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Probably few whose duty it is to teach Roman history in

schools will deny that some such work as the present has

too long been needed. It is for men thus engaged to judge

whether this book meets their need. It would be alike

impertinent and superfluous to dilate on the merits of

Professor Mommsen's history : those merits have won recognition from all qualified judges, and have long estab-

lished his position as the prince of Roman historians. Un-

fortunately the size of his history is beyond the compass of ordinary schoolboys; nay, possibly, others besides school-

boys have shrunk from attempting so formidable a task.

Our abridgment of his history must of necessity give but

a feeble and inadequate idea of the original ; but something will have been accomplished if we have given some con-

ception, however faint, of that original, and have induced

fresh inquirers to read for themselves those pages so

bright with wisdom and imagination.

There has been no

attempt to hold the balance between Professor Mommsen

' and his rival Ihne, nor to answer the criticisms of Pro-

fessor Freeman. Such efforts, even if we had the ability

to make them, wonld be manifestly out of place in such

a work as this.

Occasionally, indeed, conflicting views

have been indicated in a note; and the authorities have

been studied, but our text contains the views of Professor

Mommsen. Whatever merits may belong to this work

should be ascribed to another; we must be held responsible

for its defects. Our object has been to present the salient

points clearly, and as far as possible to escape dulness,

the Nemesis of the abridger. Consequently we have tried

to avoid writing down to a boy's level, a process invariably




resented by the boy himself. Inverted commas indicate that the passage is directly taken from the original. The

requirements of space have necessitated the omission of

a special chapter on Literature, Art, Religion, Economy,

etc. ; nor have we thought it wise to insert a few maps or

illustrations of coins, works of art, etc.

An atlas is really

indispensable, and one is, we believe, shortly to be pub- lished specially designed to illustrate this period. We have

to express our great indebtedness to Professor Dickson for

allowing us to make free use of his translation, the merits of which it would be difficult to overpraise. Our gratitude

is also due to Mr. Fowler, of Lincoln College, Oxford, and to Mr. Matheson, of New College, Oxford. The former

kindly revised the proof sheets of the chapter on Autho- rities, and gave valuable suggestions. The latter was

good enough to revise all the proof sheets of the history,

in the preparation of which we often found much assist- ance from his very useful " Outline of Roman History."

thank Mr. H. E. Goldschmidt, of

revision of a

large portion of the proofs.

While our history was in the press the third volume of

Professor Mommsen's " Romisches Staatsrecht" appeared.

Where possible, we have added references to it m our

lists of authorities.

Fettes College, Edinburgh, for a careful

We have




At the close of each chapter we have subjoined, where

possible, a list of the chief authorities for the statements therein contained, but a few remarks on the character

of such authorities will not be out of place.

Modern criticism has rudely shattered the romantic legends of the origin and regal period of Rome, legends given us in one form or another by all the ancient writers

whose works are still preserved.

Any reconstruction of

the ruined fabric must necessarily rest in the main upon conjecture, and, however great be the probability of such conjecture, absolute certainty is impossible. Not only

does' darkness envelop the regal period of Rome, but we

have to move with great caution through the confused accounts of the triumphs abroad and conflicts at home

which marked Rome's career during the first centuries

of the republic.

The reason of this is plain : no records

except of the most meagre kind were at first preserved

by the Romans, and the earliest writer of Roman history

did not live until the time of the second Punic war, or five hundred years after the foundation of the city. Our inquiry into the sources of Roman history naturally

falls into two divisions :

authorities of the Roman writers themselves ; secondly,

as to what weight must be attached to the writers whose

works have come down to us.

Among the earliest records preserved at Rome were (1) the annales pontificii and the annales pontificum

The first-mentioned, although mainly devoted


to the various religious forms and ceremonies, doubtless

contained mention of historical events, while the annales


as to what were the



maximi contained a bare statement, by the pontifex

maximus, of the chief events of the year and the names of the chief magistrates; and this statement was pu'blicly exhibited every year. (2) In imitation of the records kept by the priest-

colleges, arose at a later time commentarii, or notes, kept

by the consuls and

quaestors, and also the tabulae eensoriae or lists of the

These were known under the wider term of

censors. libri magistratuum, a special division of which is men-

tioned by Livy (iv. 13, etc.), under the name of


lintei, or books written on linen.

