Postby thelivyjr » Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:40 p


The Samnites having been routed many times by the Romans, and having lastly been defeated in Tuscany, and their armies destroyed and Captains killed, and their allies such as the Tuscans, French (Gauls), and Umbrians having also been defeated, so that "They were not able to continue any longer with their own men or with those from outside, yet would not abstain from the war, and instead of giving up the unsuccessful defense of liberty, they would undertake one more attempt at victory before being overcome".

Whence they decided to make one last try: and since they knew that to want to win it was necessary to induce obstinacy into the courage of the soldiers, and that to induce it there was no better means than Religion, they decided to repeat their ancient sacrifices through the medium of Ovius Paccius their Priest, who arranged it in this form: that a solemn sacrifice being made, (and), in the midst of the slain victims and burning altars make all the heads of the army swear never to abandon the fight; then they summoned the soldiers one by one and in the midst of those altars and surrounded by many centurions with bared swords in their hands, they made them first swear that they would not reveal the things they saw or heard, then with execrable phrases and words full of terror they made them swear and promise the Gods that they would go readily wherever the Emperor should command them, and never to flee in battle, and to kill whomever they should see fleeing; which oath if not observed would be visited on the head of his family and on his descendants.

And some of them being frightened, (and) not wanting to swear, were quickly put to death by the centurions: so that the others who followed, terrified by the ferocity of the spectacle, all swore.

And in order to make this gathering of theirs more imposing, there being forty thousand men there, they dressed half of them in white clothes with crests and plumes on the helmets, and thus arrayed they took position at Aquilonia: Papirius came against them, who in encouraging his soldiers said, "Those crests cannot inflict wounds, and paint and gilding keep Roman javelins from transfixing shields".

And to weaken the opinion that his soldiers had of the enemy because of the oath they had taken, he said that it (the oath) was to inspire fear, and not courage, in those (who had taken it), for it made them at the same time fear their own Citizens, their Gods, and their enemies.

And coming to the fight, the Samnites were defeated; for the virtu of the Romans, and the fear conceived from the past routs overcame whatever obstinacy they were able to assume by virtu of their Religion and by the oath they had taken.

None the less it is seen that they (the Samnites) did not appear to have any other refuge, nor try other remedies to be able to revive hope and reestablish their lost virtu.

Which fully testifies how much confidence can be obtained by means of Religion well used.

And although this part might perhaps be rather placed among affairs of outside (peoples), none the less as this refers to one of the most important institutions of the Republic of Rome, it has appeared to me proper to commit this in this place so as not to divide this material and have to return to it many times.

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Postby thelivyjr » Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:40 p


Many examples derived from the records of ancient history will show how difficult it is for a people used to living under a Prince to preserve their liberty after they had by some accident acquired it, as Rome acquired it after driving out the Tarquins.

And such difficulty is reasonable; because that people is nothing else other than a brute animal, which (although by nature ferocious and wild) has always been brought up in prison and servitude, (and) which later being left by chance free in a field, (and) not being accustomed to (obtain) food or not knowing where to find shelter for refuge, becomes prey to the first one who seeks to enchain it again.

This same thing happens to a people, who being accustomed to living under governments of others, not knowing to reason either on public defense or offense, not knowing the Princes or being known by them, return readily under a yoke, which often times is more heavy than that which a short time before had been taken from their necks: and they find themselves in this difficulty, even though the people is not wholly corrupt; for a people where corruption has not entirely taken over, cannot but live at all free even for a very brief time, as will be discussed below: and therefore our discussions concern those people where corruption has not expanded greatly, and where there is more of the good than of the bad (spoiled).

To the above should be added another difficulty, which is that the state which becomes free makes enemy partisans, and not friendly partisans.

All those men become its enemy partisans who avail themselves of the tyrannical state, feeding on the riches of the Prince, (and) who when they are deprived of the faculty of thus availing themselves, cannot live content, and some are forced to attempt to reestablish the tyranny so as to recover their authority.

