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52. Scipio also, as both Polybius and Rutilius1 write, died this year. For my part, I agree neither with them nor with Valerius2 —not with them, because in the censorship of Marcus Porcius and Lucius Valerius I find that the princeps senatus chosen was the same Lucius Valerius who was censor, whereas in the two preceding lustra3 Africanus had held this distinction, and while he lived, unless he had been expelled from the senate, a disgrace which no one has recorded, another princeps would not have been chosen in [2] his stead.4 The refutation of Antias as an authority is the tribune of the people Marcus Naevius, [p. 385]against whom was directed, according to the title,5 6 the speech of Publius Africanus. This Naevius, in the books of the magistrates,7 is named as tribune of the people in the consulship of Publius Claudius and Lucius Porcius, but he entered upon the tribunate in the consulship of Appius Claudius and Marcus Sempronius, on the fourth day before the [3] Ides of December. From that time it is three months to the Ides of March, when Publius Claudius and Lucius [4] Porcius were inaugurated.8 Thus it seems that he lived in the tribunate of Naevius and that he might have been accused by him, but died before the censorship of Lucius Valerius and Marcus Porcius.9

[8] It seems that the deaths of these three men, each the most famous among his own people, are comparable not so much because of the coincidence of their times, as because no one of them met an end worthy of the brilliance of his life. In the first [p. 387]place, none of them either died or was buried in his B.C. 18310 native [9??] land. Hannibal and Philopoemen were carried off by poison; Hannibal was an exile, betrayed by his host, Philopoemen, a captive, died in prison and in chains; Scipio, although not an exile or condemned, yet, because he was absent when summoned, on the day he failed to stand trial, pronounced a sentence of voluntary exile not only upon himself but upon his funeral.

1 Polybius (XXIV. ix. —ix.a) and Rutilius (consul 105 B.C., a member of the Scipionic circle, although much younger than the majority, and a writer of memoirs) should have had access to family records and other evidence as to the date. Yet apparently Polybius (l.c.; cf. Nepos, l.c.), despite what Livy says here, puts the date a year later. Rutilius is nowhere else quoted by Livy.

2 Antias dated Scipio's death in 187 B.C.: XXXVIII. liii. 8.

3 The censors of 189 B.C. gave him this rank for the third time (XXXVIII. xxviii. 2 and the note). The choice of Valerius in 184 B.C. is not mentioned in the running account of the censorship (xliii. 5 —xliv. 9 above).

4 Livy thus concludes that Scipio was dead before the lectio by Cato and Flaccus. Their active term as censors extended from March 15, 184 B.C., to about mid-September 183 B.C., and the lectio might have been held late in the period. So far as this evidence goes, then, Scipio's death might have occurred as late as the summer of 183 B.C., and Livy's criticism is not necessarily valid.

5 Cf. XXXVIII. lvi. 6 and the note. Livy forgets here his own remark, that the speech itself did not contain the name of Naevius.

6 B.C. 183

7 Presumably official registers containing the names of the magistrates year by year.

8 Inauguration day for consuls at this period was March 15; for tribunes, apparently at all times, December 10. Naevius then entered upon his office December 10, 185 B.C. (Ap. Claudius M. Sempronius coss.), and his term was concurrent with that of P. Claudius and Porcius (and of Cato and Flaccus) from March 15 to December 10, 184 B.C. If Naevius was the prosecutor Scipio could not have been tried in 187 B.C. Livy does not observe that his criticism brings under suspicion his entire narrative of the trial, so far as it is based on Antias.

9 The last sentence seems to be an attempt to reconcile conflicting testimony. Livy has rejected 183 B.C. (Polybius and Rutilius) because he believes that Scipio was dead before the censorship of Cato and Flaccus beginning March 15, 184 B.C. He has rejected 187 [5] B.C. (Antias) because he now believes that Naevius was the prosecutor (term beginning December 10, 185 B.C.). Since Livy thinks that death followed soon after the trial, this reasoning brackets both events as having occurred between December 10, 185 B.C., and March 15, 184 B.C., this being the portion of the term of Naevius which does not overlap that of Cato and Flaccus.

[6] The whole is an interesting specimen of Livy's historical criticism, the more valuable because there are [7] so few parallels. But his readiness to follow one source, almost blindly in Book XXXVIII, while professing his inability to reconcile it with other sources, his refutation of that same source in this passage, the fallacies in his own argumentation, and his ability to omit important details, do not increase our faith in his critical sense. (Of the two pieces of evidence employed here, he neglected one and rejected the other in Book XXXVIII.) One wonders how much of what he had said in Book XXXVIII. was in his active memory when he wrote Book XXXIX. and why the earlier narrative was allowed to stand after he was convinced that it was wrong.

10 B.C. 183

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  • Commentary references to this page (6):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 38.50
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 38.52
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 38.53
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 38.56
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 39-40, commentary, 40.51
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, book 45, commentary, 45.10
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