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Omnium Annalium Monumenta: Historical Writing and Historical Evidence in Republican Rome
 9004355553, 9789004355552

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Omnium Annalium Monumenta: Historical Writing and Historical Evidence in Republican Rome

Historiography of Rome and Its Empire Series Editors Carsten Hjort Lange (Aalborg, Denmark) Jesper Majbom Madsen (SDU, Denmark) Editorial Board Rhiannon Ash (Oxford, UK) Henning Börm (Konstanz, Germany) Alain Gowing (University of Washington, USA) Adam Kemezis (Alberta, Canada) Christina S. Kraus (Yale, USA) J.E. Lendon (University of Virginia, USA) Josiah Osgood (Georgetown, USA) John Rich (Nottingham, UK) Federico Santangelo (Newcastle, UK) Catherine Steel (Glasgow, UK) Frederik J. Vervaet (Melbourne, Australia) Johannes Wienand (Düsseldorf, Germany)

Volume 2

The titles published in this series are listed at

Omnium Annalium Monumenta: Historical Writing and Historical Evidence in Republican Rome Edited by

Kaj Sandberg Christopher Smith


Cover image: View of the Forum Romanum, Rome. Photo by Penelope J. E. Davies. The Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available online at LC record available at

Typeface for the Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic scripts: “Brill”. See and download: ISSN 2468-2314 isbn 978-90-04-35544-6 (hardback) isbn 978-90-04-35555-2 (e-book) Copyright 2018 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands. Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints Brill, Brill Hes & De Graaf, Brill Nijhoff, Brill Rodopi, Brill Sense and Hotei Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Koninklijke Brill NV provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910, Danvers, MA 01923, USA. Fees are subject to change. This book is printed on acid-free paper and produced in a sustainable manner.

Contents Preface ix List of Figures x Abbreviations xii Notes on Contributors xiv Introduction 1 Christopher Smith

PART 1 The Origins of the Annalistic Tradition 1 Fabius Pictor, Ennius and the Origins of Roman Annalistic Historiography 17 John Rich 2 L’“archéologie” de Rome dans les Annales d’Ennius: poetica fabula ou annalium monumentum? 66 Martine Chassignet 3 The Discovery of Numa’s Writings: Roman Sacral Law and the Early Historians 90 Hans Beck

PART 2 Antiquarians and Historians 4 On the Edges of History 115 Christopher Smith 5 Diligentissumus investigator antiquitatis? ‘Antiquarianism’ and Historical Evidence between Republican Rome and the Early Modern Republic of Letters 137 Duncan MacRae




Inspired Leaders versus Emerging Nations: Varro’s and Cicero’s Views on Early Rome 157 Vera Binder


Which One is the Historian? A Neglected Problem in the Study of Roman Historiography 182 Tim Cornell

PART 3 History and Oratory 8

How Much History did the Romans Know? Historical References in Cicero’s Speeches to the People 205 Francisco Pina Polo


Ciceronian Constructions of the Oratorical Past 234 Henriette van der Blom


Cicero, Documents and the Implications for History 257 Andrew Riggsby

PART 4 The Literary Construction of History 11 Livy’s Battle in the Forum between Roman Monuments and Greek Literature 279 Dennis Pausch 12

Echi dalle tragedie tebane nelle storie di Roma arcaica 301 Marianna Scapini


Figures of Memory. Aulus Vibenna, Valerius Publicola and Mezentius between History and Legend 322 Massimiliano Di Fazio



PART 5 History and Monuments 14

Monumenta, Documenta, Memoria: Remembering and Imagining the Past in Late Republican Rome 351 Kaj Sandberg


Visibility Matters. Notes on Archaic Monuments and Collective Memory in Mid-Republican Rome 390 Gabriele Cifani


Aedificare, res damnosissima. Building and Historiography in Livy, Books 5–6 404 Seth Bernard


Memoria by Multiplication: The Cornelii Scipiones in Monumental Memory 422 Karl-J. Hölkeskamp


Constructing, Deconstructing and Reconstructing Civic Memory in Late Republican Rome 477 Penelope J. E. Davies Index Locorum 513

Preface The papers collected in this volume were originally presented at two conferences, organised by Kaj Sandberg and Christopher Smith at the Institutum Romanum Finlandiae and the British School at Rome in 2009 and 2013. We are grateful to both institutions for their support as well as to the Institutum Romanum Finlandiae Foundation and the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Fund for additional funding. We owe a debt of gratitude to several people who have assisted us in the preparation of this volume. Steven Cruikshank (John Cabot University) made an early contribution to bringing the chapters together, and Jasmin Lukkari (University of Helsinki) helped us with the preparation of the index and with the proofreading. Moreover, we are very grateful for advice and support from Martin Jehne, Kai Brodersen, and the anonymous readers who provided most valuable suggestions. Finally, we thank Carsten Hjort Lange and Jesper Majbom Madsen for welcoming us into their series, Historiography of Rome and Its Empire.

List of Figures 17.1

Equestrian statue of the Cartoceto group of gilded bronze statues (Wikimedia commons. Image by Accurimbono, CC BY-SA 2.0) 426 17.2 Bronze statue of Alexander on his horse Bucephalus (Napoli, Museo Nazionale Archeologico, after Calcani [1989], fig. 6) 427 17.3a Luigi Canina’s reconstruction of the temples of Iuppiter Stator and Iuno Regina in the Porticus Metelli (L. Canina, Gli edifizi di Roma antica cogniti per alcune reliquie. Descritti e dimostrati nell’intera loro architettura. Tavole, mura e porte, tempi, fori, basiliche e portici I.2, Roma 1848, fig. 138) 428 17.3b Plan of the Porticus Metelli (Albers [2013], p. 73, fig. 11) 428 17.4 The Caecilii Metelli and their familial connections (by the author) 430 17.5a Denarius (47–46 BCE): Laureate head of Iuppiter; elephant (Crawford, RRC 459/1 – Numismatische Bilddatenbank Eichstätt = NBE) 432 17.5b Denarius (47–46 BCE): Head of Africa, laureate and wearing elephant’s skin (Crawford, RRC 461/1, obverse – NBE) 432 17.6a The gens Cornelia – the descendants of P. Scipio, consul 218 (by the author) 434 17.6b The gens Cornelia – the descendants of Cn. Scipio, consul 222 (by the author) 435 17.7a Denarius (112/111 BCE): Iuppiter between Iuno and Minerva (Crawford, RRC 296/1a – NBE) 441 17.7b Denarius (106 BCE): Laureate head Iuppiter; Iuppiter in quadriga (Crawford, RRC 311/1a – NBE) 441 17.8 The Fornix Fabianus (after B. Andreae, AA 1957, 167 fig. 23, modified) 446 17.9 Tomb of the Scipios – plan with reconstruction of the positions of the sarcophagi (Coarelli [1972/1976], p. 182, no. 58, after Gismondi, modified – Wikimedia commons. Image by I, Saiko, CC BY-SA 2.5) 458 17.10 Tomb of the Scipios – reconstruction of the façade (Wikimedia commons. Image by I, Sailko, CC BY-SA 2.5) 459 17.11 Fresco from the Tomb of Q. Fabius (C. L. Visconti, BCAR 17, 1889, tabb. XI–XII) 460 17.12 Reconstruction of the fresco in the Arieti Tomb (ca. 1875 – after Holliday [2002], p. 41, fig. 12) 461

List Of Figures

18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 18.6 18.7 18.8 18.9 18.10 18.11 18.12


Substructio on the Capitoline saddle, c. 78 BCE, actual state (Penelope J. E. Davies) 480 Substructio on the Capitoline saddle, c. 78, plan (John Burge) 481 Temple of Portunus, first constructed at the end of the fourth century or the beginning of the third, actual state (Penelope J. E. Davies) 482 Temple of Castor, vowed in 496, actual state (Penelope J. E. Davies) 483 Galleries excavated beneath the Forum Romanum, c. 78–74 (?), plan (Carettoni [1956–59]) 488 Elevator system beneath the Forum Romanum, c. 78–74 (?), as reconstructed by Carettoni (Carettoni [1956–59]) 489 Theater-Portico Complex of Pompey, c. 62–52, plan (from Coarelli, Campo Marzio, 1997) 492 Theater-Portico Complex of Pompey, c. 62–52, hypothetical reconstruction (John Burge and James E. Packer) 493 Theater-Portico Complex of Pompey, c. 62–52, hypothetical reconstruction (John Burge and James E. Packer) 494 Gilded bronze statue of Hercules, Vatican Museums (Penelope J. E. Davies) 498 Forum Iulium, as conceived in a first phase in c. 54, plan (John Burge) 502 Forum Iulium, conceived in c. 54, actual state (Penelope J. E. Davies) 503

Abbreviations BNJ BNP Broughton,  MRR CAH2 Chass. CIL Degrassi,  Inscr. It. DNP

I. Worthington (ed.), Brill’s New Jacoby. Brill’s New Pauly T. R. S. Broughton, The Magistrates of the Roman Republic I–II (New York 1951–52), Supplementum (Atlanta 1986). The Cambridge Ancient History, second edition. M. Chassignet (ed.), L’annalistique romaine I–III, Paris 1996–2004. Th. Mommsen et al. (edd.), Corpus inscriptionum Latinarum, Berlin 1863–. A. Degrassi (ed.), Inscriptiones Italiae, Roma 1931–.

H.  Cancik et al. (Hrsgg.) Der Neue Pauly. Enzyklopädie der Antike, Stuttgart – Weimar 1996–. FGrHist F.  Jacoby (Hrsg.), Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker I–III, Berlin – Leiden 1923–58. FRH H.  Beck – U.  Walter (Hrsgg.), Die frühen römischen Historiker I–II, Darmstadt 2001–04. FRHist T. J. Cornell et al. (eds.), The Fragments of the Roman Historians I–III, Oxford 2013. GGM C. Müller (Hrsg.), Geographi Graeci Minores I –II, Parisiis 1855–61. GRF G. Funaioli (ed.), Grammaticae Romanae fragmenta, Leipzig 1907. HRR H.  Peter (ed.), Historicorum Romanorum reliquiae I2–II, Leipzig 1914/1906. IA F. P. Bremer, Iurisprudentiae antehadrianae quae supersunt I–II, Leipzig 1896–1901. IGRom R. Cagnat et al. (edd.), Inscriptiones Graecae ad res Romanas pertinentes I–IV, Paris 1906–27. ILLRP A. Degrassi (ed.), Inscriptiones Latinae liberae rei publicae I2–II, Firenze 1965/1963. IvOlympia W.  Dittenberger – K.  Purgold (Hrsgg.), Die Inschriften von Olympia, Berlin 1896. IvPergamon M. Fränkel et al. (Hrsgg.), Die Inschriften von Pergamon I–II, Berlin 1895. LIMC Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Zürich – München 1981–99. LTUR E.  M. Steinby (a cura di), Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae I–VI, Roma 1993–2000.

Abbreviations LTUR-S


A.  La Regina et al. (a cura di), Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae: Suburbium I–V, Roma 2001–08. OCD Oxford Classical Dictionary RE Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, Stuttgart – München 1894–1980. RRC M. H. Crawford, Roman Republican Coinage I–II, Cambridge 1974. SEG Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum Syll.3 W.  Dittenberger, Sylloge inscriptionum graecarum I–IV, tertium edita, Leipzig 1915–24. TLL Thesaurus linguae Latinae, Leipzig – Stuttgart 1901–.

Notes on Contributors Hans Beck is Professor of Ancient History and John MacNaughton Chair of Classics in the Department of History and Classical Studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He has published widely in the field of Roman Republican history, including a two-volume edition of the early Roman historians and, as co-editor, a book on the consulship in the republic (Consuls and Res Publica, Cambridge 2011). Seth Bernard is Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Toronto. His research interests are broadly in the socioeconomic and urban history of Rome and Italy, and his current book project looks at how Rome’s labour supply met the demands of large-scale public construction during the Republican period. Vera Binder studied Latin, Greek, and Comparative Philology at the Eberhard-KarlsUniversität Tübingen, the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and University College Oxford; after graduating in Tübingen, she was junior research fellow at the chair of Comparative Linguistics in Tübingen and completed her doctorate in 1998 with a thesis on Latin loanwords in Greek. Since 2000, she has been employed at the Institut für Klassische Philologie of the Justus-LiebigUniverität Gießen, first as research fellow in the Collaborative Research Centre “Cultures of Memory”, working on Aulus Gellius and on Cicero, and from 2006 onwards as tenured lecturer mainly teaching Latin and Greek grammar and translation from and into Greek and Latin. Henriette van der Blom is Lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Birmingham, and has specialized in the fields of Roman republican history, politics and oratory. She is the author of Cicero’s Role Models: The Political Strategy of a Newcomer (Oxford University Press, 2010), and Oratory and Political Career in the Late Roman Republic (Cambridge University Press, 2016). She is also involved in a project to collect and translate the surviving fragments of all non-Ciceronian oratory from the republican period, The Fragments of the Roman Republican Orators (to be published by Oxford University Press).

Notes On Contributors


Martine Chassignet is Professor emerita of Latin Literature at the University of Strasbourg. She was Head of the Institute of Latin. Her main area of research is Roman historiography of the republican and early imperial periods. Apart from numerous journal contributions, she has published the fragments of Cato’s Origines (Belles Lettres, CUF: 1986) and a three volume edition of the fragments of Roman annalists, L’annalistique romaine (Belles Lettres, CUF: 1996–2004). She is also the editor of L’étiologie dans la pensée antique (Brepols: 2008). Currently she is working on Cato’s speeches. Gabriele Cifani is a researcher of classical archaeology at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”; he was previously visiting professor at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris (2016) and research fellow of the Department of Archaeology at Cambridge University (2005–2007), Freie Universität Berlin (2005), Columbia University (2004), and the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa (2001). His main interests are the archaeology and the economic history of the archaic Mediterranean societies. Among his publications: Storia di una frontiera (Roma 2003); L’architettura Romana arcaica (Roma 2008). Co-editor with S.  Stoddart of Landscape, Ethnicity and Identity (Oxford 2012). Tim Cornell is Professor Emeritus of Ancient History at the University of Manchester. His research interests include Roman historiography and the history and archaeology of early Rome and Italy. Major publications include The Beginnings of Rome (London 1995) and The Fragments of the Roman Historians, 3 vols. (Oxford 2013). Penelope J. E. Davies is Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work focuses on public architecture in Rome and its propagandistic functions. Author of Death and the Emperor: Roman Imperial Funerary Monuments from Augustus to Marcus Aurelius (Cambridge University Press, 2000) and Architecture and Politics in Republican Rome (Cambridge University Press, 2017), she also co-wrote Janson’s History of Art, Seventh and Eighth Editions (2006, 2011). Massimiliano Di Fazio gained a Laurea in Lettere Classiche (Università di Pavia), the Specialisation in Archaeology (Etruscology) at the Università di Roma “La Sapienza” and a PhD


notes on contributors

in Ancient History at the same University. He then gained a second PhD at the Università di Pavia, where he is Research Fellow and teaches the Archaeology of pre-Roman Italy. His fields of interest include: Social and Religious History of pre-Roman Italy, especially Etruscans, Samnites, Volscians, and other peoples of Central Italy; Romanization in Central Italy; Etruscan Cultural Memory; the survival of Etruscan Culture in Renaissance and Modern Italy. Karl-J. Hölkeskamp (Dr.phil. Bochum; MA Cambridge) is currently Professor of Ancient History in the University of Cologne. His research interests range from the social and ­political history of archaic Greece, especially law and legislation, to the society and political culture of the Roman Republic, especially of its socio-political élite. His publications include several books, including Die Entstehung der Nobilität. Studien zur sozialen und politischen Geschichte der römischen Republik im 4. Jhdt. v. Chr. (1987, second enlarged edition 2011), Schiedsrichter, Gesetzgeber und Gesetzgebung im archaischen Griechenland (1999) and Rekonstruktionen einer Republik. Die politische Kultur des antiken Rom und die Forschung der letzten Jahrzehnte (2004), which was translated into French and Italian and published in English as Reconstructing the Roman Republic. An Ancient Political Culture and Modern Research (2010), as well as two volumes of essays, Senatvs Popvlvsqve Romanvs. Die politische Kultur der Republik – Dimensionen und Deutungen (2004) and Libera Res Publica. Die politische Kultur des antiken Rom – Positionen und Perspektiven (2017). Duncan MacRae is an Assistant Professor in the Classics Department at the University of California, Berkeley. He was educated at Trinity College Dublin and Harvard. He is the author of Legible Religion: Books, Gods and Rituals in Roman Culture (Harvard University Press, 2016), a study of Roman learned writing on their own religious tradition. More broadly, his work focuses on the religious and intellectual history of the Roman world, particularly on the interface between these two areas of ancient experience. Dennis Pausch is Professor of Latin at Dresden University. He wrote his PhD (Biographie und Bildungskultur: Personendarstellungen bei Plinius dem Jüngeren, Gellius und Sueton, 2004) and his second book (Livius und der Leser: Narrative Strukturen in Ab Urbe Condita, 2011), which was awarded the Bruno Snell Prize of the Mommsen-Gesellschaft in 2011, at Gießen University and during his research

Notes On Contributors


stay in Edinburgh as Feodoy Lynen Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. After that, he taught Latin at Regensburg University, before he took over the chair of Latin Literature at Dresden in 2014. Francisco Pina Polo is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Zaragoza (Spain). He has made research stays in Germany (Heidelberg, Münster, Dresden) and the United Kingdom (London, Oxford), and has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study of Princeton in 2012 and 2014. He has published several books on oratory before the people as well as on politics and institutions during the Roman Republic: Las contiones civiles y militares en Roma (Zaragoza 1989); Contra arma verbis. Der Redner vor dem Volk in der späten römischen Republik (Heidelberg 1996); Rom, das bin ich: Marcus Tullius Cicero. Ein Leben (Stuttgart 2010); The Consul at Rome: The Civil Functions of the Consuls during the Roman Republic (Cambridge 2011). He has recently coedited with Martin Jehne the book Foreign clientelae in the Roman Empire: A Reconsideration (Stuttgart 2015). John Rich is Emeritus Professor of Roman History at the University of Nottingham. He is the author of Declaring War in the Roman Republic in the Period of Transmarine Expansion (1976), Cassius Dio, The Augustan Settlement (Roman History 53–55.9) (1990), and numerous papers on Roman history and historiography, and in particular on Roman war and imperialism and the reign of Augustus. He is a contributor and a member of the editorial committee for The Fragments of the Roman Historians (Oxford 2013). Andrew M. Riggsby is Lucy Shoe Meritt Professor in Classics at the University of Texas at Austin and is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome. He has published extensively on Roman law and in particular on the Republican criminal courts, as well as a monograph War in Words: Caesar in Gaul and Rome (Austin 2006). Kaj Sandberg is a researcher at Åbo Akademi University in Turku, Finland. He is a former Director (2006–2009) of the Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, the Finnish Institute in Rome, where he has also been the assistente scientifico (1995–1998) and a researcher in various capacities. He has also a long affiliation with the Finnish Institute in Athens, where he has been teaching every year since 2006.


notes on contributors

He has published mainly on the political system of Republican Rome, including the monograph Magistrates and Assemblies: A study of Legislative Practice in Republican Rome (Rome 2001), but his research interests also include Roman historiography, the topography of the city of Rome and the Late Empire. Marianna Scapini former post-doc at the University of Verona and visiting scholar at the University Pompeu Fabra of Barcelona, is currently a teaching assistant at the University of Verona. She has investigated the relationship between ancient art and ancient Greek and Roman cults and religious propaganda. Her research work has led to the publication of a number of papers, book chapters and two books: Temi greci e citazioni erodotee nelle storie di Roma arcaica (Nordhausen 2011) and Le stanze di Dioniso. Contenuti rituali e committenti delle scene dionisiache domestiche tra Roma e Pompei (Madrid 2016). Christopher Smith is Professor of Ancient History at the University of St Andrews and was from 2009–17 Director of the British School at Rome. He is a contributor and a member of the editorial committee for The Fragments of the Roman Historians (Oxford 2013).

Introduction Christopher Smith 1

The Argument

The essays which have been gathered here address in different ways the construction of the Roman historical accounts as they exist for us, and some of the issues which have arisen around our understanding of those historical accounts. They reflect new studies on Ennius and the early dramatic tradition, for instance, along with a host of new works on early historiography, including three new editions of the fragmentary Roman historians.1 The early Roman historiographical tradition is undergoing something of a revival of attention, and this volume hopes to contribute to that. However, we cannot conceal that this revival is based on very little new evidence. There have been no major manuscript or papyrological discoveries. The fundamental problems of the reliability, authenticity and unity of the narrative as it survives to us, problems which have been the subject of centuries of attention, have not changed, nor have they been fully resolved. This discourse of uncertainty can be reduced to three fundamental questions: What were the building blocks from which Roman writers constructed their idea of the past; to what extent did those building blocks emerge from contemporary knowledge of or information about the past; and to what extent did Roman writers and thinkers feel obliged to respect that knowledge and information? Throughout this volume, our concern has been to focus on what material Roman writers had to work with, and how this material may have affected the way that historical accounts were constructed, and conversely how existing historiographical accounts may have influenced other genres. Inevitably, this touches on a current research topic, that of memory. One of the major problems of Roman history and historiography is how did any kind of knowledge or information survive the period from the actual event to the beginning of Roman historiography, at the end of the third century BC with Fabius Pictor. Amongst a variety of theories, memory has recently received a great deal of attention. However, whilst memory is important to both collective and communicative discourses, our volume looks more consistently

1  Elliott (2013); Fisher (2014); Wiseman (1998); Flower (1995); FRH; Chass.; FRHist. The list could be much expanded. For a good overall summary, see Feldherr (2009).

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at ­formal occasions rather than the less recoverable personal or community habitus around memory.2 The central questions which we seek to answer here therefore relate to the formal mechanisms within which an idea of the past could be enshrined, and what are the methodological issues which we need to be aware of in discussing them? Operating as it does between two major projects on fragmentary writers, the now published Fragmentary Roman Historians project, and the forthcoming Fragments of the Roman Republican Orators,3 the volume places into question the entire concept of history as a unitary field within the Roman world. We have worked with various enshrined conceptions of what a historian was, and how a historian worked, which now appear far more problematic when set into the context of a more comprehensive understanding of the kinds of material which Roman writers worked with, and what were the limits of their understanding of that material and of their capacity to shape it. Thus, the relationship between evidence and survival, and between evidence and manipulation, which have often been treated as specific problems for history and historiography, are placed into the context of the manifold ways in which Roman writers needed and then used the past as a repository of shared knowledge, as a source of authority, and as a rich vein of inspiration. The argument of the volume proceeds as follows. First we have wanted to understand more fully the origins of the annalistic tradition. The traditional sense of what characterised Roman historiography was a year by year treatment of events, which ultimately derived from year by year lists of events held by the pontifices from the beginning of the Roman republic in the late sixth century BCE. John Rich’s article reconsiders Dionysius of Halicarnassus’ claim that the earlier histories treated the period after the foundation of the city in a summary fashion. The question is whether this refers only to the regal period or also to the early Republic, a more refined version of what Badian called the hourglass shape of Roman history where the regal period and the middle and later Republic are treated in far more detail than the early Republic,4 and which gives due credit to the problem of the concentration of citing sources on the foundation stories, but also to the complexities of the nature of particularly fifth-century BCE Roman history. Importantly, Rich treats the accounts of Fabius Pictor alongside debates over Ennius’ Annales, which is then carried forward by Chassignet’s work on Ennius and Naevius, and what kind of history they were producing within their poetic narratives. Points of overlap between 2  On memory, see especially Sandberg (this volume); Galinksy (2014). 3  A project led by Catherine Steel at the University of Glasgow. 4  Badian (1966).



the essays include the awareness of the ideological significance of origins and the fact that each form of production was highly bound up with its own rules of social production. The complex relationship between history and pontifical records on the one hand, and history and poetry on the other, encourages a reflection on Fabius Pictor and Cato the Elder as more difficult figures to inscribe into standard accounts of the development of Latin literature. The conclusions point to sophisticated ways of understanding the relationship between the available evidence and the shape of later accounts. The ideologically complex nature of historiography is perceived from a different perspective by Hans Beck in his reconsideration of the destruction of Numa’s books in the early second century BCE, shortly after the emergence of the genre of historical writing. Beck argues that the books of Numa were dangerous because they offered alternative loci of authority at a time when the senate wanted to maintain and strengthen its own position. The risk therefore was that an unauthorised version of accounts might become problematic. Beck argues that the similarities between the various genres and their versions of history, a point which picks up the arguments of Rich and Chassignet, had begun to create something that was close to an orthodoxy. The books of Numa in some sense threatened that and so had to be destroyed. The picture which emerges therefore from this trio of essays is of a closely related set of discourses, which were offering the beginnings of a standard account of the way Rome could be perceived from its outset, and one which would then be refined, debated and re-interpreted in successive generations. This both enriches the way we conceive of the emergence of historiography within a socially and politically determined cultural environment, and the complexity of the forces which were fighting over the Roman past right from the inception of formal history writing. There was no discernible age of innocence. One of the standard features of accounts of the development of Roman prose literature has been a distinction between historians and a rather amorphous group we tend to call antiquarians. The antiquarians, it is suggested, represent different ways of telling the story of Rome, and preserved different sorts of evidence. However this distinction is in all sorts of ways problematic and the next section addresses this in different ways. First Smith demonstrates that the edition of the fragmentary Roman historians has had to make difficult choices about inclusion and exclusion, and has therefore illustrated the variety of the phenomenon we call historical writing. Whilst it is possible that as part of the process of creating a more coherent and consistent account of Roman history, the concept of annalistic history became more clearly defined and therefore it is possible for later generations to identify a group of so-called annalists in a way that was not true for the earliest historians, the annalists were



not the only people writing about history, and it is not only a problem caused by overlap with poets. History was used variously and differently by a range of other disciplines and specialisms. MacRae takes the argument a step further by arguing that we need to collapse the concept of the antiquarian into that of the historian. Taking on the famous essay of Momigliano, MacRae argues for substantial problems with its premises, using a broader range of early modern material, and then claims that the exclusion of writers such as Varro from the concept of history does a disservice to the complexity of the Roman conception of the past. Binder, by contrasting Cicero (who, we often forget, in De republica produced the earliest surviving connected Roman piece of historical writing we possess) with Varro raises important questions over the extent to which Varro was both innovative with, and ideologically challenging towards, a more traditional account of Rome’s past. Cicero’s emphasis on continuity contrasts with Varro’s account of change and irruptions into the historical continuum. For a similarly political account of history we have often turned to Licinius Macer, a historian who, if identical with the tribune of the plebs of the 70s BCE, might be imagined to have written a politically motivated account of the past. However, as Cornell shows, this is far from proven, and may be quite wrong. Methodologically this has the important consequence of reminding us to take far more slowly the associations between politics and history, and in this case we may lose what has been an apparently valuable link between a politician and a historian. From the other point of view however, depending on how we want to assess the reliability of Sallust’s versions of Macer’s tribunician speeches, we have discovered an independent minded orator, who used history to make his points. The question of genre is important to this volume not because we wish to argue that genre was unimportant, but because of the significance of Roman history to so many genres of production. Roman writers turn to the past in many ways – fleetingly, obsessively, playfully or for critical support. It is easy to assume that this is wholly natural, but we hae to remind ourselves how late the Romans were to the business of writing formal history. Yet as soon as we see anything which can be described as a literary product at Rome, we find history. At leqast one way of interpreting this is that the Romans had a highly sophisticated if rather general sense of their past (and this statement deliberately leaves aside whether or not this had any basis in fact – whatever that might mean), which both informed and was shaped by the partial crystallization of different ways of thinking about the past. However, whilst generic difference clearly led to different emphases, neither the genres, nor the kind of history they constructed, were independent. We find ourselves returning to a central



challenge of this volume; understanding how to balance the various Roman conceptions of their past, alongside the distinctive demands made on that past by different stakeholders. It is with the use of history by orators that the next section is concerned. The critical question explored here, from three different standpoints, relates to the depth of basic historical knowledge at Rome. How rarefied was the knowledge of the past as an acquisition? How much could one rely on being known? Were politicians and writers operating in a vacuum and writing solely for themselves, or was there a broader interest in the past? Inevitably this question can only be posed not solved. Pina Polo takes a somewhat sceptical view about the extent of historical knowledge that could be deployed and is evident from the popular contiones, whereas van der Blom concentrates on history as constructed from the memory of the orators of the past. In this way, linking back to Binder’s argument, Cicero focuses on continuity and development in specific contexts, whereas the popular contiones may have focused on the here and now. Of course both arguments may be true, and what Riggsby shows by a very careful reading of Cicero’s use of documents, is that evidence was important. It may have been treated in ways which we find surprising but nonetheless, the concept of the deployment of knowledge of the past, whether derived from memory, collective or otherwise, or documentation, is a key part of the Roman intellectual training. It does not necessarily mean that the Romans were not driven by a character-first approach. Riggsby’s argument locks into Rich’s therefore; the existence of documentary evidence could still have produced precisely the character-led history which seems to have been developed from the beginning and continues through the development of annalistic history. What did this history look like and how was it constructed? The next essays look in different ways at the literary construction of history, with a particular emphasis on external influences. Pausch considers Livy’s account of the battle in the Forum after the rape of the Sabine women; and Scapini investigates echoes of Greek tragedy in the fratricidal struggles of Early Rome. These essays exemplify a particular approach to how Roman history may have been written, with close attention being paid to other literary models, to religious parallels, and to aetiologies. In a sense this reflects another mechanism whereby Rome is demonstrated to be part of a cultural continuum with, in particular, Greece. These essays, at the more literary end of the understanding of Roman historiography, are less concerned with any potential truth element in the events; the truth lies in the persuasiveness and probability of the picture constructed in the eyes of their contemporary readers. If we began with Ennius’ casting of



the emergent Roman history as a partially Greek epic fulfilment, here we have Livy and perhaps especially Dionysius of Halicarnassus, shaping it as tragedy or myth. However, as Di Fazio shows, it is not only the Greek world which has impacted on the Roman historical consciousness. By choosing three examples where Italian archaeology has provided evidence which seems surprisingly to cohere with the Roman stories, and yet where substantial differences still pertain, Di Fazio is able to demonstrate that the mechanisms by which genuine knowledge, collective memory and artistic overwriting come together are complex and ultimately perhaps cannot be unravelled. This point is taken up by the last section, which focuses on a particular class of evidence which has been assumed to be of great significance in terms of constructing and containing memory, and that is the monuments of Rome itself. Sandberg looks at the concept of the lieu de mémoire which Nora introduced,5 and which have become an important part of the way we think about the urban topography of antiquity. Taking a number of case studies, he enters into the complex debate about the extent to which such apparent memorials can support the historical record. Equally buildings and memorials may in some instances have been the basis for the creation of history, and Roman writers sought to find clues to the past, and over-interpreted their evidence. Cifani makes the strong argument that the earlier Roman historians at any rate had been looking at buildings which dated from the archaic period. Using similar evidence and some of the same buildings, Bernard develops a reading of Livy’s approach to building as potentially damaging and socially disruptive. Hölkeskamp then reads the buildings related to the second- and first-century BCE Roman aristocracy as constructing a web of intersignification, which both supports claims to power and influence and conditions future claims, instilling and constraining a competitive ethos. Hölkeskamp’s example is the Scipiones (which takes us back in various ways to Ennius, and also to Polybius, and to a particular and particularly Ciceronian reading of history). Finally, Davies develops similar arguments of how buildings could be used to try to determine future history. Depending in a sense on strong arguments like those of Hölkeskamp for the efficacy of buildings within discourses of memory and struggles to control history, Davies presents the world of the late Republic through its building works, and particularly through innovation and breaks with the past. This building work is contemporary with the construction of the distinctive Ciceronian and Varronian conceptions which Binder discussed earlier, and in this way we revert to models of history and its evidence interpenetrating in a context of sharp competition and profound uncertainty. 5  Nora (1984–93).




Models of Roman Historical Consciousness

The beginning of historical writing at Rome was by no means inevitable. We know of Italic peoples who did not write history – Cato the Elder complains about the Ligurians who were ignorant of their past.6 If the Iberians or Britons, say, had a local written narrative of themselves we do not know of it, and it might surprise us to see it. The idea that the Romans had to have a written tradition, and that it had to follow so closely the Greek model is perhaps more surprising than we have given credit for, as Denis Feeney has argued in his recent book, Beyond Greek: The Beginnings of Latin Literature.7 Feeney’s argument is that the act of translation is a way of negotiating difference, a mediation in an intercultural contact zone (68). Specifically, Fabius Pictor’s Greek history is an attempt to map Rome onto the grid of tradition which the Greeks had painstakingly created (238–239). There was a set of ideas and a chronology which offered the space within which to reorient Roman history, at a time of intense contact. This volume complements this vision of Roman historiography as one of the critical contact zones between the Roman and the Greek world. Some part of what we are arguing here is about the pre-existing material which the Romans brought to bear. The physical monuments and their continuing presence into the period when Romans started to write history is one of the potential resources which allowed the Romans to start to navigate this new intellectual map. Their own memories and stories were another, and although we have not engaged with Wiseman’s theory of dramatic performance as a vector of historical memory, we have brought forward several other ways in which some sort of knowledge of the past may have been transmitted across the generations. Within this we have assigned an important role to the professional transmission of knowledge through priests, lawyers and antiquarians. Arguably one of the main areas for future study will be to explore more carefully the texts currently messily split between collections of grammarians and collections of early law. Rome’s sense of its institutional history is a critical area of research, not least because of the complex relationship between history and the ­pontifical college. However, we have also repeatedly acknowledged how fragile this transmission was, and how prone to distortion and invention. The Roman knowledge of their past cannot be distinguished from their invention of it; the very act of writing down history constructs stories, imposes interpretation and encourages debate. The Romans may have had a sense of kingship in the sixth century BCE, 6  FRHist 5 Cato F34b. 7  Feeney (2016).



but to a large extent we are seeing simply the ‘idea’ of kingship rather than a narrative deriving from historical facts. In concluding this introduction, we wish to pose some models and questions for understanding the historical consciousness of the Romans. Clearly this is not the place for a full study of classical historiography, or comparable examples.8 However, when considering the craft of history as we have practised it globally, Roman historiography deserves to be taken seriously across its whole process of development. Much recent work, including this volume, has been precisely around trying to reinvestigate and reinstate what preceded Livy and Tacitus. Yet with so much evidence missing, we are forced to look for models of understanding the communities of interpretation from which historical writing emerged. It is worth briefly comparing Roman historiographical practice with a modern intervention which argues for a scientific historiography.9 Tucker’s account attempts to provide a stronger philosophical basis for confidence in the results of the historical exercise, arguing that “an uncoerced uniquely heterogeneous community of historians that reached consensus on many beliefs and cognitive values” (44) will provide knowledge of the past which is probably true; it is a “likely indicator of knowledge” (39). He argues that this community grew up through the development in parallel of disciplines such as philology and comparative linguistics, and led to the success of von Ranke and his disciples.10 This account of the emergence of a scientific method, and of consensus, permitted the construction of hypotheses which are refutable by the evidence. Tucker is clear that his argument is not universal for all historical writing, but he does claim its significance for modern historiography. It is vulnerable in various ways, but the question here is to what extent we could posit “an uncoerced uniquely heterogeneous community of historians that reached consensus on many belief and cognitive values” for the Roman period? There are it would appear substantial areas of overlap between the views of Roman historians as to the past – Oakley pointed out that for much of the sequence of magistracies and battles disagreement seems limited.11 In other words, the factual basis of Roman history became established, and it is hard to see that this was coerced. One could argue that there was 8  See now the completed Oxford History of Historical Writing, of which the first volume, Feldherr – Hardy (2011) covers our period and more. 9  Tucker (2004); good reviews by Gorman (2005); Kincaid (2005); McCullagh (2005). 10  See also Turner (2014), focusing on the role of philology in sharpening awareness of method, and Lloyd (2009) 58–75 for a more sceptical account. 11  Oakley (1997–2005), I, 38–72.



greater homogeneity between the historians – for instance that at least in the earlier years they were all senators. However, there is a difference between Fabius Pictor, Cato the Elder, and Livy – as much as there was between Ranke, Butterfield and Namier. Yet, depending on the level of detail at which one conducts the analysis, there is probably more common ground than difference. Even someone completely convinced by Tucker’s argument might be surprised to see it applied to Roman historiography, but why should this be? Some part of the answer might lie in the Roman attitude towards evidence and argument, as we see it in the oratorical sources. Another argument might be that we know that Roman historians made things up, although the extent to which we know is more problematic than is sometimes thought. No doubt the interpretation of events depended on contemporary circumstances, and the awkward moment on Livy when he has to deal with Augustus’ claims around the achievements of Cossus is the obvious potential example of tendentious and conflicting interpretation. However, Augustus claims to have found new evidence, and Livy can be read as disbelieving, so the example is not straightforward.12 However, it is clear that the obstacles which exist in applying Tucker’s description of “likely indicators of knowledge” to the Roman case are formidable. The fact that the ttradition of seven kings of Rome is unchallenged, and does not seem to have been imposed by any structure or institution, does not make it true, in the same way as the broad narrative of, say, the British monarchy. What Tucker makes us focus on is the question of what sort of community creates such consensus, what that consensus might tell us about Roman beliefs and cognitive values, which may have deeper roots even than the stories which are used to illustrate them, and what the moments of discord reveal about the tensions under which the community is operating. Roman historiography as it emerges from our account has perhaps more in common with another account of the borderline between history and fiction. Jonathan Gorman writes “We can think of a historical narrative as a complex set of sentences which take time to read and also express an enduring object of historical thought, but – however poetically structured – that complex set of sentences must, if it is to count as true history rather than fiction, in its entirety be located in (although it can allowably contribute to the revision of) the inherited rolling web of beliefs which expresses our actual ongoing history.” For history to be history rather than fiction, according to Gorman, requires

12  Liv. 4.19–20.



the a­ bsence of any need to suspend belief, because it exists within our web of “long-established and pragmatically unrevisable elements.”13 The Roman project of inserting themselves into the chronological and explanatory system which the Greeks had built up proceeded along established empirical and argumentative lines, and depended on elements which may have been long established and certainly became largely unrevisable. It created over time a consensus, and one which to a varying extent was shared across a broad spectrum of society. Disagreement was possible, and at least in some instances was provoked by the adducing of new evidence. It may be that character was used as an explanatory force to an extent that we would find unacceptable (although the role of historical biography might lead one to a different conclusion), but that was rooted in ancient views of psychology. For Gorman’s claim to be applicable, we would need to feel that the Romans knew the difference between story and history, and this is one of the most intractable issues. Our question here has not for the most part been about the reliability of the Roman historical enterprise, but about its epistemological significance – not about whether the Romans got it right, but whether they were thinking historically at all. One response is denial. If practically no documentary evidence survived, and the Romans felt happy to ignore it,14 then what we see is a sequence of myth-making, stories for the Roman people, which are rooted in and illustrative of contemporary political debates. This has one consequence of rendering all productions both equally political and undifferentiated in the approach to the past as simply an imagined place on which to reflect contemporary concerns. At the same time, one could read this another way, which is to say that the Romans developed a strong sense of history, as a field of study in which (from around the time of their supposed foundation)15 a consistent account could be told, and could be questioned in detail, but not in overall shape, and that this was part of, and contributed to, a web of “long-established and pragmatically unrevisable elements”. Some part of this derived from what were generally assumed to be survivals from the past; the monuments and memorials which are discussed in the following pages. Moreover, this was shared across disparate 13  Gorman (2014), 27–28. 14  These are variously readings, or provocative misreadings, of Peter Wiseman’s challenges to rethink the Roman historical consciousness; see Wiseman (2004); Id. (2008), 15. Our debt to Wiseman’s work is evident, consciously or unconsciously, on practically every page of this volume. 15  See Censorinus De Die Natali 21 for Varro’s tripartite division of time into uncertain, mythical and historic, the latter beginning with the first Olympiad.



genres of production, and indeed was one of the reasons why generic distinction was not neat and clear, and that we see considerable blurring of boundaries, or struggle to discern any boundary at all. Put in this way, the efforts by the Romans to recover their past, and to make it cohere with another system, appear to be, as Feeney demonstrates, part of a remarkably concentrated intellectual exercise, and one which was probably built on a foundation of thinking historically, that is to say, of maintaining an inherited rolling web of beliefs. Moreover, this is not an isolated phenomenon; we have information about at least fifty Roman historians writing about Roman history as defined in Fragments of the Roman Historians in the two centuries before Livy. Comparisons are obviously very difficult but this is interesting in comparison with the roughly one thousand historians from the entire Greek world from the eight centuries or so covered by the project to gather the fragmentary Greek historians, begun by Jacoby. Many other societies, even in the Mediterranean, produced very little history, as far as we can tell. In other words, in the two hundred years beginning with Fabius Pictor the Romans notched up an impressive amount of historical writing in a short sprint; and alongside our historians, poets, playwrights, lawyers, orators and so on were also participating in the same exercise. One way of re-contextualizing Tucker’s approach would be to argue, as Michael Bentley did, that there was a concerted professionalization of history at a key moment in the 19th century, and that this was itself a historical phenomenon, with contingent historical roots in personality clashes, larger educational patterns, political positions and institutional structures.16 Tucker’s “uncoerced uniquely heterogeneous community” turn out to be rather a divided and divisive group, but there are of course shared intellectual positions and assumptions, and an overall growing differentiation of the work of history from other disciplines and a construction of internal sub-disciplines, but never a complete divorce. At Rome, Feeney’s contextualization, and the essays in this volume, would imply a similarly contingent set of circumstances which produced nonetheless a remarkably determined effort to move from one form of historical consciousness, and one which we can only glimpse, to a much more explicit organization of knowledge, using Greek models and structures to arrange the known material, to direct further research, and to elaborate the findings. The Romans found their history, and once it was discovered, they rewrote it repeatedly, used it in lawcourts, inscribed it into their topography and found themselves ­inspired and constrained by it. 16  Bentley (2005).



This volume therefore hopes to contribute to the growing body of literature on Rome’s historical consciousness. Our intention has not been to rehabilitate the accuracy of the ancient historians and their fellow-travellers, but rather to open up ways in which the Romans used evidence, and argued historically, across genres and over time. The numerous ways in which history was transmitted demonstrate how the Romans constructed their own grid, their own system, which interconnected with that of the Greek world but developed its own characteristics. In 352 BCE, after years of wrangling and impasse, the senate ordered the interrex Lucius Cornelius Scipio to permit the election of a patrician and a plebeian to the consulship, in accordance with the Licinian-Sextian legislation.17 Livy records that the consuls, Publius Valerius Publicola and Gaius Marcius Rutulus, set about resolving the debt problem by appointing five commissioners, who managed the problem fairly, carefully and to widespread satisfaction, despite the difficulty of the task. They merited therefore their renown in omnium annalium monumenta, and he names them – Gaius Duillius, Publius Decius Mus, Marcus Papirius, Quintus Publilius and Titus Aemilius. Now the quinqueviri mensarii can be paralleled elsewhere only in 216 BCE (Liv. 23.21.6) and the citation of the names is remarkable. The general concern over debt is a feature of this period, but even so it is surprisingly specific as to the names (as it is unspecific as to the action taken). As Storchi Marino and Oakley note, although the phrase is used by Cicero of literary works, in the context of the list, it hints at a more documentary source for this information. What that might be we cannot say, but this passage sums up a great deal of what follows in this volume. Livy parades his accurate learning, and capacity to draw on impeccable sources (even if he may not have been terribly clear on what the commission did), and he uses this information to pass moral judgement on men who had acted with aequitas and cura.18 The historian’s knowledge and the merits of the commissioners are presented as part of a consensus of value, and there is here a claim for a truth about past, present and future in which the historian maintains knowledge about meritorious individuals which should instruct future behaviour. This volume shows some of the way that the Romans built up that knowledge, and how they set about using it.

17  Liv. 7.21 with Oakley (1997–2005), II, 211 and IV, 557; Storchi Marino (1993). On the historicity of the commission, see Hölkeskamp (1987), 100–101. 18  Cf. Sall. Catil. 9.3: duabus his artibus, audacia in bello, ubi pax evenerat aequitate, seque remque publicam curabant.



Bibliography Badian, E. (1966). ‘The early historians’, in T. A. Dorey (ed.), Latin Historians (London), 1–38. Bentley, M. (2005). Modernizing England’s Past. English Historiography in the Age of Modernism, 1870–1970, Cambridge. Elliott, J. (2013). Ennius and the Architecture of the Annales, Cambridge. Feeney, D. (2016). Beyond Greek: The Beginnings of Latin Literature, Cambridge, MA. Feldherr, A. (ed., 2009). The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Historians, Cambridge. Feldherr, A. and Hardy, G. (eds., 2011). The Oxford History of Historical Writing I. Beginnings to AD 600, Oxford. Fisher, J. (2014). The ‘Annals’ of Quintus Ennius and the Italic Tradition, Baltimore, MD. Flower, H. I. (1995). ‘Fabulae praetextae in context. When were plays on contemporary subjects performed at Rome?’, Classical Quarterly 45: 170–190. Galinsky, K. (ed., 2014). Memoria Romana. Memory in Rome and Rome in Memory (MAAR, suppl. 10), Ann Arbor, MI. Gorman, J. (2005). Review of A. Tucker, Our Knowledge of the Past: A Philosophy of Historiography (Cambridge 2004), Philosophy 80 (312): 292–300. Hölkeskamp, K.-J. (1987). Die Entstehung der Nobilität. Studien zur sozialen und politischen Geschichte der Römischen Republik im 4. Jh. v. Chr., Stuttgart. Kincaid, H. (2006). ‘Scientific historiography and the philosophy of science’, review of A. Tucker, Our Knowledge of the Past: A Philosophy of Historiography (Cambridge 2004), History and Theory 45.1: 124–133. Lloyd, G. E. R. (2009). Disciplines in the Making: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Elites, Learning and Innovation, Oxford. McCullagh, C. B. (2005). Review of A. Tucker, Our Knowledge of the Past: A Philosophy of Historiography (Cambridge 2004), Mind 114 (455): 782–786. Nora, P. (éd., 1984–93). Les lieux de mémoire I–V, Paris. Oakley, S. P. (1997–2005). A Commentary on Livy, Books 6–10 I–IV, Oxford. Storchi Marino, A. (1993). ‘Quinqueviri mensarii: censo e debiti nel IV secolo’, Athenaeum 81: 213–250. Tucker, A. (2004). Our Knowledge of the Past: A Philosophy of Historiography, Cambridge. Turner, J. (2014). Philology: The Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities, Princeton – Oxford. Wiseman, T. P. (1998). Roman Drama and Roman History, Exeter. Wiseman, T. P. (2004). The Myths of Rome, Exeter. Wiseman, T. P. (2008). Unwritten Rome, Exeter.

PART 1 The Origins of the Annalistic Tradition


Fabius Pictor, Ennius and the Origins of Roman Annalistic Historiography John Rich The two principal forms of Roman historical writing both took as their subject the deeds of the Roman people at home and at war (domi militiae), but differed as to their chronological coverage: histories of the older type, represented for us by Livy, covered a wide span and most, like Livy, dealt with the whole of Roman history from Aeneas down to the author’s own day, whereas those of the other kind, exemplified for us by Tacitus, confined themselves to a limited period of relatively recent history. Both Livy’s and Tacitus’ histories are organized annalistically, that is, year by year according to the eponymous consuls, and it is clear that by their day this mode of arrangement had long been standard in their respective historical genres. However, the question when and how annalistic organization by the consular year first became established within this Roman historiographical tradition has been the subject of a good deal of discussion, and this paper attempts a reassessment.1 Romans had been writing such histories for nearly two centuries before Livy, but these works are known to us only from later writers’ references (testimonia) and verbatim or paraphrased citations (fragments). This material may now be consulted in The Fragments of the Roman Historians (FRHist), a new edition prepared by a group of ten scholars, of whom I am one, under the general editorship of T. J. Cornell.2 In the late third century, the first Roman historian, Q. Fabius Pictor, wrote a history of the Roman people from Aeneas to his own time in Greek and another work with the same scope, also in Greek, was produced soon after by 1  The present paper builds on and in one respect modifies my earlier treatment of the Roman annalistic tradition at Rich (1997/2011). All dates are BCE unless otherwise stated. 2  The testimonia and fragments are cited in this paper in the numbering of FRHist; on all matters relating to the individual historians, see the relevant introductions and commentaries in FRHist. The editions of Chassignet (1996–2004 = Chass.) and Beck – Walter (2001–04 = FRH) are also valuable. Woodman (2015) offers perceptive comment on selected fragments. For overviews of the early historians, see Badian (1966); Forsythe (2000); Beck (2007); Mehl (2011), 41–69.

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L. Cincius Alimentus. Further Roman histories in Greek were produced in the second century by P. Cornelius Scipio (the son of Africanus), A. Postumius Albinus and C. Acilius; the scope of Scipio’s and Postumius’ works is unknown, but Acilius’ work appears to have had the same coverage as those of Fabius and Cincius. The first accounts of the Roman past in Latin were not prose histories but verse epics. Naevius’ Bellum Punicum, composed in Saturnians in the late third century, dealt mainly with the First Punic War, but also included extensive treatment of the period from Aeneas to Romulus. The Annales of Ennius (239–169), in eighteen books of hexameters, had the same scope as the histories of Fabius and Cincius, narrating events from Aeneas to the author’s own day, and its coverage extended down to the 170s. However, Cato’s Origines, the first prose history in Latin, departed in various ways from the Fabian model: although in his first book Cato treated Roman history from Aeneas to at least the expulsion of the kings, the next two books dealt with the origins of the other peoples of Italy, and, passing over the early Republic and the conquest of Italy, he devoted his remaining four books to recent history from the First Punic War to the mid-second century. From the later second century, numerous writers followed Cato’s example in writing histories in Latin, but several of these reverted to the Fabian model, treating the whole of Roman history from Aeneas to their own time: this was the scope of the histories of L. Cassius Hemina, L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi and Cn. Gellius, and the same may have been true of the obscure works of Q. Fabius Maximus Servilianus, C. Sempronius Tuditanus and Vennonius. However, other writers now confined themselves to more restricted periods: L. Coelius Antipater wrote a history of the Second Punic War, while C. Fannius probably and Sempronius Asellio certainly pioneered the genre of histories restricted to recent times. In the early first century their example was followed by L. Cornelius Sisenna and the first Roman autobiographies also appeared, but other writers remained more or less faithful to the Fabian model. Valerius Antias’ work followed the traditional pattern in covering the whole of the Roman past down to his own day; his contemporary Q. Claudius Quadrigarius diverged only in opting for a later start date, with the Gallic Sack; C. Licinius Macer and, in the mid-first century, L. or Q. Aelius Tubero began their histories with the earliest times, but each may have stopped before the Hannibalic War. Livy’s citations show that, while he made use of Fabius and Piso, he depended heavily on Antias, Quadrigarius, Macer and Tubero (the last two cited only in the first decade). His citations also make it clear that these four firstcentury historians all organized their accounts of the republican period by the consular year. However, how much further back in the tradition this mode of

Origins of Roman Historiography


organization had been adopted cannot be definitively established, and in this paper I shall seek to do no more than assess the balance of probabilities. For a satisfactory answer the question will require refinement. Rather than asking simply whether an individual author employed annalistic organization, we shall sometimes need to consider the possibility that a historian used such organization for recent events but not for the early Republic. It will be important also to avoid conflating the question whether a historian organized his material by the consular year with further assumptions about the character of his work. Earlier discussion has been bedevilled by such conflation, exemplified by the common practice of referring to the early historians as ‘annalists’. The debate has also been largely shaped by assumptions about the impact on early Roman historical writing of the so-called Annales maximi, the record maintained by successive holders of the office of pontifex maximus. We must therefore begin by examining first this record, and then the meaning of the term annales itself. 1

Annales maximi3

Our knowledge of the record kept by the pontifex maximus largely depends on the three principal testimonia. The earliest (T1), and the only reference to the record from the time when it was still being kept, is a dismissive statement, cited verbatim by Aulus Gellius (2.28.6) from the fourth book of Cato’s Origines (F80), contrasting Cato’s own choice of material with that of the record: “I do not care to write what is on the tablet at the house of the pontifex maximus, how often grain was high in price, how often darkness, or whatever, obscured the light of the moon or sun” (non lubet scribere quod in tabula apud pontificem maximum est, quotiens annona cara, quotiens lunae aut solis lumine caligo aut quid obstiterit). Our next earliest reference to the record comes in the discussion of Roman historical writing which Cicero put into the mouth of the great orator M. Antonius in his dialogue De oratore, written in 55 in the form of an imaginary conversation purporting to have taken place in 91. Antonius is made the spokesman for Cicero’s own view that to write history adequately a historian must be an orator and that no Roman historian had yet fully met 3  This section is based on my edition of the testimonia and fragments of the Annales maximi at FRHist I, 141–159, II, 10–31, III, 3–12. See the introduction (hereafter, Rich [2013]) for more detailed discussion and full bibliography, to which add Elliott (2013), 23–30. Frier (1979/1999) remains the fullest treatment. See also Beck (this volume).



this r­ equirement; reviewing these historians, he criticizes the earliest for their plain style and derives it from the pontifex maximus’s record, alleging a parallel development in Greek historiography (de orat. 2.51–53 = T2): Graeci quoque sic initio scriptitarunt, ut noster Cato, ut Pictor, ut Piso. erat enim historia nihil aliud nisi annalium confectio, cuius rei memoriaeque publicae retinendae causa ab initio rerum Romanarum usque ad P. Mucium pontificem maximum res omnes singulorum annorum mandabat litteris pontifex maximus efferebatque in album et proponebat tabulam domi, potestas ut esset populo cognoscendi; iique etiam nunc annales maximi nominantur. hanc similitudinem scribendi multi secuti sunt, qui sine ullis ornamentis monumenta solum temporum, hominum, locorum, gestarumque rerum reliquerunt. itaque qualis apud Graecos Pherecydes, Hellanicus, Acusilas fuit, aliique permulti, talis noster Cato, et Pictor, et Piso … . In the beginning the Greeks too used to write like our Cato, Pictor, and Piso. For history was nothing other than a compilation of annals, for the sake of which, and to maintain a public record, from the beginning of Roman affairs until Publius Mucius was pontifex maximus, the pontifex maximus used to commit to writing all the affairs of each year, copy them out on a white board, and display the tablet at his home, to enable the people to get informed; and even now these are called Annales maximi. Many have followed this manner of writing, and have bequeathed unadorned records just of dates, persons, places, and events. Thus, what Pherecydes, Hellanicus, Acusilas, and many others were like among the Greeks, Cato, Pictor, and Piso have been for us … . Our other chief testimonium (T3) occurs in Servius Danielis’ commentary on Vergil’s use of the term annales (Aen. 1.373), and may perhaps derive ultimately from the Augustan scholar Verrius Flaccus:4 ita autem annales conficiebantur: tabulam dealbatam quotannis pontifex maximus habuit, in qua praescriptis consulum nominibus et aliorum magistratuum digna memoratu notare consueuerat domi militiaeque terra marique gesta per singulos dies. cuius diligentia (Frier; diligentiae mss.) annuos commentarios in octoginta libros ueteres rettulerunt, eosque a pontificibus maximis a quibus fiebant annales maximos appellarunt. 4  Possible derivation from Verrius Flaccus: Frier (1979/1999), 27–37; Rich (2013), 143–144.

Origins of Roman Historiography


Annals were, however, compiled in the following way. Every year, the pontifex maximus had a whitewashed tablet, on which, with the names of the consuls and the other magistrates written first, he was accustomed to note the things worthy of mention which had been done at home and abroad, by land and sea, day by day. Thanks to his diligence men of a former time put the annual records into eighty books, and they called them the Annales maximi from the pontifices maximi by whom they were composed. Other references to the record add little. Cicero in the De legibus (1.6 = T4) repeats his earlier stylistic criticism of the record and of the earliest historians, and a similar view of the pontifical annals as the modest beginning of Roman historiography is later expressed by Quintilian (inst. 10.2.7 = T6), perhaps following Cicero. Dionysius (1.74.3 = T5) tells us that an unnamed writer had used the “tablet kept by the pontifices maximi” as evidence for the date of Rome’s foundation, but does not explain how.5 Several later writers also refer to the record (T7–12), a number of them erroneously attributing it to the pontiffs collectively rather than the pontifex maximus (so already Quintilian). Six texts purport to cite the Annales maximi, under this or a similar title (F1–6), but, as we shall see, only one of these (F5) can be taken as it stands as a report of a record entry made by a pontifex maximus.6 The following facts are undisputed: the pontifex maximus displayed at his residence a record of notable events of each year on a whitewashed wooden board, and this record was somehow preserved in permanent form and came to be known as the Annales maximi; the events recorded included the eclipses and corn shortages mentioned by Cato; and the keeping of the record ceased with P. Mucius Scaevola, pontifex maximus from 130 to c. 115. Virtually everything else about the record is uncertain. Even the location of the whitewashed board is disputed: the pontifex maximus resided at the Domus Publica, but most scholars have assumed that the board was set up at the adjacent Regia.7 Cicero and several of the later sources suppose that the purpose of this activity by the pontifex maximus was the keeping of a permanent record of 5  Dionysius does not attribute this view to Polybius, as has often been supposed. 6  Some further passages in Cicero, Dionysius, Livy and Plutarch have sometimes been taken as referring to or citing the Annales maximi, but these identifications are questionable and the passages are accordingly classed in FRHist as doubtful testimonia (T13–15) and fragments (F7–12). 7  For the Domus Publica as the location, see Frier (1979/1999), xiv, 87–88.



events, and both Cicero and Servius Danielis imply that the coverage was comprehensive. In fact, however, the board must have been put on display to inform the Roman people of recent events, and it will have been only incidentally that the archive of past notices came to form a permanent record. At least at first, the selection of events for inclusion may have been quite restricted, perhaps including only events perceived as having some religious significance. It is, however, uncertain what purpose, ritual or otherwise, the practice was intended to serve. It has often been thought that the record originally comprised notes of events entered against the date of their occurrence in a published calendar, but our sources indicate rather a free-standing list of events.8 Contrary to what some scholars have supposed, the record was quite distinct from the libri or commentarii kept by the college of pontifices as an archive of their proceedings and other ritual matters: as our best sources show, responsibility for it rested not with the pontifical college, but with the pontifex maximus alone, and, unlike the pontifical commentarii, it was publicly displayed.9 In addition to the temporary display on the whitewashed board, the entries must also have been preserved in some more permanent form, probably on wax-tablets bound in codices, as with some other archives, such as the senate decrees. The entries may have been originally composed on a wax tablet and then written up on the whitewashed board by a signwriter, with the wax tablets then retained and so coming to form a permanent record.10 How far back the record went and whether earlier entries could have survived the sack of Rome by the Gauls in 387 has long been debated. Crucial to this question is a passage of Cicero’s De republica, a dialogue purporting to have taken place in 129, in which Cicero makes Scipio Aemilianus speak as follows (rep. 1.25 = F5): id autem postea ne nostrum quidem Ennium fugit; qui ut scribit, anno quinquagesimo et trecentesimo fere post Romam conditam: ‘Nonis Iuniis soli luna obstitit et nox.’ atque hac in re tanta inest ratio atque sollertia ut ex hoc die, quem apud Ennium et in maximis annalibus consignatum uidemus, superiores solis defectiones reputatae sint usque ad illam quae Nonis Quinctilibus fuit regnante Romulo. 8  Calendar entries: so first Seeck (1885), 61–64, followed by Cichorius (1894), 2249–2251; Forsythe (1994), 61–62; FRH I, 34. Against, see Frier (1979/1999), 91 and Rich (2013), 145. 9  The entries on the board cannot have been extracts from the pontifical commentarii, as suggested by Rüpke (1993/2008). 10  There is no reason to postulate a permanent display on bronze (so Bucher 1987/95).

Origins of Roman Historiography


Later even our Ennius was not ignorant of this [scil. that solar eclipses are caused by the moon], for he writes that in about the 350th year after Rome was founded: “On the Nones of June, the moon and night obscured the sun”. And on this subject there is so much science and ingenuity that, from that day which we see attested in Ennius and the Annales Maximi, previous eclipses have been calculated as far back as the one which happened on the Nones of July in Romulus’ reign. The eclipse mentioned by Ennius and the Annales maximi can be plausibly identified with that visible at Rome on 21 June 400, and this passage of Cicero accordingly provides prima facie evidence that some entries from the pontifex maximus’ record survived the Gallic Sack. Cicero’s statement that earlier eclipses had been calculated from this date has often been taken as implying that no earlier notices of eclipses survived, and the conclusion has been drawn that the record was destroyed in the Sack, and the most recent notices, including this eclipse report, were then reconstructed from memory, so that authentic entries from the record survived only from about 400.11 This may be too pessimistic. Cicero’s language need not imply that no earlier eclipse was recorded. Livy’s and Plutarch’s claims that archives were destroyed in the Sack do not directly refer to the pontifex maximus’ record and will in any case have been merely later speculation.12 Archaeological evidence, including the recent discovery of two houses destroyed by fire in the early fourth century in the area of the later Forum of Caesar, suggests that the destruction resulting from the Gallic capture of the city was much less complete than later Roman tradition claimed.13 Also unconvincing are attempts to downdate the inception of the record to the third century, either to around 300, amending Cicero’s text to yield a different eclipse date, or to 249, ascribing it to Ti. Coruncanius, the first plebeian pontifex maximus.14 The main argument for these downdatings is the increase from around that period in the routine domestic information supplied by our 11  So first Niebuhr (1828), 264–265, followed by Seeck (1885), 74–75; Cichorius (1894), 2252; Crake (1940), 379–380; Petzold (1999), 191. 12  Liv. 6.1.2; Plut. mor. 326A, Num. 1.1 (citing Clodius, on whom see FRHist I, 264–265). Livy’s reference to the destruction and reconstitution of the commentarii pontificum is best taken as referring to the archive of the pontifical college, not the record displayed and kept by the pontifex maximus. 13  On the relation between the archaeological evidence and the literary tradition, see Delfino 2009 and Id. (2014), 226–240. 14  So Beloch (1926), 86–95; Rüpke (1993/2008).



authorities, but this can be better explained in other ways: more archival detail may have been available from about this time, either in the pontifex maximus’ record or in other sources, and the authorial choices both of his predecessors and of Livy himself may have played a part. Thus, although, as is now generally agreed, the pontifex maximus’ record cannot have gone back to the regal period, it could have begun to be kept in the early or mid fifth century, and, if so, authentic entries may have survived from then for consultation by Rome’s early historians, and some of our information on events from the fifth century on may accordingly derive ultimately from this record.15 The most intractable of the problems posed by the Annales maximi relates to the eighty-book edition reported by Servius Danielis. The surviving fragments with book numbers (F1–3, 6) must, if genuine, come from this version. Mommsen combined Servius Danielis’ statement with Cicero’s information that the record continued to be kept until the pontificate of Scaevola, and concluded that Scaevola not only stopped keeping the record but also published it in eighty books.16 His successors generally took this assumption for granted until Frier pointed out that it rests just on Mommsen’s conjecture and argued instead that the eighty-book version was published under Augustus.17 Others have noted that no source expressly mentions publication, and hold that the eighty-book version may simply have existed as a single copy in the archive of the pontifex maximus.18 A related question is that of the character of the eighty-book version. Some scholars hold that it comprised simply the annual entries made by the pontifices maximi.19 Most, however, suppose that, although it incorporated material from the annual entries, this had been greatly expanded with other material to constitute a history extending back to the origins of Rome. Mommsen himself supposed that it was given this form by the pontifices at a time well before Fabius Pictor wrote the first literary history of Rome. This view was for long very influential, but is unsubstantiated and implausible and has now rightly

15  So Frier (1979/1999), 115–135; Cornell (1995), 14, 318; Oakley (1997–2005), I, 25, 381–382 and IV, 480, 507; Rich (2013), 148–151. 16  Mommsen (1857), 453–454. 17  Frier (1979/1999), 179–200. 18  Seeck (1885), 83–99; Rawson (1971), 168–169 (= Ead. [1991], 15); Cornell (1986a), 71–72; Drews (1988); Forsythe (1994), 66. 19  See Cichorius (1894), 2251–2255; Jacoby (1949), 61; Cornell (1986a), 71–72.