It does not (as I have said) acquire friendly partisans, for a free society bestows honors and rewards through the medium of honest and predetermined rules, and outside of which does not honor or reward anyone; and when one receives those honors and rewards as appears to them he merits, he does not consider he has any obligation to repay them: in addition to this that common usefulness which free society brings with it, is not known by anyone (while he yet possesses it), which is to be able to enjoy his own possessions freely without any suspicion, not being apprehensive of the honor of his womenfolk, or that of his children, and not to fear offer himself; for no one will ever confess himself to have an obligation to one who only does not offend him.

Thus (as was said above) a free state that has newly sprung up comes to have enemy partisans and not friendly partisans.

And wanting to remedy this inconvenience and these disorders which the above mentioned difficulties bring with them, there is no remedy more powerful, nor more valid, healthy, and necessary than (was) the killing of the sons of Brutus, who, as history shows, together with other Roman youths were induced to conspire against their country for no other reason than because they could not obtain extraordinary advantages for themselves under the Consuls as under the Kings; so that the liberty of that people appeared to have become their servitude.

And whoever undertakes to govern a multitude either by the way of liberty (Republic) or by the way of a Principate, and does not make sure of those who are enemies of that new institution, establishes a short lived state.

It is true that I judge those Princes unfelicitous who, to assure their state when the multitude is hostile, have to take extraordinary means; for he who has only a few enemies can easily and without great scandals make sure of them, but he who has the general public hostile to him can never make sure of them, and the more cruelty he uses, so much more weak becomes his Principate; so that the best remedy he has is to seek to make the People friendly.

And although this discussion departs from that written above, in speaking of a Prince here and of a Republic there, none the less in order not to have to return again to this matter I want to speak a little more.

A Prince, therefore, wanting to gain over to himself a people who are hostile to him (speaking of those Princes who have become Tyrants in their country), I say that they ought first to look into that which the people desire, and he will find they always desire two things: the one, to avenge themselves against those who are the cause of their slavery: the other, to regain their liberty.

The first desire the Prince is able to satisfy entirely, the second in part.

As to the first, there is an example in point.

When Clearchus, Tyrant of Heraclea, was in exile, a controversy arose between the people and the Nobles of Heraclea, (and) the Nobles seeing themselves inferior, turned to favor Clearchus, and conspiring with him they placed him in opposition to the disposition of the people of Heraclea, and (thus) took away the liberty from the people.

So that Clearchus finding himself between the insolence of the Nobles, whom he could not in any way either content or correct, and the rage of the People who could not endure having lost their liberty, he decided suddenly to free himself from the nuisance of the Nobles, and to win the people over to himself.

And on this, taking a convenient opportunity, he cut to pieces all the Nobles, to the extreme satisfaction of the People.

And thus, in this way, he satisfied one of the desires people had, that is, to avenge themselves.

But as to the desire of the people to regain their liberty, the Prince, not being able to satisfy it, ought to examine what are the reasons that make them desire to be free, and he will find that a small part of them desire to be free in order to command, but all the others, who are an infinite number, desire liberty also as to live in security.

For in all Republics in whatever manner organized, there are never more than forty or fifty Citizens of a rank to command, and because this number is small, it is an easy matter to assure oneself of them, either by taking them out of the way, or by giving them a part of so many honors as, according to their condition, ought in good part to content them.

The others, to whom it is enough to live in security, are easily satisfied by creating institutions and laws which, together with his power, gives realization to the general security of the people.

And when a Prince does this, and the people see that no one breaks such laws by accident, they will begin in a very short time to live in security and contentment.

In example for this, there is the Kingdom of France, which lives in security from nothing else other than those Kings being bound by an infinite number of laws in which the security of his people is realized.

And whoever organized that state wanted that those Kings should do (in their own way) with the arms and the money as they wanted, but should not be able to dispose of any other thing otherwise than by the laws that were ordained.

