Cicero, Marcus Tullius; Academica (Academics)

App Civ

Appian, Civil Wars

App Han

Appian, War with Hannibal

App Mith

Appian, Mithridatic Wars

App Pun

Appian, Punic Wars

App Samn

Appian, Samnite Wars

App Sic

Appian, Sicilian Wars

App Span

Appian, Spanish Wars

App Syr

Appian, Syrian Wars

Arist Pol

Aristotle Politics


Arrian (Lucius Flavius Arrianus Xenophon), Anabasis of Alexander

Arr Ind

Arrian (Lucius Flavius Arrianus Xenophon), Indica (Indian Matters)


Artemidorus, Oneirocritica


Asconius, Commentaries on Five Speeches of Cicero


Athenaeus of Naucratis, Deipnosophistae (Learned Banqueters)

Aug Civ

Augustine, De civitate dei (On the City of God)

Aul Gell

Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae (Attic Nights)

Aur Vic Caes

Aurelius Victor (attributed), de Caesaribus

Aur Vic Vir

Aurelius Victor (attributed), De viris illustribus



Caes Civ

Caesar, Gaius Julius, Commentarii de bello civili (The Civil War)


Cambridge Ancient History


Catullus, Carmina (Odes)

Cat Agr

Cato, Marcus Porcius, De agri cultura *(On Farming)

Cic Acad

Cicero, Marcus Tullius, Academica

Cic Att

Cicero, Marcus Tullius, Epistulae ad Atticum (Letters to Atticus) [I use the order and numbering of the D. R. Shackleton Bailey Loeb edition.]

Cic Balb

Cicero, Marcus Tullius, Pro Balbo (In defense of Balbus)

Cic Brut

Cicero, Marcus Tullius, Brutus

Cic Div

Cicero, Marcus Tullius, De divinatione (On Divination)

Cic Fam

Cicero, Marcus Tullius, Epistulae ad familiares (Letters to His Friends) [I use the order and numbering of the D. R. Shackleton Bailey Loeb edition.]

Cic Fin

Cicero, Marcus Tullius, De finibus bonorum et malorum (On Ends of Good and Evil)

Cic Har

Cicero, Marcus Tullius, De haruspicum responsis (On the Responses of the Omen-Diviners)

Cic Invent

Cicero, Marcus Tullius, De inventione (On Rhetorical Invention)

Cic Off

Cicero, Marcus Tullius, De officiis (On Duties)

Cic Phil

Cicero, Marcus Tullius, Philippicae (The Philippics)

Cic Rep

Cicero, Marcus Tullius, De re publica (The Republic)

Cic Rosc Am

Cicero, Marcus Tullius, Pro Roscio Amerino (In Defense of Roscius Amerinus)

Cic Sen

Cicero, Marcus Tullius, De senectute (On Old Age)


Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum


Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum

Col Re Rust

Columella, Lucius Junius Moderatus, De re rustica (On Agriculture)

Corn Nep Ham

Cornelius Nepos, Lives of Great Foreign Leaders, Life of Hamilcar


Cassius Dio, Roman History

Dio Chrys

Dio Chrysostom, Orations

Dio of H

Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities

Dio Sic

Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library


Ecclesiastes, Book of, Bible


Ennius, Quintus, Annales (Annals)


Eutropius, Flavius, Breviarium (Abridgement of Roman History)


Ezekiel, Book of, Bible


Festus, Breviarium rerum gestarum populi Romani
*(Summary of Roman History)


Florus, Publius Annaeus, Epitome de T. Livio
Bellorum omnium annorum DCC Libri II *
(Epitome of Livy’s Histories)


Herodotus, The Histories

Hom Il

Homer, Iliad

Hom Od

Homer, Odyssey

Hor Car

Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), Carmina (Odes)

Hor Ep

Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), *Epodon Liber (Epodes)

Hor Epist

Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), Epistulae (Epistles)

Hor Sat

Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), Sermones (Satires)


Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae


Jeremiah, Book of, Bible


Livy (Titus Livius), Ab urbe condita (From the Foundation of the City)


Macrobius, Ambrosius Theodosius, Saturnalia


Orosius, Paulus, Historiarum Adversum Paganos Libri VII (Seven Books of History Against the Pagans)


Pausanias, Description of Greece


Petronius, Gaius, Satyricon


Pindar, Nemean Odes

Plaut Capt

Plautus, Titus Maccius, Captivi (The Captives)

Plaut Curc

Plautus, Titus Maccius, Curculio (The Weevil)

Plaut Poen

Plautus, Titus Maccius, Poenulus (The Little Carthaginian)

Plin Nat Hist

Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia (Natural History)

Plut Alex

Plutarch, Life of Alexander

Plut Cat Maj

Plutarch, Life of Cato the Elder

Plut Cor

Plutarch, Life of Coriolanus

Plut Fab

Plutarch, Life of Fabius Maximus

Plut Flam

Plutarch, Life of Flamininus

Plut G Grac

Plutarch, Life of Gaius Gracchus

Plut Mar

Plutarch, Life of Marius

Plut Marc

Plutarch, Life of Marcellus

Plut Mor

Plutarch Moralia

Plut Pom

Plutarch, Life of Pompey

Plut Popl

Plutarch, Life of Poplicola

Plut Pyr

Plutarch, Life of Pyrrhus

Plut Rom

Plutarch, Life of Romulus

Plut Sul

Plutarch, Life of Sulla

Plut Tib Grac

Plutarch, Life of Tiberius Gracchus


Polybius, The Histories


Propertius, Sextus Aurelius, Carmina


Sallust (Gaius Sallustius Crispus), Bellum Iugurthinum (War Against Jugurtha)

Sall Hist

Sallust (Gaius Sallustius Crispus), Histories


Strabo, Geographica (The Geography)

Suet Caes

Suetonius (Gaius Suetonius Tranqillus), Life of Julius Caesar

Suet Tib

Suetonius (Gaius Suetonius Tranqillus), Life of Tiberius (de vita Caesarum, The Twelve Caesars—lit., “On the Life of the Caesars”)

Tac Hist

Tacitus, Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius, Historiae (Histories)

Ter Ad

Terence (Publius Terentius Afer), Adelphi (The Brothers)

Ter Hec

Terence (Publius Terentius Afer), Hecyra (The Mother-in-Law)


Theophrastus, De Causis Plantarum (On the Origins of Plants)

Val Max

Valerius Maximus, Factorum et dictorum memorabilium (Memorable Acts and Sayings)

Var Ling Lat

Varro, Marcus Terentius, De lingua Latina

Var Rust

Varro, Marcus Terentius, De re rustica

Virg Aen

Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro), Aeneid

Virg Geo

Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro), Georgica (Georgics)


Zonaras, John, Extracts of History (Cassius Dio epitomes)

Dedication, this page: Translation of “La Trebbia”

The dawn of an ill-omened day has whitened the heights. The camp awakes. Below, the river swirls and roars where a squadron of Numidian light cavalry waters its horses. Everywhere sounds the clear call of Roman buglers, for in spite of Scipio’s disapproval, the lying auguries, the Trebbia in flood, the wind and the rain, Consul Sempronius, new to office and vainglorious, has ordered the symbols of his authority, the bundled axe and rods or fasces, to be raised and his state attendants to advance.

On the horizon, Gallic villages were on fire, reddening the dark sky with baleful bursts of flame. In the distance the trumpeting of elephants could be heard, and there, under a bridge, leaning with his back against an arch, Hannibal was listening, thoughtful and exultant, to the muffled tread of legions on the march.


