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of events. 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
tallize it is not easy to see.
By no possibility could Lavinium be derived from Lavinia, any more than Rome from Romulus. It is possible, of course, that foreign settlers may have established themselves there before the Tiber was opened, and afterwards removed to the new entrepôt. That around a growing city of the kind referred to a miscellaneous population of adventurers and refugees should have gathered is what one could expect from more modern examples. In time, after wealth had accumulated, it would be natural that agriculture should again become prominent, and thus give rise to the prevailing agricultural character of Roman society. For it was not by manufactures that Rome grew, but by the raw products of the soil, for which she served as the great collector and distributor. Again, at a later time, war became the prevailing occupation of the Romans, and the world-conquest which they effected began.
5. Such, or something like it, must have been the nucleus around which crystallized the great mass of fable which was received as the history of Rome. The conflicts of the orders of the state it is not so easy to unravel, because we cannot tell with certainty the real character of patricians, clients, and plebs, and the relations in which they stood to each other. The most probable supposition is that the plebs was composed of alien residents, attracted originally by commercial activities, and afterwards established as landholders in the state, but not of it. On no other supposition can the marked difference between them and the patricians on the one hand and the clients on the other be satisfactorily explained. But their true character, as well as the steps by which they gained a foothold in the state, will probably ever be a mystery. Many indications point to a conquest of the city at an early time by its Etruscan neighbors, and a long occupation, from which the Romans finally succeeded in freeing themselves, living thereafter under an oligarchic republic.
But such a history as this, even if Livy had known it, would
have been but a meagre field for a patriotic rhetorician, and so we have, fortunately perhaps, the received accounts, full of poetry, legend, and materials for national pride.
6. Naturally Livy's history is none of it the result of original research. His authorities are the historians and antiquaries who had come before him. These are chiefly, especially for the early books contained in this volume:
Q. Fabius Pictor (cited by him as Fabius), who wrote in Greek the story of the Second Punic War, of which he was a contemporary, with an introduction treating of the earliest times, no doubt strongly colored by the family pride of the Fabii.
L. Cincius Alimentus, who covered the same ground, lived about the same time, and also wrote in Greek.
L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi (cited as Piso), consul 133 B.C., who was, perhaps, the most eminent of the authorities consulted. This author combined with his annals accounts of early customs and institutions.
Valerius Antias, who had written a history of the city from its foundation. It appears to have been less trustworthy, however, than the other works used by Livy, and more highly colored by family pride even than that of Fabius.
C. Licinius Macer, tribune 73 B.C., who wrote as a partisan of the plebs in their conflict with the aristocracy.
Q. Aelius Tubero, contemporary with Cicero and known to us as the opponent of Ligarius, who wrote a history from the earliest times down to the Civil Wars.
For the later books M. Porcius Cato, the censor, L. Caelius Antipater, a contemporary of the Gracchi, Q. Claudius Quadrigarius, L. Cornelius Sisenna, praetor 78 B.C., Polybius, the Greek, and many others, contributed materials for our author's
7. In his treatment of these authorities Livy naturally varies much, according to the nature of the events to be narrated.
But in general he seems not to have done as even a rhetorician might do, made a special study of all, and then made an independent account, but to have taken now one and now another to follow for certain events, and then abandoned him for some more attractive authority. The earliest events he has drawn from the more simple accounts of Fabius, Piso, and Tubero. For the next epoch, that of the beginning of the Republic, he has followed Fabius, occasionally diverging to some other annalist.
The change in his sources sometimes leads Livy into inconsistencies. A case of this kind is found in this volume. At Bk. II. chap. 21 he seems to abandon his authorities, and begin chap. 22 from a new source. In doing this he displaces the chronology, giving a new date to the battle of Lake Regillus, and repeating some of the events he has already narrated (cf. 17. 6 and 22. 2).
HIS QUALITIES AS A NARRATOR.
8. If we disregard Livy's faults as a historian, and for many purposes they may well be disregarded, we shall recognize in him a narrator whose skill amply justifies the estimation in which from his own time till now he has been held. His work is a narrative, and its truth or falsity makes no difference in his talent. His power of imagination makes him, as it were, an eyewitness of the scenes and events. He is filled with the most appreciative sympathy for human motives and human actions, especially the more pathetic and the more noble. His moral tone is lofty, without any trace of hypocrisy or cant. If an event or situation is to be depicted, he knows how to seize upon precisely the point of view which will give the most telling effect. The form of narration and the language which he selects, though often careless, are always vivid and forcible, and bring the scenes before us with intense life and animation.