That Prince, therefore, or that Republic, that does not secure itself at the beginning of its state, should assure itself at the first opportunity, as the Romans did.

And he who should allow this to pass will repent too late of not doing that which he ought to have done.

The Roman people, therefore, being not yet corrupted when they recovered their liberty, were able to maintain it, after the sons of Brutus were put to death and the Tarquins destroyed, with all those remedies and institutions which have been discussed at another time.

But if that people had been corrupted, there never would have been found valid remedies, in Rome or elsewhere, to maintain it (their liberty), as we shall show in the next chapter.

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Postby thelivyjr » Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:40 p


I judge that it was necessary that Kings should be eliminated in Rome, or (else) that Rome would in a very short time become weak and of no valor; for considering to what (degree of) corruption those Kings had come, if it should have continued so for two or three successions, (and) that that corruption which was in them had begun to spread through its members; (and) as the members had been corrupted it was impossible ever again to reform her (the state).

But losing the head while the torso was sound, they were able easily to return to a free and ordered society.

And it ought to be presupposed as a very true matter that a corrupted City which exists under a Prince, even though that Prince with all his lives (family) may be extinguished, can never become free; and that rather it should happen that one Prince destroy the other, for (these people) will never be settled without the creation of a new Lord, who by his goodness together with his virtu will then keep them free: but that liberty will last only during his life time, as happened at different times in Syracuse to Dion and Timoleon, whose virtu while they lived, kept that City free: but when they died, it returned to the ancient Tyranny.

But there is no more striking example to be seen than that of Rome, which after the Tarquins had been driven out, was able quickly to resume and maintain that liberty; but after the death of Caesar, Caligula, and Nero, and after the extinction of all the line of Caesar, she could not only never maintain her liberty, but was unable to reestablish it.

And so great a difference in events in the same City did not result from anything else other than (the fact that) the Roman People in the time of Tarquin was not yet corrupt, and in the latter time (Caesar's) it became very corrupt.

For to keep her sound and disposed to keep away from Kings at that time, it was enough to make them swear that they should never consent that any of them should ever reign in Rome; but in the time of the other (Caesar) the authority of Brutus with all the Eastern legions was not enough to keep her disposed to want to maintain that liberty which he, in imitation of the first Brutus, had restored to her.

Which resulted from that corruption which the party of Marius had spread among the people, at the head of which was Caesar, who was able so to blind the multitude that they did not recognize the yoke which they themselves were placing on their necks.

And although this example of Rome is to be preferred to any other example, none the less on this proposition I want to refer to people known before our times.

I say, therefore, that no incident ((although grave and violent)) can ever restore Milan or Naples to freedom, because those people are entirely corrupt.

Which was seen after the death of Filippo Visconti, who, wanting to restore liberty to Milan, did not know how and could not maintain it.

It was therefore a great good fortune for Rome that no sooner had these Kings become corrupt than they were driven out, and that before their corruption should pass into the vitals of that City; which corruption was the cause of the infinite tumults which took place in Rome (men having good intentions) (and which) did no harm, but rather benefited the Republic.

And this conclusion can be drawn, that where the people is not corrupted, tumults and other troubles do no harm; but where corruption exists, well ordered laws are of no benefit, unless they are administered by one who, with extreme strength, will make them be observed until the people become good (cured); I do not know if this ever happened, or whether it be possible that it could happen; for it is seen (as I have said a little above) that a City coming to decadence because of the corruption of its people, if it ever happens that she is raised up again, it happens through the virtu of one man who is then living, and not by the virtu of the general public, that the good institutions are sustained: and as soon as such a one is dead, they will return to their pristine habits, as happened at Thebes, which by the virtu of Epaminondas, while he was alive, was able to maintain the form of a Republic and Empire, but after his death returned to its first disorders: the reason is this, that one man cannot live so long that the time will be enough to bring a City back to good habits which for a long time has had evil habits.