Origins of Roman Historiography


been generally rejected.20 Most of those who hold that the eighty-book version was an expansion now suppose that it was compiled in this form during Scaevola’s term of office in the later second century or under him and his immediate predecessors.21 However, Frier (n. 17) has made a powerful case for dating the development to the reign of Augustus. To suppose that the eighty-book version comprised just the authentic annual entries made by the pontifices maximi would provide an attractive solution, but unfortunately this view faces grave difficulties. The first is obviously the number of books. The word libri properly denotes papyrus rolls, but a work which covered Roman history down to the 120s in eighty rolls would have been on a more ample scale even than Livy. Possibly this problem might be resolved by supposing, with Forsythe (n. 21), that the eighty ‘books’ were in fact not papyrus rolls, but codices of wax-tablets. Further difficulties are posed by indications in our sources that the Annales maximi went back to the origins of Rome and that the eighty-book version had an anecdotal and antiquarian character. Cicero, in the De oratore, makes Antonius speak of the record as having been kept “from the beginning of Roman affairs”, and the statement which he attributes to one of the speakers in the De republica (2.28 = T13) that the “public annals” (publici annales) did not support the tradition that Numa was a Pythagorean probably refers to the record and so implies that it covered Numa’s reign. Four passages purport to cite the pontifical record for very early events. The Historia Augusta adduces it as authority for the interregnum following the death of Romulus (HA Tac. 1.1 = F4), but this is plainly one of the spurious citations for which that work is notorious. The Origo gentis Romanae used to be dismissed in the same way, but scholars nowadays hold it in greater regard. If its three citations of the pontifical record (17.1–5, 18.2–4 = F1–3) are genuine, then the character of the eighty-book Annales maximi as a literary confection is established, for all these citations relate to Ascanius and his successors as kings of Alba and represent the work as already in its fourth book when it reached that point. Aulus Gellius’ citation of the eleventh book of the Annales maximi for the story of the relocation of the statue of Horatius Cocles (4.5.1–7 = F6) is also problematic. The opening section of this passage, which reports the statue being struck by lightning and as a result moved on the advice of haruspices, could derive from an authentic record entry made by a pontifex maximus, 20  For criticisms, see Crake (1940); Jacoby (1949), 60–66; Frier (1979/1999), 11–14, 165–174; Oakley (1997–2005), IV, 483–484. 21  So Gabba (1967), 150–154; Petzold (1999), 184–221, 252–265; Forsythe (1994), 53–73; Id. (2000), 6.



but the rest is too expansive and anecdotal for that source. It is possible that this material derives just from Gellius’ other cited source, Verrius Flaccus, but Gellius purports to be ascribing the whole account to both sources. Thus those who wish to suppose that the eighty-book version comprised just the authentic annual entries made by the chief priests must somehow explain away the high number of books, must dismiss Cicero’s indications that the record went back to the earliest times, and must reject the citations of the Annales maximi in the Origo gentis Romanae and the Historia Augusta (F1–4) and most of Aulus Gellius’ citation (F6) as spurious. The alternative is to accept that the eighty-book version comprised an ample account of Roman history which extended back to the origins of Rome and was anecdotal and antiquarian in character, and that this elaborate work was compiled either in the later second century or under Augustus. Such views too bristle with difficulties. Why, instead of claiming the credit of authorship, should the compiler or compilers of so ambitious a work have sought to pass it off as the pontifex maximus’ chronicle, although its character was patently altogether unlike that of the genuine record? Why has so little trace survived of what will have constituted one of the most extensive Roman histories composed in antiquity? It seems unlikely that such ample expansion of the record should have been carried out under the aegis of Scaevola as pontifex maximus. It is true that the later second century was a period of lively antiquarian enquiry. But it is hard to see why in that period those responsible for such a work should not have claimed personal credit for its production, as all the known historical and antiquarian writers of the period did for their works. Frier’s theory supplies what at first sight seems a more plausible context: he supposes that the expanded version was produced on Augustus’ direction after he became pontifex maximus, and compares other collective antiquarian enterprises of the period such as the Fasti Capitolini and the elogia describing the careers of great Romans set up below their statues in the Forum Augustum. However, the products of these collective undertakings were put on public display in the monumental centre of Rome. Why should the antiquarians of the day have produced a history of Rome on so ample a scale and passed it off as the pontifex maximus’ record, although much of the material included clearly could not have stood in the genuine record? Thus in the present state of our knowledge the problem of the eightybook version of the Annales maximi appears insoluble. It may have consisted simply of the annual records composed by the pontifices maximi, or alternatively it may have been a massively expanded compilation produced either in Scaevola’s time or under Augustus, but each hypothesis faces formidable difficulties.

Origins of Roman Historiography


The question how and to what extent the early Roman historians are likely to have exploited and been influenced by the pontifex maximus’ record will be explored in the remainder of this paper, but some preliminary remarks are appropriate at this point. Cicero, in the De oratore and the De legibus, claims that the record served as the model for the plain style which he imputes to the early historians: they followed it in leaving “unadorned records just of dates, persons, places and events”. Although his concern is with style, it is natural to suppose that he took them to have drawn on it for content as well. However, Cicero’s assertions are of questionable value. He may well not have consulted the record himself. His dismissive survey of early Roman historiography serves his own tendentious purpose, and our other information shows that his assessment by no means does justice to the historical works of at any rate Fabius Pictor and Cato. Moreover, Cicero’s view that early Greek historians were also indebted to archival sources is strikingly similar to a statement about the origins of Greek historical writing in Dionysius of Halicarnassus’ essay On Thucydides: both writers were probably drawing on a common Greek source, perhaps Theophrastus.22 The record will have been available to the early historians only in the codices of wax tablets retained in the pontifex maximus’ store. It is nonetheless likely that at least Fabius Pictor made significant use of it as a source, and some of his successors probably also exploited it. The record will have been one of the principal documentary resources for the Roman past available to the early historians, so they can hardly have failed to deploy it in building up their account, along with other sources such as oral traditions, and a good deal of information in the extant accounts of the early Republic may well derive ultimately from this or other archival sources. A further indication of the first historians’ likely use of the pontifex maximus’ record is afforded by Cato’s scathing comment on its contents, cited above: it is likely that Cato was implicitly criticizing one or more of his predecessors who had drawn information from the record which he regarded as too trivial for inclusion in a history. However, although the pontifex maximus’ record will have provided the early historians with information and may have influenced their choice of material, it does not necessarily follow that it also helped to shape the structure of their narratives. Events must have been listed in the record simply in the order in which they occurred or the pontifex maximus chose to take note of 22  Dion. Hal. Th. 5. In his history Dionysius applies the same doctrine to Rome, assuming that early Roman historians were using archives, but without explicitly referring to the pontifex maximus’ record (1.73.1, 7.1.6; perhaps also 4.2.1). On Cicero’s and Dionysius’ view and its provenance, see further Gelzer (1934), 53–54; Jacoby (1949), 86, 178; Frier (1979/1999), 77–78, 109–111, 117–118; FRHist I, 143, 156 and III, 8–10.



them. Except perhaps over short sections, the extant writers’ narratives do not exhibit such arrangement, and there is no reason to ascribe it to their lost predecessors. The structure of Livy’s year narratives, which has often been held to derive ultimately from the pontifical record, in fact has a different origin, as I have shown in an earlier paper (Rich 1997/2011, and see further below). Some of those who suppose that the eighty-book Annales maximi were a greatly amplified version of the pontifex maximus’ record compiled and published in the later second century have made large claims for its impact on the Roman historical tradition: according to Badian (1966, 15), “Roman historiography was shattered by the publication”. It is certainly possible that such a publication made a substantial contribution to what is often described as the expansion of the Roman past, introducing much of the detail which survives for us in Livy and Dionysius. However, the supposed Scaevolan compilers may themselves have drawn heavily on the existing historiographical tradition to bulk out the pontifical record.23 In any case, as we have seen, the Scaevolan edition is just one of the possible solutions for the puzzle of the eighty-book Annales maximi. 2


In established Latin usage, the term annales generally denoted simply a historical work (usually on Roman history), and as such was often used interchangeably with historiae. However, learned Romans attempted to distinguish between the terms. Our fullest source for this debate is Aulus Gellius (5.18), and later echoes occur in Servius (Aen. 1.373), Isidore of Seville (etym. 1.44.1–5), and a scholion on Lucan (5.384).24 These writers report two rival views. Some held that the term historia properly applied to a historical account of the writer’s own time and annales to accounts of earlier periods. Gellius (5.18.1–2) tells us that Verrius Flaccus mentioned this view in the fourth book of his work De significatu uerborum, but expressed doubt about it. The definition implies the existence of Roman histories

23  Thus if the citations in the Origo gentis Romanae (F1–3) derive from a Scaevolan edition of the Annales maximi, its compilers took over the Alban kings whom Fabius had devised to bridge the chronological gap between Aeneas and Romulus. 24  On the meaning of annales and the ancient debate, see Frier (1979/1999), 28–35; Verbrugghe (1989); Scholz (1994); Northwood (2007), 97–99; Cornell (2012); Burgess – Kulikowski (2013), 288–296 (discussing ancient and medieval usage).

Origins of Roman Historiography


limited to the recent past, and so can only have been propounded after such histories began to be written, by Fannius, Asellio and their successors. The other view, which Gellius tells us is the one which “we have been accustomed to hear”, is that annales were histories organized by years. As Gellius puts it, this view made annales a subset of historiae, in which “the events of a number of years are composed observing the order of each year”.25 Gellius then goes on to cite verbatim two passages from Sempronius Asellio’s first book, distinguishing between annales and the kind of historical work which Asellio himself was writing. The first of these passages runs as follows (Gell. 5.18.8 = Sempronius Asellio F1): uerum inter eos qui annales relinquere uoluissent, et eos, qui res gestas a Romanis perscribere conati essent, omnium rerum hoc interfuit: annales libri tantummodo, quod factum quoque anno gestum sit, ea demonstrabant, id est quasi qui diarium scribunt, quam Graeci ἐφημερίδα uocant. nobis non modo satis esse uideo, quod factum esset, id pronuntiare, sed etiam, quo consilio quaque ratione gesta essent, demonstrare. But between the sort of writer who wished to leave behind annals, and the sort who tried to write a thorough account of the things accomplished by the Romans, there was above all the following difference: books of annals showed only what was done and in which year it was accomplished – in other words, like those who write a journal, which the Greeks call an ‘ephemeris’. For me, I do not see it as satisfactory simply to announce what was done: it is necessary also to show with what purpose and according to what plan things were accomplished. Asellio, as we have seen, was a pioneer of the historiography of the recent past, and the works he was criticizing doubtless followed the older pattern of recounting Roman history from the foundation. However, Asellio is here using the word annales in the second of Gellius’ senses, of a Roman history organized by years. He objects to certain works of this kind, not because of their mode of organization in itself, but because, he claims, they aspired to do no more than recount events, without attempting explanation of actions such as 25  Gell. 5.18.3–6: sed nos audire soliti sumus annales omnino id esse, quod historiae sint, historias non omnino esse id, quod annales sint … ita ‘historias’ quidem esse aiunt rerum gestarum uel expositionem uel demonstrationem uel quo alio nomine id dicendum est, ‘annales’ uero esse, cum res gestae plurium annorum obseruato cuiusque anni ordine deinceps componuntur.



his own work would offer. As has often been recognized, Asellio here shows the influence of Polybius, who insisted on the importance of explanation in serious historical writing.26 Gellius’ second sense of annales must be the word’s original meaning in respect of historical writing. Once established, the term came to be used widely of histories of Rome. However, the original application of a word deriving from annus to an account of Roman history can only have come about because the work in question was at least in part organized by years.27 The adjective annalis has the root meaning ‘annual’. The term thus came to be applied to histories deemed to have this character, either as an adjective in agreement with libri (books), as in the Asellio fragments cited by Gellius (F1–2), or by extension as a noun. It has often been supposed that the term annales was first used of the pontifex maximus’ record and then extended to literary works. This is a natural inference from Cicero’s references to the record, but is in fact very questionable. As we have seen, Cicero’s account of the part played by the record in the evolution of the historiographical tradition is problematic. Cato merely speaks of the tabula at the house of the pontifex maximus, and Cicero provides our earliest evidence for the term annales being used in connection with the record. The board on public display and the stored tablets which preserved the information displayed on earlier boards were not themselves an account of Roman history, but just raw materials from which such an account could be written. The term annales is never used just on its own or in combination with libri to refer to the pontifex maximus’ record, but always with some further qualification, most commonly by the addition of maximi, whether this is to be understood simply as ‘the greatest annals’ or, as some sources insist, alludes to the pontifex maximus.28 It is thus, in my view, more likely that it was only after 26  On Asellio, see now FRHist I, 274–277, III, 277–283 (M. P. Pobjoy), with further bibliography, and Woodman (2015), 28–49. For Polybius’ stress on historiographical explanation, see especially 2.1.1, 3.1.3–4, 11.19a, 12.25b, 18.33.6, 22.18.6 along with Walbank (1945), 15–16 and Id. (1972), 57–58. The opening sentence of Asellio F1 implies that some earlier writers had at least attempted to write a Roman history of the kind he favoured (qui res gestas a Romanis perscribere conati essent). After his criticism of annales, Asellio may have gone on to discuss the shortcomings of these works: the authors in question may perhaps have included Cato and/or Postumius Albinus, who, according to Polybius (39.1.4), “attempted to write a history of affairs” (πραγματικὴν ἱστορίαν ἐνεχείρησεν). 27  Contra: Verbrugghe (1989), 220–222 and Northwood (2007), 98. 28  So Serv. auct. Aen. 1.373 (= T3); Macr. Sat. 3.2.17 (= T9); Paul. Fest. 113 (= T12); see further Frier (1979/1999), 46–48, 195–196. There is no warrant for Frier’s view that the original name for the record was Libri annales pontificum maximorum.

Origins of Roman Historiography


literary accounts of the Roman past had come to be known as annales that the term came to be applied also to the pontifex maximus’ record, whether in its original archival form or in an expanded version, if such existed. Cato certainly gave his distinctive historical work the title Origines, as is stated by both Nepos (Cato 3.3 = Cato T1) and Festus (216 L = Cato T7), and confirmed by the very numerous and virtually unanimous citations.29 However, for many of the early histories of Rome no title can be confidently identified, since the cited titles either show too much inconsistency or insufficient attestation, and in some of these cases the authors may well not have given their work a title.30 The designation annales is occasionally used for Fabius Pictor’s history, but merely identifies it as a history of Rome; what title, if any, he gave his work is unknown, and the same goes for the other early histories written in Greek.31 Cassius Hemina’s work is cited, by authors ranging in date from the Elder Pliny to Priscian, fourteen times as annales, seven times as historiae; one source, Nonius Marcellus, refers to the work six times as annales, and five as historiae.32 Coelius Antipater’s monograph is always cited by Nonius as annales, by other writers as historiae; neither title is likely to be correct for this work devoted to a single war.33 The first prose history to which we can confidently attribute the title Annales is that of Piso. His work is cited by this title by Cicero (T3, F42), Varro (F8, 11), Pliny (F12, 15), Gellius (F10, F20, F29) and Priscian (F21). Further confirmation is supplied by Dionysius, who several times refers to Piso’s work by Greek expressions meaning ‘annual accounts’ and clearly intended as a paraphrase of the Latin annales, a practice which he does not adopt for any of his other

29  Pliny loosely refers to Cato’s annales at nat. 8.11 (= F115). 30  On the titles of the early prose histories, see Daly (1943); Frier (1979/1999), 216–219; Verbrugghe (1989), 197–199, 225–226. In general on titles in Latin literature, see also Horsfall (1981), rightly insisting against Daly that at least some early works were given titles by their authors, and Small (1997), 33–35. On Tacitus’ titles, see Goodyear (1972), 85–87 (Lipsius in 1574 was the first to assign Annales as title to the work properly known as Ab excessu diui Augusti). 31  Fabius Pictor cited as annales: Cic. div. 1.43 (= F1); Plin. nat. 10.71, 14.89 (= F20, 25); Gell. 5.4.3 (= F31). The last reference is to the Latin version of Fabius’ history, cited as res gestae at Non. 835 L (= F4e). Cicero refers to the historia of Postumius Albinus (ac. 2.137), but a Latin version is cited as annales by Macrobius (Sat. 3.20.5). Acilius’ work is called historia by Cicero (off. 3.115) and annales by Livy (25.39.12). 32  Annales: F9, 15, 24–26, 29–36, 41. Historiae: F10, 13, 14, 20, 23, 37, 38. 33  FRHist I, 257–258 (J. Briscoe). Cicero (orat. 230 = F1) quotes a statement made by Coelius in prooemio belli Punici.



sources.34 Pliny once refers to Piso’s commentarii (F14) and Priscian once to his historiae (F17), but, in view of the strong consensus in favour of annales, both must just have been writing loosely in adopting these alternatives. Thus, as has been generally recognized, we may accept that annales was the work’s established title and so assigned by Piso himself.35 Unless Hemina anticipated him (despite the discordant evidence on his title), Piso will have been the first prose historian to give his work the title Annales. Others appear to have soon followed Piso’s example. Cn. Gellius may have done so: annales is the only title cited for his work, although, since it occurs only three times (F5, 8, 28), this can carry little weight. Fannius seems to have given his work this title, although it probably dealt just with the recent past: the work is cited as annales both by Cicero (Brut. 81, de orat. 2.270 = T2, F6a) and by grammarians (F1–3).36 In the first century there are signs of a preference for annales as the title for works starting with the remoter past, and its avoidance for works limited to recent times (appropriately enough in view of Asellio’s strictures on annales). The very frequent citations of Claudius Quadrigarius’ work as annales (with only two discordant references to historiae) show that this was its title, and this may have been true also for Licinius Macer (cited four times as annales and only once as historiae).37 By contrast, the title annales is never attributed to the recent histories of Asellio and Sisenna: Asellio’s work is variously cited as res gestae (F7, 10, 11), res Romanae (F9), and historiae (F3–6, 12, 14, 15), while Sisenna is very frequently and almost invariably cited as historiae.38 However, Tubero’s work, although a history of Rome from the origins, seems to have borne the title historiae (cited thus at F4–7 and 11–12, and never as annales), while Valerius Antias’ title remains obscure: Aulus Gellius cites his work four times as historiae (F3, 13, 17, 25), but he (F15) and Priscian (F11) each cite it once as annales. Piso’s history was not the first literary work to have borne the title Annales. That distinction belongs to Ennius’ national epic. Annales is first attested as the title of Ennius’ poem as early as Lucilius (343 M), and thereafter the work is invariably referred to and cited by this title, while its individual books are 34  ἐνιαύσιοι ἀναγραφαί: Dion. Hal. 4.15.5, 12.9.3 (= Piso F16, 27). ἐνιαύσιοι πραγματεῖαι: Dion. Hal. 4.7.5 (= Piso F18). 35  So Cichorius (1899), 1392–1393; Wiseman (1979), 12–13; Chassignet (1996–2004), II, xxii; FRHist I, 234 (M. P. Pobjoy). Forsythe’s doubts (1994, 38–39) are unwarranted. 36  Cicero’s use of historia at Brut. 299 (= F6b) is “merely elegant variation” (T. J. Cornell, FRHist I, 247). 37  FRHist I, 289 (J. Briscoe), 322 (S. P. Oakley). 38  FRHist I, 275 (M. P. Pobjoy), 307 (J. Briscoe).

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often cited by the singular form Annalis. As is generally recognized, this must mean that Annales was the title which Ennius himself gave to his masterpiece, to serve as the collective designation for its eighteen books.39 It has usually been supposed that in giving his work this title Ennius meant to evoke the Annales maximi.40 This must be mistaken, if, as argued above, the pontifex maximus’ record only acquired this designation after literary works had come to be known as Annales. If that conclusion is correct, it will have been Ennius, as the first author to give his work this title, who coined the term Annales as a designation for a narrative of the Roman past, while Piso, in adopting Ennius’ title for his history, originated what became its later predominant use, as the name for a prose history of Rome.41 If, as maintained above, the application of the term annales to an account of the Roman past can only have come about because the work in question was organized in part by the consular year, it follows that Ennius in choosing this title was acknowledging and privileging this feature of his epic, as indeed was claimed by the late Roman grammarian Diomedes, according to whom Ennius’ eighteen books “are entitled Annales because they contain the events of nearly every year”.42 We must therefore now turn to examining the annalistic character of Ennius’ poem. 3 Ennius’ Annales It is usually supposed that Ennius arranged his epic in groups of three books and that the overall structure was as follows. The first book dealt with the period 39  Wrongly doubted by Forsythe (1994, 49–50), against whom see Elliott (2013), 18 n. 1. 40  So F. Skutsch (1905), 2603; Leo (1913), 163; Jocelyn (1972), 1008; O. Skutsch (1985), 6; Petzold (1999), 256; Walter (2004), 261; Wiseman (2008), 264; Elliott (2013), 18–19, 71–73; Goldschmidt (2013), 43. 41  Ennius is identified as the originator of the term annales by Rüpke (1995), 200 n. 82 and Burgess – Kulikowski (2013), 142, 374. See also Verbrugghe (1989), 196 n. 12; Suerbaum (2002), 134–136; Gildenhard (2003), 93–95. 42  Diom. I, 484 Keil: epos Latinum primus digne scripsit is qui res Romanorum decem et octo complexus est libris, qui et annales inscribuntur, quod singulorum fere annorum actus contineant, sicut publici annales, quos pontifices scribaeque conficiunt, uel †Romanis†, quod Romanorum res gestas declarant. Diomedes’ reference to the pontifical record is merely comparative and does not imply that Ennius used it as a model or source. In the final phrase Diomedes appears to cite an alternative title for the epic, but the word in question is corrupt (restored as Romani by Vahlen or Romais by Reifferscheid) and he can have had no authority for this claim. On the passage, see now Elliott (2013), 19 n. 6.



from Aeneas to Romulus, and the next two with the rest of the kings. Books 4–6 took the story from the establishment of the Republic to the war with Pyrrhus. Book 7 covered the period from the First Punic War (passed over rapidly because already treated by Naevius) to the early years of the Second Punic War, while Books 8–9 dealt with the rest of the Second Punic War. Books 10–15 dealt with the early second century and in particular the wars in the East against Philip, Antiochus and the Aetolians, while the last three books, an addition to the original design, carried the narrative down to the 170s. As Elliott has recently stressed, this reconstruction rests on quite a small number of fragments with both identifiable contexts and attested book numbers, some of which are themselves problematic. Nonetheless, although doubts may subsist about details, the usually accepted reconstruction must be broadly correct, and, although Ennius may have included some excursuses and flashbacks, he must generally have followed a linear chronology.43 It is at any rate clear that Ennius devoted much more space to recent history than to earlier times: nearly two-thirds of his poem dealt with the events of his own lifetime. As has often been noted, several fragments show that Ennius’ detailed narrative of recent times was organized by years, with each year-narrative opening with the names of the incoming consuls. Two fragments come from these introductory presentations of the consuls. The first (ann. 290) is a brief extract, cited by Gellius (10.1.6) to illustrate the ordinal form quartum: Quintus pater quartum fit consul (“Quintus the father became consul for the fourth time”). Despite its brevity, enough survives to show that the reference must be to the entry into office of Quintus Fabius Maximus as consul for the fourth time in 214. The designation pater may refer to the fact that his son was praetor the same year (as Vahlen suggested, the line may have continued filius praetor), and Ennius perhaps permits himself to pun on Quintus and quartum.44 The second such fragment is longer (ann. 304–308): additur orator Cornelius suauiloquenti ore Cethegus Marcus Tuditano collega Marci filius. Is dictus popularibus ollis Qui tum uiuebant homines atque aeuom agitabant Flos delibatus populi Suadaique medulla. 43  See further Elliott (2013), 60–69, 298–302, 308–342. The evidence Elliott adduces does not provide any positive support for the radical doubts she expresses about Ennius’ adherence to linear chronology. 44  See O. Skutsch (1985), 468–469 and Flores et al. (2000–09), II, 276. I cite the fragments of the Annales by Skutsch’s numeration.

Origins of Roman Historiography


The sweet-speaking orator Marcus Cornelius Cethegus, son of Marcus, was added to Tuditanus as colleague. He was called by those of his countrymen who were then alive and passing their days the choice flower of the people and the marrow of Persuasion. The passage comes from Ennius’ notice of the entry into office of the consuls of 204, M. Cornelius Cethegus and P. Sempronius Tuditanus, and he takes the opportunity to praise Cethegus as the outstanding orator of his day, a generation before his own time of writing.45 A further fragment evidently came from near the beginning of a year-­ narrative (ann. 324): Graecia Sulpicio sorti data, Gallia Cottae (“Greece was given by the lot to Sulpicius, Gaul to Cotta”). The fragment is cited anonymously by Isidore (etym. 1.36.3), but clearly belongs to Ennius’ account of the year 200, which saw the outbreak of the Second Macedonian War. Shortly after announcing the entry into office of the consuls P. Sulpicius Galba and C. Aurelius Cotta, Ennius will have gone on to report the allotment of the consular provinces in these words. The provinces decreed were in fact Macedonia and Italia, as we learn from Livy (31.6.1–2), whose information doubtless derived from the record of the senate’s decree, mediated through his immediate source, probably Antias. Ennius’ inaccuracy may be a slip of memory on his or his informant’s part, or reflect a stylistic preference (for the alliteration and metrical convenience).46 A fourth fragment in praise of the jurist Sex. Aelius Paetus (ann. 329: egregie cordatus homo, catus Aelius Sextus, “an outstandingly strong-witted man, the shrewd Sextus Aelius”), may, like the comparable eulogy of Cethegus, have been appended to the announcement of his entry into office as consul in 198, but this is merely conjectural.47 Given the modest rate of survival of the fragments of the Annales (only about 600 lines in total), the three fragments at or near the start of his accounts of the years 214, 204 and 200 constitute strong evidence for Ennius’ organization of his material by the consular year in the more detailed narrative of his later books, and we need not doubt that he arranged the epic in this way from at least the start of the Hannibalic War until the end of the work.48 How far 45  The pair had already shared the censorship of 209, but the reference is surely to their consulship; see O. Skutsch (1985), 481. 46  It can hardly have had a political purpose, as suggested by O. Skutsch (1985), 501–502. Cf. Goldberg (1995), 117; G. Jackson, at Flores et al. (2000–09), IV, 156–157; Elliott (2013), 53. 47  So O. Skutsch (1985), 504–505. 48  Contra: Elliott (2013), 52–58.



back before the Hannibalic War Ennius deployed year-by-year treatment, if at all, is unknown. He could well have used such organization for the Pyrrhic War, which he certainly treated at length and to which he is usually supposed to have devoted the whole of Book 6. It is even possible that he narrated the later years of the Samnite Wars in this way, particularly if, as Cornell has suggested, his account of these wars extended into Book 6.49 The summary coverage of the First Punic War in Book 7 will certainly not have been annalistic, but the period between the two wars with Carthage could have been accorded yearby-year treatment. Ennius’ first books, however, will certainly not have been annalistic. Such treatment was only appropriate for the Republic, with its annual magistrates: no Roman writer to our knowledge attempted a year-by-year account of any of the kings. Ennius’ account of the early Republic must also have been limited to selected episodes rather than providing anything approaching year-by-year coverage, since he dealt with the whole period of more than two centuries from the foundation of the Republic to the Samnite Wars in a mere two books (Books 4 and 5). Thus Diomedes was exaggerating when he claimed that Ennius’ eighteen books contained “the events of nearly every year” (singulorum fere annorum actus). However, the year-by-year treatment to which Ennius alluded by his choice of title will have been followed for roughly two-thirds of the poem, beginning in the sixth or seventh book and continuing until the end. Some of those who hold that Ennius took his title from the pontifex maximus’ record have also surmised that he drew heavily on it for the form and character of his work. Thus Jocelyn (1972, 1008–1009) states that “every type of information that [the pontifical record] can reasonably be supposed to have contained appears in the fragments of the poem” and the record’s style “was bald in the extreme and many an Ennian verse seems deliberately to affect this baldness”. Beck and Walter have developed a strong version of this thesis, arguing that Ennius was the first to introduce what they term the ‘annalistische Schema’ into a literary account of the Roman past and that this was then carried over into prose historiography by Piso. The characteristic features of this annalistic pattern, in their view, are the arrangement of material as a commented version of the pontifex maximus’ notices, and repeated textual elements such as the consuls’ names, the assignment of provinces and armies, prodigies and their procurement, and other religious and administrative m ­ atters. Ennius, they 49   Cornell (1986b) and Id. (1987); not refuted by O. Skutsch (1987). A fragmentary Herculaneum papyrus roll (PHerc. 21) has been shown to have contained Book 6 of the Annales (Suerbaum 1995): one of its fragments shows that the Pyrrhus narrative continued to the end of the book, but this evidence sheds no light on the starting point.

Origins of Roman Historiography


hold, gave his work this character as a means of compensating for his own modest standing, seeking to confer on it some of the auctoritas enjoyed by the pontifical record.50 Gildenhard (2003) has demonstrated the weakness of the case for such views.51 The surviving fragments give us no reason to suppose that the allegedly typical ‘annalistic’ items played a particularly conspicuous or recurrent part in Ennius’ poem, except for the naming of each year’s consuls. We cannot, for example, infer from the fact that Ennius chose to mention the allotment of provinces to the consuls of 200, at the start of the great war with Philip, that this item was a regular feature of his year-narratives, and we have in any case no grounds for supposing that provincial allocations were regularly included by the pontifex maximus on the whitewashed board. Ennius of course deployed a range of poetic registers, but there is little sign of the supposed deliberate affectation of baldness. The only one of his start-of-year notices which survives at enough length for assessment (ann. 304–308) integrates the naming of the new consuls with praise for Cethegus’ oratory, and achieves this, as Gildenhard shows (2003, 99–100), with considerable artistic subtlety. The passage makes a striking contrast with the dry accumulation of administrative details which characterizes so many of Livy’s reports of consuls’ entries into office in his later decades. Ennius will naturally have been familiar with the content and manner of the notices posted by the pontifex maximus on the whitewashed board. Some of his material may have derived ultimately from the past notices preserved in the pontifex maximus’ store, although, if so, it probably reached him indirectly rather than by his own consultation of the archive.52 It is likely enough that he sometimes chose to echo the manner of the pontifex maximus’ notices, and he certainly appears to have done so in the eclipse report cited by Cicero, where his phrasing is strikingly similar to that used by Cato when he declared that he would not follow the “tablet at the house of the pontifex maximus” in mentioning such items.53 Ennius may indeed have been one of the authors whom Cato was there implicitly criticizing.54 However, such material is likely to have been only a relatively minor feature of the poem, and the record stored 50  FRH I, 40–41; Walter (2004), 259–263; Beck (2007), 262. 51  See also Elliott (2013), 19–73. 52  So rightly Northwood (2007), 107. 53  Ennius reports that soli luna obstitit et nox; Cato insists that he will not narrate quotiens lunae aut solis lumine caligo aut quid obstiterit (above, p. 19). See, however, Clark (2015), 2, noting the ‘limited alternatives’ for describing an eclipse in Latin. 54  Cf. Forsythe (1994), 69–70 and FRHist III, 129 (T. J. Cornell).



away in the archive can hardly have played an important part in shaping the epic’s conception and organization. If, as argued above, Ennius in giving his epic the title Annales was not alluding to the pontifex maximus’ record but coining a new word in reference to the year-by-year organization of his later books, an explanation is needed for his choosing to give such prominence to this feature of his work. Recent research has suggested an attractive answer. Ennius accompanied M. Fulvius Nobilior (cos. 189) on his Aetolian war; his play Ambracia celebrated Fulvius’ capture of the city; and the war was narrated in the fifteenth book of the Annales, which Ennius originally designed as the completion of the work. Fulvius dedicated statues of the Muses which he had brought back as spoils in what was thereafter known as the Temple of Hercules Musarum, either building a new temple or adding a portico to an existing temple of Hercules, and it has been commonly supposed that Ennius, who opened his epic with an invocation to the Muses (ann. 1), ended the fifteenth book with the dedication of the temple. In the temple Fulvius also set up a calendar, incorporating some explanatory commentary, and, although this is not explicitly attested, it may, like later calendars, have been accompanied by a list of consuls, perhaps the first to have been put on public display. As several recent writers have suggested, Ennius is likely to have been associated with this project, and may have presented his epic account of the Roman past, in large part organized by consular years, as complementary.55 In that case, it would have been a natural further step for him to commemorate the role of annual organization in his work through its title.56 The pontifex maximus’ record will have had much less importance for Ennius as a source and model than the first literary history of Rome by Fabius Pictor, and perhaps also that of Fabius’ successor Cincius Alimentus. These works probably did not go beyond the Hannibalic War, and Fabius’ history may well have stopped early in the war.57 For subsequent events Ennius must therefore have worked almost exclusively from oral information and his personal knowledge. Those sources will have been important earlier too, but for events down to the Hannibalic War Ennius must surely have made substantial use 55  For such interpretations, see especially Rüpke (1995), 199–202; Id. (2006); Gildenhard (2003), 94–97; Rossi – Breed (2006), 408–410; Feeney (2007), 143–144, 169–170, 287–288; Burgess – Kulikowski (2013), 140–144. Rüpke (2006, 489–512) abandons his earlier view that Fulvius’ magistrate list was just a record of future, not past consuls. On Ennius and the Aedes Herculis Musarum, see also Sciarrino (2004), 45–56 and Fabrizi (2008), 193–219. 56  For another view, see Wiseman (2008), 48–51. 57  On Fabius’ stopping point, see FRHist I, 167 (E. Bispham and T. J. Cornell).

Origins of Roman Historiography


of Fabius as a source of information. That does not of course mean that he always agreed with Fabius’ version, and he notoriously differed from him in making Romulus’ mother the daughter of Aeneas, disregarding the Alban king list which Fabius had devised to span the chronological gap between the fall of Troy and the foundation of Rome. However, even there Ennius was following a literary predecessor: he was adhering to Naevius’ version.58 It must have been not the pontifex maximus’ record, but Fabius Pictor’s history which inspired Ennius to take as his theme the whole of the Roman past from Aeneas to his own day. Fabius’ history had precisely that scope, whereas the record preserved in the pontifex maximus’ archive extended back no further than the early Republic. Ennius’ epic was in fact a fusion for Latin readers of two very different strands of Greek literature – the epics of Homer, and the histories of Rome recently composed in Greek prose by Fabius and Cincius. Ennius’ debt to Fabius included not just his subject and much of his material, but also some features of the organization of his work. As the next section will show, Fabius, like Ennius, devoted more space to recent events than to the remoter past, and, at least for his detailed treatment of recent events Fabius is likely to have organized his material by the consular year. It was thus not the pontifex maximus’ record, but Fabius whom Ennius was following when he adopted this mode of organization for recent history. 4

Fabius Pictor

The question whether Fabius Pictor’s account of republican history was organized annalistically, by the consular year, has been much debated. The controversy was started by Gelzer, who denied that Fabius wrote annalistically and drew a sharp distinction between the histories composed in Greek by Fabius and his immediate successors and the Latin histories of Hemina, Piso and Gellius, who in his view were the first true annalists.59 Against this, a number of scholars have argued that Fabius will have used year-by-year organization throughout his account of the Republic, although some of these have

58  Serv. auct. Aen. 1.273, 6.777; Feeney (2007), 99. On Ennius’ use of Fabius Pictor, see F. Skutsch (1905), 2603; Frier (1979/1999), 258–259; O. Skutsch (1985), 7; Chassignet (this volume). 59  Gelzer (1934) and Id. (1954). For more recent interpretations of Fabius’ history as not annalistic, see Fornara (1983), 25; FRH I, 61; Walter (2004), 234–235, 251.



c­ onceded that he may have passed over some years.60 Others have propounded an intermediate view, according to which only Fabius’ account of recent history, probably from the First Punic War on, was organized annalistically.61 In a recent review of the question, Northwood (2007) does not decide between the last two alternatives, but argues that no compelling arguments can be adduced against the view that Fabius organized the whole of his account of the republican period by the consular year. Limited as our knowledge of Fabius’ history is, it is clear that it was by no means just the bald chronicle suggested by Cicero’s misleading claim that he and his successors modelled their works on the pontifex maximus’ record. Fabius was evidently writing in the traditions of Greek historiography, and for both Greek and Roman readers.62 His account of the survival, youth and recognition of Romulus and Remus, which, as preserved by Dionysius and Plutarch, is by far our fullest report of Fabian material (F5), is a complex romance drawing heavily on Greek sources. From Polybius it is clear that Fabius presented strongly partisan interpretations of recent Roman policies.63 However, these qualities were not incompatible with annalistic organization, since such arrangement was widespread in Greek historical writing: for example, local histories, such as the Atthides, were typically organized by magistrate years, and Timaeus had pioneered Olympiad chronology in his historical works, with their substantial treatment of Rome.64 Fabius may well have known some of the Atthides or other Greek local histories. As has been generally accepted, he must have been familiar with Timaeus’ writings, and, although differing 60  So Walbank (1945), 14–18; Bung (1950), esp. 195–205; Bömer (1953), 198–203; Momigliano (1960), 313 (= Id. [1966], 60); Perl (1964), 217–218; Frier (1979/1999), 255–284; Oakley (1997– 2005), IV, 475–477; Rich (1997/2011), 15–17; FRHist I, 174 (E. Bispham and T. J. Cornell). Cf. Badian (1966), 3: “[Fabius] must have given the consuls of each year, at least in the detailed history.” 61  So Hanell (1956), 168–169; Timpe (1972); Rawson (1976), 704 (= Ead. [1991], 259); Forsythe (1994), 42–45; Flach (1998), 66–67; Petzold (1999), 194–200, 260–265; Mehl (2011), 44–46. Cf. Wiseman (1979, 12–19), arguing that Piso was the first to produce a fully annalistic account of republican history. 62  For assessments of Fabius’ history, see especially Momigliano (1960), 310–320; Id. (1990), 88–106; Dillery (2002), 1–23; FRHist I, 160–178 (E. Bispham and T. J. Cornell); Feeney (2016), 173–176. 63  See esp. Pol. 1.14.1–3, 1.15.12, 3.8.1–3.9.5, with Gelzer (1933). 64  For annalistic organization in the Atthides and other Greek local histories, see Dion. Hal. 1.8.3. See also Jacoby (1949), 68–70, 86–99; Fornara (1983), 16–23; Harding (2007), 180–183; Clarke (2008), 208–215. On Timaeus’ use of Olympiad chronology, see now Christesen (2007), 277–289; Feeney (2007), 18–19; Clarke (2008), 11–12; Baron (2013), 23–28.

Origins of Roman Historiography


from him on the date of Rome’s foundation, followed him in expressing it in Olympiad reckoning.65 The pontifical record will certainly have been among the chief sources which Fabius drew on in reconstructing the Roman past, both for recent events and for early republican history. The material which Fabius took from it may well have included topics like eclipses and other prodigies and corn shortages, and Cato’s dismissive reference to such items (cited above, p. 19) may have been intended as criticism of Fabius (and of Ennius as well). However, it will not have been the annual record entries stored in the pontifex maximus’ archive which prompted Fabius to adopt annalistic arrangement in his history. In so far as he did so, it will have been because such practice was well established in the Greek historical tradition which he was aspiring to join. A prominent part has been played in the debate over Fabius’ use of annalistic organization by an assertion made by Dionysius in the course of his prefatory justification of his choice of Early Rome as the subject for his history. He claims to be writing in order to demonstrate to the Greeks that the Romans were worthy of their world rule and to dispel false impressions to the contrary (1.4). Accordingly, in his first book covering events up to the foundation of the city, he will, he promises, show that the peoples from whom the founders were drawn were of Greek origin (1.5.1), and in the rest of the work he will give a comprehensive account of the Romans’ deeds “after the foundation” (μετὰ τὸν οἰκισμόν) and of their institutions, demonstrating that from the foundation on they produced innumerable examples of virtue (1.5.2–3). Greeks have, he tells us, been ignorant of these great Romans because so far no detailed (ἀκριβής) history of Early Rome has appeared in Greek, but only “summary, very brief epitomes” (κεφαλαιώδεις ἐπιτομαὶ πάνυ βραχεῖαι, 1.5.4). He then lists the works in question, starting with histories on a variety of subjects by Greek writers, from Hieronymus of Cardia and Timaeus on, whose information on Early Rome, he tells us, was both scanty and poorly researched (1.6.1), and then going on to insist that the accounts of the early period given by those Romans who had written Roman histories in Greek were no better (1.6.2): ὁμοίας δὲ τούτοις καὶ οὐδὲν διαφόρους ἐξέδωκαν ἰστορίας καὶ Ῥωμαίων ὅσοι τὰ παλαιὰ ἔργα τῆς πόλεως Ἑλληνικῇ διαλέκτῳ συνέγραψαν, ὧν εἰσι πρεσβύτατοι Κόιντός τε Φάβιος καὶ Λεύκιος Κίγκιος, ἀμφότεροι κατὰ τοὺς Φοινικικοὺς ἀκμάσαντες πολέμους. τούτων δὲ τῶν ἀνδρῶν ἑκάτερος, οἷς μὲν αὐτὸς ἔργοις 65  Dion. Hal. 1.74.1, on which see now Feeney (2007), 95–97 and FRHist III, 21–23 (E. Bispham and T. J. Cornell). On Fabius’ use of Timaeus, see Baron (2013), 54–55 and FRHist I, 175 (E. Bispham and T. J. Cornell).



παρεγένετο, διὰ τὴν ἐμπειρίαν ἀκριβῶς ἀνέγραψε, τὰ δὲ ἀρχαῖα τὰ μετὰ τὴν κτίσιν τῆς πόλεως γενόμενα κεφαλαιωδῶς ἐπέδραμεν. Similar histories to those of these men, indeed not at all different, were published also by those of the Romans who related the early deeds of the city in the Greek language. Of these the first were Quintus Fabius and Lucius Cincius, both of whom flourished at the time of the Punic Wars. Each of these men gave a detailed account of the events at which he himself was present, by virtue of personal experience, but ran over summarily the ancient events which happened after the foundation of the city. This passage has frequently been held to imply that the distribution of material in Fabius and Cincius’ histories had an hour-glass shape, with relatively full treatment of the foundation period and of recent times, but only summary coverage of the intervening period, and confirmation has been sought in the distribution of the surviving fragments. The foundation period has often been taken as extending to the expulsion of the kings, and Timpe (1972, 938–940) has even argued that Dionysius envisaged it as extending to the Decemvirate. Such interpretations are mistaken.66 The distribution of the fragments between historical periods merely reflects the interests of our citing sources, and has no value as an indication of relative coverage in the lost original. By his reference here to the foundation (κτίσις) of the city Dionysius must mean the establishment of the city by Romulus, just as in his earlier references to its οἰκισμός at 1.5.2–3. Dionysius speaks of Fabius’ and Cincius’ treatment of events “after the foundation of the city” merely because this passage forms part of the justification for producing a new treatment in Greek of Roman history from the foundation which he has been providing from 1.5.2 on (following the separate justification of his treatment of the foundation itself provided at 1.5.1). All that Dionysius means to convey by his statement about Fabius and Cincius is that they dealt summarily with earlier events, but in detail with those of their own time, namely the period of the first two Punic Wars. In writing at greater length about recent events, Fabius was inaugurating a tradition which many of his successors were to follow, starting with Cincius and, as we have seen, Ennius. As most scholars have recognized, it is likely that Fabius and Cincius in this part of their works arranged their material by the consular year, just as Ennius was to do for his fuller treatment of recent history. Only five fragments of Fabius (F19–23) and one of Cincius (F5) relate to the 66  So now Northwood (2007), 102–103 and FRHist I, 170–173 (E. Bispham and T. J. Cornell).

Origins of Roman Historiography


Punic War period, and none gives clear evidence of the works’ organization.67 However, Polybius’ accounts of the First Punic War, for which, as he makes clear (1.14–15), Fabius and Philinus were his principal sources, and of the subsequent wars against the Gauls, for which Fabius was probably his main source (2.21–36), make frequent references to the activities of successive consuls and so are likely to be based on a Fabian account organized by consular years.68 Dionysius’ statements that Fabius and Cincius “flourished at the time of the Punic Wars” and that they each “gave a detailed account of the events at which he himself was present” suggest that their detailed coverage began with the First Punic War. While there is no reason to doubt that they treated early times more briefly than the Punic War period, the transition to fuller coverage may well have been more gradual than Dionysius suggests. The sharp distinction which he draws suited his argument, since his own history was to end with the outbreak of the First Punic War, and so with what he represented as the start of Fabius’ and Cincius’ detailed treatment. Like Ennius, Fabius will surely have treated the Pyrrhic War at length, and he is likely to have had a good deal to say also about the Samnite Wars, for which both strong oral traditions and some documentary records will have been available to him. We know from Livy that he mentioned Fabius Rullianus’ dispute with Papirius Cursor, traditionally dated to 325 (Liv. 8.30.7–10 = F17). A further passage of Livy, which provides our only other fragment of Fabius relating to the Samnite War period, constitutes strong evidence of annalistic organization. At 10.32.1–37.12 Livy gives a lengthy account of the campaigns of 294, according to which the consul M. Atilius Regulus fought with mixed fortunes in Samnium and Apulia, but won a victory at Luceria after vowing a temple to Iuppiter Stator, and his colleague L. Postumius Megellus campaigned first in Samnium and then in Etruria. Livy then (10.37.13–16) reports two variant versions, followed by some further remarks on the Temple of Iuppiter Stator. The first of Livy’s variant accounts is that of Claudius (Quadrigarius), who, he tells us, assigned the warfare in Samnium and Apulia to Postumius and the Etruscan campaign to Atilius. He then reports Fabius’ version as follows (Liv. 10.37.14 = F18):

67  Some scholars, for example Momigliano (1960, 313), have inferred consular dating from Fabius’ reference to the Gallic war of 225, in which he personally took part (F21 = Eutrop. 3.5 and Oros. 4.13.6–7, both from Livy). 68  For Polybius’ references to consuls in these sections as likely to derive from Fabius’ annalistic account, see Walbank (1945).



Fabius ambo consules in Samnio et ad Luceriam res gessisse scribit traductumque in Etruriam exercitum – sed ab utro consule non adicit – et ad Luceriam utrimque multos occisos inque ea pugna Iouis Statoris aedem uotam. Fabius writes that both consuls conducted operations in Samnium and near Luceria and an army was led to Etruria – but he does not go on to say by which of the two consuls – and that near Luceria many were killed on both sides and in that battle a temple of Jupiter Stator was vowed. Although Fabius did not distinguish between the activities of the individual consuls in these campaigns, it is natural to suppose that he named the two consuls and that his report formed part of a narrative of the early thirdcentury warfare against the Samnites and others organized by consular years.69 It is thus likely that Fabius arranged his history annalistically, by the consular year, from at least the early third century.70 Whether he had employed such arrangement consistently from the foundation of the Republic is more difficult to determine. What survives from Fabius’ account of republican history before the Samnite Wars comprises merely three fragments relating to events of the early fifth century (F14–16), which give no indication of Fabius’ dating methods, and a fragment on the appointment of the first plebeian consuls (traditionally dated to 367). Our source for the latter is Aulus Gellius (5.4.3 = F31), who ascribes it to the fourth book of a Latin work which he calls the annales of Fabius and quotes what purport to be Fabius’ words as follows: quapropter tum primum ex plebe alter consul factus est duouicesimo anno postquam Romam Galli ceperunt (“wherefore then for the first time one of the two consuls was appointed from the plebs, in the twenty-second year after the Gauls captured Rome”). The fragment may possibly come from the little-known historical work of Q. Fabius Maximus Servilianus (cos. 142). It is more probable, however, that it is from the Latin version of Fabius Pictor’s history, for which we have several 69  So Bömer (1953), 201; Frier (1979/1999), 269–270; Northwood (2007), 100; FRHist III, 34–35 (E. Bispham and T. J. Cornell). Contra: Gelzer (1954), 344. On the historical issues relating to the campaigns of 294, see Oakley (1997–2005), IV, 345–349. There is no reason to suppose that in not attributing these campaigns to individual commanders Fabius was following the practice of the pontifical record, as Bömer and Frier hold (see further below n. 88). 70  Livy (9.44.2–4) may suggest that Fabius’ narrative was already annalistic for the years 308–305: see Oakley (1997–2005), IV, 476–477 and below at n. 97.

Origins of Roman Historiography


other references and citations, and that this was not a different work, as some suppose, but effectively a translation of Pictor’s Greek original.71 However, even if this is correct, no clear conclusions follow for the chronological structure of this part of Fabius Pictor’s work. We cannot be sure that the book division was the same for the Latin as for the original Greek version. If Fabius did take four books to reach 367, his treatment of what went before will have been on quite an ample scale, but not necessarily fully annalistic for the early Republic. It has sometimes been claimed that Fabius’ use of an interval date shows that he did not give a consular date for this item, but this does not follow, since both dating methods could have been employed.72 Fabius cannot have given a fully annalistic account of the early Republic if a full list of the chief magistrates was not yet available when he wrote, as has been argued especially by Wiseman, who holds that such lists were only compiled in the second century, with the first perhaps having been displayed by Fulvius Nobilior in the Temple of Hercules Musarum.73 However, the substantial agreement between the surviving lists suggests rather that they are essentially reliable and that a list will already have been available in documentary form in Fabius’ day.74 Fabius will have employed the list for chronological calculations, but it does not necessarily follow that he used it throughout to give his narrative annalistic structure. Several considerations, when taken together, seem to me to indicate that Fabius is more likely to have narrated only selected years in the early Republic rather than giving a year-by-year account from its establishment.75 First, there is Dionysius’ statement about the scope of Fabius’ and Cincius’ work. The distinction which Dionysius draws between narrating “in detail” (ἀκριβῶς) and “summarily” (κεφαλαιωδῶς) was a common one, and does not in itself imply the presence or absence of annalistic structure: in using the term κεφαλαιωδῶς of Fabius’ and Cincius’ treatment of earlier times, Dionysius means simply that it was brief by comparison with their coverage of recent events, not, as has

71  See FRHist I, 163–165 (E. Bispham and T. J. Cornell), and, for different views, Frier (1979/1999), 246–252 and Woodman (2015), 7–22. 72  On the problems of this passage, see Northwood (2007), 99–100 and FRHist III, 47–48. 73  Wiseman (1979), 12–17; cf. Rüpke (1995). For Fulvius Nobilior’s putative magistrate list, see above, n. 55. 74  See Oakley (1997–2005), I, 39–40; Northwood (2007), 109; Smith (2011). For a review of scholarly controversies on the consular fasti, see Ridley (1980). Mora (1999) is radically revisionist, but see Drummond (2003). 75  In this respect I now depart from the view adopted at Rich (1997/2011), 15–17.



sometimes been claimed, that it was organized under headings.76 However, it may be wondered whether he would have characterized these writers’ treatment of the early period in this way if they had in fact given a year-by-year narrative (even if a relatively brief one) for the whole of the Republic.77 Dionysius goes on to explain (1.7.3) that he had been able to give much more detail on Early Rome than the previous writers in Greek had supplied partly through oral information, but also by drawing on numerous histories in Latin, mentioning by name Cato, Fabius Maximus (Servilianus), Antias, Macer, Aelius (Tubero), (Cn.) Gellius and Calpurnius (Piso). He adds that these works were like the Greek χρονογραφίαι, by which he must mean that they were annalistic in structure.78 It seems unlikely that he would have drawn attention to this aspect of these later works if the (by his implication less detailed) histories of Fabius Pictor and Cincius Alimentus had also given annalistic accounts from the foundation of the Republic. A second consideration relates to Ennius. Ennius, as we have seen, was following Fabius’ example in taking all of the Roman past as his theme and in according more detailed treatment to recent times. If Fabius gave only relatively recent events year-by-year treatment, then Ennius was conforming to his model in this respect as well. If, however, Fabius had given all of the republican period such coverage, Ennius was departing from Fabian practice in restricting it to more recent times, but it seems unlikely that in that case he would have chosen to highlight his use of year-by-year narrative by giving his whole work the newly coined title Annales.

76   So rightly Northwood (2007), 103, against Timpe (1972), 949–952. Dionysius uses κεφαλαιωδῶς and its cognates in his history also at 1.5.4, 2.72.4 and 7.2.5, and frequently in his critical essays. Gelzer (1934, 49–50) and Timpe (loc. cit.) erroneously attributed topical organization to Fabius on the basis of Polybius’ accounts of the Romans’ wars with Gauls and others at 1.6 and 2.18–21; although Fabius was probably his source here, Polybius himself will have been responsible for the organization of the material. 77  It should be noted that by detailed coverage Dionysius here envisages not treatment on the ample scale he himself provided (so Frier (1979/1999), 257 and FRHist I, 173 [E. Bispham and T. J. Cornell]), but merely what Fabius and Cincius offered on recent events by contrast with the earlier part of their works. 78  Dionysius uses the word χρονογραφίαι for annalistic Roman histories again at 11.62.3, and at 1.74.2 of the chronographic work of Eratosthenes (whose true title appears to be Περὶ χρονογραφιῶν: FRHist 241 F3). Elsewhere the word is used chiefly of the chronographic works of Eratosthenes and his successors. The term was probably not appropriate to Cato, see below n. 89.

Origins of Roman Historiography


A further point has been adduced by Hanell and Forsythe.79 Livy acknowledges on several occasions that Fabius’ testimony had especial value as the earliest of his authorities.80 Yet at the points when he notes disagreement among his sources about the eponymous magistrates in the later fifth century he never explicitly adduces Fabius’ evidence, and, when he refers anonymously to ‘old’ writers, avoids using superlatives like antiquissimus which he uses in his direct references to Fabius.81 Since Fabius’ witness, if available, might have been regarded as decisive in such questions, this does appear to be another indicator that he did not provide a fully annalistic account at least for that period. The character of our extant tradition on republican history down to the early fourth century also points in the same direction. Much of what we are told on this period obviously derives from early traditions and a good deal may have been drawn originally from documentary evidence. However, there is also much that is patently the work of later historians seeking to fill out the record, for example the repetitious narratives of warfare against Veii, the Aequi and the Volsci, with some episodes clearly duplicated, and the interminable accounts of disputes over agrarian laws, all anachronistically reflecting the controversies of the Gracchan age. For some years Livy has little to report, and twice he announces that nothing worth mentioning happened.82 The hypothesis that later writers found themselves obliged to fill out as an annual record what in Rome’s earliest histories had been merely a narrative of episodes from selected years seems to me to provide a more plausible explanation for the state of the extant tradition than the alternative assumption that Fabius and his successors had all provided a year-by-year account. The cumulative weight of these considerations thus inclines me to conclude that Fabius merely narrated episodes from selected years for the early Republic, but his account took on a year-by-year structure at some point in the Samnite Wars period, at least by the early third and perhaps already in the late fourth century. Cincius Alimentus’ account may have followed this model, but we have no evidence on the structure of his narrative apart from the already 79  Hanell (1956), 168–169; Forsythe (1994), 44–45. 80  Liv. 1.44.2 (scriptorum antiquissimus Fabius Pictor), 1.55.8 (Fabius antiquior than Piso), 2.40.10 (Fabium longe antiquissimum auctorem), 8.30.7–10 (apud antiquissimos scriptores, followed by a reference to Fabius), 22.7.4 (Trasimene casualties: Fabium, aequalem temporibus huiusce belli, potissimum habui) (= Fabius F10, 12, 16, 17, 23). Livy’s reference to ueterrimi auctores at 2.18.5 probably also relates to Fabius, as argued by Northwood (2007), 101. 81  Liv. 4.7.10–4.8.1 (citing Macer and annales prisci), 20.8 (citing Macer and ueteres annales), 23.1–3 (citing Antias, Macer, Tubero and scriptores antiqui). These references to “old writers” probably relate to Piso, see further below p. 52. 82  Liv. 2.19.1 (500: contrast Dion. Hal. 5.52–57), 4.30.4 (429).



discussed statement of Dionysius.83 As for Ennius, he was, if this hypothesis is correct, following Fabius in adopting annalistic structure only for relatively recent events (though not necessarily from so early a starting point), and continued the same pattern for his narrative of events after Fabius’ finishing point. We must now proceed to consider the development of annalistic organization in the works of Fabius’ and Ennius’ successors. 5

The Heirs of Fabius and Ennius

Few followed Ennius’ example in composing verse Annales. Accius in the later second or early first century composed a hexameter epic with that title; one fragment is cited by Festus (132 L) as from Book 27. Accius may have adopted Ennius’ theme as well, but the scanty fragments give us virtually no indication of the work’s scope or character.84 Apart from this, we hear only of the Annales of one Volusius, mocked in Catullus 36 as electissima pessimi poetae scripta, and hexameter Annales in at least eleven books by a Furius from which Macrobius cites various fragments as imitated by Vergil, usually identified with a work on Caesar’s Gallic War by Furius Bibaculus.85 The further histories of Rome in Greek, by Scipio, Postumius and Acilius, may, like Fabius and Ennius, have used annalistic arrangement for the recent past, but our meagre evidence for these works gives us no indication of their organization. The first such history written in Latin, Cato’s Origines, appears to have eschewed year-by-year arrangement. Cato omitted the early Republic almost completely, passing directly from his three books on Roman and Italian origins to the remaining four books on events from the First Punic War on.86 83  The only fragment of Cincius on the early Republic relates to the suppression of Sp. Maelius and gives no indication of his dating practice (Dion. Hal. 12.4.2–5 = FRHist 2 F4). 84   See Courtney (1993), 56–60; Suerbaum (2002), 164; Blansdorf (2011), 95–96. Frier (1979/1999, 217 n. 48) has no warrant for his characterization of Accius’ poem as “an antiquarian work probably on Roman pre-history only”. 85  Courtney (1993), 192–200; Kaster (1995), 95–97. Prof. Jessica Clark is preparing a reassessment of Furius’ Annales. 86  So Nepos, Cato 3.3–4, in this respect corroborated by the fragments. According to Nepos, Book 1 dealt just with the Roman kings. A fragment (Cato F25) cited by Priscian from this book which deals with the grant of citizenship to L. Mamilius of Tusculum in 458 has been taken as indicating that the book extended to the early decades of the Republic, but other explanations are possible, see Forsythe (1994), 47 and FRHist I, 207, III, 76–77 (T. J. Cornell). On the possibility that Books 2–3 on Italian origins gave a chronological treatment based on the Roman wars of conquest, see FRHist I, 203–208.

Origins of Roman Historiography


An idiosyncratic feature of these later books was that Cato avoided naming the commanders in the wars: so Nepos and Pliny inform us, and the fragments confirm that this was his practice for both Roman commanders and their opponents.87 It is conceivable that Cato arranged his material in these books by years introduced by the names of the consuls and referred to the commanders by title rather than name merely in the campaign narratives.88 However, it seems more likely that he opted for a different method of organizing his material and indicating intervals of time.89 His avoidance of narration by the consular year in his account of the wars from the First Punic War on may be partly what Nepos had in mind when he asserted that Cato treated these wars “summarily” (capitulatim).90 In a fragment from Book 4 (F80), Cato, as we have seen, declared that he would not include items like corn shortages and eclipses such as were to be found in “the tablet at the house of the pontifex maximus”, and may have been implicitly criticizing the practice of Fabius and Ennius. As has commonly been supposed, the fragment may have stood in the preface to the book and formed part of a programmatic statement about how Cato would treat recent history.91 If so, it may also have served to justify his avoidance of the arrangement by the consular year adopted for that period by his predecessors. Those authors of comprehensive histories in Latin after Cato about whom we are best informed, namely Cassius Hemina, Piso and Cn. Gellius, all reverted to the model of Fabius and Ennius, covering all the phases of Roman history and, as several citations attest, giving year-by-year treatment at least for recent times. Censorinus cites all three of these writers as giving the consular date 146 for the fourth Secular Games, and Pliny cites two further consular dates from 87  Nepos, Cato 3.4; Plin. nat. 8.11; Cato F76, 78–79. 88  So Nipperdey (1849), 170; Peter (1914), cxli–cxlii; Bömer (1952), 39 n. 4; Cornell at FRHist I, 215–216. Contra: Astin (1978), 232–233. Peter and Bömer suppose that in this respect Cato was following the practice of the pontifical record and of Fabius Pictor, but see above n. 69. 89  Dionysius was writing loosely at 1.7.3 (above n. 78) in including Cato in his list of Roman writers who were like Greek χρονογραφίαι (i.e. wrote annalistically): there he first listed all the historians writing in Latin whom he had used, and then applied this generic term to them, overlooking its inappropriateness in Cato’s case. Dionysius will have used Cato as a source only for his first four books, on the foundation and the kings. 90  The Latin word corresponds to the Greek κεφαλαιωδῶς, used by Dionysius of Fabius’ and Cincius’ treatment of the early period. As in that case (see above, n. 76), the term means merely “summarily”, rather than “by headings”; see Astin (1978), 218 and FRHist I, 216. 91  See, however, Cornell at FRHist I, 201, III, 128, rightly insisting that the context of the fragment is unknown.



Hemina, for the arrival of the first doctor in Rome in 219 and the discovery and burning of Numa’s books in 181.92 Pliny also cites Piso as dating a censorial removal of statues to the consular year 158 and the appearance of a fig-tree on Iuppiter’s Capitoline altar to 154, while Censorinus gives a verbatim quotation, from Piso’s seventh book, of the opening of his account of 158: Roma condita anno d saeculum occipit his consulibus, qui proximi sunt consules: M. Aemilius M. filius Lepidus, C. Popilius II absens (“The 601st year from the founding of Rome saw the start of a new saeculum under these consuls, who were the next consuls: Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, the son of Marcus, and Gaius Popillius for the second time, in his absence”).93 The manner in which the new consuls were introduced was probably typical of Piso’s start-of-year narratives in this part of his work, but the addition of the foundation date was clearly an exceptional feature, marking the new century. Cassius Hemina, the earliest of these writers, can only have provided yearby-year treatment for relatively recent events.94 Citations with book numbers show that his history extended to four, or possibly five, books. The period before the foundation of the city received generous treatment, occupying the whole of the first book (F1–13). By contrast, the second book covered the vast period from Romulus (F14) to at least 281/0 (F24). The remaining books offered more detailed coverage: the fourth book opened with the outbreak of the Second Punic War in 218 (F32). Thus, although, unlike Cato, Hemina did not pass over the early Republic altogether (F20–23), he will have accorded it only brief and selective treatment. So had Fabius and Ennius, but Hemina may have gone further in reducing its coverage relative to the earlier and later periods, perhaps under the influence of Cato, visible also in Hemina’s interest in foundations and even some verbal echoes.95 The following passage of Livy shows that Piso’s history was already organized annalistically by the late fourth century (9.44.2–4 = Piso F28): 92  Cens. 17.11 (= Hemina F40, Piso F41, Cn. Gellius F30); Plin. nat. 29.12 (= Hemina F27), 13.84– 86 (= Hemina F35). The ab urbe condita datings which accompany the consular dates in these passages will have been supplied by Censorinus and Pliny (J. Briscoe, FRHist III, 174, 180, 182). 93  Plin. nat. 34.40, 17.244 (= F39, 40); Cens. 17.13 (= F38). On the textual and other problems of F38, see FRHist III, 213–217 (M. P. Pobjoy). 94  Contra: Fornara (1983, 25), for whom “Hemina begins the series of the annalists”. Pliny’s description (nat. 13.84) of Hemina as uetustissimus auctor annalium of course means just “a very ancient writer of annals”, not “the oldest annalist” (so Fornara). For Hemina’s date, see J. Briscoe, FRHist I, 220–221 (contra: Forsythe 1990). 95  For Cato’s influence on Hemina, see Rawson (1976), 691–693 (= Ead. [1991], 246–248) and FRHist I, 222–223. Verbal echoes: F30, 41, with FRHist III, 175, 182.

