After Rome: The Ends of the World
This chapter addresses the question of primitivism in the Natural History by examining Pliny's account of the primitive Chauci, inhabitants of the north-west German coast. The rather hostile description of this tribe draws on a long-established discourse concerning the watery chaos beyond the limits of the known world. In this way, the text equates the cosmos as it is ordered by nature with the world as it is ordered by the Romans, with their genius for imposing stability on chaos — a talent exemplified in the story of how the Cloaca Maxima was built.
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