Livy, Periochae 46-50

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 46

[46.1] King Eumenes [II Soter of Pergamon], who had taken an ambiguous stance during the Macedonian war, came to Rome. 

[46.2] To prevent him appearing to be considered an enemy, if he was not permitted to enter, or acquitted, if he was admitted, a general law was passed that no king could be permitted to enter Rome.

[46.3] Consul Claudius Marcellus subdued the Alpine Gauls, consul Gaius Sulpicius Gallus the Ligurians.

[46.4] Envoys of king Prusias complained that Eumenes ravaged their territory and said that he conspired with Antiochus [IV Epiphanes] against the Roman people.

[46.5] At their request, an alliance was concluded with the Rhodians.

[46.6] [164 BCE] The censors performed the lustrum ceremony.

[46.7] 337,022 citizens were registered.

[46.8] The first man in the Senate was Marcus Aemilius Lepidus.

[46.9] When king Ptolemy [VI Philometor] was expelled from his kingdom by his younger brother [Ptolemy VIII Euergetes Physcon], envoys were sent to the latter, and the former was restored.

[46.10] [163] When Ariarathes [IV Eusebes], king of Cappadocia, was dead, his son Ariarathes [V Philopator] accepted the kingdom and renewed the friendship with the Roman people through envoys.

[46.11] It [book 46] also contains an account of various battles with various outcomes against the Ligurians, Corsicans, and Lusitanians, and an account of the turmoil in Syria after the death of Antiochus [IV Epiphanes; 164], who left behind a son named Antiochus [V Eupator], a mere boy.

[46.12] [162] Together with his tutor Lysias, this boy Antiochus was killed by Demetrius [I Soter], the son of Seleucus [IV Philopator], who had been a hostage at Rome, had secretly [fled] from Rome because he had not been released, and was accepted in this kingdom.

[46.13] Lucius Aemilius Paullus, who had defeated Perseus, died.

[46.14] Although he had brought back immense treasures from Hispania and Macedonia, his scrupulousness had been so great that when an auction was conducted, the dowry of his wife could hardly be repaid.

[46.15] [160] The Pomptine marshes were drained by consul Cornelius Cethegus, to whom this task had been assigned, and converted into arable land.

From Book 47

[47.1] Praetor Gnaeus Tremellius was fined, because he had illegally opposed pontifex maximus Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. The claims of the religious authorities were stronger than that of the magistrates.

[47.2] [159] A law against bribery was passed.

[47.3] The censors performed the lustrum ceremony. 

[47.4] 328,316 citizens were registered.

[47.5] The first man in the Senate was Marcus Aemilius Lepidus.

[47.6] A treaty was negotiated between the two Ptolemaean brothers. One was to rule Egypt, the other Cyrene.

[47.7] King Ariarathes [V Philopator] of Cappadocia, who had been expelled from his kingdom on the initiative and with troops of king Demetrius [I Soter] of Syria, was restored by the Senate.

[47.8] A delegation was sent by the Senate to settle a border dispute between Massinissa and the Carthaginians.

[47.9] [156] Consul Gaius Marcius [Figulus] fought against the Dalmatians, at first unsuccessfully, later with more luck.

[47.10] The reason for going to war was that they had attacked the Illyrians, allies of the Roman people; [155] consul Cornelius Nasica subdued the Dalmatians.

[47.11] [154] Consul Quintus Opimius subdued the Transalpine Ligurians, who had attacked two towns of the Massiliots, Antipolis and Nicaea.

[47.12] Itnote also contains an account of several unsuccessful campaigns in Hispania by various commanders.

[47.13] In the five hundred and ninety-eighth year after the founding of the city, the consuls began to enter upon their office on 1 January. 

[47.14] The cause of this change in the date of the elections was a rebellion in Hispania.

[47.15] Envoys sent to negotiate between the Carthaginians and Massinissa said they had seen lots of timber in Carthage.

[47.16] Several praetors were charged with peculiation and condemned.

From Book 48

[48.1] [154 BCE] The censors performed the lustrum ceremony.

