Livy, Periochae 16-20

Titus Livius or Livy (59 BCE - 17 CE): Roman historian, author of the authorized version of the history of the Roman republic.

A large part of Livy's History of Rome since the Foundation is now lost, but fortunately we have an excerpt, called the Periochae, which helps us reconstruct the general scope. This translation was made by Jona Lendering.


From Book 16

[16.1] A description is offered of the origins of the Carthaginians and the early history of their city.

[16.2] [264 BCE] Against them and against king Hiero of the Syracusans, the Senate decided to offer help to the Mamertines. There had been much debate between those for and against it. For the first time, the Romans crossed the sea with an army and they fought successfully against Hiero. 

[16.3] [263] When he sued for peace, it was granted.

[16.4] The lustrum ceremony was performed by the censors.

[16.5] 382,234 citizens were registered.

[16.6] To honor his father, Decimus Junius Brutus was the first one to organize gladiatorial games.

[16.7] A colony was founded at Aesernia.

[16.8] Itnote also contains accounts of successful wars against the Carthaginians and Volsinians.

Book 17

[17.1] Consul Gnaeus Cornelius was cornered by a Carthaginian navy and was captured under the pretext of negotiations.

[17.2] [260] Consul Gaius Duillius successfully fought against the Carthaginian navy, and was the first Roman leader to celebrate a a naval triumph.note

[17.3] Therefore, he was given a lasting right to have himself accompanied by a torch carrier and a flutist when he returned home from dinner.

[17.4] [259] Consul Lucius Cornelius [Scipio] fought successfully in Sardinia and Corsica against the Sardines, Corsicans and the Carthaginian commander Hanno.

[17.5] [258] Consul Atilius Calatinus, carelessly led his troops to a place where they were surrounded by Carthaginians, but escaped by the courage and energy of the military tribune Marcus Calpurnius, who made a sortie with 300 soldiers and diverted the enemy's attention.

[17.6] [257] The Carthaginian general Hannibal was crucified by his own men after the navy he commanded had been defeated.

[17.7] [256] Consul [Marcus] Atilius Regulus crossed to Africa after he had defeated the Carthaginians in a naval battle [at Cape Ecnomus].

From Book 18

[18.1] [255] In Africa, [Marcus] Atilius Regulus killed a serpent of portentous dimensions, and suffered great losses among his soldiers. But although he had fought successfully against the Carthaginians in several battles, the Senate did not send him a successor. He complained in a letter to the Senate, in which he compared his request to a piece of land that had been left by its workers.

[18.2] In the person of Regulus, Fortuna wanted to to give an example of both sides of fate: he was defeated and captured by Xanthippus, a Spartan leader that had been invited by the Carthaginians to support them.

[18.3] After this, the Roman commanders pursued the war successfully on land and sea, although the effects were spoiled by shipwreck of the fleet.

[18.4] Tiberius Coruncanius was the first plebeian to be made pontifex maximus.

[18.5] The censors Manius Valerius Maximus and Publius Sempronius Sophus edited the list of senators, and removed sixteen members from the Senate.

[18.6] The lustrum ceremony was performed and 297,797 citizens were registered.

[18.7] The Carthaginians sent Regulus to the Senate to conduct peace negotiations or (if he could not obtain peace) the exchange of prisoners. Although he was bound by an oath to return to Carthage if he did not obtain the exchange, he advised the Senate against both proposals. When he returned to imprisonment, he was executed by the Carthaginians.

From Book 19

[19.1] [251] Caecilius Metellus fought successfully against the Carthaginians [commanded by Hasdrubal] and organized a spectacular triumph, in which 13 enemy leaders and 120 elephants were to be seen.

[19.2] [249] Consul Claudius Pulcher fought without success against the Carthaginian navy after evil omens (he had ordered the holy chickens to be drowned if they refused to eat). He was recalled by the Senate, ordered to appoint a dictator, and chose Claudius Glicia, a man of the lowest kind. Although he was forced to lay down his office, he afterwards attended the games in a purple-bordered toga.

[19.3] Aulus Atilius Calatinus was the first dictator to lead an army out of Italy.

[19.4] Prisoners were exchanged with the Carthaginians.

[19.5] [244] Colonies were founded at Fregenae and at Brundisium in the country of the Sallentines.

[19.6] The lustrum ceremony was celebrated by the censors.

[19.7] 241,212 citizens were registered.

[19.8] Claudia (the sister of the Publius Claudius who had fought so badly after his contempt for the omens) said, when she returned from the games and was hindered by the crowds: "Oh, that my brother were still alive and commanded a navy!"

[19.9] Because of this, she was fined.

[19.10] [242] For the first time, two praetors were elected.

[19.11] Pontifex maximus Caecilius Metellus kept consul Aulus Postumius, who was priest of Mars too, in the city when he wanted to set out to wage war. He was not allowed to ignore his religious duties.

[19.12] [241] The war against the Carthaginians was conducted successfully by several commanders. The ultimate victory was won by consul Gaius Lutatius near the Aegatian isles, where he defeated the Carthaginian navy.

[19.13] When the Carthaginians sued for peace, it was granted.

[19.14] When the temple of Vesta was burning, Caecilius Metellus, the pontifex maximus, saved the holy objects from the fire.

[19.15] Two voting districts were added, called Velina and Quirina.

From Book 20

[20.1] When the Faliscans revolted, they were subdued on the sixth day and their surrender was accepted.

[20.2] A colony was founded at Spoletum.

[20.3] For the first time, an army was sent out against the Ligures.

[20.4] [237] When the Sardines and Corsicans revolted, they were suppressed.

[20.5] The Vestal Virgin Tuccia was condemned for adultery.

[20.6] [229] War was declared on the Illyrians after one of the envoys sent to them had been killed. Being conquered, they surrendered.

[20.7] [227] The number of praetors was doubled. Now there were four.

[20.8] [225] Gauls from across the Alps invaded Italy and were defeated.

[20.9] It is said that during this war, the Roman people and its Latin allies employed 800,000 soldiers.

[20.10] [223] For the first time, Roman armies crossed the Po and the Gallic Insubres, defeated in battle, were defeated in a series of battles. They surrendered.

[20.11] [222] Consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus killed the leader of the Gallic Insubres, Vertomarus, and returned with the supreme booty.

[20.12] [221] The Istrians were subdued.

[20.13] [219] The Illyrians revolted again, but were subdued. Their surrender was accepted. 

[20.14] Three times, the censors celebrated the lustrum ceremony.

[20.15] On the first occasion, 270,212 citizens were registered.

[20.16] Freed slaves were registered in four voting districts: Esquilina, Palatina, Subura, and Collina. (Until then, they had been divided more equally.) 

[20.17] [220] Censor Gaius Flaminius built the Via Flaminia and constructed the Circus Flaminia.

[20.18] Colonies were founded in the conquered Gallic territories at Placentia and Cremona.