Cicero’s wonderful letters allow us insight into the quality of life in the late Roman Republic.

  1  “I am coming to hope …” Cic Fam 175 (9 1).

  2  Eventually, a young man Plut Sull 31 1–2.

  3  “What a disaster!” Plut Sull 31 6.

  4  “And look at the man himself” Cic Rosc Am 46 135.

  5  “Only let us be firm on one point” Cic Fam 177 (9 2).

  6  a handbook on agriculture Var Rust De re rustica.

  7  “If I have leisure to visit Tusculum” Cic Fam 179 (9 5).

  8  “If you don’t come to me” Op. cit., 180 (9 4).

  9  “These days you are now spending” Op. cit., 181 (9 6).

10  “To every man” Macaulay, Horatius stanza 27.

1. A New Troy

Variants of the Aeneas story were current. I have mostly depended on Virgil’s canonical account, his epic poem the Aeneid, but have also made use of a somewhat different version of events in Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

  1  (some said) the celebrated Palladium According to other traditions, the Palladium had been stolen by Ulysses and the Greek hero Diomedes, and ended up variously at Athens, Sparta, or Rome.

  2  According to another narrative Dio of H 1 46.

  3  Aeneas looked wonderingly Virg Aen 1 421–25.

  4  “Now this second Paris” Ibid., 4 215–17.

  5  Aeneas the True Virg Aen passim.

  6  “So stop upsetting yourself” Op. cit., 4 360–61.

  7  Neither love nor compact Ibid., 4 624–29.

  8  a memorial was still standing Dio of H 1 64 4–5.

  9  Seven years had passed Ibid., 1 65 1.

2. Kings and Tyrants

The story of the birth and early days of Romulus and Remus is drawn from Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Plutarch, and Livy. The basic story is unchallenged, but the details vary and were hotly debated.

  1  “Hercules, who was the greatest commander” Dio of H 1 41 1.

  2  They were on friendly terms Plut Rom 6 3.

  3  an ancient festival The appearance of the Lupercalia in the story is attributed to Cicero’s friend the historian Aelius Tubero. Dio of H 1 80 1.

  4  “nothing bordering on legend” Dio of H 1 84 1.

  5  A river enables the city Cic Rep 2 5 10.

  6  Faustulus’s grave Dio of H 1 87 2.

  7  Eteocles and Polynices See, for example, Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus.

  8  Cain murdered Abel Genesis 4:9–16.

  9  was conceived in his mother’s womb Plut Rom 12 2–6.

10  little more than three thousand Latins Dio of H 1 87 2.

11  Consus, the god of good advice Originally a god of the granary.

12  “I have chosen you” Dio 1 5 11.

13  He presented himself Ioann. Laur. Lyd., De magistr. rei publ. Rom. 1 7.

14  “the shrewd device” and “my Rome” Livy 1 16 5–7.

15  one of Rome’s earliest historians Fabius Pictor.

16  “great inclination to the invention” Cic Rep 2 10.

17  a new comet Suet Caes 88.

18  He wanted the proper performance Cic op. cit., 2 14.

19  a sacrifice was conducted thirty times Plut Cor 25 3.

20  “So perish all women” For the story of Horatius, see Livy 1 26

21  The timber is still to be seen Livy ibid.

22  “Every building, public and private” Op. cit., 1 29 6.

23  Pons Sublicius See Richardson under heading.

24  “Hear me, Jupiter” Livy 1 32 6.

3. Expulsion

Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus are the main literary sources, with useful commentary from Cicero’s Republic.

  1  on a par with the name of Hecuba’s mother This was Theodor Mommsen’s view. See Mommsen 1 9, p. 121, referring to Suet Tib 70 3. Hecuba was the wife of King Priam of Troy.

  2  “deeply learned as they were” Livy 5 1 6.

  3  “rules concerning the founding” Festus 358 L.

  4  Inside every ordinary object This paragraph is indebted to Heurgon, 224–25.

  5  gold ornaments Heurgon, p. 152 (citing Raniero Mengarelli).

  6  Theopompus, has left a frank Cited in Ath 12 14 517d. It is hard to know what weight to place on this testimony. It receives some confirmation from Posidonius via Diodorus Siculus 5 40. Posidonius puts this decadent behavior down to Etruscan weakness in the centuries following the Roman conquest. But sexual promiscuity is not in itself inconsistent with military prowess.

  7  between about 620 and 610 The traditional date is 657 B.C., but recent scholarship has pushed the date of Cypselus’s accession further forward. See Cornell, p. 124.

  8  the geographer Strabo Strabo 8 c. 378.

  9  “It was indeed no little rivulet” Cic Rep 2 19 (34).

10  Genial, well-informed Ibid., 2 19 34.

11  “This statue remained” Dio of H 3 71.

12  “not a Roman, but some newcomer” Ibid., 3 72 5.

13  This was Servius Tullius The emperor Claudius (first century A.D.) was an Etruscan expert and tells a completely different and probably more historical story about Servius’s rise to power. According to him, Servius was an Etruscan adventurer who came to Rome at the head of an army. See a speech by Claudius preserved in an inscription. Table of Lyons ILS 212 1 8–27.

14  son of a slave woman Some ancient historians felt that for a Roman king to have been a slave’s offspring was infra dignitatem, and suggested that she had originally been a noblewoman before being captured in a war. See Livy 1 39.

15  Though he was brought up as a slave Cic Rep 2 21 (37).

16  “The king has been stunned” Livy 1 41 5.

17  believed devoutly in his luck For example, Sulla and Julius Caesar in the first century B.C.

18  special relationship with Fortuna See Cornell, p. 146.

19  “[The king] put into effect the principle” Cic Rep 2 22 39–40.

20  about 80,000 citizens Livy 1 44 2. The number given by Dio of H 4 22 2 is 84,700.

21  a population of about 35,000 On Rome’s population, see Cornell, pp. 204–08.

22  base-born himself Livy 1 47 11.

23  At the top of Cyprus Street Ibid., 1 47 6–7.

24  the Sibyl used to sit in a bottle. Pet 48.

25  discovered by a modern archaeologist Amedeo Mauri in 1932.

26  understand “the regular curving path” Cic Rep 2 25 45.

27  Tarquin was no delegator For this paragraph, see Dio 2 11 6.

28  “In the sweetness of private gain” Livy 1 54 10.

29  “through country which Roman feet” Ibid., 1 56 6.

30  “difficult even for an active man” Paus 10 5 5.

31  Bronze Charioteer Now in the Delphi Archaeological Museum.

32  The Pythia was a local woman In fact, there were three of them, two who alternated and the third being a reserve. The Delphic oracle was a cottage industry.

33  a sex scandal I follow Livy’s more composed, even theatrical version of events (1 57–59), rather than that of Dionysius, who moves the key personalities to and fro between Ardea and Rome, to no great purpose, except for a veneer of verisimilitude.

4. So What Really Happened?

Livy, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and Cicero are the main literary sources.

  1  “old tales” Livy 1 Preface 6–7.

  2  “a nation as truly Greek” Dio of H 1 61 1.

  3 Romulus means “founder of Rome” Ogilvie 1 p. 32.

  4  “the spirit of tranquillity” Cic Rep 2 14 27.

  5  “religious ceremonial [and] laws” Ibid., 2 14 26.