Origins of Roman Historiography


creati consules L. Postumius Ti. Minucius. hos consules Piso Q. Fabio et P. Decio suggerit biennio exempto, quo Claudium Volumniumque et Cornelium cum Marcio consules factos tradidimus. Memoriane fugerit in annalibus digerendis an consulto binos consules, falsos ratus, transcenderit, incertum est. Lucius Postumius and Tiberius Minucius were elected consuls. Piso puts these consuls after Quintus Fabius and Publius Decius, missing out a period of two years, in which I have recorded that Claudius together with Volumnius and Cornelius together with Marcius were elected consuls. It is not clear whether mention slipped out while he was putting together his Annals, or he deliberately passed over both pairs of consuls, thinking them false.96 Thus Piso omitted the consuls conventionally ascribed to 307–306, passing directly from those of 308 to those of 305, but in a narrative which was here clearly structured by consular years. Livy assumes that the consuls whom Piso omits will have been included in earlier accounts, and, as we have seen, Fabius’ narrative may well have begun to be organized by consular years by this point.97 As we saw above (pp. 31–32), Piso gave his history the title Annales, and was probably the first prose historian to do so. This title alone does not show, as Wiseman (1979, 12–13, 17–18) has claimed, that Piso recorded every year from the foundation of the Republic under the name of its chief magistrates, since Ennius, whose example Piso was following in adopting the title, had used such arrangement only for relatively recent events. However, Livy’s allusions to his sources provide confirmation that Piso did give a fully annalistic account from the foundation of the Republic. As already noted (p. 47), Livy set store by sources’ relative antiquity as an indication of their reliability in cases of conflict.98 Fabius carried the greatest weight as the oldest of his authorities (for example 1.44.2: scriptorum antiquissimus), outranking Piso to whom he was antiquior (1.55.8). However, Piso’s evidence on aedileships in 299 is preferred to that of Macer and Tubero as an “older author of annals” (10.9.12 = Piso F30: uetustior annalium auctor). Since 96  On the interpretation of this passage, see Oakley (1997–2005), III, 574–575 and FRHist III, 207 (M. P. Pobjoy). 97  As Oakley (1997–2005, IV, 476–477) notes, some of the events reported for 307–306 have a good claim to be authentic and probably entered the historical tradition at an early stage. 98  See further Forsythe (1999), 59–63; Northwood (2000); Oakley (2009), 448–449. On the literary implications of Livy’s citation practice, see now Lushkov (2013).



Fabius and Piso are the only pre-first century authors cited by Livy for the regal and early republican periods, it is reasonable to interpret his anonymous source references for the early Republic in the same terms, with single authors often being referred to by plurals, as was his common practice.99 Thus, while the version of the first dictatorship given “by the oldest writers” (2.18.5: apud ueterrimos auctores) will be that of Fabius, Livy’s use of the comparative form uetustior, as at 10.9.12, surely indicates that he has Piso in mind when he remarks that the revolt of Antium reported by plerique auctores for the year 459 is rendered doubtful by its omission “by older writers” (3.23.7: apud uetustiores scriptores) and rejects Macer’s explanation of the appointment of a dictator in 361 in favour of that given “in older annals” (7.9.5: in uetustioribus annalibus).100 Livy’s argument in each case implies that the ‘older’ histories had narrated the events of these magistrate years, and so, if the reference is to Piso, this confirms that the fifth and early fourth century sections of his work were organized annalistically. The same conclusion is also implied by Livy’s remarks on the discrepancies relating to the chief magistrates for 434 (4.23.1–3): he reports the differing claims of Antias, Macer and Tubero as to the consuls for the year, but also observes that both Macer and Tubero acknowledged that “old writers reported that there were consular tribunes in that year” (neuter tribunos militum eo anno fuisse traditum a scriptoribus antiquis dissimulat). As noted above, the failure to call on the authority of the “oldest writer” here suggests that Fabius was of no help, and so the reference to “old writers” is likely to be to Piso’s narrative for this magistrate year.101 Thus Piso must have organized his narrative by magistrate years from the foundation of the Republic on, and, if the argument above relating to Fabius and Hemina is correct, he will have been the first historian to accord such

99  For Livy’s plural references to single authors, see especially 32.6.8 and 39.50.10, where the references to “Greek writers” must be just to Polybius, and see further Nissen (1863), 47 with the reservations of Briscoe (1973, 9). Northwood 2000 shows that Livy must have used the histories of Fabius Pictor, Cincius Alimentus and Piso directly. However, Livy may have consulted Cincius (cited only at 21.38.3–4 = Cincius Alimentus F5) just for the Hannibalic War (the Cincius cited at 7.3.5–7 must be the later antiquarian writer; cf. FRHist I, 183). 100  On this crux, see FRHist III, 438–439 (S. P. Oakley). Diod. 12.53.1 reports consular tribunes for this year. 101  Livy probably also had Piso particularly in mind in his references to “old” annales at 4.7.10, 20.8 (above, n. 81).

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treatment to the early Republic.102 Fragments indicate that Piso took care over other magistracies besides the eponymous magistrates, reporting the names of the first tribunes (F25) and of aediles in 304 and 299 (F29, 30), and specifying filiations (F29, 30, 38). However, citations with book numbers show that Piso had only limited space available for his account of the early Republic: overall, his history ran to at least seven books, but, although the second book included the first year of the Republic (F20) and may have started at that point, the third extended down to at least 304 (F29).103 For many years in the early Republic Piso probably gave only brief notices, and for some he may merely have listed the chief magistrates. Piso’s successor Cn. Gellius, however, wrote at huge length on all the periods he covered: transmitted book numbers show that his work was vastly greater in scale than any earlier history, and more extensive in the proportion of books to years than any later Roman history, even Livy’s.104 An event of 389 is cited as from Book 15 (Macr. Sat. 1.16.21 = F8) and an event of 216 from Book 33 (Char. 69, 176 = F9). A citation from Book 97 (Char. 68 = F10–11) shows, if the number is accurate, that, copious as his treatment had been for earlier times, Gellius, like his predecessors, narrated recent events on a more ample scale. Piso will surely have drawn on documentary sources, and perhaps also on oral traditions, to provide the year-by-year coverage for the early Republic which he was the first to give, and the pontifex maximus’ record is likely to have been prominent among the sources he used. Gellius too may have drawn on such sources in producing his much fuller account. However, Piso may have resorted to some invention, and Gellius will have been obliged to rely heavily on that resource and on rhetorical expansion to fill up his immense narrative. It must have been principally in Gellius’ work that the Roman historical tradition on the early Republic first acquired some of those features which are so conspicuous in Livy and Dionysius, such as repetitious accounts of campaigns and internal conflicts and inflated battle narratives. A good deal of the expansion will have been achieved by large-scale elaboration of episodes more briefly reported in earlier accounts, but some events were probably invented outright, for example by multiplying tribunician disputes or campaigns against Rome’s chief opponents. If, as so many scholars have supposed, an expanded eighty-book version of the pontifical record was compiled and published in the later second century, 102  For the view that Piso was the first to give fully annalistic treatment for the whole Republic, see Rawson (1976), 704 (= Ead. 1991, 259); Wiseman (1979), 12–19; Forsythe (1994), 42–53. 103  See further FRHist I, 236–237. F38 reports an event of 158 from Book 7. 104  See further FRHist I, 253–254 and III, 231 (J. Briscoe).



that work could have been an important source for Cn. Gellius.105 However, it would have been heavily dependent in its turn on the earlier literary histories, and, in any case, as we have seen, this remains just one possible solution to the puzzle of the eighty-book Annales maximi. As we have seen (p. 54), others soon followed Piso in giving their histories the title Annales: Cn. Gellius may have done so, and Fannius probably did, despite the different character of his work. It was probably also about this time that the term came to be applied, on the model of literary histories, to the pontifex maximus’ record, and that the form Annales maximi came to be used as a distinctive designation for the record. It may perhaps have been Piso or Gellius who first coined the term, possibly in a passage claiming the record as a source of information.106 In such a way the conception may have begun to be formed that the record had been a forerunner of the literary histories. When Sempronius Asellio embarked on his history, probably around the end of the second century BCE, he was able to treat annales (or annales libri) as an established term for a work which aimed to report “what was done and in which year it was accomplished” (quod factum quoque anno gestum sit) – and in his critical view aspired to do no more than that.107 He may well have had the Annales of Piso particularly in mind. Piso’s concision, his particular interest in magistracies, and his delight in other curious details, evinced in several fragments (for example F23, F32, F33, F36, F40), all seem to make Asellio’s criticisms particularly suited to his case. Similarly, his brevity and simplicity, which came to be admired by Aulus Gellius (7.9, 11.14 = Piso F10, 29), suggest that Cicero’s strictures against the plainness of the early historians were directed particularly at Piso. Asellio’s objection was not to the magistrate year in itself as a means of organizing a historical work, but to the lack of historical explanation in works like Piso’s in which such arrangement was a prominent feature. Asellio himself may have used year-by-year organization in his own history, just as his model Polybius had done, and the consular year became the accepted organizing principle in the tradition of histories of the recent Roman past which Fannius and Asellio inaugurated and which was to find its supreme exponent in Tacitus. A fragment of Sisenna (F130) shows that his work was organized by the consular year, and such organization is well attested in the copious remains of Sallust’s 105  Cf. Badian (1966), 12. On Cn. Gellius’ date, see FRHist I, 252–254. 106  Cicero may well be anachronistic in representing Scipio Aemilianus as using the term (rep. 1.25, cited above pp. 22–23). 107  See above pp. 29–30. For Asellio’s date, see FRHist I, 274–275. He was probably born around 160, but his history continued to at least 91 (F11).

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Historiae. Two fragments of that work preserve the start of year-narratives, and one of these, for the year 75, opens, like Ennius’ for 204, with character sketches of the new magistrates, but, whereas Ennius was panegyrical, Sallust offers sardonic dispraise (2.42 Maur.).108 Antias, Quadrigarius and Macer in the early first century and Tubero in the mid century all dealt with earlier times and, as Livy’s citations show, followed the example of Piso and Cn. Gellius in organizing the whole of their accounts of the republican period by the consular year. Limited as our knowledge of these works is, it is clear that they differed widely, for example in their scope, with perhaps only Antias providing coverage of all the Roman past from Aeneas to his own time. Some of them claimed to be drawing on new or distinctive sources of information: thus Macer took variant data on early magistrates from the so-called “linen books” (Libri lintei), and, at least for the later third and early second century, Quadrigarius closely followed the earlier history of C. Acilius.109 The elaboration of the early republican narrative which had been begun by Piso and Cn. Gellius will have been substantially carried forward by these writers. One of the most striking features of Livy’s treatment of the years 218–167 in his later extant books (Books 21–45) is the standard framework followed in his extended year-narratives and based on the consuls’ movements. In their basic form these open with a domestic section recounting the consuls’ entry into office and early activity in Rome, then move on to external affairs with the consuls’ departure for their provinces and activity there, and return to domestic affairs for the end of the year. A good deal of the domestic sections is taken up with routine notices on such matters as provinces, armies, prodigies, priesthoods and elections, and, although distortions can be discerned, much of this material must derive ultimately from archival sources. This pattern has often been characterized by terms such as ‘annalistic form’ and regarded as a typical feature of Roman historical writing from an early stage in the tradition, and the pontifical record has commonly been taken as the chief archival source.110 As I have argued in an earlier paper (Rich 1997/2011), such views are fundamentally misconceived. 108  See further Rich (1997/2011), 21–28. For Sisenna writing annalistically, see also FRHist I, 308 (J. Briscoe); Woodman (2015), 51–53. 109  For Macer and the Libri lintei, see Liv. 4.7.11, 4.13.7, 4.20.8, 4.23.2–3 (= F18–21). See also Walt (1997), 75–85 and FRHist I, 324–326. For Claudius (Quadrigarius) and C. Acilius, see Liv. 25.39.12, 35.14.5 (= F58, 66). 110  So for example McDonald (1957), 155–156; Frier (1979/1999), 271–275; FRH I, 40–41; Walter (2004), 250–253, 260–262.



Rather than being characteristic of all of Livy’s republican narrative, this standard pattern is not found in his first decade, although it begins to make its appearance in Book 10, relating to the late fourth and early third century. In the earlier books, Livy’s year-narratives are less standardized and include much less routine domestic material. The pontifex maximus’ record will have been only one of the archival sources from which Livy’s routine domestic notices ultimately derive. A much more important part will have been played by the archive of the senate’s decrees, which must have been the ultimate source for the information on, for example, the allocation of provinces and armies. Moreover, the shaping of the material, with its shifts between the domestic and military spheres, cannot derive from archives in themselves, but will have been the work of a literary historian. The copious amounts of routine domestic information which Livy supplies cannot have been provided by early writers like Piso, whose works, as their transmitted book numbers show, were on a relatively modest scale. Nor, contrary to what has commonly been supposed, was such material and the associated pattern for the year-narratives to be found in the history of Claudius Quadrigarius, despite the considerable use which Livy evidently made of that work. The scale of Quadrigarius’ work was too small: he took only nine books to reach the year 137 (F77).111 Aulus Gellius happens to preserve the opening of Quadrigarius’ account of the year 214 (Gell. 2.2.13 = F57). The corresponding account in Livy (24.43.9–44.10) opens in the usual way with the arrangements for provinces, armies and prodigies, before passing to the departure of the consuls and the celebrated tale of the consul Q. Fabius Maximus’ encounter with his father on arrival in his province, but Gellius’ citation shows that Quadrigarius passed straight to that incident after reporting the consuls’ entry into office.112 Only one writer, Valerius Antias, can have supplied Livy with the framework of his mid-republican year-narratives and with the bulk of the routine domestic information which they incorporate, and the availability of this information in Antias’ work helps to explain the extensive use which Livy made of it despite his frequently expressed criticisms. Livy will have constructed his own narratives by interweaving material from other sources, particularly Polybius and Coelius Antipater, into the framework which he took over from Antias. Only one earlier historian wrote on a scale substantial enough to incorporate this material, namely Cn. Gellius. It is thus possible that it was Gellius who undertook the initial research in the senate archives and fashioned the results into the annual frameworks which we know from Livy and that Antias served 111  See FRHist I, 289–290 (J. Briscoe). 112  See further Rich (1997/2011), 19–20.

Origins of Roman Historiography


in this respect merely as an intermediary.113 However, it is in my view more likely that the credit for this achievement belonged to Antias himself.114 6 Conclusion Much of the preceding discussion has been necessarily speculative, but its chief findings may be summarized as follows. Fabius Pictor organized his history by the consular year from at least the early third and perhaps from the late fourth century. Ennius followed his example in narrating recent history by consular years (although perhaps from a somewhat later starting point). This mode of organizing narratives of recent history was also adopted by Fabius’ successors as authors of prose histories of Rome, first in Greek and then in Latin, probably with the sole exception of Cato, whose Origines were in this, as in other, respects highly distinctive. While it remains possible that Fabius arranged his account by the consular year from the foundation of the Republic on, it is more likely that he treated the events only of selected years in the early Republic and did not begin yearby-year treatment until the later fourth century at the earliest. Ennius certainly restricted year-by-year treatment to recent history, and this was probably also the practice of Fabius’ prose successors down to Cassius Hemina. Piso was thus probably the first historian of Rome to provide a narrative organized by magistrate years for the whole of the Republic. His example was followed on a greatly expanded scale by Cn. Gellius and by their first-century successors. Fabius is likely to have made extensive use of the pontifex maximus’ record as a source, and some later prose historians may also have exploited it directly, as well as indirectly through their predecessors’ accounts. Although most of his work will have been very different in character, parts of Fabius’ history may to some extent have reflected the influence of the record both in choice of material and in manner, and the same may have been true for some of Fabius’ prose successors. Such influence can be discerned in at least one fragment of Ennius (ann. 153), and Cato’s insistence that he would not “write what is on the tablet at the house of the pontifex maximus” is probably an implicit criticism of Fabius and Ennius. However, the record did not play the dominant part in shaping the character of Roman historical writing attributed to it by Cicero and by many modern scholars. Fabius in organizing his fuller narrative of recent events by magistrate years was following the example not of the pontifex 113  So Oakley (1997–2005), IV, 477–478. 114  On this and other aspects of Antias’ work, see further Rich (2005) and FRHist I, 293–304.



maximus’ record, but of Greek historiographical practice. Both Ennius and the later prose historians were taking not the pontifex maximus’ record, but Fabius’ history as their model, both for the scope of their works and for their use of the consular year as an organizing principle. The term annales probably originated not as a designation for the pontifex maximus’ record, but as Ennius’ invention for the title of his epic. Nearly half a century later, Piso followed his example in giving his prose history the same title, and others soon followed suit. The term then rapidly came into general use as a designation for a history of Rome organized at least in part by magistrate years, and so came to be applied by extension also to the pontifex maximus’ record, which now came to be viewed as a precursor of the literary histories and to acquire the distinctive title of Annales maximi. This development may have taken place roughly around the same time as Scaevola’s discontinuation of the record. It is possible that that discontinuation was accompanied by the publication of an expanded eighty-book version, and, if so, this expanded version may have had some influence on subsequent literary histories. However, this hypothesis remains only one possible answer to the insoluble puzzle of the reported eighty-book Annales maximi. These conclusions have implications for the ongoing debate over the credibility of early republican history. If Piso was the first historian to give a full year-by-year account of the early Republic and Cn. Gellius was the first to do so on a substantial scale, we must reckon with the possibility that down to the early fourth century most or all of what we are told in many of the extant year-narratives may be not authentic information but simply the product of the inventive expansion of the record by Piso, Gellius and their successors. By contrast, the discernible improvement in the extant record from the late fourth century on is likely to be not unconnected to the presence of an annual account of this period in the Roman historiographical tradition from its inception with Fabius Pictor. Our findings have significance also for the understanding of Roman historiographical genre. Discussion of Roman historical writing and its origins has been bedevilled by the use of the terms ‘annalist’ and ‘annalistic’ as designations for what is taken to be a distinctive tradition modelled on the pontifical record and with rigid formal structure and content. This tradition has often been taken to originate with Fabius Pictor himself, but this was denied by Gelzer and his followers, who sharply differentiated Fabius and his successors writing in Greek from the supposed first ‘annalists’, Hemina, Piso and Gellius.115 115  For salutary reservations to these and other assumptions about ancient historical genres, see Marincola (1999).

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I hope to have shown that such conceptions, in either of these versions, are quite mistaken. The pontifex maximus’ record never had such importance in the shaping of the historiographical tradition, and the main features of what is commonly dubbed ‘annalistic form’, as they can be seen in Livy’s annual narratives for the middle Republic, far from being long embedded in the tradition, were probably introduced only by Valerius Antias, on the basis of his research in the senate archives, and taken over from him by Livy. The use of the term ‘annalist’, with its accompanying assumptions, has imputed a wholly unfounded homogeneity to the numerous early histories of Rome whose character we can only dimly discern through their fragments. It would be best to avoid altogether the term ‘annalist’ in writing about Roman historical writing, and to use ‘annalistic’ merely as a designation for organization by magistrate years, without any further assumption about the character of the works in which it was deployed. The predominant Roman historiographical genre was the narrative of the deeds of the Roman people at home and at war, organized by the consular year. This was the tradition which Fabius founded. Cato in various respects rebelled against the Fabian model, but his successors reverted to it. Fabius and his successors attempted year-by-year organization only for the recent past, but Piso extended it to the early Republic as well, and thereafter this became the established pattern. Coelius Antipater took a different theme, the history of a war, and after a long delay he found some successors – Caesar, Sallust in the two extant works with which he began his career as a historian, L. Arruntius, Aufidius Bassus and the Elder Pliny.116 Most, however, preferred the traditional theme, but now faced a choice over chronological scope, between the Fabian model of Roman history recounted from its origins and the newer pattern of histories restricted to the recent past, pioneered by Fannius, Asellio and Sisenna. Cicero formulates the issue in the De legibus (1.8): he represents his interlocutors as agreeing in urging him to provide Rome with a worthy history; his brother Quintus urges him to start “from the earliest times” (ab ultimis), since the existing accounts “are written in such a way that they are not even read” (illa sic scripta sunt ut ne legantur quidem), but Atticus agrees with Cicero’s own preference for writing just on recent events.117 This was the choice which most 116  For these first century CE histories of wars, see further FRHist I, 449–450 (L. Arruntius’ history of the First Punic War), 519 (Aufidius Bassus’ Bellum Germanicum), 529 (Pliny’s history of the German Wars). Like Sallust, both Aufidius and Pliny also wrote histories covering a period of the recent past. 117  Later writers allege that Cicero planned a comprehensive Roman history (Plut. Cic. 41.1; Cass. Dio 46.21.4).



subsequent Roman historians were to make, from Sallust (in his Historiae) and Pollio through to Tacitus, but Livy was to rise to the challenge of writing a history on the Fabian model which might have satisfied even Cicero. All these writers shared the same theme, the deeds of the Roman people domi militiae, and the consular year as the organizing principle, but within this framework they were in no way bound by the supposed uniformities of ‘annalistic form’. The contrast between the formal routines which open so many of Livy’s mid-republican year-narratives and the free handling of consuls’ entries into office shown in fragments of Ennius, Claudius Quadrigarius and Sallust serves to illustrate the rich diversity of the Roman historical tradition.118 Bibliography Astin, A. E. (1978). Cato the Censor, Oxford. Badian, E. (1966). ‘The early historians’, in T. A. Dorey (ed.), Latin Historians (London), 1–38. Baron, C. A. (2013). Timaeus of Tauromenium and Hellenistic Historiography, Cambridge. Beck, H. (2007). ‘The early Roman tradition’, in J. Marincola (ed.), A Companion to Greek and Roman Historiography (Oxford), 259–265. Beloch, J. (1926). Römische Geschichte bis zum Beginn der punischen Kriege, Berlin. Blansdorf, J. (2011). Fragmenta poetarum Latinorum epicorum et lyricorum, Berlin – New York. Bömer, F. (1952). ‘Naevius und Fabius Pictor’, Symbolae Osloenses 29: 34–53. Bömer, F. (1953). ‘Thematik und Krise der römischen Geschichtsschreibung in 2. Jahrhundert v. Chr.’, Historia 2: 189–209. Briscoe, J. (2008). A Commentary on Livy, Books 38–40, Oxford. Bucher, G. S. (1987, publ. 1995). ‘The annales maximi in the light of Roman methods of keeping records’, AJAH 12: 2–61. Bung, P. (1950). Q. Fabius Pictor. Der erste römische Annalist, Köln. Burgess, R. W. and Kulikowski, M. (2013). Mosaics of Time. The Latin Chronicle Traditions from the First Century BC to the Sixth Century AD I. An Historical Introduction to the Chronicle Genre from its Origins to the High Middle Ages, Turnhout. Chassignet, M. (1996–2004). L’annalistique romaine I–III (Collection des universités de France, sér. latine 331, 357, 375), Paris. Christesen, P. (2007). Olympic Victor Lists and Ancient Greek History, Cambridge. 118  I am very grateful to the conference participants for their responses to the initial version of this paper and to Tim Cornell, John Marincola and Christopher Smith for comments on a subsequent draft.

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Cichorius, C. (1894). ‘Annales’, RE I, 2248–2256. Cichorius, C. (1899). ‘L. Calpurnius (96) Piso Frugi’, RE III, 1392–1395. Clark, J. H. (2015). ‘Ennius and the architecture of the Annales’ (review discussion of Elliott [2013]), Histos 9 (2015), 1–8. Clarke, K. (2008). Making Time for the Past. Local History and the Polis, Oxford. Cornell, T. J. (1986a), ‘The formation of the historical tradition of Early Rome’, in I. S. Moxon, J. D. Smart and A. J. Woodman (eds.), Past Perspectives. Studies in Greek and Roman Historical Writing (Cambridge), 67–86. Cornell, T. J. (1986b), ‘The value of the literary tradition concerning archaic Rome’, in K. A. Raaflaub (ed.), Social Struggles in Archaic Rome. New Perspectives on the Conflict of Orders (Berkeley – Los Angeles), 52–76. Cornell, T. J. (1987). ‘Ennius, Annals VI. A reply’, Classical Quarterly 37: 514–516. Cornell, T. J. (1995). The Beginnings of Rome. Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars, c. 1000–264 BC, London. Cornell, T. J. (2012). ‘Annals, annalists’, in S. Hornblower and A. Spawforth (eds.), The Oxford Classical Dictionary, fourth edition (Oxford), 95. Courtney, E. (1993). The Fragmentary Latin Poets, Oxford. Crake, J. E. A. (1940). ‘The annals of the pontifex maximus’, CPh 35: 375–386. Daly, L. W. (1943). ‘The entitulature of pre-Ciceronian writings’, in Classical Studies in Honor of William Abbott Oldfather (Urbana, IL), 20–38. Delfino, A. (2009). ‘L’incendio Gallico: tra mito storiografico e realtà storica’, Mediterraneo Antico 12: 339–360. Delfino, A. (a cura di, 2014). Forum Iulium. L’area del Foro di Cesare alla luce delle campagne di scavo 2005–2008. Le fasi arcaica, repubblicana e cesariano-augustea (BAR International Series 2607). Oxford. Dillery, J. (2002). ‘Quintus Fabius Pictor and Greco-Roman historiography at Rome’, in J. F. Miller, C. Damon and K. S. Myers (eds.), Vertis in usum. Studies in Honor of Edward Courtney (Beiträge zur Altertumskunde 161, München), 1–23. Drews, R. (1988). ‘Pontiffs, prodigies and the disappearance of the annales maximi’, CPh 83: 289–299. Drummond, A. (2003). ‘The annals of the Roman Republic’, review of F. Mora, Fasti e schemi cronologici. La riorganizzazione annalistica del passato remoto romano (Stuttgart 1999). Classical Review 53 (2003): 154–156. Elliott, J. (2013). Ennius and the Architecture of the Annales, Cambridge. Fabrizi, V. (2008). ‘Ennio e l’Aedes Herculis Musarum’, Athenaeum 96: 193–219. Feeney, D. (2007). Caesar’s Calendar. Ancient Time and the Beginnings of History (Sather Classical Lectures 65), Berkeley – Los Angeles. Feeney, D. (2016). Beyond Greek: The Beginnings of Latin Literature, Cambridge, MA. Flach, D. (1998). Römische Geschichtsschreibung, Darmstadt (= 3. neubearb. Aufl. der Einführung in die römische Geschichtsschreibung, Darmstadt 1985/1992).



Flores, E., Esposito, P., Jackson, G., and Tomasco, D. (2000–09). Quinto Ennio, Annali I– IV (Forme, materiali e ideologie del mondo antico 33–36), Napoli. Fornara, C. W. (1983). The Nature of History in Ancient Greece and Rome, Berkeley – Los Angeles. Forsythe, G. (1990). ‘Some notes on the History of Cassius Hemina’, Phoenix 44: 326–344. Forsythe, G. (1994). The Historian L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi and the Roman Annalistic Tradition, Lanham, MD. Forsythe, G. (1999). Livy and Early Rome (Historia Einzelschriften 132), Stuttgart. Forsythe, G. (2000). ‘The Roman historians of the second century BC’, in C. Bruun (ed.), The Roman Middle Republic. Politics, Religion and Historiography c. 400–133 BC (Acta Instituti Romani Finlandiae 23, Rome), 1–11. Frier, B. W. (1979/1999). Libri annales pontificum maximorum. The Origins of the Annalistic Tradition (PMAAR 27), Rome (second edition, Ann Arbor, MI). Gabba, E. (1967). ‘Considerazioni sulla tradizione letteraria sulle origine della repubblica’, in Les origines de la république romaine (Entretiens Fondation Hardt 13, Vandœuvres – Genève), 135–169 (= Id., Roma arcaica: storia e storiografia [Roma 2000], 25–50). Gelzer, M. (1933). ‘Römische Politik bei Fabius Pictor’, Hermes 68: 129–166 (= Id. [1962– 64], III, 51–92). Gelzer, M. (1934). ‘Der Anfang römischer Geschichtschreibung’, Hermes 69: 46–55 (= Id. [1962–64], III, 93–103). Gelzer, M. (1954). ‘Nochmals über den Anfang der römischen Geschichtsschreibung’, Hermes 82: 342–348 (= Id. [1962–64], III, 104–110). Gelzer, M. (1962–64). Kleine Schriften I–III, Wiesbaden. Gildenhard, I. (2003). ‘The “annalist” before the annalists. Ennius and his annales’, in U. Eigler et al. (Hrsgg.), Formen römischer Geschichtsschreibung von den Anfängen bis Livius. Gattungen – Autoren – Kontexte (Darmstadt), 93–114. Goldberg, S. (1995). Epic in Republican Rome, Oxford. Goldschmidt, N. (2013). Shaggy Crowns. Ennius’ Annales and Virgil’s Aeneid, Oxford. Goodyear, F. R. D. (1972). The Annals of Tacitus I. Annals 1.1–54, Cambridge. Hanell, K. (1956). ‘Zur Problematik der älteren römischen Geschichtsschreibung’, in Histoire et historiens dans l’antiquité (Entretiens Fondation Hardt 4, Vandœuvres – Genève), 149–170 (= V. Pöschl [Hrsg.], Römische Geschichtsschreibung [Darmstadt 1969], 292–311). Harding, P. (2007). ‘Local history and Atthidography’, in J. Marincola (ed.), A Companion to Greek and Roman Historiography (Oxford), 180–188. Horsfall, N. (1981). ‘Some problems of titulature in Roman literary history’, BICS 28: 103–114. Jacoby, F. (1949). Atthis. The Local Chronicles of Ancient Athens, Oxford. Jocelyn, H. D. (1972). ‘The poems of Quintus Ennius’, ANRW I.2: 987–1026.

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Kaster, R. A. (1995). C. Suetonius Tranquillus, De grammaticis et rhetoribus, Oxford. Leo, F. (1913). Geschichte der römischen Literatur, Berlin. Lushkov, A. H. (2013). ‘Citation and the dynamics of tradition in Livy’s AUC’, Histos 7: 21–47. Marincola J. (1999). ‘Genre, convention and innovation in Greco-Roman historiography’, in C. S. Kraus (ed.), The Limits of Historiography. Genre and Narrative in Ancient Historical Texts (Mnemosyne, suppl. 191, Leiden), 281–324. McDonald, A. H. (1957). ‘The style of Livy’, JRS 47: 155–172 (= J. D. Chaplin and C. S. Kraus [eds.], Oxford Readings in Classical Studies. Livy [Oxford], 222–259). Mehl, A. (2011). Roman Historiography, Chichester. Momigliano, A. (1960). ‘Linee per una valutazione di Fabio Pittore’, RAL, ser. 8, 15: 310– 320 (= Id., Terzo Contributo alla storia degli studi classici e del mondo antico [Roma 1966], 55–68). Momigliano, A. (1990). The Classical Foundations of Modern Historiography, Berkeley – Los Angeles. Mommsen, Th. (1857). Römische Geschichte II, 2. Aufl., Berlin. Mora, F. (1999). Fasti e schemi cronologici. La riorganizzazione annalistica del passato remoto romano (Historia Einzelschriften 125), Stuttgart. Niebuhr, B. G. (1828). Römische Geschichte, 3. Aufl., Berlin. Nipperdey, K. (1849). Cornelius Nepos, Leipzig. Nissen, H. (1863). Kritische Untersuchungen über die Quellen der vierten und fünften Dekade des Livius, Berlin. Northwood, S. J. (2000). ‘Livy and the early annalists’, in C. Deroux (ed.), Studies in Latin Literature and Roman History 10 (Brussels), 45–55. Northwood, S. J. (2007). ‘Quintus Fabius Pictor: was he an annalist?’, in N. V. Sekunda (ed.), Corolla Cosmo Rodewald (Gdansk), 97–114. Oakley, S. P. (1997–2005). A Commentary on Livy, Books 6–10 I–IV, Oxford. Oakley, S. P. (2009). ‘Livy and his sources’, in J. D. Chaplin and C. S. Kraus (eds.), Oxford Readings in Classical Studies. Livy (Oxford), 439–460. Perl, G. (1964). ‘Der Anfang der römischen Geschichtsschreibung’, Forschungen und Fortschritte 38, 185–218. Petzold, K.-E. (1999). Geschichtsdenken und Geschichtschreibung. Kleine Schriften zur griechischen und römischen Geschichte (Historia Einzelschriften 126), Stuttgart. Rawson, E. (1971). ‘Prodigy lists and the use of the annales maximi’, Classical Quarterly 21: 158–169 (= Ead. [1991], 1–15). Rawson, E. (1976). ‘The first Latin annalists’, Latomus 35: 689–717 (= Ead. [1991], 245–271). Rawson, E. (1991). Roman Culture and Society. Collected Papers, Oxford. Rich, J. W. (1997/2011). ‘Structuring Roman history. The consular year and the Roman historical tradition’, Histos 1 (1997), revised and updated in Histos 5 (2011): 1–41 (



Rich, J. W. (2005). ‘Valerius Antias and the construction of the Roman past’, BICS 48 (2005): 137–161. Rich, J. W. (2013). ‘Annales Maximi: Introduction’, FRHist. I, 141–159. Ridley, R. T. (1980). ‘Fastenkritik: A stocktaking’, Athenaeum 58: 264–298. Rossi, A. and Breed, B. W. (2006). ‘Introduction: Ennius and the traditions of epic’, Arethusa 39: 397–425. Rüpke, J. (1993/2008). ‘Livius, Priesternamen und die annales maximi’, Klio 75 (1993): 155–179 (= Fasti Sacerdotum. A Prosopography of Pagan, Jewish and Christian Religious Officials in the City of Rome, 300 BC to AD 449 [Oxford, 2008], 24–38). Rüpke, J. (1995). ‘Fasti. Quellen oder Produkte römischer Geschichtschreibung’, Klio 77: 184–202. Rüpke, J. (2006). ‘Ennius’ fasti in Fulvius’s temple. Greek rationality and Roman tradition’, Arethusa 39: 489–512. Scholz, U. (1994). ‘Annales und historia(e)’, Hermes 122: 64–79. Sciarrino, E. (2004). ‘A temple for the professional muse. The Aedes Herculis Musarum and cultural shifts in second-century BC Rome’, in A. Barchiesi, J. Rüpke, and S. Stephens (eds.), Rituals in Ink. A Conference on Religion and Literary Production in Ancient Rome (Munich), 45–56. Seeck, O. (1885). Die Kalendertafel der Pontifices, Berlin. Skutsch, F. (1905). ‘Q. Ennius’, RE V: 2589–2628. Skutsch, O. (1985). The Annals of Quintus Ennius, Oxford. Skutsch, O. (1987). ‘Book VI of Ennius’ Annals’, Classical Quarterly 37: 512–514. Small, J. P. (1997). Wax Tablets of the Mind. Cognitive Studies of Memory and Literacy in Classical Antiquity, London. Smith, C. J. (2011). ‘The magistrates of the early Roman republic’, in H. Beck et al. (eds.), Consuls and res publica. Holding High Office in the Roman Republic (Cambridge), 19–40. Suerbaum, W. (1995). ‘Der Pyrrhos-Krieg in Ennius’ Annales VI im Lichte der ersten Ennius-Papyri aus Herculaneum’, ZPE 106: 31–52. Suerbaum, W. (2002). ‘Ennius Epos Bellum Punicum’, in W. Suerbaum (Hrsg.), Handbuch der lateinischen Literatur der Antike I. Die Archaische Literatur von den Anfängen bis Sullas Tod (München), 133–141. Timpe, D. (1972). ‘Fabius Pictor und die Anfänge der römischen Historiographie’, ANRW 1.2, 928–969 (= Id., Antike Geschichtschreibung. Studien zur Historiographie [Darmstadt 2007], 132–181). Verbrugghe, G. P. (1989). ‘On the meaning of annales, on the meaning of annalist’, Philologus 133: 192–230. Walbank, F. W. (1945). ‘Polybius, Philinus and the First Punic War’, Classical Quarterly 39: 1–18 (= Id., Selected Papers. Studies in Greek and Roman History and Historiography [Cambridge 1985], 77–98).

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L’“archéologie” de Rome dans les Annales d’Ennius : poetica fabula ou annalium monumentum ? Martine Chassignet Nombreux sont ceux qui se refusent à ranger les épopées historiques de Naevius et d’Ennius parmi les oeuvres historiographiques,1 et ce en dépit de l’affirmation d’Ennius, qui se voulait lui-même tout autant rerum scriptor que poète.2 Ils leur dénient par voie de conséquence la qualité de source pour notre connaissance de Rome et plus particulièrement pour celle de la tradition relative à l’“archéologie” de l’Urbs. Cette attitude est conforme aux jugements de Cicéron et de Tite-Live, qui distinguaient déjà les fictions des poètes des réalités de l’histoire. Le premier oppose les lois de l’histoire à celle de la poésie,3 le second les traditions embellies par les légendes poétiques à celles fondées sur des monuments authentiques.4 Une tendance se fait jour actuellement, qui consiste à réintégrer la poésie épique latine dans ce qu’on désigne en allemand par “Geschichtsschreibung”.5 Les partisans de cet état de fait rejoignent ainsi les prises de position plus anciennes de Vossius ou de H. Ulrici ou encore de W. Soltau,6 qui, dans son ouvrage Die Anfänge der römischen 1  Exemples : André – Hus (1974) ; Cizek (1995) ; Flach (1998). 2  Enn. ann. 12 Skutsch : res atque poemata nostra. Cf. 206 Skutsch : scripsere alii rem. 3  Cic. leg. 1.5 : Intellego te … alias in historia leges obseruandas putare, alias in poemate. Voir aussi Cic. div. 1.42 : … ficta sunt a poeta, à propos du songe d’Ilia, narré par Ennius (Enn. ann. 34–50 Skutsch). 4  Liv. praef. 6 : Quae ante conditam condendamue Vrbem poeticis magis decora fabulis quam incorruptis rerum gestarum monumentis traduntur (…). 5  Cornell (1995), 4–7, spéc. 5, pour Ennius ; Forsythe (2000), spéc. 3, qui, il est vrai, n’accorde que trois lignes à Ennius, contre une page et demie à Caton ; Mehl (2001), 58–59. Walter (2004) dissocie poètes et historiographes mais les regroupe dans un même chapitre (212– 356) : ‘Dichter und Historiographen : memoria als literarischer Text’. 6  Ulrici (1833), 88–89 : “Beide Dichter (scil. Naevius und Ennius) rechnet Vossius zu den Historikern. Und wie es scheint, nicht mit Unrecht. Denn in der Tat scheinen beide in der Behandlung des eigentlichen Gegenstandes ihrer Gedichte rein-historisch zu Werke gegangen zu sein ; in den zahlreichen und weiten Digression, und in der Form mag das Poetische gelegen haben, weswegen die Alten ihre Werke nur als Gedichte betrachtet haben” ; Soltau (1909), 60–72 ; cf. également Duckett (1915), 33–52.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���8 | doi ��.��63/9789004355552_004

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Geschichtsschreibung, paru en 1909, y incluait déjà les Annales d’Ennius en leur consacrant un chapitre entier, au même titre qu’il le faisait d’ailleurs pour le théâtre. Ma contribution va revenir sur ce débat, avec en ligne de mire une série de questions auxquelles je tenterai d’apporter des éléments de réponse : quelle valeur faut-il accorder à la poésie épique des IIIe et IIe siècles av. J.-C., et plus spécialement à celle d’Ennius, pour ce qui est de notre connaissance de la tradition des origines de Rome ? En d’autres termes, les Annales d’Ennius sontelles une épopée à sujet historique ou de l’histoire narrée sur le mode épique, et par conséquent de l’historiographie avant l’heure ? Enfin, à qui doit-on ce jugement selon lequel seules les oeuvres historiques en prose sont reconnues comme étant des ouvrages d’histoire dignes de ce nom ? La communis opinio est que le courant poétique, tant épique que dramatique ou élégiaque, a ses lois, qui ne sont pas celles de l’histoire. Cette prise de position est plus nette encore lorsqu’il est question de l’“archéologie” de Rome. Les lignes qui suivent, empruntées à J. Poucet,7 en sont une illustration : Un exemple significatif … est celui de la mère des jumeaux, Ilia ou Rhéa Silvia. Chez Ennius, Ilia voit en songe sa destinée future.8 Ce songe d’Ilia, une pièce d’anthologie, que Cicéron a conservée,9 n’a pas été accueilli dans l’annalistique. Cette même Ilia, chez les premiers poètes, meurt noyée dans le Tibre ou l’Anio, peu importe, et devient l’épouse du dieu du fleuve.10 Ce trait est d’autant plus caractéristique que les annalistes se sont manifestement interrogés sur le sort d’Ilia après sa grossesse coupable et qu’ils ont inventé diverses fins possibles : elle est mise à mort immédiatement ;11 elle est gardée prisonnière secrètement jusqu’à la mort d’Amulius ;12 elle meurt en prison,13 ou elle est enterrée vive,14 ou elle est finalement libérée par ses enfants ;15 ou encore, plus simplement, les auteurs ne se préoccupent plus de la mère, une fois acquise la naissance des jumeaux.16 Mais il est symptomatique qu’aucun des représentants de 7  Poucet (1985), 51–52. Les notes 8 à 18 sont de J. Poucet. 8  Enn. ann. 1.32–48 W (= 34–50 Skutsch). 9  Cic. div. 1.40–41. 10  Serv. Aen. 1.273 ; Ps.-Acro Hor. carm. 1.2.20 ; Porph. Hor. carm. 1.2.18 (…). 11  Par exemple Dion. Hal. 1.79.2. 12  Par exemple Dion. Hal. 1.79.2 (…). 13  Iust. 43.2.4. 14  Hier. chron. 77 Schoene : Ilia in terra uiua defossa est. 15  S’il faut ainsi comprendre Plut. Rom. 9.1 : “les jumeaux rendent à leur mère les honneurs qui lui étaient dus”. 16  Tite-Live, par exemple.



la veine historico-annalistique n’ait utilisé ou simplement mentionné la version, disons, poétique, de la noyade dans le fleuve.17 Et pourtant ce dernier motif n’était pas tombé dans l’oubli après Névius et Ennius. On le retrouve au début de l’Empire, mais chez les poètes, notamment Horace et Ovide, qui l’exploitent fort bien.18 Tout se passe comme s’il existait une sorte d’imperméabilité entre les poètes et les annalistes-historiens. La question des rapports entre Naevius et les annalistes romains a fait l’objet de plusieurs articles dans les années 1950–1960. On mentionnera pour mémoire les travaux de F. Bömer, Naevius und Fabius Pictor,19 de F. Altheim, Naevius und die Annalistik,20 ou encore de W. Strzelecki, Naevius and Roman Annalists.21 Les deux premiers articles sont d’un intérêt secondaire pour le sujet qui nous occupe aujourd’hui. Celui de F. Altheim ne porte en effet que sur les fragments “historiques” du Bellum Poenicum, à savoir les passages relatifs à la première punique. Celui de F. Bömer, qui suppose que l’épopée de Naevius n’est qu’une chronique élaborée à partir de chroniques préexistantes, aboutit à la conclusion que Fabius Pictor reste le premier historien pragmatique ; la part réservée à l’étude même du texte naevien est assez limitée. L’article de Strzelecki, consacré à ce que l’auteur appelle les “fragments à contenu mythologique”,22 touche en revanche directement à notre propos. On me permettra d’en faire un rapide résumé. Dans un premier temps, Strzelecki passe en revue les épisodes ayant trait à l’archéologie de Rome qui ressortent des fragments du Bellum Poenicum parvenus jusqu’à nous et les compare avec la matière correspondante trouvée chez les annalistes ; sont ainsi tour à tour examinés le récit du départ d’Enée et de ses compagnons après la destruction de Troie, la rencontre d’Enée avec la Sybille et la question du nom de l’île de Prochyta, l’éventuelle mention, très discutée, de l’idylle entre Enée et Didon, le personnage d’Anchise, l’histoire de la fondation de Rome, avec notamment le problème de la filiation de Romulus, présenté comme le petit-fils d’Enée, l’étymologie du mot ‘Palatin’, et enfin l’auspicium pris au moment de la fondation proprement dite. Dans un second temps, Strzelecki se livre à une synthèse et 17  Sans parler des épousailles ultérieures avec le fleuve. 18  Hor. carm. 1.2.17–20 ; Ov. am. 3.6.45–82, fast. 2.597–598. Cf. aussi Sil. Pun. 1.541–544 et Stat. silv. 2.1.99–100. 19  Bömer (1952). 20  Altheim (1959), repris, avec des addenda, dans Altheim (1961a) et (1961b, 100–130), ainsi que dans Pöschl (1969), 340–366. 21  Strzelecki (1963). 22  Strzelecki (1963), 441 : “fragments of mythological content”.

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arrive à la conclusion suivante : “Consequently neither Naevius nor Fabius created the legend of the Trojan origin of Rome, they took over an already existing legend, but they drew from different sources and each of them transformed the material he has received”.23 Les travaux consacrés aux rapports entre Ennius et la tradition historico-annalistique sont moins nombreux ; aucun par ailleurs ne touche à l’“archéologie” de Rome.24 Je me propose de me livrer à un travail sur les Annales d’Ennius analogue à celui de Strzelecki sur Naevius, mais en l’élargissant à la question de la valeur de la tradition littéraire épique en tant que témoignage pour notre connaissance des origines de Rome et, plus encore, sur les raisons qui ont amené les Anciens eux-mêmes à distinguer les poeticae fabulae des annalium monumenta. Que savons-nous des Annales ?25 Ce que la tradition indirecte nous a transmis : le titre – Annales –, attesté par Diomède,26 le sujet – l’histoire de Rome depuis le départ d’Enée de Troie jusqu’à l’époque contemporaine –,27 la date probable de composition – après 187 ou 184 av. J.-C. –,28 le nombre de livres – dix-huit –,29 clairement structurés en triades,30 dont la première était 23  Strzelecki (1963), 457. 24  L’article de Gildenhard (2003) est un article très général sur les Annales ; il ne traite pas les rapports entre poésie épique et tradition annalistique. Celui de O’Neal (1988), ne porte que sur les livres 7 et suivants des Annales et présente peu d’intérêt scientifique. La contribution de Borzsak (1998) ne touche pas davantage à notre sujet. L’article de Classen (1992), spéc. 133 ss., offre des perspectives plus en rapport avec le thème retenu. Ma contribution étant la version écrite de la communication que j’ai faite lors du colloque Omnium annalium monumenta. Annals, Epic and drama in Republican Rome d’avril 2009, je n’ai pas pu véritablement prendre en compte le travail, postérieur, d’Elliott (2013) ; la lecture de son chapitre 4, intitulé ‘The Annals as historiography : Ennius and the invention of the Roman past’ (198–232), montre cependant qu’elle accorde peu de place à l’“archéologie” de Rome. Son affirmation selon la quelle il existe “a strong relationship between the Annales and Roman prose historiography” (212) s’appuie sur la période historique. 25  Bibliographie sélective sur les Annales : Skutsch (1905) ; Jocelyn (1972), plus spéc. 1005– 1021 ; Skutsch (1985), 1–69 (recension critique : Cornell (1986)) ; Suerbaum (1997), spéc. 1044 ; Suerbaum (2002). Pour une bibliographie exhaustive, voir Suerbaum (2003). Les fragments seront cités d’après l’édition d’O. Skutsch. 26  Diom. I, 484 Keil ; pour le texte, voir infra 82. 27  Soit tout juste mille ans si l’on admet, avec Gratwick (1982), spéc. 65, suivi par Feeney (2007), 143–144, que les Annales couvraient la période allant de la destruction de Troie (1184 av. J.-C.) à la censure de Caton (184 av. J.-C.). 28  Après 187 selon Jocelyn (1972), 997 ; après 184 selon Timpanaro (1949), spéc. 188 n. 3. 29  Diom. I, 484 Keil ; pour le texte, voir infra 82. 30  Livres 1–3 : la fondation de Rome et l’époque royale ; livres 4 à 6 : les luttes des Ve et IVe siècles jusqu’à la guerre contre Pyrrhus ; livres 7 à 9 : les guerres puniques ; livres 10 à 12 : la



c­ onsacrée à la fondation de Rome et à la période royale. L’“archéologie” de Rome, c’est-à-dire les légendes d’Enée et de Romulus, était traitée au livre 1. Dans le détail, il n’est malheureusement pas possible de reconstituer le contenu de l’ouvrage, pas même pour le livre 1, qui nous est connu par une centaine de vers ou lambeaux de vers, sur un total d’environ six cents vers parvenus jusqu’à nous pour l’ensemble des Annales. Pour ce qui est du livre 1, O. Skutsch s’est livré à la reconstitution suivante : le livre commençait par une invocation aux Muses (i), et la relation de l’apparition d’Homère à Ennius, passage généralement appelé “le songe d’Ennius” (ii–x). Après avoir prédit le succès à son œuvre (xi), le poète débute la narration proprement dite avec le départ d’Enée de Troie (xii–xvi) et la mention des informations qui lui ont été données sur le but de son voyage (xvii–xxi). Nous ignorons tout du périple lui-même, sans doute évoqué très rapidement dans la mesure où il avait été traité par Naevius. Enée adresse une prière au Tibre (xxii), expose au roi d’Albe son ascendance et conclut un traité avec lui (xxiii–xxvii).31 Ilia tombe enceinte (xxviii–xxix) ; les dieux délibèrent sur le destin des jumeaux et d’Ilia (xxx–xxxiv) ; des hommes sont envoyés pour noyer Ilia et ses enfants (?) (xxxv) ; Ilia prie Vénus (xxxvi) ; elle est rassurée et épouse l’Anio (xxxvii–xxxxix). Les nouveau-nés sont allaités par la louve, recueillis par Faustulus et confiés à Acca Larentia (xl–xliv). Ils grandissent en se distinguant par des exploits (xlv–xlvi). On consulte les auspices en vue de la fondation de Rome (xlvii) ; Rémus raille Romulus et est tué (xlviii–l). Romulus institue des jeux (li) ; il fait procéder à l’enlèvement des Sabines (liii–liv). Hersilia plaide en faveur d’une réconciliation. Les Romains et les Sabins s’unissent et Rome est divisée en tribus (lviii–lix). Titus Tatius est assassiné ; on pleure Romulus, dont la divinisation est annoncée (lxi–lxii).32 Il est clair que la trame générale, avec la connexion des deux légendes, celle de la venue d’Enée en Italie, et celle des jumeaux fondateurs, est identique au schéma que l’on trouve dans l’historiographie. Dans le détail, on ne manquera pas non plus de relever de très grandes similitudes dans le récit des épisodes qui jalonnent la période allant de l’exposition des jumeaux jusqu’à la divinisation de Romulus. C’est ainsi que chez Ennius, les nouveau nés sont bien allaités par une louve puis recueillis par un porcher, appelé Faustulus, qui seconde guerre de Macédoine, la guerre contre Nabis de Sparte et, sans doute, les victoires de Caton en Espagne ; livres 13 à 15 : la guerre contre Antiochus de Syrie et le triomphe de Fulvius Nobilior sur les Etoliens ; livres 16 à 18 : les bella recentia. Voir à ce propos Skutsch (1985), 5–6. Voir aussi Skutsch (1905), 2604–2610 ; Jocelyn (1972), 1010 ; Suerbaum (1997), 1044 ; Id. (2002), 135. 31  Sur le problème posé par le vers 31 Skutsch : Olli repondit rex Albai Longai, voir infra. 32  Skutsch (1985), 142.

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confie les enfants à Acca Larentia : en témoignent d’une part le commentaire de Servius – sane totus hic locus Ennianus –, fait à propos des vers 630–638 du livre 8 de l’Enéide, dont le contenu est rigoureusement celui de la vulgate des annalistes et des historiens postérieurs, d’autre part le résumé paraphrase de l’Origo gentis Romanae, qui se réfère explicitement à l’auteur des Annales.33 En attestent plus encore deux citations directes relatives à la louve,34 dont l’une, lupus femina feta repente, est reprise quasi textuellement dans l’Origo gentis Romanae (lupam … , quae repente exierat).35 La relation des exploits des deux jeunes gens, que ce soit en matière d’exercices sportifs ou de prises de butin, est également conforme à ce que nous rapporte la tradition historico-annalistique, représentée par Fabius Pictor et ses successeurs immédiats mais aussi Tite-Live et Plutarque.36 La prise des auspices afin de déterminer qui, des deux frères, fondera la ville de Rome ne nous étonnera pas non plus puisqu’il s’agit là d’un élément récurrent des récits de la fondation de Rome : si les fragments de l’historiographie antérieure à Tite-Live parvenus jusqu’à nous ne permettent pas d’en donner des exemples, il n’en va pas de même des autres historiens qui ont amplement traité le sujet, de Tite-Live à l’auteur de l’ Origo gentis Romanae en passant par Plutarque et Denys d’Halicarnasse, pour ne citer qu’eux.37 On fera le même constat à propos des vers qui ont pour sujet l’épisode le plus célèbre de la tradition sur la fondation de Rome : la mort de Rémus, tué par son frère pour avoir franchi, par dérision, la muraille ou le sulcus primigenius

33  Serv. Aen. 8.630–634 (= xlii Skutsch) ; Orig. gent. Rom. 20.3 (= xliv Skutsch), qui se réfère à Ennius et à L. Caesar (Acca Larentia est présentée par l’anonyme comme l’épouse de Faustulus. La tradition, selon la quelle Acca Larentia était l’épouse – ou la maîtresse – de Faustulus semble n’être pas antérieure à Licinius Macer (frg. 2 Chass. = FRHist 27 F2) et Valérius Antias (frg. 2 Chass. = FRHist 25 F2). Il faut admettre que la donnée commune à Ennius et à L. Caesar se limitait à l’affirmation que Faustulus avait recueilli les nouveau-nés et qu’il les avait confiés à Acca Larentia, la précision relative à l’état civil d’Acca Larentia figurant dans l’oeuvre du seul L. Caesar). Même récit canonique chez Fab. Pict. frg. 7a Chass. ap. Plut. Rom. 4.2–4 = FRHist 1 F4b ; frg. 7b Chass. ap. Dion. Hal. 1.79.4–1.84 = FRHist 1 F4a (= Cato orig. frg. 1.16 Chass. = FRHist 5 F14 ; Cinc. Alim. frg. 5 Chass. = FRHist 2 F1 ; Calp. frg. 5 Chass. = FRHist 9 F5) ; Macer frg. 2 Chass. ap. Macr. Sat. 1.10.17 = FRHist 27 F2 ; Val. Ant. frg. 2 Chass. ap. Orig. gent. Rom. 21.1 = FRHist 25 F2 ; Liv. 1.4.5–7 ; Cass. Dio 1.5 Boiss ; Vir. ill. 1.3. 34  Enn. ann. 65 et 66 Skutsch. 35  Enn. ann. 65 Skutsch ; Orig. gent. Rom. 20.3. 36  Enn. ann. 69–70 Skutsch (Rémus et Romulus) et 71 Skutsch (Romulus seul). A comparer avec Fab. Pict. frg. 7a Chass. ap. Plut. Rom. 6.3 et 6.5 = FRHist 1 F4b ; Liv. 1.4.9. 37  Liv. 1.6.4–1.7.1 ; Plut. Rom. 9.5 ; Dion. Hal. 1.86 ; Orig. gent. Rom. 23.1–4.



de la nouvelle ville.38 Enfin la narration du règne de Romulus coïncide avec celle qui figure dans la vulgate. Le passage consacré par Ennius à l’institution des Jeux en l’honneur de Jupiter Férétrien : Romulus cum aedificasset templum Ioui Feretrio, pelles unctas strauit et sic ludos edidit ut caestibus dimicarent et cursu contenderent, quam rem Ennius in Annalibus testatur, trouve ainsi son répondant exact chez Calpurnius Pison : Demulus Ioui Feretrio ludos instituit in Tarpeio, ios et Capitolinos Piso tradit.39 Les trois épisodes de la guerre contre les Sabins – enlèvement des Sabines, guerre proprement dite, conclusion d’un traité d’alliance après l’intervention des Sabines, conduites par Hersilia – sont ceux du schéma traditionnel.40 La ressemblance entre le vers 99 Skutsch, sans aucun doute tiré du discours qu’Hersilia adresse à Titus Tatius et aux pères des Sabines : Nerienem Mauortis et Heriem, avec la prière que l’annaliste Cn. Gellius lui prête : Neria Martis, te obsecro, pacem da, te, uti liceat nuptiis propriis et prosperis uti quod de tui coniugis consilio contigit, uti nos itidem integras raperent, unde liberos sibi et suis, posteros patriae pararent, a déjà été relevée par d’autres que moi.41 Pour ne pas allonger inutilement cet inventaire, on me permettra d’énumérer rapidement les autres points pour lesquels il y a identité entre les données fournies par Ennius et celles présentes dans la tradition historico-annalistique : le nom des trois tribus primitives – Titienses, Ramnenses

38  Enn. ann. 92, 93 et 94 Skutsch. A comparer avec Cato orig. frg. 1.18 Chass. ap. Serv. Aen. 5.755 et Isid. etym. 15.2.3 = FRHist 5 F66 ; Plut. Rom. 10.1–2 ; Dion. Hal. 1.87.4. Cf. également Liv. 1.7.2, qui passe cependant très rapidement sur le fratricide et préfère suivre la version qui met Romulus hors de cause en présentant la mort de Rémus in turba, tout comme le fait Dion. Hal. 1.87.3. A comparer enfin avec Flor. 1.1.8 : dubium an iussu fratris. La tradition d’Ennius semble la plus ancienne. 39  Enn. ann. li Skutsch ap. Schol. Bern. georg. 2.384 ; Calp. frg. 9 Chass. ap. Tert. spect. 5.8 = FRHist 9 F9. 40  Sur l’enlèvement des Sabines, cf. Fab. Pict. frg. 9 Chass. ap. Plut. Rom. 14.1 = FRHist 1 F6 ; Gell. hist. frg. 11 Chass. ap. Dion. Hal. 2.31.1 = FRHist 14 F1 ; Val. Ant. frg. 5 Chass. ap. Plut. Rom. 14.7 = FRHist 25 F5 ; Dion. Hal. 2.30–31 ; Liv. 1.9–16 ; Plut. Rom. 14 ; Flor. 1.1.10 ; Vir. ill. 2.1–3 ; Zon. 7.3. Sur la conclusion du traité d’alliance, cf. Liv. 1.13.4–5 ; Dion. Hal. 2.46.1–2 ; Plut. Rom. 19.9–10 ; Flor. 1.1.14. 41  Gell. hist. frg. 15 Chass. ap. Gell. 13.23.13 = FRHist 14 F5. Sur les liens possibles entre les deux fragments, voir Skutsch (1985), 246–247. Sur la délégation des Sabines et la prière d’Hersilia, voir également Gell. hist. frg. 12 Chass. ap. Char. 67 B = FRHist 14 F2 ; Dion. Hal. 2.45–6.1 ; App. reg. frg. 1.5 ; Plut. Rom. 19.3–7. La version de Liv. 1.11.2, qui évoque le personnage d’Hersilia à propos de la guerre entre Antemnae et Crustumerium, semble suivre une tradition différente.

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et Luceres ;42 le motif de l’assassinat de Titus Tatius, qui s’était rendu coupable de tyrannie ;43 les adieux pathétiques du peuple romain à Romulus, père de la patrie, après sa disparition, et l’apothéose de ce dernier.44 De fait, la seule divergence notable pour la narration de la période allant de l’intervention salvatrice de la louve à la mort de Romulus consiste dans le choix du lieu où se déroule la prise des auspices qui préside à la fondation de Rome. Alors que dans la version canonique, Romulus a pour observatoire le Palatin et Rémus l’Aventin,45 chez Ennius, c’est Romulus qui utilise l’Aventin comme templum augurale, tout comme a priori chez Naevius,46 alors que Rémus occupe la Remoria :47 Curantes magna cum cura tum cupientes Regni dant operam simul auspicio augurioque. In ✝monte (codd. : in Murco Sk) Remus auspicio sedet atque (Sk : se deuouet atque B se deuoueratq V se deuouerat quae AH) secundam Solus auem seruat. At Romulus pulcer in alto Quaerit Auentino, seruat genus altiuolantum. Certabant urbem Romam Remoramne uocarent. Denys d’Halicarnasse se fait l’écho de la coexistence des deux traditions : “Romulus avait pour observatoire l’endroit où il comptait établir la colonie, le Palatin, et Rémus la colline voisine appelée Aventin, ou selon d’autres 42  Enn. ann. lix Skutsch ap. Varro ling. 5.55. Cf. Liv. 1.13.8, 10.6.7 ; Plut. Rom. 20.2 ; Vir. ill. 2.11, qui cite les Ramnes, Titienses et Luceres mais à propos de centuries. 43  Enn. ann. 104 Skutsch : O Tite, tute, Tati, tibi tanta, tyranne tulisti. A comparer avec Liv. 1.14.3 : Eam rem minus aegre quam dignum erat tulisse Romulum ferunt, seu ob infidam societatem regni, seu haud iniuria caesum credebat. Les derniers mots du texte livien sont comme un écho du fragment d’Ennius : voir à ce propos Skutsch (1985), 254. Sur la mort de Titus Tatius, voir aussi Macer frg. 4 Chass. ap. Dion. Hal. 2.52.4 = FRHist 27 F9 ; Dion. Hal. 2.51–52 ; Plut. Rom. 23.3. 44  Enn. ann. 105–109, 110–111 Skutsch. A comparer avec Liv. 1.16.3 : Deinde a paucis initio facto deum deo natum, regem parentemque urbis Romanae saluere uniuersi Romulum iubent qui, selon Skutsch (1985), 257, dépend des vers 105–109 d’Ennius. Voir en particulier l’écho parens patriae (Tite-Live) – pater, genitor (Ennius). Pour la disparition de Romulus, cf. également Dion. Hal. 2.56.2 et 2.63.3–4 ; Plut. Rom. 27.6–28.3 ; Flor. 1.1.16–18, qui, contrairement à Ennius et Tite-Live, évoquent aussi la divinisation du premier roi de Rome sous le nom de Quirinus. 45  Liv. 1.6.4 ; Dion. Hal. 1.86.2 ; Plut. Rom. 9.4. 46  Naev. frg. 29 Strz. 47  Enn. ann. 72–77 Skutsch. Le texte du vers 74 cause problème et a fait l’objet de plusieurs reconstructions : Skutsch (1961), spéc. 253–259 ; (1985), 222–225 ; Jocelyn (1971), spéc. 62–63 ; Wiseman (1995), 171 n. 33.



