseburg (975-1018) [12], Helmold von Bosau (1125-1177) [13], Adam von Bremen (1050?-1081?) [14], Saxo Grammaticus (1150-1220?) [15] were really existent persons and none of them gives a slightest hint to have ever heard of Tacitus – they all should have been also acquainted with the Annales Fuldensis as they would very probably used them.

So, it remains the sole conclusion that »Tacitus« copied from »Translatio sancti Alexandri« in the case that the latter is a genuine, and vice versa possibly only after 15th century.


Hundreds if not thousands cited Tacitus after the 15th century, but there are just a few scientists, historians and linguists, which analyzed critically the contents and the Latin of Histories, Annals, Agricola, Germania etc.

They are John Wilson Ross [16], Polydore Hochart [17] and Leo Wiener [18]. They were all also westerners ... this hint, just to avoid any insinuation.

It is the reference to them and their work, which is completely omitted. Even the late professor Leo Wiener, from the Harvard University, an elder colleague of professor Krebs, is not mentioned by him. Professor Wiener was the very linguistic specialist for the classic texts and analyzed thoroughly besides other classics also Germania – and found it to be a forgery.


... The utter worthlessness of the Germania is patent, beyond any possibility of defense ... – Leo Wiener [18]


Alas, the more informed reader can not get rid of the impression, that Krebs was also conscious of these omissions and that they are very, very intended.

Like Wiener, he copes also extensively with the so called »Germanic battle cry« (baritus or barditus) and with the names of the Germanic witches, which are part of Wiener's proofs for forgery of Germania. It gives the impression, as Krebs would try to »debunk« Wiener. But later more on the subject.

But Krebs needs not to fight for the career, for the existence or to hide any plagiarism. Perhaps he just estimates these works as not significant at all. But his attitude is not at all important – it is just the same as that of the majority of historians. Important is, that the works of these critical scholars were always systematically »totgeschwiegen«. In the case of Germania – by (almost?) all German and many other historians and linguists.

If these works have been cited, if the counterarguments have been given, or they have been just declared as garbage, this would be just the normal case – the scholars can be pro or contra – their arguments accepted or not – read it or not – if you are interested or not. But to ignore them, completely, this fact is very, very fishy. This fact actually confirms that there is really a problem with the authenticity of Tacitus's works. Those which ignored them very probably just did not find the arguments and counterarguments, and their silence was the sole way to avoid to show the weakness of their work or to avoid the confession of their failure. But these are actually the least important reasons.


Albeit, the credit has to be given to Krebs for his effort to try to prove, as far as possible, the authenticity of Germania, even if he did not mention the possibility of the opposite.


As obvious from the web, the great emotional side related to Tacitus's works impedes their independent analysis. There is a strong religious bias pro and contra related to early Christianity [20] concerning mostly Annals and the nationalistic or a strong racist bias especially concerning Germania.


A couple of years ago I contacted a very respectable scholar, who in some of his works relied heavily on »Tacitus«, especially on Germania. I asked him, what does he think about the claims that »Tacitus's« texts may be a forgery. He replied, that he never heard of it.

To be sincere, I got angry. I don't know if he was interested at all to have contacts with me, but I contacted him never again. It is impossible to work intensively with Tacitus and not to find out these claims.

But later, I realized, that he had to deny it categorically; just to admit it, it would be his professional suicide, as he was active actually mostly in the German speaking lands. Or, maybe, he had just the same interests to be »tacit« on the subject as the others ... ?


Reading the works of the German historians, it is obvious that they are conscious of this problem. Tacitus is referenced very often, but not seldom with the remark: Also this and this chronicler should have known his works in spite of the fact, that they did not make any reference to him. ..In each work referring to Tacitus there is a »tacit« implementation of the arguments, ideas and the narrative that should make any critics of the authenticity unbelievable. As a rule, they declare the »discoverer« of Germania linguistically and literary as a very incapable fellow, the problem being only that the fellow is from historian to historian a different one – but, it is not my intention to repeat already known facts ...


One of the most important German newspapers – FAZ –Frankfurter allgemeine Zeitung [19] has in its recension of the roman I dubbi di Salai, the story about Salai, the adoptive son of Leonardo da Vinci, written by Monaldi and Sorti, narrated in Boccaccio style, another explanation:

 Who tried to shake the monumental building of the antique philology, let it be the Briton John Wilson Ross and the Frenchman Polydore Hochart in the nineteenth or the Harvard-Professor Leo Wiener in twentieth century, was »totgeschwiegen«.


And what would be if the whole Opus will be proved as the magnificent forgery? If there was no Tacitus to have written this booklet on some tribes from the moors with the uncommon habits? If it is a fraud of the clever bussines-minded forgerer form fiftienth century, which with their false discovery answered the demand on the antique texts as well the yearning to learn something prehistoric about the new European economic power on the north of Alps?


A whole scientific building would collapse, the chairs would shake, the published works would be ridiculed. And even more perplexed: The mighty, soulless teaching on Germanic customs and the German character would appear as the bad joke, as the misunderstanding from the beginning.


And Lund, the author of »Die ersten Germanen« [20]:


... It is even today worthy to mention the trial of the biting sarcastic Germania's commentator Anton Baumstark (1800-1860) from Freiburg in the sixties of the past century, to interpret Tacitus's Germania as the feigned history. This very good and original valuation was later almost fully ignored. (Lund, p. 30)

The emphases by me.


Alas, there was somebody among thousands in Germanic speaking lands to express the doubts on Germania, even if the reference to his »Bissigkeit« – biting sarcasm – somehow lessens the bite.


These are certainly not all reasons to be »tacit«. We already mentioned the professional suicide

committed due to the deviation from the »general truth« or official teachings. The national identity is given with the history and language – removing the history is the robbery of the national identity ... and there is nothing more gruesome for the Faustian soul than to forge its flattering history and then to depreciate it. Even worse – the forgery should have been committed by the Felachian soul, by the member of the inferior colored people – as the southerners, Mediterraneans and Slavs were defined by Spengler [6]!

These are more or less individual, the Faustian soul's own reasons, but there are still more general reasons. They are related to the less quoted parts of Germania. Actually, they are more the interpretations of these parts, mostly not in detail »overworked« by the commentators [24]. These parts are the description of the Germanic genealogy, the listing of Germanic tribes and the positions of their tribal lands.





The existence of the counterfeiters of the »classic«, »antique« works was not actually »verschwiegen – not said of« by Krebs:


... Among the counterfeiters none was greater than Annius of Viterbo (1432-1502) ...


Annius fabricated the German genealogy, starting with Noah and using »Tacitus's« Tuysco and Mannus. Krebs comments (emphases by me):


... Most readers suspend their skepticism concerning Annius's works because of their alluring content, the seeming sobriety of their presentation, and the editor's professed espousal of philological standards. But above all it was patriotic enthusiasm that led them- German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Netherlandish – to refer to Berosus where they should have referred to his editor and commentator Annius. Credulity granted credibility ...


The same can be said also of Germania – changing just a couple of names.


In the introduction to his work, Krebs writes:


... The failure to locate the parchment symbolizes the elusiveness of the ancient »Germany« described: a utopia, a word that literally means »nowhere«.For the Germania is not a report: Tacitus had most likely never been to the banks of the Rhine. He wrote his work with resources to previous Greek and roman ethnographic writers, with one eye on Roman affairs and but a fleeting glance toward northern realities. The text that would be called upon to define the German national character was a Roman's imaginative reflection on human values and a political statement.


This is undoubtedly one of the history's deeper ironies.


And not the sole one, even not in the case of Germania.


