Livy, Periochae 56-60

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 56

[56.1] In Hispania Ulterior, Decimus Junius Brutus successfully fought against the Gallaecians.

[56.2] Proconsul Marcus Aemilius Lepidus obtained different results against the Vaccaeans, against whom he suffered a defeat equal to that at Numantia.

[56.3] To release the nation from the ties of the treaty with Numantia, its instigator Mancinus was handed over to the Numantines, but  they did not accept him.

[56.4] The censors performed the lustrum ceremony.

[56.5] 317,933 citizens were registered.

[56.6] [135 BCE] Consul Fulvius Flaccus subdued the Vardaeans in Illyricum.

[56.7] In Thrace, praetor Marcus Cosconius successfully fought against the Scordiscians.

[56.8] [134] Because of the mistakes of the commanders, and to the shame of the state, the Numantine war dragged on, so the Senate and people of Rome offered the consulship to Scipio Africanus [Aemilianus]; and because he could not accept this because of the law, which forbade second consulships, the rulers were changes, just as it had happened during his previous consulate.

[56.9] When the Servile War in Sicily could not be suppressed by the praetors, consul Gaius Fulvius was sent.

[56.10] This war was started by a Syrian slave named Eunus, who gathered rural slaves, opened the workhouses, and expanded his band to the size of an army.

[56.11] Another slave, Cleon, gathered seventy thousand slaves, and the Roman army was frequently defeated when the slave armies had united.

From Book 57

[57.1] [133] Scipio Africanus [Aemilianus] besieged Numantia and restored the strictest discipline in an army that was corrupted by license and luxury.

[57.2] He forbade all tools of pleasure, expelled two thousand prostitutes from the camp, made the soldiers work every day, and ordered them to carry thirty days of food and seven stakes.

[57.3] To a man who carried it with difficulty, he said: "when you know how to make a wall from a sword, you can stop carrying the wall"; and to one who had difficulty with his shield, he said "although you are carrying a shield that is larger than prescribed, I don't blame you, because you know better how to manage a shield than to manage a sword".

[57.4] When a soldier was seen out of ranks, he had him beaten with vines when he was a Roman, or with rods if he was a foreigner.

[57.5] He sold all animals, so that they might not relieve the soldiers from their loads.

[57.6] He frequently fought successfully against enemy sallies

[57.7] When the Vaccaeans were besieged, they massacred their children and wives and killed themselves.

[57.8] Expensive presents were sent to Scipio by king Antiochus [VII] of Syria, and - although it was the habit of other commanders to hide royal presents - ordered to accept the gifts in front of the tribunal, and told the quaestors to enter the presents in the public accounts; from this, he would give presents to brave men.

[57.9] When he had locked up Numantia from all sides and noticed that the besieged suffered from hunger, he ordered that those enemies who went out to look for food should not be killed, because they would sooner exhaust their supplies if there were more of them.

From Book 58

[58.1] Against the wishes of the Senate and the equestrian order, the tribune of the plebs Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus carried a land bill: no one was to own more than one thousand iugera of public land. In a rage, Gracchus removed by a special enactment his colleague Marcus Octavius because he had defended the opposing point of view; and he had himself, his brother Gaius Gracchus, and his father-in-law Appius Claudius elected as members of a triumviral board to divide land.

[58.2] He carried another land bill (aimed at getting more land) that this board was to judge which land was owned by the state and which by private individuals.

[58.3] When there turned out to be less land than he could divide without incurring the wrath of the plebeians - Gracchus had made them so greedy that they hoped for a large amount - he announced that he would promote a law to divide the money that had been bequested by king Attalus [III] among those who would, according to his first law, have been given money.

[58.4] (King Attalus of Pergamon, the son of Eumenes [II], had made the Roman people his heir.)

[58.5] The Senate, especially former consul Titus Annius, was very disturbed by these actions.

[58.6] When Annius had delivered a speech against Gracchus in the Senate, he was arrested by Gracchus and accused before the plebeians, and Annius now made a public speech against him.

[58.7] When Gracchus wanted to be reelected as tribune, he was killed on the Capitol by the optimates, led by Publius Cornelius Nasica. Gracchus was first hit by a piece of a chair, and with those who perished in this fight, he was thrown in the river, without funeral.

[58.8] Itnote also contains an account of actions with various outcomes against the Sicilian runaway slaves.

From Book 59

[59.1] Forced by starvation, the Numantines ran one another through and massacred themselves, and Scipio Africanus [Aemilianus] sacked the captured city, and celebrated a triumph in the fourteenth year after the destruction of Carthage.