­historiens, Rémoria”.48 L’expression “selon d’autres historiens” renvoie manifestement à une tradition historico-annalistique identique à celle suivie par Ennius, dont l’Origo gentis Romanae et Paulus Festus se font également l’écho.49 A ce stade de notre étude, il apparaît qu’il est difficile de parler d’une opposition entre tradition “poétique” et tradition “historico-annalistique”. La pertinence d’une telle affirmation se pose sans doute davantage à propos de la portion du récit qui couvre la période allant de l’arrivée d’Enée dans le Latium jusqu’à la naissance des jumeaux. Une partie des données présentes dans la narration conforte ce qui a été dit plus tôt, à savoir que la tradition suivie par Ennius ne diffère pas de la tradition historico-annalistique. Entrent dans cette catégorie le don de prophétie que Vénus aurait communiqué à Anchise, également attesté par l’anonyme, auteur de l’Origo gentis Romanae ;50 l’absence de l’épisode des amours d’Enée et de Didon, présent chez Naevius et Virgile,51 mais passé sous silence par la tradition historico-annalistique ; la mention du nom de la terre d’Italie où Enée aborde : la terre des Laurentes,52 ainsi que celle d’une population indigène préexistante, appelée chez Ennius les prisci Latini, eux-mêmes qualifiés de casci populi ;53 le traité de paix signé par Enée avec le 48  Dion. Hal. 1.86.2 (trad. V. Fromentin [Paris 1998]). 49  Cette tradition, unanime sur le fait que Rémus avait investi la Remoria, hésite sur sa localisation. Denys d’Halicarnasse, loc. cit., la situe à trente stades – 5,5 km – du Palatin. Selon l’auteur de l’Origo gentis Romanae (23.1–2), elle était située sur l’Aventin, à cinq miles du Palatin ; à comparer avec Paul. Fest. 345 L : sed et locus in summo Auentino Remoria dicitur ubi Remus de urbe condenda fuerat auspicatus ; cf. également Plut. Rom. 9.4, aux dires de qui Rémus avait choisi sur l’Aventin une position solide “qui fut appelée de son nom Remorium et qu’on nomme aujourd’hui Rignarium” (trad. R. Flacelière, E. Chambry et M. Juneaux [Paris 1957]). Bonne mise au point sur la question dans Wiseman (1995), 6–7 et 111–117. 50  Enn. ann. 15–16 Skutsch. Cf. Orig. gent. Rom. 11.1, qui semble se rattacher à la tradition d’Ennius, sans doute par l’intermédiaire de Lutatius Catulus et de L. Caesar. A comparer avec Naev. frg. 9 Strz, où Anchise reçoit les livres prophétiques de la main de Vénus. Les fragments des Annales concernant Anchise ne nous permettent pas d’affirmer si Anchise accompagnait son fils jusqu’en Italie. 51  Naev. frg. 21 Strz. 52  Enn. ann. 30 Skutsch : terra Laurentis. Cf. Cato orig. frg. 1.8 Chass. ap. Serv. Aen. 11.316 = FRHist 5 F5 ; Hemina frg. 8 Chass. ap. Solin. 2.14 = FRHist 6 F8 ; Liv. 1.1.4 ; Dion. Hal. 1.53.3 ; App. reg. frg. 1.1.1 ; Cass. Dio frg. 1.2 Boiss ; Orig. gent. Rom. 10.5. 53  Enn. ann. 22 Skutsch : Quam Prisci, casci populi, tenuere Latini. A comparer avec Cato orig. frg. 1.4 Chass. ap. Dion. Hal. 1.11.1 = FRHist 5 F49 ; frg. 1.5 Chass. ap. Prisc. gramm. 5.182H et 6.230H = FRHist 5 F24a ; frg. 1.6 Chass. ap. Serv. Aen. 1.6 = FRHist 5 F63 ; Sall. Catil. 6.1–2 ; Liv. 1.1.5 ; Dion. Hal. 1.10.1 ; App. reg. frg. 1.1.1 ; Iust. 43.1.3 ; Orig. gent. Rom. 3.8 et 4.1–2, qui

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roi indigène ;54 l’identité du géniteur des jumeaux fondateurs, un homo pulcer, que l’on identifie aisément à Mars,55 alors qu’on pouvait s’attendre à ce que le poète suivît la forme ancienne de la légende où les jumeaux naissaient d’un dieu masculin du foyer ;56 la persécution d’Ilia et des nouveau-nés par Amulius, roi d’Albe.57 Les points de convergence entre les deux traditions ne sauraient être mis en doute ; les points de divergence ne sont pas moins patents, telle l’absence chez Ennius, tout comme chez Naevius, de guerres opposant les Troyens aux autochtones à leur arrivée en Italie, unanimement reconnue par la critique moderne.58 Autre certitude : celle de la préexistence d’Albe à l’arrivée d’Enée.59 D’autres divergences sont plus malaisées à identifier en raison du caractère de la transmission des Annales. L’interprétation que l’on donne du vers 31 Skutsch, cité par les testes pour la diérèse Albai Longai, mais sans mention du livre d’où ce vers est tiré : Olli repondit rex Albai Longai, en est un exemple. Si l’on admet que le fragment appartenait bien au livre 1 des Annales

désignent les premiers occupants du Latium, voire de l’Italie, sous le nom d’Aborigènes. Dans la version canonique, les Latins naissent en effet de la fusion des Aborigènes déjà établis sur place et des Troyens immigrés. 54  Enn. ann. 32 Skutsch. Pour le texte, voir infra. A comparer par exemple avec Dion. Hal. 1.58.5 : “Je demande à donner et à recevoir sur ce point des engagements pour assurer la loyauté de nos accords”. 55  Enn. ann. 38–39 Skutsch : Nam me uisus homo pulcher per amoena salicta / Et ripas raptare locosque nouos (…). Cf. Fab. Pict. frg. 7c Chass. = FRHist 1 F4c = Vennonius frg. 1 Chass. ap. Orig. gent. Rom. 20.1 = FRHist 13 F1 ; Liv. 1.4.2 ; Dion. Hal. 1.77.2 (sans le nom de la divinité mais avec la mention d’une “apparition d’une taille et d’une beauté merveilleuses, car de loin supérieures à celles des hommes”) ; Cass. Dio frg. 1.5.1 Boiss ; Vir. ill. 1.1. Sur l’identification du père de Romulus chez Ennius, voir par exemple Classen (1962), spéc. 177 n. 3. 56  Promathion FGrHist 817 F 1 ap. Plut. Rom. 2.3–8. 57  Enn. ann. xxxix Skutsch ap. Porph. Hor. carm. 1.2.18 : Ilia auctore Ennio in amnem Tiberim iussu Amulii regis Albanorum praecipitata (…). Sur Amulius, persécuteur de Rémus et Romulus et de leur mère : cf. Fab. Pict. frg. 7a Chass. ap. Plut. Rom. 3.4–5 = FRHist 1 F4a ; Fab. Pict. frg. 7b Chass. ap. Dion. Hal. 1.79.4 = FRHist 1 F4b ; Fab. Pict. frg. 7c Chass. = FRHist 1 F4c = Vennonius frg. 1 Chass. ap. Orig. gent. Rom. 20.2 = FRHist 13 F1 ; Liv. 1.4.3–4 ; Dion. Hal. 1.78.5, 1.79.2 ; App. reg. frg. 1.1.2 ; Flor. 1.1.1 ; Iust. 43.2.4 ; Vir. ill. 1.2. 58  Par exemple Godel (1978), spéc. 274–275 ; d’Anna (1976), 46. 59  Vahlen (1903), CLII : Alba (…) apud Ennium multo ante Aeneae aduentum exstructa. Cf. aussi Perret (1942), 521 (qu’on ne suivra pas sur deux points, à savoir lorsqu’il affirme que la légende d’Enée serait, dans le Latium, une création tardive, remontant à l’époque de Pyrrhus, et lorsqu’il prétend qu’il n’y a pas de place, dans cette forme de la légende, pour Lavinium : 324 et 521) ; d’Anna (1976), 45 ; O. Skutsch (1985), 190.



et que olli désigne Enée,60 la reconstruction la plus largement répandue est la suivante : Enée, dès son arrivée en Italie, rencontre le roi d’Albe, identifié par certains à Latinus ;61 ce dernier, après l’avoir interrogé sur ses origines, conclut un traité avec le Troyen, attesté par le vers 32 Skutsch : Accipe daque fidem foedusque feri bene firmum,62 et lui donne sa sœur en mariage. Cette identification n’est pas sans faire problème comme G. d’Anna l’a bien relevé.63 Le savant italien montre avec beaucoup de pertinence qu’elle est difficilement compatible avec un certain nombre d’autres fragments des Annales, fragments qu’il passe en revue. C’est ainsi, dit-il, qu’au v. 30 Skutsch, il est question d’une Laurentis terra ; or cette terre correspond au territoire laurentin-lavinate et non pas aux collines d’Albe. En faisant de Latinus le roi d’Albe, on se heurte par ailleurs à une difficulté, à savoir la présence d’Amulius, attestée chez Porphyre et également assurée chez Naevius. A contrario, si ce v. 30 est un indice, il fait résolument pencher la balance en faveur de l’existence de rois laurentins. A l’appui de cette théorie, les vers 23–24 Skutsch : Saturno / quem Caelius genuit, qui semblent suggérer l’existence d’une généalogie des reges Laurentum, commençant avec Saturne pour aller jusqu’à Latinus, en passant par Picus et Faunus. Latinus, descendant de Saturne, est par conséquent un roi laurentin et non un roi albain. La seule chose qu’on peut déduire des fragments d’Ennius, d’après d’Anna, est celle-ci : les Troyens, une fois arrivés dans le Latium, rencontrent d’abord les Laurentins, puis les Albains. Comment dès lors conciler cette donnée avec la version, adoptée de manière quasi unanime par la critique, selon laquelle Enée, chez Ennius, aurait épousé une princesse albaine, a priori la soeur d’Amulius ? Partant du constat fait plus haut, à savoir qu’Ennius et Naevius paraissent n’avoir fait état ni d’une guerre entre Troyens et Aborigènes ni de personnages comme Amata, Turnus et Lavinia, d’Anna propose la recontruction suivante : “si potrebbe supporre che Enea, sbarcato nel territorio laurentino fosse accolto bene da Latino, re di una popolazione nomade e pacifica ; poi dopo aver fondato Lavinio, chiamata in tal modo secondo un’etimiologia diversa da quella poi 60  Le fragment pourrait tout aussi bien provenir du livre 2 qui traitait, entre autres événements, de la guerre qui a opposé Rome et Albe et s’est achevée par la destruction d’Albe : cf. d’Anna (1976), 45 n. 3. 61  Vahlen (1903), CLII (sans la mention du nom du roi) ; s.v. ‘Latinus’, RE XII (1924), 930–933 (W. Schur) et Skutsch (1985), 190. A noter que Schröder (1971), 88, identifie ce roi, semblet-il, à Amulius ; même identification chez Perret (1942), 482–484 et 533, et Dury-Moyaers (1981), 74. 62  Selon Vahlen (1903), CLII, le locuteur est Enée. Contra, sans doute à juste titre, Skutsch (1985), 191, qui attribue ces paroles à Latinus. 63  d’Anna (1976), 88–92.

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comunemente accolta, Enea incontrava il re d’Alba, ne sposava la sorella, che diveniva madre di Ilia, e quindi periva, cosicchè il successivo svolgersi dei fatti era incentrato in Alba”.64 Ce qui est assuré en revanche, c’est qu’Ennius, à l’instar de Naevius, fait de Rémus et Romulus les petits-fils d’Enée, comme en attestent les commentaires de l’interpolateur de Servius : Naeuius et Ennius Aeneae ex filia nepotem Romulum conditorem urbis tradunt,65 et de Servius lui-même : Dicit (i.e. Ennius) Iliam fuisse filiam Aeneae ; quod si est, Aeneas auus est Romuli,66 ainsi que le célèbre songe d’Ilia, dans lequel la jeune fille s’adresse expressément à son père, Enée :67 Et cita cum tremulis anus attulit artubus lumen. Talia tum memorat lacrimans, exterrita somno : ‘Eurydica prognata, pater quam noster amauit, Vires uitaque corpus meum nunc deserit omne. Nam me uisus homo pulcer per amoena salicta Et ripas raptare locosque nouos. Ita sola Postilla, germana soror, errare uidebar Tardaque uestigare et quaerere te neque posse Corde capessere : semita nulla pedem stabilibat. Exim compellare pater me uoce uidetur His uerbis : “o gnata, tibi sunt ante gerendae Aerumnae, post ex fluuio fortuna resistet.” Haec ecfatus pater, germana, repente recessit Nec sese dedit in conspectum corde cupitus, Quamquam multa manus ad caeli caerula templa Tendebam lacrumans et blanda uoce uocabam. Vix aegro cum corde meo me somnus reliquit’. La généalogie retenue par Ennius a pour corollaire l’absence de l’existence d’une dynastie albaine, permettant de combler l’intervalle séparant l’arrivée d’Enée en Italie et la fondation de Rome. Dans cette optique en effet, la fondation de 64  d’Anna (1976), 91–92. 65  Serv. auct. Aen. 1.273 (= Naev. frg. 27 Strz). 66  Serv. Aen. 6.777. 67  Enn. ann. 34–50 Skutsch. Le songe d’Ilia est sans doute le passage du livre 1 le plus souvent étudié ; pour les travaux les plus récents, voir entre autres Bandiera (1978), 50–60 ; Skutsch (1985), 193–202 ; Jocelyn (1989–90), spéc. 39–46 ; Andreoni Fontecedro (1991), 7–28 ; Krevans (1993), 257–271. Voir également Goldberg (1995), 96–101.



Rome ne peut être placée au VIIIe siècle. La chronologie ennienne ­diffère donc de celle retenue par Fabius Pictor ou de celle de Cincius Alimentus, qui fixent respectivement la date de la fondation de l’Urbs à 748/7 et 729/8, et qu’Ennius ne pouvait ignorer ; elle est tout aussi éloignée de la datation catonienne selon laquelle Rome aurait été fondée quatre cent trente-deux ans après la prise de Troie, soit, pour nous, vers 752/1 av. J.-C.,68 a fortiori du comput varronien. Si l’on admet que le poète a adopté la date fixée par Eratosthène pour la chute de Troie, soit 1184 av. J.-C.,69 la ville aurait été fondée vers 1100 av. J.-C. Cette chronologie est confirmée par les vers 154–155 Skutsch, supposés avoir été prononcés vers 400 av. J.-C. par un personnage non identifié – peut-être Camille : Septingenti sunt, paulo plus aut minus, anni Augusto augurio postquam incluta condita Roma est. On a beaucoup épilogué sur la question.70 Je me rallierai pour ma part à la position exprimée par T. J. Cornell dans sa recension critique de l’édition d’O. Skutsch.71 T. J. Cornell, après avoir proposé une explication séduisante pour résoudre ce problème de chronologie,72 fait preuve d’une grande prudence et se résout à formuler la conclusion suivante : “We are left, finally, with the possibility that Ennius used two distinct, and incompatible, chronologies. Thus, in Book 1 he followed the standard version of the monarchic period, but by making Romulus the grandson of Aeneas he implicitly lowered the date of the Trojan War by around 350 to 400 years ; then in Book 4 (?) he composed a 68  Fab. Pict. frg. 8 = FRHist 1 F5 et Cinc. Alim. frg. 6 Chass. = FRHist 6 F2 ap. Dion. Hal. 1.74.1 ; Cato orig. frg. 1.17 Chass. = FRHist 5 F13 ap. Dion. Hal. 1.74.2. 69  Contra : Gruen (1992), 36 : “That Ennius had recourse to the reaches of Eratosthenes is a common but unverifiable conjecture”. 70  Voir entre autres d’Anna (1976), 80–83 ; Skutsch (1985), 314–315 ; Cornell (1986), 247 ; Gruen (1992), 36. 71  Cornell (1986). 72  A savoir admettre que la version d’Ennius concernant l’histoire primitive de Rome était totalement différente de celle qui est devenue plus tard la version canonique. On pourrait ainsi supposer, écrit T. J. Cornell, qu’Ennius a ajouté un certain nombre de rois aux sept rois traditionnels (une dizaine ?), ou alors qu’il a doublé la figure de Romulus et opté pour une double fondation de Rome, la première due à un petit-fils d’Enée, la seconde, plusieurs générations plus tard, à un second Romulus. Hypothèse tirée par les cheveux ? Pas forcément selon le savant britannique, qui rappelle que ces doublements sont familiers chez les Anciens, lorsqu’ils sont confrontés à des généalogies légendaires, mais admet aussi qu’a contrario il peut paraître étrange que ni Denys ni d’autres sources aient jugé bon de mentionner cette version ennienne.

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speech for Camillus which presupposed the canonical date for the Trojan War and consequently raised the date of the foundation by the same amount. Such inconsistency would be strange but not unthinkable or indeed unparalleled”.73 Je reviendrai sur ce point plus loin. On me permettra de clore cette partie en recensant la liste des autres questions sur lesquelles les Annales et la tradition historico-annalistique diffèrent : il s’agit de la présence, dans l’épopée d’Ennius, d’un certain nombre d’épisodes, absents chez les prosateurs : le rêve prémonitoire d’Ilia, la réunion du conseil des dieux qui statue sur le destin d’Ilia et de ses enfants, et enfin le sort de la jeune femme, qui, après avoir été jetée dans le Tibre sur l’ordre d’Amulius, épouse l’Anio.74 Au total donc un certain nombre de divergences avec la tradition historico-légendaire, dont l’essentiel toutefois ne touche pas à ce que J. Poucet appelle les “motifs classés”, qu’il oppose aux “motifs libres”.75 Peuvent en effet être rangés, me semble-t-il, parmi les “motifs libres” les épisodes que je viens d’évoquer à l’instant, absents des prosateurs. Le songe d’Ilia, raconté selon des traditions que l’on peut suivre de la tragédie grecque à la tragédie classique française, à l’intention d’une sœur, en présence d’une vieille servante ou nourrice, est incontestablement un enrichissement dramatique et psychologique.76 On pourra procéder à une affirmation similaire à propos du conseil des dieux et du récit du sort d’Ilia. La tradition historico-annalistique présente elle-même des variantes relatives au châtiment d’Ilia ; Denys d’Halicarnasse ne manque pas de les relever.77 Ces épisodes ou amplifications n’affectent en rien l’identité de base de la légende d’Enée et du récit de la fondation de Rome que l’on trouve aussi bien chez Naevius et Ennius que dans la tradition historico-annalistique. Il n’en va pas de même en revanche d’autres points qui relèvent, quant à eux, des “motifs classés”. Il s’agit de l’absence, chez Ennius, de l’existence de la dynastie albaine, et de son pendant, la date de la naissance de Rome, fondée par Romulus, petit-fils d’Enée et frère de Rémus. La généalogie suivie par Ennius est également, nous l’avons vu, celle de Naevius. Elle était connue de Denys d’Halicarnasse puisque l’auteur des Antiquités romaines fait état d’une tradition romaine – Naevius et Ennius ? – selon laquelle Rémus et Romulus “furent 73  Cornell (1986), 247. 74  Rêve d’Ilia : 34–50 Skutsch (pour le texte, voir supra) ; réunion du Conseil des dieux : 51–56 Skutsch ; sort d’Ilia : xxxix Skutsch ap. Porph. Hor. carm. 1.2.18 : (…) Antemnis Anieni matrimonio iuncta est (pour ce dernier passage, voir les réserves de Grilli (2002), pour qui seule la première partie du commentaire de Porphyrion, cité à la n. 57, se rapporte à Ennius). 75  Poucet (1985), 238–242. 76  Jocelyn (1989–90), 46 ; cf. également Bouquet (2001), 14–18, spéc. 18. 77  Dion. Hal. 1.72.1–2.



les enfants de la fille d’Enée” ; elle l’était aussi de Diodore, qui atteste l’existence d’une tradition, véhiculée par “certains historiens” et contestée par lui, faisant de Romulus le fils d’une “fille d’Enée” ; elle l’était également de Plutarque, qui rapporte une version présentant Romulus comme le fruit de l’union d’une certaine Aimulia, fille d’Enée et de Lavinie, avec le dieu Mars.78 Elle diffère tout autant des versions grecques qui faisaient d’un fils d’Enée l’éponyme de l’Vrbs, que des versions qui attribuaient la fondation à un petit-fils d’Enée par le biais non d’une fille du Troyen mais d’un fils, généralement Ascagne.79 Elle est aussi, a fortiori, fort éloignée de la version de Dioclès de Péparéthos qui sera adoptée par Fabius Pictor et deviendra la version canonique. Elle implique également une datation “haute” de la fondation de Rome. Il est légitime de se poser deux questions : pourquoi Ennius, à l’instar de Naevius, parmi les différents types de filiation possibles, a-t-il choisi de faire des jumeaux fondateurs les petits-fils d’Enée, et plus précisément les fils d’Ilia, “la Troyenne”, en étant ainsi à contre-courant tout à la fois des versions qui retenaient la filiation par le père et non la mère, et de la version fabienne, connue de lui, mais supposant l’insertion d’une dynastie albaine entre l’arrivée d’Enée et la fondation de la Ville ? A qui cette tradition est-elle empruntée ? Pour ce qui est de la deuxième question, la réponse est simple : nous l’ignorons. Serait-ce une innovation naevienne empruntée par Ennius, combinant des éléments préexistants, trouvés dans la tradition grecque et la tradition indigène, orale dans ce cas ?80

78  Dion. Hal. 1.73.2 ; Diod. frg. 7.5.1 ; Plut. Rom. 2.3. 79  Fils d’Enée : Agathocles FGrHist 472 F 5 = 840 F 19 ; tradition anonyme chez Plut. Rom. 2.2, qui ne mentionne pas nommément sa source ; cf. également Dion. Hal. 1.72.1, qui se réfère à Céphalon de Gergis – pseudonyme d’Hégésianax d’Alexandrie – (FGrHist 45 F 9), Démagoras (FGrHist 840 F 22), Agathyllos (FGrHist 840 F 2) et “bien d’autres”. Selon Dion. Hal. 1.73.2, cette version avait également été retenue par “certains Romains” – sans autre précision. Chez Apollod. ap. Fest. 326 L s.v. ‘Roma’, si le fils d’Enée, Rhomos, est bien présenté comme l’éponyme de la Ville, on ignore cependant si la fondation est due à Enée ou à son fils. – Petit-fils d’Enée : Dion. Chalc. FGrHist 840 F 10 ap. Dion. Hal. 1.72.6 ; Eratosth. FGrHist 241 F 45 = 840 F 20. Liste qui ne prend en compte que les auteurs chez lesquels la légende d’Enée et celle des jumeaux sont déjà liées. Pour le détail, voir Schröder (1971), 76–80. Cf. également Poucet (1989), spéc. 249. 80  Sur la formation de la légende, voir notamment Cornell (1975) (avec une riche bibliographie). Sur l’originalité de la version de Naevius et d’Ennius par rapport aux autres traditions, voir Classen (1962), 177, et Poucet (1989), 250 : “Cette intervention d’une fille d’Enée, au lieu d’un fils, s’explique peut-être par l’influence de la légende locale : le merveilleux propre à la naissance du ou des fondateurs impliquant une paternité divine, Ascagne pouvait difficilement servir”.

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Ce n’est qu’une hypothèse. Il est patent toutefois que nous ne possédons aucun témoignage sur une version grecque mentionnant le nom d’une Ilia, fille d’Enée et mère des jumeaux fondateurs, avec l’enchaînement sur l’exposition de ces derniers et la suite du récit canonique de la fondation de Rome. Il me paraît plus difficile de répondre à la première question, qui porte sur les raisons du choix d’Ennius en faveur de cette version plutôt qu’une autre, et notamment celle de Fabius Pictor. Est-ce parce que la tradition n’est pas encore fixée ? Les textes nous montrent que dans la tradition historico-annalistique, les flottements et variantes sont de règle. La réponse peut-elle être fournie par le biais d’une autre question, à savoir : pourquoi, alors que Naevius, qui suit Timée, place la chute de Troie et la fondation de Rome au IXe siècle,81 Ennius opte-t-il pour une datation haute ? Est-ce parce qu’Ennius avait attribué à Eratosthène un crédit plus grand qu’à Fabius Pictor, comme l’ont supposé G. d’Anna et O. Skutsch ?82 Ne serait-ce pas plutôt dû au genre littéraire de l’épopée et à l’attente du public, avide d’un vieillissement systématique ? Je voudrais à présent revenir à mon propos initial. Faut-il considérer les Annales d’Ennius comme une fabula poetica, dont la narration n’est pas crédible au contraire des données fournies par le courant historico-annalistique ? Mon propos, jusqu’à présent, s’est efforcé de prouver le contraire. Il est vrai pourtant que les historiens antiques ne citent que rarement Naevius et Ennius comme une de leurs sources. Le recensement des testes montre que sur les vingt-sept citateurs qui nous ont livré les soixante-trois fragments du livre 1 des Annales de l’édition Skutsch, le seul historien ou apparenté est l’anonyme, auteur de l’Origo gentis Romanae.83 A titre de comparaison, les cent trente cinq fragments des Origines de Caton sont cités par une quarantaine d’auteurs ; un bon nombre d’entre eux sont dus à des historiens : Denys d’Halicarnasse (8) ; Tite-Live (4), l’auteur de l’Origo gentis Romanae (2), Eusèbe (1), Justin (1), le

81  Plus précisément en 814/13. Cette date est généralement retenue pour le motif que Naevius a inséré l’épisode de la rencontre Enée-Carthage dans son œuvre et suivi le synchronisme Rome-Carthage établi par Timée : cf. Noack (1892), spéc. 434–436 ; Barchiesi (1962), 206 et 477–479 ; d’Anna (1976), 79–80. Contra : Gruen (1992), 36 n. 134. 82  d’Anna (1976), 83 ; Skutsch (1985), 314. 83  Sauf erreur de ma part, la liste des citateurs du livre 1 comprend les noms suivants : Charisius (5 citations), Cicéron (6), Incert. de ult. syll. IV, 231 Keil (1), Diomède (1), Donat (10), Festus (11), Paul. Fest. (3), Fronton (5), Aulu-Gelle (2), Jérôme (1), Lactance (1), Porphyrion (1), Macrobe (5), Nonius (9), Origo gentis Romanae (1), Ovide (3), Pompéius (4), Priscien (5), Probus (1), Quintilien (1), Rhet. Her. (1), Sacerdos (2), Schol. Bern. georg. (2), Schol. Ver. (2), Servius (10), Tertullien (1), Varron (10).



Mythographus Vaticanus (1), Plutarque (1), Velléius Paterculus (1).84 Et lorsque Ennius est cité à côté d’un autre auteur, il s’agit presque systématiquement d’un poète : Naevius, Plaute, Lucrèce et essentiellement, comme on pouvait s’y attendre, Virgile. A une exception près et elle est intéressante pour notre propos : il s’agit du fragment xli Skutsch dû à Quintilien :85 lupus masculinum, quamquam Varro in eo libro quo initia Romane urbis enarrat ‘lupum feminam’ dicit Ennium Pictoremque Fabium secutus, déjà évoqué plus haut dans son intégralité citée par l’interpolateur de Servius. Alors imperméabilité réelle entre la tradition épique de Naevius et, dans le cas présent, d’Ennius d’un côté, et la tradition historico-annalistique ? L’examen de l’ensemble des Annales permet, semble-t-il, d’infirmer cette distinction. En témoignent trois éléments : le titre du poème d’Ennius, le plan de l’œuvre et la conception de l’histoire qui s’en dégage. Le titre du poème d’abord, qui d’emblée donne le ton de l’ouvrage, confirmé par le témoignage de Diomède :86 (Ennius) epos Latinum primus digne scripsit is qui res Romanorum decem et octo complexus est libris, qui et annales scribuntur, quod singulorum fere annorum actus contineant, sicut publici annales, quod pontifices scribaeque conficiunt, uel Romanis, quod Romanorum res gestas declarant. Ce titre, inspiré des annales des Pontifes, place délibérément l’épopée d’Ennius sur le terrain de l’histoire nationale. Il servira par la suite de titre à un grand nombre d’œuvres de ce qu’on appelle communément l’annalistique romaine ; il désignera aussi un genre historique, qui a pour objet le récit de l’histoire de Rome année après année, depuis les origines de Rome jusqu’à l’époque contemporaine de l’auteur, par opposition aux historiae ou monographies.87 Dans le détail même, certains éléments du poème ne sont pas sans rappeler certaines caractéristiques des annales, en dépit de l’une ou l’autre stylisation due à l’écriture poétique.88 Ce qui est assuré, dans tous les cas, est que les Annales d’Ennius sont le premier écrit de forme annalistique et par conséquent proprement historique de la littérature latine.

84  Le nombre total des citations est plus important que le nombre de fragments, puisqu’un même fragment peut être cité par plusieurs citateurs. Cf. Chassignet (2004), spéc. 204 n. 10. 85  Quint. inst. 1.6.12 = Fab. Pict. frg. 7e Chass. = FRHist 1 F 4d. 86  Diom. I, 484 Keil. 87  Cf. Chassignet (1996–2004), I, vii–xvii ; sur les annales des Pontifes, ibid. xxiii–xl. Sur la communauté de titre entre les Annales d’Ennius et les œuvres des historiens en prose de la deuxième moitié du IIe siècle av. J.-C., cf. Leigh (2007), spéc. 485. 88  Voir à ce propos Jocelyn (1972), 1008–1009 ; Skutsch (1985), 6 ; Walter (2004), 260–261.

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La division en livres et surtout en grandes parties – les triades signalées plus haut – est tout aussi remarquable. C’est ainsi que le livre 1 qui nous occupe a pour sujet un sous-ensemble, l’histoire des origines de Rome et de son premier roi, Romulus ; ce sous-ensemble appartient lui-même à un groupement plus vaste, la première triade, consacrée à la totalité de la période royale. Les Modernes ont souligné à juste titre, l’importance de cette division ;89 Ennius est le premier à avoir agi comme un historien et structuré l’histoire romaine. Ni Fabius Pictor, ni Cincius Alimentus ou encore C. Acilius n’ont procédé à une répartition de leur matière en livres, ni a fortiori en grands ensembles, si on en juge d’après les témoignages parvenus jusqu’à nous ; les premières oeuvres historiographiques à avoir présenté un récit structuré en livres sont postérieures puisqu’il faudra attendre les Origines de Caton et les Annales de Cassius Hémina pour ne plus trouver un simple récit juxtalinéaire, non structuré. Cette répartition en triades cohérentes, implique peut-être que nous avons à faire ici à une prise de conscience et une interprétation de l’histoire, qui vont au-delà d’un simple souci artistique et stylistique. Les similitudes entre l’épopée historique et l’historiographie, nées toutes deux à la fin du IIe siècle av. J.-C., sont ainsi évidentes, comme l’a souligné F. H. Mutschler, dont je reproduis les mots clefs : “positive Bilder”, “Gesamtbild der römischen Geschichte”, “einheitliche Deutung”, mise en valeur des uirtutes qui dictent le comportement du Romain, sont communs aux deux types d’écrits.90 La présence des très nombreux exempla dans les Annales d’Ennius, qui marqueront les œuvres historiques romaines, va dans le même sens. De fait, l’impact d’Ennius sur l’historiographie romaine n’a, à aucun moment, été mis en doute. La majeure partie des travaux modernes a porté sur l’influence de la langue et du style sur les historiens, et plus spécialement sur les historiens de la République.91 Le travail récent de H. Prinzen, Ennius im Urteil der Antike, a pour sa part fait le point sur l’influence exercée par Ennius sur la méthode historique de Caton, Coelius Antipater, Claudius Quadrigarius, Sisenna, Salluste et Tite-Live.92 On me permettra d’insister à titre personnel sur la similitude qui existe entre le plan des Annales d’Ennius et celui des Origines

89  Cf. par exemple Classen (1962), 133 ; Suerbaum (2002), 135 ; Walter (2004), 263–268. 90  Mutschler (2000), spéc. 90. 91  Exemples : Till (1935) ; Wölfflin (1908) ; Zimmerer (1937) ; Lebek (1970), 219 n. 4 (Caton), 223 (Coelius ; cf. Front. ad M. Caes. 4.3.2, 56 vdH : multo maxime Q. Ennius eumque studiose aemulatus L. Coelius), 238–239 (Claudius Quadrigarius), 264–266 (historiens en général). 92  Prinzen (1998), 285–325. Voir aussi la synthèse de Walter (2004), 269–270, qui déborde le cadre du livre 1.



de Caton, puisque dans les deux cas, les auteurs insistent sur la période royale et la période contemporaine, au détriment des débuts de la République. Si la frontière entre les deux traditions, tradition épique d’Ennius et tradition historico-annalistique, est relativement ténue, les Anciens ne seraient-ils pas eux-mêmes à l’origine de cette dichotomie affirmée par ailleurs ? Trois éléments de réponse me paraissent pouvoir être avancés. Le premier touche à la forme même des Annales qui sont de la poésie. Aux yeux des Latins, tout comme des Grecs, la distinction des genres allait de soi. C’est ainsi qu’au livre 10 de son Institution oratoire, Quintilien passe en revue les différents écrivains grecs et latins, en les classant en fonction des genres qu’ils ont illustrés. Ces genres sont, selon lui, au nombre de huit : l’épopée, la poésie élégiaque, la poésie iambique, la poésie lyrique, la poésie dramatique, l’histoire, l’éloquence, la philosophie, plus, pour les seuls Latins, la satire, unique genre à ne pas être né en Grèce et à être typiquement romain. Cette distinction, qui adopte un point de vue strictement formaliste, avec deux grands groupes, poésie/prose, exclut les Annales du genre historique. Le deuxième élément de réponse est à chercher dans la tradition grecque qui établit une distinction nette entre le fabuleux et le vraisemblable, le muthodesteron et l’alèthesteron, distinction déjà affirmée par les historiens grecs de l’époque classique,93 et amplement reprise par Denys d’Halicarnasse et Plutarque à propos de l’opposition entre histoire rationaliste et histoire fabuleuse.94 Or, nous le savons, l’historiographie à Rome va aller dans le sens de la rationalisation et par voie de conséquence aboutir à un rejet du merveilleux, c’est-à-dire l’intervention des dieux dans les affaires humaines, mais aussi du théâtral, du fictif, de l’invraisemblable. C’est ainsi qu’on remplacera la louve, animal nourricier des jumeaux fondateurs, par une prostituée, appelée lupa en latin ;95 la conception miraculeuse de Rémus et Romulus sera remplacée par d’autres explications : la jeune femme aurait été séduite, voire violée, par Amulius ou par un de ses amoureux,96 ou alors les enfants seraient nés de père inconnu.97 Dramatisation et merveilleux sont à reléguer dans le domaine poétique, selon l’affirmation même d’Agatharchidès de Cnide, même si, comme l’admet Polybe, en ce qui concerne les généalogies, les parentés, les fondations,

93  Voir par exemple Wardman (1960). 94  Dion. Hal. 1.77.1–2, 1.79.1 et surtout 1.84.1 ; Plut. Rom. 89 et 12.6 à propos de la légende des jumeaux fondateurs. 95  Exemples : Dion. Hal. 1.84.4 ; Liv. 1.4.7 ; Plut. Rom. 4.3–4. 96  Exemples : Dion. Hal. 1.77.1 ; Plut. Rom. 4.3 ; Orig. gent. Rom. 19.5. 97  App. reg. 1.2.

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on ne peut que reproduire ce qui a déjà été écrit.98 Cette distinction aura également cours à Rome. J’en veux pour preuve le passage célèbre de Cicéron, tiré du De legibus dans lequel Marcus précise que les lois qu’on observe en poésie et en histoire ne sont pas les mêmes, puisque dans l’une, théoriquement du moins, chaque détail se rapporte à la vérité, et dans l’autre, la plupart des traits tendent à l’agrément.99 Quintilien, il est vrai, sera plus nuancé en affirmant que historia est proxima poetis et quodam modo carmen solutum.100 “Entre une histoire exemplaire et une poésie dont le rôle est aussi d’exalter et d’éduquer, il n’y avait, somme toute, qu’une différence de degré, une question de retenue dans la façon de raconter les événements”.101 Le troisième élément de réponse relève peut-être de questions plus proprement romaines. Le but poursuivi par Ennius et les historiographes, nous l’avons vu plus haut, est identique. Le public est lui aussi identique, du moins en partie : la nobilitas romaine, avec pour les premiers historiographes romains également un public grec puisque l’historiographie sera perçue à ses débuts comme un outil de propagande anti-carthaginoise et anti-grecque, nécessitant le recours à la lingua franca de l’époque, le grec.102 La diffusion en revanche est différente : essentiellement la voie orale pour l’épopée, si l’on en croit Jörg Rüpke.103 Il en va de même pour la condition sociale des auteurs. Les historiographes de la République sont pour leur quasi totalité des hommes d’action et des hommes de guerre, qui se sont adonnés à l’écriture durant leurs loisirs, ou plus vraisemblablement après en avoir terminé avec leur carrière politique. On pensera bien évidemment à Caton ou à Calpurnius Pison. A titre d’exemples empruntés à l’annalistique ancienne, donc contemporaine d’Ennius, on citera Fabius Pictor qui fut homme de guerre, homme politique et ambassadeur et prit une part active à la deuxième guerre punique étant donné qu’il fut envoyé à Delphes après le désastre de Cannes ; L. Cincius Alimentus fut pour sa part successivement préteur et chargé de commander en Sicile les soldats qui s’étaient enfuis du champ de bataille de Cannes, avant de tomber lui-même aux mains d’Hannibal ; Acilius fut sénateur et consul ; quant à Postumius Albinus, il fut préteur et consul. Il est clair qu’il n’en va pas de même pour Ennius et ses prédécesseurs, Livius Andronicus et Naevius. Y aurait-il eu une équation selon laquelle l’historiographie serait l’apanage de Romains, hommes 98  Agatharch. de rubr. mar. 1.8 (GGM I, 117) ; Pol. 9.2.1–2. 99  Cic. leg. 1.5. Pour le texte, cf. supra, n. 3. Voir à ce propos Piérart (1983), spéc. 112. 100  Quint. inst. 10.1.31. 101  Piérart (1983), 114. 102  Chassignet (2003), spéc. 73. 103  Rüpke (2000).



politiques, alors que l’épopée serait le domaine de demi-Grecs se consacrant à la littérature ?104 C’est une hypothèse que je me contenterai d’avancer sans pouvoir aller plus avant. Au total donc un texte, qualifié très justement par certains de “fondateur”,105 resté sans équivalent puisque les épopées postérieures, à commencer par ­l’Enéide de Virgile mais aussi les Métamorphoses d’Ovide et la Pharsale de Lucain, ne traiteront que de segments et non de l’ensemble de l’histoire romaine. Il mérite d’être considéré comme une source pour notre connaissance de l’“archéologie” de Rome, au même titre que les textes historiographiques. Bibliographie Altheim, F. (1959). ‘Naevius und die Annalistik’, in R. von Kienle (Hrsg.), Festschrift J. Friedrich (Heidelberg), 1–34 (= Id., Romanitas 3 [1961a] : 86–110). Altheim, F. (1961b), Untersuchungen zur römischen Geschichte I, Frankfurt am Main. André, J.-M. and Hus, A. (1974). L’histoire à Rome : Historiens et biographes dans la littérature latine, Paris. Andreoni Fontecedro, E. (1991). ‘Il sogno sciamanico di Ilia’, Aufidus 14 : 7–28. Bandiera, M. (1978). I frammenti del I libro degli Annales di Q. Ennio. Riordinamento ed esegesi, con prefazione di P. Santini, Firenze. Barchiesi, M. (1962). Nevio epico : storia, interpretazione, edizione critica dei frammenti del primo epos latino, Padova. Bömer, F. (1952). ‘Naevius und Fabius Pictor’, SO 29 : 34–53. Borzsak, S. (1998). ‘Lucubrationes Ennianae’, in C. F. Collatz, J. Dummer, J. Kollesch, and M. L. Werlitz (Hrsgg.), Dissertatiunculae criticae. Festschrift für G. Chr. Hansen (Würzburg), 171–181. Bouquet, J. (2001). Le songe dans l’épopée latine d’Ennius à Claudien (Collection Latomus 260), Bruxelles. Chassignet, M. (1996–2004). L’annalistique romaine I–III (Collection des universités de France, sér. latine 331, 357, 375), Paris. Chassignet, M. (2003). ‘La conception de l’histoire dans l’historiographie romaine antécicéronienne’, in G. Lachenaud, D. Longrée (eds.), Grecs et Romains aux prises avec l’histoire. Représentations, récits et idéologies I (Rennes), 63–83. Chassignet, M. (2004). ‘ “Grandeur et servitude” de l’édition des textes fragmentaires : l’historiographie antérieure à Salluste’, Ktèma 29 : 195–207. 104  Théorie également développée par Feeney (2005), 237 et Elliott (2013), 13. 105  Mutschler (2000), 102 ; Walter (2004), 277. Sur le rôle que les exempla ont dû jouer pour la longévité d’Ennius, voir Classen (1962), 134 ss.

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Cizek, E. (1995). Histoire et historiens à Rome dans l’Antiquité, Lyon. Classen, C. J. (1962). ‘Romulus in der römischen Republik’, Philologus 106 : 174–204. Classen, C. J. (1992). ‘Ennius : ein Fremder in Rom’, Gymnasium 99 : 121–145. Cornell, T. J. (1975). ‘Aeneas and the Twins. The development of the Roman foundation legend’, PCPhS 201 : 1–32. Cornell, T. J. (1986). Review of O. Skutsch (ed.), The Annals of Quintus Ennius (Oxford 1985), JRS 76 : 244–250. Cornell, T. J. (1995). The Beginnings of Rome. Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars, c. 1000–264 BC, London. d’Anna, G. (1976). Problemi di letturatura latina arcaica, Roma. Duckett, E. S. (1915). Studies in Ennius (Diss., Bryn Mawr, PA). Dury-Moyaers, G. (1981). Enée et Lavinium. A propos des découvertes archéologiques récentes (Collection Latomus 174), Bruxelles. Elliott, J. (2013). Ennius and the Architecture of the Annales, Cambridge. Feeney, D. (2005). ‘The beginnings of a literature in Latin’, review of W. Suerbaum (Hrsg.), Handbuch der lateinischen Literatur der Antike I. Die Archaische Literatur von den Anfängen bis Sullas Tod (München 2002), JRS 95 : 226–240. Feeney, D. (2007). Caesar’s Calendar. Ancient Time and the Beginnings of History (Sather Classical Lectures 65), Berkeley – Los Angeles. Flach, D. (1998). Römische Geschichtsschreibung, Darmstadt (= 3. neubearb. Aufl. der Einführung in die römische Geschichtsschreibung, Darmstadt 1985/1992). Forsythe, G. (2000). ‘The Roman historians of the second century BC’, in C. Bruun (ed.), The Roman Middle Republic. Politics, Religion and Historiography c. 400–133 BC (Acta Instituti Romani Finlandiae 23, Rome), 1–11. Gildenhard, I. (2003). ‘The “annalist” before the annalists. Ennius and his annales’, in U. Eigler et al. (Hrsgg.), Formen römischer Geschichtsschreibung von den Anfängen bis Livius. Gattungen – Autoren – Kontexte (Darmstadt), 93–114. Godel, R. (1978). ‘Virgile, Naevius et les Aborigènes’, MH 35 : 273–282. Goldberg, S. (1995). Epic in Republican Rome, Oxford. Gratwick, A. S. (1982). ‘Ennius’ Annales’, in E. J. Kenney and W. V. Clausen (eds.), Cambridge History of Classical Literature II.1 (Cambridge), 60–76. Grilli, A. (2002). ‘Ennio e Ilia’, PP 57 : 345–350. Gruen, E. S. (1992). Culture and National Identity in Republican Rome (Cornell Studies in Classical Philology 52), Ithaca, NY. Jocelyn, H. D. (1971). ‘Urbs augurio augusto condita. Ennius ap. Cic. Div. 1.107 (= Ann. 77–96 V2)’, PCPhS, n.s., 17 : 44–77. Jocelyn, H. D. (1972). ‘The poems of Quintus Ennius’, ANRW I.2 : 987–1026. Jocelyn, H. D. (1989–90). ‘Ennius and the impregnation of Ilia’, AFLPer 27 : 19–46. Krevans, N. (1993). ‘Ilia’s dream. Ennius, Virgil, and the mythology of seduction’, HSPh 95 : 257–271.



Lebek, W. D. (1970). Verba prisca. Die Anfänge des Archaisierens in der lateinischen Beredsamkeit und Geschichtsschreibung (Hypomnemata 25), Göttingen. Leigh, M. (2007). ‘Epic and historiography at Rome’, in J. Marincola (ed.), A Companion to Greek and Roman Historiography (Oxford), 483–492. Mehl, A. (2001). Römische Geschichtsschreibung. Grundlagen und Entwicklungen : Eine Einführung, Stuttgart. Mutschler, F. H. (2000). ‘Norm und Erinnerung. Anmerkungen zur sozialen Funktion von historischem Epos und Geschichtsschreibung im 2. Jh. v. Chr.’, in M. Braun, A. Haltenhoff, and F-H. Mutschler (Hrsgg.), Moribus antiquis res stat Romana. Römische Werte und römische Literatur im 3. und 2. Jh. v. Chr. (Beiträge zur Altertumskunde 134, München – Leipzig), 87–124. Noack, F. (1892). ‘Die erste Aeneis Vergils’, Hermes 27 : 407–445. O’Neal, W. (1988). ‘Ennius as a historical source’, CB 64 : 35–39. Perret, J. (1942). Les origines de la légende troyenne de Rome (281–31 av. J.-C.), Paris. Piérart, M. (1983). ‘L’historien ancien face aux mythes et aux légendes’, LEC 51 : 47–62 et 105–115. Pöschl, V. (Hrsg., 1969). Römische Geschichtsschreibung (WdF 90), Darmstadt. Poucet, J. (1985). Les origines de Rome. Tradition et histoire (Publications des Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis 38), Bruxelles. Poucet, J. (1989). ‘La diffusion de la légende d’Enée en Italie centrale et ses rapports avec celle de Romulus’, LEC 57 : 227–254. Prinzen, H. (1998). Ennius im Urteil der Antike (Drama Beiheft 8), Stuttgart – Weimar. Rüpke J. (2000). ‘Räume literarischer Kommunikation in der Formierungsphase römischer Literatur’, in M. Braun, A. Haltenhoff, and F.-H. Mutschler (Hrsgg.), Moribus antiquis res stat Romana. Römische Werte und römische Literatur im 3. und 2. Jh. v. Chr. (Beiträge zur Altertumskunde 134, München – Leipzig), 31–52. Schröder, W. A. M. (1971). Porcius Cato. Das erste Buch der Origines. Ausgabe und Erklärung der Fragmente (Beiträge zur klassischen Philologie 41), Meisenheim am Glan. Skutsch, F. (1905). ‘Q. Ennius’, RE V : 2589–2628. Skutsch, O. (1961). ‘Enniana IV. Condendae urbis auspicia’, Classical Quarterly 55: 252–267. Skutsch, O. (1985). The Annals of Quintus Ennius, Oxford. Soltau, W. (1909). Die Anfänge der römischen Geschichtsschreibung, Leipzig. Strzelecki, W. (1963). ‘Naevius and Roman annalists’, RFIC 91 : 440–458. Suerbaum, W. (1997). ‘Ennius’, DNP III, 1040–1046. Suerbaum, W. (2002). ‘Ennius Epos Bellum Punicum’, in W. Suerbaum (Hrsg.), Handbuch der lateinischen Literatur der Antike I. Die Archaische Literatur von den Anfängen bis Sullas Tod (München), 133–141.

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Suerbaum, W. (2003). Ennius in der Forschung des 20. Jahrhunderts. Eine kommentierte Bibliographie für 1900–1999, Hildesheim. Till, R. (1935). Die Sprache Catos (Philologus, Suppl. 28.2), Leipzig. Timpanaro, S. (1949). ‘Note a Livio Andronico, Ennio, Varrone, Virgilio’, ASNP 18 : 186–204. Ulrici, H. (1833). Charakteristik der antiken Historiographie, Berlin. Vahlen, I. (1903). Ennianae poesis reliquiae, editio secunda, Lipsiae. Walter, U. (2004). Memoria und res publica. Zur Geschichtskultur im republikanischen Rom, Frankfurt am Main. Wardman, A. E. (1960). ‘Myth in Greek Historiography’, Historia 9 : 403–413. Wiseman, T. P. (1995). Remus. A Roman Myth, Cambridge. Wölfflin, E. (1908). ‘Die Sprache des Claudius Quadrigarius’, ALL 15 : 10–22. Zimmerer, M. (1937). Der Annalist Qu. Claudius Quadrigarius (Diss., München).


The Discovery of Numa’s Writings: Roman Sacral Law and the Early Historians Hans Beck* The study of documentary evidence is pivotal for the historian. As always, Herodotus sets the benchmark. When visiting Thebes in Boeotia, Herodotus was intrigued by a series of inscribed tripods in the Temple of Apollo Ismenios that allowed him not only to reconstruct the genealogy of the Labdakids of Thebes – or independently confirm his reconstruction of it – but also to explore the early history of writing in Greece (5.59–61). Documentary evidence thus provided external authority to the apodeixis of Herodotus’ inquiries, and has continued to do so ever since throughout the history of the genre. From tangible objects with tiny scribbles to modern day statistics, which are essentially nothing more than hyper-convoluted compilations of external data, documentary evidence amplifies the interpretative force of the display of history. The world of republican Rome was full of tangible objects that had their own histories to tell. Modern historians have given much consideration to the countless monuments in the city of Rome and its places of memory, both in examinations of individual lieux de mémoire and in systematic memory studies. From this emerges an increasingly thick description of Rome and its memorial cityscape in the era of the Republic; incidentally, it is worthwhile asserting that this description of memory markers at Rome, and the message and meaning they convey, has become more compact, if not crowded, than that of any other urban realm in premodern times.1 Documentary evidence, understood in a very broad way, comes in shapes and sizes that tend to be less imposing than those of magnificent monuments. * Thanks are due to Christopher Smith and Kaj Sandberg for a superbly organized conference at the Finnish Institute and the British School. At McGill, Mike Fronda, François Gauthier, Alex McAuley, and Katrina Van Amsterdam have offered valuable comments that helped to improve this paper. 1  See the collection of Stein-Hölkeskamp – Hölkeskamp (2006). Roman memorial culture in the republic has been studied extensively and from multiple perspectives, see, for example, Walter (2004); Hölkeskamp (2005); Id. (2012); Dyson (2010); Roller (2013) (Augustan period); Muth (2014).

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���8 | doi ��.��63/9789004355552_005

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On the Capitoline Hill, for instance, when the foundations of the Temple of Iuppiter Optimus Maximus were laid, the workers were said to have found a human skull. This skull was believed to be the caput Oli, the head of a certain Olus or Aulus, who was thought to foreshadow the future greatness of Rome.2 Once the temple was built, the right wall of its cella was covered with iron nails, the clavi annales, which counted the years that had passed since the inauguration of the temple.3 And from its doorstep, visitors were able to point out a small and unimpressive block of black marble that was situated a few hundred metres away on the Forum, the Lapis Niger.4 As unengaging as each of those objects may seem – a skull, a set of rusty nails, a rock with an inscription – they were quintessential to the history of the Republic as the Romans saw them. In the rationale of recent ‘thing theories’ as fostered by Bill Brown (2001 and 2004), they surpassed their physicality as mere objects through the cultural backdrop of the world that surrounded them, thereby becoming ‘things’ (rather than objects). The nails from the temple wall not only bore testimony of a long forgotten cultural practice, they were also time-measuring devices that helped historians establish a chronological grid. The site of the Lapis Niger in turn added a spatial layer to the grid. The shrine that was built around it marked a place of memory in the more literal sense of the word. The inscription on the five-sided block was an ‘authentic voice’ from the past. Although the inscribed words were mostly unintelligible to later Romans, it was held that they cited an early ritual prescription; as such, they spoke to the religious foundations of the community.5 The prophecy of Olus, finally, filled the historical narrative with meaning. The skull also attested that those objects were not only fragments of history but that they were related to one another and tied into an extensive web of narratives. Their true authority resulted from their force as objects that provided for material, spatial, and chronological authentications of history and, in their interrelatedness, validated the broad stream of past traditions at Rome.

2  The provenance of Caput Oli: Fabius Pictor FRHist 1 F 30 = FRH 1 F 16 (who might have been behind the aetiological assertion of Capitol and Caput Oli), with Liv. 1.55.5; Dion. Hal. 4.59–61; Plin. nat. 28.15. On the association with the Vibenna brothers Aulus and Caeles, cf. Cornell (1995), 145. 3  Cincius Alimentus FRH 2 F 1, from Liv. 7.3.5–8 (lex de clavo pangendo). See FRHist I, 183 for an argument that this belongs to the antiquarian Cincius. 4  Coarelli (1983), 178–188. The inscription on it: CIL I2 1 = ILLRP 3. 5  The inscription may well be the one which Dionysius (2.45.2) believed contained the deeds of Romulus.



For Rome’s earliest historians, tangible items were both a source of knowledge and an interpretative challenge. Their physicality provided a hardwired control unit for the historians’ work: they were pieces of extra-textual authority, and the scholarly debate over the objects – their origins, context, meaning – amounted to nothing less than a marker of the authority of the histories, and thus their authors’ own reliability as historians. No wonder, then, that the early historians paid particular attention to documentary evidence wherever they could, and they engaged in in-depth discussions with one another over their meaning as historical monuments.6 Polybius, in a famous note, turned the axiom of physicality around and took the lack of a material copy of the Philinus treaty – which he was unable to find in the state archive – as one of the main arguments against its historicity.7 In 181 BCE, one of the most exciting pieces of historical evidence surfaced at Rome. During construction work at the foot of the Ianiculum a stone chest was found in the ground, covered with a lid that was fastened with lead.8 Upon being opened, the chest revealed the writings of king Numa. The discovery was a huge sensation; it is no wonder the incident has left broad traces in the Roman historiography of the republican period, and beyond.9 The earliest historian to report the issue was Cassius Hemina (FRHist 6 F 35 = FRH 6 F 40, from Plin. nat. 13.84–88) who was a teenager at the time of the discovery. Hemina, 6  The aforementioned Lapis Niger, for instance, was believed by some to mark the grave of either Romulus or his foster-father Faustulus, while other historians declared it was the tomb of Hostus Hostilius, the father of the third king of Rome: Fest. 104 L. See also the discussion of the “Marcian Shield” (first mentioned in Acilius FRHist 7 F 3 = FRH 5 F 6), which was kept in the Capitol. Cf. Liv. 25.39.11–13 and 16–17, who sums up the stories that clustered around L. Marcius. Jaeger (1997, 124–131) brilliantly discusses the interaction of the shield, as a physical piece of evidence, with the historical space constructed by Livy’s text and Roman memory. 7  Pol. 3.26 = in part Philinos BNJ 174 F 1 (C. Champion), the so-called Philinos treaty. The discussion over its authenticity is of no concern here. It appears that the inexistence of the treaty was a discursive reality to the Romans. 8  The site in question is in close proximity to the conference venue, a few hundred metres to the east of the Villa Lante al Gianicolo, the seat of the Institutum Romanum Finlandiae. In the early 16th century Baldassarre Turini, the first owner of the villa, commissioned a fresco depicting the discovery of Numa’s writings with the Villa Lante in the background. This painting by Polidoro da Caravaggio, which used to adorn the ceiling in the salone of the villa, is now in the Palazzo Zuccari. 9  Sources: Hemina FRHist 6 F 35 = FRH 6 F 40; Piso FRHist 9 F 14 = FRH 7 F 13; Sempronius Tuditanus FRHist 10 F 3 = FRH 8 F 7; Valerius Antias FRHist F 25 F 9a/b = FRH 15 F 9–10; Liv. 40.29.3–14; Val. Max. 1.1.12; Plut. Num. 22; Fest. 178 L; Lact. inst. 1.22.5; Aug. civ. 7.34 (Terentius Varro). Cf. Broughton, MRR I, 384.

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referenced by Pliny, says that a scribe Cn. Terentius, while digging over his land, excavated the chest that contained the remains of Numa, along with his books on papyrus rolls. Pliny next cites Hemina’s Annales verbatim, indicating that, among the many mysteries and rumours that surrounded the books, their physical nature and the question of how they survived such a long time were the most surprising. This is the direct quotation from Hemina: “Other people were amazed at how those books were able to survive; he (scil. Cn. Terentius) gave the following explanation: in roughly the middle of the casket there was a square-cut stone, bound up in all directions by waxed cords. The books had been placed in that stone, in its upper part; for this reason, he supposed, they had not rotted. Moreover the books had been treated with citron-oil; for this reason he supposed insects had not touched them.” The scholarly debate on the nature of the books, the circumstances of their discovery, and their actual contents, is as long as it is controversial.10 The only area of consensus concerns the ultimate fate of the books. In accordance with a decree issued by the senate, they were burnt under the surveillance of the praetor urbanus. Consequently, soon after they were retrieved from the ground, the books went up in flames, though the sources imply that a certain amount of time – several days or possibly weeks – lapsed between the opening of the chests and the burning of the scrolls. The man who originally found them, the secretary Terentius,11 presumably read through the materials first and circulated them to friends and others who were interested. At some point the discovery was brought to the attention of the city praetor, Q. Petilius Spurinus, who then consulted with the senate before he took action. Other sources claim that an appeal was made to the tribunes who in turn referred the issue over to the senate. When the praetor Petilius offered to swear an oath that the books ought not to be read or preserved, because of their seemingly dangerous contents, the senate ordered by decree that they be burnt. They were then brought into the Comitium and were consigned to the flames by an ad hoc college of victimarii.12

10  See among others, Garbarino (1973), I, 64–69, II, 244–258; Grilli (1982); Linderski (1985); Rosen (1985); Gruen (1990); Santini (1995): 185–195; Willi (1998); Rosenberger (2003). 11  Livy (40.29.3) gives the name of the clerk on whose property the chest was discovered as L. Petilius, a familiaris of the praetor Q. Petilius, but this is almost certainly erroneous: Gruen (1990), 165. 12  Rosenberger (2003, 44–48) surveys similar instances of book discoveries, and subsequent burning, in Greek and Roman culture. He concludes that the incident of 181 is unique (48), which makes it even more notable.



The question as to why this was done is of a different calibre. I do not intend to engage in the debate on Quellenkritik here,13 nor would I want to survey all of the prevalent scholarly positions that have emerged from that debate. For instance, Hemina says that only one chest was discovered, which contained the remains of Numa and his writings.14 Livy (40.29.5–6) speaks of two chests, but Numa’s body is conspicuously absent. Some sources say that the books contained either Pythagorean writings and/or treatises that also betrayed the Hellenic roots of Numa’s teachings; in the spirit of the day, this made them unwelcome and unfit for public consumption.15 Hemina is vague about the contents, speaking merely of philosophiae scripta (F 40 FRH). Sempronius Tuditanus (F 7 FRH) relates that the book rolls comprised certain decreta of Numa’s. Piso (F 13 FRH) mentions seven books of pontifical law, plus the same number of Pythagorean books; Valerius Antias twelve books in each category, respectively (F 9a and b FRH). According to Varro, whose work is referenced by Augustine (civ. 7.34), the books contained information on the original reasons “why this or that rite had been instituted”. Augustine himself goes on to explain that the books were burnt because they filled the hearts of the senators with fear (ibid.); “they were too afraid merely to bury them” so they had to “destroy by fire every trace of such monstrous wickedness”. In a magisterial piece of source analysis and interpretation, Erich Gruen argued that the Helleno-Pythagorean contents were in themselves a hoax.16 Prosopographical observations on the identity of the scriba and his relation to the praetor, along with other ingenious conclusions, led Gruen to posit that the whole affair was nothing but a charade. Terentius and Petilius had “worked hand in hand” (165) to stage the discovery of Numa’s writings. The ultimate goal of their ruse was, according to Gruen, that the books “were ‘discovered’ precisely to be burnt” (166). The broader meaning of the manoeuvre was to demonstrate “that Roman religious tradition had separated itself from its Hellenic underpinnings. To confront the Greek component was to expose 13  For the rise of divergent versions in the tradition, see Forsythe (1994), 207–215; Rosenberger (2003), 40–44. 14  Rosenberger (2003), 43 with n. 9. 15  The reference to Pythagorean contents in the sources has led some, first Delatte (1936), to view the incident a full-fledged attack of the senate on the (assumed) spread of Pythagorism at Rome. In this sense, the event is seen as a follow-up to the Bacchanalian affair a few years earlier (below). But it is questionable, I believe, if the rise of a competitive belief system that was based in Pythagorean traditions and principles was at all on the agenda of Roman society at the time. See Humm (1996) and Id. (1997) on the associated problems and challenges. 16  Gruen (1990), 163–170.

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its estrangement”. Effectively, the burning of the books represented “a form of exorcism” (170) and the “renunciation not of Numa but of Numa’s Hellenism. The event signified avowal of native values inherent in the community” (170). Rather than seeing the affair as an ingenious move by a circle of ringleaders who competed for power and influence, or a contest between so-called philhellenic and antihellenic forces, Gruen suggests that the entire nobility was behind this move: “Unanimity rather than divisiveness prevails. The event was well orchestrated to display the solid front of the nobility” (169). Effectively, a very large number of senators, and with them their families, friends, clients, and other associates, must have been in the know about the fraud. This interpretation has much in its favour, although we ought to acknowledge that it is not representative of a communis opinio; I will return to this aspect soon. At the moment, however, it suffices to extricate the operating assumptions underlying Gruen’s interpretation. For our purposes, it is best to do this by shaping a minimalist reading of the affair and its surrounding events. Such a minimalist view reads as follows: in 181 BCE certain books surfaced that were associated with Numa, the second king of Rome. Whether there were mortal remains or not is unclear.17 The discovery triggered a lively debate, in the senate and beyond; indeed, Livy (40.29.9) says that the existence of the books had become public knowledge and, we might add, that the debate over them created a discursive reality. In this vein of inquiry it does not matter if the books were fake or not. As long as the public opinion held them to be authentic, they were true and real – as real as the skull of Olus and other pieces of documentary evidence. The second operating assumption is that the evidence was burnt because the papyri were considered unwelcome as a result of the debate that has evolved around them. Consequently they were declared dangerous, if not pernicious. Note that we hear nothing about a potential challenge to 17  While the earliest authority (Hemina) speaks of one chest only with the bones included in it, Livy has two sarcophagi of which the one with the grave inscription of the deceased king was empty, the remains having rotted away after such a long time. In Hemina’s tradition, one wonders what had happened to the bones, and why they were not kept and/ or buried in a shrine. Dion. Hal. 2.76.6 attests Numa’s tomb at the foot of the Janiculum independently from the affair in 181 BCE. Cicero, too (leg. 2.56), implies that Numa’s tomb was located in that spot, see LTUR s.v. ‘sepulchrum, Numa Pompilius’. There is no mention in the sources that the excavated bones were transferred there. Livy’s version avoids the question of the relics and their potentially sacred aura, but Livy is not trouble free either. If one of the chests had the titulum sepulti regis (40.29.5) written on it, what happened to it? We are left to think that it was discarded, or re-buried in the tomb mentioned by Cicero. Rosenberger (2003) also addresses the question of the missing body from a comparative perspective.



the decision to burn them. This is an argument from silence, yet it is possible to turn this point over and frame it in positive terms: from the sources we get the impression that everyone in Rome agreed that burning the books was the best thing to do. The papyrus rolls were burnt shortly after their discovery, and so the finest piece of documentary evidence we could have had on Rome’s single most important founding authority in the field of religion and cultural traditions went up in flames. According to Livy, during his reign Numa had provided the Romans with “written directions, full and accurate, for the performance of the rites of worship” (sacra omnia exscripta exsignataque: 1.20.5). Some five hundred years later those written directions re-surfaced, and, apparently, everyone agreed it was best to destroy them. According to Erich Gruen’s interpretation this was done because the entire incident was a carefully planned charade. Numa’s writings were made to materialize miraculously so that they could be eliminated in a forceful pronouncement of Romanitas; challenging the widely acknowledged legend of Numa’s Hellenic background would have been pointless if not impossible. It was more promising to declare that such a background no longer suited the circumstances of the day. Much speaks in favour of such a reading, but, if we follow this avenue of reasoning, it should be recognized that the charade was somewhat risky, if not hazardous. As noted above, from the time at which the evidence was discovered to when it was destroyed there were multiple moments of debate and decision-making. Those who pulled the strings must have been confident enough that they would get away with their plot – accordingly they must have been convinced that no one would raise a different opinion; no one would get too curious or inquisitive about the books; and no one would point to their eminent value as historical documents, let alone their aura and authority as sacred scripts. For instance, the nature of the Sibylline Books was not dissimilar to the written legacy of Numa. This is also true for their notorious Hellenic provenance, something that was considered particularly shady about the Numa files. The Sibylline Books were a collection of oracular utterances that served the Roman state as a last resort in times of crisis. According to the Roman tradition, the rolls were purchased by the last king of Rome, Tarquinius Superbus, from the Sibyl in Cyme. The senate kept tight watch over the books. They were locked away in a vault beneath the Temple of Iuppiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitol. In the second century BCE, access was limited to the decemviri sacris faciundis who consulted the scripts after a corresponding senatorial decree in order to discover religious observances necessary to avert calamities and to

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expiate prodigies.18 Before 181 BCE, the last time these books had been consulted was apparently in 205/204 in the crisis of the Hannibalic War. The last ludi in honour of Cybele (ludi Megalenses) were held about a decade before the discovery of the Numa books, in 194 or 191. Most likely, the scripts were referenced in one way or the other during those games.19 As to all intents and purposes, an authentic document from the earliest history of Rome that offered the community a tangible link to its foundational period under the Tarquinii, the Sibylline Books were surrounded with an almost magical aura, motivating the construction of no less than eight temples at Rome, notwithstanding the ceremonies and cults that were considered to be inaugurated on account of their consultation.20 In comparison to the Sibylline Books, Numa’s writings would have carried even more authority, on the grounds of their higher age and weight of authorship. The ring leaders of the charade – if indeed it was a charade – must thus have been confident that no one would raise the issue that the books were a potential asset and benefit for the Roman state in whatever crisis that lay ahead; or they felt confident enough that they would be able to effectively counter such an argument. This is not impossible, but such reasoning would require further explanation. Again, the perpetrators played a game with a very high jackpot: the most sacred Roman writings of all times. Few discoveries could have sparked more talk and public interest, with all the uncertainties attached to the trajectories and turning points of the debate. In Gruen’s interpretation, the most pressing question is how the svengalis could have hoped that the nobility would be united in its desire to articulate its cultural identity and play along so that they might succeed with their heist. It is worthwhile to explore the preconditions on which it was possible to work towards the desired outcome of the charade. A hint comes from the statement in the sources that the writings were of a religious content that was time-honoured; they were old. Roman religion was not a book religion with one sacred text at its centre serving as its central source of authority. This has often been noted, and the consequences for the religious practices at Rome have been carefully considered. Most notably, the lack of one single source of authority opened the door to a highly ­compartmentalized 18  Cf. Latte (1960), 160–161; Beard – North – Price (1998), 62–63, 69, 205; Orlin (1997); Engels (2007), 739–744. 19  Consultation in 205 BCE: Liv. 29.10.4 (introduction of the Magna Mater from Asia Minor). The ludi: Livy (34.54.3) places them in 194, Valerius Antias (FRHist 25 F 44 = FRH 15 F 41) in 191, cf. Bernstein (1998), 193 ff. 20  Orlin (1997), 97–98.



expertise, or “knowledge of giving the gods their due” (scientia colendorum deorum, Cic. nat. deor. 1.116), accumulated in and administered by multiple colleges of priests: for instance, how to perform rites and observe cult practices; or how to govern the communication with the gods and interpret the expressions of their will. The notion of expert knowledge should not be confused here with secret knowledge or arcaneness. The knowledge of those experts was, for the most part, not secret but accessible to those who were not in the know. In general terms, in Rome’s republican performance culture, the celebration of festivals and religious ceremonies was always a public affair with the community present to observe and participate in the exercise of the sacra publica. The colleges of the main priesthoods all resided in the centre of the city, in close proximity to the Forum; the pontifex maximus, as is well known, in the Domus Publica adjacent to the Regia, situated on the eastern side of the Forum. Before his house, the pontifex maximus displayed a tabula dealbata that informed the public about his measures and doings. Cato (FRHist 5 F 80 = FRH 3 F 4,1) and Ennius (ann. 153 Skutsch), both of whom saw the tabula with their own eyes, attest that it listed eclipses of the sun and moon and also bad harvests – so the table documented the activity of the pontifex, including information on types of days (dies fasti, nefasti) and months, public affairs that were subject to prior consultation of auspices, as well as measures to restore good relations with the gods. To be sure, the tabula recorded omina and measures of expiation, but not necessarily the ultimate recipe for it. But much of the pontifex maximus’s activity became transparent through the tabula, and everyone was able to approach the Regia and see what the adequate course of action in response to any dubious omen was.21 Other colleges might have done the same and published their minutes on boards or stone slabs, although the earliest evidence for this comes only from later periods.22 The chief pontiff’s practice was discontinued only half a century after the discovery of the Numa books, under the pontifex maximus P. Mucius Scaevola (between 130 and 115 BCE), who published the contents of the various tabulae that he had collected over time (up to 390 BCE?) in a monograph later known

21  On this public aspect of the tabula, cf. now FRHist I, 141–159 (J. Rich), esp. 144: “In fact, the board must have been posted to inform the Roman people of recent events … . As many scholars have supposed, the initial focus may have been … on events which had some religious significance that brought them within the (admittedly wide-ranging) concerns of the pontifical college”. See also FRH I2, 32–37 and Rich (this volume). 22  See, for example, the fragments of the minutes of the Arval Brothers from imperial times, CIL VI 2042.