And if one of very long life or two continuous successors of virtu do not restore it (the state), so one which lacks them (as was said above) is quickly ruined, unless it should be made to be restored through many dangers and much bloodshed.

For such corruption and little inclination for a free society result from an inequality that exists in that City; and wanting to bring them to equality, it is necessary to use the most extraordinary means, which few know or want to use, as will be described in more detail in another place.

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Postby thelivyjr » Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:40 p


I believe it is not outside the purpose of this discussion, nor too distant from that written above, to consider whether a free State can be maintained in a City that is corrupted, or, if there had not been one, to be able to establish one.

On this matter I say that it is very difficult to do either one or the other: and although it is almost impossible to give rules (because it will be necessary to proceed according to the degrees of corruption), none the less, as it is well to discuss every thing, I do not want to omit this.

And I will presuppose a City very corrupt, where such difficulties come to rise very fast, as there are found there neither laws or institutions that should be enough to check a general corruption.

For as good customs have need of laws for maintaining themselves, so the laws, to be observed, have need of good customs.

In addition to this, the institutions and laws made in a Republic at its origin when men were good, are not afterward more suitable, when they (men) have become evil.

And if laws vary according to circumstances and events in a City, its institutions rarely or never vary: which results in the fact that new laws are not enough, for the institutions that remain firm will corrupt it.

And in order to make this part better understood, I will tell how the Government was established in Rome, or rather the State, and the laws with which afterwards the Magistrates restrained the Citizens.

The institution of the State included the authority of the People, the Senate, the Tribunes, the Consuls, method of seeking and creating Magistrates, and the method of making laws.

These institutions were rarely or never varied by events.

The laws that restrained the Citizens varied, such as was the law of the Adulterers, the Sumptuary, that of Ambition, and many others, according as the Citizens from day to day became corrupt.

But the institutions of the State becoming firm, although no longer good for the corrupt (people), those laws that were changed were not enough to keep men good, but would have been of benefit if with the changes of the law the institutions should have been modified.

And that it is true that such institutions in a City that had become corrupt were not good, is expressly seen in these two principal points.

As to the creation of the Magistracies and the laws, the Roman People did not give the Consulship and other high offices of the City, except to those who asked for them.

In the beginning these institutions were good because no one asked for these (offices) except those Citizens who judged themselves worthy, and having a refusal was ignominious: so that in order to judge himself worthy every one worked well.

However, this system became pernicious in a corrupt City, for it was not those who had more virtu, but those who had more power, who asked for the Magistracies, and the less powerful (no matter of how much virtu) abstained from asking from fear.

This evil did not come on suddenly, but by degrees, as happens with all other evils: for the Romans having subjugated Africa and Asia, and reduced almost all of Greece to their obedience, had become assured of their liberty, nor did they seem to have more enemies who should give them fear.

This security, and this weakness of her enemies, caused the Roman people no longer to regard virtu in bestowing the Consulship, but graciousness, drawing to that dignity those who knew better how to handle men, not to those who knew better how to conquer their enemies: afterwards they descended from those who had more graciousness to give it to those who had more power.

So that because of the defects of such institutions, the good were entirely excluded from everything.

A Tribune or some other Citizen could propose a law to the people on which every Citizen could speak in favor or against it before it should be adopted.

This institution was good when the Citizens were good, for it was always well that anyone who intended some good for the public was able to propose it, and it was well that everyone could speak his thoughts on it, so that the people, having listened to all sides, could then select the best.

But when the Citizens had become bad such institutions became the worst, for only the powerful proposed laws, (and) not for the common liberty, but for their own power, and everyone for fear of them was not able to speak against them: so that the people came to be deceived or forced into deciding their own ruin.

It was necessary, therefore, if Rome wanted to maintain herself free in her corruption, that she should have made new institutions, just as she had made new laws in the process of her existence, for other institutions and modes of living ought to be established in a bad people as well as in a good one, nor can the form be the same in a people entirely different.