[48.2] 324,000 citizens were registered.

[48.3] The causes of the Third Punic War are described.

[48.4] It was said that a very large Numidian army, commanded by Arcobarzanes, son of Syphax, was on Carthaginian soil, and Marcus Porcius Cato argued that although this force was ostensibly directed against Massinissa, it was in fact against the Romans, and that consequently, war had to be declared.

[48.5] Publius Cornelius Nasica defended the opposite, and it was agreed that envoys were to be sent to Carthage, to see what was going on.

[48.6] They rebuked the Carthaginian Senate because it had, contrary to the treaty, collected an army and timber to build ships, and proposed to make peace between Carthage and Massinissa, because Masinissa was evacuating the contested piece of land.

[48.7] But Hamilcar's son Gesco, a riotous man who occupied an office, provoked the populace to wage war against the Romans, so that when the [Carthaginian] Senate announced it would comply with the Roman wishes, the envoys had to flee to escape violence.

[48.8] When they told this, they made the [Roman] Senate, already hostile towards the Carthaginians, even more hostile.

[48.9] Marcus Porcius Cato gave his son, who had died during his praetorship, a cheap funeral according to his means (because he was poor).

[48.10] Andriscus, who pretended persistently that he was the son of Perseus, the former king of Macedonia, was sent to Rome.

[48.11] Before he died, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, who had been chosen as first among the senators by six pairs of censors, ordered his sons that they should carry his bier to the pyre covered with linens without purple, and they were not to spend more than a million for the remainder: the imagesnote and not the expenditure should enhance the funerals of great men.

[48.12] There was an investigation of poisonings.

[48.13] The noble women Publilia and Licinia were accused of murdering their husbands, former consuls; after the hearing, they assigned real estate as bail to the praetor, but were executed by a decision of their relatives.

[48.14] Gulussa, the son of Massinissa, told that a levy was conducted in Carthage, a navy was being built, and that without any doubt, they were preparing for war. 

[48.15] When Cato argued that war should be declared, and Publius Cornelius Nasica said that it was better to do nothing too fast, it was decided to send ten investigators.

[48.16] [151] When consuls Lucius Licinius Lucullus and Aulus Postumius Albinus recruited their army with great strictness and favored no one with an exemption, they were imprisoned by the tribunes of the plebs, because they were unable to obtain exemptions for their friends.

[48.17] The Spanish War had been waged unsuccessfully and resulted in such a great confusion among the Roman citizens that no one wanted to go there as tribune or commander, but Publius Cornelius [Scipio] Aemilianus came forward and said he would accept any kind of military task to which he should be assigned.

[48.18] This example gave everyone an appetite for war.

[48.19] Although Claudius Marcellus appeared to have pacified all Celtiberian nations, his successor consul Lucullus subdued the Vaccaeans and Cantabrians and several other hitherto unknown nations in Hispania.

[48.20] Here, tribune Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus, the son of Lucius [Aemilius] Paullus, and the grandson of [Publius Cornelius Scipio] Africanus (although by adoption), killed a barbarian challenger, and added an even greater danger when the town of Intercatia was stormed,

[48.21] because he was the first to climb the wall.

[48.22] Praetor Servius Sulpicius unsuccessfully fought against the Lusitanians.

[48.23] The envoys returned from Africa with Carthaginian ambassadors and Massinissa's son Gulussa, saying they had seen how an army and navy were built in Carthage, and it was decided to ask for opinions [of all senators]

[48.24] While Cato and other influential senators argued that an army should immediately be sent to Africa, Cornelius Nasica said that it still did not seem to be a justified war, and it was agreed to refrain from war if the Carthaginians would burn their ships and dismiss their army; if they did less, the next pair of consuls should put the Punic War on the agenda.

[48.25] When a theater, contracted for by the censors, was built, Publius Cornelius Nasica was the author of a senatorial decree that this building, which was so useless and dangerous for the public morals, should be destroyed; for some time, the people had to stand to watch theatrical performances.