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as Annales maximi.23 These annales were again openly accessible to everyone who could lay their hands on them to read. Most likely, Scaevola’s edition already included a commentary that elaborated on the subject matter and helped people navigate through the convoluted text.24 If that were not enough, authors such as Numerius Fabius Pictor and Fabius Maximus Servilianus offered contemporaneous commentarii on pontifical law that made the expert knowledge of the pontifices further accessible.25 All the great colleges – the collegium pontificum, the augures, the decemviri facis saciundis, and the tres/septemviri epulonum – maintained their own archives with corresponding commentaries, most notably the pontifical and augural archives, the libri sacrorum and auguriorum.26 In them, the formative texts of their disciplina and ius were kept. The collection of decreta and responsa added on to this, forming the most recent and constantly growing part of their archives. As Jerzy Linderski pointed out in a seminal article from 1986, those records were deliberately “destined for public or at least senatorial consumption, and consequently, they must have been relatively accessible to interested scholars” (2245). The nature of the organization of those commentarii made it inevitable that “considerable knowledge was required to find oneself in the labyrinth of augural texts” (2252). This explains at least in part the confusion that at times prevailed among ancient authors with regards to their interpretation. Yet there was nothing arcane about their contents. While the archives of the colleges might have been kept close for anyone to conduct a search, the commentarii were readily available for intellectual consumption. The tendency towards transparency in religious governance at Rome had already begun with the publication of the Twelve Tables; Table Ten included both basic and far-reaching regulations that concerned the exercise of funeral

23  The notorious question of the relation between Scaevola’s book version and the records from the tabulae is of little concern here; cf. EAH s.v. ‘Annales maximi’ (G. Forsythe) and s.v. ‘Mucius Scaevola, Publius’ (H. Beck); Rich (this volume). 24  This might be deduced from the monumentality – in a strictly quantitative sense – of the published edition which allegedly comprised 80 books, FRHist I T 3. See the discussion by J. Rich in FRHist I, 150–156 and in this volume, who points to the problem of sheer massiveness. Beyond the alternatives surveyed by Rich (either an eighty-book version of plain annual records collected by the pontifices or a massively expanded compilation by Scaevola or later authors) there lies the possibility of annual priestly records, appended with learned commentaries by Scaevola. 25  On Numerius Fabius Pictor, see Cic. Brut. 81 (BNP I 34); cf. Badian (1967), 228. On Fabius Maximus Servilianus (cos. 142), see Macr. Sat. 1.16.25 (BNP I 29). 26  Linderski (1986), 2242.



ceremonies.27 In 304, the display of a calendar indicating dies fasti and nefasti by Cn. Flavius had a similar impact on the publication of some of the community’s most basic religious rules.28 Under Tiberius Coruncanius, consul in 280 and first plebeian pontifex maximus in c. 254 BCE, another spurt towards further accessibility of religious knowledge occurred: Coruncanius was the first who had “publically professed” (publice professum, in Pomponius) the scientia that was associated with his office. Consequently, many responsa and memorabilia of his were known, two of which are cited in Pomponius.29 The same goes for the pontifical commentarii of the aforementioned Fabii, Numerius Fabius Pictor and Fabius Maximus Servilianus, who related all sorts of formula and responsa.30 The early Roman historians did the same on many occasions, including archival materials throughout their works that they explicated, explained, and elaborated on.31 In sum, there is a strong and broad thread here. The tendency to enhance the authority of written traditions through crossreferences with other traditions is obvious, especially reference to the sanctioned sayings and prescriptions of the priestly colleges. In turn, the scientia of those colleges was opened up to the public, through teachings, in historical literature, and through public acts that were both visible and, as such, comprehensible to those who participated in them. One final aspect needs to be considered before we can shelve the idea of a secret or secluded realm of religious knowledge, and that is the human factor. As has been noted by some, the identity of the personnel that occupied the priesthoods, and thus were entrusted with the administration and governance of the scientia, usually overlapped with those of the leading magistrates, senators, and members of the ruling elite. Thanks to Jörg Rüpke’s magisterial prosopography of Roman priests (2005), we are now able to study the composition of priesthoods at any moment after 300 BCE (for as much as the names survive). With this it has become again obvious that the vast majority of attested and identified priests during the republic were not only religious office-holders, but also members of the senate. Roman aristocrats filled different “roles of 27  Crawford (1996), II, 704–711. 28  Liv. 9.46; cf. Piso FRHist 9 F 29 = FRH 7 F 30; Licinus Macer FRHist 27 F 24 = FRH 17 F 19 (with commentaries). See also Humm (2000) and Beck (2005), 178 ff. 29  Pomp. Dig. and 38 = IA I.5 Bremer. On Coruncanius, see Hölkeskamp (2011), 179. 30   IA II.1, III.6, III.8 Bremer, with some confusion of the Fabii. 31  E.g, the constitutiones governing food consumption stipulated by Numa (Hemina FRHist 6 F 16–17 = FRH 6 F 15–16); the senatorial decrees regarding the instauration of games (Fabius FRHist 1 F 14 = FRH 1 F 19); Sisenna’s declared reservation towards dream prodigia (FRHist 26 F 6 = FRH 16 F 5); Coelius Antipater’s discussion of the various omens during Flaminius’ consulate (FRHist 15 F 14 = FRH 11 F 20 a–b).

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prominence” at the same time; priests and senators were recruited from one and the same pool of potential candidates. Priests would thus find it hard to keep their religious knowledge secret from the senate simply because most of them were also senators.32 In 181 BCE, when the books surfaced, C. Servilius Geminus was pontifex maximus (praetor 206 and consul 203); his brother M. Servilius Geminus (cos. 202) was among the leading members of the augures, along with L. Quinctius Flamininus (T. Quinctius’ brother, expelled from the senate in 184 but still augur), L. Aemilius Paullus (cos. 182) and Sp. Postumius Albinus, an uncle of the later historian Aulus Postumius Albinus. Among the decemviri sacris faciundis were C. Servilius Geminus (also pontifex maximus), L. Cornelius Lentulus (cos. 199) and Ti. Sempronius Longus (also augur). M. Porcius Cato (cos. 195) was a member of the Sodalitas Sacris Idaeis Magnae Matris and possibly also augur.33 It is not particularly promising to engage in prosopography games and determine who of the above was in the know of the charade and who was not. Such conjectures, suggestive as they seem, misjudge the political grammar of the Roman nobility, both in the particular case and in principle.34 Gruen’s reference to a united front of the nobility cautiously avoids such a factional reading of Roman politics.35 But this eminent strength 32  The point is of some importance here. Although it is often noted that Roman priests were specialists and keepers of expert knowledge, it is imperative to note that their expertise was not confined to the realm of religion. One of the defining characteristics of Roman religion is its governance by individuals who were political, social, and religious leaders of the community at the same time. See Beard – North – Price (1998, 18–30) whose statement deserves to be quoted in full (27): “Priests themselves were not part of an independent or self-sufficient religious structure; nor do they seem ever to have formed a separate caste, or to have acted as a group of specialist professionals, defined by their priestly role. From the third century onwards, the historical record preserves the names of a good proportion of augures and pontifices; from this it is clear that priests were drawn from among the leading senators – that is, they were the same men who dominated politics and the law, fought the battles, celebrated triumphs and made great fortunes on overseas commands.” See also Szemler (1972) and Beck (2008), with regard to the various roles of prominence embodied by Roman aristocrats. 33  Rüpke (2005), 85–86; Broughton, MRR III, 170 on Cato. 34  This is not the place for a general refutation of factionalist interpretations of Roman republican history. In the case in question, the priestly colleges were staffed with a vastly diverse group of nobiles, men who, in previous factionalist readings, were believed to belong to oppositional parties: notably L. Quinctius Flamininus, a Scipio, Cato, and a pontifex maximus who, in the Münzer/Scullard tradition, was associated with the gens Fabia. 35  Gruen (1990), 169. However, he does entertain the idea of a personal alliance between Petilius and Cato, which was directed against the Scipios.



of the interpretation points also to an inherent weakness of the argument. As a small sample of the senate and the upper stratum of society, the various priesthoods were staffed with aristocrats who stood in fierce competition with one another. In their attempts to distinguish themselves, raise their esteem, and acquire fame and symbolic capital, these men formulated attitudes and influenced actions on the grounds of ad hoc opportunities and agendas. The broad consensus that was necessary to maintain their group identity as ruling elite was thus counterbalanced by the omnipresent readiness for competition. With their authority supplied by a mixture of registers (mastery in politics and war, religious affairs, and also eruditeness and expertise in historical and cultural traditions), internally diversified through the demarcation of aristocratic ranks, old aristocratic families and new ones, and divided between rich, super-rich, and modestly rich families, the Roman nobility was a much more heterogeneous group than has often been assumed. To all members of this aristocracy, the sudden appearance of Numa’s writings was of immediate concern. The books impacted the collective source of their identity as ruling elite, and they fed into various branches of their authority. It is hard to imagine that the ringleaders of the charade could have counted on unconditional and univocal support of their ruse. It is usually agreed that the Numa books related to the wider context of religious control at Rome. Scholarly readings of the affair are often glossed over with the notion of the exercise of religious authority; in this sense, the events from 181 are seen as a follow-up to the suppression of the Bacchanals and the tight control of their rites by senatorial decree five years earlier, in 186 BCE (see below). But the surfacing of documentary evidence from Rome’s second king was not simply a religious matter, neatly distinguished from the arena of politics. As we just noted, the interplay between both areas was tight, and it was intense. The overlap of political and social authority is commonplace in Roman history. It was deeply entrenched in the Roman tradition – so deep that it is indeed questionable if a separation of the two spheres is at all helpful. In Book 10, when relating the debate over the lex Ogulnia, Livy stresses the idea that the reception of auspicium was a cult practice that was at the centre of all legitimizing acts of the patricians, and then, after the passing of the lex Ogulnia, of the nobility in general.36 Consuls generally fought under their own auspicium and imperium – the former established through a divine sign that was acknowledged by the augures. The role of the augures was thus not just to guarantee the success of an undertaking, but also to bestow divine power on 36  Liv. 10.6.1–6 = Elster (2003), no. 46; cf. Hölkeskamp (1988).

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the actions of the nobility that gave order and meaning to their role in society.37 The governing decrees behind this practice were believed to have been prescribed by Numa, who was also considered the exemplum for a properly inaugurated leader (Liv. 1.18.6–10). According to Livy, Tullus Hostilius, who had canonically succeeded Numa, paid very little heed to religious observances during his reign, thinking them unworthy of a king’s attention. However, Rome was soon affected by a series of prophecies, including a shower of stones on the Alban Mount. A loud voice was heard on the summit of the mount complaining that the Albans had failed to show devotion to their former gods, and a pestilence struck in Rome. Tullus himself became ill and was filled with superstition. He reviewed the commentarii of Numa Pompilius, Livy goes on, and attempted to carry out sacrifices recommended by Numa. Yet he did not undertake the ceremony correctly, and both he and his house were struck by lightning and reduced to ashes as a result of the anger of Iuppiter (Liv. 1.30). Observance of the auspices as laid down by Numa became an omnipresent, governing practice among the members of the elite, as divine retribution for violation by perpetrators was commonplace in Roman tradition. Beginning at 10.40, Livy describes a battle in the Third Samnite War under the year 293 BCE, when the consul L. Papirius Cursor led his legions against a Samnite army at Aquilonia. Papirius took the auspices, but apparently his pullarii disputed the interpretation of the results, something which he only learns after he had given order for battle. Papirius then, essentially, said “as far as is my concern, I was given the auspices correctly, so if there is a problem, then it is the priest who is going to pay for it” (which is precisely what happens as the pullarius is struck by a missile the moment battle commences). The religious attitudes manifested in these and similar incidents are notoriously difficult to decode. Scholarly interpretations tend to chart the development of religious practices at Rome on a matrix that moves from an archaic belief system, grounded in the urban realm and society of Early Rome, to an increasing politicization of religion. While early Roman society is portrayed as a community bound together also by religious sanctions and sacred ties (indeed, part of Early Rome’s archaism is explained with reference to the tribal organization of Roman society in curiae, which in themselves related to the religious backbone of society),38 the impact of religion on society in later centuries is conceived of differently. Here, as in so many ways, the era of the Second Punic War is seen as a watershed in this development, when Livy refers to a 37  Cf. Bleicken (1981); Beck (2011); Drogula (2014). 38  Cornell (1995), 114–118; Smith (2006), 198–202.



notable volume of religious observances that appear as functionalistic acts, orchestrated to instil a sense of obedience in the populus through a theatrical display of the restoration of the pax deorum.39 Although the development of religious belief systems at Rome is in itself vastly complex, the notion of increasing functionalism is not easily rejected, especially in the last century of the republic. But the transition from true belief to full subordination under the dynamics of politics should not be overstated either. Bernhard Linke has pointed to the shortcomings of this model.40 Drawing on the basic foundations of Roman religio, Linke demonstrates how the people and the aristocracy were united in a religious discourse, the grammar of which was too complex and, in itself, certainly too distinct to be reduced to the modern day binary of true belief versus steps on the ascent to political power. As active agents in this religious discourse, both the nobiles and the people were limited in their ability to manipulate the realm of religion by easily dissociating themselves from its governing beliefs.41 To posit that the Numa books were simply invented by a group of senators who then sought to use them in an elaborate ruse that was swallowed by the nobility as whole discounts, I believe, those considerations. It implies a religious grammar that simply was not in place. Roman society in the early second century BCE did not operate on easy alternatives of religiosity and the abuse thereof in politics; it functioned within its own parameters of belief. In this mindset, the physical discovery and reappearance of the Numa books was simply too significant to be manipulated as part of a sophisticated yearning for cultural identity, elite ideology, or political power. At this point we have assembled enough evidence, both general and specific, to re-assess the affair arising over the discovery of the Numa books. In 181 BCE, a man identified by the earliest sources as Cn. Terentius discovered one or two stone chests during excavation works on his property, one of which contained 39  See Rüpke (2007, 44–61), who distinguishes the different periods under the labels of ‘urbanization’, ‘politicization’ and ‘Hellenization’. His cut-off between the latter two comes slightly after the Hannibalic War, in c. 196 BCE with the inauguration of the tresviri epulonum, the last new foundation of one of the city’s prestigious colleges before late antiquity. Note that Rüpke (2007, 56) conceives of the ‘Hellenization’ period as an extension of the previous phase. 40  Linke (2000), 269–298. 41  Linke (2000), 294. See also Beard – North – Price (1998), 134–140, whose case study on the feuds between Cicero and Clodius reminds the reader that the disruption of religion in the late republic does not imply a general breakdown of the belief system. Rather, the way in which the quarrels were carried out illustrates the extent to which the religious discourse was alive.

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writings. Already a brief glance at the scribbles made it clear that they were old. Upon further examination (the texts were most likely difficult to decipher)42 it became clear that they were of a religious nature. In light of prevalent legendary traditions about their past, it was obvious to everyone to assign the authorship of the books to Numa Pompilius; in fact, there was no other founding figure who could have been credited with their composition. The inherent mechanics of historical memories at Rome supported such an attribution. Roman exemplarity was associated with individual men or women who were remembered for their embodiment of specific virtues, moral qualities, and achievements. As exempla virtutis, they shaped perceptions of the past and they formed the core of obligatory patterns of behaviour in the present day. The mythical kings were key agents of such a conceptualization of the past. Many of them displayed exemplary virtues themselves, but their quality as founding fathers of the community transcended the notion of exemplarity as displayed in a specific moment or under particular circumstances. The military, cultural, and societal foundations of Rome were all attributed to one of the kings, with each one of them serving as a memorial anchor of society and its defining virtues. In the realm of religion, Numa’s authority was omnipresent. It was unchallenged and indisputable.43 The Numa books were a societal reality, a truth in the discourse of Roman society. It is noteworthy that no ancient authority, from Hemina to Augustine, ever said they were a forgery. As pieces of documentary evidence, the books were of pivotal importance. This importance is often seen as impacting on the realm of Roman religion: it was argued that their written form might have stirred up the emotions of the masses who, at some point in the near future, would turn to the books as canonical source of authority. Effectively, such a call might have posed a challenge, if not a threat, to the authority of the senate. Faced with this risk, the senate rather opted for an act of impietas and burnt the books, not quietly or behind the closed doors of a priestly college, but in an act that fully captured the authority of the patres. Livy (40.29.14) says the books were burnt in conspectu populi, emphasizing the public dimension of the senate’s response.44 The aspect of deliberate, ostentatious action is usually 42  Note how the Carmen Saliare, the origins of which were associated with Numa (Plut. Num. 13) was difficult to understand for later Romans as well. By the second century CE, the priests themselves apparently did not understand the words of the hymn: Quint. inst. 1.6.40. 43  Poucet (2000); Walter (2004), 51–62, 374–407 (374–382 on Numa). See also Ogilvie (1970), 88–105 and Liou-Gille (1998), 103–192. 44  Willi (1998), 145–146; Rosenberger (2003), 52.



augmented with reference to the struggle for social control. The Bacchanalian affair five years earlier, in 186 BCE, notoriously attests to such an overlap of the governance of religious practices and the quest for social authority, when the senate by decree asserted its religious and political leadership over a mystery cult that had grown increasingly divergent from established rites at Rome.45 The question of authenticity obfuscates the nature of the truth of the rolls as believed by Roman society. Whatever might have been extracted from the books in terms of intelligible contents, whether they were by Numa or not, would have posed a similar challenge to the senate. But we can go further than that. For Numa’s books were a challenge to the sum of all traditions at Rome. They had the capacity to undermine the expertise of the senate and priesthoods; of writers of annales, historiae; of commentators on leges sacrae, decreta and responsa; and of the full array of cult practices at Rome, including their assigned social meaning.46 Modern scholarship looks at those traditions through the kaleidoscope of diversified genres, a process that was initialized by, and took shape with, the rise of historiographical traditions at Rome, with Fabius Pictor making a decisive contribution to this diversification. Yet the inherent assumptions of those genres were the same, and in their quest for authority, they were much more closely associated with one another than sometimes assumed. Drawing on the same societal presumptions and, in part, the same body of material and documentary evidence, the traditions that emanated from Roman society were not genre driven, at least not in the first place.47 By the early second century at the latest, the 190s and 180s BCE, an allinclusive, canonical view of the historical and cultural foundations of Rome

45  Liv. 39.8–18 and ILS 18; Cassius Hemina FRHist 6 F 34 = FRH 6 F 39. Cf. Pailler (1988); Bauman (1990); Gruen (1990), 34–78; Nippel (1997); Linke (2000), 269–273; Takacs (2000); Orlin (2002). 46  See Linderski (1985), who sees the possibility that the book would have impacted the augural discipline. Augustine (civ. 7.35) makes the interesting point that the writings were burnt because they were incompatible with what was written in the books that existed: quales si libri illi habuissent, non utique arsissent, aut et istos Varronis ad Caesarem pontificem scriptos atque editos patres conscripti similiter incendissent. Pomponius (D. says that M’. Manilius (cos. 149) later published a collection of Numa’s laws in seven books, presumably with commentary. It follows that the books themselves were believed to be erratic, rather than the commentaries that were produced to interpret Numa’s prescriptions. 47  See also the contribution by Duncan MacRae to this volume, which points to the shortcomings of rigid genre diversification, and also Rich’s argument (this volume) on the similarity of Fabius Pictor’s and Ennius’ approach to early Roman history.

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appears to have been in place.48 The details were of course open to debate and negotiation among those who engaged in this process; for instance, the learned interpretation of divine signs, the correct reading of aitia, or the earliest chronology of cult practices were heavily debated amongst authors of annales, historiae, and commentarii. But on the whole, there was an extremely forceful and impactful canon in place that steered Roman society and appropriated its narrative realms. The actors of this canon operated within the guiding premises of the discourse, with limited potential, if any, for transgression. In our attempts to disentangle the strands of this discourse, it is difficult to create an interpretative space that allows for critical encounter with patterns of reasoning that are innately ‘foreign’ to the present day. David Lowenthal (1985) has therefore labelled the past a “foreign country”. The appropriation of material objects and documentary evidence into Rome’s early history is a good example of the way in which the Romans understood the cultural foundations and earliest history of their society. Everything – places, names, monuments, material evidence, oral traditions – was hyper-referenced with everything else. This narrative web was extremely dense within, but its connectivity with a narrative outside, as expressed in different points of view or in new readings that were based on new discoveries, was limited. The arrival of anything new might have led to its appropriation and integration into the existing narrative, yet it did not alter that narrative, or trigger fundamental renegotiations.49 To be sure, there was, to borrow Ernst Badian’s famous statement, room for the “expansion of the past” (1966), but such an expansion occurred within the limits of a set frame of references. Yet, the confines of the frame themselves were frozen.50 The great quality of that narrative, and the immense impact it had on society, came from its inherent coherence, with the senatorial elite brand-labelling 48  Cf. now Farney (2007), who discloses how Roman political culture mitigated the issue of initially diverse ethnic identities of many aristocrats, providing them with a very robust frame of reference that tied them together. 49  Note, for instance, the cultic difficulties that arose in the course of the inauguration of the Magna Mater cult, as a result of the consultation of the Sibylline Books in 205 (see above). See the discussion by Gruen (1990, 5–33), claiming (5) that the “spectacle offended Roman sensibilities, obliging the officialdom to exclude citizens from the alien priesthood and to separate the Roman celebration from the Phrygian ceremonies.” 50  This also resonates in the realm of priestly colleges, whose individual legendary derivations were interwoven with the grand narrative of Rome’s mytho-historical tradition. The last college that was established was that of the tresviri epulonum (above note 39). After 196 BCE, the year of their inauguration, changes to the overall organization of priesthoods were made through modifications and alterations of existing colleges, but no new ones were added.



itself as the keeper, engine, and interpretative authority behind this coherence. The arrival of Numa’s writings, on the other hand, implied a challenge of adaptation: their language would have been clumsy, the arrangement cluttered, the contents erratic. The Sibylline Books and the Carmen Saliare demonstrated the difficulties that existed with texts that were both time-honoured and of sacral nature – something that inevitably challenged the elite’s claim for ubiquitous expertise. It would have been even more difficult to streamline books of Numa, sync their contents with existing legends, and segue them into the broad current of traditions that the Romans had established for themselves. Two years after the discovery of the Numa books, in 179 BCE, the senate ordered the removal of all dedicated objects (signa) from the public space that were not sanctioned by itself or the Roman people.51 This famous first clearing away of spoils has invited different interpretations.52 What was at stake, I believe, other than the practical aspect that the urban space had become overcrowded, was that multitude of commemorative objects was prone to diversify, and possibly challenge, the coherence of a grand narrative. It is easy to imagine how some of the dedicated signa on display might have appeared odd. Some of the trophies and spoils that accumulated over time – the oldest of which would have reached back to the decades after the Gallic sack in the early fourth century BCE – must have appeared strange to present-day observers. If they were accompanied by writing, both the shape and language had developed in the meantime, adding to their inherently alien nature.53 Such strangeness was certainly the case with Numa’s books, which were against the sum of all traditions as they were in place at that time: religious, political, cultural. There was simply no place for them. The fact that everyone agreed on their fate betrays just how strong the prevailing traditions of the day had become, how deeply they were entrenched in Roman society, and how much they mattered.

51  Hemina FRHist 6 F 43 = FRH 6 F 26 (with commentary); Liv. 40.51.3. 52  Cf. notably Sehlmeyer (1999, 159–161) who assembles the relevant earlier readings. To view the measure as a clearing of statues rather than spoils and trophies (comm. FRHist, J. Briscoe) misses the point. 53  The language of the first treaty between Rome and Carthage, which predates the Gallic sack by roughly a century (508 BCE), posed a great interpretative challenge “to the most learned men”, as was remarked by Polybius (3.22.3). I take it that the more average reader will have felt the similar discomfort with texts from the first half of fourth century BCE.

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1 Postscript In The Grand Inquisitor, one of the great parables in Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Jesus returns to 13th-century Seville, where he performs a series of miracles. This causes his arrest by Inquisition leaders. The Grand Inquisitor visits him in his cell on the night before his execution and explains to him why his return interfered with the mission of the Church. The story ends when Christ, silent throughout, kisses the inquisitor instead of answering to his charges. On this, the inquisitor releases Christ but tells him never to return. Christ, still silent, leaves into the dark alleys of Seville, never to be seen again. There was no place for Christ in the Age of the Holy Inquisition, just as there was no more place for Numa in the early second century BCE – despite the fact that everyone agreed that both were the founding figures of the religious, social, and cultural systems that venerated them. Bibliography Badian, E. (1967). Review of Cicero, Brutus (ed. E. Malcovati) and Cicero, Brutus (ed. A. E. Douglas), JRS 57: 223–230. Bauman, R. A. (1990). ‘The suppression of the Bacchanals. Five questions’, Historia 39: 334–348. Beard, M., North, J., and Price, S. (1998). Religions of Rome I–II, Cambridge. Beck, H. (2005). Karriere und Hierarchie. Die römische Aristokratie und die Anfänge des cursus honorum in der mittleren Republik, Berlin. Beck, H. (2008). ‘Die Rollen des Adligen. Prominenz und aristokratische Herrschaft in der römischen Republik’, in H. Beck, P. Scholz, and U. Walter (Hrsgg.), Die Macht der Wenigen. Aristokratische Herrschaftspraxis, Kommunikation und ‘edler’ Lebensstil in Antike und Früher Neuzeit (München), 101–123. Beck, H. (2011). ‘Consular power and the Roman constitution. The case of imperium revisited’, in H. Beck, A. Dupla, M. Jehne, and F. Pina Polo (eds.), Consuls and res publica. Holding High Office in the Roman Republic (Cambridge), 77–96. Bernstein, F. (1998). Ludi publici. Untersuchungen zur Entstehung und Entwicklung der öffentlichen Spiele im republikanischen Rom (Historia Einzelschriften 119), Stuttgart. Bleicken, J. (1981). ‘Zum Begriff der römischen Amtsgewalt. Auspicium – potestas – imperium’, Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen, Phil.-Hist. Kl. 9: 257–300. Coarelli, F (1983). Il Foro Romano. Periodo arcaico, Roma. Cornell, T. J. (1995). The Beginnings of Rome. Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars, c. 1000–264 BC, London.



Crawford, M. H. (ed., 1996). Roman Statutes I–II (BICS, suppl. 64), London. Delatte, A. (1936). ‘Les doctrines pythagoriciennes des livres de Numa’, Académie royale de Belgique, Bulletin de la classe des lettres et des sciences morales et politiques 22: 19–40. Drogula, F. (2014). Commanders and Command in the Roman Republic, Chapel Hill, NC. Dyson, S. L. (2010). Rome. A Living Portrait of an Ancient City, Baltimore, MD. Elster, M. (2003). Die Gesetze der mittleren römischen Republik. Text und Kommentar, Darmstadt. Engels, D. (2007). Das römische Vorzeichenwesen (753–27 v.Chr.). Quellen, Terminologie, Kommentar, historische Entwicklung (Potsdamer Altertumswissenschaftliche Beiträge 22). Stuttgart. Farney, G. D. (2007). Ethnic Identity and Aristocratic Competition in Republican Rome, Cambridge. Forsythe, G. (1994). The Historian L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi and the Roman Annalistic Tradition, Lanham, MD. Garbarino, G. (1973). Roma e la filosofia greca dalle origini alle fine del II secolo a.C. I–II, Torino. Grilli, A. (1982). ‘Numa, Pitagora e la politica antiscipionica’, Contributi dell’Istituto di Storia antica dell’Univ. del Sacro Cuore 8: 186–197. Gruen, E. S. (1990). Studies in Greek Culture and Roman Policy (Cincinnati Classical Studies, n. s., 7), Leiden. Hölkeskamp, K.-J. (1988). ‘Das Plebiscitum Ogulnium de sacerdotibus. Überlegungen zu Authentizität und Interpretation der livianischen Überlieferung’, RhM 131: 51–67. Hölkeskamp, K.-J. (2005). ‘Images of power. Memory, myth and monuments in the Roman Republic’, review article on P. J. Holliday, The Origins of Roman Historical Commemoration in the Visual Arts (Cambridge 2002), SCI 24: 249–271. Hölkeskamp, K.-J. (2011). Die Entstehung der Nobilität. Studien zur sozialen und politischen Geschichte der Römischen Republik im 4. Jh. v. Chr., 2. erweit. Aufl., Stuttgart. Hölkeskamp, K.-J. (2012). ‘Im Gewebe der Geschichte(n). Memoria, Monumente und ihre mythistorische Vernetzung’, Klio 94: 380–414. Humm, M. (1996). ‘Les origines du pythagorisme romain: problèmes historiques et philosophiques, 1’, LEC 64: 339–353. Humm, M. (1997). ‘Les origines du pythagorisme romain: problèmes historiques et philosophiques, 2’, LEC 65: 25–42. Humm, M. (2000). ‘Spazio e tempo civici: riforma delle tribu e riforma del calendario alla fine del quarto secolo a.C.’, in C. Bruun (ed.), The Roman Middle Republic. Politics, Religion and Historiography (Acta Instituti Romani Finlandiae 23, Rome), 91–119. Jaeger, M. (1997). Livy’s Written Rome, Ann Arbor, MI. Latte, K. (1960). Römische Religionsgeschichte, München.

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Linderski, J. (1985). ‘The libri reconditi’, HSCPh 89: 207–239. Linderski, J. (1986). ‘The augural law’, ANRW II.16.3: 2146–2312. Linke, B. (2000). ‘Religio und res publica. Religiöser Glaube und gesellschaftliches Handeln im republikanischen Rom’, in B. Linke and M. Stemmler (Hrsgg.), Mos maiorum. Untersuchungen zu den Formen der Identitätsstiftung und Stabilisierung in der römischen Republik (Historia Einzelschriften 141, Stuttgart), 269–298. Liou-Gille, B. (1998). Une lecture ‘religieuse’ de Tite-Live, Paris. Muth, S. (2014). ‘Historische Dimensionen des gebauten Raumes – Das Forum Romanum als Fallbeispiel’, in O. Dally, T. Hölscher, S. Muth, and R. M. Schneider (Hrsgg.), Medien der Geschichte – Antikes Griechenland und Rom (Berlin – Boston), 285–329. Nippel, W. (1997). ‘Orgien, Ritualmorde und Verschwörung?’, in U. Manthe and J. von Ungern-Sternberg (Hrsgg.), Grosse Prozesse der römischen Antike (München), 65–73. Ogilvie, R. M. (1970). A Commentary on Livy: Books 1–5, second edition, Oxford. Orlin, E. M. (1997). Temples, Religion and Politics in the Roman Republic, Leiden. Orlin, E. M. (2002). ‘Foreign cults in republican Rome. Rethinking the pomerial rule’, MAAR 47: 1–16. Pailler, J.-M. (1988). Bacchanalia. La répression de 186 av. J. C. à Rome et en Italie: vestiges, images, tradition (Bibliothèque des Écoles françaises d’Athènes et de Rome 270), Rome. Poucet, J. (2000). Les Rois de Rome, Tradition et Histoire, Bruxelles. Roller, M. B. (2013). ‘On the intersignification of monuments in Augustan Rome’, AJPh 134: 119–131. Rosen, K. (1985). ‘Die falschen Numabücher. Politik, Religion und Literatur in Rom 181 v. Chr.’, Chiron 15: 65–90. Rosenberger, V. (2003). ‘Die verschwundene Leiche. Überlegungen zur Auffindung des Sarkophags Numas im Jahre 181 v.Chr.’, in B. Kranemann and J. Rüpke (Hrsgg.), Das Gedächtnis des Gedächtnisses. Zur Präsenz von Ritualen in beschreibenden und reflektierenden Texten (Marburg), 39–59. Rüpke, J. (2005). Fasti sacerdotum. Die Mitglieder der Priesterschaften und das sakrale Führungspersonal römischer, griechischer, orientalischer und jüdisch-christlicher Kulte in der Stadt Rom von 300 v.Chr. bis 499 n. Chr. I. Jahres- und Kollegienlisten; II. Biographien (unter Mitarbeit von A. Glock), Stuttgart. Rüpke, J. (2007). Religion of the Romans, Malden, MA. Santini, C. (1995). I frammenti di L. Cassio Emina. Introduzione, testo, traduzione e commento, Pisa. Sehlmeyer, M. (1999). Stadtrömische Ehrenstatuen der republikanischen Zeit. Historizität und Kontext von Symbolen nobilitären Standesbewußtseins (Historia Einzelschriften 130), Stuttgart.



Smith, C. J. (2006). The Roman Clan. The gens from Ancient Ideology to Modern Anthropology. Cambridge. Stein-Hölkeskamp, E. and Hölkeskamp, K.-J. (Hrsgg., 2006). Erinnerungsorte der Antike. Die römische Welt, München. Szemler, G. J. (1972). The Priests of the Roman Republic. A Study of Interactions between Priesthoods and Magistracies (Collection Latomus 127), Bruxelles. Takacs, S. A. (2000). ‘Politics and religion in the Bacchanalian affair of 186 BCE’, HSCPh 100: 301–310. Walter, U. (2004). Memoria und res publica. Zur Geschichtskultur im republikanischen Rom, Frankfurt am Main. Willi, A. (1998). ‘Numa’s dangerous books: The exegetic history of a Roman forgery’, MH 55: 139–172.

Part 2 Antiquarians and Historians


On the Edges of History Christopher Smith There are several aspects of the Fragments of the Roman Historians project which one might interrogate – what do we mean by ‘Roman’ for instance, since the inclusion of Fabius Pictor prevents us from meaning those who wrote in Latin and there were Greek writers who wrote predominantly about Roman history – Juba the king of Mauretania sits firmly in Jacoby, not in our volumes.1 We have agonised over what a fragment is, and it remains a matter of judgement more than definitive knowledge.2 My questions are about the last of the three terms; what is a historian, or what do we mean by a historical work, and what kinds of authors or literary productions are excluded by our definition?3 Clearly, reference to the past is insufficient to qualify one as a historian. Such a loose definition would simply remove any sense to the term, whilst permitting a whole range of poets, poetasters, lawyers, so-called religious experts, quacks and antiquarians invade the neat garden of annalistic writing. Editions ought, one might suppose, have a better set of terms of reference than that. Yet around the edges of our edition, one finds examples of all the categories I have just indicated, and the uncertainty rests both at the level of not being sure if the work is ‘history’ (whatever that means) or something else, and whether whatever it is, it counts nonetheless as historical. Sempronius Tuditanus (to whom we shall return) certainly wrote a book on magistrates, in which he wrote about historical matters, so one might argue that he was an antiquarian, or that the book on magistrates was more historical, and either way one ends in some difficulties over how and what to include.4 1  FRHist I, 7: “[W]e have identified as “Roman historians” all Roman authors of prose works dealing with some or all of the history of Rome and presented primarily in the form of a chronological narrative of political and military events.” On nationality, one awkward consequence is the exclusion of a non-Roman like Juba, who was nonetheless a Roman citizen, but the inclusion of Roman freedmen like M. Tullius Tiro (no. 46). For Juba, see FGrHist. 275 and Roller (2003). 2  FRHist I, 12–19. On the general topic, see Most (1997). 3  Cornell (this volume) for other kinds of mistaken identity, and MacRae (this volume) for a more radical reading. 4  FRHist 10.

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There are a number of conclusions which are so obvious that they might as well be said now, since no amount of demonstration will render them any more evident. First, all collections have fuzzy edges. One could if one wished draw the boundaries of history far more widely than we have, but in practical terms that would have been highly undesirable, even if one could justify it intellectually. One could draw it more narrowly, but readers looking to replace their copies of Peter would have been disappointed, and an opportunity would have been missed. Secondly, history is everywhere. It creeps into every corner of ancient literature save the most precise philosophy. Poets cannot keep away from it, political philosophy reinterprets it, moral discourses are full of it, lawyers refer to it, and ethicists draw upon it. Third, any author may operate in a number of different genres – the profession of being a historian had not been invented. But with the more polymorphous authors, the choice of an editor is whaich part of their output was historical, and what was not, and that has created artificial distinctions. Before going further, it is perhaps important to explain that our method was to include plausibly historical works – more precisely, prose works by Roman authors, including autobiography and historical biography (but not lives of individuals solely known as writers). We also created an appendix of authors considered not to be historians, or too insecurely attested as historians to be in the main body, who are presented without texts and translations of testimonia and fragments.5 This chapter will, in order, consider authors or works who are included who cause difficulties; some of the authors or works who were consigned to the appendix; and then authors or works considered not historical, and therefore entirely excluded. The purpose of the contribution, more than anything, is to expose the problematic nature of the definition of historiography in the Roman world.6 1 Definitions The titles of ancient works are not precise or consistently used. Much ink has been spilt on the definitions of words, and historia is not favoured by all – Livy nowhere uses historia or any derivative, preferring always annales.7 Sempronius Asellio’s famous distinction between annales and historia may not

5  FRHist I, 629–649, presented alphabetically. 6  See also MacRae (this volume). 7  Verbrugghe (1989); Rich (this volume).

On the Edges of History


have been accepted by everyone,8 though Sisenna seems to have begun his work at the point where Asellio finished his, and it was called by almost everyone historiae,9 and Varro wrote a work called Sisenna, uel de historia.10 Over time, annales covers what appear to be purely chronological works such as Atticus’ Liber annalis, and it was from the start a perfectly respectable title for a poem. Nevertheless, historical works tended to be called historia, annales, commentarii, or, occasionally, res gestae, that title also being used alongside de uita sua for autobiography. The antiquarian, legal and grammatical works have a variety of titles, including commentarii, but more frequently referring to their specific coverage – de magistratibus, or de auspiciis and so forth. This is probably our strongest ground. In practice, for the most part and certainly in the earlier period, but less so as time goes on, antiquarian and historical works are referred to by different kinds of titles.11 When one comes to what is written however, we are on more slippery ground. 2 Historians? Some historians have survived from Peter to the new edition despite considerable worries over their work. Sempronius Tuditanus is a good example.12 Consul in 129 BCE, his significance is most clearly underlined by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who refers to C. Sempronius as among the logiôtatoi tôn Rhômaiôn suggrapheôn on the subject of the Greek origins of the Aborigines. Is this the same Sempronius as the consul? We know that Tuditanus wrote about Romulus, whilst Sempronius Asellio famously only believed in contemporary history. C. Sempronius Gracchus wrote about his brother and other members of his family, but this is very different. Probability, but no more than that, suggests that Dionysius counted Tuditanus alongside other learned historians including Cato. The fragments can be constructed to reveal a standard annalistic history from the distant past to the Macedonian Wars. That is satisfying. It is what Peter did, arranging the fragments which are not attributed to any work in a 8  Asellio F1 ap. Gell. 5.18.7–8; F2 ap. Gell. 5.18.9. 9  FRHist I, 307. 10  Gell. 16.9.5. 11  It is also worth emphasising that the Romans seem to have had a clearer idea of whom they regarded as historians, and that did not include those whom we traditionally see as antiquarians; see FRHist General Testimonia 1–4 and 6. 12   FRHist 10.



chronological order under the title annales, which, as is readily evident from the fragments, is not a title used in the ancient sources.13 So Tuditanus’ annalistic history is a modern construct, though that does not mean it is wrong; there must have been many more histories than we know about. However, we also know that Tuditanus wrote a book on magistrates, in which he discussed the decemviral law on intercalation, and a large work which is referred to as commentarii, a deeply unhelpful title, in which he discussed the complexities of who could convene an electoral assembly. The commentarii could be historical, though where they are they tend to be autobiographical (the term is used of the memoirs of Sulla and the war reports of Caesar), but it is also used of what we might loosely call antiquarian. Antistius Labeo wrote commentarii on the pontifical law.14 Two of the fragments which Peter took to be straightforwardly historical and assigned to the annales, on the origins of the nundinae and on the number of tribunes elected in 494 BCE, could equally come from a different sort of work.15 Our version includes all the fragments, but is far less definitive about their order and the nature of the works to which they belong. 3

On the Edges

There are certain nodes around which fragments accumulate. One is the early history of Rome of course, and here I will simply note that our decision to include the citations from the Origo gentis Romanae means that we have included more historians whose claims are shaky.16 Hence Domitius, Egnatius, Sex. Gellius, L. Iulius Caesar and M. Octavius are absent from Peter on the grounds that the Origo gentis Romanae was wholly unreliable, whereas they are restored by us, but in the case of Caesar and Gellius, only as far as the appendix.17

13  This would mean re-ordering our fragments as follows: F4, 5 (from the Origo gentis Romanae, not in Peter), 6, 3, 7, 8, 2. 14  Bömer (1953); Rüpke (1992). The Greek is usually hypomnemata, on which see Ambaglio (1990); Engels (1993). Antistius Labeo: IA II, 74–81 Bremer; the title is given at Fest. 476 L. 15  F6–7 = F2, F4 Peter. On nundinae, the ancient literature was substantial; see Cassius Hemina F18; Rutilius Rufus F13; Tanusius Geminus (F4); Varro rust. 2 pr. 1; ap. Serv. georg. 1.275; Dion. Hal. 2.28.3; Colum. 1 pr. 18; Fest. 176 L; Macr. Sat. 1.13.16–16.36; Degrassi, Inscr. It. XIII.2, 300–306, 325–326. See Ker (2010). 16  For the reasoning, see Smith (2005) and, independently, Cameron (2004), 328–334. 17  Gellius and Caesar are cited together at Orig. gent. Rom. 16.4; we have followed a suggestion of Momigliano and converted the Gellian fragment to Cn. Gellius F19. On L. Caesar, see also Smith (2010).

On the Edges of History


They all wrote about the sorts of things that historians who worried about Early Rome wrote about. Domitius, for example, wrote about the prophecy which declared that the Trojans’ wanderings would be over when they ate the tables on which their food was set.18 The story is recounted by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (1.55.3) and more memorably by Vergil (Aen. 3.253–257). The Servian comment on the passage cites Varro too. This episode led to the story of the amount of land which Aeneas received from Latinus, which was also discussed by Cato, Sisenna, Cassius Hemina, Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Appian. For his third fragment, on Aremulus Silvius, he is cited alongside Aufidius’ Epitome, about which we know nothing more. Cn. Aufidius makes it as far as the list of historians because, according to Cicero (Tusc. 5.112), he wrote a Graeca historia, of which nothing survives.19 Another cluster of historical writing surrounds the conspirators Brutus and Cassius, Cato the Younger, and Caesar himself. T. Ampius Balbus used his energy in handing down the deeds of great men to posterity (Cic. fam. 6.12.5), and is cited by Suetonius for some of Caesar’s most famous and pointed ­aphorisms – the Republic is nothing, merely a name without form and substance; Sulla did not know his letters – and so forth. Was this from a history? Possibly; but it might also have been from a book of sayings, or a precursor to Valerius Maximus.20 Caesar attracted the interest of other friends and foes. M. Actorius Naso is cited by Suetonius for Caesar’s alleged role in a conspiracy in 66 BCE and his multiple affairs with queens; he is otherwise unknown, but in both instances cited alongside C. Scribonus Curio, consul of 76 BCE, who wrote a dialogue which attacked Caesar (Cic. Brut. 218). So although the material looks historical, it could easily have come from a different kind of work, and indeed may have been drawn from the dialogue, with Naso the intermediary source between the Curio and Suetonius.21 L. Cornelius Balbus wrote about a prodigy at Capua which portended Caesar’s death; we know he wrote a diary, but we depend on SHA [Capit.] Max. Balb. 7.3 to discover that he was a scriptor historiae, and although his loyalty to Caesar was unquestionable, this strange portent, which made it through to the Servian commentary on the Aeneid, could come from almost anything.22 Caesar’s close friend C. Oppius appears to have written a whole 18   FRHist 104. 19   FRHist 17. 20   FRHist 34. 21   FRHist 43. 22   FRHist 41.



series of b­ iographies, and maybe wrote one of Caesar, though Plutarch regards him as unreliable.23 Finally, L. Aurunculeius Cotta, who served as a legate under Caesar in Gaul, wrote that Caesar took only three slaves with him on the expedition to Britain. Yet the work is cited by Athenaeus 6.105 as On the Roman Constitution, and is clearly in praise of restraint in public life (Caesar is being compared with the similarly frugal Scipio Africanus). It has no claim as history.24 There is a combination then of different kinds of sources, all of which can, roughly, be described as historical in material, but that really only means that they refer to events believed to have happened. The vigorous pamphleteering of the late Republic is patchily evident in a collection of historical works. Julius Caesar’s Anticato is not included, nor his diary or ephemeris, in which he is said to have recounted his capture by some Gauls.25 Neither is Fabius Gallus’ pro-Catonian work, but Munatius Rufus, who wrote a largely positive account of Cato, is, even though it has been argued that the work was not chronological in arrangement.26 Works which are polemical or adulatory are also included. L. Calpurnius Bibulus was the son of Brutus’ wife Porcia by her first marriage, and left a small book of reminiscences of Brutus, which probably included the story of Brutus’ comments on Porcia’s bravery. Pelling has suggested that much more can be attributed to Bibulus as a source. His reminiscences count, whilst Empylus the rhetor who wrote a “not insignificant” version of the death of Caesar called Brutus, does not, because Empylus was Greek.27 Brutus spent the day before the battle of Pharsalus epitomizing Polybius, but is not known to have written independent works.28 Volumnius, the philosopher who campaigned with Brutus, left 23   FRHist 40. 24   FRHist A.8, included at HRR II, lxi and 45–46. 25  Serv. Aen. 11.743: DEREPTVMQVE AB EQVO DEXTRA COMPLECTITVR HOSTEM hoc de historia tractum est: namque Gaius Iulius Caesar, cum dimicaret in Gallia et ab hoste raptus equo eius portaretur armatus, occurrit quidam ex hostibus, qui eum nosset, et insultans ait ‘caesar, caesar’, quod Gallorum lingua ‘dimitte’ significat: et ita factum est ut dimitteretur. hoc autem ipse Caesar in ephemeride sua dicit, ubi propriam commemorat felicitatem. This is followed by DS quoting Varro for his surname. The story is otherwise unknown; Pelling (2011, 251) calls the passage “muddled”. 26  Tschiedel (1981). Fabius Gallus: FRHist A21, included at HRR II, lx with reservations; Munatius Rufus: FRHist 37 esp. F2. 27   FRHist no. 49; for Bibulus and Empylus, see Pelling (2002), 14–15. 28   FRHist A26, included at HRR II, lxvi–lxvii and 51. On epitomes generally, see Brunt (1980), but there were even cases of auto-epitomization. We know from Jerome’s catalogue that Varro epitomized his own works (e.g. a nine volume epitome of the De lingua Latina), and that, perhaps as a result of the loss of his books during the proscriptions, he rewrote some

On the Edges of History


a­ ccounts of omens, and Brutus’ words when close to suicide (astonishingly he tells us that Brutus said two things, a line of Euripides’ Medea, and something else which he had forgotten). He may have written in Greek – Brutus speaks to him in Greek according to Plutarch (Brut. 52). Peter gave the work a title – Commentarii de pugna Philippensi, but that is quite unwarranted given the two fragments we have.29 Even the famous Dellius, whom Pelling saw as a source for Plutarch’s Life of Antony, proves elusive. Casaubon plausibly restored him to the text of Strabo, which would give an account of Antony’s Parthian campaign, and Plutarch calls him a historian, but in the context of a quip made at a dinner party, which may not have come from the history at all.30 The Life of Augustus is similarly strewn with accounts whose claims as history are doubtful. The difficulties of Augustus’ autobiography have been the subject of much research; Suetonius actually never cites the autobiography, and merely introduces quotes with scribit; to assign all such citations to the autobiography is dangerous, but at the same time, the memoir must have been extremely useful.31 In relation to the closest circle of Augustus’ colleagues, the Servian commentary cites an autobiography of Agrippa, and Pliny the Elder cites an account of his aedileship. Pliny also cites Agrippa and Maecenas for a story about Augustus hiding in a marsh after Philippi and suffering from dropsy.32 The accounts of Augustus at Philippi are complex and contradictory, so the fragment might be doubtful; what of Maecenas? His ‘history’ is only known from the Servian commentary again, and there deduced from Horace Odes 2.12, a recusatio which should surely be taken as a clever turning of the tables, not a statement of Maecenas’ actual output.33 Apart from the unflattering account of Augustus’ concealment, the only other potential fragment, cited by Pliny from Maecenas and Fabianus and Flavius Alfius (both the others are unknown) is the story of a dolphin in love with a boy. Similarly one may wonder whether the Horatian scholiast who claims that Furnius was known for his elegant historiae knew what he was talking about, and whilst he is included as

of his own works (Gell. 3.10.17, 14.7.3). Suda s.v. ‘Βάρρων’ has an intriguing entry for a Varro who epitomised the events during the time of Alexander the Macedonian (BNJ 149 T 1). 29   FRHist 47. 30   FRHist 53; Pelling (1988), 22. 31  Smith – Powell (2009). 32   FRHist 59 M. Vipsanius Agrippa F2. 33   FRHist A28, included at HRR, lxxvi–lxxvii but without fragments.



a historian, he could well have been simply an orator.34 Quintus Tullius Cicero is firmly relegated to the ranks of the poets.35 There are a number of other authors who are cited by Suetonius, who is lax about titles. Iulius Marathus is cited for Augustus’ height, and the extraordinary tale of a portent that anyone born in 63 BCE would grow up to be a king, and the Senate’s decree (unfulfilled) that no child born that year should be raised. This tale, reminiscent of Herod’s massacre of the innocents, is unique.36 The delightful account by Drusus that the baby Augustus was laid in a crib on the ground floor of his house, but in the morning was found at the top of a tower, facing the rising sun, could come from almost any kind of writing.37 Iulius Saturninus appears to have given a rather hostile account of Octavian’s role in the proscriptions; we, and Peter, have him as a historian, but on no very good grounds, and the same may be said of Aquilius Niger who claims Augustus killed the consul Pansa in battle.38 Without a clearer idea of the pamphleteering of the Augustan period, all these attributions can only be tentative at best. There must be a strong possibility, though, that the world was awash with lives of the emperor; and one would dearly like to know more about Suetonius’ methods; more sources are quoted in the Life of Augustus than in any other life. However, there is a danger that what is in Suetonius is treated with more respect than sources cited elsewhere; so Baebius Macer, quoted twice in the Servian commentary for a star which appeared during Julius Caesar’s funeral games, and gifts to those boys who joined in the Trojan games, and once by Fulgentius for a detail of a ritual, is consigned to the Appendix.39 Since the star and the lusus Troiae are genuinely historical, but the alleged attempt to murder all children born in 63 is otherwise unknown, putting Iulius Marathus in the body of the work and Baebius Macer outside it is problematic, but highlights the insecurity of our distinction between what is historical and what is not. Citation of sources in Pliny the Elder’s index has a low value for authenticating a work as historical and the following are consigned to the Appendix. Annius Fetialis, cited by Pliny (nat. 34.29) for that statue on the Velia of a girl 34   FRHist 50. 35   FRHist A37; he gains a historical epic to set alongside his astronomical work; Courtney (2003), 179–181. 36   FRHist 65. 37   FRHist 66. 38   FRHist 67, 68. 39   FRHist A9; the argument is based on Fulgentius’ attribution to a work on festalia sacrorum (serm. ant. 6).

On the Edges of History


on horseback, believed to be Cloelia, but whom Annius insisted was a Valeria, is of uncertain date and the nature of his work is unclear.40 Anteius Vetus, always cited along with Pomponius Mela and Hyginus, was perhaps more geographical than historical.41 A. Caecina wrote on omens.42 Procilius who wrote about places and about how Pompey’s elephants got stuck in his triumph is relegated in favour of Münzer’s suggestion that he wrote a periegesis of the city.43 Cornelius Bocchus wrote about Spain, and is cited by Pliny the Elder, but an author called Bocchus is cited by Solinus for Delphic oracles in Homer, an Olympic victor and the foundation of Metaurus and Metapontum.44 Cornelius Valerianus, when not being confused with Valerius Antias, wrote books of marvels.45 Deculo wrote about birds and the value of a painting of the high priest of Cybele which hung in Tiberius’ bedroom.46 We should learn from Pliny just how diverse ancient writing was. Perhaps the most striking casualty is Licinius Mucianus; Peter included 32 fragments, all from Pliny the Elder, but he has fallen into the category of a collector of marvellous stories, and so his literate elephant, intelligent goats and dolphins, and apes who play draughts no longer appear.47 In other instances, we have been strict with our definitions. Letters, such as those of Cornelius Scipio Africanus and Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corculum, have been excluded.48 Verrius Flaccus did not quite write history – or rather did not write an unambiguously chronological work. Peter included his Etruscan material (two foundation stories); Gellius cites from libri rerum memoria dignarum, but there are no fragments.49 Asconius Pedianus, although described as a scriptor historicus by Eusebius, and author, according to the Horatian 40   FRHist A2, included at HRR I, cccxxix and 317; cf Piso 11 F 24; Roller (2004). 41   FRHist A4, included at HRR II, cxxxviiii–cxxxx, but no fragments are cited. 42   FRHist A10. 43   FRHist A32, included at HRR I, cclxxiv–cclxxv and 313–314; Münzer (1897), 165–166. He gets a bad press from Cicero Att. 2.2.2 as an inferior to Dicaearchus, but a journey around the city, of the kind taken on by Varro at De lingua Latina Book 5 would be innovative, especially if our author is the same Procilius who was convicted for murder in 54 (Cic. Att. 4.15.4). 44   FRHist A13, included at HRR II, cxxiii–cxxv and 94–95. 45   FRHist A17, included at HRR II, ccviii and 159. 46   FRHist A18, included at HRR II, ccviii and 159. 47   FRHist A27, included at HRR II, cxxxx–cxxxxii and 101–107. For much of this material, our increasing awareness of the significance of the literature of the marvellous gives a better context than historiography; see for instance Hardie (2009) and Naas (2011), 57–70. 48   FRHist A15 and A 16, included at HRR I, cxvii–cxviii and 44–46, cxix–cxx and 47–48. 49   FRHist A39, included in HRR II, cviii–cviiii and 78–79.



s­ choliasts, of a Life of Sallust in which we learn that he died when caught by Annius Milo in flagrante with the daughter of Sulla the dictator, is appendicised on the grounds that the description is likely to refer to the commentary, and literary biographies are excluded.50 Cn. Cornelius Lentulus Gaetulicius, certainly a poet, was thought by Peter to have included the birth of Caligula at Tibur, but we are skeptical.51 Other writers are understood as speech-makers or eulogists, so Aquilius Regulus, who attacked the Stoic opponents of the emperors failed our test, though Iunius Arulenus Rusticus, who celebrated Thrasea Paetus, did not.52 Finally, the authors quoted in the SHA remain a matter of contention.53 This partial survey of doubtful or excluded historians, or works considered doubtfully historical, demonstrates the difficulty of distinguishing between fragmentary authors on grounds on content; we are heavily reliant on titles, and testimonia which may not have been focused on accurate descriptions of the contents of literary productions. For the second part of this paper, I want to look at authors who were not included by Peter in the first place, and who have also been excluded from consideration by us as historians. In other words, I want to move from authors who might be thought to look like historians to authors who apparently do not look like historians at all, but who have something to say about history and the historical endeavour. 4 Antiquarians The most fertile ground for such investigation is the group of writers who we call antiquarians, largely because we do not know how else to describe them. Funaioli, in his edition, collected those he called grammarians, and included many but not all. The overlap with Peter’s edition is immediately visible. After an initial section in which he lists evidence for a number of ­grammarians, 50   FRHist A7, included in HRR II, cxxxxvi and 100. The Life of Sallust is referred to at Ps.-Acro in Hor. sat. 1.2.41. 51   FRHist A14, included at HRR II. cxvii and 91. 52  Aquilius Regulus is not mentioned by Peter, but is FRHist A6, with an attack on Junius Arulenus Rusticus and Herennius Senecio (Plin. ep. 1.5). Arenulus Rusticus is FRHist 88, though a slip at FRHist I, 632 will reveal that he was reprieved! 53  Marius Maximus FRHist 101 was kept in, although see FRHist I, 602–611 for several caveats. Asinius Quadratus (FRHist 102), and the memoirs of the emperors Hadrian (FRHist 97) and Septimius Severus (FRHist 100) are included, but the thirty-six otherwise unknown historians and biographers cited in SHA, and included in Peter, are excluded and listed at FRHist I, 650–651.

On the Edges of History


largely derived from Suetonius’ account, and also gives the evidence for libraries, Funaioli begins with the alphabet. Appius Claudius Caecus the censor of 312 is first, and is cited from Pomponius (D. for the invention of the letter ‘r’ and dislike of the letter ‘z’. The second author is Fabius Pictor because of his account of the invention of letters, a fragment shared with Cincius Alimentus and Cn. Gellius.54 We then move to definitions and etymologies. Fabius Pictor is represented by his account of the name of the Volscians;55 Cincius Alimentus and Cassius Hemina by their account of Faunus.56 There is a substantial amount of Cato, much of it from the Origines;57 and there is Postumius Albinus’ account of the origin of the name of Baiae from Aeneas’ nurse.58 Amongst non-historians, there are passages which could pass for history; Cn. Naevius and Q. Ennius are cited, the latter from the Annales for the solidly – boringly – historical details cited in Varro of the naming of the early tribes.59 M. Fulvius Nobilior wrote something called the Fasti which he put in the Temple of Hercules of the Muses and which gave an account of the origins of names of months; Macrobius and Censorinus cite it and it is clear that it contained details of Romulus’ actions. Similar information is given by Cincius, presumably the antiquarian and not the historian.60 Thus far, what we see is Funaioli’s difficulties in keeping any meaningful distinction between history and grammarian activity. These are his choices of what to include and how to classify them, and there is overlap in a different direction with Bremer’s attempt to collect Iurisprudentia antehadriana; note 54  GRF 1–2 = FRHist 1 Fabius Pictor F27 = 2 Cincius Alimentus F9 = 8 Fabius Maximus Servilianus F5 = 14 Cn. Gellius F12b. 55  GRF 7 = FRHist 1 Fabius Pictor F32 = Fabius Maximus Servilianus 8 F11, with Skutsch (1968), 143–144. 56  GRF 7 = FRHist 2 L. Cincius Alimentus F10 = 6 Cassius Hemina F2. 57  Funaioli gives eighteen fragments, nine from the Origines (our F39, 45, 84, 73, 71, 65, 68, 51, 61, all explaining names or words; seven from speeches, and two uncertain; GRF 9–14. 58  GRF 17 = FRHist 4 Postumius Albinus F3 = 32 Lutatius F2. 59  GRF 6, two fragments both from Varro = Naevius F28, 29 Buechner; GRF 7 again from Varro = Ennius I.lix Skutsch. 60  GRF 15–16; if one had no other information than the citation in Cens. 22.9, one might well have been wondering if Fulvius Nobilior was a historian. What we do know about him does not in fact exclude that possibility. He is here in company with Junius (presumably Gracchanus) GRF 121 and Cincius GRF 374, in a work called De fastis, and cited by Macrobius. Fulvius Nobilior has become the focus of much attention because of his connection with Ennius and the Temple of Hercules and the Muses; see for instance Rüpke (2006) and Sciarrino (2004).



for instance his inclusion of a fragment from Sextus Aelius Paetus Catus’ work Tripertita, which Bremer cites in more detail.61 As Funaioli proceeds, his difficulties do not lessen. His greatest headache is undoubtedly Varro, with whom Peter also had to struggle – and whom we have omitted almost completely.62 My interest here is in overlap. Rawson in her account of the first Latin annalists demonstrated how much material there was which could be described as antiquarian, and which survives simply because it was of subsequent interest to writers who were not fellow-historians;63 to quantify this, Calpurnius Piso Frugi is cited by Dionysius of Halicarnassus six times, by Livy six times, by Plutarch once, and the remaining thirty-two fragments in Peter are from Varro, Servius, Tertullian, Gellius, Pliny the Elder (fourteen times), Priscian, Censorinus, Cicero, Macrobius, Arnobius, Lactantius and the OGR. Let us turn this around and look at antiquarians whose work overlaps with historians, and I will simply pick out a couple of examples. Many of Hyginus’ fragments are in both Peter and Funaioli.64 Peter omitted the commentaries on Cinna’s Propempticon and Vergil. The latter contained a number of straightforwardly historical comments, clothed as criticisms of Vergilian errors. Hyginus tells us about the foundation of Velia and the chronology of the Pyrrhic and Achaean Wars.65 Peter included Hyginus’ praise of Theodectes’ tragedy entitled Mausolus because it came from a work called Exempla.66 Funaioli omitted fragments from Hyginus’ De vita rebusque inlustrium virorum, but both Funaioli and Peter give slightly different versions of the fragments from a work seemingly entitled Urbes Italicae, which contains a quantity of antiquarian information, and stressed the Greek origin of the peoples and deities of central Italy. Hyginus wrote De familiis Troianis, the one fragment of which we have, about the origin of Entella, looks very much like the Vergilian commentary and so probably should have been quoted by Funaioli.67 Servius quotes Hyginus’ theories about the Trojan horse, though to classify this and his ideas about Vesta as historical fragments, as Peter does, is challenging, and we were slightly more cautious.68 61  GRF 14–15 = IA I.15 Bremer. 62   FRHist 52; we included the Annales, De familiis Troianis, and three possible fragments from De sua vita. 63  Rawson (1976). 64  HRR II, c–ci and 72–77; GRF 525–537; FRHist 63. 65  GRF F7, F9. 66  HRR II. Hyginus F1, omitted from FRHist. 67  HRR II. Hyginus F14 = FRHist 14. 68  HRR II. Hyginus F15–17 = FRHist 15 on the Trojan horse, but omitting the speculation on why Vesta guards the sacred flame, and the name of her bird (parra Vestae, picus Martis).