5. The Land and Its People

The poets Virgil, Horace, and Propertius evoke Rome’s prehistory. For a more detailed account see Scullard, A History of the Roman World 753 to 146 B.C., Chapter 1.

  1  a shower of stones Livy 1 31 1.

  2  Laurel, myrtle, beech, and oak Theo 5 8 3.

  3  “All Latium is blessed” Strabo 5 3 5.

  4  “In general, Etruria” Dio Sic 5 40 5 (citing Posidonius).

  5  [He] avoids the haughty portals Hor Ep 2 7–16.

  6  This is what I prayed for Hor Sat 2 6 1–4.

  7  The Curia, now standing high Prop 4 1 11–14.

  8  Homer probably wrote his great epics Homer, of course, may have been one or more authors—even a woman. Samuel Butler argues that the writer of the Odyssey was a young Sicilian woman (see The Authoress of the Odyssey, 1897).

  9  “We Romans got our culture” Cic Rep 2 15 29.

10  had no settled / Way of life Virg Aen 8 315–18.

11  “intractable folk” Ibid., 321.

12  The Capitol, “golden today” Ibid., 348.

13  “Cattle were everywhere” Ibid., 360–61.

14  an assemblage of wattle and daub Modern archaeologists have found postholes and cuttings for several huts, and more than one may have survived. A duplicate was maintained on the Capitol.

15  the foundations of a village See Stambaugh, pp. 11–12.

6. Free at Last

Livy, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and Cicero are the main sources, together with Cassius Dio. Plutarch’s life of Publicola describes the execution of Brutus’s sons.

  1  quite possibly because of a sex scandal Ogilvie, pp. 94–96, 218–20. He argues that it is possible that Lucretia committed suicide, anticipating an unfavorable verdict by a court of family members headed by her plenipotentiary husband. (This was how adultery was then dealt with.)

  2  two officials called consuls Their powers probably took some time to develop; I describe them at their complete extent. They were perhaps originally named as praetors. Some moderns have argued that there was an interim period after its birth when the Republic was governed by one official. But there is little evidence for this and the tradition of two consuls/praetors is strong.

  3  took office in 509 This was the traditional date, and is probably (give or take a year or two) accurate. To what degree Brutus, one of the first pair of consuls, is a fully historical figure is moot.

  4  invented the post of dictator Consuls convened elections for their successors, but in their absence a dictator could be appointed to fulfill this task.

  5  ad hoc collection of patricians For the structure of the early Senate see Cornell, pp. 248–49.

  6 auctoritas “was more than advice” Mommsen, Römisches Staatsrecht, vol. 3, chap. 2 (1887).

  7  lower their rods Cic Rep 2 31 54.

  8  final court of appeal A right of appeal existed under the kings and probably did not have to be conceded.

  9  “though the People were free” Cic Rep 2 31 (57).

10  The conspirators decided they should swear The story of the unmasking of the traitors bears an uncanny resemblance to Cicero’s exposure of the Catilinarian conspiracy in the first century B.C.

11  “Come, Titus, come Tiberius” Plut Popl 6 1.

12  “cruel and incredible” Dio of Hal 5 8 1.

13  “performed an act” Plut Popl 6 3–4.

14  swam back to the Roman shore Polybius 6 55 ends the story differently. Horatius drowns.

15  A statue of Horatius was erected Aul Gell 4 5.

16  its presence is attested Pliny Nat Hist 16 236.

17  Porsenna settled down For the siege, see Livy 2 12 1.

18  an Athenian king Codrus, last of the semi-mythical kings of Athens, who was succeeded by the new post of archon.

19  “Porsenna, when the city gave itself up” The great historian is Tacitus in Tac Hist 3 72.

20  “In a treaty granted by Porsenna” Pliny Nat Hist 34 139.

21  named after them, vicus Tuscus Dio of H 5 36 2–4. Of course, it could well be that the story was invented to explain the street name.

22  an old custom at public sales Livy 2 14 1–4.

7. General Strike

Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus are the main sources, and Plutarch’s Life of Coriolanus. The Coriolanus episode is almost certainly fictional; Cicero in Brutus 41–43 observes: “Coriolanus is obviously a second Themistocles.” Themistocles was the savior of Athens during the Persian invasion; he was exiled and then plotted against his native country.

  1  climbed a sparsely populated hill Some ancient sources, e.g. Plut Cor 6 1, identify the hill as the Sacred Mount three miles from the city beside the river Anio. But the Aventine, a place closely associated with popular politics, seems a more likely candidate.

  2  This was a mass protest The consensus of contemporary opinion is that this secession was a historical event, caused indeed by a debt crisis.

  3  “Once upon a time” Livy 2 32 9 12.

  4  a Temple of Mercury See Ogilvie, pp. 22–33.

  5  “The People, freed from the domination” Cic Rep 2 33.

  6  the story of a victim Livy 2 23 (and for the quotation that follows). This incident may or may not have occurred. It resembles the kind of rhetorical exercise that would-be orators used for training. But it was certainly typical.

  7  Appius Claudius Appius was a first name, or praenomen, that was exclusive to the Claudians.

  8  members of a gathering called the plebs I follow Cornell, pp. 256–58.

  9  a state within a state A phrase from Mommsen 3 145, who himself followed Livy 2 44 9.

10  first tribunes to take office Dionysius gives these perhaps fictitious details about the first two tribunes—Dio of H 6 70. Brutus may have really been Lucius Albinius, according to Asc, p. 117.

11  “lynch law disguised as divine justice” Cornell, p. 260.

12  it was not for another two decades In 471 B.C.

13  the right to “intercede” Valerio–Horatian Laws in 449.

14  No reports of their proceedings Livy 3 55 13.

15  “so that nothing that was transacted” Zon 7 15.

16  “Unless you stop disturbing the Republic” Dio of H 7 25 4.

17  “Any such measure on our part” Plut Cor 16 4.

18  The stalemate was broken Volumnia’s meeting with Coriolanus can be found in Plut Cor 33–36.

19  “You were elected as Tribunes of the plebs” Livy 3 9 11.

20  A leading statesman, three times a consul This was Spurius Cassius, consul in 502, 493, and 486. Some modern scholars do not believe the story of his ambition and fall.

21  its text could still be seen Cic Balb 53.

22  once his father had given evidence Our sources may be confused. Spurius Cassius could have been condemned by a family court of his own relatives, with his father, the all-powerful paterfamilias, presiding.

23  a spirited resistance It is said that in 454 a delegation of three was sent to Athens to study the laws of Solon (638–558). This is most unlikely to have taken place; Pericles was in power and would hardly have shown the visitors such old-fashioned and outmoded legislation. However, it is credible that consideration was given to the laws and constitutions of Greek cities in Italy. An alternative tradition has a Greek philosopher in exile advise the decemvirs.

24  ingenious speculations For example, Ogilvie p. 452 says firmly that “the second college is fictitious from start to finish.” 103 “The Decemvirate, after a flourishing start” Livy 3 33 2.

25  “ten Tarquins” Ibid., 3 39 3.

26  As with the fall of the kings Modern scholars look on the approximate “rhyme” with the rape of Lucretia with suspicion. Perhaps rightly so, but Cornell p. 275 argues that the story of Appius Claudius and Verginia may be very old and that its main elements could have a basis in fact.

27  “I have incontrovertible evidence” Livy 3 48 1–3. This speech is drawn from Livy’s imaginative reconstruction.