(3) The pontifices also arranged calendars or fasti con-

by the chief officers of the state, e.g

taining the days set apart for the transaction of business

(dies fasti), in which were also enumerated the feasts, games, markets, sacrifices, etc., and to which were gradu-

ally added the anniversaries of disasters and other brief notices of historical events.

(4) The name of fasti was subsequently given to lists

of years containing (a) the names of the chief magis-

trates (fasti consulares), (b) the triumphs held in each

year (fasti triumphales), and (c) the names of the priests

Of these, the first-named, called

Fasti Capitolini from the fact that they are now pre-

served in the Capitol, are the most important, and con-

tain the names of the successive consuls, censors, dic-

tators, and magistri equitum. (5) In addition to the above-mentioned state documents,

which were in the keeping of the magistrates, there existed private memorials and family chronicles of various kinds. Some were in writing, and no doubt contained gross exaggerations in glorification of particular houses. To these belong the imagines or ancestral busts with the

attached inscriptions (elogia),the funeral eulogies (lauda-

tiones funebres), the songs (neniae) sung during funeral processions or at funeral banquets, and the inscriptions

on votive presents, pillars, and tombs. (6) The most important legal monument is that of the

Twelve Tables, which were graven on iron and set up in the Forum, and were, in Livy's words, "fons omnis

publici privatique iuris." The original probably perished

in the burning of Rome by the Gauls, but was either

(fasti sacerdotales).



replaced by copies preserved by the pontifices or was restored from memory. We may add to this section the

so-called leges regiae, which, though purporting to give

decrees and decisions of the kings chiefly on religious

matters, were really a collection of old laws, set down

in. writing at a period later than the Twelve Tables. (7) Another source of information consisted of various

treaties of alliance. Dionysius mentions (a) an apocryphal treaty between Romulus and the Veientines (ii. 55), (b)

one between Tullus Hostilius and the Sabines (hi. 33),

(c) one between Servius Tullius and the Latins (iv. 26),

(d) one between Tarquinius (? Superbus) and Gabii (iv.


ancient treaties between Rome and Carthage, Pliny



(iii. 2226) gives an account of

(N. H. xxxiv. 14)

mentions the treaty with Porsena,

Cicero (pro Balbo, 23) mentions the treaty of alliance

with the Latins in 493 B.C., and Livy (iv. 7) mentions the

treaty made with Ardea, 410 B.C. To these may be added

mention by Festus * (p. 318) of the first tribunician law,

493 B.C., and the mention by Livy (iii. 31) and by Dio-

nysius (x. 32) of the Italian law De Aventino Publicando

in 456 B.C.

Such, then, were the sources open


Roman annalists.

We may now turn to them.

the earliest

Our first

list will give those writers whose works embraced the

early history of Rome but which have perished, with the

exception of a few fragments. t

(1) Q- Fabius Pictor,

born about 254 B.C., served in the Celtic war of 22o B.C.,

and wrote probably in Greek.

(2) L. Cincius Aliraentus,

praetor 210 B.C., and taken prisoner by Hannibal, wrote

* Festus' work is

merely an abridgment of the lost work of

M. Verrius Flaccus, a freedman of the Augustine age

t For the student of Roman history, Hermann Peter's " Histori-

corum Romanorum Fragmenta " is invaluable.

On the general

question of the sources of Roman history we may refer to Teuffel's

" History of Roman Literature," Professor Seeley's " Introduction to

the First Book of Livy," and more especially to the " Quellenkunde

der Romischen Geschichte," by M. Schmitz, and the instructive

criticism by C. Peter, in his " Zur Kritik der Quellen der Aelteren

Cf. also Schwegler, R. G. i., c. 1, 2, 19, of

whose work Mr. Fowler writes, " T have always thought it the

greatest masterpiece of detailed, clear, and rational criticism I have ever read."

Romischen Geschichte."


in Greek.

(3) Gaius Acilius, flourished about 155 B.C.,

a senator, wrote in Greek. (4) Aulus Postumius Albinus,

consul 151 B.C., one of the commissioners sent to settle the

(5) Omitting the

poetical description by Gaius Naevius (264-194 B.C.) of the first Punic war, and by Quintus Ennius (239-169 B.C.)

province of Greece, wrote in Greek.

of the history of Rome from the earliest times down to

172 B.C.), we now come to the first historians who wrote

in Latin prose. Marcus Porcius Cato (234-149 B.c), author

of the Origines, is the first.

