Translator's Preface

I regret—though I have good ancient precedent— that my first volume must begin with an explanation which is at the same time a warning and an apology. There is at the present no critical edition of the Fourth Decade. Only a beginning has been made in the investigation of such questions as the interrelationships of the minor MSS. or their relations to B, or the history and character of the lost MSS. like M which were used by sixteenth-century scholars. All this must precede a sound critical text. The situation offers an unusual temptation to conjecture and an unusual opportunity, in the absence of precise and complete information about the manuscripts, to introduce subjective changes. Scholars have shown commendable restraint, and I trust that I have at least done no harm to the text.

We may judge the state of our text by the proper nouns it contains. There are few proper names in this volume which are printed as they appear in the manuscripts; few on which the manuscripts generally agree. In this respect our text is due mainly to Sigonius, who employed the various forms in which the names are found in Livy and external aids to recover the correct names. I have not sought either consistency or completeness in recording these facts, but content myself with a few specimens and a general reference to Weissenborn-Müller for further details. It must be granted that not a few local and personal names are still uncertain.

A critical edition, based on new collations of all the manuscripts and on studies of their interrelations, was not to be thought of under existing conditions. I have therefore made use of the best and most convenient text, that of the latest Weissenborn-Müller printing (Teubner, 1930). The critical notes are drawn entirely from secondary sources, such as the same edition, without personal examination of the MSS. I have, however, introduced changes of three kinds: (1) I have restored some readings of B, and, less frequently, of M, without remark. Variations from the Weissenborn-Müller text, if not reported, are of this type, and I have not taken advantage of this to include conjectures of my own; (2) I have sometimes replaced conjectures with readings of ς; these are reported; (3) I have re-punctuated the text to secure a higher degree of conformity with Anglo- Saxon practice.

With the exception of proper nouns, already mentioned, and of certain minor differences (I suspect that in some of these B has been misread), I have tried in the critical notes to indicate all readings which lack the authority of B or M, that is, all readings derived from ς or from conjecture. This seems to me especially important when we consider the probable relationship of B ς. It will be seen that the contribution of ς to the text is large. I have no doubt that B is more frequently right than we now recognize, and I shall at least have provided the information now available regarding the manuscripts. I may add that my own contribution to the textual criticism of Livy is negative: I have not replaced readings of B with those even of ς without trying to find an explanation of the text of B.

The foundation of the text of the Fourth Decade is B (Bambergensis M, IV. 9, s. 11), which is a direct and faithful descendant of F (Bambergensis Q, IV. 27, Theol. 99), an uncial fragment containing parts of Books XXXIII, XXXV and XXXIX; from F was derived also, through a lost intermediate, the codex Spirensis, and from another copy of the same intermediate, the minor MSS. (ς). A codex Moguntinus, not descended from F, and assigned to the ninth century, was used in sixteenth-century editions, notably the Moguntina of 1518 and the Frobenianae of 1531 and 1535. An additional fifth-century fragment, containing a small part of Book XXXIV, and representing a different tradition, has been found in Rome (Vaticanus Lat. 10696). The beginning of a textual criticism of these MSS. was made by Traube (see the Bibliography; there is a stemma on p. 27), but relatively little has been done on the manuscripts, and the details of the interrelations are still uncertain.

I need hardly say that I have tried in the translation to preserve Livy's meaning and as much of his stylistic quality as my own limitations and the differences in our idiom will permit. Livy was no statesman nor civil servant, and he did not always understand the institutions he was describing; he was no soldier, and the semi-technical language of his sources he did not always understand. In this respect I have been perhaps unfaithful to my task, for I have used at times a soldier's language to describe a soldier's actions, and while searching for the appropriate words I fear I have been more exact than Livy was. I have generally Latinized non-Latin proper nouns, except in those cases where the Greek forms are more familiar, such as “Delos”; Italian place-names are modern Italian or ancient Latin, and it would be mere pedantry to write anything but “Rome” and “Athens.”

The narrative of the Fourth Decade is not always easy to follow. Livy did not understand it himself at every point, and his ignorance of foreign geography and local topography caused confusion in his descriptions; his lack of acquaintance with warfare made it hard for him to visualize battle scenes; his sources were not always in agreement, and Livy had no efficient protection in the form of tests for credibility. The artistic form which he selected was an additional handicap, for he had to transpose into annalistic form, modified, of course, by geographical, rhetorical and logical forces, events described by different men, following different chronological systems, all different from the calendar of Livy's own time. I have tried to furnish clues to his sequences, and these clues have been furnished mainly by Polybius, whom I believe to have been Livy's principal source.

The maps have been prepared for this Volume by Mr. Joseph A. Foster of the Department of Classics of the University of Pittsburgh. It has been our intention to show on them those sites mentioned by Livy which can be located with reasonable accuracy and to omit other geographical and topographical details. The map of Cynoscephalae is adapted from the plan in Kromayer (Antike Schlachtfelder in Griechenland, II, Karte 4, Berlin, 1907), and my gratitude is due the publisher, the Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, for permitting its use.

In the preparation of the Index I have enjoyed the competent assistance of two former students, Dr. Mildred Daschbach, of Immaculata Seminary, Washington, D.C., and Dr. Eugene W. Miller, of Thiel College, Greenville, Pa. To them I express my thanks, and I acquit them of all responsibility for imperfections: part of them are my fault, part Livy's.

I have paid relatively little attention to the troublesome question of Livy's sources, so violently debated since the time of Niebuhr. The numerous papers which belong to this controversy impress me as admirable in purpose and method, but, to judge from the contradictory character of their conclusions, somewhat futile in result. Livy's use of Polybius, especially for affairs in the East, seems to be universally accepted; I should be inclined to believe that Livy used Polybius freely in other parts of the text as well. The manner and extent of Polybius' use of Roman sources are likewise debatable. Livy's use of earlier Roman annalists may be assumed, although we can be less sure of details. I have not tried to reproduce the attempts of scholars to trace particular sections to particular annalists: their results seem from their inconsistency to be too precarious to warrant my adoption of any one scheme. The inquirer will find in the Bibliography below mention of some of the most important discussions, all of which contain additional references. To these should be added the standard histories which deal with the Second Macedonian War and the standard histories of Latin literature. All supplement the brief Bibliography which I give.

Probably, as an indication of my own point of view, I should state briefly my judgment of Livy and his work. I share with most scholars, I think, the belief that Livy is greater as a literary artist than as an historian. I believe further that Livy could have taken more pains than he did to learn and to state what happened: he had, I am sure, more tests of relative credibility than he employed. I recognize too that he sometimes obscured the truth behind a curtain of rhetoric. Yet even in his desire to reflect glory upon Rome or upon individuals whom he respected and admired, I cannot find signs of deliberate manipulation of facts to permit more favourable inferences. And finally—and this is purely subjective—I seem to see in him a growing dissatisfaction with the Romans, a growing feeling that even in the second century Roman character was degenerating, and that even their most distinguished men were at times petty, self-centred, and more considerate of their own advancement than of the good of Rome. He was appalled, as he says at the beginning of this volume, by the size of the task that remained, and, I think, saddened by the character of the events he had still to describe. It was not easy to translate, and it was not easy to compose, this narrative and to remain an optimist regarding Rome.

I would conclude with an expression of my deep gratitude to the Editors and Publishers of the Loeb Classical Library for their unchanging helpfulness.

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