[48.26] When the Carthaginians declared war upon Massinissa and broke the treaty, they were beaten by this man (who was ninety-two years old and accustomed to eat and enjoy dry bread without a relish) and incurred a war against the Romans.

[48.27] Itnote also contains an account of the situation in Syria and the war waged between its kings

[48.28] [150] In this turmoil, the Syrian king Demetrius [I Soter] was killed.

From Book 49

[49.1] [149] The beginning of the Third Punic War was in the six hundred and second year after the founding of Rome, and came to an end five years after its beginning 

[49.2] Between Marcus Porcius Cato and Scipio Nasica, of which the former was the most intelligent man in the city and the latter considered to be the best man in the Senate, was a debate of opposing opinions, in which Cato argued for and Nasica against war and the removal and sack of Carthage.

[49.3] It was decided to declare war on Carthage, because the Carthaginians had, contrary to the treaty, ships, because they had sent an army outside their territory, because they had waged war against Massinissa, an ally and friend of the Roman people, and because they had refused to receive in their city Massinissa's son Gulussa (who had been with the Roman envoys).

[49.4] Before any troops had boarded their ships, Utican envoys came to Rome, to surrender themselves and everything they owned.

[49.5] This embassy was received as a good omen by the senators, and as a bad omen in Carthage.

[49.6] The games of Dis Pater took place at the Tarentum, in accordance with the [Sibylline] Books. Similar festivities had taken place hundred year before, at the beginning of the First Punic War, in the five hundred and second year since the founding of the city.

[49.7] Thirty envoys came to Rome to surrender Carthage.

[49.8] Cato's opinion prevailed that the declaration of war was to be maintained and that the consuls, as had been agreed, would proceed to the front.

[49.9] When they had crossed into Africa, they received the three hundred hostages they had demanded and all the weapons and war engines that were in Carthage, and demanded on the authority of the Senate that the Carthaginians rebuilt their city on another site, which was to be no less than fifteen kilometers from the sea. These offensive demands forced the Carthaginians to war.

[49.10] The beginning of the siege and the attack of Carthage were organized by consuls Lucius Marcius [Censorinus] and Manius Manilius. 

[49.11] During the siege, two tribunes rashly broke through a carelessly defended wall and suffered greatly from the inhabitants, but were relieved by Scipio Orfitianus [Africanus].

[49.12] With the help of a few cavalry, he also relieved a Roman fort that had been attacked by night, and he received the greatest glory from the liberation of Roman camps which the Carthaginians, sallying in full force from the city, vigorously attacked.

[49.13] Besides, when the consul (his colleague had returned to Rome for the elections) led the army against Hasdrubal (who had occupied with many troops an inaccessible pass), he convinced the consul first not to attack on this inaccessible place.

[49.14] However, the opinions of the others, who were jealous of his intelligence and valor, prevailed, and he entered the pass himself,

[49.15] and when - as he had predicted - the Roman army was defeated and routed and two subunits were besieged by the enemy, he returned with a few cavalry squadrons, relieved them, and brought them back unharmed.

[49.16] In the Senate, his valor was praised by even Cato, a man whose tongue was better suited for criticism, but now said that the others fighting in Africa were mere spirits, whereas Scipio was alive; and the Roman people received him with so much enthusiasm that most districts elected him as consul, although his age did not allow this.

[49.17] When Lucius Scribonius, a tribune of the plebs, proposed a law that the Lusitanians, who had surrendered to the Roman people but had been sold [into slavery] by Servius [Sulpicius] Galba in Gaul, would be liberated, Marcus Porcius Cato supported him energetically.

[49.18] (His speech still exists and is included in his Annals.)

[49.19] Quintus Fulvius Nobilior, who had often been assailed by Cato in the Senate, spoke for Galba; and Galba himself, seeing that he was about to be condemned, embracing his two young sons and the son of Sulpicius Gallus, whose guardian he was, spoke so pitiably in his own defense, that the case was abandoned.

[49.20] (Three of his speeches still exist: two against tribune Libo in the Lusitanian case, and one against Lucius Cornelius Cethegus, in which he admits that during a truce, he had massacred the Lusitanians near his camp because, as he explains, he had found out that they had sacrificed a man and a horse, which according to their custom meant that they were preparing an attack.)