On the Edges of History


The unfortunate result of this is to make it difficult for anyone to get a grip on what Hyginus actually wrote, even excluding the fact that there was more than one Hyginus who wrote in antiquity, with at least two works on field boundaries by separate homonymous authors and a third author of the extant works on genealogy and astronomy.69 He was a rather intriguing individual with interesting friends. Jerome drawing on Suetonius puts him alongside Varro, Santra, Nepos and Suetonius as a writer de uiris illustribus.70 His wide learning and broad interests cannot be compartmentalized intelligently; he was clearly a man of considerable learning, who did not write a traditional history, but peppered his commentaries and essays with a combination of historical enquiry and etymological guesswork. It is precisely with individuals such as Hyginus that our definitions and divisions appear unhelpful. Hyginus was in none of his works an annalist, and dividing his work into historical and non-historical The Trojan horse material is included because Servius quotes Hyginus and Tubero (FRHist 38 F1) from historiae (varia in historiis lecta sunt). Servius uses historia or a derivative in various ways in the commentary. For a definition, see Serv. Aen. 1.235: et sciendum est, inter fabulam et argumentum, hoc est historiam, hoc interesse, quod fabula est dicta res contra naturam, sive facta sive non facta, ut de Pasiphae, historia est quicquid secundum naturam dicitur, sive factum sive non factum, ut de Phaedra – this does not give us confidence that he always means prose history. In various places it simply means ‘story’ (e.g. Serv. Aen. 1.267 = Cato FRHist 5 F6a). Sometimes it means history in the broadest sense, for instance Carthage has a long history (Serv. Aen. 1.342) and the history of the Phoenicians (Historia Poenorum, Serv. Aen. 1.343); but interestingly Servius also categorically says (Serv. Aen. 1.382) that Lucan does not deserve to be called a poet because he clearly wrote historia. As Dietz (1974) showed, the primary distinction is between truth and falsehood, historia and fabula; and the distinction between prose and poetry, or particular kinds of prose is not uppermost (85): “Thus, while the commentary occasionally employs the term historia to refer specifically to various genres of written history, it fails to display any specific critical judgments in dealing with them.” A very small group are called by Servius Danielis historici; Quadrigarius, Rubellius Blandus (our no. 108, known only from Serv. auct. georg. 1.103 for a comment shared with Quadrigarius on the river Garganus and a nearby town), Coelius (= FRHist Coelius 15 F57); Ephorus, Alexarchus and Alexander Polyhistor, although the historici are cited for the fact that Ajax son of Oileus had a third hand (Serv. Aen. 1.43). So whilst we were probably right in our inclusion of Hyginus’ fragment, the “historical writings” Servius was referring to were probably quite diverse. 69   FRHist I, 475–476. The list of Hyginus’ works appears to be De agri cultura (Char. 180 B); part of this work or a separate one was on bees (Colum. 9.15.5); In Cinnae propemptico (Char. 171 B); Commentarii quae in Virgilio fecit (Gell. 1.21.2); Liber de uita rebusque inlustrium uirorum (Gell. 1.14.1 etc.); Exempla (Gell. 10.18.7); De familiis Troianis (Serv. Aen. 5.389); Urbes Italicae (title variously reported: Serv. Aen. 3.553; 7.412; 7.678); De proprietatibus deorum (Macr. Sat. 3.8.4); De dis penatibus (Macr. Sat. 3.4.13). 70  Suet. gramm. 20.



may be a necessary evil when producing editions, but it certainly obscures the application of historical information to and in a variety of genres. It is likely that Servius could have referred to sections of almost anything he wrote as historia, if it were thought to be truthful and according to nature. The most obvious casualty of the dividing up of authors is, and is likely to remain, Varro, whose output was so various, and whose works, both lost and extant, are hard to categorize.71 The difficulty for Funaioli of course is that antiquarians and grammarians can draw their material from anywhere. When Verrius Flaccus explains the reason why certain days should be considered ill-omened, in a passage cited by Gellius (5.17) from the de uerborum significatu, he gives us a very precise piece of history. We know from Macrobius that the story was also told by Cn. Gellius and Cassius Hemina, and Livy also has the story (6.1.11–12).72 This then is a good example of an antiquarian writing about antiquity; for a more contemporary reference, we may look to the learned Gavius Bassus.73 He certainly wrote a work on the origins of words, cited by Gellius, Quintilian and Macrobius. It had at least seven books, and could be thought both clever and over-ingenious. He is also quoted by Gellius for a work called commentarii, and from that we have two fragments. One (Gell. 3.18) explains, unsatisfactorily, the phrase pedarii senatores, by reference to an ancient distinction between senators who had held curule office and rode to the senate, and those who had not, and walked. The other (Gell. 3.9) is about the scribe Gnaeus Seius and his wonderful horse, foaled at Argos, which was both far superior to all other horses in every respect, and disastrous to own, since every one of its ­owners, from Seius 71  Here again, MacRae (this volume) and I make a similar point differently; for MacRae, Varro is a historian; for me Varro was sometimes a historian in terms the Romans might have used in his day, but was far more often not categorisable. 72  Verrius Flaccus ap. Gell. 5.17 on dies nefasti: ‘Urbe’ inquit ‘a Gallis Senonibus recuperata L. Atilius in senatu uerba fecit Q. Sulpicium tribunum militum ad Alliam aduersus Gallos pugnaturum rem diuinam dimicandi gratia postridie Idus fecisse; tum exercitum populi Romani occidione occisum et post diem tertium eius diei urbem praeter Capitolium captam esse; compluresque alii senatores recordari sese dixerunt, quotiens belli gerendi gratia res diuina postridie Kalendas, Nonas, Idus a magistratu populi Romani facta esset, eius belli proximo deinceps proelio rem publicam male gestam esse. Tum senatus eam rem ad pontifices reiecit, ut ipsi, quod uideretur, statuerent. Pontifices decreuerunt nullum his diebus sacrificium recte futurum. Cf. Macr. Sat. 1.16.21, citing Cassius Hemina FRHist 6 F23; Gellius FRHist 14 F8; Liv. 6.1.11–12; Fest. 348 L on dies religiosi, which leads on to discussion of the mundus. See Oakley (1997–2005), I, 395. 73  See Gell. 3.9, 3.18; fragments in Funaioli, GRF 486–491. Works included De origine uerborum et uocabulorum and De dis.

On the Edges of History


to Cornelius Dolabella, suffect consul in 44 BCE, to Cassius to Mark Antony died ignominiously. Bassus went to see this prodigy in Argos. The connection to grammar is the proverbial saying “That man has the horse of Seius”, which means the same as “that man has the gold of Tolosa”, that is, to be unlucky. It is likely that the commentarii and the work on the origin of words are the same, but the story about Seius’ horse spread. Gellius cites it also from Iulius Modestus’ Quaestiones confusae; Modestus was Hyginus’ freedman.74 That Dolabella turned aside to Argos whilst on his way to Syria to spend a hundred thousand sesterces on a horse which Cassius then took as part of the spoils of victory is a small gain to history, and the story probably comes from a work of etymological concern, though it should surprise no-one, given what I said at the outset, that Gellius calls it a historia digna memoria atque admiratione. Both these examples show the capacity of authors we call antiquarians to tell a story either about the distant past, or their contemporary life. One field of study which ought to be brought into comparison here is writing about law. We rely heavily for our understanding of the history of law on classically antiquarian writing such as Gellius, Festus, Servius and so forth. Moreover, Rawson in a famous article cited the lawyers as prime examples of logical organization – indeed, chronologically, they are her first examples I think, though she did not make that point herself.75 Legal logic and history meet in some of the fragments. Most obviously, though hugely controversial, is the work of P. and Q. Mucius Scaevola. In the works of father and son, there is a complex interpenetration of law, religion and history. Even if one does not believe that P. Mucius Scaevola had anything significantly constructive to do with the ponitifical annals, it is interesting that Varro chooses P. Scaevola as one of his predecessors in the work of tracking down distant history, and Q. Scaevola’s ius civile refers inevitably to the regal period and the Twelve Tables. Whatever we do with this, we must at least allow a fundamental connection between the pontiffs, the law and early Roman history, and that in itself is intriguing.76 Numerous subsequent commentaries on the Twelve Tables and the even earlier leges regiae can be taken as attempts to understand in different ways the social and historical context of Early Rome, and on topics such as nexum that must have crossed any generic lines; so we have on that topic historical 74  The story was probably already known to Varro, who seems to be playing with the proverb at rust. 3.8. 75  Rawson (1978). 76  Harries (2006), 27–45, making Q. Mucius Scaevola the key figure; similarly Schiavone (1976) on Q. Mucius Scaevola) and Schiavone (1987); on the pontifical annals see FRHist I, 141–159.



accounts, mentions in Varro and Cicero’s De republica and a rhetorically influenced version in Valerius Maximus, as well as numerous legal references to a barely understood institution, the earliest of which dates all the way back to Manilius in the middle of the second century BCE.77 L. Cincius (to be distinguished from Cincius Alimentus), an extremely difficult author to classify, and therefore a very good illustration of our problem, cited ancient formulae and details in a work entitled De re militari; according to Festus he also wrote a work on comitia and another on consular powers.78 Alfenus Varus quotes a treaty between Rome and Carthage in both his Digesta and his Coniectaneorum libri.79 An interesting author who really falls between cracks is Valerius Messalla Rufus, consul of 53 BCE.80 Pliny the Elder tells us he that wrote uolumina criticizing families for falsely inserting the busts of other families in their atria; he is also the source for the story of the Servilii sacrificing to a coin whose size portended their success, and probably for C. Aelius Tubero’s recovery from death on his funeral pyre. These fragments are in Peter and Bremer but not Funaioli. He also wrote books on auspicia, from which Gellius quotes extensively, and he wrote about the pomerium and Remus’s observation of the birds, the nundinae and various peculiar words. He can be restored to Festus’ text as author of a commentary on the Twelve Tables. Oddly, it is Bremer alone who gives the most complete (but not very helpful) account of his fascinating work, despite his acknowledgement that Messalla was not named as a jurisconsult and no responsa are recorded for him. 5

Generic Disquiet

Operating on the margins as we have done, we have left behind the single most obvious determinant that a work may be regarded as historical, and that is an organisation into successive years. The Roman account is that in some way the pontifical annals underpin such a way of writing history. Some sort 77   Nexum: Varro ling. 7.105, citing one of the early jurists, Manilius (= IA I, 26 Bremer); Mucius Scaevola (= IA I, 91 Bremer, referring also to Scaevola’s emphasis on bona fides, Cic. off. 3.70); Cic. de orat. 3.159; Fest. 162 L; in historical accounts, Cic. rep. 2.59; Liv. 2.23, 8.28; cf. Dion. Hal. 16.5; Val. Max. 6.1.9. See Oakley (1997–2005) ad Liv. 8.28; wide-ranging account at Koptev (2014). 78  GRF 371–382; IA I, 252–260 Bremer; Fest. 276–277 L. 79  GRF 554–555 ap. Gell. 7.5.1; IA I, 287–288 Bremer. 80  See IA I, 263–267 Bremer, HRR II, lxxviii and 65; FRHist 42; De auspiciis, Gell. 13.15, 13.16. Also cited for the pomerium Gell. 13.14.4–6; De familiis Plin. nat. 35.8, 34.38. Restored to Fest. 486 L s.v. ‘tuguria’ and 426, 428 L s.v. ‘sanates’, for a work on the Twelve Tables.

On the Edges of History


of chronology presumably underpins Fabius Pictor,81 C. Acilius and Postumius Albinus; all are writing history in Greek or with conscious debt to the Greeks. It is less easy to demonstrate in the case of Cato the Elder (and impossible in the case of Sallust’s shorter monographs). There is limited evidence that Cincius Alimentus wrote a full annalistic history. It is with Calpurnius Piso Frugi that we get the clear transposition of the annalistic style into Latin historiography, and with Valerius Antias that it becomes a truly ordering process, though subsequent historians did not slavishly follow a purely chronological pattern, as Rich and Marincola among others have demonstrated, and Marincola’s important contribution leads me to say a few more words about genre.82 Stevenson, in an admirable paper in a recent volume on Aulus Gellius, defines antiquarianism as “a sort of non-Kunstprosa history”.83 Antiquarianism was lacking in literary pretension, used references to previous writers and documentary evidence, and was systematic rather than chronological. I think this attempt to define the genre runs into all sorts of difficulties, and to some extent this is acknowledged by comments such as “Cato the Elder’s writings may already have had some antiquarian content”. Similarly, Stevenson, having indicated that historiography and antiquarian writing emerged together, tries to find a point at which they diverged: “It is worth noting that at some point a conscious decision must have been made to identify and treat such subjects [political and religious institutions] separately (from historiography), and that such a decision must have been in response to, or in anticipation of a need for information on the matter in question. And once such a subject had been treated in this manner, it then became natural for future accounts on the same and similar subjects to be presented in the same manner. It is tempting to suggest that Varro may have made that decision.” It may be tempting, but I think it is wrong. There were treatments of these subjects prior to Varro which were not historical – Stilo wrote on the Carmen Saliare and the Twelve Tables, Sempronius Tuditanus wrote about magistrates, and Junius Gracchanus, a friend of C. Sempronius Gracchus, wrote about magistrates’ powers, the early tribes and the equestrian order. One can couple the presence of ‘historical’ elements in antiquarians, with ‘antiquarian’ elements in historians – something which was well-illustrated by Rawson in her account of the early Roman annalists, but which could readily be extended to authors such as Fenestella, and even Livy. One might think 81  Though see Rich (this volume) for doubts about a strict filling in of every year in the earlier republican sections. 82  Rich (1997/2011); Id. (2005), and this volume; Marincola (1999). 83  Stevenson (2004). For a different argument, see MacRae (this volume).



about Book 1 in relation to Stevenson’s definition of antiquarianism. Livy makes frequent reference to alternative traditions. He included the equivalent of documents – various prayers, and the Servian census for instance. There are learned digressions, on the pomerium for instance. Finally, antiquarians sometimes wrote monographs rather than history a Remo et Romulo, but then so did historians including Coelius Antipater and Sallust. The outcome is to make the concept of genre here rather slippery, and there is an extra difficulty in that so many antiquarian works are miscellaneous in content, so that Vardi tries to define the “generic conventions of ancient miscellanies” by referring to qualities of collection, selection and itemization.84 The essay, also in the volume on Aulus Gellius, is valuable and wide-ranging, but one could argue that a historian collects, selects and itemizes using what Rawson implies was a logical process of organization, so that what our generic definitions are doing here is to indicate parallels and similarities, rather than what one might consider is the self-evident difference between Livy and Aulus Gellius. I would like to return to Rawson’s helpful article on logical organisation and some of her other work to conclude. Rawson’s argument is that at an early stage it is difficult to see any sensible organization of material in any genre, and that includes historiography; she claimed that all authors were tending to “the principle of hodge-podge”. Her case study is Cato’s De agri cultura. In the late second century BCE and first century, Romans learnt from the Greeks to subdivide a carefully bounded single concept – whether it be soil, theft or the phalanx – into either parts of kinds’ and an enthusiastic embracing of this principle can be seen in all kinds of areas, including law, rhetoric, science, architecture and so forth. Elsewhere, Rawson claimed that L. Aelius Stilo and other grammarians “split the two genres of annals and antiquarian investigation almost completely” and this is part of the same argument that specialization overtakes the scholarly enterprise and most particularly antiquarianism.85 To some extent this must be true, but what this investigation shows is that it does not follow that it becomes straightforward to divide off historians and antiquarians. The boundaries are more blurred than this, and the categories more numerous.86 Stevenson’s suggestion that once a subject had been treated in an antiquarian fashion, that became the only way it could be treated seems 84  Vardi (2004). 85  Rawson (1972); Ead. (1978). 86  For the now common recognition that generic boundaries were weakly patrolled, see Barchiesi (2001); Depew – Obbink (2000); Levene – Nelis (2002).

On the Edges of History


to me very difficult to sustain, but he is surely right that Varro is significant, partly because Varro tried to order the same things in several different ways. Just as an example, he gives a different explanation of the derivation of the name of the Aventine hill in the de gente populi Romani and the de lingua Latina; the one bears more on history, the other more on etymology, and thus truth can be seen to be dependent on its context.87 Subsequent to Varro, more rather than less genre-bending was possible – I have referred to Livy and his antiquarian first book, but one might also think about Fenestella, who definitely wrote annales but, if all the fragments transmitted come from that work, seems to have a particular penchant for declaring the first discovery of things as unusual as pearls, gold rings and elephants fighting in gladiatorial games.88 Even more complex is Nepos, a fascinating author who divided his historical endeavour into chronological, biographical and exemplary works.89 We have annales which do not follow the older definition, and history in different kinds of ordering, and Livy, and Hyginus’ rewriting of Cato the Elder, and much else besides, including legal commentaries, books on magistrates and their powers, and of course Vergil and countless other historical epics. So neat distinctions between hodge-podges and dry logically organized treatises, between rhetorically ornamented history and sober encyclopedias simply do not work, and although these categorizations are helpful, they do not map onto literary histories or collections of fragments, and it seems to me that there is work yet to be done on the boundaries of history and antiquarianism, broadly defined. We have consigned Cornelius Valerianus to the Appendix, and thus to an extent obscure his two definitive contributions, the appearance of a phoenix in CE 36, and the value and fertility of the vine which grew across the Porticus Liviae.90 This looked to some like a collection of marvels, and appendicised he should remain, but the same Plinian passage on phoenixes take us to one Manilius, a most learned senator, and entirely self-taught, whom we find discoursing in Pliny on the relationship between the phoenix and the Great Year which turned in 97 BCE. He may also be the person who, in 87  Varro ling. 5.43, gent. pop. Rom. ap. Serv. Aen. 7.657 = HRR II, F18, but not in FRHist. For the idea of alternative etymologies adding to rather than detracting from truth, see Hinds (2006). 88  Fenestella FRHist 70 F3 (hairnets?), F4 hermaphrodites; F6 Roman names derived from animals; F9 olive trees; F15 elephants and bulls in the circus at Rome; F24 furniture and dining accoutrements; F25 pearls; F26 Phryxian togas; F27–28 culinary developments. 89  Geiger (1985); Stem (2012). 90   FRHist A17; cf HRR II, ccviii and 159; Plin. nat. 10.5, 14.11.



unknown works, wrote about the oracle given to the Pelasgians, explained the term sexagenarii de ponte by reference to the customs of the Aborigines and the origins of Europa, and the novensiles.91 Manilius is not in the Appendix, but, if all this does belong to a single writer, everything he touched on could have found a place in a historical account. He is, in pretty much every sense, on the edges of history. Bibliography Ambaglio, D. (1990). ‘Fra hypomnemata e storiografia’, Athenaeum 68: 503–508. Barchiesi, A. (2001). ‘The crossing’, in S. J. Harrison (ed.) Texts, Ideas and the Classics. Scholarship, Theory and Classical Literature (Oxford), 142–163. Bömer, F. (1953). ‘Der commentarius. Zur Vorgeschichte und literarischen Form der Schriften Caesars’, Hermes 81: 210–250. Brunt, P. A. (1980). ‘On historical fragments and epitomes’, Classical Quarterly 30: 477–494. Cameron, A. (2004). Greek Mythography in the Roman World, Oxford. Courtney, E. (2003). The Fragmentary Latin Poets, second edition, Oxford. Depew, M. and Obbink, D. (eds., 2000). Matrices of Genre. Authors, Canons and Society, Cambridge, MA. Dietz, D. B. (1974). ‘Historia in the Commentary of Servius’, TAPA 125: 61–97. Engels, J. (1993). ‘Die hypomnemata-Schriften und die Anfänge der politischen Biographie und Autobiographie in der griechischen Literatur’, ZPE 96: 19–36. Geiger, J. (1985). Cornelius Nepos and Ancient Political Biography (Historia Einzelschriften 47), Stuttgart. Hardie, P. (ed., 2009). Paradox and the Marvellous in Augustan Literature and Culture, Oxford. Harries, J. (2006). Cicero and the Jurists. From Citizens’ Law to the Lawful State, London. Hinds, S. (2006). ‘Venus, Varro and the vates. Toward the limits of etymologizing interpretation’, Dictynna 3: 175–210. Ker, J. (2010). ‘Nundinae. The culture of the Roman week’, Phoenix 64: 360–385.

91  The name is variously transmitted in the sources, but the references were gathered under a single individual by Mommsen (1909), 72–76. Phoenix: Plin. nat. 14.11 (Mamilius); oracle: Dion. Hal. 1.19 (Mamios), Macr. Sat. 1.28 (citing Varro = ant. hum. 2 frg. 2), Lact. inst. 1.21; sexagenarii Fest. 450 L (mani …); Europa: Varro ling. 5.31 (Manlius); novensiles Arnob. 3.38 (Manilius) (= FRHist Cincius 2 [F8] = Piso 9 F43). Mommsen has to assume that Mallios in Macr. Sat. 1.10.4 is another person, because he refers to Augustus.

On the Edges of History


Koptev, A. (2014). ‘Principles of the nexum and debt law in the Twelve Tables’, in F. R. Barbero (ed.), Principios generales del derecho: antecedentes históricos y horizonte actual (Madrid), 227–246. Levene, D. S. and Nelis, D. P. (eds., 2002). Clio and the Poets. Augustan Poetry and the Traditions of Ancient Historiography (Mnemosyne, suppl. 224), Leiden. Marincola J. (1999). ‘Genre, convention and innovation in Greco-Roman historiography’, in C. S. Kraus (ed.), The Limits of Historiography. Genre and Narrative in Ancient Historical Texts (Mnemosyne, suppl. 191, Leiden), 281–324. Mommsen, Th. (1909). Philologische Schriften, Berlin. Most, G. W. (ed., 1997). Collecting Fragments – Fragmente sammeln (Aporemata. Kritische Studien zur Philologiegeschichte 1), Göttingen. Münzer, F. (1897). Beiträge zur Quellenkritik der Naturgeschichte des Plinius, Berlin. Naas, V. (2011). ‘Imperialism, mirabilia and knowledge. Some paradoxes in the Naturalis Historia’, in R. K. Gibson and R. Morello (eds.), Pliny the Elder. Themes and Contexts (Mnemosyne, suppl. 329, Leiden – Boston), 57–70. Oakley, S. P. (1997–2005). A Commentary on Livy, Books 6–10 I–IV, Oxford. Pelling, C. (1988). Plutarch. Life of Antony, Cambridge. Pelling, C. (2002). Plutarch and History. Eighteen Studies, London. Pelling, C. (2011). Plutarch, Caesar, Oxford. Rawson, E. (1972). ‘Cicero the historian and Cicero the antiquarian’, JRS 62: 33–45 (= Ead. [1991], 58–79). Rawson, E. (1976). ‘The first Latin annalists’, Latomus 35: 689–717 (= Ead. [1991], 245–271). Rawson, E. (1978). ‘The introduction of logical organization in Roman prose literature’, PBSR 46: 12–34 (= Ead. [1991], 324–351). Rawson, E. (1991). Roman Culture and Society. Collected Papers, Oxford. Rich, J. W. (1997/2011). ‘Structuring Roman history. The consular year and the Roman historical tradition’, Histos 1 (1997), revised and updated in Histos 5 (2011): 1–41 ( Rich, J. W. (2005). ‘Valerius Antias and the construction of the Roman past’, BICS 48 (2005): 137–161. Roller, D. W. (2003). The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene. Royal Scholarship on Rome’s African Frontier, New York – London. Roller, M. B. (2004). ‘Exemplarity in Roman culture. The cases of Horatius Cocles and Cloelia’, CPh 99: 1–56. Rüpke, J. (1992). ‘Wer las Caesars bella als commentarii?’, Gymnasium 99: 201–226. Rüpke, J. (2006). ‘Ennius’ fasti in Fulvius’s temple. Greek rationality and Roman tradition’, Arethusa 39: 489–512. Schiavone, A. (1976). Nascita della giurisprudenza: cultura aristocratica e pensiero giuridico nella Roma tardo-repubblicana, Roma.



Schiavone, A. (1987). Giuristi e nobili nella Roma repubblicana: il secolo della rivoluzione scientifica nel pensiero giuridico antico, Roma. Sciarrino, E. (2004). ‘A temple for the professional muse. The Aedes Herculis Musarum and cultural shifts in second-century BC Rome’, in A. Barchiesi, J. Rüpke, and S. Stephens (eds.), Rituals in Ink. A Conference on Religion and Literary Production in Ancient Rome (Munich), 45–56. Skutsch, O. (1968). Studia Enniana, London. Smith, C. J. (2005). ‘The Origo gentis Romanae. Facts and fictions’, BICS 48: 97–136. Smith, C. J. (2010). ‘Caesar and the history of Early Rome’, in G. P. Urso (a cura di), Cesare: precursore o visionario?, Atti del convegno internazionale, Cividale del Friuli, 17–19 settembre 2009 (Pisa), 249–264. Smith, C. J. and Powell, A. (eds., 2009). The Lost Memoirs of Augustus and the Development of Roman Autobiography, Swansea. Stem, R. (2012). The Political Biographies of Cornelius Nepos, Ann Arbor, MI. Stevenson, A. J. (2004). ‘Gellius and the Roman antiquarian tradition’, in L. HolfordStrevens and A. Vardi (eds.), The Worlds of Aulus Gellius (Oxford), 118–155. Tschiedel, H. J. (1981). Caesars Anticato. Eine Untersuchung der Testimonien und Fragmente, Darmstadt. Vardi, A. (2004). ‘Genre, conventions and cultural programme in Gellius’ Noctes Atticae,’ in L. Holford-Strevens and A. Vardi (eds.) The Worlds of Aulus Gellius (Oxford), 159–186. Verbrugghe, G. P. (1989). ‘On the meaning of annales, on the meaning of annalist’, Philologus 133: 192–230.


Diligentissumus investigator antiquitatis? ‘Antiquarianism’ and Historical Evidence between Republican Rome and the Early Modern Republic of Letters Duncan MacRae* “The practice of antiquarianism at Rome went back almost as far as that of historiography, and it flourished in the generation of Varro and Cicero”, writes Stephen Oakley in his commentary on Livy.1 He suggests that certain passages in Livy, touching on topography, old documents and etymology, can be explained as the result of influence from this late-republican Age of Antiquaries. At the core of this traditional view – which Oakley represents with admirable clarity – is an implied distinction between the antiquarian and the historiographer. The key to this distinction is the topic of this volume: evidence. Modern scholars frequently label the specific reference in ancient historiography to material and linguistic evidence for the past as an antiquarian feature. Similarly, the evident interest in these forms of evidence on the part of Varro and writers like him has often been understood as a Roman antiquarianism.2 However, the use of ‘antiquarianism’ as a signifier for an ancient phenomenon depends on an implicit identification of the ancient with a particular early modern ­practice – the systematic investigation of institutions and material culture. Indeed the most authoritative student of antiquarianism, Arnaldo

* I thank the audience in Rome, Daniel Boyarin, Christopher Krebs, Fiachra Mac Góráin, Frances Muecke and Valeria Sergueenkova for comments that greatly improved this paper. Seth Bernard kindly shared unpublished work. I am especially grateful to Christopher Smith and Kaj Sandberg for their excellent organization of the conference and volume. 1  Oakley (1997–2005), I, 33–37 (quote at 33). 2  Rawson (1985), 233–249 is most authoritative on late Republican antiquarianism; see also Sehlmayer (2003); Id. (2009); Stevenson (2004). See also the distinction between historians and antiquarians in two of the most important surveys of the sources for archaic Rome, Cornell (1995), 1–30 and Forsythe (2005), 59–77, as well as in the introduction of FRHist I, 8–9.

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Momigliano, made precisely this identification of ancient and modern phenomena explicit in his 1950 essay ‘Ancient history and the antiquarian’.3 Momigliano depended on the claims of early modern antiquarians that there was a long-term continuity between the Roman antiquarianism of Varro and their own activities.4 As he put it in his later Sather lecture on the same theme: “The antiquarians of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries would not have been what they were if they had considered themselves a new sect. Rather they prided themselves on being a relic of Antiquity … . We must accept their claims to be the continuators of ancient antiquarians”.5 It is time to question this assumption: there was no such thing as Roman antiquarianism. The seventeenth and eighteenth century antiquarians were misled by a sixteenth century invention of an ancient Roman antiquarianism. Going a bit further, if we do not follow the early moderns in categorizing these ancient authors as antiquarians, we have the opportunity to reconsider late Republican writing on the Roman past. Such an argument will raise the question of terms.6 Classical Latin did not have a single lexical term that matches ‘antiquarian’ (or its cognates in other European languages). The Latin word antiquarius as used by Tacitus and Suetonius refers to admirers of archaic Latin diction; it was only in the sixteenth century that it seems to have taken on the significance of “researcher into the past and its material culture”.7 Similarly, the literary products of the modern antiquarians which bear the title Antiquitates follow the supposed 3  Momigliano (1950). The influence of ‘Ancient history and the antiquarian’ is noted in almost every scholarly work that touches on early modern antiquarianism. It is considered so important that it has been at the centre of two edited volumes: Crawford – Ligota (1995) and Miller (2007); one unusual proxy for the influence of the article might be the fact that it was published as a pamphlet in 2012 in Croatian translation. For direct critique of the 1950 article, see Völkel (2007); Herklotz (2007). Momigliano’s picture has been nuanced in important contributions by Woolf (1987), on English Renaissance historical erudition; Grafton (2007), on the place of antiquarianism in the early modern artes historicae; and McCahill (2009), on fifteenth-century antiquarianism. 4   Momigliano also, following Felix Jacoby, identified an ancient Greek antiquarianism. Scholars have, however, raised the question of the applicability of the term antiquarianism to Greek texts. On the topic: Humphreys (1997); Marincola (1999) 308–309; and Bravo (2007), who suggests that the term retains some utility. 5  Momigliano (1990), 58. The book is a posthumous publication of his Sather Lectures given at Berkeley in 1962. 6  Momigliano (1950, 289–290) admits the problem of the term, but plays it down in the context of his argument about antiquarian continuity between Antiquity and the Renaissance (if not lexical continuity). 7  Tac. dial. 21.4, 37.2, 42.2; Suet. Aug. 86.2.

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precedent of Varro’s Antiquitates rerum humanarum et divinarum. I will return to the issue of Varro as precedent later, but for now it will be enough to suggest that his title was probably intended as a calque on the Greek archaiologia, which could name both Josephus’ rewritten Bible and Dionysius’ narrative history of Early Rome.8 Varro’s Antiquitates is the only work that we can confidently say had this title and ancient references to the word give little sign that it was understood as a specific genre.9 It was only in the Renaissance that antiquitates becomes formalized as a literary genre separate to history. By the early seventeenth century, for example, Francis Bacon could easily separate history proper and antiquities, with the latter dismissed as “history defaced, or some remnants of history which have casually escaped the shipwreck of time”.10 But the idea that there was no Roman antiquarianism is not just a terminological question – a the-Romans-didn’t-have-a-word-for-it argument – instead, this essay will suggest that they did not have the concept either.11 This essay, then, has two parts: the first sketches a history of an anachronism – the appropriation of ancient authors, particularly Varro, as antiquarian predecessors by early modern antiquarians. Once we have thrown off the conceptual blinkers of antiquarianism as an early modern category, the second part argues for a rethinking of Roman republican writing about the past, by concentrating on the role of material evidence. It is tempting to echo Livy: readers of this volume may be more interested in the latter part of the essay than the opening section; but the early-modern genesis of the idea of Roman antiquarianism justifies a new approach to the ancient materials. 1

Varro, the Renaissance Antiquarian

Antiquarianism was a central component of the new concern for Roman antiquity in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. New intellectual interests, particularly in Italy, but soon all over Western Europe, encouraged the investigation of antique monuments, the collection and classification of artefacts and the 8  The term is used in a famous passage in Plato’s Hippias maior, where the sophist defines archaiologia to include the genealogies of heroes and men, the foundations of cities and lists of magistrates (285d–e). Josephus’ and Dionysius’ works are the only two surviving works by this name, but we have testimonies of the same title for books by Berossus, Cleanthes, and Juba. 9  Plin. nat. praef. 24 (an item on a list of titles of various encyclopedic works). 10  F.  Bacon, The Advancement of Learning (1605, ed. Kiernan 2000), 2C2v. 11  I owe Prof. Daniel Boyarin for useful comments on the implications of this point.



reconstruction of ancient institutions and customs. This antiquarian practice enabled new visions and comprehension of the Roman past – a past that was now understood as distant, but knowable through the material traces that still remained. The writers of the new accounts of these antiquities, as they came to call them, did not pretend to write new histories of Rome – the authority of the ancient historians remained paramount. Instead, they laid the foundations for classical archaeology, numismatics and epigraphy and wrote works that are the distant ancestors of the great nineteenth-century Handbücher.12 Early modern antiquarianism was not, at first, in the fifteenth century, the conscious resurrection of an ancient practice, but, pace Momigliano, only came to identify itself with the writings of Varro and some of his contemporaries as the practice developed in the sixteenth century.13 This development can be tracked by paying attention to the role of ancient texts, particularly Varro’s Antiquitates, in the self-conception of antiquarianism in the Renaissance. Three landmarks will serve to mark our path through this history: Flavio Biondo’s ground-breaking Roma triumphans, published in 1459; Onofrio Panvinio’s manuscript preface to his Epitome antiquitatum Romanarum, never formally published until Jean-Louis Ferrary’s 1996 book; and finally Johannes Rosinus’ Antiquitates Romanae, published in 1583. Other authors and other works would certainly add definition to this story, but these three points will suffice to mark the trajectory of the idea of Roman antiquarianism.14

12  This is not the place to give a full account of this intellectual movement; see Momigliano (1950), 286: “I wish I could simply refer to a History of Antiquarian Studies. But none exists.” Despite the flourishing study of Renaissance antiquarianism in the last decade, this absence has not yet been remedied; cf. Carter (1995), 412; Miller (2012), 244. Much work on antiquarianism is focused on the history of the discipline of archaeology and provides a very partial view of antiquarianism vis-à-vis history; see, for example, Schnapp (2002). 13  For this history of the development of an idea of antiquarianism, I am indebted to the work of Riccardo Fubini, particularly Fubini (2003), 77–89, and Jean-Louis Ferrary (1996), though I assign a more significant role to Rosinus than these scholars do. 14  I can only note briefly here the significance of the titles of topographical works called Antiquitates, including the Antiquitates Urbis by Pomponio Leto (the title was posthumous) and a work of the same name by Andrea Fulvio, and of the notorious forgeries by Annio of Viterbo, also known as Antiquitates. Varro was perhaps particularly associated with topography in the fifteenth century: see the collocation of the biography of Varro by Pomponio Leto and topographical notes on the De lingua Latina by the same author in Vat. Lat. 3415. On Pomponio and Varro: Accame Lanzillotta (1990); Bernard (2014/15 [2016]), 161–179.

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The papal humanist Flavio Biondo, who spent much of his career in the early fifteenth century curia – easily one of the most lively intellectual environments of that period – deserves credit as the father of Renaissance antiquarianism. His Roma instaurata and the Italia illustrata are chorographical works, comprehensive guides to the city and peninsula. The preface of the Italia illustrata provides the metaphor of saving planks from a shipwreck that eventually became a short-hand for antiquarian practice, as in the Bacon passage quoted above.15 It was, however, the Roma triumphans, completed in 1459, that became the real model for later antiquarian writing. In ten books, Biondo presented a synthesis of information about Roman institutions and customs organized into four main categories of analysis: religion, government, the military and private customs.16 To these he added a fifth topic: the institution of the triumph, the subject of a special study in the tenth book. Modern scholars have long argued that the ultimate model for the work was Varro’s Antiquitates, a work best known from the potted table of contents given by Augustine in the De civitate Dei.17 The Christian bishop, who is justifying his selection of Varro as a worthy target of his polemic, writes that the Antiquitates were in forty-one books, first twenty-five books on human antiquities, organized in four categories: people, places, times and customs; then sixteen books on religious matters, organized by the same four categories with an additional trilogy on the 15  F.  Biondo, Italia illustrata, praef. 4: “sed gratias mihi potius de perductis ad litus e tanto naufragio supernatantibus, parum autem apparentibus, tabulis haberi, quam de tota navi desiderata rationem a me exposci debere contenderim”. The metaphor had a long history: F. Bacon uses it twice to describe antiquarianism in the Advancement of Learning (1605) in the passage quoted above and 2C3r: “Antiquities or Remnants of History are, as was saide, ‘tanquam tabulae naufragii’”. J. Vossius followed him in the De philologia (1650), 70: “Antiquitates sunt reliquiae antiquae temporis, tabellis alicuius naufragii non absimiles”. Cf. Johannes Graevius, Thesaurum antiquitatum Romanarum (1694), ‘praefatio benevolo lectori’. On the metaphor, which alludes to Biondo’s participation in Leon Battista Alberti’s scheme to raise the Roman barges from the lake at Nemi: Fubini (2003), 47–48; Grafton (2007), 84–91. 16  Flavio Biondo, Roma triumphans, 2H: “Idque immensum opus quinque partita distributione tractabimus: ut quae ad religionem spectavere primum, quae reipubicae administrationis fuerunt secundum, tertium militiae disciplina: mores vero ac vitae instituta quartum et triumphi ipsius ratio, quintum obtineant locum”. I cite the Roma triumphans from the 1556 edition of the major works printed in Basel. New editions from the I Tatti Renaissance Library and the Italian national edition from the Istituto storico italiano per il Medioveo are eagerly awaited. 17  Momigliano (1950) calls it the “rediscovery of the Varronian idea”. Cf. (with varying shades of nuance) Tomassini (1985), 16–18; Jacks (1993), 119–120; Mazzocco (1985); Id. (2011), 170 n. 21.



gods. Augustine also attacks at length Varro’s decision to place religion after human affairs, as an indicator of pagan impiety.18 Even at first sight, it is less than clear how Biondo’s ten books would relate to this supposed model: religion is the first topic for Biondo and the division into religio, reipublicae administratio, militiae disciplina and mores ac instituta vitae do not fit with the Varronian taxonomy. In fact, Riccardo Fubini has recently cast doubt on the Varronian model for Biondo and suggested that this taxonomy is much closer to the system of the Corpus Juris, where religion is the first topic.19 Biondo must have known the Augustinian table of contents for Varro’s Antiquitates; his work is remarkable as the first to detach fragments of Varro on Roman pagan religion from the De civitate Dei and he follows Augustine in emphasizing Varro’s authority on this particular topic. In the first two books, devoted to religion, he frequently cites Varro at the start of paragraphs on individual subjects. In later books, Varro is much less prominent as an authority; Biondo prefers to cite Cicero and Livy alongside a very wide range of imperialperiod authors. But using Varro as a primary authority for Roman religion does not indicate that Biondo understood that his work was resurrecting or returning to an ancient antiquarianism. He does mention Varro in the preface, but only in the context of writing as an old man – he refers to a hyperbolic selfcomparison to the Sibyl singing for future generations from the prologue to Varronian Res rusticae.20 Biondo’s Roma triumphans, though clearly identifiable in retrospect as antiquarianism, a systematic collection of data about ancient institutions and customs, does not affiliate with any ancient text or practice. Biondo simply did not participate in the meta-discourse of antiquarianism. In as much as he does provide an explanation for his project, he claims that he is providing a model

18  Aug. civ. 6.3–4. 19  Fubini (2003), 77–83. 20  Flavio Biondo, Roma triumphans, 2G: “et demum senectutis nostrae inertis grato atque honesto munere, cum ipso Cicerone in Legibus, fungi voluimus neque passi sumus; sicut Varro De Agricultura scripturus, sese non passurum est professus Sibyllam solam ea quae se viva et se demum mortua prodessent hominibus cecinisse.” Varro rust. 1.1.2–4: quare, quoniam emisti fundum, quem bene colendo fructuosum cum facere velis, meque ut id mihi habeam curare roges, experiar; et non solum, ut ipse quoad vivam, quid fieri oporteat ut te moneam, sed etiam post mortem. neque patiar Sibyllam non solum cecinisse quae, dum viveret, prodessent hominibus, sed etiam quae cum perisset ipsa, et id etiam ignotissimis quoque hominibus; ad cuius libros tot annis post publice solemus redire, cum desideramus, quid faciendum sit nobis ex aliquo portento: me, ne dum vivo quidem, necessariis meis quod prosit facere.

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of virtue and a glimpse of a triumphant Rome.21 The latter can be explained by the historical context: the publication of the Roma triumphans at the Council of Mantua in 1459, summoned by Pius II to organize a crusade against the Ottoman Turks. The present participle was not an accident: Biondo aimed to provide a model of a victorious Rome for his contemporaries.22 Certainly, compared to Pius’ ill-fated crusade, the Roma triumphans was a triumph. The work set the parameters for early modern antiquarianism. The clearest indication of its significance for the sixteenth century is in an unusual piece, a preface written in the 1550s by Onofrio Panvinio, the Farnese librarian, for his planned but unpublished Epitome antiquitatum Romanarum. Despite its non-publication, Panvinio’s work is testimony to the development of antiquarian meta-discourse in the mid-sixteenth century. It provides a brief history of the writing of antiquitates until Panvinio’s own time. The two culture heroes of his history are Varro and Biondo, the founder and restorer of antiquarianism respectively. Depending on the Augustinian summary of the contents of the Antiquitates, Panvinio calls Varro the oldest antiquarian of all (vetustissmus omnium) and the ultimate model for his own antiquarian work.23 Biondo is granted a similarly primate role; he was the first of the moderns to write about the city of Rome and the progenitor of the new studium antiquitatis.24 Panvinio’s text, then, produces a useful past for the antiquarianism of his own age, dependent on an ancient inventor and modern continuator, Varro and Biondo.25 Even though it was not printed, Panvinio, as William Stenhouse has 21  Flavio Biondo, Roma triumphans, 2H: “Itaque coepimus tentare, si speculum, exemplar, imaginem, doctrinam omnis virtutis et bene, sancte ac foeliciter vivendi rationis, Urbem Romam florentem ac qualem Aurelius Augustinus triumphantem videre desideravit, nostrorum hominum ingenio et doctrina valentium, oculis et menti subiicere ac proponere poterimus.” 22  On this context, see Tomassini (1985), 66–77; McCahill (2009); Muecke (2011), 280–288. 23  Onofrio Panvinio, De his qui Romanas antiquitates scripto comprehenderunt, § 2 (ed. Ferrary [1996], 49–62): “Vetustissmus igitur omnium (ut VI libro De Civitate Dei, cap. III tradit Divus Augustinus) est M. Varro … . Quum vero hi libri [scil. Antiquitates] interciderunt, hunc laborem, et vetusta haec quae a recentioribus praeterita sunt, renovanda suscepi.” See Grafton (1993), 261–262 on Scaliger’s chronological work for a parallel deployment of Varro to create a “usable past” for early modern scholarly practice. 24  Onofrio Panvinio, De his qui Romanas antiquitates scripto comprehenderunt, §§ 7–8 (ed. Ferrary [1996]): “Quare centesimo et trigesimo anno ante, primus omnium ex recentioribus Blondus Flavius Foroiuliensis Urbis descriptionem ex instituto facere aggressus est … . Quo ex genere antiquitatis studium est, quod a Blondo excitatum tenue principio et obscurum.” 25  Ferrary (1996), 69; Fubini (2003), 83–89.



demonstrated, was at the centre of a circle of antiquarian s­ cholars in Rome in 1540s and 1550s, including Carlo Sigonio, Antonio Agustín and Ottavio Pantagato, who all communicated incessantly and sometimes rancorously about the study of antiquity.26 Many of these scholars had links with Panvinio’s employer, the great Renaissance cardinal, Alessandro Farnese. It is likely that Panvinio’s ideas about the ancient past of antiquarianism circulated through this sixteenth century antiquarian research network.27 We can be confident that the idea of a Varronian past for Renaissance antiquarianism started to reach far beyond the Farnese circle in the later part of the sixteenth century. The clearest testimony is in the Antiquitates Romanae of Johannes Rosinus, Johan Rossfeld, a scholar from Jena.28 This book, published in Basel in 1583 in ten volumes, became a vital companion for the student of Roman antiquity in early modern Europe.29 In terms of content and method, Rosinus’ Antiquitates is derivative, but the preface marks the final stage of the invention of Roman antiquarianism. Despite the confessional differences between him and the Catholic scholars at work in Italy, Rosinus appears to have been exposed to the ideas of Panvinio’s circle. In the dedicatory letter, we find again the idea of Varro as forerunner, and Biondo as restorer, of antiquarian practice. Rosinus, however, goes a step further than Panvinio: he reconstructs an entire Roman circle of antiquarians, with Varro as a leader in the field. He writes: “Indeed, among the ancient Romans, many prominent men, outstanding in learning and wisdom, eagerly engaged in this business – to record the origins and reasons for ancient customs, rites, and ceremonies in writing and to pass them on to posterity. Their

26  This is the picture that emerges from Stenhouse (2005), an extremely rich study. 27  The presence of so-called antiquarian writers, including Varro, in Riccoboni’s early collection of fragmentary historians (1568) and their absence from Augustin’s collection (published 1595 but composed earlier) is perhaps an early witness to the success of the concept. On the differences between Riccoboni’s and Agustín’s collections of the fragments of the historians, see Cornell et al., FRHist I, 652–654. 28  Rosinus is frequently mentioned and rarely discussed in work on Renaissance antiquarianism. Almost no modern research focuses on him or his work; for a brief biography, see the entry in the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (1875–1912). The supplemented and revised version of his Antiquitates by the Scottish scholar Thomas Dempster has received a little more attention: Stenhouse (2004); Herklotz (2012), 74–78. 29  The Antiquitates had twenty editions between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, including the revised version by Dempster (Herklotz [2012, 88 n. 42]). See also Grafton (2007), 226–227 for an example of this later reputation.

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names are found throughout ancient grammatical and other encyclopedic authors; their works have perished. Among the first, Marcus Terentius Varro … .”30 He then continues with Augustine’s summary of the contents of the Antiquitates. In this passage, we witness the birth of an anachronism: the idea of Roman antiquarianism. Rosinus does not give any names other than Varro’s and although we could come up with possibilities, that would be missing the point. Rosinus’ reconstruction of a circle of antiquarians eagerly or even competitively – depending on how one would translate certatim – studying the past owes much more to the early-modern Republic of Letters than to any potential ancient authority. This is something more than Panvinio’s claim that Varro was the inventor of the practice; Rosinus constructs a general ancient phenomenon in terms of the social and intellectual habits of sixteenth century antiquarians. Rosinus’ readers noticed: it is surely no accident that his publisher, Johann Freigius, in a letter to the reader printed at the front of the Antiquitates, proclaimed the German “a new Varro for our age”.31 From Biondo to Rosinus, then, we see the parallel development of antiquarianism and its meta-discourse. Biondo was the first antiquarian in the modern sense – he collected all sorts of evidence to describe Roman institutions systematically. Although he was well aware of Varro’s work, it was only later, in the mid-sixteenth century, that Panvinio made the claim that the Roman scholar was an ancient counterpart for the modern practice. Rosinus developed this further, generalizing from contemporary habit to make Varro part of a Roman age of antiquaries. Clearly, the argument here revises Momigliano’s influential claim that antiquarianism was an ancient phenomenon rediscovered and continued in the Renaissance. But it also opens up a new possibility for those of us interested in ancient historiography: a chance to reconsider late Republican writing about the past and the place of material evidence in that writing without the burden of an anachronism.

30  Johannes Rosinus, Antiquitates Romanae, ‘Epistola dedicatoria’ (page not numbered): “Apud veteres quidem Romanos plurimi eruditione et prudentia clari et praestantes viri certatim hoc egerunt, ut veterum morum, rituum et ceremoniarum origines et causas scriptis comprehenderent, et posteritati proderunt: quorum nomina apud Grammaticos antiquos, et alios Scriptores Miscellaneos passim reperiuntur, monumenta interciderunt. In primis autem Marcus Terentius Varro … .” 31  Johannes Thomas Freigius, ‘Benevolo Lectori’ (printed with Rosinus’ edition and dated 1581): “hunc thesaurum a novo nostrae aetatis Varrone … .”

146 2


Varro, the Ancient Historiographer

In his Brutus, Cicero calls Varro a diligentissumus investigator antiquitatis.32 What did he mean? Cicero cannot have intended to call his learned contemporary “an antiquarian”; this is our modern imposition. Instead Varro and writers like him were fully part of a rich variety of writing about the past in late Republican Rome. In particular, both so-called ‘annalists’ and ‘antiquarians’ shared an interest in material evidence for the Roman past.33 As has been widely recognized, temples and sanctuaries in the ancient Mediterranean were significant sites of memory – lieux de mémoire.34 Grand architecture and the culture of valuable dedications provided a resource for those interested in the past.35 Temples were not only sites of worship; they were also banks, museums and archives. They also provide material for a casestudy for how we can understand Roman writing about their past without depending on the Renaissance distinction between history and antiquarianism.36 A temporary suspension of the accustomed generic distinctions can reveal the shared research practices and assumptions of at least some late Republican writers on the Roman past. In a fragment preserved by Festus, Lucius Cincius, not to be identified with the early historian L. Cincius Alimentus, discusses the details of an inscription that accompanied the dedication of a crown made by Quinctius Cincinnatus Capitolinus in the Capitolium.37 Another fragment on the same temple 32  Cic. Brut. 60: his enim consulibus [scil. M. Cethegus P. Tuditanus, 204 BCE], ut in veteribus commentariis scriptum est, Naevius est mortuus; quamquam Varro noster diligentissumus investigator antiquitatis putat in hoc erratum vitamque Naevi, producit longius. For literary history as part of ancient historiography: Vell. 1.5, 1.15–18, 2.9, 2.36; Fenestella (FRHist 70 F 11, 18). 33  The fragmentary status of all of late republican historiography (except Sallust) demands that readers take into account the tenuous transmission of these texts; I have tried to make only reasonable assumptions in what follows, but note the important caveats raised by Brunt (1980). 34  On lieux de mémoire, see Hölkeskamp’s and Davies’ contributions to this volume. 35  On votive dedications and the potential development of historical narratives, see Di Fazio (this volume). 36  Another possible case-study in the same direction would be the common role of etymology as a form of historical evidence in both antiquarian and historical writing. 37  Fest. 498 L 4–9: Trientem tertium pondo coronam auream dedisse se Iovi donum scripsit T. Quintius dictator cum per novem dies totidem urbes et decimam Praeneste cepisset. Id significare ait Cincius in Μυσταγωγικῶν lib. II duas libras pondo et trientem … . On the distinction between L. Cincius and Cincius Alimentus, see FRHist I, 181–183 (Bispham and

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(Liv. 7.3.4–9) shows that Cincius discussed a lex vetusta, priscis litteris verbisque scripta that governed the annual ritual of the praetor maximus striking a nail into the shrine of Minerva in the Capitoline temple of Iuppiter Optimus Maximus.38 Given the title of his known book, the Mystagogica, and Livy’s remark that he was a diligens talium monumentorum auctor, Cincius appears to have recorded these inscriptions in the framework of a periegetical work, perhaps in a similar manner to his better-preserved Greek counterpart Pausanias. The Capitoline temple also attracted the attention of Varro. In a fragment preserved by Augustine and assigned by editors to the first book of his Antiquitates rerum divinarum, Varro claimed that there was an earlier triad of divinities worshipped on the same site, Mars, Terminus and Iuventas, who all refused to move for the construction of the temple to Iuppiter. There were, however, obscura signa in the temple that permitted the learned to know the truth. The implication is that Varro is making a claim about specific material evidence for the presence of these deities, in the context of his survey of the development of Roman religion in the first book of his Antiquitates. A version of the same story, of course, where only Terminus held out, appears in Livy (1.55), without the reference to specific evidence from the temple, and the story had probably featured in the historical tradition from Cato onwards (see FRHist 5 F 18). Varro did not just use this sort of material for his work on religion. A fragment transmitted by Pliny the Elder from a different work, the De vita populi Romani, records that some cloth woven by Tanaquil could still be found in the Temple of Sancus on the Quirinal.39 The De vita, normally classified among Varro’s antiquarian work, was in four books, each taking a different period and focused on what we might call the ‘cultural history’ of that period. This Cornell). For dating, cf. Rawson (1985), 247–248; Rüpke (2012), 250 n. 37, who think he was a contemporary of Varro; and Heurgon (1964), who argues for a date before 83 BCE. 38  Liv. 7.3.5–7: lex uetusta est, priscis litteris uerbisque scripta, ut qui praetor maximus sit Idibus Septembribus clauum pangat; fixa fuit dextro lateri aedis Iouis optimi maximi, ex qua parte Mineruae templum est. eum clauum, quia rarae per ea tempora litterae erant, notam numeri annorum fuisse ferunt eoque Mineruae templo dicatam legem quia numerus Mineruae inuentum sit. Volsiniis quoque clauos indices numeri annorum fixos in templo Nortiae, Etruscae deae, comparere diligens talium monumentorum auctor Cincius adfirmat. For a detailed discussion of this fragment, see Heurgon (1964); cf. Oakley (1997–2005), ad loc. 39  Varro vit. pop. Rom. frg.16 Riposati (= Plin. nat. 8.194): lanam in colu et fuso Tanaquilis, quae eadem Gaia Caecilia vocata est, in templo Sancus durasse prodente se auctor est M. Varro. On the attribution of the fragment to this work, see Riposati (1939), 57–58, a study building on and correcting Münzer (1897), 315–317.



fragment comes from the first book, which is focused on the regal period. The work as a whole appears to have constituted a picture of decline from austere simplicity to contemporary luxury. We can juxtapose these positive uses of material evidence from temples with Varro’s notorious claim in the Antiquitates that Romans worshipped the gods without images for the first 170 years of their history.40 We should read this as a comment, albeit a negative one, on the antiquity of the material culture found in Roman temples. More conventional narrative historians also made use of the material found in sanctuaries. The dedication by the Latin dictator Egerius Baebius from the cult place of Diana at Aricia recorded in Cato’s Origines is a famous example.41 The fragment lacks a good context in Cato’s narrative, but the scholarly consensus is that the fragment represents the text of a dedicatory inscription incorporated into Cato’s history.42 A fragment from Calpurnius Piso’s Annales, preserved in Varro’s De lingua Latina, records the dedication by Numa of the statue of Janus in the shrine of Janus Geminus and attributes to the second king the custom of closing the gate when the city was at peace.43 Here the material evidence from the Janus shrine is matched to an old royal institution. This use of evidence from temples was not an early aberration in Roman historiography. In the first century, Licinius Macer used the linen books kept in the Temple of Iuno Moneta to reconstruct early republican magisterial colleges. As we know from three passages from the fourth book of Livy, Macer used these books to offer corrections to the traditional Fasti.44 The emphasis that Livy places on the topographical location of these books may well reflect Macer’s own concern with the Libri lintei as material evidence for the past 40  Varro ant. rer. div. frg. 18 Carduans (= Aug. civ. 4.31): antiquos Romanos plus annos centum et septuaginta deos sine simulacro coluisse. See Van Nuffelen (2010), 182–184. 41  Cato, FRHist 5 F 36: Lucum Dianium in nemore Aricino Egerius Baebius Tusculanus dedicauit dictator Latinus. hi populi communiter: Tusculanus, Aricinus, Lanuuinus, Laurens, Coranus, Tiburtis, Pometinus, Ardeatis Rutulus. 42  On this fragment and its probable epigraphic source: Ampolo (1983); FRHist III, 82–85 (T. J. Cornell). 43  Calpurnius Piso, FRHist 9 F 11 = Varro ling. 5.165: tertia est Ianualis, dicta ab Iano, et ideo ibi positum Iani signum et ius institutum a Pompilio, ut scribit in annalibus Piso, ut sit aperta semper, nisi cum bellum sit nusquam. See Rawson (1976), 707 on this fragment. Despite Rawson’s caution, the attribution of the statue to Numa must be Piso’s idea; Varro did not think that there were statues in very early Roman religion (see above). 44  Liv. 4.7.10–11, 4.20.8, 4.23.1–3 (= FRHist 27 F 18, 20, 21). On the Libri lintei: Peter (1914), ccclv– ccclvii; Ogilvie (1958); Frier (1975); Walt (1997), 75–85 (with further bibliography); Rich (this volume).

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authenticated by their preservation in the Temple of Iuno.45 As Livy reveals, the very late republican historian Aelius Tubero probably also consulted these libri, though without committing himself to their reliability.46 Setting aside this thorny question of reliability, which applies to all of these discoveries, it is clear that these Republican writers viewed the material that could be found in Roman sanctuaries as potential evidence for the Roman past. If we continue to suspend the modern antiquarian/historian distinction, material evidence from temples found a place in all sorts of written works about that past. At the same time, there was a clear diversity in the literary form of these books. Cato and Cincius both recorded old inscriptions from sanctuaries, but the former included the Arician inscription in his history of Rome and Italy, while the latter included the inscriptions that he found in the Capitoline in a periegetic composition. The same was true of dedications: Piso recorded the statue of Janus dedicated by Numa in the context of his annalistic work; Varro’s interest in the cloth woven by Tanaquil was part of his moralizing ‘biography’ of the Roman people. Macer used the Libri lintei as evidence for the quintessentially annalistic problem of the Fasti; Varro found a place in his Antiquitates rerum divinarum for the obscura signa of Mars, Iuventas and Terminus in the Capitoline temple. When it came to the evidence provided by religious sanctuaries, antiquarians and historians shared similar practices and interests. Certainly, it has long been realized that the so-called annalists used this sort of material evidence in their history writing. However, the long shadow cast by sixteenth-century antiquarianism has affected how modern scholars have written about this material. The section of Oakley’s introduction to his Livy commentary referred to at the start of this paper is representative.47 The use of material culture or etymology as evidence is viewed as an extrusion from the learned but separate domain of ‘antiquarianism’. So also Siri Walt, who in her recent detailed study of Licinius Macer characterizes the historian as an ‘antiquarischer Historiker’, a categorization that only serves to maintain an ideal

45  The presence of the books in this particular temple may have been significant. On the connection between Iuno Moneta and social memory in the late Republic: Meadows – Williams (2001). 46  Liv. 4.23.1–3 (= FRHist 38 F 8). Livy’s phrasing does leave open the possibility that Tubero did not have autopsy, but it seems likely as a basis for Tubero’s correction of Macer: FRHist III, 439 (Oakley). 47  Oakley (1997–2005), I, 33–37; cf. Wiseman (1979), 45–46.



distinction between the two domains.48 Another approach, advanced first by Elizabeth Rawson and recently pursued by Markus Sehlmeyer, has been to see a proximity between antiquarianism and history in the second century, exemplified by the passages from Cato and Piso that I used in my case study, followed by a divorce between the two fields in the first century.49 A different path is available: if we choose to set aside antiquarianism as an anachronism generated in the Renaissance, we can see that history writing in Republican Rome involved a much broader group of writers and works than has generally been acknowledged.50 Historiography and antiquarianism were not separate phenomena, even in the first century. After all, Varro himself was the author of a work called the Annales and his De Vita Populi Romani clearly had a diachronic narrative structure that sketched Roman moral decline.51 Even back in the second century, it is likely that Sempronius Tuditanus wrote both a book that dealt with the origins of political institutions and an annalistic history. Indeed, for some fragments of Tuditanus, modern scholars have struggled to choose whether to assign them to the historical or antiquarian books.52 Works like those of Cincius may seem more removed from conventional narrative history, but if, as seems likely, his work was similar to that of Pausanias, there may well have been substantial space given over to narrative digressions – logoi – as we find in the Greek periegesis. The fragments of the so-called antiquarian works may not look exactly like Livy, but the closer one looks at them, the harder it is to distinguish them from the wider phenomenon of history writing at Rome. 3

Conclusion: After Antiquarianism

It is time to question ‘antiquarianism’ in Republican Rome. There was no such thing, at least until the sixteenth century. The category is an anachronism, generated to support a new form of historical practice in the specific context 48  Walt (1997), 169–184. 49  Rawson (1976), 710; Ead. (1985), 234; Sehlmeyer (2003). 50  See, for example, the scope of standard English introductions to the Latin historians or Roman historiography: Kraus – Woodman (1997); Mellor (1999). 51  Cf. Peter HRR (1916), xxxii; FRHist I, 416–423 (Drummond). 52  For a recent survey of the problem of whether Tuditanus wrote both a work on magistracies and a history or just “a historical work (or works) albeit one(s) containing antiquarian material”, see FRHist I, 241–242. Cf. Peter HRR (1914), ccii–cciii; Chassignet (1996–2004), II, xxxi; FRH I, 330; Sehlmeyer (2003); Id. (2009); Smith (this volume).

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of early modern scholarship. Instead of continuing to follow the early modern distinction between history and antiquarianism, it is much preferable to place the authors and texts that we have grown accustomed to call ‘antiquarian’ within the mainstream of Roman writing about the past.53 In the absence of clear ancient evidence for either a generic division between narrative and systematic organization or an intellectual division between the presentation of history and historical research, what prevents us from calling Varro, the diligentissumus investigator antiquitatis, an historian?54 The argument presented here for the expansion of our idea of historiography in Rome finds support from a different angle: Jackie Elliott has recently suggested that Ennius, despite his decision to compose the Annales in Homerising epic verse, fully participated in the ancient historiographic tradition.55 Despite their many differences in research and literary form, Ennius and the antiquarians shared, along with the ‘annalistic’ historians, an interest in making sense of Rome and its history. A more inclusive conception of Roman historiography need not obscure the diversity of this writing.56 Recent scholarship in this area has already worked to break down the monolithic concept of the so-called ‘annalistic tradition’ and emphasize the diversity of Latin historiography before Livy.57 The addition of the antiquarians, or of Ennius, to the picture of Republican historiography requires a similar sensitivity to difference. The spectrum might be a useful metaphor for conceiving of the variety of this 53  In this respect, I differ from the choice made by the editors of the newest collection of the Fragments of the Roman Historians (Cornell et al. [2013]), who admit difficulties with the distinction in theory (I, 8–9), but uphold it in practice (see, especially, the “excluded authors” at I, 629–649). See also Rich; Smith (this volume). 54  Christopher Smith (this volume) cites FRHist T1–4 and 6 as evidence for a clearer ancient idea of who could count as an historian (see also a similar comment in FRHist I, 8). However, these texts do not offer general conceptions of “history”. Rather, all these passages should be read in their particular context: Cicero’s lists (T1, T2) are inflected by his concern for the importance of rhetoric for history-writing; Dionysius (T3) selects authors similar to Greek chronographers; Velleius Paterculus (T4) is concerned with a small group of authors alive around the same time as Sisenna; Fronto (T6), like Cicero, is preoccupied by style and offers only a very short list. 55  Elliott (2013), 198–232. Contra: Gildenhard (2003, 113), who claims that Ennius “shares little with the Roman ‘annalists’ apart from the title”. 56  On the diversity of (mostly Greek) historiography: Gabba (1981); Marincola (1999). 57  See Marincola (1999) 313–314; the tendency of the volume edited by Eigler – Gotter – Luraghi – Walter (2003), especially the ‘Einleitung’ by Gotter, Luraghi and Walter; and the comments on recent work in this field by Beck (2007). For the problem of the meaning of annales and ‘annalist’: Verbrugghe (1989); Rich (this volume).



literature. The topic of this volume, the issue of historical evidence, can provide the basis for such a spectrum. At one end of this notional spectrum, we might put Cincius and Varro, closely engaged with the discussion of material and linguistic evidence, the more evidentiary-minded historians like Macer and perhaps Piso somewhere in the middle.58 It might be best to place Claudius Quadrigarius, whose fragments show very little interest in this evidence, at the other end of the spectrum. Other indicators might also be used to map this diversity.59 For example, we can track variation of the narrative form of Republican historiography (between year-by-year narratives of political events, Varro’s narration of Roman history in terms of ‘cultural periods’ in the De vita populi Romani, and the non-narrative organization of his Antiquitates), of the temporal periods covered (between the very full histories of Gellius and Piso, the partial narration of Roman history from the Gallic Sack by Claudius Quadrigarius, and the historical monographs of Sallust) and of the geo-political scope (from the many works on the history of Rome itself to Cato’s Italian Origines to the “universal history” of Varro’s De gente populi Romani). Students of antiquity tend to see it in terms of their own time: in the Renaissance, a distinction between history and antiquarianism in ancient Rome made sense as a mirror of contemporary practice; the massive variety of writing about the past in our own present, from phenomenally detailed narratives, to deep histories and micro-histories, to learned historical fiction, permits us to be sensitive to the expansive nature of historiography in Republican Rome.60

58  This middle of the spectrum may also be the right place for the early imperial historian Fenestella, see Smith (this volume) and FRHist I, 490–492 (Drummond). 59  For a useful sketch of potential indicators of diversity in Greco-Roman historiography at large, see Marincola (1999), 302–309. 60  Much of the debate over ancient historiography since the 1980s (particularly since Woodman [1988]) has explicitly or implicitly revolved around the extent to which ancient historiography differed from modern historiography. It is perhaps time to consider how ancient historiography is similar to modern, without falling back on monolithic and outdated ideas of a positivist, ‘scientific’ modern history, see Dench (2009) and Smith’s Introduction to this volume.