But because these institutions when they are suddenly discovered no longer to be good have to be changed either completely, or little by little as each (defect) is known, I say that both of these two courses are almost impossible.

For in the case of wanting to change little by little a prudent man is required who sees this evil from a distance and at its beginning.

It is easily probable that no one such as these springs up in a City: and even if one should spring up he is never able to persuade others of that which he intends; for men living in one manner, do not want to change, and the more so as they do not see the evil face to face, but being shown to them as (mere) conjecture.

As to changing these institutions all at once when everyone recognizes they are not good, I say that the defect which is easily recognized is difficult to correct, for to do this it is not enough to use ordinary means, as ordinary means are bad, but it is necessary to come to the extraordinary, such as violence and arms, and before anything else to become Prince of that City, and to be able to dispose of it as he pleases.

And as the re-organization of the political life of a City presupposes a good man, and the becoming of a Prince of a Republic by violence presupposes a bad man; for because of this it will be found that it rarely happens that a (good) men wants to become Prince through bad means, even though his objectives be good; or that a bad one, having become Prince, wants to work for good and that it should enter his mind to use for good that authority which he had acquired by evil means.

From all the things written above, arises the difficulty or impossibility of maintaining a Republic in a City that has become corrupted, or to establish it there anew.

And even if it should have to be created or maintained, it would be necessary to reduce it more to a Royal State (Monarchy) than to a Popular State (Republic), so that those men who because of their insolence cannot be controlled by laws, should be restrained by a Power almost Regal.

And to want to make them become good by other means would be either a most cruel enterprise or entirely impossible; as I said above this is what Cleomenes did, who for wanting to be alone (in the Government) killed the Ephors, and if Romulus for the same reasons killed his brother and Titus Tatius, the Sabine, and afterwards they used their authority well, none the less, it ought to be noted that one and the other of these men did not have their subjects stained with that corruption of which we have discussed in this chapter, and therefore they could desire (good), and desiring it, conform their designs accordingly.

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Postby thelivyjr » Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:40 p


In considering the virtu and the mode of proceeding of Romulus, of Numa, and of Tullus, the first three Kings of Rome, it will be seen that Rome was favored by the greatest good fortune, having the first King most ferocious and warlike, the next quiet and religious, the third similar in ferocity to Romulus, and a greater lover of war than of peace.

For it was necessary in Rome that in the beginning there should spring up an Organizer of civil institutions, but it then indeed was necessary that the other Kings should reassume the virtu of Romulus, otherwise that City would have become effeminate and prey to her neighbors.

Whence it can be noted that a successor not having as much virtu as the first, is able to maintain a State which was erected by that man before him and can enjoy his labors; but if it happens either that his life is a long one, or that after him there should not spring up another who should reassume the virtu of the first one, that Kingdom of necessity will be ruined.

And so, on the contrary, if two, one after the other, are of great virtu, it will often be seen that they achieve most great things and that they will rise with their fame to the heavens.

David without doubt was a man most excellent in arms, in doctrine, and in judgment, and so great was his virtu, that having conquered and beaten down all his neighbors, he left a peaceful Kingdom to this son Solomon, which he was able to preserve with the arts of peace and of war, and he was able happily to enjoy the virtu of his father.

But he could not thus leave it to his son Rehoboam, who not being like his grandfather in virtu, or like his father in fortune, remained heir to the sixth part of the Kingdom only with great effort.

Bajazet, Sultan of the Turks, although he was more a lover of peace than of war, was able to enjoy the efforts of his father Mahomet, who having like David beaten his neighbors, left him a firm Kingdom and capable of being preserved easily with the arts of peace.

But if his own son Soliman, the present lord, had been like his father and not his grandfather, that Kingdom would have been ruined: but it was seen that this man was to surpass the glory of his grandfather.

