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Quote of the day: He was looked up to with reverence for h
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Germania by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Chapter 13: Carrying weapons
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Without being armed they transact nothing, whether of public or private concernment. But it is repugnant to their custom for any man to use arms, before the community has attested his capacity to wield them. Upon such testimonial, either one of the rulers, or his father, or some kinsman dignify the young man in the midst of the assembly, with a shield and javelin. This amongst them is the manly robe, this the first degree of honour conferred upon their youth. Before this they seem no more than part of a private family, but thenceforward part of the common-wealth. The princely dignity they confer even upon striplings, whose race is eminently noble, or whose fathers have done great and signal services to the State. For about the rest, who are more vigorous and long since tried, they crowd to attend: nor is it any shame to be seen amongst the followers of these. Nay, there are likewise degrees of followers, higher or lower, just as he whom they follow judges fit. Mighty too is the emulation amongst these followers, of each to be first in favour with his prince; mighty also the emulation of the princes, to excel in the number and valour of followers. This is their principal state, this their chief force, to be at all times surrounded with a huge band of chosen young men, for ornament and glory in peace, for security and defence in war. Nor is it amongst his own people only, but even from the neighbouring communities, that any of their Princes reaps so much renown and a name so great, when he surpasses in the number and magnanimity of his followers. For such are courted by embassies, and distinguished with presents, and by the terror of their fame alone often dissipate wars.