The Krebs's book seemingly does not in any case promote »Tacitus's« Germania, or is even enchanted by the unique and brave Germani. But it presents in spite of all lack of evidence Germania as a genuine work originating in Roman Empire. Genuine as being written by Tacitus, a historian allegedly mentioned by Plinius the Young, but not genuine concerning the contents, the descriptions.

It is interesting that Germania had, genuine or not, from the beginning of its existence a political task or importance. Tacitus should have copied it's contents from other sources with a specific and probable aim of the contemporary politics (Krebs):

... (the emperor) – would finally cross the Rhine and conquer all of Germanien ...

Further, from various parts, not in original sequence, as above:


... The Germanen as one people living in Germanien were invented by Cesar: Intentionally ignoring the Germanic settlements west of the Rhine, he defined Germanien as the territory to its east, calling the inhabitants Germanen, as if they formed a political union ...


In this sentence, hiding in the Cesar's definition, Krebs implicitly asserts that the Cesar's Germani were actually the German's putative progenitors. Actually was Cesar's definition of Germania something like this – Europe and in Europe live the Europeans. It was a mere geographic mark, and the people living there, with no any whatsoever »ethnic classification« named Germani, (see Lund)[20].


Krebs is fully aware of these false allegations (p. 19, my contributions in brackets):


… But it does not matter how the (Roman) Germans are defined, they can not be considered to be ancestors of today's modern Germans (in modern Germany) ... Descendants of which (Roman) Germans are therefore Germans (in modern Germany)?


It was just »Tacitus's« Germania, which gave the Germans their name, or from it they accepted and endorsed the name. The name Germani is clearly elder than its use by Cesar. The most credible and simple, not a German nationalistic etymology that possess dozens of incredibly invented words and roots, is given here [21].


In Krebs's book, admiringly:


... The Germania is an exquisitely spun narrative, its author was not a novice ... Tacitus unfolds the Germanic life in some detail ... (as) ... often only implicit – antithesis between Roman life and life in Germanien pervades the whole of Tacitus's account ...


Perhaps referring silently in opposition to his elder colleague professor Wiener:


... that is not to say that the Germania is utterly useless as a historical source..


stating and confirming again the genuine source of Germania


... the Germania was written by a Roman in Rome for Romans ...


... He (Tacitus) shows sympathy for their (Germani's) raw bravery, moral integrity and passionate striving for freedom. But there is also sadness: Not all desirable values can be had at the same time ...


... This (Tacitean) highly original style is disconcerting ... The conciseness often leaves the reader breathless ... He is a difficult writer ...

... Because of the poetic power of his language, Tacitus has been called one of the few great poets of the Roman people, he is also undoubtedly one of their greatest satirists ...

»Totgeschwiegene« Ross [16] precedes and surpasses the Krebs's praise of the literary style of »Tacitus« in Annals compared to Tacitus of Histories (Book II, cap. I, i) [16]


Though I have dwelt on the harshness of style and manner, and the occasional inaccuracies in grammar and language of the author of the Annals, it must not be supposed that I fail to appreciate his merit. In some of the qualities that denote a great writer he is superior to Tacitus; nor can anyone, not reading him in his original form, conceive an adequate notion of how his powers culminate into true genius, ... His general ideas are scarcely retained in a translation ...

The question arises, – Who was this wonderful man? If unknown, can he not be discovered?

These are a very strong motivations to read »Tacitus's« works, especially Germania. The reader can find various Latin editions and translations of Germania in various languages, having a lot of benevolent commentaries – with an amount of commentary texts surpassing the whole Germania's text almost in each edition – written by authors, not only German (these are analyzed by Krebs, I will not quote them) , enchanted by Germania, as for example Duane K. Stuart [22]:


... Since the nineteenth century the spade of the archaeologist has rendered yeoman service in uncovering the vestiges of Teutonic civilization from the Stone Age on. These discoveries have

modified certain items found in the Germania and have largely supplemented it; but the accuracy, of Tacitus has also been confirmed in an impressive fashion. In any case, the Germania has been and must remain a necessary adjunct to our apparatus of scholarship in its field. The testimony of the book and that of the remains interact.

It was a fortunate impulse which moved a leader in the intellectual life of his time, a gifted representative of the highest culture, to paint, while they lived in their land of forest, marsh, and mountain, those peoples who, in a few centuries, were to follow »the star of empire« to the south and the west, and, by destroying old worlds, were to make way for new. In modern Germany classical philologists and Germanic specialists have joined hands in the study of the Germania, with an enthusiasm sustained not alone by the spirit of scholarship, but by a patriotic fervor. Their pride in the possession of this monument of their antiquity and the intensity of their interest in it should be shared by the descendants of Angles and Normans in all lands and climes.


The Teutons, and not only them, just found the confirmation of their self esteem, their »noble race« and »exceptional« history in Germania, as well as the »excuse« for their deeds toward others, which were performed already much earlier as they were acquainted with Germania.

They embraced the new name and the nobility of their alleged progenitors with enthusiasm.

Germania was just a balsam for the by the allegedly Roman successors humiliated Teutonic, as Spengler defines, Faustian soul.


Krebs on the political situation in 15th century, the century of Germania's »discovery« and the beginning of 16th century:


... bereft of real power, the empire (Holy Roman Empire) continued to face threats not only from the Turks, who encroached on its territories, but also from inside its imperial boundaries. The »common German fatherland« felt the two wings of the Roman yoke settling on its neck. The Holy See insisted on its privileges, filling German ecclesiastical vacancies at will and for its own profit, all the shepherds cared about was to shear their German flock, a humanist sneered at a time when the Reformation was beginning to divide the Christian community.

Meanwhile the Roman law code superseded the German common law and by imperial decree had to be applied within empires borders ... .


So, the Latin culture, the southern refinement and northern primitive, barbaric, brute way of life stand in opposition to the Mediterranean treachery bastards and the pure, noble, proud and honest northern race ... as the both parties lovingly denoted themselves and each other.


Krebs, applying to Teutons:

... When the Germanen were born, anger was the midwife ...


... as stated by Luther: Illicit sex, corruption, avarice and decadence ... back to temperance, integrity, modesty and uprightness ...

 ... everything is permitted there (in Rome) except to be an honest man ...


So Germania emerged as it should have been ordered and produced by a public relations specialist – at the right time in the right place ... with the heavy and successful impact on the following events.


This German »cultural minority complex« was present even through centuries till nowadays. The Prussian monarch Frederic the Great did not want to speak German – he spoke preferably French, for him was German language the language for dogs. Nowadays the German television series on the Roman »Limes« [23] concludes with the statement – the old Germanic culture was not inferior to the Roman culture, it was as high as the Roman, but just different ... and the Germani showed the Romans where were their borders and banished them behind them.

This revision of history follow British and French [23] – their television series on Celts, Galls and Vercingetorix pursue the same line.


Quod licet Jovi, non licet bovi ...


But don't forget – the Germanic, aka western »superiority complex« towards the Slavs was as well present at that time as is also still nowadays. Any Slavic revision of the history to correct the history, which was forged by German historians and broadly accepted in the West, is »totgeschwiegen«, not referred. But it is not ignored – as soon as possible are fabricated the fancy »facts« to indirectly invalidate the given arguments.


Krebs continues on the Germania's influence:


... The Romans never conquered Germanic territory. But where their legionnaires failed, their writers succeeded: Tacitus's Germania would determine the Germanic myth for centuries ...

... For many (German humanists) it (the »common German fatherland«) coincided with the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. (Das Heilige Römische Reich Deutscher Nation).