I say, therefore, through these examples, that it is possible for a weak Prince succeeding an excellent one to preserve any Kingdom, even if it should not be as that of France, which is maintained by its ancient institutions: and those Princes are weak who are not able to endure war.

I conclude, therefore, with this discussion that the virtu of Romulus was so great, that it was able to give time to Numa Pompilius to be able to rule Rome with the arts of peace; but he was succeeded by Tullus, who by his ferocity reassumed the reputation of Romulus; after whom there followed Ancus, so gifted by nature that he was able to use peace and endure war.

And first he addressed himself to want to hold the ways of peace, but he soon knew that his neighbors judging him effeminate esteemed him little, so that he decided that if he wanted to maintain Rome he needed to turn to war and imitate Romulus, and not Numa.

Let all the Princes who have a State take example from this, that he who imitates Numa may keep it (the State) or not keep it, according as the times and fortune may turn his way; but he who imitates Romulus, and is like him armed with prudence and weapons, will keep it in any case, unless it is taken from him by an obstinate (and) excessive force.

And certainly it can be though that, if Rome had not by chance had as her third King a man who had not known how to recover with arms her reputation, she would never then have been able, except with the greatest difficulty, to gain a foothold, nor to achieve the results that she did.

And thus as long as she lived under Kings, she was subject to these dangers of being ruined under a weak or bad King.

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Postby thelivyjr » Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:40 p


After Rome had driven out her Kings, she was no longer exposed to those perils which were mentioned above, resulting from a succession of weak or bad Kings; for the highest (authority) was vested in the Consuls, who came to that Empire not by heredity or deceit or violent ambition, but by free suffrage, and were always most excellent men, from whose virtu and fortune Rome had benefited from time to time, (and) was able to arrive at her ultimate greatness in as many years as she had existed under her Kings.

For it is seen that two continuous successions of Princes of virtu are sufficient to acquire the world, as was (the case of) Philip of Macedonia and Alexander the Great.

A Republic ought to be able to do so much more, having the means of electing not only two successions, but an infinite number of Princes of great virtu who are successors one after the other: which succession of virtu is always well established in every Republic.

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Postby thelivyjr » Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:40 p


Present Princes and modern Republics, who lack their own soldiers in regard to defense and offense, ought to be ashamed of themselves and to think from the example of Tullus that such a defect exists not because of the lack of men suitable for the military, but that by their own fault they have not known how to make soldiers of their men.

For Tullus, after Rome had been at peace forty years, did not find a man (when he succeeded to the Kingdom) who had ever been in war.

None the less, planning to make war, he did not think of availing himself of the Samnites, or of the Tuscans, or of others who were accustomed to bear arms, but as a most prudent man decided to avail himself of his own people: And such was his virtu that he was able quickly to make excellent soldiers under his own government.

And there is nothing more true than that (truth), if there are no soldiers where there are men, this results from the defect of the Prince, and not from any local or natural defect: of which there is a very recent example: For everyone knows that in recent times the King of England assaulted the kingdom of France, and did not take as soldiers any other than his own people: and because that Kingdom had been for more than thirty years without making war, he did not have either soldiers or a Captain who had ever fought: none the less, he did not hesitate with them to assault a Kingdom full of Captains and good armies, which had been continually under arms in the wars in Italy.

All of which resulted from that King being a prudent man and that Kingdom well organized, that in time of peace did not neglect the arrangements of war.

The Thebans, Pelopidas and Epaminondas, after having liberated Thebes, and rescued her from the servitude of the Spartan Empire, finding themselves in a City accustomed to servitude, and in the midst of an effeminate people, did not hesitate (so great was their virtu) to put them under arms and with them go to meet the Spartan armies in the field and conquered them: and whoever writes says, that these two in a short time showed that men of war were born not only in Lacedemonia, but in every other place where men are born, as long as there was to be found one man who should know how to train them in military service, as is seen (in the case) of Tullus who knew how to train the Romans.