(6) Lucius Cassius Hemina,

(7) Lucius Calpurnius Piso, consul

in 133 B.C. (8) Gaius Sempronius Tuditanus, consul in

flourished 146 B.C.

129 B.C.

(9) Cneius Gellius, flourished about 100 B.C.

(10) Quintus Claud as Quadrigarius, flourished about

90 B.c ; his history began at the capture of Rome by the

(12) Gaius


(11) Valerius Antias, about 70 b.c.

Licinius Macer, tribune in 73 B.C.

All these writers

preceded Livy, and in most cases are cited by him as

authorities. The other historians previous to Livy, such

(consul in 122 B.C.), Lucius Coelius

Antipater, born in 170 B.C., Lucius Cornelius Sisenna

(120-67 B.C.), wrote on special and later periods ; while statesmen, such as M. Aemilius Seaurus (consul, 115-107

B.C.), Q. Lutatius Catulus (consul 102 B.C.), and Sulla the

dictator, did not disdain to write memoirs in self-defence.

We may now give a second list of those writers on the

early period of Rome, whose works are in part still extant.

Dionysius of Halicarnassus (70-8 B.C.), of whose " Roman Antiquities" we possess nine complete books, and Titus

Livius (59-17 B.C.) stand practically alone. Other writers,

e.g. M. Velleius Paterculus (born about 19 B.C.), Plutarch (a.d. 46-120), Julius Florus (about a.d. 70-150), Aulus Gellius (a.d. 125-175), Diodorus Siculus, Appian (about a.d. 130), and Dio Cassius (a.d. 155-230), all throw more

or less light on the early history ; but practically our in-

formation is drawn from the works of Livy and Dionysius.*

Unfortunately, the latter's history, written as it was for Greeks, and avowedly written to please the reader rather

than inform posterity, is disfigured by contradictions and

as Gaius Fannius

* On the relation



(a) to the Roman annalists,

(b) to

Dionysius, the student is referred to the remarkably instructive



rhetorical exaggeration.

Difficulties are left unsolved,

and the superficial knowledge displayed throughout shows

that Dionysius was content with setting down the varying statements of Roman annalists without attempting to

reconcile their contradictions.

Livy, on the other hand,

has the great advantage of being well acquainted with

Roman traditions, and is thus able to blend with pictur-

esque language the colour of the Roman life and thought.

Nor was he wanting in judgment, although incapable of

scientific criticism. Yet the narrative of Rome as pre- sented by him in the first decade, cannot be regarded as

serious history, built up as it is of the jejune records

preserved by the magistrates and of the absurd exaggera-

tions and pure fictions preserved in family documents and

embellished by family annalists.

We do not, in truth,

reach real historical ground until the first Punic war, and

that we owe to the great work of Polybius.

ledge of the interval between the end of the first decade

of Livy and the beginning of the history of Polybius (i.e.

293-264 B.C.) is due to passages in Dionysius, Appian,

Plutarch, and Dio Cassius, but these extracts are either

confused and bare notices, or fabulous anecdotes in illus-

Our know-

tration of the Roman virtues.

Polybius (208-127 B.C.)

covers the ground extending from 264—146 B.C. Unfortu-

nately, we only possess in completeness his books down to

216 B.C., but the fragments of the remaining books are

many and precious, and the influence he exerted on all suc- ceeding historians was specially valuable in the interests

of truth. To quote Professor Mommsen, " Polybius is not

an attractive author ; but as truth and truthfulness are

of more value tban all ornament and elegance, no other

author of antiquity perhaps can be named to whom we

His books are

are indebted for so much real instruction.

like the sun

in the field of Roman history ; at the point

where they begin the veil of mist which still envelops

the Samnite and Pyrrhic war is raised, and at the point where they end a new and, if possible, still more vexatious

twilight begins." A comparison of passages describing the same events shows that Livy made free use of the writings of Polybius,* but even where the resemblance is

* On this point, vide C. Peter, in his above-mentioned work,



closest we can detect signs of other sources used by Livy,

and unfortunately his love of rhetorical embellishment

and his carelessness as to historical connection often

obscured and perverted the more straightforward accounts

of Polybius.


account of Roman history for the years 216-167 B.C.,

although we can often correct his statement by the copious fragments of Polybius.