Not only for German humanists, but for every German is »Der Heilige Römische Reich Deutscher Nation« a historic fact and it is so taught in the school. Germania does not have officially any more the prime position in the school, but – if not the Latin »original« – a majestic poetic translation of chosen texts is surely red [24]:



I myself side with them, which the Germania's tribes

as pure and of any mixture with the aliens preserved,

as a folk, which can not be compared to any other,

consider. Therefore, inspite the number of their people,

they have all the same appearance: light blue stubborn eyes, red blond

hair, huge bodies, capable only of deeds and boisterous urge;

compared they can not sustain the heavy work.

The thirst and the heat they can not endure at all ...

..uncapable to sustain equaly the heavy work..


These text rows from Germania stand ahead and are the most important for the every white blood racist, the Faustian soul, declared or not declared.


In »original« Latin, the core description:


... truces et caerulei oculi, rutilae comae ...

... unfriendly and blue (dark) eyes, reddish hair ...


is translated in German as:

... light blue and stubborn eyes, red-blond hair ...


The irony is that the Germans are generally not at all as blond and blue eyed as their near and far northeastern Felachian, the »colored« neighbors – Poles, Balts, Finns (later are not even an Indo-Germanic aka Indo-European nation) and Russians. The most »blond« are Balts and southern Swedes (the late still allegedly pure Germani)- as Maria Gimbutas (Gimbutane) tried to prove in her by the Germans very appreciated Indo-Germanic conquest theory [25].


The chronicler Helmold (I.1.) [13] on pagan Slavic tribes, deeply despised by him and his fellow Teutonic Christians:

They (Slavs) really forbade even till today to our people, with which they actually share all, the access to the woods and springs, because these, as they believe, will be polluted by the visit of the Christians. The horse meat is their nurture; they drink their milk and blood, and they should get even intoxicated with these. These people have blue eyes, their face is red, their hair long.

By the moors inaccessible, they tolerate no master in their midst.


... Homines hii caerulei, facia rubea et criniti ...

These people have blue eyes, their face and hair is red.

It sounds very familiar ... Reading the texts of German chroniclers about Slavs, they described all in their opinion bad points, heathen habits, similar to descriptions of Germani in Germania. Naturally, there were not mentioned any noble traits, but only the treacherousness of their pagan soul.


Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris. Tacitus

It belongs to human nature to hate those you have injured.


Even today casts »Tacitus's« Germania a big shadow, not only in the German self esteem and hubris. In the search of the Indo-Germanic »Heimatland« with the means of anthropology still prevails the notion, that the first Indo-Europeans were tall, blonde and blue-eyed people, just as in Germania described. As the skeletons can't show that they owners were blue-eyed blondes, the elongate (dolichocephalic) crane was associated with these traits. These people, the allegedly progenitor of Germani in particular, should have conquered Europe at the end of Neolithic and should have brought the strong leadership and their superiority to the old inhabitants ... and so one, and so one.

From the more than 1300 scientific publications in this field [26], the overwhelming majority tries to prove these traits, but without any really conclusive positive result.

As an irony is the fact, that there were serious scientific attempts to prove that even the Roman emperors were blond and blue-eyed.


... Moreover, the question of the origin or the descent of the Germans in the history of science is the most closely linked with searching of the original homeland of Indogermans – this designation is popularly used in modern Germany in recent years. (Lund, p. 13)[20]


The genealogy of Germani, a ridiculous myth, later expanded to Noah by Annius, was and is very cherished by the Nazis and white blood Faustian souls. Concerning the German mythic progenitor, reading Germania imposes the following association.


Have you ever heard how the Italian »Gastarbeiter« try to speak »German«, actually the German dialects like Schwyzerdütsch? Without any intention to mock them – they are mostly less educated people and they adapt their own Italian dialect pronunciation to their spoken »German« as they hear and understand it. So »Dütsch« is heard as something similar to »tuitsch«, and very similar to »tuisc«. This is the pronunciation that very probably precedes the Italian name for Germans – Tedeschi. They try to form a German sentence, using them in a strange composition usually starting with »man« (germ. Indefinitpronomen) or »(der) Mann«– the man, mostly not distinguishing both words and the use of them. These words are for them the very way and the conviction to speak German. See also Wiener on this subject [18].


»Tacitus« surely did not found in German lands »Gastarbeiter«, perhaps more Italian »Gastpriester« (... shearing their German flock ...), but in Rome surely the Allemanic colony, hearing in the same way their Allemanic German. He visited very probably Switzerland, surely on the occasion of the Councils of Constance and Basel. Following the usual »classic genealogy« of tribes – their name as the adaptation of the name of their progenitor – with a little satirical touch, »Tacitus« probably used that for the invention of Tuysco and Mannus.


The tribes listed in Germania are partly not at all Germanic in current sense, and the allegedly Germanic ones, maybe with the exception of the names copied from the Cesar's Bello Gallico, are very probably a fantasy.


In the Monaldi and Sortis novel I dubbi di Salai, Salai by reading the names of Germanic tribes in Germania bursted again in laughter as he found them a play of words [3]. All benevolent commentators of Germania didn't find it. But I don't want to be benevolent – I will try to find it out.


Only Stuart gives in a footnote the idea that Chatti [22] may refer to a cat – and Grimm refers it to German Hut - hat. Salai himself was an Italian, but he understood Latin. His figure in the novel was completed as a type of Scaramouche – the Italian Simplicius Simplicissimus, Till Eulenspiegel or our Pavliha – by the Italian authors. Preferably is to look for possible interpretation of this play of words in Italian, but the alleged forger traveled also a lot in Germany, Switzerland, France and Britain, using probably several dialects in different languages:


Aravisci-altar misteltoes, the tribe Aravisker are very probably Avari (German historian interpretation – but they were not known in the Tacitus's times), Osi –(big) mouths, Chatti -cats, evils, captives, Mattiaci – the crazy, Tencteri – the hesitating, Bructeri – the poor, Chamavi – the combed, Agrivarii – the earth digger, Dulgibini – the long legged, Cherusci – the bald, Fosi – the ditch people, Aviones – the bird people, Naristi – the nose people, Quadi – the fooling ones, Marsigni – mars fire people, Buri – the peasants, Harii – the hair people, Manimi – the beginners, Elisii – the sprain people, Nahanarvali – the unicorn people (connected to Russian town Narva in Baltic?), Sitones – the smelling, Bastarnians – the sufficient, Oxionae – the ox people.

Lund would probably marked this as »volksetymologische Wortspielereien«. He copes in his analysis almost only with Suevi and Cimbri.


Perhaps are they just by »Tacitus« misunderstood names – as for example is to be read in Thietmar's Cronicon (from 10/11th century, II/23) [12]:


To enable to teach the him entrusted Souls in the truthful Faith, he wrote an instruction in Slavonic and he asked the Slavs to sing Kyrie eleison, explaining them its benefit. But the heartless Slavs turned scornfully the word in Ukrivolsa, that means in our tongue: »Alder is in shrubs« and they added :»Boso said so!«, even that he it explained them completely otherwise. The Emperor granted to bishop some more villages, which belonged to Merseburg, and a township in district Chutici, named Medeburu, what should mean: Don't let the honey through! ...


The name Medeburu was then germanized in Magdeborn – engl. Maiden spring. The Teutonic translators interpreted later Medeburu as Honey wood, but it simply means Honey cask.