28  encamped on the Aventine Livy 3 52 2 says that they moved on to the Sacred Mount, probably an unnecessary elaboration of the story.

29  “I know well enough what is coming to us” Ibid., 3 54 3–4.

30  “wisely favored popular measures” Cic Rep 2 31 54.

31  haughty manner of a Claudian It is odd that, for centuries, the Claudian gens produced generation after generation of impossible men. Some assert that this was all made up by hostile Roman historians. Maybe, but (for example) we have reliable evidence of bad behavior by Claudians in the late Republic (witness Cicero’s relations with Clodius Pulcher and Appius Claudius, as set out in his correspondence). Genetics are less likely to be responsible than the not entirely unwelcome obligation to live up to other people’s expectations.

32  killed himself Dio of H 9 54 3–6. Another imaginative reconstruction, no doubt.

33  The consuls had three important laws passed The ancient sources give differing accounts of the Valerio-Horatian legislation. The difficulty is that real constitutional changes did take place, but it is not at all clear exactly when. I follow mainstream modern opinion. Those wishing to delve more deeply into this dry earth may do so at CAH, pp. 227–35.

34  “still today the fountainhead” Livy 3 34 6.

35  “A man might gather up fruit” Table 7 10 (according to the traditional tabulation).

36  “Let them keep the road in order” Table 7 1.

37  “Where a party is delivered up” Table 3 10.

8. The Fall of Rome

Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus are the main sources, with contributions by Cicero and Polybius.

  1  fifteenth of July in the year 496 This is the date given by Livy 2 42 5.

  2  the spring that rose just by the Temple of Vesta The Pool of Juturna.

  3  Castor and Pollux Castor and Polydeuces, in their Greek incarnation. 112 “It made a fine sight” Dio of H 6 13 5.

  4  Livy’s “great astonishment” Livy 6 12 2.

  5  The Carthaginians shall do no injury Polyb 3 22 11–13. This treaty is historical. The reliable Polybius reports what he surely saw for himself, that the treaty was preserved in bronze in the treasury of the aediles beside the Temple of Jupiter Best and Greatest. He confesses to having some trouble translating the archaic Latin, but the text as he gives it is plausible and rational.

  6  boundaries of Latium at this epoch Latium Vetus, Old Latium.

  7  still there in Cicero’s time Cic Balb 53.

  8  Let there be peace between the Romans Dio of H 6 95 2.

  9  Etruscan ruling class of Capua Livy 4 37 1–2.

  10  Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus Livy 3 26–29.

11  “most opulent of all Etruria’s cities” Ibid., 5 22.

12  its forces reached Rome The First Veientine War, 483–74.

13  As you know, gentlemen Livy 2 48 8. A Livian reconstruction.

14  replaced their kings with elected officials Briquel, p. 44.

15  Aulus Cornelius Cossus Livy 4 19. A vivid account.

16  a linen corselet The inscription and corselet had probably been restored in 222, when the third winner of spolia opima made his dedication at the temple. See Ogilvie Livy 1–5, pp. 558–65.

17  expanded from four thousand to six thousand men Keppie, p. 18.

18  priestess straightforwardly suggested According to Livy 5 16 9–11.

19  designed to prevent seepage See Ogilvie 1, pp. 658–59.

20  This work was now begun Livy 5 19 10–11.

21  archaic wooden statue Dio of H 13.3. A xoanon, or carved wooden image. A contemporary sculpture would have been made of terra-cotta.

22  “leave this town where you now dwell” Livy 5 21 3.

23  “too much like a romantic stage play” Ibid., 5 21 8–9.

24  the only civic status available, Roman citizenship For this plausible speculation, see CAH 7 2, pp. 312–13.

25  We are told, too, that words were uttered Ibid., 5 22 6.

26  “How sad, ancient Veii!” The poet was Sextus Propertius. See Carmina 4 10 27 30.

27  “Calamity of unprecedented magnitude” Livy 5 37 1.

28  [They] had no knowledge of the refinements Polyb 2 17 8–12.

29  were usually tall This paragraph draws on Dio Sic 5 28 and 32.

30  A foolish story is told If there is any truth in this, it could be that the Celts were invited to intervene in some internal quarrel in Clusium.

31  about ten thousand Romans faced thirty thousand Celts Scullard, p. 103.

32  a rout with high casualties Livy exaggerates the disaster for dramatic effect. From what followed, it seems clear that much of the army must have managed to escape.

33  Livy describes what happened next Livy 5 39–49. He overdoes the damage caused by the Celts.

34  a strange ritual called devotio For this interpretation see Ogilvie, p. 725. Also Livy 5 41.

35  Many public and private records Livy 6 1.

36  It was the geese that saved them Ibid., 5 47.

37  Juno’s sacred geese Juno had no special interest in geese. The birds were probably those kept in the auguraculum, or space for augury, on the Capitol, where the mood of the gods was divined from the way the birds ate their food. See Ogilvie, p. 734; the story is “the authentic stuff of history.” 131 Insult was added Livy 5 48 9.

38  barbarians may have gone, but not forever See Oakley 1, pp. 360–65 for a discussion of “Gallic attacks on Rome between the Allia and Sentinum.” 132 king of the Visigoths, the fearsome Alaric Alaric captured Rome in A.D. 410.

39  “at that moment an invasion” Polyb 2 18 3.

40  All work was hurried Livy 5 55. The story may be an ancient urban myth, invented to explain the haphazard layout of Rome’s drains.

41  work began in 378 Ibid., 6 32.

42  “giving the beholder the impression” Dio of H 4 13 4.

9. Under the Yoke

Livy is the main source, with contributions by Cassius Dio, Cicero, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

  1  the Caudine Forks The opening section of this chapter discusses the clades Caudiana, the Caudine catastrophe, which is recounted in Livy 9 1.

  2  The Consuls, pretty much half-naked Ibid., 9 6 1–2.

  3  “You are never without a reason” Ibid., 9 11 6–7.

  4  far from being grateful to the Samnites Dio 8 36 21.

  5  speaks of a foedus Cic Invent 2 91–94.

  6  in 319, a Roman general is recorded CAH 7, pt. 2, p. 371.

  7  “It is not inevitable” Dio 8 36 21.

  8  Some fifty-three patrician clans Grant, p. 61.

  9  “Very well,” shouted Sextius Livy 6 35 8.

10  tribunes aborted the elections Roman historians, including Livy, reported a five-year vacation of magistrates. This is most unlikely, and was probably proposed to correlate the disjunction between traditional dates in the early Republic and the accurate dates from the middle Republic onward.

11  reserved for patricians The praetorship was opened to plebeians in 337.

12  “Camillus, conqueror of the Veian people” Ovid 1 641–44.

13  “the liberty of the Roman People” Livy 8 28 1. Livy claims that nexum was abolished, but he was probably overstating the case.

14  “Every man is the maker” Sall Epist ad Caesarem senem, I.1.2. Napoleon famously made the same point when he was considering a candidate for the post of maréchal of France: “A-t-il de la chance?”

15  his famous censorship of 312 See Livy 9 29 and Dio Sic 20 36.

16  In my opinion, the three most magnificent works Dio of H 3 67 5.

17  resolutions of the Plebeian Council Livy 8 12 15–17 writes that Quintus Publilius Philo passed such a law about the concilium plebis, but it seems more likely that Publilius recognized the validity of concilium resolutions, provided they received patrum auctoritas—that is, senatorial approval—and that the full measure was taken in 287. See Oakley 2, pp. 524–27.