To Livy we have to turn for a

From 167 B.C. onwards

we depend upon Appian,

Plutarch, and Sallust's Jugurthine war. The books of

Appian which have come down to us contain notices of

the regal period, a history of Spain and of the second

Punic war, a history of Libya down to the destruction of

Carthage, a history of Syria and Parthia, the war with

Mithradates, and a history of the civil strife from the Gracchi down to the death of Sextus Pompeius in 35 B.C.

His carelessness and inaccuracy, his tendency to sacrifice

truth to petty jealousy and party spirit, lessen the value

of his work.* Sallust, however, had the great advantage

over Appian and similar writers of being a Roman and


freedom from party prejudice and a sense of historical

truth, and his work is not merely instructive with regard

to the Jugurthine war, but throws valuable light On the

inner circumstances of that period.

From the beginning of the Social War (91-88 B.C.), the mass of contemporary material which in one form or

another must have been available for later writers is con- tinually increasing. For the Sullan period, from the Social War to the death of the dictator (91-78 B.C.), we rely chiefly on Plutarch's Lives of the chief actors on the


in the politics


his time.

He shows a

other works of various


Of the writers already mentioned, Claudius

Quadrigarius treated of Sulla's campaign in Greece; the work of Valerius Antias extended as far as the time

of Sulla; that of Sisenna embraced the Social War. They

appear to have written at great length, and to have incor-

porated speeches and letters in their works. In addition

to the sources mentioned above, there were (1) published speeches, political and forensic, such as those of L. Licinius

Crassus (consul 95 B.C.), of Q. Scaevola (consul 95 B.C.),


stage ; but there are

* Cf . C. Peter, pp. 127-138.



of C. Julius Caesar Strabo (killed 87 B.C.) ; (2) Memoirs. Sulla (ob. 78 B.C.) wrote an autobiography which was

completed after his death by his freedman Epicadus, and

which was largely used by Plutarch. Lucius Lucullus

(ob. 57 B.C.) wrote a history of the Social War in Greek.

C. Piso narrated the war between Sulla and Marius. L.

Voltacilius Pilutus, a freedman, wrote an account of the

doings of Cn. Pompeius, the triumvir, and of the father of

Pompeius, probably during the lifetime of the former.

Of still extant authorities the following are the most

(1) Plutarch (lived probably from the reign

of Claudius to Trajan or Hadrian). Twenty-three lives

of Romans survive, few of which, those of Marius, Sulla,


Lucullus, and Sertorius, fall under this period.

For later

times we have the lives of Crassus, Pompeius, Caesar, Cato minor, Cicero, Antonius, and Brutus. Plutarch writes with good sense and wide knowledge, but his aim

is biography, not history : hence important events are

often lightly touched, while trivialities characteristic of

the men are dwelt upon ; and as a Greek he is often

defective in acquaintance with Roman institutions.


used contemporary authorities largely, though his own

knowledge of Latin was slight, and he often reveals his

sources ; of 250 writers quoted by him 80 are wholly

or partially lost.

(2) Appian. (3) The epitomes of Livy,

attributed to Florus, which survive of all the lost books except 136 and 137, and are valuable for the main points.

(4) The compendia of several epitomists of late date have come down to us, based largely, sometimes exclusively, upon Livy. They are careful and accurate, and often

contain useful information not found elsewhere, but are

marked by a strong Roman bias. Such are the works of (Annaeus ?) Florus (flor. 2nd cent. A.D.), Eutropius and

Rufus Festus (4th cent. a.d.). (5) Justinus (date uncer-

tain) who made a collection of extracts from the Historiae

Philippicae of Trogus Pompeius (flor. 20 B.C.), apparently

a sound and

solid work, based upon Greek


Justinus is the chief authority for the earlier years of Mithradates.

For the next eight years (78-70 B.C.), to the overthrow

of the Sullan constitution, we rely chiefly upon Plutarch,

Appian, the epitomes of Livy, Justinus, Dio Cassius,



some valuable fragments of the histories of Sallust dealing with the Sertorian war and the outbreak of Lepidus, and

the recently discovered fragments of Granius Licinianus.