And Virgil could not express this thought better, and with other words shows how he adhered to that, when he said: "And Tullus made of These men soldiers".

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Postby thelivyjr » Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:40 p


Tullus, King of Rome, and Metius, King of Alba, agreed that that people should be lord of those whose above mentioned three men should overcome (those of) the others.

All the Alban Curatii were killed, (and) there remained only one of the Roman Horatii alive, and because of this Metius, King of the Albans, with his subjects, remained subject to the Romans.

And when that Horatius returned as conqueror to Rome, meeting his sister who was married to one of the three dead Curatii, and who was weeping over the death of her husband, he killed her.

Whence that Horatius, because of this crime, was placed on trial and after much deliberation was freed, more because of the prayers of his father than because of his own merits.

Here three things are to be noted.

One, that one should never risk all his fortune with only part of his forces.

Next, that in a well organized City, the demerits (crimes) are never rewarded with merits.

The third, that proceedings are never wise where one ought to be doubtful of their observance.

For being in servitude means much to a City, that it ought never to be believed that any of those Kings or of those People should be content that three of their Citizens should make them subject, as is seen Metius wanted to do, who although immediately after the victory of the Romans confessed himself conquered and promised obedience to Tullus, none the less, in the first expedition in which they were to come against the Veienti, it is seen that he sought to deceive them, as one who sees too late the imprudence of the proceeding undertaken by him.

And because this third point has been talked about much, we will talk only of the other two in the following two chapters.

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Postby thelivyjr » Sat Aug 24, 2019 1:40 p


It was never judged (to be) a wise proceeding to put into peril all of one's fortune or all of one's forces.

This may be done in many ways.

One is to do as Tullus and Metius did when they committed all the fortune of their country and the virtu of so many men, as both of these had in their armies, to the virtu and fortune of three of their Citizens, which came to be only a minimum part of the forces of each of them.

Nor did they see that because of this proceeding all the labors that their ancestors had endured in the establishment of the Republic in order to have it exist free a long time, and to make her Citizens defenders of their liberty, were as it were made in vain, it being in the power of so few to lose it.

Which action (on the part) of those Kings could not be considered worse.

This error is also almost always committed by those who (seeing the enemy) plan to hold different places and guard the passes.

For almost always this decision will be damaging unless you can thus conveniently keep all your forces (there) in that difficult place.

In this case such a procedure is to be taken: but being in a rugged place and not being able to keep all your forces there, the procedure is damaging.

I am made to think thusly by the example of those who, when they are assaulted by a powerful enemy, and their country being surrounded by mountains and rugged places, never tried to combat the enemy in the passes and in the mountains, but have gone out to meet them in front of these, or when they did not wish to do that, have awaited him behind these mountains in easy and not-rugged places.

And the reason was, as it were, as alleged before; for many men cannot be brought to the guarding of rugged places, not only because it is not possible to live there a long time, but also because being in narrow places capable of (admitting) only a few, it is not possible to sustain an enemy who comes in a large body to hurl himself at you: And it is easy for the enemy to come in large numbers, because his intention is to pass and not stop, while to him who awaits him (the enemy) it is impossible to wait with large numbers, having to quarter himself for a longer time (not knowing when the enemy may attempt to pass) in narrow and sterile places, as I have said.

Having therefore lost that pass that you had presupposed to hold, and in which your people and the army had trusted, there will very often enter in the people and the rest of the forces so much terror that, without being able to test the virtu of those remaining, they are lost; and thus you have lost all your fortune with only part of your forces.

Everyone knows with how much difficulty Hannibal crossed the Alps which divide Lombardy from France, and with how much difficulty he crossed those which divide Lombardy from Tuscany; none the less, the Romans awaited him first on the Ticino and afterwards on the plains of Arezzo; and they wanted rather that their army should be consumed by the enemy in places where they themselves could conquer, than to lead it over the Alps to be destroyed by the malignity of the site.

