Livy, Periochae 31-35

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 31

[31.1] The causes of the renewal of the war against king Philip of Macedonia are reported as follows.

[31.2] At the time of the initiations, two young uninitiated Acarnanians went to Athensnote and [by mistake] entered the sanctuary of Ceres with other compatriots.

[31.3] Because of this, as if they had committed the supreme sacrilege, they were executed by the Athenians.

[31.4] The Acarnanians were upset by the death of their compatriots, asked help from Philip to avenge them, and attacked Athens; and the Athenians invoked Roman help, a few months after the peace with the Carthaginians.

[31.5] [200] When the envoys of the Athenians, who were besieged by Philip, asked for help from the Senate, and the Senate wanted to support them, the people, tired of the endless labor of so many wars, disagreed, but the senators' point of view prevailed because of their authority, and the people agreed to support an allied city

[31.6] [199] The war was waged by consul Publius Sulpicius, who led his army to Macedonia and successfully fought equestrian battles with Philip.

[31.7] Besieged by Philip, the inhabitants of Abydus followed the example of the Saguntines and killed themselves.

[31.8] In a battle, praetor Lucius Furius defeated the rebellious Gallic Insubres and the Carthaginian Hamilcar, who was trying to create a war in that part of Italy.

[31.9] With thirty-five thousand men, Hamilcar was killed.

[31.10] Itnote also contains accounts of expeditions by king Philip and consul Sulpicius, and the capture of towns by these two men.

[31.11] Consul Sulpicius waged war with the help of king Attalus [I Soter of Pergamon] and the Rhodians.

[31.12] [200] Praetor Lucius Furius [Purpureo] triumphed over the Gauls.

From Book 32

[32.1] Many omens, reported from various countries, are mentioned, among which is the growth of bay laurel on the afterdeck of a warship in Macedonia.

[32.2] [198] In a pass in Epirus, consul Titus Quinctius Flamininus successfully fought against Philip and forced him to flee and return to his kingdom.

[32.3] 197] Flamininus himself, assisted by the Aetolian and Athamanian allies, fought in Thessaly, which is close to Macedonia, while Lucius Quinctius Flamininus (the consul's brother), assisted by king Attalus [I Soter of Pergamon] and the Rhodians, fought a naval battle near Euboea and the sea coast.

[32.4] The Achaeans were received as friends.

[32.5] The number of praetors was expanded; six were elected.

[32.6] [198] A conspiracy by slaves to liberate the Carthaginian hostages was suppressed . Two thousand five hundred were killed.

[32.7] [197] Consul Cornelius Cethegus defeated the Gallic Insubres in battle.

[32.8] With the Spartans and their tyrant Nabis, a treaty of friendship was concluded.

[32.9] Itnote also contains accounts of the capture of towns in Macedonia.

From Book 33

[33.1] Proconsul Titus Quinctius Flamininus decisively defeated Philip at Cynoscephalae in Thessaly.

[33.2] The proconsul's brother Lucius Quinctius Flamininus captured the city of Leucas (the capital of the Acarnanians), and accepted the surrender of the Acarnanians.

[33.3] [196] When Philip demanded peace, Greece was given liberty.

[33.4] [197] [King] Attalus [I Soter], being brought to Pergamon because of an acute illness, died.

[33.5] Praetor Gaius Sempronius Tuditanus was killed with his army by the Celtiberians.

[33.6] [186] Consuls Lucius Furius Purpureo and Claudius Marcellus subdued the Gallic Boians and Insubres.

[33.7] Marcellus celebrated a triumph.

[33.8] [195] Hannibal, who had in vain tried to provoke war in Africa and was for this reason denounced by letters from the leaders of an opposing faction to the Romans, who sent envoys to the Carthaginian Senate, fled to king Antiochus [III the Great] of Syria, who was preparing a war against the Romans.

From Book 34

[34.1] The Lex Oppia, which the tribune of the plebs Gaius Oppius had carried during the Punic War to regulate the luxuries of women, was repealed, although Porcius Cato proposed that the law was not to be revoked.

[34.2] After the latter had proceeded to Hispania to a war that had originated in Emporiae, he pacified Hispania Citerior.

[34.3] Titus Quinctius Flamininus terminated the war successfully waged against the Spartans and their tyrant Nabis, giving them the peace they wanted, and liberating the inhabitants of Argos, who had been ruled by a tyrant.

[34.4] Itnote describes successful wars in Hispania and against the Boians and the Gallic Insubres.

[34.5] For the first time, the senators watched the Games, separated from the rest of the people.

[34.6] This was done on the initiative of censors Sextus Aelius Paetus and Gnaeus Cornelius Cethegus, to the indignation of the populace.

[34.7] Several colonies were founded.

[34.8] [194] Marcus Porcius Cato celebrated a triumph over Hispania.

[34.9] Titus Quinctius Flamininus, who had defeated king Philip [V] of Macedonia and Nabis, the tyrant of Sparta, and had liberated all of Greece, celebrated a triumph that lasted three days.

[34.10] Carthaginian envoys reported that Hannibal, who had fled to [the Seleucid king] Antiochus [III the Great], was preparing a war with the king

[34.11] Hannibal, on the other hand, tried to incite the Carthaginians to wage war by sending Ariston of Tyre, without letters, to Carthage.

From Book 35

[35.1] To take away, if possible, the fear Hannibal still inspired in the Roman people, Publius [Cornelius] Scipio Africanus, who was sent as an envoy to [king] Antiochus [III the Great], spoke to Hannibal, who had joined Antiochus, in Ephesus.

[35.2] When he asked him, among other things, who he considered to be the greatest general, he replied that this was king Alexander [the Great] of Macedonia, because with a small army, he had routed innumerable armies, and had reached the furthest coasts, which are beyond human hope to see.

[35.3] Asking who he believed was the second, he replied "Pyrrhus, who taught us how to built a camp; until now, no one has ever chosen better positions or built better fortifications".

[35.4] When Scipio continued and asked who was the third, Hannibal  mentioned himself.

[35.5] With a smile, Scipio asked, "What would you have said if you had defeated me?"

[35.6] "In that case," Hannibal replied, "I would have placed myself before Alexander and Pyrrhus."

[35.7] Among other omens, of which many are reported, was a cow that is said to have spoken to consul Gnaeus Domitius, "Take care, Rome!"

[35.8] [192] Nabis, the tyrant of the Spartans, abandoned, on the instigation of the Aetolians, who wanted to invite both [king] Philip [V of Macedonia] and Antiochus to wage war against the Roman people, his alliance with the Romans, but was killed by the Aetolians during the war he waged against Philopoemen, the leader of the Achaeans.

[35.9] The Aetolians abandoned their alliance with Rome too.

[35.10] After concluding an alliance, king Antiochus of Syria invaded Greece and captured many cities, including Chalcis and the whole of Euboea.

[35.11] Itnote also contains wars in Liguria and the preparations for the war provoked by Antiochus.