18  “Our own commonwealth was based” Cic Rep 2 1 2.

19  “not by abstract reasoning” Polyb 6 10 13.

20  Titus Manlius Livy 8 7 tells the story.

21  Janus, Jupiter, father Mars, Quirinus Livy 8 9 6–8. It is uncertain whether this is an accurate citation of the ritual text, or invented by Livy. However, it would certainly have looked convincing to his readers, familiar as they were with the many ceremonies that framed their lives.

22  Did these episodes take place? See CAH 7 2, p. 362.

23  the borders of Latium “Old” Latium, smaller than today’s Lazio.

24  the extent of territory CAH 7 2, p. 367.

25  According to a modern calculation, CAH 7 2 353. Apparent precision masks clever guesswork.

26  If ever a landscape made its people See Salmon pp. 14–27 for a fuller description of Samnium.

27  about 450,000 persons Ibid.

28  They had their pubic hair shaved Ath 12 518b.

29  The Samnites have a splendid law Strabo 5 4 12.

30  the first-century poet Horace Hor Car 3 6 39–41.

31  invented by Oscans For the origins of gladiatorial contests, see Grant, Gladiators, pp. 19 and 55.

32  A short first war Some modern authorities have argued that this war never took place, but see Oakley vol. 2 pp. 307–11.

33  “Let us pitch camp facing each other” Livy 8 23 8–9.

34  greater number of troops contributed by the allies and the Latins Ibid., 10 26 14.

35  A female deer Livy 10 27 8–9.

36  “nearest run thing” Thomas Creevey, Creevey Papers, p. 236 (London: John Murray, 1903).

37  followed his father’s example Some modern opinion challenges the historicity of this devotio; however, there is abundant testimony for both of the Decius Mus devotiones, and it is beyond doubt that the younger Decius Mus fell at Sentinum. See Oakley 4, pp. 290–91.

38  They could carry on no longer Livy 10 31 15.

39  For an individual Roman soldier The paragraphs about the experience of battle are indebted to Randall Collins’s Violence, which summarizes much research about modern warfare. With caution, I have assumed that some basic findings can plausibly be applied to the emotions of a Roman legionary.

40  von Clausewitz’s fog of war Carl von Clausewitz, On War, Book 2, chap. 2, paragraph 24.

41  Battles often have a rhythm Collins, p. 40.

42  only a quarter of them actually attack Ibid., pp. 44ff., regarding fighting in the Second World War. 166 A paralysis of terror Ibid., p. 47.

43  about one-third of combatant soldiers Ibid., p. 69. The percentages are based on a review of photographic evidence of Second World War fighting.

44  “in ancient and mediaeval warfare” Ibid., p. 79.

45  The Romans look not so much Polyb 6 24 8–9. 167 its territory had grown See Oakley 4, p. 3.

46  twenty-five percent of all adult male citizens CAH 7 pt. 2, pp. 383ff.

10. The Adventurer

Arrian, Plutarch, and Quintus Curtius wrote lives of Alexander. Embedded inside the fanciful Greek Alexander Romance are quotations from the court day book covering the king’s last days. Plutarch is the main literary source for Pyrrhus.

  1  What, exactly, was the matter is unknown Some time after his death, it was alleged that Alexander had been poisoned. This is unlikely, because he survived for nearly a fortnight after being taken ill, and the ancient world almost certainly did not have access to very slow poisons. Unexpected deaths from disease were often wrongly put down to foul play.

  2  “There will be funeral ‘games’ ” Arr 7 26 3.

  3  He would never have remained idle Arr 7 1 4.

  4  “to strive, to seek, to find” The final line of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem Ulysses.

  5  “The same wickedness” Cic Rep 3 14 24.

  6  killed its aged king, Priam Readers will recall the Player’s speech in Hamlet act 2, scene 2, which describes the deed.

  7  Alexander called to him in a dream Plut Pyr 11 2.

  8  his appearance “conveyed terror” Ibid., 3 4–5.

  9  sufferers from depression Ibid., 3 4–5.

10  the king wore a bone or ivory denture An alternative suggestion (see Champion, p. 19) is that Pyrrhus had fused teeth, but these usually come only in pairs and not as a complete row of teeth.

11  naturally brilliant Dio 9 40 3–4.

12  ate his heart away Hom Il 1 491f.

13  The city was “leafy” Hor Epist 1 16 11.

14  “mild winters” Hor Car 2 6 17–18.

15  To me the bonniest square miles Ibid., 13–16. Hymettus is a mountain range in Attica famous for its bees. Venafrum is a plain in central Italy crossed by the river Volturnus, where olive trees flourished.

16  army of more than thirty thousand men Strabo 6 3 4.

17  Later, because of their prosperity Ibid.

18  offered their services as neutral mediators Livy 9 14 1.

19  Postumius was invited The episode that follows was recorded in Dio 9 39 3–10 and Dio of H 19 5 and 6.

20  “This time they did not laugh” App Samn 7 3.

21  a famous anecdote of Plutarch’s Plut Pyr 14 2–7.

22  Archaeologists have discovered some of the tablets This paragraph is indebted to E. S. Roberts, “The Oracle Inscriptions Discovered at Dodona,” Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol. 1, 1880.

23  “Lord Zeus, Dodonean, Pelasgian Zeus” Hom Il 16 233ff.

24  During the great war Paus 8 11 12. According to Peter Levi, “Sicily” is probably one of the small hills above Syngrou Street, on the way to the Piraeus.

25  “construe the advice according to his wishes” Dio 9 40 6.

26  Those issued under Pyrrhus’s aegis See CAH 7 pt. 2, pp. 4636.

27  By this time the elephants were boxed up Arr 5 17.

28  Pyrrhus jumped up Plut Pyr 15 3–4.

29  “the mass of people were incapable” Ibid., 16 2.

30  “they fought out their country’s battles” Ibid., 16 2.

31  King Pyrrhus to Laevinus, Greeting Dio of H 19 9–10. Whether Dio is quoting from the original correspondence or making it up, the sense of the exchange is historical.

32  “The discipline of these barbarians” Plut Pyr 16 5.

33  Granicus The accounts are contradictory. The best hypothesis has Alexander send his army to cross the river Granicus uncontested downstream at night, surprising the Persians in the morning. See Green, Alexander of Macedon, Appendix.

34  “Another victory like this” Plut Pyr 219.

35  “King Pyrrhus and the Epirotes” CAH 7 pt. 2, pp. 468–69.

36  “He is like a player with dice” Plut Pyr 26 2. The speaker was Antigonus Gonatas, the king of Macedonia.

37  “After being cut to pieces” Zon (Dio) 8 4.

38  “I commend you, Pyrrhus” Ibid.

39  “His words have won me” Plut Pyr 14 2.

40  Cineas brought with him Ibid.

41  fashionable women’s dress Zon (Dio) 8 4.

42  The terms he proposed App Samn 10 1.

43  “Up to this time, I have regarded” Plut Pyr 19 1.

44  “council of many kings” Ibid., 19 5.

45  “ready speaker” Cic Brut 14 55.

46  archaeologists unearthed a stone box For this paragraph, see CAH 7 pt. 2 pp.471–72.

47  He had lost a great part of the forces Plut Pyr 21 10.

48  Whichever party may need help Polyb 3 25 3–5.

49  Punic Carthaginian. Latinization of phoinix, the Greek word for Carthaginian.

50  Wheeling round he pushed through Plut Pyr 24 3.

51  “Many roads to death” Ibid., 31 2.