When we come to what may conveniently be called the Ciceronian period (70-40 B.C.) the conditions are changed

A, mass of contemporary materialletters, speeches, memoirs is still extant, though much has perished, and the modern historian is in a position, if not to write history from the original sources, at least to criticise with

effect the compositions of ancient writers.

At the same

time, the spread of culture in Rome and Italy brought

with it a facility in composition which

multitude of historical works ;

literature is the work of partisans, on the other hand we

have the advantage of possessing the views of both sides.

We will now give some account, first of the contempo- rary records whether lost or extant, secondly of the later

and if all this mass of

resulted in


histories treating of this period, w T hich survive.


Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B c ) is the most voluminous

and on the whole the most valuable writer of the period.

Advocate and partisan as he was, the naivete and volubility of his character make him peculiarly useful as a historical


Of his speeches, private and public, fifty-seven

survive, besides fragments of twenty more, and throw light,

not only on the political situation in all its constant varia- tions, but on many other points, such as the working of

the Sullan laws, and of the numerous changes which fol-

lowed rapidly on the death of Sulla, on the social condition of Italy, and the provincial administration. Incomparably

more valuable than even the speeches are the letters, 864 in number, including ninety addressed to Cicero, and ex-

tending from 68 to 43 B.C.

It is hardly too much to say

that they are an inexhaustible storehouse of contemporary

history, such as exists for no other period ancient or modern.

A memoir of the year of his consulship is unfortunately

lost. His voluminous philosophical and rhetorical writings

contain valuable information on a great variety of sub-

jects, especially on the Roman law and constitution, for

which the De Republica and De Legibus are peculiarly


With Cicero should be mentioned his faithful

freedman, friend, and editor, M. Tullius Tiro, who edited

the speeches and letters, and wrote a life of his patron,



and also developed a system


stenography (notae

Tironianae) . (2) There were also published speeches by Q. Hortensius Hortalus (114-50 B.C.), Pompeius Magnus,

C. Scribonius Curio (killed 49 B.C.), M. Coelius Eufus

(killed 48 B.C.), M. Junius Brutus (ob. 42 B.C.), C. Licinius

Calvus (ob. ante 47 B.C.), and others. (3) Of historical com-

positions the most important in the earlier portion of this

period, down to 63 B.C., were the annals of T. Pomponius

Atticus (109-32 B.C.), a compendium of Boman history

from the earliest time, giving special attention to the history of the great Boman families ; he also wrote an

account of Cicero's consulship, and a large number of

There were also historical compositions by


Hortensius the orator, by Lucius Lucceius, a corre- spondent of Cicero's, and by Lucius Tubero, a friend and

brother-in-law of Cicero, of which almost nothing is


(4) In the later half of the Ciceronian period,

from 63 B.C. to the outbreak of the civil war, the most important author is C. Julius Caesar (102-44 B.C.). His

speeches, letters, and the " Anticato " (a political pamphlet in answer to Cicero's panegyric on Cato Uticensis) are all

lost ; but there are extant (a)

Commentarii de Bello

Gallico in seven books, which is at once a military report, a history, and an apologia. " It is," says Mommsen,* " evi- dently designed to justify as well as possible before the public the formally unconstitutional enterprise of Caesar in conquering a great country, and constantly increasing

his army for that object, without instructions from the

competent authority." It was published in 51 B.C., when

the storm was imminent. The work is very valuable for

the condition of Gaul, Germany, and Britain, and also for

the Boman military system and camp life.

(b) The

Bellum Civile, in three books, is a much less careful work;

it extends to the beginning of the Alexandrine war in 47

(5) After

B.C., and has equally a political purpose.

Caesar's death the histories of the Gallic and of the civil

The eighth book of

the Gallic war and the Bellum Alexandrinum are generally ascribed to Aulus Hirtius (killed 43 B.C.); the Bellum

war were continued by his friends.

Africanum and Bellum Hispanicum are by other and un-

known hands.

(6) Other friends of Caesar who treated

* Vol. iv., p. 605.



of his life were C. Oppius (to whom the continuations of

Caesar's Bellum Civile are by some ascribed, and who also

wrote lives of Scipio Af rieanus the elder and other famous Romans), a