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Journal > Volumes > 53 (2022) / 3 (Autumn)
Germania Romana: Geographical-Historical Transformation and the Necessity of Rome for German Patriotic Humanists
Justin P. Meyer
Washington University in St. Louis

German Renaissance humanists uncovered two vital aspects inherent in the idea of sixteenth-century Austria: it was both part of the humanist homeland, Germania, and identifiable with the ancient Roman province Pannonia Superior. Set against the background of the fall of Rome and the V.lkerwanderung, the connection between and history of Pannonia Superior and Austria allowed the humanists to describe Germania’s geographical and historical transformation. In this essay, I use the histories of Johannes Cochlaeus, Willibald Pirckheimer, and Sebastian Münster to illustrate how German patriotic humanists united the Roman history of the province with German history into one continuous narrative. The intertwining of Roman history into Germania’s geographical-historical transformation reveals a critical aspect of Rome in their intellectual endeavors and identity: it was an integral part of their patriotic projects, but always as a means to an end. It helped create historical meaning and a geographically based German identity.

Pages: 697 - 720