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1 B.C. 218
2 This famous story has provoked much ridicule, but in Livy's defence may be noted, (1) the well-known disintegrating effect on certain kinds of stone of heat followed by a douche of cold water; (2) the belief entertained in ancient times, and as late as the sixteenth century, that vinegar helped to make stones friable; (3) the likelihood that Hannibal had at least a few skins of sour wine in his baggage-train (some have held that a vast quantity would have been required, but it must be remembered that Livy may have conceived of the width of the landslip as only a few rods; see last note). In any case those who regard the vinegar story as fiction must not fasten the fiction on Livy, if, as I think, we may discern an allusion to it in Varro's Menippean Satires (Sesculixes, frag. 25, p. 237, of the Buecheler-Heraeus edition: alteram viam deformasse Carneaden virtutis e cupis acris aceti), and it was probably an old and popular tradition long before the time of Varro, who died in 27 B.C. For recent discussion of the story see the article by Evan T. Sage in C. W. 16 (1922-1923) 73-76, and notes of modern instances by other contributors to the same volume.
3 Polybius (III. Iv. 7) says that the pack-animals and horses were sent over the road after one day's work had been done, and turned out to pasture, but that three days were employed in making it sufficiently wide for the elephants.
4 B.C. 218
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