52  with their purple costumes Plut Pyr 8 1. For “the poise of his neck,” see Plut Alex 4 1.

53  “My friends, what a wrestling ring” Plut Pyr 23 6.

11. All at Sea

Livy is still absent. Polybius, most accurate of ancient writers of Roman history, arrives in force. Cassius Dio, Diodorus, and Appian assist. An inscription describes Hanno’s travels. The Bible throws light on Punic religion.

  1  the fleet sailed out The account of Hanno’s journey is given in full in Warmington, pp. 7 4–6. (Müller, K. [1965]: Geographi graeci minores. 1 1–14). The inscription, on which Hanno’s dispatch was recorded and which has now disappeared, was translated from Punic into Greek. Scholars have disagreed about its authenticity, but the story it tells is internally consistent and fits the geography. Since the dispatch was made public, it is reasonable to assume that some details were altered or omitted to deceive any potential rivals, especially in the earlier parts.

  2  western limits of the known world Pind 4 69.

  3  They unload their goods Her 4 196.

  4  lack of water and blazingly hot weather Arr Ind 43 11–13.

  5  Thirty-five days had elapsed Ibid.

  6  an Egyptian Pharaoh with a penchant Her 4 42

  7  quoted by a fourth-centuryA.D. Latin author Avienus in his geographical poem, Ora Maritima (“Sea Coasts”), pp. 114–29, 380–89, 404–15.

  8  “I will stop the music of your songs” Ezek 26:13–14.

  9  “transformed from Tyrians into Africans” Dio Chrys 25 7.

10  “If you have bought land” Col Re Rust 1 1 10.

11  often cited by Greek and Latin authors Especially Col Re Rust.

12  “getting bees from the carcass” Ibid. 9.14.6.

13  By comparison, Rome’s walls See Dyson, p. 18.

14  Beyond [the wall], the city rose in tiers Flaubert, p. 44.

15  On the island was built App Pun 96.

16  [They] are a hard and gloomy people Plut Mor 7990.

17  “so that no one could sacrifice his son” 2 Kings 23:10 (Good News Bible).

18  “They have built altars for Baal” Jer 19:5.

19  In their anxiety to make amends Dio Sic 20 14 4–6.

20  parents saved their own infants Plut Mor 171 C-D.

21  “It was to the lady Tanit” CIS i 5507.

22  “an excellent form of government” Arist Pol 2 8.

23  “Carthage would not have maintained an empire” Cic Rep 1 frag 3.

24  They followed up this action Polyb 1 7 3–4.

25  “pity for those at risk” Dio Sic 23 1 4.

26  “they would prove the most vexatious” Polyb 1 10 6.

27  “for want of judgment and courage” Ibid., 1 11 5.

28  “The truth is otherwise” Dio fragment 11 43.

29  Two men rowed with each of the top two oars Possible alternative arrangements were five men rowing with one oar or three men to an upper and two to a lower oar.

30  It was not a question Dio fragment 1 20 12.

31  A Punic quinquereme Some have questioned this story, arguing that Rome could have borrowed the naval skills of the Tarentines. But it would seem that they did not have quinqueremes (if they had, surely they would have lent them to Rome with their other ships). Carthaginian ships were recognized as being the best afloat.

32  [The trainers] placed the men Dio fragment 1 21 2. 227 perhaps by stoning Oros 4 4 8.

33  They locked him in a dark and deep dungeon Aul Gell 7 4 3. The historian was Quintus Aelius Tubero, either father or son. Polybius does not mention the story of the return to Rome, which surely he would have done if it had taken place, and so it has been discredited. As for Regulus’s torture, this may have been confected to justify his widow’s alleged torture of two Carthaginian POWs. See CAH 7, pt. 2, p. 556.

34  “Let them drink” Suet Tib 2 2 2.

35  “If only my brother were alive” Suet Tib 2 4.

36  “It is perfectly proper to assist” App Sic (Constantine Porphyrogenitus, The Embassies: 1).

37  In the end the contest was left drawn Polyb 1 58 5–6.

38  “Even though my country submits” Corn Nep Ham 1 5.

39  “the longest, the most continuous” Polyb 1 63 4.

12. “Hannibal at the Gates!”

Polybius is the main and most reliable source, with Livy telling much the same story, but his is more highly colored. Cautious use is made of Dio, Diodorus Siculus, and Appian.

  1  “I was nine years old” Polyb 3 11 5–7. In the original, this passage appears in indirect speech.

  2 “Hannibal ad portas” Cic Fin 4 9 22.

  3  became besotted with an attractive young aristocrat Corn Nep Ham 3 2.

  4  charges of maladministration App Han 2 2.

  5  “inflicted on him all kinds of torture” Polyb 1 88 6.

  6  A child tore his ear Flaubert, pp. 245–46.

  7  “It is impossible to discover” Polyb 3 2 8 1.

  8  Later on after the conclusion Dio Sic 25 8.

  9  labor force of forty thousand slaves See Miles, pp. 219–20.

10  an embassy to Hamilcar Dio 12 48.

11  “fast asleep” Polyb 2 13 7.

12  Reckless in courting danger Livy 21 4 5–8.

13  notorious among his fellow citizens Polyb 9 26 11.

14  “We will not overlook this breach” Ibid., 3 15 7.

15  driven by starvation to cannibalism Aug Civ 3 20.

16  When the women watched the slaughter App Span 12.

17  The senior member of the delegation Polyb 3 33 2–4.

18  Twenty years had passed It is an oddity of history that the Second Punic War began after the same interval as that between the First and Second World Wars of the twentieth century and that, like the Germans, the Carthaginians felt that they had not been truly defeated, had been forced to pay excessive reparations, and had unfairly forfeited sovereign territory.

19  ninety thousand infantry and twelve thousand cavalry All the numbers in this paragraph come from the usually numerically conservative Polybius (Polybius 3 35).

20  A legendary personality This section is indebted to Miles, pp. 241–55.

21  He saw a vast monstrous wild beast Cic Div 1 24 49.

22  He issued silver shekels CAH 8, p. 39.

23  It was necessary to cut through rock Livy 21 37.

24  “a kindlier region” Ibid.

25  Scipio had put his son in command Polyb 10 3 4–5.

26  A spring sacred to Hercules Livy 21 62 9 and 22 1 10.

27  This was a correct judgment Flaminius’s contemporaries were unkind to him, and classical historians perhaps exaggerated his failings. There is no good reason, though, for rejecting the charge of impatience. It explains his actions.

28  The Consul’s death was the beginning Livy 21 6.

29  “Magna pugna victi sumus” Ibid., 22 7.

30  because of his gentle and solemn personality Plut Fab 1 3.

31  he had read a lot “for a Roman” Cic Sen 12.

32  “because he had not despaired of the Republic” Livy 22 61 14.

13. The Bird Without a Tail

Livy and Polybius follow the Second Punic War to its close. The latter is especially useful on Rome’s military organization.

  1 Unus homo nobis cunctando Cic Off 1, 24, 84.

  2  He threw a spear over the wall Plin Nat Hist 34 32.

  3  he looked down on the city Plut Mar 19 1.

  4  he looted so many paintings Ibid., 21 5.

  5  “The Tarentines can keep their gods” Livy 27 16 8.

  6  the Senate was unable to make up its mind Ibid., 26 18 3.

