The following brief text from the Germania of the Roman historian Tacitus (written a.d. 98) has been one of the most intensively studied passages in the sources of ancient and medieval history. In it Tacitus describes the institution among the Germanic peoples which he calls the comitatus, “following.” The bond among the warriors closely resembles and was undoubtedly an antecedent for the ties of vassalage under the later system of feudalism. The source is the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of the Germania, in P. Cornelli Taciti Libri qui supersunt (Leipzig: Teubner, 1949), pp. 13–14. The translation is by D. Herlihy.
KeywordsGermanic People Roman Historian Model Charter Medieval History Opus Omnia
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