This »Volksethymologie« can not be ignored, i.e. as the name Berlin comes from Slavonic barje (marshes and not Germ. Bär – bear), the name Nebra from Slavonic nebo (sky) and so on. The same Indo-European root has the German word Nebel (fog); Spengler discovered in the sound of the word sky the confirmation for the Slavic humble inferiority, as the words Himmel and ciel show Germanic superiority (... eine wahre Vernebelung des Geistes - ...a true fog of mind).


Reading about the Germani's divination with the white horses, the striking resemblance to the pagan Slavonic rites, described by Thietmar in the temple Radigost, is obvious.


But back to Germania. The part, describing the geography of the Germania's tribal lands is especially interesting. They are listed living side by side in the eastern and northern direction of the Rhine and Danube over the most of central and partially over the eastern Europe. Here is a list of some other tribes:

The Celtic tribe Boji has the remarkable Slavic name – boj is fight in all Slavonic languages (compare sl. bojevati se – to fight, sl. bojnik-fighter/soldier , with betatism sl. vojak -soldier, sl. vojna -war etc.). the Vangionen very probably Wenden (the German name for Slavs), the Triboker sound as Triboger (sl. tribog - three god, sl. Triglav -Threehead – a Slavic deity related to Hindu Trimurti), the Nemeter sound as the Slavic name for Germans - sl. Nemci (the dumb ones, sl. nem - dumb). The Rugier, they have according to German historians naturally nothing in common with the island Ruegen (Slavic Rujan [Ruyan] ), where a Slavic state existed still in 12th century, the Aesti, which changed their name in Letten and Latvian (sic!), leaving the name to Estonians, which were happy to get this name meaning the easterners or the noble ones, all this according to German historians.

Yes also Suevi – Schwaben – a remarkable similarity of this name to the name Slavi, Suionen, Sutonen (Suede), Veneti (Slavs) , Fennen (Finns) and Sarmati (Slavs) are known to »Tacitus«.

All tribes are mostly not exactly placed there where they should be, some tribes can not even be »identified«, but they have found their proper place in Wikipedia ... and the great expansion of old Germania in Europe is obvious.

On each historical map, the territory of old Germania increases with the rendition date of the map and with the age of displayed historical content.

This allegedly great extent of old Germania was used as a propaganda pretext for Hitler's »Drang nach Osten«, his aim to extend the Third Reich on Slavic lands – the main goal of Hitler's war. The basic idea was Piccolomini's assertion of »Völkerwanderung« [27]– the Migration Period – especially the Slavic migration in the from the times immemorial Germanic lands.


This is one of the most cherished German historic theories even today. The most important reason to stick to this theory is its political dimension. Its ideological base is in Germania's geography, the alleged position of Germanic tribal lands, completed with the whole historical and present expansionist tendencies, which are relevant today as much as in the past. To the German and French mythical past belong also the legend of Charlemagne, as well as his mythical empire's, reaching practically over the most of the Europe.

The Germans are the driving force to build up and to extend the European Union. They and the westerners have all the rights to move anywhere or to buy anything in the Union, the others have the limited freedom even to be »Gastarbeiter« and the great majority no means at all to buy something in the west. The tendency to build up the great Germania, aka the Fourth Reich, aka the European Union as the base of European politics, is more and more unofficially believed, especially in the circumstances of the present economic situation, by the most East- and South-Europeans »from the street«. They feel to be cheated and they were cheated by the European politics. This expresses clearly the answer of a Romanian politician on the question, if the Romanians are now happy and satisfied to be in the EU: »You built us the highways and the supermarkets, you destroyed thoroughly the domestic production, and you robbed now the last money from our unemployed in your supermarkets ...« or a Bulgarian from the street: »... the Bulgarian salaries remained, but we have got the European prices ...«. The rich and successful pre-entry Slovenian economy, was weakened and diminished substantially in the EU – the industry sank almost on the level of the fifties after the WWII. The Portugal's, Spanish', Italian's and Greek's »man of the street« designations of the German aka European politics is as usual the comparison to the Nazi Germany, to the Third Reich.

The semiofficial designation of these nations by the German politicians and the German's »man from the street« (these use for them the denigrating name »Kanaki« – and not only for turkish »Gastarbeiters«) as the »lazy«, »foul«, »parasitic« and »corrupt« is the cause as well the answer to them. It is a pure reflection of the Spengler's Nazi definition of »Felachenvölker«, the colored people, as the opposite to the white »Faustian« – the Germanic – nations, the descendants of the noble Germani, described in Germania.

This may sound as the usual European folklore, but in the present European situation it may be just the early sign of the possible conflicts. Let me notice, that the most European conflicts emerged from the oppression of the subjugated nations in the multinational states – just the same as is the feeling from many sides in the European Union today.






... quoniam communi stultitia a paucis virtus colitur ... (G. F. Poggio Bracciolini)


John Wilson Ross (1818-1887), in his »Tacitus and Bracciolini, The Annals forged in the XVth century«, poses and gives the answer on his question – this wonderful man was Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini. He is the culprit, he is the forger – he is the author of Tacitus's Annales.


Reverend Shepherd [28] (p. 459 ff), Poggio's biographer on Poggio, the humanist, abridged:


... that amongst the multitudes of learned men who adorned his age, he occupied a station

of the highest eminence. His admission into the Roman chancery, and his continuance in offices of confidence under eight successive pontiffs, afford an ample proof not only of his ability in business, but also of his fidelity and integrity. Honored by the favor of the great, he did not sacrifice

his independence at the shrine of power, but uniformly maintained the ingenuous sentiments of freedom.

.... many passages might be quoted from his works to prove that the eye of his mind surveyed a wider intellectual horizon than fell to the general lot of the age in which he lived. He was warm and enthusiastic in his friendly attachments, and duteously eager to diffuse the renown of those whom he loved.

... Though Poggio was by no means implacable in his anger, yet he was as energetic

in the expression of his resentment, as he was enthusiastic in the language in which he testified his esteem for those to whom he was bound by the ties of friendship. The licentiousness in which he occasionally indulged in the early part of his life, and the indecent levity which occur in some of

his writings, are rather the vices of the times than of the man.

... His fillings, indeed, were fully counterbalanced by several moral qualities of superior excellence – by his gratitude for benefits received ; by his sincerity in friendship ; by his compassion for the unfortunate ; and by his readiness, to the extent of his ability, to succor the distressed. To which it may be added, that he seems to have recommended himself to most of those with whom he maintained a personal intercourse, by the urbanity of his manners, and by the sportiveness of his wit. p.281


... This dialogue on the question An seni sit uxor ducenda is one of the most ingenious of Poggio's compositions ...

... and it may be stated, greatly to his honor, that, in the character of the advocate of matrimony, he treats female sex with marked respect, and represents woman not only as gifted with great acuteness of intellect, but also as endowed with dispositions which incline her, as a rational being, to listen with deference to the lessons of wisdom and virtue ...


... still a little bit of patriarchal mentality, but ...


... the lady ... Rinieri amused the life of the bachelor and a certain Lucia Pannelli granted him even three children, whom he in 1430 as his own recognized ... Walser p. 89:[29]


and Shepherd (p. 282) on the same issue and the consequences, very conciliant:

... Poggio's resolution to correct the irregularity of his conduct, and to enter into the state of lawful wedlock, most certainly merited high commendation. It is to be hoped, however, that he experienced the keenest remorse of self-accusation for his former licentiousness, when he found that the commencement of his reformation was to be signalized by an act of extreme unkindness. In order to prepare the way for his marriage, he was obliged to dismiss a mistress who had borne him twelve sons and two daughters. What distressing embarrassments crowd the train of vice; and how powerfully are the benevolent feelings excited on the side of virtue, when we see the object of licentious passion, after a connection of many years, in circumstances which seem to imply on her part fidelity to her seducer, at length abandoned by him, and sent forth, perhaps in poverty – certainly in agonizing mental distress- – to encounter the taunts of public scorn ...


