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The text, with a few exceptions, is that of Weissenborn's second edition, and to the judicious commentary of the same scholar the editor is more indebted than to any other. The grammatical references (Gr.) are to the revised edition of Allen and Greenough's Latin Grammar (1888).
December 19, 1890.
1. Of our author, Titus Livius, as of so many ancient authors, we hardly know more than that he lived, wrote, and died. A few facts and some inferences can be gathered from scanty notices in various contemporary and later writers. He was born at Patavium (Padua), according to St. Jerome, in 59 B.C., and died 17 A.D., at the same place, but must have lived the greater part of his life at Rome. The year of his birth was that of the famous consulship of Cæsar and Bibulus, and his death was in the fourth year of the reign of Tiberius. He thus lived through the Civil War, and saw the downfall of the Republic and the establishment of the Empire and the reign of Augustus. He must have come of a wealthy family, and no doubt was educated at Rome.
We do not hear of him as an advocate nor as a teacher of rhetoric or philosophy, but he wrote some instructions in rhetoric addressed to his son and some essays on philosophy. To these branches of study he seems to have devoted himself. It was probably as a branch of rhetoric that he took up the composition of history. He appears in no public capacity, but he enjoyed the friendship of the imperial family, and lived a quiet literary life, engaged in the composition of his great work. This he began between 27 and 25 B.C., and did not finish, or at least did not publish completely, until after the death of Augustus,—a few years, that is, before his own death. This work must have been, as it seemed to the ancients, an enormous undertaking. Beginning with the coming of Æneas, it contained the detailed
history of the Roman people down to the death of Drusus, 9 B.C., and probably was intended to be continued to the death of Augustus. There were originally one hundred and forty-two books. These were divided into series of fives and tens, each series embracing some marked epoch of history. Thus, at the beginning of the sixth book, he says, 'Quae ab condita urbe Roma ad captam eandem urbem Romani gessere . . . quinque libris exposui.' The first ten books describe events to the establishment of Roman supremacy in Italy, at the end of the Second Samnite War. The twenty-first begins with the Second Punic War, and seventy-one to eighty embraced the Social War. This division is not systematically carried out, but in later times the "Decades of Livy" has become a common expression. Of this great work we have preserved the first decade, the third and fourth, and part of the fifth (i.e. five books, two of which, however, the forty-first and forty-third, are incomplete), - in all thirty-five. All the rest, one hundred and seven books, have been lost. Of the "Lost Decades," epitomes (periochae) by an unknown hand, which have been preserved, give a meagre account of the contents. The title of the work seems to have been Ab Vrbe Condita Libri, though Livy himself once (XLIII. 13. 1) speaks of the books as Annales, and Pliny the Elder (N. H. Praef. 16) calls them Historiae.
HIS QUALIFICATIONS FOR WRITING HISTORY.
2. Livy was not in our modern sense a historian. He was a rhetorician, who, with honesty, patriotism, and moral fervor, devoted himself to setting forth the received account of Roman history in a manner that should be interesting, instructive, and elevating. Of law, politics, religion, and tactics he had no special knowledge, even as they were in his own day, much less as they were in the early times of which he writes. Of the events narrated in his earlier books, especially in the two in this volume, historic truth was then and still is unattainable. There was in most cases absolutely no contemporaneous record
Even the ordinary evidence in documents and the like had perished before critical skill had been developed to make use of them. In the place of true history had sprung up fables, legends, and falsified traditions, sometimes the natural outgrowth of popular imagination, and sometimes of family pride or political partisanship. The most important events in the history of the Roman constitution were enveloped in a cloud of inconsistent traditions, wild guesses of ancient writers, and deliberate lies.
3. To ascertain the exact truth amid all this falsehood by careful investigation, Livy had neither the ability nor perhaps the desire. If a fable was not too absurd on its face for his contemporaries to credit, it might stand, sometimes with a word of doubt not too strongly expressed, or an attempt at explanation. (See the founding of Lavinium, I. 1. 11; the miraculous parentage of Romulus, I. 4. 2 ; the story of Acca Larentia, I. 4. 7 ; and Livy's own words, V. 21. 9, 'sed in rebus tam antiquis si quae similia veri sint pro veris accipiantur, satis habeam'). If contradictions and inconsistencies were not too glaring, they could be lightly glossed over, or avoided by omission (see the story of Ascanius, I. 3), so as not to be apparent in the continuous narrative.
EARLY HISTORY OF ROME.
4. No doubt, as in all traditions, there is a germ of truth somewhere in these stories relating to the founding and earliest history of Rome. But what it is and where it is, is as difficult to find as the woman's leaven in the three measures of meal after the whole was leavened. The site of the city appears to have been the home of shepherds that pastured their flocks on the Campagna. The Romans thought these shepherds came from Alba, and referred their Latin customs to that city as their origin. They clearly were of Latin stock, and may have come from Alba as well as anywhere. But that they as such founded any Rome, with or without a Romulus, seems
utterly incredible. Rome owes its importance, as all cities do, to its geographical position. It commands the Tiber, the only avenue to the interior for miles along the coast. There can hardly be any doubt that a nomadic and later agricultural people came down the peninsula from the North, without any thought of communication by sea with any part of the world. When the Greeks and Phoenicians 'discovered' Italy, its inhabitants were in much the same situation in regard to the rest of the earth as the North American Indians at the discovery of America. What the foreigners wanted was the raw materials which this wild country furnished, and which were paid for by the products of civilization. This foreign commerce seems to have lighted upon Etruria first, as is indicated by the early importance of Cære and other towns on or near the coast. Presently it attacked the Tiber, and of this river the shepherds of the Palatine had the command. Rome therefore became the entrepôt, or at any rate the toll-house, of Italian commerce. The earliest significance of Rome is attached to the region along the Tiber, the haunt of the merchants, where the Circus Maximus afterwards stood (see I. 7. 3 n). The Palatine was of no importance except as a stronghold to defend the traders (and probably blackmailers), who could by means of it control all commerce with the interior, whence the raw materials wanted by the foreigners must come. Hence Rome, from being a station of shepherds, became a centre of commerce. The Sabines, a kindred stock, were close by in the mountains, and wanted to have their share in the foreign wealth. They took or had already occupied, for the same purpose as the Latins (Albans), other hills close by. After many contests they early became united into one community with the Latins. In the course of this development foreign influence made itself felt, probably by permanent settlement rather than by mere commercial intercourse. Why Lavinium should have been selected as the point around which the legends of foreign settlement should crys