  7  “If the People want to make me aedile” Ibid., 25 2 6.

  8  Polybius was a friend of the Scipios Polyb 10 2 5.

  9  “I am happy to be spoken of as kingly” Ibid., 10 40 6.

10  Hasdrubal’s army was already drawn up Livy 27 47.

11  When fortune had deprived him Polyb 11 2 9–10.

12  “Now, at last, I see plainly the fate” Livy 27 51 12.

13  “it had an enclosure surrounded by dense woodland” Ibid., 24 3. The discussion of the Temple of Juno was informed by Jaeger.

14  If we can believe Cicero Cic Div 1 24 48.

15  pro-Carthaginian original source From Hannibal’s personal historian, Silenus, via Coelius Antipater.

16  some Italian soldiers in the Punic army refused Livy 30 20 6.

17  You must pardon me Polyb 15 19 5–7.

18  the Republic’s military dispositions Ibid., 6 19–42.

19  “When we consider this people’s almost obsessive concern” Ibid., 6 39 11.

20  a huge number of olive trees Aur Vic Caes 37 3. A late source, but consistent with the nature of Carthage’s economic renaissance.

21  He ordered a treasury official to appear Livy 33 46 1–7.

22  “We should be satisfied with having defeated him” Ibid., 33 47 5.

23  Scipio laughed and asked App Syr 10.

24  Scipio seems to have been in Carthage See Lancel, p. 195; Holleaux, pp. 75–98.

25  His only remaining option was suicide Plut Flam 20 4–6 (including Hannibal’s last words).

26  he took poison Aconite was the deadliest known toxin in the ancient world, and usually takes an hour to begin to take effect, although a large dose can be fatal almost immediately. The symptoms are unpleasant. It might not have been easy to obtain a large dose, and to be certain of its effect. Suicide by slave was the surer choice.

27  “like a bird who is too old to fly” Plut Flam 21 1.

14. Change and Decay

The sections of Polybius that cover this period have been lost, and Livy is the main source. Plautus and Terence evoke daily life in Rome.

  1  a workshop of corruptions Livy 39 10 6–7.

  2  There were more obscenities Ibid., 39 13 10–12.

  3  An inscription has survived CIL i2 2, 581.

  4  “no slur or disgrace” Livy 39 19 5.

  5  “would jeer at their habits and customs” Ibid., 40 5 7.

  6  “method of infecting people’s minds” and “Greek of humble origin” Ibid., 39 8 3–6.

  7  moved by madness Cat 63 6–10. Catullus wrote in the first century, but he echoes what was believed and practised in the third.

  8  Whenever a magistrate Plut Marc 5 1–2.

  9  The image consists of a mask Polyb 6 53–54.

10  Rome was more than a space For a fuller account of urban living see Stambaugh, passim.

11  a tour of the Forum Plaut Curc 461ff.

12  “From virtue down to trash” This description of the Roman Forum is drawn from Plautus’s Curculio, pp. 462–86. In theory, both Plautus and Terence (see below) set their plays in Greek towns, but their urban descriptions are evidently Roman.

13  there was room, at a squeeze, Dyson, p. 49.

14  Most thoroughfares in the city were unpaved The paving of streets began in 174.

15  the title of street, or via Var Ling Lat 7 15.

16  “Do you know that arcade by the market?” Ter Ad 573–84.

17  “Why, just now in the Forum” Plaut Capt lines 4 78–84.

18  “It was not without reason” Var Rust 2 Preface 1.

19  “Take all this as true” CIL 11 600.

20  Early in the morning, Cato went on foot Plut Cat Maj 3 1–2.

21  “it is from the farming class” Cat Agr intro 4.

22  He must not be a gadabout Ibid., 5 2, 4, and 5.

23  “Sell worn-out oxen” Cat Agr 2 7.

24  the origins of live performance Livy 7 2 3–13. Livy probably drew on Varro’s (lost) writings on theater. The explanation is plausible.

25  accustomed to hold a/Beano Virg Geo 2 384–88.

26  “mental relaxation should go together” Val Max 2 4 2.

27  When I first began to perform it Ter Hec Prologue 33ff.

28  “hacked to pieces with his bronze” Hom Il 23 175.

29  an extra ration of wine Cat Agr 57.

30  “natural simplicity of his men” and “boyish addiction” Plut Cat Maj 3 6–7.

31  “Anybody can see that the Republic” Polyb 31 25.

32  “[It was] her habit to appear” Ibid., 31 26 3–4.

33  One particular case that Cato exposed Plut Cat Maj 17. There are variations on this story, one being that the boy was a girl, another that the man killed was a condemned criminal rather than a distinguished Celt, a third that the prostitute requested the execution and, finally, that the deed was done by a lictor, not by the consul himself. However, in his account of the affair, Livy (39 42) claims to have read the speech Cato made about the affair, and there is no reason to doubt him. Cato’s version is likely to be the nearest to the truth.

34  Matters came to a head The surviving accounts of the Scipionic trials are confused. I follow what I hope is a plausible narrative.

35  “The Roman People are not entitled” Polyb 23 14 3 (Suid).

36  He left instructions As always, there are different stories. But Livy visited a tomb with a statue of Scipio at Liternum. Although another statue was erected on the family mausoleum at Rome, this was probably a memorial. It seems most likely that Liternum was Scipio’s last resting place. Whom else could the tomb there have belonged to?

15. The Gorgeous East

Livy and Polybius begin to fade. Plutarch’s lives of Cato and Aemilius Paulus are useful. We rely heavily on Appian for the fall of Carthage.

  1  The Gorgeous East William Wordsworth, On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic.

  2  “fetters of Greece” Polyb 18 11 5.

  3  “Woe to you, oh land” Eccl 10:16. This Old Testament book may have been composed in about 200 B.C.

  4  Consul and king met Livy 22 10, for the entire paragraph, including the consul’s retort.

  5  The encounter took place in the open air Polyb 18 1–12. Also Livy 32 32–36. Other examples of similar conferences between enemies include the triumvirs’ negotiations in 43 B.C. on a river island near Bologna and Sextus Pompey’s encounter with Octavian and Mark Antony at Cape Misenum in 39 B.C.

  6  “Flamininus has unshackled the foot” Plut Flam 10 2.

  7  The Senate of Rome Polyb 18 46 5.

  8  What had happened was so unexpected Ibid., 7.

  9  Some ravens that happened to be flying Plut Flam 10 6.

10  “And I tell you that it is not the customs” App Syr 61.

11  I observed the powerful Heracles Hom Od 11 601–3.

12  The other gods are far away Ath 6 253 b-f. See Green, From Alexander to Actium, p. 55.

13  “If he wishes us to take no interest” Livy 34 58 2.

14  A small town off the beaten track Ibid., 38 39 10.

15  He produced a forged letter Ibid., 40 23 4–9. Livy was certain that it was a forgery, and there are no good grounds for thinking otherwise.

16  his final illness was psychological Ibid., 40 56 8–9.

17  “a kind of speaking tool” Var Rust 1 17 1.

18  Day and night they wear out their bodies Dio Sic 5 38 1.

19  “I know of a slave who dreamed” Art 1 78. Cited in Toner, p. 71. Artemidorus lived in the second century, but he used material from earlier writers and his examples do not appear to be time-sensitive.

20 The Little Carthaginian Plaut Poen. The play is officially set in Aetolia, in northwestern Greece; as ever with Plautus, one cannot avoid the feeling that the characters resemble everyday Romans.