And whoever reads all the histories attentively will find very few Captians of virtu to have held similar passes and for the reasons mentioned, and because they cannot close them all, the mountains being like the fields and having roads not only well known and frequented, but many other which, if not known to outsiders, are well known to the people of the country, with whose aid you will always be brought to any place against the wishes of whoever opposes you.

Of this a most recent example in the year one thousand five hundred fifteen (1515) can be cited.

When Francis King of France planned to cross into Italy in order to recover the State of Lombardy, the greater foundation of those who opposed his enterprise was that the Swiss would stop him in the mountain passes.

And as was seen from this experience, that foundation of theirs was vain, for that King, leaving aside two or three places guarded by them (Swiss), came by another unknown road, and was already in Italy before they were aware of it.

So that, frightened, they retreated to Milan, and all the people of Lombardy adhered to the French forces, having been proved wrong in their opinion that the French would be held in the mountains.

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Postby thelivyjr » Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:40 p

Horatii and Curiatii

Written By: The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica

Horatii and Curiatii, in Roman legend, two sets of triplet brothers whose story was probably fashioned to explain existing legal or ritual practices.

The Horatii were Roman and the Curiatii Alban, although the Roman historian Livy wrote that some earlier accounts had reversed this order.

During the war between Rome and Alba Longa in the reign of Tullus Hostilius (traditionally 672–642 bc), it was agreed that settlement of the dispute should depend on the outcome of combat between the two groups of brothers.

In the contest two of the Horatii were quickly killed; but the third, feigning flight, managed to slay his wounded pursuers one by one.

When the survivor entered Rome in triumph, his sister recognized among his trophies a cloak she had made for one of the Curiatii to whom she was betrothed.

She could not conceal her grief and was killed by her brother, who declared, “So perish any Roman woman who mourns the enemy.”

For this act Horatius was condemned to death, but he was saved by an appeal to the people.



The merits of Horatius had been very great, having by his virtu conquered the Curatii.

None the less such a homicide displeased the Romans so much, that he was brought to trial for his life, notwithstanding that his merits were so great and so recent.

Which thing, to whoever should consider it only superficially, would seem to be an example of the ingratitude of the people.

None the less, whoever should examine it closer, and with better consideration will look for what the orders of the Republic ought to be, will blame that people rather for having absolved him than for having wanted to condemn him: and the reason is this, that no well-ordered Republic ever cancels the misbehavior of its citizens by their merits; and having rewarded one for having acted well, if that same one afterwards acts badly, it castigates him without having regard to any of his good actions.

And if these orders are well observed, a City will exist free for a long time; if otherwise, it will quickly be ruined.

For if to a citizen who has done some eminent work for the City, there is added to his reputation of that which he acquired, and audacity and confidence of being able to do some wrong without fear of punishment, he will in a short time become so insolent as to put an end to all civil law.

But wanting that the punishment for evil actions be feared, it is very necessary to observe rewarding good, as is seen was done by Rome.

And although a Republic may be poor and can give only a little, it ought not to abstain from giving that little, because every little gift given to someone in recompense for a good deed, no matter how big (the deed), will always be esteemed very greatly by whoever receives it as an honorable thing.

And the history of Horatius Codes and that of Mutius Scaevola are well known; how one held back the enemy on a bridge until it was cut, (and) the other burned his hand having erred in wanting to murder Porsenna, King of the Tuscans.

For these two eminent deeds two measures of land were given to each of those men by the public.

The history of Manlius Capitolinus is also well known.

For having saved the Campidoglio from the Gauls who were besieging it, this man was given a small measure of flour by those who had been besieged inside with him, which reward (according to the value that was then current in Rome) was great and of quality; (but) when Manlius afterward, either from envy or from his evil nature, moved to raise up sedition in Rome, and seeking to gain over the People to himself, he was, without regard to any of his merits, thrown precipituously from that Campidoglio which he had previously with so much glory saved.

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