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Extension of the First Plan of the Work

And if our judgment of individuals and constitutions, for praise or blame, could be adequately formed from a simple consideration of their successes or defeats, I must necessarily have stopped at this point, and have concluded my history as soon as I reached these last events in accordance with my original plan. For at this point the fifty-three years were coming to an end, and the progress of the Roman power had arrived at its consummation. And, besides, by this time the acknowledgment had been extorted from all that the supremacy of Rome must be accepted, and her commands obeyed.
The plan extended to embrace the period from B. C. 168-146.
But in truth, judgments of either side founded on the bare facts of success or failure in the field are by no means final. It has often happened that what seemed the most signal successes have, from ill management, brought the most crushing disasters in their train; while not unfrequently the most terrible calamities, sustained with spirit, have been turned to actual advantage. I am bound, therefore, to add to my statement of facts a discussion on the subsequent policy of the conquerors, and their administration of their universal dominion: and again on the various feelings and opinions entertained by other nations towards their rulers. And I must also describe the tastes and aims of the several nations, whether in their private lives or public policy. The present generation will learn from this whether they should shun or seek the rule of Rome; and future generations will be taught whether to praise and imitate, or to decry it. The usefulness of my history, whether for the present or the future, will mainly lie in this. For the end of a policy should not be, in the eyes either of the actors or their historians, simply to conquer others and bring all into subjection. Nor does any man of sense go to war with his neighbours for the mere purpose of mastering his opponents; nor go to sea for the mere sake of the voyage; nor engage in professions and trades for the sole purpose of learning them. In all these cases the objects are invariably the pleasure, honour, or profit which are the results of the several employments. Accordingly the object of this work shall be to ascertain exactly what the position of the several states was, after the universal conquest by which they fell under the power of Rome, until the commotions and disturbances which broke out at a later period. These I designed to make the starting-point of what may almost be called a new work, partly because of the greatness and surprising nature of the events themselves, but chiefly because, in the case of most of them, I was not only an eye-witness, but in some cases one of the actors, and in others the chief director.

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    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 43-44, commentary, 44.23
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