... the lines which throw doubts on the Poggio's character integrity, perhaps exaggerated in the number of children. Mostly were his letters and other writings intended for the more or less »broad« public – they were exhaustively analyzed and interpreted. But his intimate relations, save his drink-fellows and the friends with the same interests, were barely mentioned by his biographers – the relations to the intimate persons, which would have shown actually his real self.

But Shepherd is merciful with him ... and the temptation of the young and beautiful doe with rich dowry was irresistible for an elder gentleman ... and a theory is a theory and is certainly not a practice ... but he took a great care of all his family.


I do not intend to retell the life of Poggio, I will refer just to some generalities or to some moments, which I found to reveal the motivation or the motifs for some of his deeds. This concerns less his literary works, aimed on general public, or his letters of devotion to powerful, than his personal emotions.

It is hard to take the perception of his characters by his biographers for granted, even harder to have an own reliable notion. But somehow I agree partially with Shepherd.


Poggio was surely a little bit of a hustler, a little bit of opportunist, but not a conformist. He was a cautious one – he knew that the tops are prone to be exchanged – so he stayed as much as possible in the shadow and he survived seven Popes as a secretary.


But the most judge him according to his shameless letters invectiva in which he insinuates, slanders and insults his adversaries. For his sake – they answered him in the same manner.


Hochart [17] on his invectives:


... they exchanged the poisonous scorn, dirty offences, indecent rudenes, sometimes despicable libels. Their humilating texts, preserved as the writen witnesses of the literary history, cause instead of their authors the reader to blush ...


Did you hear the whispers of the noble professors of the Alma Mater(s) nowadays, exchanging among themselves the opinions on their absent colleagues – they did not write them down – as Poggio and his adversaries did – it would be today to expensive! Did you hear their sleazy jokes – so enjoy in Poggio's indecent levity and insults, they are also exceptional – they are hardly to be found out by ourselves – and do not put him all to seriously on trial!


For his biographer, reverend Shepherd, was Poggio a very pious man, deeply torn between his faith and the weakness of his flesh – he could not in clear conscience make the priestly oath knowing that he will break it due to his weakness (and women!). The proof of the temptation were his illicit children, his late marriage with a much younger woman, his piquant stories, his compromising letters.


His next biographer Walser [29] is less emotional, but he remains in the borders of the petty-burgeois thinking:


... As the strokes (features) of his face, the dark sides of his character emerge sharp and edged out:

the avarice, the quarrelsome disposition, the irascibility. Reconcilable shines along his endless lust to work, the sharp mind, the devote tireless concern on humanistic studies ...


Or Politien (Angelo Ambrogini aka Agnolo Poliziano) [17] called Poggio homo maledicentissimus ...


His corrupt nature should have been seen from ... the notice to the archbishop Pizzolpasso : he would surely write against the Council of Basel if somebody would pay for it ... etc.


The critics Ross and Hochart acknowledged wholly his capabilities, but some other especially kept him for an avaricious, treacherous and shameless old cynic. Hochart, he blushed by reading some of his letters, but had him in a very high esteem.


Hochart [17] on Poggio, the man of letters:


... the first half of the 15th century should be called the age of Poggio. Florence, his homeland,

owe to count him to the most illustrious sons...

... The moral value of Poggio was far under the height of his gifts ...


Ross [16] on Poggio the cynic (emphases by me):


Bracciolini, who was far from being of a benevolent nature, fell into the very opposite extreme, of looking upon men as remarkably stupid and ignorant. Nothing is more common than meeting in his works with contemptuous disparagements of his kind; he scoffs at human nature for its deficiency of understanding; he does not hesitate decrying its want of thought, as in his Essay »De Miseria Humanae Conditionis«: »we must at times recollect,« says he, »that we are men, silly

and shallow in our nature«:- or, »I admit the silliness of mankind to be great«: or, »Knowledge is cultivated by a few on account of the general stupidity«: pretty well this for

one work. Then opening his »Historia Disceptativa Convivalis,« the reader lights on him sneering at the »shallowness and silliness of his age« ...

Poggio was kept in his time generally for an avaricious man.

Piccolomini named him auri cupidissimum [29]. But I think, that he due to his childhood, mostly in poverty, endangered by the perpetual wars of petty Italian tyrants, was a very cautious man, being constantly aware of the danger to loose all. He was a refugee, a captive, he had to pay a ransom, he had to lead also a »police« action in the name of Pope.


He was actually also a very socially conscious man. He did not have the modern vocabulary of political, social and economic sciences, so he used in De Avaritia the words avarice, mendacity, greed, usury, active life, public, words and deeds, family etc. on the background of the contemporary Florentine economy and humanistic ideas and ideals.


Ann Proulx Lang [30] on De Avaritia, from not an usual moral sermon standpoint:


The treatise represents one of those rare moments in the study of the history of ideas when one can point to a specific work and note that in it a fundamental historical or social change has become clearly evident.


In De Avaritia and De Nobilitate he clearly explains the notions, which we nowadays denote as radical communism, accumulation of capital, investment capital, financial revenues, work, gain, neoliberalism, democracy, public service, culture etc. and actually a still modern problem to comprehend the difference between the accumulation of capital, the sustainable social economy on one side and the Friedman's neoliberal casino capitalism, the short time individual avaricious egoistic profit according to Ayn Rand philosophy on the other side – as said in modern terms.


He was deeply moved by the injustice brought on the commons by the warlike actions. From one of his letters (1398, to chancellor of Siena , Shepherd p.18)[28] to plead for a captive peasant, which did not posses enough money to pay his ransom:


... What can exceed the misery of this lamentable destiny? I wish these distresses might fall upon the heads of their original authors : but alas ! the wretched rustics pay the forfeit of the crimes of others. When I reflect on the situation of those on whose behalf I now intercede with you, my writing is interrupted by my tears. For I cannot help contemplating in the eye ...


He was actually clinging to his secretary job and was (un)happy to be slowly promoted from the Pope to Pope, just not risking to endanger his existence. As a man of an exceptional intelligence and skills, confronted with the hypocrisy of the crooked clerics, with their greed, avarice, untruthfulness, insincerity, primitive and dangerous stupidity, obliged to them to bend his back, was certainly not a very pious man, he very probably deeply despised the clerics, sometimes admonishing them to proper conduct ...

He was also politically very cautious. His dispute concerning Petrarca and the classic writers, siding with Petrarca because of the religious reasons, as later also dispute with Valla on religious texts, shows that he didn't promote the paganism over the Christianity or any criticism of Christianity – a very dangerous issue at the time, the possibility of being very easily accused of heresy, especially for as the humanist, dispersing totally new ideas.

Actually was Poggio for his time a very righteous man.

From his letter to Benedetto (1436, Shepherd p.479, emphases by me):


... I would wish you to avoid the common error of too many legal practitioners, who, for the sake of money, wrest the law to the purposes of injustice. It has, indeed, always happened, that the bad have been more in number than the good, and the old proverb justly says, that excellence is of rare occurrence. Almost all law students, when they enter upon their profession, are stimulated by a love of gain ; ' and by making gain the object of their unremitted pursuit they acquire a habit of appreciating the merits of a cause, not according to the rules of equity, but according to the probability of profit. When there is no prospect of emolument, justice is disregarded, and the richer client is considered as having the better cause. As many tradesmen imagine, that they can make no profit without telling falsehoods in commendation of their commodities, so the generality of men learned in the law think they shall never prosper in the world if they scruple to subvert justice by perjury, and equity by sophisms. Acting on these principles, they do not endeavour to investigate the true nature of a cause, but at all hazards try to promote the views of the party who engages their services by a fee. ...


