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The Athenæum Press


The editor holds, as he has often said elsewhere, that the essential object of studying Latin is to learn to read Latin with readiness and accuracy ; that the proper method of learning to read is to try to read, in the form and the order in which the author presents his ideas and conceptions, and with as little translation into the vernacular as possible. This is especially true of Livy, who is a professional raconteur, always aiming to produce a graphic effect on the mind of his reader. This book is accordingly edited with a view to that object and that method. Discussions of historical and grammatical points have been made subordinate to the presentation of Livy's exact ideas as they lay in his mind, and the precise order in which in their parts and their totality he intended to present them. The teacher as well as the pupil will perhaps miss some historical and grammatical lore and many translations which they have become accustomed to associate with classical studies, but which the editor has purposely omitted. Yet in compensation it is hoped that both will be led to a better knowledge of the author and of the Latin language than they would get by following the customary method of exhaustive comment on irrelevant topics.

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).

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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,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

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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

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