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Inspired Leaders versus Emerging Nations: Varro’s and Cicero’s Views on Early Rome Vera Binder Cicero and Varro were not the closest of friends. We know of only comparatively few letters of Cicero’s addressed to Varro, and we remember how embarrassing a task it proved for Cicero to dedicate one of his works to the Reatine polymath.1 Scholars have always wondered why their relationship was not a particularly intimate one, and in fact rather the opposite. Both were born from regional elites and had to work their way through the Roman cursus honorum (Varro stopped after having reached the praetorship); both joined Pompey’s side in the Civil War and, later on, fell victim to the proscriptions which only Varro was lucky enough to survive. They had close friends in common, most conspicuously Pomponius Atticus; both were interested in philosophy and in research on the Roman past, illustrious protagonists in the process of rationalization Claudia Moatti has described so impressively in her magisterial book La raison de Rome;2 both were deeply worried about imminent loss of tradition.3 So we might imagine that their similar biographical backgrounds, similar interests and similar conservative anxieties should have provided more than enough common ground, but what we encounter from Cicero’s part amounts to nothing more than distant politeness and a less than enthusiastic and sometimes rather grudging acknowledgement of Varro’s merits. To try to explain what may have prevented them from becoming close friends would amount to indulging in psychological speculation; what will be attempted here is rather to take a closer look at what has been labeled their ‘conservativism’ or, to put it in a more neutral way, their perspective on the 1  Wiseman (2009), 107–129. I would like to express my thanks to the participants in the discussion – for having pointed out this then newly-issued volume to me and for far more else. No less do I feel indebted to the editors, especially to Christopher Smith, who has provided valuable advice in all respects. I am aware that where I chose not to follow his suggestions I do so at my own (and not inconsiderable) risk. 2  Moatti (1997) (cf. Ead. [1991]); Deschamps (2001). 3  Galinsky (1996), 290–291. Cf. Wallace-Hadrill (2005), esp. 65: “The Augustan ‘reinvention of tradition’ is preceded by the Varronian invention of the loss of tradition”.

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Roman past such as we encounter it in the texts. It will turn out, or so I hope, that behind the label of conservativism there lie very divergent outlooks on Rome’s early history and, to put it more precisely, whose history it is, and how and by whom it should be written.4 Reverence towards the past can take very different forms, and even two people who are in perfect agreement about how one should best look to the past, when seeking remedies for present evil, may still conceptualize this past, its driving forces, and its relation to the present in a very different manner, and find themselves in fierce competition. I would like to propose that in this respect, Cicero and Varro diverge f­undamentally; whether this divergence can explain at least part of the lack of intimacy ­between these men, we may leave to others to decide. 1

The Staging of the Archaeology and Scipio’s Qualifications as Main Speaker

Cicero, as is well known, offered numerous reflections about historiography, but refrained from publishing history himself. The closest he ever came to history was the second book of his De republica, where he has Scipio Aemilianus present a short summary on early Roman past, a so-called ‘archaeology’.5 Now, if we consider the development of the dialogue, an archaeology is not what the reader has been led to expect. First, and most obviously, any reader must have been well aware that he was not reading historiography, but philosophy. When Book 1 is approaching its end, Scipio first discusses the three well-known types of constitution, favouring monarchy among the pure types, but the mixed constitution even above that, because it alone can guarantee stability (if – and this is a big ‘if’– the leading persons abstain from committing grave sins);6 then he 4  Griffin (1994), following Kumaniecki (1962), diagnoses different priorities concerning the importance of politics (as chosen subject) and stylistic polish (as principle of presentation), but I am going to argue that their differences went deeper than that. For a thorough discussion of all the relevant testimonies, see Rösch-Binde (1998); for a new treatment Wiseman (2009), 107–129. 5  Cornell (2001). Here, ‘archeology’ is to be understood as in Greek ἀρχαιολογία (e. g. Plat. Hipp. mai. 285d, where ‘archeology’ functions as a generic term for genealogies of heroes and men and foundation stories). 6  Cic. rep. 1.69: quod ita sit, ex tribus primis generibus longe praestat mea sententia regium, regio (scil. generi) autem ipsi praestabit id, quod erit aequatum et temperatum ex tribus primis rerum publicarum modis. (…) Hoc (namely, a revolution) in hac iuncta moderateque permixta conformatione rei publicae non ferme sine magnis principum vitiis evenit. Non est enim causa conversionis, ubi in suo quisque est gradu firmiter collocatus, et non subest, quo praecipitet ac decidat.



goes on to announce a discussion which will illustrate his main thesis, namely that as far as constitution, order and structure are concerned, no other state can possibly be compared to the state that “our fathers have inherited from the forefathers and left it in trust to ourselves”.7 Thus, he goes on, he will simultaneously demonstrate what this state is like and that it is the best: simul et qualis sit et optimam esse ostendam. Already this, with hindsight, attributes a certain role to the study of the past: it is to be always at the service of the present, and historiography is to be valued insofar as it is a means to this end, not as an end in itself or to satisfy a reader’s (or, for that matter, researcher’s) mere curiosity. In putting such an announcement into Scipio’s mouth Cicero has him explicitly prefer the role of a participant in a discussion rather than taking the lead as if he were a praecipiens or docens; in order to do so, Scipio will provide a common ground by beginning with what is known to all.8 The dialogue, to be sure, supposedly takes place during the feriae Latinae, and thus is being located in the sphere of otium, but the language nevertheless clearly echoes senatorial debates. Scipio brings forward his main contention with all the verbal gravitas of senatorial decisions – sic enim decerno, sic sentio, sic adfirmo – and asks his auditors to grant him their placet. Of course, what is going to unfold in the next book is definitely not a real debate; the result is not open, nor do we encounter free exchange of arguments. Scipio is the main speaker by far, the other participants limiting themselves to contributing minor additional questions or short remarks of subsidiary or downright affirmative nature. Scipio’s role, therefore, resembles that of the princeps senatus – it is to be remembered that senate sessions were not in any sense a free exchange of opinions, a strict protocol determining the order of speakers according to their status in the senate’s hierarchy in a way that minor senators had only small hope of ever being given the opportunity to pronounce their thoughts.9 Cicero, therefore, constructs an idealized senate session, where the leading figure is The theory of the mixed constitution has been frequently discussed: e.g. von Fritz (1958); Wood (1988), 159–175; Perelli (1990), 92–111; Lintott (1997), 70–85. 7  Cic. rep. 1.70: Sic enim decerno, sic sentio, sic adfirmo nullam omnium rerum publicarum aut constitutione aut discriptione aut disciplina conferendam esse cum ea, quam patres nostri nobis acceptam iam inde a maioribus reliquerunt. Quam, si placet, quoniam ea quae tenebatis ipsi etiam ex me audire voluistis, simul et qualis sit et optimam esse ostendam, expositaque ad exemplum nostra re publica accommodabo ad eam si potero omnem illam orationem quae est mihi habenda de optimo civitatis statu. 8  Cic. rep. 1.70: Sed vereor (…) ne si diutius in hoc genere verser, quasi praecipientis cuiusdam et docentis et non vobiscum simul considerantis esse videatur oratio mea. Quam ob rem ingrediar in ea quae nota sunt omnibus, quaesita autem a nobis iam diu. 9  For example, Jehne (2000), esp. 171–172.



and remains just that, but, by courteously keeping up the appearance of a basic equality of status, does not actively assume a role that would surpass his position as a primus inter pares, and thus pays due respect to the dignity of the senate as a whole. That Cicero should choose to transfer the senatorial code of behaviour into the sphere of otium, thus fusing political and private life, is in no way astonishing: in his speech Pro Plancio he applaudingly quotes Cato “it is proper that great and outstanding men should no less be able to render an account of their leisure than of their business”.10 For Cato, obviously, belonging to the leading class created specific obligations, namely to maintain unity of life, and Cicero here subscribes to this doctrine: a Roman senator is never off duty. Laelius, now, cannot but praise Scipio’s proposal: “Who could be more qualified than you, stemming from most illustrious ancestors, to speak of the forefathers’ institutions, or how a state is to be ordered best?”.11 Cicero, thus, has Laelius justify the way that Scipio takes up the role as first and major speaker, and he does so not by mentioning Scipio’s specific philosophical or, as it were, historical expertise, but by hinting at his noble ancestry and his achievements as saviour of the state. Scipio’s authority to give a discourse on the Roman state clearly does not derive from any kind of intellectual superiority, but from his status as elder statesman of ancient stock, rightly respected by all. True enough, at this point the first-time reader cannot yet be aware that he is going to be treated not to the systematic analysis of the functioning of the Roman state which he deliberately has been led or misled to expect, but to a historical summary of Early Rome instead. Nevertheless I would argue that already at this point Cicero makes it clear who is entitled to give statements on the Roman state and its past, and on which basis. Thus, authority on Roman past, founded on specific knowledge, laborious research, and profound erudition is implicitly being rejected.

10  Cato FRHist 5 F2 (= FRH 1,2) = Cic. Planc. 66: Clarorum virorum atque magnorum non minus otii quam negotii rationem exstare oportere. Connolly (2007, 151) provides a similar diagnosis for Cicero’s De oratore: “In the context of aristocratic leisure, Crassus and his interlocutors pull down the walls separating public from private, civis from vir. Their refusal to compartmentalize public and private takes shape along with their refusal to compartmentalize knowledge”; see also Flaig (1999). 11  Cic. rep. 1.71: Quis enim te potius aut de maiorum dixerit institutis, cum sis clarissimis ipse maioribus? Aut de optimo statu civitatis? Quem si habemus, etsi ne nunc quidem, tum vero quis te possit esse florentior? Aut de consiliis in posterum providendis, cum tu duobus huius urbis terroribus depulsis in omne tempus prospexeris?



Now, in Cicero’s time, historiography or, to put it more comprehensively, literature on Roman past, had begun to become a matter of professionals.12 The time was past when only senators belonging to the most renowned families such as Fabius Pictor dared to take up the stilus to celebrate Rome’s and her leaders’ glorious achievements in prose (and in Greek prose, at that). New genres – such as the historical monograph or the subgenre of contemporary history – had come into being, diversification had taken place, research standards had risen, and men like Nepos and Atticus wrote history with the reader’s interests in mind, namely the wish not so much to be edified or even be put into a spirit of reverence and awe, but to be thoroughly and reliably informed without having to spend too much time: suffice it to recall Catullus’ much-quoted praise for Nepos: “You, as the only one among the Italians, had the courage to unfold all ages in only three volumes; how erudite they are, by Jove, and how much toil they must have cost!”13 Here, we find several characteristics of the new historiography in a nutshell: non-noble and/or non-urban origin of the author, condensation and systematization of content, authority based on knowledge, not social status, and intellectual work conceived as labour, not as an amusement for times of leisure enjoyed by members of, precisely, the leisure class – for example, Scipio and his friends during the feriae Latinae. Thus, the remarks Cicero has his figures make to introduce his archaeology are by no means merely ornamental: they can be understood as a conscious statement reaffirming the leading classes’ ownership of the Roman past against contemporary tendencies to transform it into an object of professional knowledge accessible to all. 2

The Starting Point – or: Aeneas Lost

So where does Scipio start his archaeology? To paraphrase his own words, formulated in a rhetorical question: “Which more conspicuous and more

12  For a most concise summary of relevant development, see the introduction in FRH II, esp. 17–33 (‘Die Frühen Römischen Historiker (II) – Differenzierung – Modernisierung – Autonomisierung’). See also Walter (2001); Id. (2003); Timpe (2003), esp. 293–300. 13  Cat. carm. 1.4–7: Iam tum, cum ausus es unus Italorum / omne aevum tribus explicare cartis / doctis, Iuppiter, et laboriosis; so e. g. Wiseman (1979), 171 and Habinek (1998), 94–95. For a concise survey of the different interpretations of this poem and their respective repercussions on our understanding of Nepos, see now Stem, (2012) 3–11.



­ niversally accepted starting point could we have than Romulus himself?”14 u Now, this question is a wholly disingenuous one. “Why, Aeneas of course”, would be a perfectly legitimate answer, given for example by Timothy Cornell.15 We know that the Trojan legend had been part of Rome’s early history right from the beginnings of Roman historiography, and we can safely assume that Cicero’s contemporary readers were aware of that. In fact, Cicero, by making him explicitly say that he must start with Romulus makes the reader alert to the fact that omitting Aeneas is a conscious choice and induces him to wonder about the reasons for this choice. We might say that what is a rhetorical question by Scipio, addressed to his partners in the dialogue is, at the same time, a genuine question by Cicero, addressed to his own readers. Of course, several explanations are possible for why the Trojans are silently passed over, and they are not even mutually exclusive. Most obvious of all, Cicero has Scipio renounce the links of tradition that connect Rome to the Greek world, thus making the formation of Rome a felicitous historical ­singularity – and aptly so if we keep in mind that what Scipio intends to prove is the incomparable superiority of the Roman state. When deliberating no less a subject than Roman identity, Greece is to be left out. But there is more to it. Let us recall the fact that during the last age of the Roman Republic we increasingly find nobles furnishing themselves with heroic or even divine ancestors; Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp has convincingly interpreted this procedure as a strategy to compensate for the lack of higher magistrates in one’s immediate ancestry. As Hölkeskamp, reversing a phrase by Peter Wiseman,16 has put it: “If you had consuls, who needed gods?”17 A most prominent case in question is, of course, none other than Gaius Iulius Caesar himself, stemming from a patrician gens which, alas, had no recent consuls or triumphators to recommend itself and so had his recourse to Aeneas and thereby, ultimately, to Venus. What Cicero does here, then, is not only to fire a passing shot at Caesar, implicitly contrasting him with Scipio, who had more than enough recent consuls and triumphators to boast of, but also at the strategy itself. He therefore focuses attention on the ancient ethos of the nobiles

14  Cic. rep. 2.4: Quod habemus, inquit, institutae rei publicae tam clarum ac tam omnibus notum exordium quam huius urbis condendae principium profectum a Romulo? 15  Cornell (2001), esp. 48–49. 16  Wiseman (1974), 164. 17  Hölkeskamp (1999), 21; Farney (2007), 11–26 (on family competition), 53–65 (on Trojan ancestry); Smith (2006), 32–44, on the significance of (legendary) genealogies for the constitution of a gens.



that it is only one’s own or one’s ancestors’ political or military achievements that count, and which justify the further award of higher magistracies. 3

The Starting Point II – or: Romulus Found and Founding

But there is still another side to the question – we should not only ask what may have induced Cicero conspicuously to ignore the Trojans, but what Romulus had to offer instead, and that means we should take a closer look at what Scipio implies by “founding”. Now, Cicero has Scipio relate how Romulus and Remus were exposed by Amulius, were nourished by what Cicero pretentiously calls “a beast from the woods”, and grew up among shepherds exactly where Rome is today, until Romulus’ inborn superiority became apparent and all the indigenous population voluntarily – aequo animo libenterque – submitted to his authority.18 After having had his revenge on his evil great-uncle king Amulius of Alba Longa, so Scipio’s story goes, Romulus began to reflect on the founding of a city and especially its whereabouts; here, Romulus is said to have taken an incredibly felicitous choice: urbi autem locum incredibili opportunitate delegit.19 Then Scipio goes on to enumerate all the advantages of the site that was to become Rome. Now, there seems something odd with this tale. How can Romulus be said to have chosen a location when his people were already there and in place before he even was born? The answer lies in, precisely, the word ‘people’. In the first book Scipio had given his famous and much-discussed definition20 of res publica as res populi and also defined what is to be understood by populus: “Not any given congregation of humans, associated by no matter which motives, can rightly be called a people, but only a group united by agreed law and shared advantage” (iuris consensu et utilitatis communione sociatus).21 Before Romulus, on the soil that was to become Rome’s there existed nothing but an incidental congregation, and only Romulus’ charismatic qualities caused 18  Cic. rep. 2.4: Quo in loco cum esset silvestris beluae sustentatus uberibus, pastoresque eum sustulissent et in agresti cultu laboreque aluissent, perhibetur ut adoleverit et corporis viribus et animi ferocitate tantum ceteris praestitisse, ut omnes, qui tum eos agros ubi hodie est haec urbs incolebant, aequo animo illi libenterque parerent. 19  Cic. rep. 2.5: Urbi autem locum quod est ei qui diuturnam rem publicam serere conatur diligentissime providendum, incredibili opportunitate delegit. 20  See for example Stark (1966); Wood (1988), 123–128; Perelli (1990), 17–34; Schofield (1995). 21  Cic. rep. 1.39: Est igitur, inquit Africanus, res publica res populi, populus autem non omnis hominum coetus quoquo modo congregatus, sed coetus multitudinis iuris consensu et utilitatis communione sociatus.



this congregation to be transformed to a populus in the full sense of the word, namely by voluntary subordination under Romulus’ rule.22 Once this perspective is taken, the fact that these people were already settling together at a certain place is totally irrelevant – so irrelevant in fact, that Romulus can indeed be said to have chosen the place, not simply to have approved it after the event. Notably enough, as Viktor Pöschl has pointed out, Cicero here diverges from Polybios’ discussion of constitutions;23 for Polybios, the natural beginning of the formation of a state is a monarchy, but monarchy, for him, is not identical with king’s rule, βασιλεία, the difference being precisely that monarchy, according to Polybios, emerges naturally, ἀκατασκεύως καὶ φυσικῶς, whereas βασιλεία is established μετὰ κατασκευῆς καὶ διορθώσεως, by means of intentional ordering and structuring, and is characterized by voluntary acceptance: “yet, not every monarchy may be called king’s rule, but only a monarchy which is granted voluntarily”.24 Cicero, one might say, jumps over the natural phase of Polybian monarchy, arriving directly at Polybian βασιλεία: not until this stage has been reached can we talk about a res publica, and this stage can only be reached by the appearance of a charismatic leader, such as Romulus: first comes the great man, then the institutions he creates, then, and only then, a populus. The genesis of a state, therefore, is a top-down process. 4

Varronian Interlude: A mos Emerges

Varro, on the other hand, gives a totally different view on how a state comes into being. His antiquarian works are transmitted only in deplorably tiny fragments; so we must do with what insights we can gain out of the disiecta membra we happen to encounter in, for example, Augustine and Servius. First, Servius gives Varro’s opinion on the origin of mos. In recent years, much has been written on mos maiorum as the “Fundament allen gesellschaftlichen und politischen Handelns der Römer”, to quote the most illuminating study on

22  Mueller-Goldingen (2003, 128) solves the dilemma in another way: according to him, “[brachten] herausragende Männer (…) etwas zum Vorschein, das bereits latent vorhanden war”. 23  Pöschl (1962); Blösel (1998). 24  Pol. 6.4.2: Οὔτε γὰρ πᾶσαν δήπου μοναρχίαν εὐθέως βασιλείαν ῥητέον, ἀλλὰ μόνην τὴν ἐξ ἑκόντων συγχωρουμένην, καὶ τῇ γνώμῃ τὸ πλεῖον ἢ φόβῳ καὶ βίᾳ κυβερνωμένην; 6.4.7 Πρώτη μὲν οὖν ἀκατασκεύως καὶ φυσικῶς συνίσταται μοναρχία, ταύτῃ δ’ ἕπεται καὶ ἐκ ταύτης γεννᾶται μετὰ κατασκευῆς καὶ διορθώσεως βασιλεία.



the topic by Wolfgang Blösel.25 He strictly and, in my view, convincingly differentiates between “habits of old” (mos antiquus, vetus, priscus) on the one side, and “ancestral habit” (mos maiorum) on the other. According to Blösel, the latter term begins by meaning family tradition, namely the tradition of noble families, because they alone possessed maiores, ancestors, in the social, not biological sense of the word. Later on, the term turned into a designation for what Blösel called the “Standesethos der Nobilität”, legitimizing the rule of the nobiles as a whole. This finds a reflection at the beginning of Book 5 of De republica, where Cicero, quoting Ennius, states a mutual interdepence between mos and viri: “Already before our era, ancestral habit (mos patrius) drew excellent men at his side, and, vice versa, outstanding men preserved the habits of old and our forefathers’ institutions”.26 What, then, is it that Varro has to say on mos? Servius tells us that Varro “defines mos communis as an agreement of all the folks settling together which takes roots and thus becomes habit”.27 Varro’s concept of mos, therefore, bears a far closer similarity to the concept of mos vetus than to the concept of mos maiorum as delineated by Blösel; his concept favours the people as bearers of mos rather than the class that can boast of maiores.28 And how is it that mos develops? First, we have what I have called above an incidental congregation of simul habitantes – a constellation that, as far as the genesis of a state is concerned, amounts to a non-entity in Scipio’s perspective; in Varro’s perspective, on the contrary, it is exactly the settling together of a group at a certain place, that represents the first germ out of which a state can start to grow. Secondly, Varro, too, mentions a consensus that has to be agreed upon before mos can develop: but where Cicero has Scipio specify what has to be agreed upon, namely ius (which in this context is to be spelled out as “voluntary subordination under a charismatic leader”), Varro only specifies who has to agree (using a s­ ubjective 25  Blösel (2000), 25. 26  Cic. rep. 5.1: Itaque ante nostram memoriam et mos ipse patrius praestantes viros adhibebat, et veterem morem ac maiorum instituta retinebant excellentes viri. 27  Varro ap. Serv. Aen. 7.601: Varro vult morem communem consensum omnium simul habitantium qui inveteratus consuetudinem facit. See Mirsch (1882), 85. 28  This fits in very well with Wiseman’s (2009, 81–98) “Romulus’ Rome of Equals”. In Dionysius’ discussion of Romulus’ constitution (Dion. Hal. 2.7–29), we encounter a far more egalitarian picture than in Cicero, and Wiseman argues plausibly that Varro is Dionysius’ ultimate source. In addition, Wiseman (2009, 109–110) draws attention to a passage from De lingua Latina (9.6), where Varro as clearly as could be wished declares popular usage the ultimate criterion of linguistic correctness: “It is not as if I were master of people’s usage, but on the contrary, the people is master of mine” (Ego populi consuetudinis non sum ut dominus, at ille meae est).



genitive), the content of this agreement being of secondary importance (if any). And how, now, does mos develop out of this consensus? It just does so with the passing of time: it simply emerges, ἀκατασκεύως καὶ φυσικῶς, to use Polybian vocabulary. Had a qualitatively different consensus been reached, we may conclude, a different mos might have resulted: there even seems to be a whiff of cultural relativism in the air.29 So, the way Varro envisages the process of the beginnings of the Roman state is a reversal of what Cicero has Scipio propose: first comes the people, then institutions – it is a bottom-up process. Or, as Varro said in his Antiquitates divinae: “Just as the painter is prior to the picture, so the civitas is prior to the institutions it establishes”.30 Here, too, it is the collective body who assumes the role of an active agent,31 not a charismatic individual or, as it were, a whole succession of them. Later on, by the way, Varro was to write a twin work, n ­ amely De gente populi Romani and De vita populi Romani, thus making the conception 29  Incidentally, as far as cultural relativism is concerned, Cornelius Nepos crops up again with his famous pronouncement of cultural relativism in the praefatio (praef. 1): Sed ii erunt fere, qui expertes litterarum Graecarum nihil rectum, nisi quod ipsorum moribus conveniat, putabunt. Hi si didicerint non eadem omnibus esse honesta atque turpia, sed omnia maiorum institutis iudicari, non admirabuntur nos in Graiorum virtutibus exponendis mores eorum secutos; see e. g. La Penna (1981); Pfeilschifter (2000); Mutschler (2000); Bettini (2000); Stem (2012), 140–161. Cicero (rep. 3.9–10) has L. Furius Philus utter something in this respect, but has him also complain loudly beforehand to be forced to take up the role of the advocatus diaboli (rep. 3.5): Praeclaram vero causam ad me defertis, cum me improbitatis patrocinium suscipere voltis. 30  Varro ant. rer. div. frg. 5 Cardauns = Aug. civ. 6.4: Sicut prior est (…) pictor quam tabula picta (…), ita priores sunt civitates quam ea, quae a civitatibus instituta sunt. 31  Varro (ling. 5.143) describes the ritual employed in the founding of oppida and links urbs etymologically to orbis (and urvum) – the subject in the respective sentences being unspecified multi (oppida condebant in Latio Etrusco ritu multi); so, here again, we encounter a nameless collective body (3rd person plural) instead of a single founder. If Varro had wished to leave entirely open who was/were the agent/agents in this process, he could very easily have expressed himself in passive voice: oppida condebantur in Latio Etrusco ritu. When he goes on to tell us that this used to take place religionis causa die auspicato, this implies that among these multi there is already a consensus about religious duties and rituals. Still, Varro certainly does not deny Romulus any importance whatsoever; in the following paragraph, Varro traces the origins of the names of the first cities Romanae stirpis (a strange anachronism) in Latium: Lavinium, according to Varro, is called after Lavinia, Latinus’ daughter and Aeneas’ wife, Alba Longa after the prodigious white sow, and Rome after Romulus, of course. I would like to thank an unknown referee for pointing out this passage to me and justly warning me not to downplay Romulus’ role (or the role of individuals on the whole) in Varro.



that the subject of Roman history is the Roman people, not only the viri illustres, all the more evident – and after what has been said, little do we wonder that, as far as the fragmentary evidence allows us to see, the Roman descent from the Trojans was assigned an important place there. Let me just note in passing that by attributing a gens to the people, Varro touches even the concept we would define as ‘nation’, namely an ethnic community characterized by, allegedly, common descent.32 5

Who is the Subject of History?

We have mentioned the concept of succession, and this brings us back to Cicero’s text. Romulus, as we remember, was an appropriate beginning, but even before he entered onto the scene, Cicero has Scipio favourably quote Cato: the reason why the Roman state is superior to all others lies in the fact that, unlike the case of Greece, “our state is not the work and achievement of one single man’s genius, but that of a multitude of them, and it has been built up not within a single man’s lifetime, but by many generations and ages”.33 Scipio’s presentation of what came after Romulus, follows this plan: Roman constitutional history is presented as a continuous sequence of accumulated modifications of the primordial constitution; we encounter no substantial change, but a more or less (but mostly more) smooth and steady progress towards an ever more perfect balancing of the influence of people, senate, and kings respectively (or later, consuls). Scipio even contends that a rudimentary form of mixed constitution had been introduced already by Romulus himself: after Titus Tatius’ death, in government Romulus “relied even more than before on the fathers’ authority and advice, having understood that cities under a single king’s rule are governed better if the authority of the best is regularly called in; so he provided himself with the support of this conselling body, just like that of a senate”.34 Thus, 32  Smith (2006, 324) also diagnoses a close relationship between plebs and gens (with the former in some sense as an equivalent to the latter), so Varro’s concept (as elaborated here) might be less metaphorical than it might seem. 33  Cic. rep. 2.2: Nostra autem res publica non unius esset ingenio, sed multorum, nec una hominis vita, sed aliquot constituta saeculis et aetatibus. 34  Cic. rep. 2.15: Quo facto primum vidit iudicavitque (scil. Romulus) (…) singulari imperio et potestate regia tum melius gubernari et regi civitates, si esset optimi cuiusque ad illam vim dominationis adiuncta auctoritas Itaque hoc consilio et quasi senatu fultus et munitus et bella cum finitimis felicissime multa gessit et (…) locupletare civis non destitit.



Scipio narrates Early Rome’s history as a march towards a τέλος already present at the very beginning. In order to see to it that the reader will not miss that the concept of ‘accumulation’ is central to this discourse, Cicero has Laelius explicitly repeat this point later.35 Now, how are these modifications which, in the end, bring about a perfectly balanced mixed constitution, being presented? They take the form of “timely concessions”, to borrow a happy formulation of Andrew Lintott’s;36 more often than not, they divine and anticipate possible future developments rather than answer to problems already in existence. After Romulus’ death, the people, desperately missing Romulus, obstinately demand a new king; the senate (no quasi this time!) grants this request, but first takes a new and unheardof measure, namely to establish an interrex in order to make sure that there will be enough time to look for a suitable candidate. Now, Scipio continues, the populus understood that what was required was not a biological descendant of Romulus, but “kingly virtue and wisdom”.37 (Scipio, by the way, was an excellent example of this principle himself: as Scipio Aemilianus, he was a Cornelius Scipio by adoption, not by descent). Obviously, the senate knew better than the people itself what the people really wanted and acted accordingly: it takes a senate in order to understand the people’s true motives and to give people’s wishes an adequate institutional form.38 Numa Pompilius, out of 35  Cic. rep. 2.37: Nunc fit illud Catonis certius, nec temporis unius nec hominis esse constitutionem rei publicae; perspicuum est enim, quanta in singulos reges rerum bonarum et utilium fiat accessio. 36  Lintott (1997), 83. 37  Cic. rep. 2.23–24: Ergo, inquit Scipio, cum ille Romuli senatus (…) temptaret post Romuli excessum ut ipse regeret sine rege rem publicam, populus id non tulit, desiderioque Romuli postea regem flagitare non destitit; cum prudenter illi principes novam et inauditam ceteris gentibus interregni ineundi rationem excogitaverunt, ut quoad certus rex declaratus esset, nec sine rege civitas nec diuturno rege esset uno, nec committeretur ut quisquam inveterata potestate aut ad deponendum imperium tardior esset aut ad optinendum munitior. Quo quidem tempore novus ille populus vidit tamen id quod fugit Lacedaemonium Lycurgum, qui regem non deligendum duxit (…), sed habendum, qualiscumque is foret, qui modo esset Herculi stirpe generatus; nostri illi etiam tum agrestes viderunt virtutem et sapientiam regalem, non progeniem quaeri oportere. 38  Morstein-Marx (2004, 18–20), arguing against Fergus Millar’s conception that the Roman republic might legitimately be called a democracy, stresses the “highly problematic nature of the deceptively simple phrase ‘public opinion’”; even clear needs and wishes “must be translated into political proposals” so that concrete legislation might be brought about – which places an enormous power into the hands of the ‘translators’, of course. For Cicero’s view on kingship and the succession on Roman kings, see recently Sigmund (2014), 61–104.



his own free will, in spite of already having been acclaimed king by the people, seeks confirmation of his legitimacy by means of a curiate law;39 a reason for this procedure is not given, but nevertheless he sets an example that Tullus Hostilius, in turn, will follow of his own accord.40 Servius introduces voting by census classes, a measure Scipio praises as a means to guarantee that everybody is entitled to vote, but at the same time to prevent a sheer numerical majority from dominating.41 What occasioned Servius’ decision is not mentioned. These examples may be sufficient to show that we are not usually told if there were any acute difficulties which these measures were intended to meet. All change is presented as for the better; that is, all change towards a better balance of powers, is action, not reaction; problems are not being solved, but being prevented. Change arises out of the initiative of leading persons, and this, in its turn, does not arise out of logical deductions based on theoretical considerations, or professional political expertise, but of a sort of intuitive understanding, an almost prodigious ability to see further than all others42 – an ability that might as well be called divination. In fact, already in the first book (not to mention the somnium Scipionis), Scipio had stated that a wise man was able to recognize recurring changes, but to foresee them and keep a steady hold on the steering wheel, took a great and almost godly, divinus, citizen.43 6

Succession and Accumulation: A Gentilicial Framework of History

Now we can finally grasp why a discourse on the optimus status rei publicae is announced, but an archaeology is delivered: the optimus status cannot be the 39  Cic. rep. 2.25: Qui ut huc venit, quamquam populus curiatis eum comitiis regem esse iusserat, tamen ipse de suo imperio curiatam legem tulit. 40  Cic. rep. 2.31: Mortuo rege Pompilio Tullum Hostilium populus regem interrege rogante comitiis curiatis creavit, isque de imperio suo exemplo Pompilii populum consuluit curiatim. 41  Cic. rep. 2.39: Deinde equitum magno numero ex omni populi summa separato, reliquum populum distribuit in quinque classis (scil. Servius Tullius), senioresque a iunioribus divisit, eosque ita disparavit, ut suffragia non in multitudinis sed in locupletium potestate essent, curavitque, quod semper in re publica tenendum est, ne plurimum valeant plurimi. 42  So, too, Fox (2007), 97–98: “Romulus’ senate gradually evolved (…), but based upon the fruits of his own insights and experience, rather than any kind of plan.” 43  Cic. rep. 1.45: mirique sunt orbes et quasi circuitus in rebus publicis commutationum et vicissitudinum; quos cum cognosse sapientis est tum vero prospicere inpendentis, in gubernanda re publica moderantem cursum atque in sua potestate retinentem, magni cuiusdam civis et divini paene est viri.



optimus status unless it is the result of the accumulated achievements of great men in succession until a situation of such stability has been reached that it can virtually last forever. A perfect state created out of the blue by one single eminent person could not persist eternally and therefore is not a perfect state. What is evoked here is what I would call a gentilicial framework, transferred to the history of a state as a whole, the regal period being conceived in an idealized republican framework: just as a gens consists of leading figures – we remember that only those ancestors who had obtained magistrates figured in the much-discussed pompa funebris – so the Roman state is built up by leading figures.44 Just as the accumulated capital of a gens consists in an ideally unbroken succession of such leading figures, so the Roman state’s accumulated capital consists in an unbroken succession of divine men; and just as a perfect gens that has no family history behind it is a contradiction in itself, there can be no purely synchronous description of the optimus status rei publicae. To sum up: Early Roman history is presented in a mode that imagines the Roman state a sort of hyper-gens, thus legitimizing nobility’s claim to rule. Correspondingly, the leading motifs are continuity, accumulation and the intentional initiative of leading charismatic figures endowed with an instinct that may draw upon Greek wisdom occasionally, but does not depend on it. Cicero, furthermore, makes sure that the reader will realize that this continuity, in principal, lasts until his own day.45 It is not for nothing that he insists on only relating what he himself had been told by Rutilius Rufus, who witnessed the discussion; thus, Cicero, in his turn, builds up a chain of succession that links himself to Scipio and his friends, thereby legitimizing himself as author.46 7

Varronian Interlude II: The Subject of History according to Varro

Now, let us, again, have a glance, even if a most cursory one, at Varro. Whatever, exactly, we are supposed to mean by ‘antiquarianism’, is a thorny problem but 44  Kierdorf (1980); Flaig (1993); Id. (1995); Flower (1996); Hölkeskamp (1996); Walter (2004), 84–108. 45  Fox (1996, 27) rightly points out a “stress on continuity with and similarity to the past, rather than distance”. 46  Fox (2007, 89–91), noting that this “genealogy” is “obviously spurious”, proposes an ironic reading of this passage, but I would prefer to see in this strategy Cicero’s attempt to create a sort of “intellectual genealogy” to compensate for his all too obvious lack of a genuine noble one. If “having ancestors” means, above all, being firmly located in a chain of socializing instances who provide the transmission and inculcation of nobilitarian ethos (and this is, in my opinion, what Cicero tries to establish), then this is the point in which Cicero presents his own credentials.



not relevant for this argument.47 For my present purpose, it will be enough to spell out what it is most conspicuously not: narration of res gestae in chronological order from the beginning to present times which is what often is called annalistic, a genre that, as I had occasion to mention before, started as a domain of the ruling class and continued to be written in its service, as Dieter Timpe has pointed out,48 and that had come to lose its monopoly on historio­ graphy in the meantime.49 What Varro does instead in his antiquitates is to present Roman institutions and customs and their origins – from priesthoods to ancient drinking habits – in a systematic way: now, once mos is understood as, I have delineated above, as habit (habits and customs of private life included), and once this mos is what the entire work is about, the all-pervasive role of the great men of the past is significantly reduced. A systematic presentation, therefore, allows the great men who are, in Cicero’s presentation, what history is all about, to be treated as merely accidental;50 it lays a claim on delivering information, not celebration of the feats and accomplishments of members of the ruling class. Furthermore, Varro sometimes structures his presentation according to epistemological criteria: in his Antiquitates divinae, he talks of di certi versus di incerti,51 in another fragment of uncertain origin (perhaps Antiquitates humanae or De gente populi Romani) he orders time according to how reliable our knowledge is. In these instances, everything is subordinated to the ordering principle of truth value,52 which is a strategy that goes even beyond the Polybian concept of historiography.53 47  Momigliano (1950); Cornell (1995). See also Tarver (1997, esp. 137), defining antiquarianism by “form, content, and purpose” and Sehlmeyer (2003, esp. 157), discussing the role of Nietzschean terminology. See also MacRae and Smith in this volume. 48  Timpe (1979); Rich (this volume). 49  Walter (2003). 50  Cato’s stratagem to pass the names of leading figures over in silence, introducing them only by means of their respective offices, presents itself as a natural point of comparison. For Cato’s Origines, see Gotter (2003) and FRHist 5 Cato. 51  Varro ant. rer. div. frg. 4 Cardauns = Aug. civ. 6.3: in tribus (scil. libris), qui restant, dii ipsi sequuntur extremi, quibus iste universus cultus impensus est; in primo dii certi, in secundo incerti, in tertio cunctorum novissimo dii praecipui atque selecti. 52  Cens. 21.1–5: Nunc vero id intervallum temporis tractabo, quod historicon Varro appellat. Hic enim tria discrimina temporum esse tradit, primum ab hominum principio ad cataclysmum priorem, quod propter ignorantiam vocatur adelon, secundum a cataclysmo priore ad olympiadem primam, quod, quia multa in eo fabulosa referentur, mythicon nominatur, tertium a prima olympiade ad nos, quod dicitur historicon quia res in eo gestae veris historiis continentur. Primum tempus sive habuit initium seu semper fuit certe quot annorum sit non potest comprehendi. Romano (2003, esp. 112) diagnoses a “concettualizzazione di questa categoria (scil. di ‘antico’) in termini metodologici piuttosto che cronologici”. 53  Pol. 2.56.10–12.



If Varro had wanted to distance himself as far as possible from old-fashioned, annalistic historiography (a genre that had become somewhat disreputable during the late Roman Republic and is heavily criticized in Cicero’s De oratore),54 it would have been an obvious choice to give his work a shape and an organization of content that resembled annalistic history as little as possible, and undermined the concept of smooth succession as much as possible; and this is precisely what he did. The idea that Varro’s antiquitates were written against annalistic historio­ graphy as a means of gentilicial auto-celebration of former times, becomes more plausible when we look at two much-quoted statements that have come down to us in Augustine’s De civitate Dei. Let us begin with Varro’s famous words in which he brings forward his own claims (nobody will reproach Varro with excess of modesty): “I am afraid the gods will perish, not by an incursion of enemies, but by being neglected by the citizens; I am now rescuing them as from a collapsing building and giving them shelter in my books so that they may be kept in the memory of good people, and this will be a far more useful achievement than that for which Metellus, who saved the Palladium from its burning temple, or Aeneas, who saved the Penates from the fall of Troy, are being praised so much”.55 Of course, this is a bitter accusation against his own fellow citizens, but on the other hand, whoever attributes guilt, attributes responsibility too – and that makes the cult of the gods as an obligation to all, not only to the leading men. At the same time, he claims an hitherto unheard-of authority to the researcher of the past by comparing the value of his own achievements favourably to feats of an exemplary figure of the past and even of Rome’s mythical founding father by applying the criterion of utilitas. In Cicero’s perspective, it was the fact that Scipio was part and pride of the leading class and an embodiment of its alleged virtues that entitled him to give authoritative statements on the Roman past – Varro, in contrast, claims equal right to leadership by virtue of his superior knowledge of the Roman past. For Varro. knowledge of the past (and otherwise) constitutes authority, for Cicero, knowledge of the past depends on authority. Second, there is another remark of Varro’s which points in the same direction: according to Varro, so Augustine tells us, Scaevola had distinguished three 54  Cic. de orat. 2.52–54; cf. leg. 1.5–7. 55  Varro ant. rer. div. frg. 2a Cardauns = Aug. civ. 6.2: Se timere ne pereant (scil. dei) non incursu hostili, sed civium neglegentia, de qua illos velut ruina liberari a se (dicit) et in memoria bonorum per eius modi libros recondi atque servari utiliore cura, quam Metellus de incendio sacra Vestalia et Aeneas de Troiano excidio penates liberasse praedicatur.



types of gods; first, the gods as domain of the poets, second, the gods as domain of the philosophers; third the gods as domain of the the leading men, the principes civitatis. Varro, still according to Augustine, modified Scaevola somewhat. He distinguished not three types of gods, but three types of theology which he called mythikon, physikon and civile.56 The last one, according to Varro, is the realm of the citizens: Scaevola’s principes civitatis, thus, have been consciously replaced by the populus.57 This, however, does not make Varro an historian of proto-Marxist coinage: “Many things are true”, he said, “and yet, the populace wouldn’t benefit from knowing them, and what’s more, sometimes it may even be useful if the people considers true what actually is not”.58 The truth criterion may be directed against nobility-dominated memory, yet it is not conceived as the truth that liberates the masses of the oppressed; it does not aim at disposing of elite consciousness in general, but at replacing the traditional one with a new one, based this time on philosophy and knowledge. And this may help to explain how Varro could, as Markus Peglau has described so lucidly, exhibit a profound reverence towards the past as well as a pragmatic rationality sometimes bordering on cynicism:59 as a citizen, he felt it his duty to remain true to tradition or what could be recovered of it; as a scholar, he felt free to raise his his eye-brows on popular and traditional conceptions of the gods. “If I were to found the city anew”, as Augustine quotes Varro’s words, “I would 56  On the tripartite theology, see e. g. Lieberg (1982); Geerlings (1990); Dihle (1996); Tarver (1997). 57  Varro ant. rer. div. frg. 7 Cardauns = Aug. civ. 4.27: Relatum est in litteras doctissimum pontificem Scaevolam disputasse tria genera tradita deorum: unum a poetis, alterum a philosophis, tertium a principibus civitatis; ant. rer. div. frg. 7 Cardauns = Aug. civ. 6.5: Tertiam (scil. theologiam) etiam ipse (scil. Varro) Latine enuntiavit, quod civile appellatur. Deinde ait: Mythicon appellant, quo maxime utuntur poetae; physicon, quo philosophi; civile, quo populi. Tertium genus est, inquit, quod in urbibus cives, maxime sacerdotes, nosse atque administrare debent. It is remarkable, however, how very few researchers, apart from Schiavone, have explicitly drawn upon the difference; see Schiavone (1987), 100. Furthermore, it often has been assumed that the Scaevola quoted here is not the historical Quintus Mucius Scaevola Pontifex, but the literary figure of Varro’s Logistoricus Curio de cultu deorum; Cardauns (1960), 33–40; (2001), 57. For further discussion, see Schiavone (1987), 77–79. Bauman (1973) and Schiavone however, see no obstacle to attributing what is said in Augustine’s text via Varro to the historical person. I would add that even if the Scaevola mentioned here were only a literary strawman of Varro’s, that would not detract from, but even add to the significance of Varro’s transition from principes to populi. 58  Varro ant. rer. div. frg. 21 Cardauns = Aug. civ. 4.31: Multa esse vera quae non modo vulgo scire non sit utile, sed etiam tametsi falsa sunt, aliter existimare populum expediat. 59  Peglau (2003), 137. See also Jocelyn (1982–83, 180), who mentions a “mildly cynical detachment”.



rather e­ stablish gods following the norms of nature and name them accordingly. But as it has been the way it is already in the times of the people of old, I prefer to keep the traditional names and surnames with their entire history as they have been transmitted, as it is my duty to write and enquire in a way that the populace will rather feel reverence than contempt towards them”.60 This is, I suspect, no split of personality, but simply what characterizes professionalism, namely the ability to take up different roles – the exact opposite of the nobilitarian unity of life Cato had called for. 8

Fading Pictures versus Cities Burnt Down – or: The Restorer versus the Archaeologist

Finally, let us now have a look at the metaphors Cicero and Varro respectively apply to create an image of pernicious neglegentia. Cicero, as is well known, compares the republic to an heirloom: “a venerable picture, sadly neglected, whose colours are fading; our age has not even taken care that at least the basic design and main outlines remain visible”.61 Thus, the loss of form is perceived as gradual; what has been built up by steady accumulation, perishes slowly. The picture itself, still exists, though; and even if the loss is grave, Cicero leaves open the possibility that the whole may be recovered. This is part of the purpose of the De republica after all. Varro, in his turn, is far more radical in his choice of metaphors. He compares the loss to a traumatic incident, an incursus hostilis, a conflagration in the Gallic War, the fall of Troy: events which do not allow a return to the status quo ante. Aeneas left Troy for good; and after the sack of Rome by the Gauls, what was left of Rome’s population seriously considered leaving the site and settling elsewhere, and if it had not been for Camillus, so the narrative goes, this is what would have happened. The picture, to mix metaphors, has not faded, but burnt completely and so is irrevocably lost. Varro diagnoses a deep 60  Varro ant. rer. div. frg. 12 Cardauns = Aug. civ. 4.31: Si eam civitatem novam constitueret (scil. Varro dixit), ex naturae potius formula deos nominaque eorum se fuisse dedicaturum (…) Sed iam quoniam in vetere populo esset, acceptam ab antiquis nominum et cognominum historiam tenere, ut tradita est, debere se (…) et ad eum finem illa scribere ac perscrutari, ut potius eos magis colere quam despicere vulgus velit. 61  Cic. rep. 5.2: Nostra vero aetas cum rem publicam sicut picturam accepisset egregiam, sed iam evanescentem vetustate, non modo eam coloribus isdem quibus fuerat ante renovare neglexit, sed ne id quidem curavit ut formam saltem eius et extrema tamquam liniamenta servaret.



chasm between now and then: the past is past, and it takes an antiquarian to bridge that gap.62 So, it follows that he should compare his own research activities to excavating (seen as a laborious and exacting activity), and present his own role as the role of an archaeologist (now in the modern sense of the word) as indeed he did: “I will try as hard as I can”, so Varro in De lingua Latina, “to excavate what has been buried in the course of time”.63 Incidentally, it is precisely this word Cicero uses in his speech Pro Murena, heaping ridicule on Servius Sulpicius who had claimed to be a far better qualified candidate for consulship than Murena because of his noble ancestry: “True enough, you belong to the highest nobility; but this fact is not known but to well-read people deeply versed in history. It is not an issue of everyday talk – it has to be unearthed out of age-old chronicles”.64 It is to be recalled that here, Cicero is considering the relative merits of two candidates in the context of a trial de ambitu: here, the excavating antiquarian figures as an accomplice in ungentlemanly competition, an unsavoury figure that jeopardizes the coherence of the leading class. Thus, Varro’s attitude as a reseacher presupposes an awareness of a distance between what is now and what was in former times. No lesser historian than Sir Ronald Syme, in a rather off-handed remark, saw this conscious self-distancing as a genuine achievement of Varro’s: “To describe foreign countries and the customs of natives the annalists had a traditional technique (…). But Roman writers did not rise to their opportunities. They were incompetent to take the further step, to stand outside their own nationality and depict the Roman people in its behaviour, structure and institutions. Tentative approaches (…) had been made. The antiquary Terentius Varro perhaps divined the problem”.65 To sum up: where Cicero narrated Rome’s early history along the parameters of continuity and gradual accumulation and focusses on achievements of single inspired men, legitimizing himself by linking himself through a chain 62  So, too, Wallace-Hadrill (2008b), 236: “Antiquarianism, far from enhancing the reassuring sense of continuity provided by traditionalism, subverted it.” 63  Varro ling. 6.2: sic, inquam, consuetudo nostra multa declinavit (…) ab loboeso liberum, ab lasibus lares, quae obruta vetustate ut potero eruere conabor. Obviously, Ovid found this metaphor rather significant and appealing – he repeats it twice at the very beginning of book I and book IV of his Fasti, thus aligning himself with the Reatine scholar (Ov. fast. 1.7: sacra recognosces annalibus eruta priscis; 4.11: tempora cum causis annalibus eruta priscis). 64  Cic. Mur. 16: Tua vero nobilitas, tametsi summa est, tamen hominibus litteratis et historicis est notior (…). Itaque non ex sermone hominum recenti sed ex annalium vetustate eruenda memoria est nobilitatis tuae. For a discussion of this passage in the framework of political competition among noble families, see Farney (2007), 11–26. 65  Syme (1958), 443–444; Woolf (2011), esp. 13–17, 80–88.



of succession to great men who alone were entitled to deliver discourses on Roman past, Varro, on the contrary, perceived incidental emergence and catastrophic change, concentrating on the nation as the agent of history, authorizing himself by rigorous research standards, and distancing himself in his role as a scholar and archaeologist. 9

History against Memory

For this divergence of attitudes, the French historian Pierre Nora has provided a theoretical framework. In his famous words, memory and history are “in no way synonymous, but on the contrary totally opposed to each other”; history as a research discipline, according to Nora, starts where lived traditions end.66 Memory, in his view, constructs the past retrospectively as a continuity, whereas history stresses discontinuity (or better: cannot but arise out of a sense of discontinuity).67 In this respect, Cicero turns out to have been trying to rescue memory, a memory that so far had been the domain of the leading class. As Harriet Flower has it, “Roman memory was political memory: Roman republican history was synonymous with the gentilicial traditions and pretensions of the office-holding families”.68 Varro, on the contrary, acknowledged the loss of tradition, but tried to compensate for this loss by history, a history that challenged the monopoly of the nobiles on the Roman past and on the literary genres by which this perspective was corroborated. Varro was an agent of rationalization, to be sure, but this was not a rationalization separate from politics, nor did it belong in an ivory tower, but it was a deliberate stance in an ongoing struggle about whose past – and whose state – was at stake. Cicero and Varro may both have joined the same side in the Civil War, but as far as their conception of the past was concerned, their approach was as divergent as can be – or, as Peter Wiseman has put it: “Cicero and Varro were on opposite sides of an ideological divide”.69 Whether this may help to explain Cicero’s 66  Nora (1998), 13. 67   Nora (1998), 8. The much-quoted passage from Assmann (1992, 61: “Wenn Erinnerungskultur v. a. Vergangenheitsbezug ist … und wenn Vergangenheit entsteht, wo eine Differenz zwischen Gestern und Heute bewußt wird … .”), in my opinion, does not differentiate adequately between the perception of a difference (between past and present) and the sense of a discontinuity between them; Nora’s concept seems to me more helpful to nail down the divergences between Cicero and Varro. 68  Flower (2006), 53. See also e.g. Hölkeskamp (1996); Blösel (2003); Pina Polo (2004). 69  Wiseman (2009) 122; differently Wallace-Hadrill (2008a), 236: “Cicero, in his philosophical works, stands close to Varro.” Grethlein (2006) makes a very similar case for Sallust.



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Hölkeskamp, K.-J. (1999). ‘Römische gentes und griechische Genealogien’, in G. Vogt-Spira and B. Rommel (Hrsgg.), Rezeption und Identität. Die kulturelle Auseinandersetzung Roms mit Griechenland als europäisches Paradigma (Stuttgart), 3–21 (= Id. [2004], 199–217). Hölkeskamp, K.-J. (2004). SENATVS POPVLVSQVE ROMANVS. Die politische Kultur der Republik – Dimensionen und Deutungen, Stuttgart. Jehne, M. (2000). ‘Rednertätigkeit und Statusdissonanzen in der späten römischen Republik’, in Ch. Neumeister and W. Raeck (Hrsgg.), Rede und Redner. Bewertung und Darstellung in den antiken Kulturen, Kolloquium Frankfurt/Main, 14.–16.10. 1998 (Frankfurter Archäologische Schriften 1, Möhnesee), 167–189. Jocelyn, H. D. (1982–83). ‘Varro’s Antiquitates rerum divinarum and religious affairs in the late Roman Republic’, Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester 65: 148–205. Kierdorf, W. (1980). Laudatio funebris. Interpretationen und Untersuchungen zur Entwicklung der römischen Leichenrede (Beiträge zur Klassischen Philologie 106), Meisenheim – Glan. Kumaniecki, K. (1962). ‘Cicerone e Varrone: storia di una conoscenza’, Athenaeum n.s. 40: 221–243. La Penna, A. (1981). ‘Mobilità dei modelli etici e relativismo dei valori da Cornelio Nepote a Valerio Massimo e alla laus Pisonis’, in A. Giardina and A. Schiavone (a cura di), Società Romana e produzione schiavistica: modelli etici, diritto e trasformazioni sociali. Atti del seminario, Pisa, Scuola Normale Superiore – Istituto Gramsci, 4–6 gennaio 1979 (Roma), 183–206. Lieberg, G. (1982). ‘Die theologia tripertita als Formprinzip antiken Denkens’, RhM 125: 25–53. Lintott, A. W. (1997). ‘The theory of the mixed constitution at Rome’, in J. Barnes and M. Griffin (eds.), Philosophia Togata II. Plato and Aristotle at Rome (Oxford), 70–85. Mirsch, P. (1882). De M. Terenti Varronis Antiquitatum rerum humanarum libris XXV (Leipziger Studien zur classischen Philologie 5.1), Lipsiae. Moatti, C. (1991). ‘La crise de la tradition à la fin de la République Romaine à travers la littérature juridique et la science des antiquaires’, in M. Pani (a cura di), Continuità e trasformazioni fra repubblica e principato. Istituzioni, politica, società. Atti dell’incontro di studi organizzato dalla Università di Bari, 27–28 gennaio 1989 (Bari), 31–45. Moatti, C. (1997). La raison à Rome. Naissance de l’ésprit critique à la fin de la république, Paris. Moatti, C. (2015). The Birth of Critical Thinking in Republican Rome, English translation of Moatti (1997). Cambridge 2015. Momigliano, A. (1950). ‘Ancient history and the antiquarian’, JWI 13: 285–315.



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Which One is the Historian? A Neglected Problem in the Study of Roman Historiography Tim Cornell 1

The Problem

Many of the Roman historians whose works survive only in fragments were well-known persons whose lives and careers are fully documented.1 They include such major public figures as Cato the Elder, the dictator Sulla, and the emperor Augustus,2 and famous men of letters such as Cicero, Varro, and Cornelius Nepos.3 For these men the writing of history or autobiography was merely one aspect of their many and multifarious activities. The same is true of other less prominent but nonetheless significant men who added the composition of historical works to their distinguished public achievements – men such as L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi (cos. 133 BCE), P. Rutilius Rufus (cos. 105), and L. Cornelius Sisenna (pr. 78).4 At the other extreme are those who are known solely as historians, and are only quoted or referred to as such in our sources. Of their lives and careers we know little or nothing. The historians in this group include L. Cassius Hemina, Cn. Gellius, L. Coelius Antipater, and Q. Claudius Quadrigarius,5 as well as others for whom we do not even have a praenomen: Vennonius, Sempronius Asellio and Valerius Antias.6 As for Fenestella (FRHist 70), who lived in the time of Augustus, we know only his cognomen. But between these two extremes there is a large group of historians whose identity is uncertain. The level of uncertainty differs in each case. At one end of the spectrum we find historians such as L. Cincius Alimentus (FRHist 2), who is almost certainly to be identified with the man of that name who held the praetorship in 210 BCE (Liv. 26.23.1) and appears several times in Livy’s n ­ arrative of 1  As will become immediately evident, this paper is a by-product of my work as General Editor of The Fragments of the Roman Historians, 3 vols, Oxford 2013 (FRHist). 2  Cato, Sulla, and Augustus appear (respectively) as nos. 5, 22 and 60 in FRHist. 3  FRHist 39, 52 and 45 respectively. 4  FRHist 9, 21 and 26 respectively. 5  FRHist 6, 14, 15 and 24 respectively. 6  FRHist 13, 20 and 25 respectively.

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Which One is the Historian ?


events down to 208. The identification is not certain, but circumstantial evidence makes it extremely probable.7 At the other end we can place obscure figures like C. Piso, a historian who is referred to just once, by Plutarch in his account of the death of Marius (Mar. 45.8–10 = FRHist 28 F1). Who this C. Piso was is entirely a matter for conjecture; he may have belonged to the family of the Calpurnii Pisones,8 but equally he may not. Other historians in the same category (that is, writers cited just once or twice and impossible to identify precisely) include L. Scribonius (?) Libo (FRHist 36) and C. Caecilius (?) Cornutus (FRHist 54). Most problematic of all, however, are those cases where the historian could theoretically be identified with a number of individuals bearing the same name. These circumstances prompt the question forming the title of this paper: which one is the historian? A notable case is that of C. Sempronius Tuditanus (FRHist 10), whom scholars have always unhesitatingly identified with the consul of 129 BCE. Unfortunately, as Christopher Smith has pointed out in his introduction to the edition of the fragments of Tuditanus, this identification is based on no evidence whatsoever; the historian could equally have been another Sempronius Tuditanus, perhaps the father, a son, a more remote descendant, or a collateral relative of the consul of 129.9 Similar difficulties surround the identities of Aelius Tubero, C. Furnius, and L. Arruntius.10 But the most notorious case is that of C. Fannius (FRHist 12), a historian of the Gracchan age. The problem here is that at least two persons named C. Fannius were active at this period; they were of roughly the same age (near-contemporaries of Ti. Gracchus) and probably first cousins. One of them, C. Fannius M.f., had a distinguished senatorial career, eventually becoming consul in 122; he 7  We know that Cincius the historian was a senator (Dion. Hal. 1.74.1 = FRHist 2 T3) and that he was taken prisoner by Hannibal (Liv. 28.31.3 = FRHist 2 T1). This information encourages the identification with the ex-praetor Cincius Alimentus, who was sent on an embassy in 208 (Liv. 27.29.4–5); but both he and the other members of the embassy then drop out of the record and are never heard of again. It is a reasonable conjecture that on their journey Cincius and his fellow envoys were ambushed and captured by the Carthaginians (thus Peter, HRR I2, ccii). 8  For example Cicero’s son-in-law, who died in 58 BCE, or the consul of 67 BCE (thus e.g. Peter, HRR I2, ccclxxx and F. Münzer, RE III [1897], 1377). 9  No Sempronius Tuditanus is known to have held public office after 129; but the senator C. Sempronius C.f. Fal. listed in the S. C. de agro Pergameno and named by Josephus (ant. 13.260) may have been a Tuditanus (and conceivably our historian). A later candidate would be the father of Sempronia Tuditani filia, who gave evidence at the trial of Milo in 52 BCE (Ascon. 40 C). 10   FRHist 38, 50 and 58 respectively. On Tubero see further below.



was also married to the younger daughter of C. Laelius. The other, C. Fannius C.f., was also a senator; he was praetor before 118, and served on an embassy to Crete in 113. Confusion between the two was almost inevitable, and was already a problem for Cicero and his friends, who could not agree about which one was Laelius’ son-in-law; Cicero also believed that the Fannius who became consul in 122 was the son of Gaius, but epigraphic testimony refutes him.11 One thing we know for certain is that the historian served under Scipio in the Third Punic War, and later recounted how he had scaled the walls of Carthage together with the young Tiberius Gracchus (Plut. Ti. Gracch. 4.5–6 = FRHist 12 T3); in the same year (146 BCE) the other C. Fannius was serving under Metellus Macedonicus in Greece (Pol. 38.12.1). Unfortunately we do not know which of these was which, although it is more probable, in the opinion of the present writer, that the historian who wrote about his exploits at Carthage was C. Fannius C.f., rather than his namesake, C. Fannius M.f., the son-in-law of Laelius and the consul of 122.12 The basic problem, which is the source of much distress for students of Roman prosopography, arises from a number of causes. One is the limited range of personal names (praenomina) used by the Romans, and the habit of well-to-do families of restricting still further the number of praenomina they were prepared to use, together with the widespread custom of naming firstborn sons after their fathers. It thus becomes extremely hard, in the absence of other evidence, to distinguish between fathers and sons, and between homonymous collateral relatives (as exemplified by the case of the two C. Fannii). More generally, as all prosopographers know, the problem is greatly aggravated by the fact that Romans are often referred to simply by their nomen13 without any further specific identifier, particularly in circumstances where readers (or listeners, in oratorical texts) could be assumed to know who was being referred to. In the present context, these casual practices in the use of personal names often create difficulties in the precise identification of authors of lost historical works and in the correct attribution of individual fragments. The fragments of Fabius Pictor, for example, include many passages attributed simply to ‘Fabius’; 11  CIL I 560 (= I2 658 = VI 1306 = ILLRP 269): C. Fanni(us) M.f. co(n)s(ul) de sena(tus) sen(tentia) dedit. 12  On this problem, “die Fanniusfrage” as Münzer (1920) styled it, see, apart from Münzer, Fraccaro (1956), 103–123; Càssola (1983), 84–112; Fleck (1993), 129–134, 280–289; FRHist I, 244–247 (T. J. Cornell). 13  Also, especially among the aristocracy, the use of the cognomen, either on its own or with the praenomen. See Syme (1958), 172–173.

Which One is the Historian ?


while in some of these cases it is clear that Pictor must be meant, in others this is far from certain, especially as the early Roman annalists include at least one other Fabius, namely Q. Fabius Maximus Servilianus, the consul of 142 BCE.14 There are a number of fragments where it is unclear which Fabius is the author in question (for example FRHist I F27–32 = 8 F5–11), although the problem is rarely acknowledged: earlier editions of the fragments of Fabius Pictor, including those of Peter (HRR I2), Jacoby (FGrHist 809), Chassignet (Chass.),15 and Beck – Walter (FRH),16 make no reference to it. A similar problem arises with Cincius Alimentus. Many of the fragments are attributed simply to ‘Cincius’, or to ‘L. Cincius’, which makes it difficult to decide whether they belong to the historian L. Cincius Alimentus or to L. Cincius, an antiquarian of the Augustan age.17 In other cases too we have to reckon with the possibility that there may have been two or more authors with the same name. One probable instance is that of Aelius Tubero, an annalistic source used by Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus. When they cite ‘Tubero’, it is uncertain whether the reference is to Cicero’s friend L. Aelius Tubero or to his son Quintus. There is reason to think that both were historians, and it is impossible to decide, in the case of many of the fragments, which of the two was the author; and we do not know whether all the fragments are taken from the work of one of them, or whether some should be attributed to Lucius, and others to Quintus.18 A slightly different problem arises in the case of Q. Lutatius Catulus, the consul of 102 BCE. Catulus wrote an autobiographical account of his achievements during his consulship which is quoted occasionally by Plutarch (FRHist 19 F1–3). But a number of other fragments, taken from a work entitled Communis historia or Communes historiae and dealing with the early history of Rome, are also ­attributed to a 14  The additional cognomen ‘Servilianus’ (indicating that he had been born a Servilius, and then adopted by a Fabius Maximus) serves to identify him precisely. For details of his birth and adoption see F. Münzer, ‘Q. Fabius (115) Maximus Servilianus’, RE VI.2 (1909), 1811–1814. Inevitably some sources refer to him only as Fabius Maximus, which leaves open the possibility that some other bearer of that famous name is being referred to. For example, in the case of FRHist 8 F4 the reference may not be to a historical work, but perhaps rather to a funeral speech, delivered for example by either Fabius Maximus Cunctator or Fabius Maximus Allobrogicus (cos. 121). See S. J. Northwood’s commentary on this fragment in FRHist. 15  Chassignet (1996–2004). 16  See FRH I, 55–136. 17  See the discussion of this issue by E. H. Bispham and T. J. Cornell in the introduction to Cincius (FRHist 2). 18  The issue is discussed in detail by S. P. Oakley in the introduction to Tubero (FRHist 38).



writer named Lutatius. These can hardly belong to Catulus’ memoir on his consulship, and must come from a different work. But it is a matter of dispute whether it was by the same Catulus, as Peter and Chassignet believe, or, as the authors of FRHist maintain, by a completely different Lutatius.19 During the preparation of The Fragments of the Roman Historians it became increasingly evident that problems of this kind occur again and again, and that they have been persistently underestimated or overlooked in previous scholarship. Students of Roman historiography need to be constantly on the alert for the possibility not only that individual fragments may have been attributed to the wrong author, but also that works that are conventionally ascribed to a given individual might actually have been written by a different person with the same name. One possible example deserving serious consideration, it seems to me, is the annalistic history of Licinius Macer. The rest of this paper is given over to a detailed statement of the case. 2

Macer the Politician and Macer the Historian

Some years ago I had the temerity to suggest that “the identification of the politician C. Licinius Macer with the historian Licinius Macer is not at all certain”, and to raise the possibility that they might rather be two different men of the same name.20 The purpose of what follows is to examine this claim in more detail, and to suggest that it is more than a possibility: it is actually the most likely interpretation of the evidence. The traditional view of this matter is simple. The politician C. Licinius L.f. Macer began his career as a moneyer in 84 BCE;21 a quaestorship probably followed, perhaps in the early 70s,22 and then the tribunate of the plebs in 73 (according to Sallust, who makes him deliver a fiery speech demanding the 19  See C. J. Smith’s introduction to Lutatius (FRHist 32). 20  Cornell (1999). 21  RRC 354: the legend on the reverse gives his full name and filiation. On the coin design and its possible political implications, see Ogilvie (1965), 8; Luce (1968); Wiseman (2009), 72–78. 22  If Macer was praetor in 68, and held the office at the minimum permitted age, he could not have been quaestor before 77. If on the other hand he was older than the permitted minimum age for the praetorship, an earlier date is possible. A date later than 77 is also possible in either case. It is not completely out of the question that he was among the new senators drafted in by Sulla in 81 – in which case he would not have held the quaestorship at all. Note that Badian (1966, 22) dubs him “a last-minute Sullan who had soon tired of the new establishment”.