His deep feeling for righteousness and justice is fully evident from his letter describing the process and the execution of the Hussite Jerome of Prague in Basel. He saw, that this process was the very betrayal of justice and honesty, under the pretext of religious zeal, due to the crooked Vatican, Italian and German policy. The case was not a case of heresy, but a German's and Church's revenge on the Czech honest priest. Here some passages from his letter to Leonardo Aretino (1416 ff, from Shepherd p.69, the emphases by me):


... Dwelling on the praises of John Huss, he said, that he entertained no principles hostile to the constitution of the holy church, and that he only bore testimony against the abuses of the clergy, and the pride and pomp of prelates : for that since the patrimony of the church was appropriated first to the poor, then to strangers, and lastly to the erection of churches, good men thought it highly improper that it should be lavished on harlots, entertainments, dogs, 'splendid garments, and other things unbecoming the religion of Christ. It may be mentioned as the greatest proof of Jerome's abilities, that though he was frequently interrupted by various noises, and was teased by some people who cavilled at his expressions, he replied to them all, and compelled them either to blush or to be silent ...


... He was never terrified by the murmurs of his adversaries, but uniformly maintained the firmness and intrepidity of his mind. It was a wonderful instance of the strength of his memory, that though he had been confined three hundred and forty days in a dark dungeon, where it was impossible for him to read and where he must have daily suffered from the utmost anxiety of mind, yet he quoted so many learned writers in defense of his opinions, and supported his sentiments by the authority of so many doctors of the church, that any one would have been led to believe, that he had devoted all the time of his imprisonment to the peaceful and undisturbed study of philosophy. His voice was sweet, clear and sonorous; his action dignified, and well adapted cither to express indignation, or to excite compassion, which however he neither asked nor wished for. He stood undaunted and intrepid, not merely contemning, but like another Cato longing for death. He was a man worthy to be held in everlasting remembrance ...

... No stoic ever suffered death with such constancy of mind. When he arrived at the place of execution, he stripped himself of his garments, and knelt down before the stake, to which he was soon after tied with wet ropes and a chain. Then great pieces of wood, intermixed with straw, were piled as high as his breast. When fire was set to the pile, he began to sing a hymn, which was scarcely interrupted by the smoke and flame. I must not omit a striking circumstance, which shows the firmness of his mind. When the executioner was going to apply the fire behind him in order that he might not see it, he said, come this way, and kindle it in my sight, for had I been afraid of it, I should never have come to this place. Thus perished a man, in every respect exemplary, except in the erroneousness of his faith. I was a witness of his end, and observed every particular of its process. He may have been heretical in his notions, and obstinate in perservering in them, but he certainly died like a philosopher ...


Jerome, as the Hussites, they made the only sin, for which it was and will be never given any absolution by any church, Christian or not. They just asked for the modest, humble and just Church in care for powerless – they did not get it and they rebelled. Who asked the same was mostly fried alive.


There were the very rare high clerics, which tried to achieve at least some justice – the Pope, which accordingly tried to reform the Church, only a generation or two later, Borja the Pope Alexander VI, paid his zeal with through the whole history ruined reputation and probably also with his life. His reputation was systematically ruined by German and Italian clerics, the first preparing the way of Reformation, using Germania, the second as the first just dreading to loose their privileges.

Did Poggio's writings influence the young Borja? Very possible ...


Walser on both [29] p.297:


... the young Roderigo Borja (the later Alexander VI.), which the homage of the old Kurial (Poggio) at his election as Vicecancellarius exceptionaly respectfuly answered ...


Usually it is credited to Luther (Theses 1517) the criticism of the »bonvivant« Clerics, the greed and the rule of Vatican, the »inexcusable sins« of the »dissolute« Pope Alexander VI.

The Dutch historian and priest Msgr. Peter de Roo [31] meticulously investigated the life and deeds of the Pope Alexander VI (Pope from 1492 to 1503). His work was published in five volumes. The Pope's reputation was actually restored, the Pope himself was actually a very pious man. These books were and are also totally ignored by the scientific community as well as by the Catholic Church with the »good« reason – just have a look on the contents of the third volume – reform of the Church over whole the Europe! The reform promised no more luxury life for clerics, just the ascetic life in humility devoted to the Church. Remember the Bogumils or Hussites! These great heretics – all deserved to be burnt alive! They didn't want to change any religious dogma, they just said that the Church has to be humble and poor as the first Christians and the Jesus himself. Outrageous!

Yes, the Pope was the imminent danger to all in luxury living bishops, priests, monks ... especially the German clerics, which were mostly aristocrats and also earthly masters of their flock and now they had to serve humbly Vatican!

The only way to keep their privileges only for themselves was the way of Reformation. They shaved their flock as the Catholics did and burnt on the stake even more witches than Catholics did. After the centuries, the Pope John-Paul II, the Pole Wojtila had to come to dare to rehabilitate verbally the Hussites and Galileo – they didn't violate any of the Church's or religious' dogmas, their trials were just political shows. But Wojtila also sided with the rich, reprimanding the socially oriented Latin America's bishops.

I do not want here to remember on the deeds and scandals of the Vatican Bank, which shortly emerged in the unholy light ...


Poggio saw in Jerome his other self, he shared with him his notions and philosophy, but not Jeromes pride, zeal and courage, which he admired – not being capable to understand Jeromes pertinacity.

Poggio was in his letter exceptionally clear, his friend Leonardo Aretino warned him seriously to be more cautious in his writings, not taking side with a heretic (Shepherd p. 81).


... You take care indeed frequently to put in proper caveats; but upon the whole, you show to great an affection for his cause. I must advise you henceforth to write upon such subjects in a more guarded manner ...


Poggio did not admire only philosophers, writers or Jerome. Just before the Jerome's trial he visited the Swiss town of Baden. His experiences and observations he vividly described in his letter to Niccoló Niccoli (1416, Shepherd p.67). His vivid description – for many an additional proof of his viciousness – of the bath and the bathing habits, especially the exhibited female beauty enjoyed by him and the observing male visitors, joi de vivre of the bathing and courting, seduces the reader to overlook the much more important comparison to his countrymen at the end of his letter:


... Hence it happens, that the name of jealousy, that plague which is elsewhere productive of so much misery, is here unknown. How unlike are the manners of these people to ours, who always see things on the dark side, and who are so much given to censoriousness, that in our minds the slightest suspicion instantly grows into full proof of guilt. I often envy the apathy of these Germans and I execrate our perversity who are always wishing for what we have not, and arc continually exposed to present calamity by our dread of the future. But these people, content with little, enjoy their day of life in mirth and merriment ; they do not hanker after wealth ; they are not anxious for the morrow ; and they bear adversity with patience. Thus are they rich by the mere disposition of their minds. Their motto is »live while you live«. But of this enough- – it is not my object to extol my new friends at the expense of my countrymen.

I wish my epistle to consist of unqualified good humor, that I may impart to yon a portion of the pleasure I derived from the baths of Baden.


Here Poggio mingled for the first time with the Swiss common people (mistaking them for Germans [Teutons] – in the Latin original letter on my disposal, the bathing guests are not named – i.e. Germans – at all; perhaps is this a consequence of the German »Bereinigung, Berichtigung, Bearbeitung« – »cleaning or purification, straightening, overworking« of historic texts to their favor), albeit the becoming bourgeoisie.