21  opening speech in the Punic language It is not quite certain whether Hanno speaks in proper Carthaginian Punic, a lost language, or in a comedy pastiche.

22  They carefully observed the country App Pun Wars 69.

23  a large and appetizing Punic fig Plut Cat Maj 27 1.

24 “Ceterum censeo” This famous sentence appears in various forms in Plut Cat Ma 27 (), Pliny NH 15 74, Florus 1 31 4, Aur Vic Vir ill 47.8.

25  “This is Carthage” Plut Mar 200 11.

26  “It never pleases the Romans” Eutrop 4 16.

27  “just in case of emergencies” App Pun 74.

28  “You must make things right” and “You know perfectly well” Ibid., 75.

29  “well adapted for landing an army” Ibid.

30  Only he has wits Hom Od 10 495.

31  Scipio surveyed the scene App Pun 132. Appian says this comes from Polybius, who heard Scipio say it.

32  For in my heart and soul Homer, Il 6 448–49.

33  the day will come The day did indeed come. It was 24 August A.D. 410, when Alaric the Visigoth sacked Rome.

34  where Carthage once stood App Civ 1 24.

35  The Romans had behaved very badly This section is indebted to Miles, pp. 348–51.

36  lifted the entire episode from Naevius Macr 6 2 31.

37  “boys in frocks” Enn 8 270. Loeb reference numbers, for this and the following two citations. Skutsch, The Annals of Ennius, OUP; 1985.

38  “wicked haughty foes” Ibid., 282.

39  at last moderates her wrath Ibid., 293.

40  “Just as if we had nothing” Plut Cat Maj 9 2.

41  Greece was added to the province of Macedon Greece had to wait until the nineteenth century A.D. before it regained its full freedom.

42  “the kindest possible treatment” Dio Sic 32 4 4–5.

16. Blood Brothers

Appian, here admirably well informed, and Plutarch’s lives of Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus are the chief sources.

  1  “always had Greeks and literary men” Plut G Grac 19 2.

  2 simplex munditiis Hor Car 1 5 5. “Casually chic” comes from James Michie’s translation. 346 Once, she was entertaining Val Max 4 4 praef.

  3  Cornelia was his reward. The story of Cornelia’s marriage to Gracchus has echoes of her son’s and may be unreliable.

  4  a curious anecdote Plut Tib Grac 1 2–3.

  5  “Keep up the good work” Cit. Balsdon, Life and Leisure, p. 119 (Porphyrio and Ps) Acron on Hor Sat 1 2 31f.

  6  Cornelia’s granddaughter See Balsdon, Roman Women, p. 48.

  7  She had greater skill in lyre-playing Sall Cat 25 1–5.

  8  “gentle and sedate” Plut Tib Grac 2 2.

  9  still known as Scipio Aemilianus’s mother-in-law Ibid., 8 5.

10  a faint echo of the Caudine Forks It may be that the Caudine Forks story was rewritten in the light of this latest debacle.

11  “a constant source of grief” Cic Har 43.

12  “Wild beasts” Plut Tib Grac 9 4.

13  pay him from his own resources Ibid., 10 5.

14  “Do not throw into chaos” App Civ 1 12.

15  the assembly-place I assume that this was in front of the Temple of Jupiter. See Richardson fig. 19, p. 69.

16  “Be quiet, please, citizens” CAH 9, p. 60.

17  “Since the Consul betrays the state” Plut Tib Grac 19 3.

18  “I will give you a single example” Aul Gell 10 3 5.

19  “I am the only man in the army” Plut G Grac 2 5.

20  “However much you try to defer your destiny” Cic Div 1 26 56.

21  “Apart from those who killed Tiberius” Corn Nep Fragment. Scholarly opinion inclines toward the genuineness of the fragmentary letters.

22  Cornelia made representations Plut G Grac 4 1–2.

23  “closely attended by a throng” Ibid., 6 4.

24  I suppose you imagine CAH 9, p. 83.

25  a visit to Carthage This is a little odd, for tribunes were not meant to cross the city boundary. Perhaps Gaius received some kind of special dispensation.

26  helped him recruit bodyguards Plut G Grac 13 2.

27  Gaius’s head was cut off Ibid., 17 4.

28  The Senate reacted to the brothers rather like a general I am indebted for this admirable simile to Andrew Lintott, CAH 9, p. 85.

29  No sword was ever brought into the assembly App Civ 1 2.

30  “She had many friends” Plut G Grac 19 2.

17. Triumph and Disaster

Plutarch’s lives of Marius and Sulla are important sources (also, to a lesser extent, those of Caesar, Cicero, and Pompey). Sallust is essential for the Jurgurthan War. Appian, assisted by Cassius Dio, carries along much of the main narrative. Keppie is valuable on military matters.

  1  He may have been a blacksmith Aur Vic Caes 33. A late source, so we cannot be certain of the claim.

  2  These proud men make a very big mistake Sall Hist 85 29–40. Gaius Sallustius Crispus, whom we know as Sallust, will have written up this speech; but if these are not Marius’s words, they well represent his embittered feelings.

  3  “It very well expresses the harshness” Plut Mar 2 1.

  4  “I can see that the cure” Ibid., 6 3.

  5  Sulla loved literature and the arts This account of Sulla’s personal life, including the verse, is taken from Plut Sul 2.

  6  Then there were the optimates This Latin word is found only in the plural; when using the singular, I adopt an Anglicized version of the word: optimate.

  7  served in Spain under Scipio Sall 7–8.

  8  “So you are going to abandon us” Plut Mar 8 3.

  9  “God, this Roman bath” Ibid., 12 3.

10  Marius’s mules Plut Mar 13 1.

11  this took six days Ibid., 25 1.

12  “insofar as it was a law” Ibid., 29 4.

13  “He lacked the abilities others had” Plut Mar 32 1.

14  “No,” replied Drusus. “Build it” Plut Mor 800f.

15  The allies laid secret plans for an uprising The ensuing war is known as the Social War (from socius, the Latin for “ally”).

16  the devastation of the countryside Florus 2 6 11.

17  He rode off on a hunting trip This Robin Hood–like tale may be a legend.

18  “Either be greater than the Romans” Plut Mar 31.

19  “Sulpicius of all the orators” Cic Brut 203.

20  “The murders and civil disturbances” App Civ 1 55.

21  He imagined that he was the commander-in-chief Plut Mar 45 6.

22  According to Appian, ninety senators died Ibid., 1 103. Elsewhere, Appian gives the number as forty (App Civ 1 95).

23  He still kept company with women Plut Sul 36 1.

24  “This lad will stop anyone else” App Civ 1 104.

25  the most splendid of triumphs The details are largely drawn from App Mith 1 116–17, Plut Pom 45 and Plin Nat Hist 33 151 and 37 13–14.

26  Ships with brazen beaks captured App Mith 1 117.

18. Afterword

Cicero’s letters and his Republic and the Academics are the main sources.

  1  We were wandering Cic Acad 1 3 9.

  2  “Like the learned men of old” Cic Fam 177 (9 2).

  3  “excessive liberty leads” Cic Rep 1 68.

  4  “winner of a greater laurel wreath” Plin Nat Hist 7 117.

  5  The Republic, when it was handed down to us Cic Rep 5 2.


1  “The mere statement of a fact” Polyb 12 25b.

2  “the type of man” Cited in Cornell, p 2.

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