[49.21] A certain Andriscus, a man of the lowest kind, pretending to be a son of king Perseus, changed his name into Philip, and secretly fled from the city of Rome, to which king Demetrius [I Soter] of Syria had sent him, precisely because of this lie; many people were attracted by his false story (as if it were true), he gathered an army and occupied all of Macedonia, whether the people wanted it or not.

[49.22] He told the following story: born as the son of king Perseus and a courtesan, he had been handed over for education to a certain Cretan, so that, in this situation of war against the Romans, some scion of the royal stock would survive.

[49.23] Without knowledge of his family and believing that the man who taught him was his father, he had been educated at Adramyttion until he was twelve years old.

[49.24] When this man fell ill and was close to the end of his life, he finally told Andriscus about his origin and gave his "mother" a writing that had been sealed by king Perseus, which she should give the boy when he reached maturity, and the teacher added that everything had to be kept secret until that moment.

[49.25] When he reached maturity, Andriscus received the writing, from which he learned that his father had left him two treasures.

[49.26] Until then he had only known that he was a foster son and had been unaware about his real ancestry; now his foster mother told him about his lineage and begged him to avoid being assassinated by departing from the country before the news reached [king] Eumenes [II Soter of Pergamon], an enemy of Perseus.

[49.27] Frightened and hoping to obtain assistance from Demetrius, he went to Syria, where he had declared for the first time who he was.

From Book 50

[50.1] Thessaly, which the false Philip wanted to invade and occupy with his armies, was defended by Roman envoys and Achaean allies.

[50.2] King Prusias [II the Hunter] of Bithynia, a man full of the lowest moral defects, was killed by his son Nicomedes [Epiphanes], who received help from king Attalus [II] of Pergamon, but had a second son (who is said to have had one single bone growing in place of his upper teeth).

[50.3] When the Romans sent three envoys to negotiate peace between Nicomedes and Prusias, of which the first had many scars on his head, the second was gouty, and the third was considered to have a slow mind, Marcus [Porcius] Cato said that this was embassy without head, feet, and brains.

[50.4] In Syria, which had until then had a king [Alexander I Balas] who was equal to that of Macedonia in ancestry but to Prusias in laziness and slowness, and who took his ease in kitchens and brothels, Hammonius ruled, and he murdered all friends of the king, and queen Laodice, and Demetrius' son Antigonus.

[50.5] [148] More than ninety years old, king Massinissa of Numidia died, a remarkable man.

[50.6] He was so vigorous that among the other youthful exploits that he performed during his final years, he was still sexually active and begot a son when he was eighty-six.

[50.7] He left his undivided kingdom to his three sons (Micipsa the eldest, Gulussa, and Mastanabal, who was well-versed in Greek literature), and ordered them to divide it according to the instructions of Publius [Cornelius] Scipio Aemilianus, who accordingly assigned the part of the kingdom they were to rule.

[50.8] The same man persuaded Phameas Himilco, the commander of the Carthaginian cavalry and a man of valor who was important to the Carthaginians, to join the Romans with his squadron.

[50.9] From the three envoys that were sent to Massinissa, Marcus Claudius Marcellus drowned during a tempest at sea.

[50.10] In their Senate room, the Carthaginians killed Hasdrubal, a grandson of Massinissa who served them as general, because they believed he was a traitor. Their suspicion was based on his relation to the Romans' ally Gulussa.

[50.11] When Publius [Cornelius] Scipio Aemilianus ran for aedile, he was elected consul by the people.

[50.12] Because he could not lawfully be made consul as he was under age, there was a big struggle between the people, who campaigned for him, and the senators, who resisted him for some time, but eventually the law was repealed and he was made consul.

[50.13] Manius Manilius stormed several cities in the neighborhood of Carthage.

[50.14] [147] After the false Philip had massacred praetor Publius Juventius with his army in Macedonia, he was defeated and captured by Quintus Caecilius, and Macedonia was subdued again.