The Alemannic Swiss expelled long before their »Vogts« – the petty tyrants, to which belonged also the Habsburgs at the start of their career, from their lands. The Swiss freedom was tolerated by the others just to retain the safe north-south passage through the Alps, as it was practically impossible to subjugate the Alpine inhabitants over a longer period.

Actually it was this freedom and the liberty of the Baden's bathing guests, which enabled them their life style, and Poggio had to confess indirectly that his countrymen were the slaves of and mostly due to their own mentality.


Did he found in Baden some of his ideas which he years later inserted as the characteristic of Germani in Germania ? As the opposite to the contemporary reality (Shepherd 182) wrote Poggio:


The Germans were formerly a warlike people. ˇThey are now strenuous only in their eating and drinking, and they are mighty in proportion to the wine which they can swallow. When their casks are empty, their courage must needs be exhausted.


Somewhere else Poggio in a letter to Niccoló Niccoli (1423, Walser p 85):


The year of festivity passed, the last trace of the German pilgrim hordes, which the town with filth and louses filled (!), disappeared, the air is clean and healthy ...


Poggio in an other letter in an other occasion (Walser p.153):


... is Cesarini so indignated? Surely, because he originates from a town in which the clerics immensely saintly live? Or rather because the shine of the Alemannic chastity is in whole Europe known? ...


He returned to Constance, where he in the trial of Jerome, in the midst of the intolerance and hatred of the vicious clergy, became conscious of the limits of his own freedom and liberty.

Later, in his ripe age, he answered to Filippo Maria, the duke of Milan, leading the war in 1436 against Florentines, on duke's flattering letter (from Shepherd, p. 331):


... And if, liberty ought to be dear to any people, it ought to be dear to Florentines; for freedom is the very essence of our constitution. We are not ruled by the arbitrary will of an individual, not by a faction of nobles. The mass of the people enjoy an equality of rights, and the way to civic honors is open to all. Hence it happens, that the high and the low, the noble and the ignoble, the rich and the poor, unite in the defense of their common freedom, and that in so glorious a cause they spare no expense, shrink from no labor, and dread no danger ...


This liberty was not so »poetic« as he stated – it was always limited by the opposing factions – you have to side, if you wanted to survive.

With the deposition (Council of Constance 1414-1418) of the Pope John XXIII he lost his position. After in vain trying to get an office from the new Pope Martin V, he left for England to work for cardinal Beaufort, famous for his condemnation of the Jean D'Arc. In my opinion, Poggio just wisely avoided any danger, which could result from being formerly in office of the »false« Pope, by moving temporarily to England (1418-1423).


But Poggios passion remained the manuscripts. Their discovery, transcription and restoration enabled also a good income. So he succumbed to the temptation to steal them if it was not possible to buy them. The Latin and Greek classics matched his notions and ideas. If it was dangerous to express new ideas, why not to put them in the mouth of some new »discovered«, or even old classic writer?


A letter from his friend Leonardo Aretino (1416, Shepherd p. 95) expresses the praise and the covert suspicion (the emphases by me):


... The memory of your services will never be obliterated. It will be recorded to distant ages, that these works, the loss of which had been for so long a period a subject of lamentation to the friends of literature, have been recovered by your industry. As Camillus, on account of his having

rebuilt the city of Rome, was stiled its second founder, so you may be justly denominated the second author of all those pieces which are restored to the world by your meritorious exertions. I therefore most earnestly exhort you not to relax in your endeavors to prosecute this laudable design ...


But the »originals«, from which these works were compiled, were conveniently lost. Did somebody saw ever an »original transcription« from which the works have been recovered?


Ross (Chapter III, iii, emphases by him and by me) on Poggio's intentions and caution:


... (Poggio) in the letter to Niccoli bearing date London, the 10th of June, 1422: »I want you to have no distrust: give me the leisure and the time for 'writing that HISTORY'« ... »and I will do something you will approve. My heart is in the work, though I question my powers.« Then quoting the sentiment from Virgil about »labor overcoming everything,« he proceeds with unabated interest: »I have not for four years devoted any attention to literature, nor read a single book that can be considered well-written,-as you may judge from these letters of mine which are not what they used to be; but I shall soon get back into my old manner. When I reflect on the merits of the ancient writers of history, I recoil with fear from the undertaking_« (mark that); »though when I consider what are the writers of the present day, I recover some confidence in the hope that if I strive with all my might, I shall be inferior to few of them.« ...


Had any man then living been bold enough to tell the world of the Church of Rome's ferocity in primitive terms, he must have been particularly desirous of being roasted alive ...


»Besides,« said he (Poggio), »there are certain tiny occupations in which I am engaged, which do not so much impede me in themselves, as the way in which I tarry over them; for it is necessary that I should be on my guard with respect to the inclinations of princes, that their susceptibilities be not offended, as they are much more ready to vent their rage than to extend their forgiveness if anything be done amiss«; ...


(Chapter IV,ii)


In those days when so many valuable works ascribed to the ancients were being constantly recovered, there was a very general (though as I have shown, very silly) belief abroad, that any

ancient work, consequently, the lost History of Tacitus, might yet be found in some dark corner of Europe,-some barbarous country such as Germany, Hungary, or Bohemia. ...

... Bracciolini said that, »if he did go to Hungary he would pretend that he had come from England,« the object must have been that no one should know the country where the MS. had been recovered; ... it was famous for an Abbey of the Benedictine monks, which had been founded on the banks of the Fulda. ...


Why then to pretend, if he already possessed the manuscript? Nobody else could have recovered it again!


The accident which caused Bracciolini to choose this convent, the most famous in Germany, as the place whence his forgery was to emanate, was his forming the acquaintance of a member of the abbey, ... From some reason unexplained this monk was under obligation to Bracciolini, who determined that this holy man should be the medium of his forgery being placed before the world. The monk had the necessary qualifications for the tool that was wanted; he was needy and ignorant; above all things, he was stupid.


He gave this booby monk a long list of books that he was to hunt out for him on the library shelves of the Abbey of Fulda, including in the catalogue the works of Tacitus; and as he wanted a copy of the latter in the very oldest writing that could be procured, he enjoined the monk to give him a full description of certain books that were carefully put down in a list; these being very numerous, the monk could not possibly divine that the book particularly wanted was a Tacitus in the oldest characters that could be found.


Where from he should have known which books could be or have to be found in Fulda ? If he himself visited Fulda, why he did not copy, buy or stole them himself?


These instructions were given in May, 1427; and, notwithstanding the care and wisdom shown in the matter, something before the close of the summer that year oozed out which seemed to menace a disclosure of the imposture: rumors had got abroad evidently about what was transpiring between Niccoli and Bracciolini, which greatly alarmed the former; but he was quieted by his bolder friend assuring him that »when Tacitus came, he would keep it a secrecy; that he knew all the tittle-tattle that was going on,-whence it came,-through whom, and how it was got up; but that he need have no fear, for that not a syllable should escape him.«


The monk was stupid if he did not realize that he could sell the manuscripts himself to anybody else, and not only to Poggio, because he was in a need for money. Actually, he neither did have them, nor was he able to obtain them – the most wanted manuscripts simply did not exist, at least not in Fulda. He was not stupid if there was some fishy business related to manuscripts – what was essentially the case – and for what he could be held responsible. Ross as Hochart assert that the monk was supposed to foist the manuscripts written by Poggio. If the monk would try himself to sell them to somebody else could have been very inconvenient for Poggio – but Poggio was not so stupid at all to take the risk. Very probably he just wanted to make the impression that the manuscripts are genuine and from Fulda, this should have been proven by the long negotiations and the monk's confirmation. But very probably and if so, the monk wanted a too big sum of money, so the deal plunged and the manuscripts remained in Poggios drawer.


