The language of freedom and slavery in tacitus agricola

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


The Agricola has long been a popular object of study for the connection that it makes between the British narrative of resistance against Roman domination and the Roman narrative of resistance against imperial domination. However, no agreement has been reached on the question of how exactly the two narratives 'affect' each other. Simultaneously, while it has often been remarked that Tacitus' language is inherently metaphorical, there have been curiously few studies devoted to Tacitean metaphor. Based on the theory of conceptual metaphor promoted by George Lakoff, this article takes the metaphors of freedom and slavery that appear in the Agricola as starting point for a re-evaluation of the connection between the two narratives. This novel approach to the text facilitates a deeper analysis of certain key passages of the text, and provides some much-needed nuance to the current scholarly debate.


  • Aske Damtoft Poulsen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Specific Languages


  • Agricola, Libertas/freedom, Metaphor, Tacitus
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)834-858
Number of pages25
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch

Related research output

Damtoft Poulsen, A., 2018 May 18, Lund: MediaTryck Lund. 249 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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