[59.2] [132] Consul Publius Rupilius defeated the Sicilian runaway slaves.

[59.3] Aristonicus, the son of king Eumenes,note occupied Asia, which had been bequested to the Roman people and was supposed to be free.

[59.4] [131] Consul Publius Licinius Crassus, who was at the same time pontifex maximus (something that had never happened before), set out against him from Italy, but was defeated and killed in battle

[59.5] [130] Consul Marcus Perperna, however, accepted the surrender of the defeated Aristonicus

[59.6] [129] The first two plebeian censors, Quintus Pompeius and Quintius Metellus, performed the lustrum ceremony.

[59.7] 318,823 citizens were registered, wards and widows not included.

[59.8] Censor Quintus Metellus suggested that everyone ought to be forced to marry to create more children.

[59.9] (His speech still exists, and was quoted in the Senate by the emperor Augustus as if it had recently been written, when he proposed a marriage law.)

[59.10] Tribune Gaius Atinius Labeo ordered censor Quintus Metellus to be thrown from the Rock,note because he had not included him when he had revised the list of senators; the other tribunes assisted Metellus to prevent this.

[59.11] When tribune [Gaius Papirius] Carbo proposed that someone could be tribune as often as he wished, Publius [Cornelius Scipio] Africanus [Aemilianus] argued against this law in a dignified speech, in which he said that Tiberius Gracchus appeared to be lawfully killed.

[59.12] Although Gaius Gracchus spoke for the proposal, Scipio won.

[59.13] An account is given of the war between king Antiochus [VII] of Syria and Phraates [II] of the Parthians, and of the no less turbulent situation in Egypt.

[59.14] Ptolemy (surnamed Euergetes) was hated by his people because he was too cruel, and secretly fled to Cyprus when the people had set his palace afire; and when the kingdom was given by the people to his sister Cleopatra (whom he had divorced after he had raped and married her virgin daughter), he killed, in a fit of anger, the son she had given him, and sent the boy's head, hands, and feet to his mother.

[59.15] Riots were exited by the board of three for the division of land, Fulvius Flaccus, Gaius Gracchus, and Gaius Papirius Carbo.

[59.16] Although he had returned home in good health, Publius [Cornelius] Scipio Africanus [Aemilianus] was found dead in his bed room after he had appeared in opposition on the former day.

[59.17] His wife was suspected of poisoning him, chiefly because Sempronia was the sister of the Gracchi, whom Africanus had opposing.

[59.18] Yet there was no prosecution of the case.

[59.19] After his death, the triumviral riots were exacerbated.

[59.20] Consul Gaius Sempronius at first fought unsuccessfully against the Iapydians, but the defeat was compensated by a victory won through the qualities of Decimus Junius Brutus (the man who had subdued Lusitania).

From Book 60

[60.1] [126] Consul Lucius Aurelius subdued rebellious Sardinians.

[60.2] [125] Marcus Fulvius Flaccus, sent out to help the Massiliots against Gallic Salluvians living on the Massilian frontier, was the first to subdue Ligurians beyond the Alps.

[60.3] Praetor Lucius Opimius accepted the surrender of the rebellious Fregellans and sacked Fregellae.

[60.4] There is a reference to a plague of locusts in Africa and the large numbers of killed insects.

[60.5] [124] The censors performed the lustrum ceremony. 

[60.6] 394,736 citizens were registered.

[60.7] [123] Tribune Gaius Gracchus, brother of Tiberius and a better orator, carried several dangerous laws, among which was one on the supply of grain, which was to be sold for six and one-third asses to the plebs; a land bill like that of his brother; and a third law, aimed at corrupting the equestrian order (which at that time was collaborating with the Senate), that six hundred knights should be added to the Senate. Because back then, there were only three hundred senators, and the six hundred knights and three hundred senators would be mixed, the equestrian order would have a majority of two to one in the Senate.

[60.8] After Gracchus had continued to a second tribuneship, he passed new land bills, which resulted in the founding of several colonies in Italy, and one in Carthage, of which he himself was one of the three founders. 

[60.9] Itnote also contains an account of the war of Quintus [Caecilius] Metellus against those Balearans whom the Greeks call Gymnesios, because they are naked in the summer.

[60.10] The Balearans received their name from their missiles, or else from Balius, a companion of Hercules who was left behind when he sailed to Geryon.

[60.11] A description is given of the situation in Syria, in which Cleopatra [Thea] first killed her husband Demetrius [II Nicator] and then her son Seleucus [V], because she hated him. After she had killed his father, he had accepted the diadem without her permission.