The letters to Nicoló Niccoli prove that he was well acquainted with Poggios »deeds«, so to quote them how Poggio kept Niccoli on the long line and at last concluded the subject with the words – Tacitus is »tacit« in Germany – as a proof of the existence of Tacitus's works in Fulda, is simply not tenable, he just wanted to calm down the tittle-tattle ... Tacitus's works couldn’t be declared to have been found in Germany, on this letters – more in [32].


(Chapter II,vii)


Ross considered that Poggio – placed before us the unparalleled cruelty of the Church of Rome in the tiger-like thirst for blood of the Tiberius and the Nero of the Annals ...


Ross was not alone in this estimate – there were also others, which accepted this interpretation.

Nowadays, ignoring the sums of money, which were paid for allegedly classic manuscripts and are kept usually as the main reason to »produce« the manuscripts, can be stated simply:


It was not a forgery – it was just a publication under pseudonym, the classic name ensured that the public will read and that the author was safe from the eventual prosecution!


Even this short overview of the arguments to impeach Poggio of »forgery«, to be actually author of these excellent pieces of literature, give a solid background to turn the suspicion in the credible fact.


But Germania was just not of the same »color« – it was not simply critics of the contemporary way of life in Italy, transposed in Roman times – but it have had, had and has, as already previously mentioned, an actually international political dimension.



June 2013






[1] G. F. Poggio Bracciolini: De Miseria Humanae Conditionis, Pogii Florentini Oratoris et Philosophi Opera, Basileae Apvd Henri Cvm Petrvm 1538, str. 88.

[2] Christopher B. Krebs: A Most Dangerous Book –

Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich; W. W. Norton & Co. Inc., New York 2011.

[3] R. Monaldi & F. Sorti: Salajeve sumnje (I dubbi di Salai); hrv. prevod: Mirna Chubranić; izd. Fraktura d. o. o., Zapreshić 2010.

[4] Peter Watson: The German Genius;

Simon & Schuster UK 2011.

[5] Nial Fergusson: Civilization: The West and the Rest;

London: Penguin Books 2011.

[6] Oswald Spengler: Der Untergang des Abendlandes;

C. H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung;

Oskar Beck, München, Band I 1920, Band II 1922.

[7] De Pretto 1903/1904; A. Einstein 1905;

[8] Rudolfus von Fulda: Annales Fuldenses (ANN. FULD. PARS II. /FULDENSES/, leto 852); Hannoverae, Impensis Bibliopolii Hahniani 1891.

[9] Rudolfus von Fulda: Translatio sancti Alexandri;

Nicolaus Ellenbog: PASSIO SEPTEM FRATRVM filior.. sanctae foelicitatis.

Translatio sancti Alexandri. Passio Sancti Theodori martyris; Ottobeuren 1511.

[10] Dr. August Wetzel: Die Translatio sancti Alexandri - Eine kritische Untersuchung; Kiel 1881, str. 6.

[11] Fälschungen im Mittelalter: Internationaler Kongress der Monumenta Germanie Historica; München, 16.-19. September 1986, in 5 Teilen, Hannover.

[12] Die Chronik Thietmar's, Bischofs von Merseburg, nach der Ausgabe von Monumenta Germaniae; übersetzt von Dr. J. C. M. Laurent;

Berlin, Verlag von Wilhelm Besser 1848.

Thietmari Mersenburgis Episcopi Chronicon;

Hannoverae, Impensis Bibliopolii Hahniani 1889.

[13] Helmolds Chronik der Slawen; nach der Ausgabe der Monumenta Germaniae; übersetzt von Dr. J. C. M. Laurent; Zweite Auflage.

Leipzig, Verlag der Dyk'schen Buchhandlung 1888.

[14] Adam von Bremen -

Hamburgische Kirchengeschichte; Herausgegegben von Bernhard Schmeidler;

Hannover und Leipzig, Hahnsche Buchhandlung 1917.

[15] Saxo Grammaticus -

The nine books of the Danish history of Saxo Gramaticus; Translated by Oliver Elton B. A.; Norroena Society, London, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Berlin, New York 1905.

[16] John Wilson Ross (1818-1887): Tacitus and Bracciolini.

The Annals forged in the XVth century.

Originally published anonymously (?) in 1878.

(Anonimously with dedication: I dedicate to my esteemed and estimable brother Robert Dalrymple Ross – op. B.J.H.)

[17] Polydore Hochart: De l'authenticitch des Annales et des Histoires de Tacite;

Paris, Ernest Thorin Editeur 1890.

[18] Leo Wiener: A History of Arabico-Gothic Culture;

Volume III, Tacitus's Germania & other Forgeries;

Innes & Sons, 129435 N. Twelfth St., Philadelphia, Pa., MCMXX.

[19] FAZ – Frankfurter allgemeine Zeitung, 18. Oktober, 2008, No. 244 / Str. Z3.

[20] Allan A. Lund: Die ersten Germanen - Ethnizität und Ethnogenese;

Universitätsverlag C. Winter, Heidelberg 1998.

[21] B. J. Hribovshek: Imeni Raetia in Schwyz, Revija SRP, sht. 75/76, 77/78, Ljubljana 2006, 2007; Branko J. Hribovshek IMENI RAETIA IN SCHWYZ


[22] Tacitus: The Germania;

With Introduction and notes by Duane Reed Stuart, Professor of classics in Princeton University; New York, The MacMillan Company 1916.

[23] Der römische Limes - Grenzwall gegen die Germanenflut;

BR, SWR, SR, Hessen, ARD, ZDF

[24] Die Germania des Cornelius Tacitus;

Mit einer Karte. Übersetzung von Paul Stefan;

Im Insel-Verlag zu Leipzig 1930.

[25] D. M. Robbins & E. C. Polomé (1997): Varia on the Indo-European Past: Papers in Memory of Gimbutas Marija. Journal of Indo-European Studies Monograph #19. Washington DC: The Institute for the Study of Man.

[26] John V. Day: Indo-European Origins: The Anthropological Evidence;

The Institute for the Study of Man, Washington D.C., 2001.

[27] Enea Silvio Piccolomini: Europa; Herausgegeben von Günther Frank und Paul Metzger; Melanchton-Akademie Bretten, Uebersetzung von Albrecht Hartmann; Verlag Regionalkultur, 2005.

(Melanchton, pravo ime Philipp Schwarzerdt, nemshki reformator najblizhji Luthru – op. B.J.H.)

[28] The Life of Poggio Bracciolini. By The Rev. W. M. Shepherd, LL. D., Liverpool. Printed by Harris Brothers, For Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green & Longman. London. 1837.

[29] Beiträge zur Kulturgeschichte des Mittelalters und der Renaissance; herausgegeben von Walter Goetz, Heft 14: Poggius Florentinus, Leben und Werke, von Dr. Ernst Walser, Privatdozent an der Universität Zürich; Druck und Verlag von B. G. Teubner; Leipzig Berlin 1914.

[30] Ann Proulx Lang: Poggio Bracciolini's De Avaritia;

A Study in Fifteenth Century Florentine Attitudes Toward Avarice and Usury

Thesis, Sir Georg Williams University, Montreal, 1973.

[31] Material for a History of Pope Alexander VI - His relatives and His Time;

by Right Reverend Msgr. Peter De Roo; Bruges, Desclée. De Brouwer and Co. 1924.

[32] Tertullian page:





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