Which One is the Historian ?


restoration of the tribunes’ powers: hist. 3.48). Macer eventually rose to the praetorship (Val. Max. 9.12.7: uir praetorius) probably in 68 – as can be inferred from the fact that he was prosecuted for extortion in 66, with Cicero as praetor presiding over the court. The accusation would have arisen from his governorship of a province, which can therefore be dated to 67, following the praetorship in 68. At the conclusion of his trial Macer died – in curious circumstances. According to Valerius Maximus (loc. cit.) he committed suicide, in anticipation of a guilty verdict, and thereby avoided the confiscation of his property. Plutarch however says (Cic. 9.1–2) that Macer was so confident of an acquittal that he went home to celebrate while the members of the jury were still casting their votes. When his kinsman and supporter Crassus called at his house to tell him that he had been unanimously convicted, he took to his bed and died. Modern scholars are in no doubt that the politician whose career has just been outlined was identical with the historian Licinius Macer, who is known from Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus as an authority on the early history of Rome, and whose work is also cited by later grammarians and antiquarians.23 It must be firmly stated, however, that this identification is not supported by any direct evidence – a fact of some significance, as I shall argue. In spite of this, questions are never raised: the identification is simply taken for granted as a fact, and is enshrined as such in all the handbooks.24 To the best of my knowledge it has not been challenged since the early seventeenth century (see below, n. 67). What is the basis of this scholarly consensus? It seems to proceed from two circumstantial arguments. The first is chronological, and rests on the fact that the historian seems to have been active at roughly the same time as the politician. That at least is the implication of a passage of Cicero’s De legibus (1.7) that is generally (and rightly) taken to refer to him.25 The passage is part of a discussion of Roman historical writing, a genre which Atticus tries to persuade Cicero to tackle, on the grounds that all existing histories of Rome are ­variously 23  The citing authorities are analysed in detail by Walt (1997), 88–100 24  Thus for example Peter, HRR; Chassignet (1996–2004); FRH; Walt (1997); F. Münzer, RE XIII (1926), 421; Ogilvie (1965), 7–9; Badian (1966), 22; OCD, 834–835 (A. H. McDonald); Levene (2007), 278–279. 25  Partially quoted below, p. 195. There is a minor textual difficulty at the start of the passage: nam quid Macrum numerem, where the manuscripts read acrum. Sigonio emended this to Macrum, which has been universally accepted, and indeed it is hard to see what other name could possibly be supplied.



deficient. Previous historians are listed in a roughly chronological order, starting with the pioneers, Fabius Pictor and Cato the Censor, and moving on to their successors Piso, Fannius, Vennonius and Coelius Antipater, who wrote at the time of the Gracchi;26 Macer belongs to the following group, which also includes Clodius and Asellio,27 as well as Sisenna, who is said to have been Macer’s friend. This gives a general indication of the date. Sempronius Asellio served as a young man under Scipio Aemilianus at Numantia, and wrote a history that went down at least to 91 BCE (Gell. 2.13.1–5); Sisenna was a senator who joined Sulla’s cause in 82 and rose to the praetorship in 78; he must therefore have been born before 118, but probably later than 124.28 His history covered events from the Social War to at least 82 BCE, and he died in 67.29 The date and identity of Clodius are uncertain,30 but leaving him on one side we have enough information to place Macer somewhere in the last years of the second century or the early decades of the first. The fact that he is not mentioned in Cicero’s other major discussion of Roman historical writing, in the De oratore (2.52–54), could be taken to indicate that Macer wrote later than 91 BCE, the dramatic date of the dialogue; but this argument should not be pressed, because the list of historians in the De oratore does not pretend to be exhaustive. Only Coelius is listed after the three founding fathers, Pictor, Cato and Piso; the others – Fannius, Vennonius, Gellius, Clodius and Asellio – are omitted, as well as Macer, and some of them 26  Piso (L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi) was consul in 133 and censor in 120; C. Fannius (on whom see above, pp. 183–184) was a contemporary of Tiberius Gracchus; Coelius Antipater can also be dated at the time of the Gracchi (Cic. Brut. 102; Val. Max. 1.7.6; Vell. 2.9.6; Pompon. D. 1.2.40 = FRHist 15 T3, T5, T8, F49). Nothing is known of the date of Vennonius apart from the De legibus passage under discussion. 27   ecce autem successere huic belli: Clodius, Asellio (“look at those fine fellows who followed him [scil. Coelius], Clodius and Asellio”). Note however that Passerat emended the transmitted belli (“those fine fellows”) to Gellius (accepted for example by Powell in the recent OCT, 2006), so that the historian Cn. Gellius is added to the list. This seems unnecessary, and is also directly contradicted by Cic. div. 1.55, where Coelius is said to be later than Gellius. 28  Cicero tells us that he was younger than P. Sulpicius (tr. pl. 88) but older than Hortensius (Brut. 228). Hortensius was born in 114 and Sulpicius was ten years his senior (Brut. 301). Cf. Sumner (1973), 109–110. 29   FRHist 26 F135 refers to Sulla’s election to the dictatorship. Cass. Dio (36.19.1 = FRHist 26 T22) records Sisenna’s death in 67. 30  The reference must be to either Paulus Clodius, a writer on chronology (App. Gall. 1.3.8; Plut. Num. 1.1 = FRHist 16 F1–2), or (if he is not in fact the same person) the better-known historian Q. Claudius Quadrigarius, whose work went down to at least 82 BCE (FRHist 24 F88).

Which One is the Historian ?


must have written before 91. It is in fact clear that the De oratore passage is a selective discussion of historians whom Cicero considered significant from a literary and stylistic point of view; and from the disparaging remarks about him in the De legibus it would seem that Cicero did not think much of Macer’s work as a piece of writing (see further below). It follows that 91 BCE can hardly be regarded as a terminus post quem for Macer’s history. We are left with a date somewhere between around 110 BCE at the earliest and perhaps 60 at the latest.31 This chronological range would certainly accommodate the adult career of Macer the politician, but is hardly conclusive, since it would fit his father’s generation equally well, if not better.32 If the first circumstantial argument is hardly compelling, the second is embarrassingly weak. It is simply this: that no other person named Licinius Macer is known to have existed at this time.33 But as every first-year student knows, absence of evidence does not constitute evidence of absence. In a case such as this, the existence of other Licinii Macri, though not directly attested, can reasonably be presumed. The precise rules governing the transmission of cognomina in Roman upper-class circles are not fully understood,34 but in general a cognomen was passed down by inheritance along with the gentile name (nomen). It is a perfectly reasonable presumption that the Macri were an established branch of the Licinian gens, along with the Crassi, the Luculli, the Murenae, and the Nervae. If so, the father of Macer the politician was also a 31  This sort of range is fully consistent with Velleius’ dating of other contemporaries of Sisenna. Velleius writes (2.9.6): uetustior Sisenna fuit Coelius, aequalis Sisennae Rutilius Claudiusque Quadrigarius et Valerius Antias (“Coelius was older than Sisenna; contemporaries of Sisenna were Rutilius, Claudius Quadrigarius and Valerius Antias”). Rutilius (Rufus), the consul of 105, served with Scipio at Numantia (Cic. rep. 1.17; App. Hisp. 88). On Claudius Quadrigarius see above n. 30; the date of Valerius Antias is disputed, but he probably wrote before 65 BCE (Ascon. 55 St, 69C = FRHist 25 F41, with Rich [2005], 139–143, and the introduction to Antias in FRHist I, 294–296). On the other hand Velleius cannot have been right to say (2.9.4–5) that Sisenna himself was already a young man (iuuenis) at the time of the Numantine War. That would mean that he was well into his 80s at the time of his death while serving as a commander under Pompey in 67! 32  As praetor in 68 Macer must have been born in or before 107. His father’s date of birth could therefore be placed in the 140s or 130s. 33  Macer’s son, the poet and orator L. Licinius Macer Calvus, can be ruled out on chronological grounds. Quite apart from anything else Calvus, who was born in 82 BCE (Plin. nat. 7.165), could not have been a friend of Sisenna. 34  It is unclear, for example, how the descendants of P. Cornelius Rufinus came to bear the name Sulla (if that indeed is what happened; the family line is actually conjectural, see F. Münzer, RE IV.1 (1900), 1513 –1515).



Licinius Macer, as was his brother.35 That he had paternal uncles and cousins is also more than likely, and if so, according to standard convention,36 they would have included men bearing the first name Gaius. The historian’s praenomen may have been Gaius, although this is far from certain.37 But even in that case nothing prevents us from postulating two men of the same name. “But why should we wish to do so?” asks Peter Wiseman.38 It is not a question of wishing, but rather of being cautious before committing ourselves to an identification for which there is no supporting evidence. And we are not dealing merely with theoretical possibilities. As it happens there are a number of independent reasons for questioning the established orthodoxy, and for thinking that the politician C. Licinius Macer and his namesake the historian (let us assume for the present purpose that his first name was Gaius) were actually different persons. The first concerns the time of writing. Macer the politician was a diligent advocate in the courts and was engaged in active politics right up to the time of his death. While it is not impossible for such a person to have simultaneously written a major work of history (it went back to the foundation of the city and ran to at least sixteen books), it must be reckoned unlikely.39 Other senatorial historians, in all cases where we are in a position to judge, wrote their histories later in life and after they had retired from active politics.40 Wiseman is aware 35  His father’s praenomen was L(ucius), as we know from his coin issue (RRC 354), and according to the normal conventions of Roman nomenclature his first-born son would have taken the same name. Macer the politician, whose praenomen was Gaius, must therefore have had at least one elder brother, although we cannot know whether he survived into adulthood, nor whether there were any other brothers. 36  It was standard practice for Romans to name their first-born sons after themselves, and subsequent sons after their paternal uncles. If Macer had an uncle Gaius, his uncle’s firstborn son would also have been Gaius. 37  It depends on a fragment (FRHist 27 F7) cited three times by Priscian, who attributes it to G. Licinius in II (if that is the correct reading; in the fullest version, cited in GL 3.8, the manuscripts give the name as Quintus, which Hertz emended to G. Licinius, as in the other citations). Uncertainty also arises from the fact that in his other citations Priscian calls the historian Licinius Macer and specifies the work (in annali I, annalibus lib. II, in XVI annalium), which raises the possibility that some other Licinius is meant. See Oakley’s commentary on FRHist 27 F7. Walt’s commentary on this fragment (frg. 29 in her edition, cit. n. 20) also explains the problems with exemplary clarity. 38  Wiseman (2009), 19 n. 63 (his italics). 39  “It is very hard to suppose”, writes Wiseman (2009, 79), “that so substantial a history was written in the mere interstices of a busy political career”. 40  Famous examples include Cato, Sallust, Asinius Pollio, and Tacitus. An ideal type of the senatorial historian is famously characterised by Syme (1970), 2: “the senator came to his

Which One is the Historian ?


of this problem, and after originally toying with the idea that Macer had written his work at the height of his political career, has now chosen to argue that Macer, “untypically, … may have written his history earlier in life” – specifically during a period of enforced idleness under Sulla’s tyranny.41 This conclusion is the product of necessity, and is based on a petitio principii because it assumes in advance that Macer the politician was the author of the history. A much easier solution would be that the historian was a different man, and probably one belonging to an earlier generation; a major work of history would be better attributed to a man of mature years – someone who was at least middle aged at the time of the Social and Civil Wars, a contemporary, let us say, of Sulla himself. The second problem is bound up with Macer’s political views. The speech attributed to the tribune Macer by Sallust suggests that he was an extreme popularis, which has led scholars to suppose that his history must have had a pronounced radical stance.42 According to Wiseman, “given the continuing relevance in contemporary politics of the issues of the early republic … it is more likely than not that Macer’s history was politically contentious”.43 For this reason Macer is often taken to be the source of passages in Livy and Dionysius that allegedly show partisan sympathy for the plebeian cause in the Conflict of the Orders.44 The problem, as Walt has rightly pointed out,45 is that the preserved fragments of Macer’s history contain no trace of political bias in any direction. What they reveal is a writer with antiquarian interests, an unusual penchant for researching primary documents, a tendency to rationalise legendary traditions and a desire to emphasize the role of his own ancestors.46 task in mature years, with a proper knowledge of men and government, a sharp and merciless insight. Taking up the pen, he fought again the old battles of Forum and Curia”. 41  Wiseman (2009), 79, revising his earlier view, Wiseman (2009), 22. See also FRH I, 315: “Macer verfasste sein Werk ja – anders als viele Vorgänger – in jungen Jahren”. The idea that Macer had written during a period of enforced political inactivity was already suggested by Ogilvie (1965), 9. 42  Thus, for example, Mommsen (1864–79), I, 315 (= Id. [1864], 508); Soltau (1897), particularly 412, 417–423; Klotz (1940), 205; Ogilvie (1958), esp. 44; (1965), 7–12; Walsh (1961), 122–123; Frier (1975), esp. 94–95; Wiseman (2009), 19–24, 59–80; Oakley (2009), 457–458; Oakley, FRHist I, 328–329. 43  Wiseman (2009), 78. 44  See the references cited in n. 42 above. 45  Walt (1997) passim, especially 148–191. 46  Walt (1997); FRHist I, 324–328 (S. P. Oakley). The gentilicial bias was apparently not uncommon in Roman annalistic writing. Livy himself was deferential to members of the



As for the supposedly popularis passages in Livy and Dionysius, these are hard to identify and scholars are unable to agree on which they actually are.47 That would seem to be a necessary first step, before deciding whether they are to be attributed to a particular source, and who the author of that source might be. The fact remains, in any case, that there is a marked contrast between the fragments of the history that Licinius Macer actually wrote, and the kind of history scholars think Macer the politician ought to have written. Naturally this would not be a problem if Macer the politician was not, in fact, the author of the history. But this argument should not be pressed, because other explanations are possible. In the first place the difficulty only arises because of the presumption that a history by Macer the politician would have been a radically partisan account and that its strong political slant would have been unmistakable. Scholars who adopt this line are confronted by a problem of their own making. One could equally well argue that a man who made an impassioned speech to the people during his tribunate (assuming that the speech in Sallust bears some relation to what Macer actually said),48 might have written very differently when he turned to history. The writer and the man are not always the same person, as Syme observed.49 This is the position taken by Walt, admittedly with the now unfashionable argument that Roman political rhetoric had no serious ideological content, and served merely to promote the self-interest of aristocratic politicians in a competitive struggle for honours.50 The argument can also be turned on its head. If Macer’s history was as radical and tendentious as scholars suppose, one might have expected this feature to be remarked on by our sources. Cicero, Livy and Dionysius would hardly have been sympathetic, and they are not afraid to criticise other weaknesses

Livian gens, see Walsh (1961), 152–153. The prominent role of the Valerii in the traditional account of the early republic is usually attributed to the work of Valerius Antias, see Münzer (1891); Ogilvie (1965), 14–15; Wiseman (1998), 75–89. This is probably right, but caution is advisable, see Cornell (1986), 77–78; Oakley (1997–2005), I, 91; Rich (2005), 155. Fabius Pictor was undoubtedly responsible for including a good deal of family history in his work (FRHist I, 176–178 [E. H. Bispham, T. J. Cornell]), and others may have done the same, for example A. Postumius Albinus (FRHist 4), see Wiseman (1998) 35–36, 86–87. 47  In general on this problem, see Cornell (2009), esp. 16–27. 48  The idea that Sallust based the speech on what Macer had written in the history, as Wiseman (1998, 20) suggests, obviously begs the question. 49  Syme (1970), 10. 50  Walt (1997), 10–11, 103–105, thus subscribing to what John North (1990, 7) has called the “frozen waste” theory of Roman politics. Wiseman’s criticisms of Walt’s approach are well made (1998), 23–32.

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and shortcomings in the histories they had read.51 Their silence on Macer’s alleged political bias must carry some weight, although once again it cannot be regarded as conclusive. The same is true of the argument from the fragments. From a work of at least sixteen books we possess fewer than thirty short fragments, of which only seven are verbatim extracts;52 the remainder are reported versions of what Macer had to say about various things, none of them as it happens revealing any strong political opinions. Their silence is real enough, but hardly amounts to a decisive argument given the size and character of the sample. The remaining problems are more serious, but, like the truest cause of the Peloponnesian War, also the least talked about.53 I refer to the evidence of Cicero, who knew Macer the politician personally, and had read Licinius Macer’s history. What he has to say about them is revealing. In the Brutus he gives a brief assessment of the politician’s merits as an orator, but speaks very differently about the author of the history in the De legibus. The contrast between these two texts has not been sufficiently noticed, in my view – almost certainly because of the unchallenged assumption that they are dealing with the same person. The first passage reads as follows (Brut. 238): C. Macer auctoritate semper eguit, sed fuit patronus propemodum diligentissimus. huius si uita, si mores, si uultus denique non omnem commendationem ingeni euerteret, maius nomen in patronis fuisset. non erat abundans, non inops tamen; non ualde nitens, non plane horrida oratio; uox gestus et omnis actio sine lepore; at in inueniendis componendisque rebus mira accuratio, ut non facile in ullo diligentiorem maioremque cognouerim, sed eam ut citius ueteratoriam quam oratoriam diceres. hic etsi etiam in publicis causis probabatur, tamen in priuatis illustriorem obtinebat locum. C. Macer was always lacking in authority, but came close to being the most assiduous of advocates. If his way of life, his morals and indeed his 51  For example their prolixity (Macer: Cic. leg. 1.7 = FRHist 27 T1), carelessness in matters of chronology (Fabius Pictor: Dion. Hal. 4.6.1, 30.2–3 (= FRHist 1 T13–14); Gellius and Macer: Dion. Hal. 6.11.2, 7.1.3–4 (= FRHist 14 F24–5, 27 F16–17)), lies and exaggerations (Claudius Quadrigarius and Valerius Antias: Liv. 26.49.3, 33.10.8, 36.38.7, 38.23.8 = FRHist 25 T1–4, 24 T3), and family bias (Macer: Liv. 7.9.5 = FRHist 27 T2). 52   FRHist prints twenty-eight certain fragments and five doubtful ones. Verbatim fragments: FRHist 27 F4–8, 27–28. 53  Thuk. 1.23.6.



facial appearance had not removed everything commendable from his talent, his reputation as a pleader would have been greater. His language was neither exuberant nor wanting; not highly polished nor yet uncouth; his voice, his gestures, his whole manner of delivery lacked charm. And yet in devising and arranging his material he took extraordinary care, of a kind that I would be hard put to find surpassed in anyone else, but which you might say was more a matter of long practice than pure oratory. Even though he had a good reputation in public cases, he nevertheless won greater renown in private suits. Macer appears here as one of a group of seven orators who fall between the contemporaries (aequales) of Hortensius (228–236) and those of Cicero himself, starting with Pompey (239). Cicero gives much more space to Macer than the others, each of whom is dealt with in a single, usually dismissive, sentence.54 Macer is therefore the most prominent; it is also clear that Cicero has singled him out as the most accomplished. The judgement is mixed, however, not only because of defects in Macer’s character and personality (uita, mores, uultus), but because his manner of delivery detracted from the positive merits of the speeches themselves. These shortcomings doubtless explain his lack of auctoritas – whether that be understood as an absence of personal standing55 or a comment on his oratory.56 Cicero’s view of him implies formal disapproval (perhaps in part because of his politics), and possibly also personal dislike. This makes his positive judgement of Macer’s abilities all the more significant. In spite of weaknesses in performance (actio), his language (oratio) is complimented.57 It was high praise for Cicero to say that Macer avoided the extremes of abundantia and inopia, and that his oratio was neither nitens nor 54  The other six are P. Licinius Murena, studious, learned and hardworking, but of mediocre ability; C. Marcius Censorinus, trained in Greek letters and good at presentation, but lazy and disliked in the Forum; L. Turius, a man of little talent who nevertheless spoke often (these three in § 237); then, in § 239, C. Calpurnius Piso (cos. 67), who appeared to be sharper than he was; M’. Acilius Glabrio, indolent and neglectful in spite of good training; and L. Manlius Torquatus, who is judged positively but in very few words. 55  OLD s.v. ‘auctoritas 7’: this is what I take to be its meaning in § 109, on the Elder Drusus. 56  OLD s.v. ‘auctoritas 8b’: this must be the sense in § 111, on Scaurus. 57  The contrast between oratio (content, arrangement of material, argument, use of language) and actio (voice, gestures, movement, timing: what are nowadays called “presentation skills”) is continually brought up in the Brutus. For instance Pompey is said to have been adequate in oratio, but his delivery (actio) possessed vocal splendour and dignity in gesture and movement (239). So too Cn. Lentulus Clodianus (cos. 72) hid the mediocrity of his oratory behind the excellence of his delivery (actio), while P. Lentulus Sura (cos. 71)

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horrida (compare the first sentence of § 202); and in the matter of inuentio and compositio (devising and arrangement of material) Macer surpassed virtually everyone else, the one reservation being that these qualities were the product of practice rather than nature.58 In short, Macer’s speeches were excellent, in contrast to the person who delivered them and the manner in which they were delivered. Turning to the De legibus, we find a very different portrayal of Macer the historian. The relevant passage (1.7) is unfortunately corrupt, but the general sense is beyond doubt: nam quid Macrum numerem? cuius loquacitas habet aliquid argutiarum nec id tamen ex illa erudita Graecorum copia sed ex librariolis Latinis, in orationibus autem multa sed inepta elatio, summa impudentia. Sisenna, eius amicus, omnes adhuc nostros scriptores … superauit. Macrum Sigonius: acrum MSS multa sed inepta elatio, summa impudentia Mommsen: multus ineptus datio summam impudentiam B1A1H1: multus et ineptus datio summam (summa Ac) impudentia BcAcHc: multas ineptias ad summam impudentiam P: multas ineptias datio (elatio R) summam impudentiam e: multas ineptias, et adeo summam impudentiam Zumpt. I doubt if Macer is worth counting. His verbosity has a certain shrewdness, but it does not come from the learned storehouse of Greek rhetoric but from little Latin book-cases; his speeches, moreover, contain a good deal of ill-judged elevation and show a total lack of propriety. His friend Sisenna easily surpasses all our writers to date … etc.59 The passage is clearly pejorative, whatever its precise meaning, and Macer is being dismissed as a historian of slight literary merit. His verbosity is stated as a given, and his speeches (which must mean the speeches in the history)60 are criticised for summa impudentia, which is certain, and before that for some kind of ineptitude. Mommsen’s emendation, which is accepted by Ziegler, was an even worse orator, relying on nothing but delivery: in hoc nihil praeter actionem fuit (235). 58  That is the sense of ueteratoria. Compare the case of P. Cornelius Cethegus, described (178) as a “routine pleader in private cases” (in priuatis satis ueterator). 59  Trans. Rudd (1998), with the exception of librarioli, here translated “little book-cases”, following Oakley, FRHist I, 330–331, rather than “hacks” (Rudd). 60  As is generally recognised: Walt (1997), 144; Dyck (2004); Wiseman (2009), 79 n. 118.



Walt, and Oakley,61 is probably the most elegant solution to the crux, but entails a concession by Cicero to some elevated writing on Macer’s part (reading elatio with R in place of datio). Other conjectures would eliminate even this, for instance Zumpt’s multas ineptias, et adeo summam impudentiam (“many infelicities, and what is more a total lack of propriety”).62 The reference in the preceding sentence to the absence of Greek rhetoric and to Latin librarioli (“little book-cases”) perhaps implies the influence of the Latin schools of rhetoric, which were closed down by the censor L. Crassus in 92 BCE because, unlike Greek rhetoricians, they offered instruction without any philosophical grounding and encouraged impudentia.63 However that may be, the negative tone of the whole passage is unmistakable. There can be no doubt that this harsh criticism of the rhetorical style of Macer the historian (“das ungewöhnlich scharfe Urtheil”, as Mommsen called it: see n. 61) stands in sharp and flagrant contrast to the overwhelmingly positive assessment of the oratory of Macer the politician in the Brutus (excluding the adverse comments on his character and mode of delivery, which are not relevant to the point at issue). Reading the two passages side by side, you would think that Cicero was talking about two completely different people – and in my opinion you would be right. It might be possible in theory to argue that the speeches in Macer’s history did not live up to the standards of his own forensic speeches, or even that Cicero would have used different criteria when judging speeches in a work of history;64 but this is highly improbable, as all the indications are that Cicero’s comments on history and historians, particularly in the De oratore but also in the Brutus (see below), are based on purely rhetorical criteria. History, as he says in the De legibus, is “a task especially suitable for an orator”.65 As for the possibility that Macer’s history, and particularly its speeches, were written in a different style from his real speeches, the response must be not only that this is contrary to all probability, but that, if it had been so, Cicero would inevitably have drawn it to the attention of his readers.

61  Mommsen (1859), 95 n. 146; Ziegler (1950); Walt (1997), 144; Oakley, FRHist 27 T1; also accepted by Rudd (1998). 62  Zumpt (1841); Zumpt’s reading is accepted by J. G. F. Powell in the recent OCT, Oxford (2006). 63  Cic. de orat. 3.93–95; the word impudentia is used twice, and tends to confirm the link with the De legibus passage. See Oakley, FRHist I, 331. 64  This, if I understand her correctly, is the view of Walt (1997), 144. 65   leg. 1.6: opus … hoc unum oratorium maxime. See Wiseman (1979), 31–40.

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This brings me to the final point, which I consider decisive. This is the simple observation that, if Macer the politician was also the author of a history, Cicero would have mentioned the fact in the Brutus. This is admittedly an argument from silence, but the silence is a very loud one, because in every other case in the Brutus where an orator was also the author of a historical work Cicero does not fail to mention it. The list is impressive, including as it does Cato (Brut. 66, 294), Fannius (101), Coelius Antipater (102), Piso (106), Sisenna (228), and Caesar (262).66 This is a complete list of all the orators in the Brutus known to have written major histories in Latin. Macer, if he were a historian as well as an orator, would be the only exception. Given that Cicero’s point in every case is to use the histories as evidence of the oratorical achievements of their authors, the absence of any reference to Macer’s annales in Brutus 238 becomes inexplicable except on the assumption that the orator featured there was not, in fact, their author. Q.e.d. This conclusion is not new; in fact it was already evident to the Dutch scholar Ausonius van Popma (1563–1613), and published in his posthumous edition of the fragments of the Roman historians in 1620.67 Popma wrote about Macer the historian as follows: ego arbitror hunc historicum esse alium ab illo oratore et quidem antiquiorem. non enim Cicero siluisset de eius historiis [scil. in Bruto].68 This argument was rejected by Peter on the grounds that Macer is not the only example of an orator whose histories Cicero fails to mention.69 But the alleged exceptions adduced by Peter, namely C. Sempronius Tuditanus (cos. 129, referred to in Brutus 95) and P. Rutilius Rufus (cos. 105: Brutus 113), are in fact nothing of the kind. As we have seen, there is no evidence that C. Tuditanus, the consul of 129, was a historian, and indeed the absence of any reference to a historical work in the Brutus tells against his authorship just as it does in the case of Macer.

66  Cicero also mentions two historical works written in Greek, by P. Scipio (77) and A. Postumius Albinus (81), as well as the autobiographical accounts of M. Scaurus (112) and Q. Catulus (132). Other literary works are sometimes also mentioned, such as the tragedies of C. Titius, L. Afrenius (167) and C. Caesar Strabo (177), and the dialogues of Curio (218). 67  Popma (1620). 68  Popma (1620), 149: “For my part I consider this historian to be distinct from that orator, and indeed somewhat earlier. For Cicero would not have been silent about his histories [scil. in the Brutus].” I owe this reference to Stephen Oakley (FRHist I, 322). 69  Peter, HRR I2, cccl.



As for Rutilius Rufus, the simple answer to Peter’s objection is that his histories were in Greek,70 and therefore not directly relevant to Cicero’s concerns in the Brutus. But there are complications. Rutilius was also the author of an autobiography, which one might have expected Cicero to mention, especially as he goes out of his way to highlight the memoirs of Rutilius’ contemporaries and political rivals, M. Scaurus and Q. Catulus (Brut. 112, 132). This is especially puzzling if we accept the attractive suggestion of G. L. Hendrickson, that the anecdote which Cicero claims to have heard from Rutilius Rufus in person, and reproduces in Brutus 85–88, was in fact taken from Rutilius’ memoirs.71 Hendrickson is aware of the problem of Cicero’s failure to mention Rutilius’ de uita sua, and resolves it by suggesting that the Greek histories were in fact a modified and extended version of the original Latin memoirs, and that it was this Greek version that enjoyed wide circulation and was the one known to Cicero. The displaced Latin original was forgotten until revived by archaizers in the second century CE. 3 Conclusion The above arguments do not amount to proof, which is not to be expected in a case such as this. But their cumulative weight is considerable. All the indications are that the historian Licinius Macer was older than Macer the politician, and that if he wrote at roughly the same time as Asellio and Sisenna (that is, in the 80s or 70s), he did so as a mature man. The most probable solution is that he was Macer the politician’s father, uncle or second cousin. If so there would be no reason to expect his work to have been politically tendentious, and we should have an explanation of why Cicero makes no mention of it in the Brutus. To repeat: there can be no question of proof. But at least the hypothesis deserves to be considered seriously. And it raises a fundamental point of historical method. The assessment of a lost historical work must be based, in the first instance, on the direct evidence of fragments and testimonia – that is, quotations and paraphrases of passages from the original text (fragments), and statements (testimonia) that provide information about the author (qua author) and the work, but without reference to a particular passage. The best reconstructions of the work of Licinius Macer have been careful to adopt this

70  Explicit testimony in Athenaeus 168C (= Rutilius FGrHist 815 T7a). 71  Hendrickson (1906), 193–194; Id. (1933), 160–165.

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approach, in particular the RE entry by Friedrich Münzer72 and more recently the outstanding edition of Siri Walt.73 Other scholars, however, have given free rein to a view of Macer’s historical work that depends entirely on the assumption that the author was the radical popularis portrayed in Sallust’s Histories, and that his own account of the early Republic must therefore have been “an ideologically committed narrative presenting the plebeians’ achievement of freedom and the tribunate in the light of Sulla’s attempt to reverse those gains”.74 This approach is illegitimate, it seems to me, not only because the assumed identity of the author is based on purely circumstantial evidence, and is actually open to serious question (as has been argued here), but also because the strong political interpretation of the work has no support whatever from the surviving testimonia and fragments. One final point. Much is sometimes made of the fact that Macer (the politician)’s son bore the cognomen Calvus (Val. Max. 9.12.7), thus recalling the fourth-century plebeian leaders of that name.75 This has been held to show that his father was interested in history, and to confirm his identification with the historian who glorified his own ancestors (compare above, n. 51), and who can also be presumed to have written a tendentious account of the early plebeian struggle. But matters are not so simple. All we can legitimately infer is that the family claimed descent from the Licinii Calvi of the early republic. A further extension of the claim is attested by the presence, among the quindecemuiri sacris faciundis in 17 BCE, of a C. Licinius Calvus Stolo,76 possibly a grandson or great nephew of the tribune of 73. Whether the link was genuine or fictitious we cannot know, but we can be certain that the family embraced it. The fact that the orator and poet C. Licinius Macer Calvus was the son of 72  Münzer, RE XIII (1926), 413–428. Münzer concludes his exemplary discussion thus: “Wenn die Quellenuntersuchungen und Handbücher … unter dem Banne vorgefasste Anschauungen in der Behandlung und Beurteilung Macers ziemlich übereinstimmen, so war es hier gegenüber der konventionellen Wiederholung von Schlagwörten notwendig, zu fragen, was aus dem sicher beglaubigten Fragmenten zu gewinnen ist und was nicht.” (428). 73  Walt (1997). I should add that in his contribution to FRHist Stephen Oakley, although he explicitly disagrees with the interpretation offered in these pages (I, 322 with n. 7), nevertheless allows the testimonia and fragments to speak for themselves, and is admirably cautious in his use of extraneous evidence (I, 328–329). 74  Wiseman (2009), 21. 75  P. Licinius P.f. P. n. Calvus Esquilinus (RE 43), tr. mil. c. p. 400, 396; C. Licinius C.f. P.n. Calvus (RE 42), cos. 364 or 361. 76  RE 44: CIL VI 32323. The cognomen Stolo proclaims a connection with the author of the Licinio-Sextian laws of 367 BCE. Cf. Syme (1986), 48–49.



Macer (the politician) would only have a bearing on the present discussion if the latter either discovered or invented the supposed lineage and named his son accordingly for political reasons. But these assumptions are quite unwarranted. Quite apart from the fact that we do not know precisely how such cognomina were acquired, there is no reason to doubt that the supposed descent from the fourth-century Licinii was a long established family tradition. It is also worth noting that P. Licinius Calvus Esquilinus, according to Livy (5.12.9–12) the first plebeian to achieve the highest office in the State, is presented in the ensuing narrative not as a radical reformer, still less as a revolutionary, but as a shining example of moderation who worked tirelessly to secure harmony between the orders.77 If this account is based on the work of Licinius Macer, as is widely assumed, then his work had a very different character from the politically tendentious narrative presupposed in so many modern studies. It confirms Livy’s statement that Macer’s work was slanted in favour of his own family, but it does nothing to support the identification of the historian with the radical politician who was tribune of the plebs in 73 BCE. Bibliography Badian, E. (1966). ‘The early historians’, in T. A. Dorey (ed.), Latin Historians (London), 1–38. Càssola, F. (1983). ‘I Fannii in età repubblicana’, Vichiana 12: 84–112. Chassignet, M. (1996–2004). L’annalistique romaine I–III (Collection des universités de France, sér. latine 331, 357, 375), Paris. Cornell, T. J. (1986). ‘The formation of the historical tradition of Early Rome’, in I. S. Moxon, J. D. Smart, and A. J. Woodman (eds.), Past Perspectives. Studies in Greek and Roman Historical Writing (Cambridge), 67–86. Cornell, T. J. (1999). Review of S. Walt, Der Historiker C. Licinius Macer. Einleitung, Fragmente, Kommentar (Stuttgart 1997), JRS 89: 229–230. Cornell, T. J. (2009). ‘Political conflict in archaic Rome and the republican historians’, in G. Zecchini (a cura di), Partiti e fazioni nell’esperienza politica romana (Contributi di storia antica 7, Milano), 3–30. Dyck, A. (2004). Cicero, De legibus, Ann Arbor, MI. Fleck, M. (1993). Cicero als Historiker (Beiträge zur Altertumskunde 39), Stuttgart.

77  On this see my discussion in Cornell (2009), 23–24. Note also the comment of Badian (1966, 22), who speaks of Macer “insisting on the importance of the Licinian Rogations in restoring concordia and settled government”.

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Fraccaro, P. (1956). ‘Sui Fannii dell’età graccana’, in P. Fraccaro, Opuscula II. Studi sull’età della rivoluzione romana: Scritti di diritti pubblico, militaria (Pavia), 103–123. Frier, B. W. (1975). ‘Licinius Macer and the consules suffecti of 444 BC’, TAPA 105: 79–97. Hendrickson, G. L. (1906). ‘Literary sources in Cicero’s Brutus and the technique of citation in dialogue’, AJPh 27: 184–199. Hendrickson, G. L. (1933). ‘The memoirs of Rutilius Rufus’, CPh 28: 153–175. Klotz, A. (1940). Livius und seine Vorgänger, Stuttgart. Levene D. S. (2007). ‘Roman historiography in the late Republic’, in J. Marincola (ed.), A Companion to Greek and Roman Historiography (Oxford), 275–289. Luce, T. J. (1968). ‘Political propaganda on roman republican coins’, AJA 72: 26–39. Mommsen, Th. (1859). Die römische Chronologie bis auf Caesar, 2. Aufl., Berlin. Mommsen, Th. (1864–79). Römische Forschungen I–II, Berlin. Münzer, F. (1891). De gente Valeria (Diss., Berlin). Münzer, F. (1920). ‘Die Fanniusfrage’, Hermes 55: 427–442. North, J. (1990). ‘Democratic politics in republican Rome’, P&P 126: 3–21. Oakley, S. P. (1997–2005). A Commentary on Livy, Books 6–10 I–IV, Oxford. Oakley, S. P. (2009). ‘Livy and his sources’, in J. D. Chaplin and C. S. Kraus (eds.), Oxford Readings in Classical Studies. Livy (Oxford), 439–460. Ogilvie, R. M. (1958). ‘Livy, Licinius Macer and the libri lintei’, JRS 48: 40–46. Ogilvie, R. M. (1965). A Commentary on Livy, Books 1–5, Oxford. Popma, A. (1620). Fragmenta historicorum ueterum Latinorum, Amsterdam. Rich, J. W. (2005). ‘Valerius Antias and the construction of the Roman past’, BICS 48 (2005): 137–161. Rudd, N. (1998). Cicero. The Republic, The Laws, Oxford. Soltau, W. (1897). ‘Macer und Tubero’, NJPhP 155: 409–432. Sumner, G. V. (1973). The Orators in Cicero’s Brutus, Toronto. Syme, R. (1958). ‘Imperator Caesar. A study in nomenclature’, Historia 7: 172–188. Syme, R. (1970). Ten Studies in Tacitus, Oxford. Syme, R. (1986). The Augustan Aristocracy, Oxford. Walsh, P. G. (1961). Livy. His Historical Aims and Methods, Cambridge. Walt, S. (1997). Der Historiker C. Licinius Macer. Einleitung, Fragmente, Kommentar, Stuttgart. Wiseman, T. P. (1979). Clio’s Cosmetics. Three Studies in Greco-Roman Literature, Leicester. Wiseman, T. P. (1998). Roman Drama and Roman History, Exeter. Wiseman, T. P. (2009). Remembering the Roman People, Oxford. Ziegler, K. (1950). Cicero, De legibus, Heidelberg. Zumpt, A. W. (1841). ‘Die Bücher von den Gesetzen’, in R. Klotz (Hrsg.), Ciceros philosophische Schriften in deutschen Übertragungen II (Leipzig), 609–710.

Part 3 History and Oratory


How Much History did the Romans Know? Historical References in Cicero’s Speeches to the People Francisco Pina Polo Roman orators habitually used historical examples in their speeches.1 As a matter of fact, all known rhetorical treatises recommended them to be used in certain situations as a part of the argument.2 Cicero pointed out that the orator should be aware of the past (antiquitatis memoria) and should have precise knowledge of the history, as well as of the exempla of Rome’s ancestors (monumenta rerum gestarum et vetustatis exempla).3 Valerius Maximus collected a huge number of historical exempla in his Facta et dicta memorabilia, which was published during the reign of Tiberius. His purpose was to provide the orators with a handbook in which they could easily find both Roman and foreign examples that could be applied to diverse rhetorical contexts.4 Quintilian devoted a chapter of his Institutiones oratoriae to the topic. He defended the use of exempla as a criterion of authority (rerum gestarum auctoritas).5 The mention of a historical fact should serve to persuade the audience of the veracity of the point that the orator was trying to make.6 Quintilian added that it was necessary to decide whether the historical facts to be compared were identical, or only similar. In the latter case, only what was of interest for the argumentation should be used. The facts were to be narrated to a greater or lesser extent according to the knowledge of the audience, but also according to their utility.7 To illustrate his point of view, Quintilian mentioned some examples of the use of historical events taken from speeches delivered in the courts by Cicero, 1  On the concept of exempla, see Walter (2004), 51–62. See also on collective memory Hölkeskamp (1996). For further illustration of Cicero’s use of the past in his speeches see van der Blom (this volume). 2  See, for instance, Rhet. Her. 3.9: it is especially useful in judicial causes to employ the greatest possible number of examples from the past (exempla rerum gestarum). 3  Cic. de orat. 1.201. 4  Bloomer (1992), 14–17; Skidmore (1996). 5  Quint. inst. 5.11.1. Cf. Cic. inv. 1.49; orat. 169. 6  Quint. inst. 5.11.6. 7  Quint. inst. 5.11.16.

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Pina Polo

because, as he said, “where could we find better?”8 Unfortunately, we are ignorant of how frequently Roman orators used historical exempla, since most of their addresses are lost. We certainly find in the ancient sources, for instance in Livy and Sallust, speeches supposedly delivered by politicians throughout the history of republican Rome, but these are rhetorical reconstructions that have little to do with reality. However, Ciceronian orations were actually delivered and were filled with historical examples, in his speeches in the senate, as well as those given before the people and in the courts. The preservation of a good number of them in these three venues offers us the possibility of identifying which historical examples Cicero chose, and in what circumstances he made use of them. Obviously, we only have the written versions of these speeches. In the process between the delivery of the speech and its writing, a partial revision of the text may have taken place. We must bear that in mind, though it is reasonable to assume that the content was not subjected to substantial changes.9 It is considerably beyond the goal of this paper to carry out an analysis of all Ciceronian orations. The subject is well-known and has already been studied by other scholars. I want to focus on the preserved speeches that Cicero delivered before the people in a contio. Ultimately the question that I would like to address, on the basis of the historical information that Cicero used in his speeches, is that of how much history the Romans actually knew. I also want to examine whether addresses before the people can be used as an indication of the historical knowledge of Roman citizens and/or whether these constituted a means of learning history. The nine preserved orations delivered by Cicero to the people are in chronological order: Pro lege Manilia; De lege agraria 2 and 3; Pro Rabirio perduellionis; In Catilinam 2 and 3; Post reditum ad Quirites; and Philippics 4 and 6. The historical facts mentioned in them are as follows:10 Pro lege Manilia: – some episodes of the war against Mithridates: Sulla, Murena (4–9); Ariobarzanes (12); Lucullus, Mithridates and Tigranes, Glabrio (20–26) – Pompey in Hispania against Sertorius (10) – destruction of Corinth (11) 8  Quint. inst. 5.11.11–18. 9  See van der Blom (2010), 9. Cf. Powell – Paterson (2004), 52–57. 10   Bücher (2006) has collected all the Roman examples in Cicero’s speeches in his Appendix 3.

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– wars against Antiochus, Philip, Aetolia, Carthage (14) – victories of Pompey in the Civil War, in Africa, Hispania, against the pirates and against the slaves (28) (cf. 61) – victory of Pompey against the pirates (33–35) – famous Roman imperatores: Fabius Maximus Cunctator, Marcellus, Scipio Africanus, Marius (47) – ancient sea empires: Athens, Carthage, Rhodes (54) – war against Perseus (55) – the biggest wars in Roman history: the Punic Wars and the wars in Hispania; destruction of Carthage and Numantia (60) – Marius fought against Jugurtha as well as against the Cimbri and Teutons (60) De lege agraria 2: – praises of the Gracchi brothers, described as clarissimi viri (10) (cf. 81) – the lex Domitia of 104 about the election of priests by the comitia tributa is mentioned. The tribune of the plebs Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus is called vir clarissimus (18–19) – mention of the leges Aebutia and Licinia (21) – reference to the absent Pompey and his recent victories (23) – procedure for the election of triumviri by the people in the lex Sempronia. Tiberius Gracchus is praised again (31) – according to the Rullan bill, the decemviri could sell everything included in the senatus consulta issued during the consulship of M.  Tullius and Cn. Cornelius in 81 and afterwards (35) – the decemviri are authorized to sell the public land acquired during the consulship of Sulla and Q. Pompeius in 88 and afterwards (38) (cf. 56) – ‘which of you does not know the tradition’ according to which Egypt passed into the hands of the Roman people by the will of king Ptolemy Alexander (year 81)? (41) – areas of Cilicia conquered by P. Servilius Vatia Isauricus in the 70s might be sold (50), as well as Corinth; zones of Hispania; the territory of Attalos in Chersonesos; of Philip and Perseus in Macedonia; of Ptolemy Apion in Cyrene; and Carthage, whose land was consecrated by Scipio Aemilianus to the gods (51) – Sulla sold property confiscated during the proscriptions in an auction (56) (cf. 68 and 81) – Scipio Aemilianus assigned to the Roman people some lands on the coast of Numidia. Consul C. Aurelius Cotta signed a treaty with king Hiempsal in 75


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stating his property over the lands. The treaty was not ratified by the people (58) – mention of Juba, son of Hiempsal (59) – some conspicuous Romans are cited as example of wisdom, austerity and bravery: C.  Fabricius Luscinus (cos. 282 and 278); A.  Atilius Calatinus (cos. 258 and 254; dict. 249); M. Porcius Cato (cos. 195); L. Manlius Acidinus (cos. 179); C. Laelius (cos. 140); and L. Furius Philus (cos. 136) – mention of the Social War (80) – praetor P. Cornelius Lentulus was commissioned by the senate in 165 to purchase private land in Campania located within public ground (82) – wars prevented taxes from provincial territories from being deposited in the Roman treasury: the Mithridatic Wars in Asia; the Sertorian War in Hispania; and the Servile War in Sicily (M. Aquilius even had to provide corn to some Sicilian cities) (83) – Carthage and Corinth were destroyed by Rome (87) – senatorial issues on Capua during the Hannibalic War (88–89) (cf. 92–93) – Capua was conquered during the consulship of Q. Fulvius and Q. Fabius (90) – Rome fought in many exterior wars after the Hannibalic War: against kings Philip, Antiochus, Perseus, Pseudo-Philip, Aristonicus and Mithridates; the third war against Carthage; the wars against Corinth and Numantia. There were internal revolts as well as wars against allies such as Fregellae and the Marsians (90) – the tribune of the plebs M. Iunius Brutus carried a bill to found a colony in Capua in the year 83 (92) (cf. 98) De lege agraria 3: – Sulla distributed land (3) – the lex Valeria, enacted by the interrex L.  Valerius Flaccus in 82, legalised what Sulla had done (5) – mention of Sullan dictatorship (6) – the orator quotes an article of the Rullan bill referring to land and buildings publicly assigned after the consulship of C. Marius and Cn. Papirius Carbo in 82. Cicero clarifies that only Sulla passed relevant legislation after that consulship (7) (cf. 11) Pro Rabirio perduellionis: – Cicero summarises the lex Porcia, which eliminated corporal punishment for citizens, and the Gracchan lex de capite civium Romanorum, which forbade the death penalty without trial (12)

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– T. Labienus is putting liberty in danger. He is compared to Romulus, Numa Pompilius and Tarquinius, the most arrogant and cruel of the Roman kings (13) – Gracchus is favourably compared to Labienus (14–15) – Cicero describes L. Saturninus as hostis (18) – the orator makes a detailed account of the facts since the senatus consultum ultimum was issued in 100 (20–21) – C.  Appuleius Decianus (tr. pl. 98) brought prosecution against P.  Furius (tr. pl. 99). During the trial Decianus regretted the death of Saturninus. This is the reason why he was prosecuted and condemned after his year of office. Sex. Titius (tr. pl. 99) was condemned for having a portrait of Saturninus in his house (24) – illustrious men who supported the senatus consultum ultimum are enumerated: Q.  Catulus, M.  Scaurus, both Mucii Scaevolae, L.  Crassus and M. Antonius (26) – should both consuls of year 100, C. Marius and L. Valerius Flaccus, be convicted as responsible for the implementation of the senatus consultum ultimum? (20–21) – Scaeva, a slave of Q. Croton, killed Saturninus. He was given his freedom. How could Rabirius, an eques, possibly be convicted? (31) In Catilinam 2: – Sulla founded colonies, where some of the followers of Catilina come from (20) – Cicero alludes indirectly to the recent Pompeian victories over all enemies of Rome (29) In Catilinam 3: – praetor P. Cornelius Lentulus Sura had told the Allobroges that he was the third Cornelius after Cinna and Sulla destined to rule in Rome, according to a prophecy included in the Sibylline Books (9) – C. Marius ordered the murder of the praetor Glaucia (15) – some portents occurred in Rome during the consulship of L. Aurelius Cotta and Lucius Manlius Torquatus in 65 (19) – the Catilinarian conspiracy is much more dangerous than the civil wars in the 80s: Sulla killed Sulpicius and banished Marius; consul Octavius expelled his colleague from the city; Cinna’s rule meant the death of many citizens; Sulla brought revenge; the rebellion of Lepidus led to the confrontation with Catulus and to his death (24–25)


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Post reditum ad Quirites: – three illustrious consulars had gone into exile before Cicero: P.  Popillius Laenas; Q. Caecilius Metellus Numidicus; and C. Marius (6–7, 9–11) – the orator provides details of Marius’ exile (19–20) Philippic 4: – the Roman ancestors conquered the whole of Italy, destroyed Carthage and razed Numantia (13) – M. Antonius is compared to Spartacus and Catilina (15) Philippic 6: – there is no point in sending legates to Antonius. He will not accept the senatorial conditions just as Hannibal did not consent to lift the siege of Saguntum (4–6)11 – there is a statue of L. Antonius in the Forum in front of the Temple of Castor. There is another of Q. Marcius Tremulus, triumphator over the Hernici in 306 (13) As expected, the historical examples used by Cicero were chosen according to the subject matter of each speech. Thus, in Pro lege Manilia the orator focused on the Mithridatic Wars and on the previous military victories achieved by Pompey. The exempla referred to important wars in the history of Rome and to glorious imperatores, in order to reinforce the thesis that Pompey was the most appropriate general to face Mithridates. In the speech delivered to the people after his own return, Cicero mentioned three examples of consulars who were banished, with the purpose of emphasising the differences between their experiences and that of his own exile, particularly the huge support he received concerning his return to Rome. Marcus Antonius was the target against whom the Philippics were directed. To that end, Cicero gave an account of current events always trying to portray Antonius as a public enemy. The historical examples selected by the orator were aimed in the same direction: Antonius was compared to Hannibal, one of the most impressive and dangerous external opponents in Roman history; to Catilina, the most recent internal danger; and 11  In the fifth Philippic Cicero made the same comparison, but whereas the mention was very brief before the people, in the senate he gave the names of the legates and added that they were ordered to go to Carthage if Hannibal did not obey (Cic. Phil. 5.27).

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to Spartacus, the slave who put Rome in check, thus denigrating Antonius by linking him indirectly to slavery. We may assume that Cicero also chose his historical examples according to the audience. In the courts he spoke directly to the group of highly literate senators and knights who composed the jury, though a circle of spectators, the so-called corona, could also attend the session and listen to the addresses.12 The audience was more exclusive in the senate, whose members had traditionally belonged to the most prominent families of Rome. The composition of the senate had changed after the dictatorship of Sulla, when the number of senators had been doubled. A good number of outsiders without prestigious ancestors had then entered the senate, though the majority of its members were still those with greater access to education and culture in Rome. What about contiones? Who attended popular assemblies? In recent years there has been some scholarly debate on this subject. To summarise the discussion, while Jehne has argued that the plebs formed most of the audience, Mouritsen believes that they were, rather, members of the elite with time to spare.13 Could the selection of historical examples by Cicero help to clarify this point? The way in which Cicero referred to certain particularly popular historical figures in his speeches to the people is striking. The Gracchi brothers are a good example.14 It is well known that Cicero held negative opinions about them, as demonstrated in some passages of his works and even in his speeches in the senate.15 His attitude was quite different when he spoke in a contio.16 In his second oration on the agrarian bill of Rullus, Cicero praised both brothers on several occasions.17 He described them as “most distinguished, most brilliant” citizens, adding that he was not one of those consuls who considered it a crime to praise the Gracchi.18 Thanks to their wisdom, they had brought positive reforms to the res publica through their laws. Later in the same speech, Cicero stated how far Rullus stood from the equity and modesty that

12  Rosillo-López (2017b). 13  Mouritsen (2001), 39–45; Jehne (2006). Morstein-Marx (2004, 41–42) argues that the plebs was “the greatest constituent of any contional audience”. 14  On this topic: Béranger (1972); Gaillard (1975); van der Blom (2010), 103–107. 15  See for instance Cic. Catil. 1.3–4, 4.4, har. resp. 41, 43, prov. 18, Phil. 8.13, off. 2.43, de orat. 2.106, 2.132, 2.169; etc. Nonetheless, Cicero saw both brothers as talented orators: Cic. de orat. 1.38, Brut. 103–104, 125–126. 16  van der Blom (2010), 104. 17  On the speech, see Walter (2013). 18  Cic. leg. agr. 2.10: Venit enim mihi in mentem duos clarissimos, ingeniosissimos, amantissimos plebei Romanae viros, Ti. et C. Gracchos … .


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characterised Tiberius Gracchus.19 The orator referred once more to both Gracchi, whose thoughts were always with the welfare of the plebs.20 In his first shorter speech on the rogatio held in the senate on the first of January 63, Cicero mentioned only briefly the generosity (largitiones) of the Gracchi in connection with the tyranny (dominatio) of Sulla.21 It was obviously a veiled criticism. Nothing more about them can be found. Certainly, Cicero also connected the Gracchi to Sulla in his speech to the people, but whereas he spoke openly again of Sullan dominatio, he used the much more positive word benignitas when speaking of the Gracchi.22 It is reasonable to suppose that Cicero did this in order to gain the attention of the audience as well as to receive favourable feedback.23 If that was the case, it is very unlikely that his listeners were composed mostly of members of the elite, who would not have been happy to hear the Gracchi being praised by one of the most prominent senators of the time, even if his words could be understood as rhetorical licence. The oration Pro Rabirio perduellionis was delivered by Cicero in the context of the trial against C. Rabirius, who was accused of the murder of the tribune of the plebs Saturninus in the year 100. The trial resurrected the past procedure of a defendant being judged by the people. Before the verdict was voted upon in the comitia centuriata, a series of contiones had to take place, in which different orators spoke in behalf or against the defendant. Cicero was one of the orators in one of these assemblies, and the Pro Rabirio perduellionis is the written version of his speech. The affair itself, as well as the unusual legal process, would have aroused excitement among the population of Rome. As a result, the assembly in which Cicero delivered his speech was probably better attended than usual, perhaps 19  Cic. leg. agr. 2.31. 20  Cic. leg. agr. 2.81. 21  Cic. leg. agr. 1.21. In some cases it is possible to compare how Cicero made the selection of historical examples for two speeches on the same subject delivered successively in the senate and to the people. That happened with De lege agraria 1 and 2, the Catilinarian speeches, Post reditum ad senatum and ad Quirites, and some of the Philippics. Nonetheless, it is not my aim to analyse these speeches comparatively. This has been done by Mack (1937), Thompson (1978) and Bücher (2006), esp. 228–257. Their conclusions are unsurprisingly the same: Cicero adapted rhetorical strategies and historical examples to his audience. 22  Cic. leg. agr. 2.81. 23  In this context, the reference to the tribune of the plebs Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus, who promoted in 104 a law to make the appointment of new priests subject to popular vote, should be added. Cicero described the tribune as a vir clarissimus and homo nobilissimus (Cic. leg. agr. 2.18–19).

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with citizens belonging to all social classes. All in all, two passages indicate that at least a good portion of the audience was formed by individuals from the plebs. As he had in his oration on the agrarian bill of Rullus some months earlier, Cicero praised Gaius Gracchus, comparing him with Labienus, the prosecutor in the trial against Rabirius. He described Gracchus as full of courage (animus), wisdom (consilium), power (opes), authority (auctoritas) and eloquence (eloquentia).24 Cicero made no reference to any reaction from the audience to his words. However, shortly afterwards when Cicero defined Saturninus as an enemy of the Roman people (hostis populi Romani) his statement was received with hostility.25 At least some of the listeners answered Cicero’s accusation with shouts and boos. The orator reacted immediately, discrediting those who were protesting: they were only a minority of the audience and, anyway, they were no more than ignorant citizens. There is no means of knowing how widespread the protest of the audience was, but we can conjecture that Cicero’s words were simply a rhetorical tactic to diminish the complaints. In any case, the episode attests to the substantial presence of the plebs in the contio, since it is improbable that the Roman elite would have supported Saturninus in a popular assembly. The nature and number of the public who attended contiones probably differed depending on the orators announced, the topics likely to be discussed, and the general political atmosphere in Rome. Consequently, the most likely answer to the question of who attended popular assemblies is that there was not a permanent and homogeneous audience. Anyway, I am inclined to think that, in general, members of the plebs formed the majority of the audience, and that only a small element of the elite attended assemblies. The hypocritical attitude of Cicero when speaking of the Gracchi, as well as the immediate reaction of the audience on behalf of Saturninus, seem to prove this, taking into account that both Saturninus and the Gracchi were loved by the plebs and their memory was apparently still alive. If we accept that the plebs attended contiones, the next question is whether, and to what extent, they were capable of understanding the historical information that orators frequently included in their addresses to the people. But perhaps we should broaden the focus and ask whether all orators had accurate knowledge of the history of Rome, as well as whether the facts they mentioned were correct or could be biased by their rhetorical strategy.

24  Cic. Rab. perd. 14. 25  Cic. Rab. perd. 18.


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All persons who spoke in a contio during the first century BCE were, or had been, magistrates, and were therefore senators.26 This presupposes that all of them belonged to the cultivated elite. Their education must surely have included history, linked to the study of rhetoric. Ultimately, the writing of history had been, in Rome, a task performed above all by senators. Since Fabius Pictor wrote the first history of Rome, in Greek, other senators had followed the same path either in Greek or in Latin. It was actually a logical consequence of the fact that the decision about what was worthy of being remembered had been in the hands of the pontiffs for centuries. The result was the so-called Annales maximi, the basis of the various histories of Rome written in the second and first centuries BCE.27 Thus, it is plausible that all orators had at least a basic knowledge of the history of Rome and of its relations with other states. The depth of this knowledge depended upon their personal curiosity and interest in learning. The fact that Valerius Maximus wrote a work containing a collection of historical examples shows that these were used by orators in their speeches, but not necessarily that the orators were experts in history. On the contrary, Valerius Maximus’ work suggests that most Roman orators needed the help of such a compendium of historical information to fill the gaps in their knowledge. Cicero was aware of the importance of history as an essential instrument for a good orator.28 Even more so, he stated that writing history should be primarily the responsibility of an orator.29 To write about the history of Rome was undoubtedly a temptation for the multifaceted Cicero. Nevertheless, he never went so far as to do it systematically. The exception is the second book of De republica. His essay on early Roman history could serve as an example of practical application of the type of historical narrative that he recommended in De oratore. In fact, Cicero was interested in studies closer to antiquarism, in line with other contemporaries, in particular Varro.30 He was especially attracted by the great Roman characters that had forged a civilisation that later became an empire, as well as by the civil and religious institutions that had made it possible. Cicero advocated a moralistic and educational history, a history which had to be “light for truth” (lux veritatis) and “master of life” (magis26  Pina Polo (1996). 27  On the relationship between mos maiorum and the control of history by the elite, see Pina Polo (2004). On the Annales maximi, see Rich (this volume). 28  Cic. de orat. 1.18, 1.159, 1.201, orat. 120. On Cicero’s interest in history, see Rambaud (1953), Rawson (1972); Fleck (1993). 29  Cic. de orat. 2.62–63. 30  For a more detailed examination, see Binder (this volume).

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tra vitae) for the citizens.31 History was of great relevance as one of the factors that shaped personal and collective identity. As Cicero stated: “What is the life of a man if he does not join his life to his ancestors through the memory of the ancient facts? The memory of the past and the use of historical examples provide great delight, authority and credit to a speech.”32 We have no information with which to evaluate the level of historical knowledge of most Roman orators. Yet in the case of Cicero there can be little doubt that he knew Roman history well, and had read the books written by earlier and contemporary historians such as Cato, Atticus and others.33 Sometimes he even tried to do his own research on certain matters of interest, and it is not completely unusual to find scholarly discussions in some of his letters.34 Does this mean that he was always accurate when he used historical references in his speeches? It was not always the case. He failed sometimes due to lack of suitable information, or manipulated the facts in order to achieve his purpose. Let us take two instances from Ciceronian speeches. In the second address on the agrarian bill, delivered to the people, Cicero asserted that Capua had been defeated and conquered when Q. Fulvius Flaccus and Q. Fabius Maximus Verrucosus were consuls. However, this is incorrect according to Livy. Capua was actually conquered two years earlier, during the consulate of Cn. Fulvius and P. Sulpicius in 211.35 In fact, the aforementioned Fulvius Flaccus achieved the capitulation of Capua as a proconsul. Cicero probably knew the relationship between Fulvius Flaccus and the victory over the Campanian city, but he was mistaken about whether this happened when Fulvius Flaccus was consul or proconsul. The unintentional error was most likely actually committed in the speech before the people, but it was not corrected in the written version published later. Did anyone in the audience notice the confusion?36

31  Cic. de orat. 2.36. 32  Cic. orat. 120. 33  Cic. orat. 120. Cicero (rep. 2.1) praises the book written by Atticus, in which the author had summarised the whole history of Rome in chronological order. On Cato as the main source for Cicero’s historical essay, see Cornell (2001). For Cicero’s citations of fragmentary historians, see FRHist I, 53–60. 34  Cic. Att. 4.14.1, 6.1.8, 6.1.18, 12.5.3, 13.4.1; etc. Cicero criticised Metellus Scipio for erecting an equestrian statue in honour of his great-grandfather assuming wrongly that he had been a censor. He considered it an inexcusable error (Cic. Att. 6.1.17). 35  Broughton, MRR I, 274. 36  Another inaccuracy is found in the Pro Murena, delivered before the jurors. There, Cicero asserted that Cato fought together with Scipio Asiaticus in the war against Antiochus


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The mistake in the first of the Verrines seems of a different nature. The address was delivered before the jurors, all of them senators, who had to judge Verres de repetundis. At the time there was a discussion about the composition of the courts, which had been composed exclusively of senators since the dictatorship of Sulla. The equites claimed for their reinstatement, something that happened scarcely weeks later. In his argumentation Cicero stated that only one senator, and one of the poorest, had been condemned de repetundis after the tribunician law was passed.37 He meant that during the 70s the juries of senators only had dared to convict one senator, implying a veiled accusation of corruption, or at least absence of severity in the courts. The message for the jurors who were listening to Cicero was obvious: the only way of recovering lost prestige was to condemn Verres, even though he was a very rich senator and was being defended by Hortensius, who was at the time a consul-elect. But the initial assertion by Cicero was false. At least four senators had been convicted de repetundis in the 70s: Cn. Cornelius Dolabella (praetor in 81) was condemned in 78; Q. Calidius (praetor in 79) in 77; P. Septimius Scaevola in 72; and P. Gabinius between 76 and 70.38 In the case of Dolabella the fine amounted to three millions sesterces. Was it an error or a manipulation? The trial against Verres was being held in the summer of 70. Therefore, Cicero failed to mention facts that had occurred just a few years earlier. It is difficult to assume that he did not have that information, or that the jurors listening his speech did not know what had happened in the courts in recent years. Yet Cicero did not hesitate to use that argument even though he was aware of its falsehood, and his statement was also included in the written version of the oration.39 (Cic. Mur. 32). That is not correct. Cato was actually under the orders of Acilius Glabrio; cf. Rawson (1972), 33 n. 5. 37  Cic. Verr. 1.46: Vident adhuc, post legem tribuniciam, unum senatorem hominem vel tenuissimum esse damnatum: quod tametsi non reprehendunt, tamen magno opere quod laudent non habent. 38  Alexander (1990), nos. 135, 139, 172, 174. Other senators were also convicted in the 70s: Q. Opimius ( 75) in 74 according the lex Cornelia de tribunis plebis; between 74 and 70 C. Aelius Paetus Staienus (quaestor 77) and M. Atilius Bulbus according to the lex Cornelia de maiestate; Ti. Gutta according to the lex Cornelia de ambitu; C. Herennius according to the lex Cornelia de peculatu (cf. Alexander [1990], nos. 157, 159, 160, 161, 162). 39  A further example of manipulation of historical information can be added. In Pro Rabirio perduellionis before the people, Cicero described Tarquinius as the cruellest of the kings (Cic. Rab. perd. 13). However, in the third Philippica in the senate Tarquinius became for Cicero a tolerable human being in comparison with Antonius, who was a real tyrant (Cic. Phil. 3.8–11). So, Cicero adapted historical reality to his rhetorical goals; cf. Rambaud (1953), 47.

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This invites a reflection. If an orator could distort recent facts that must have been known to his audience, he could do so more easily with events that had occurred some centuries ago and that were difficult to verify, unless the historical expertise of the audience was excellent. The manipulation certainly ought to have been easier before the people. In a contio the authority of the orator was especially decisive. It was the confidence with which he provided information, which was not going to be verified by his listeners, that was important.40 It is perhaps more surprising that Cicero, as concerned about posterity as he was, kept the obviously incorrect information in the written version. The explanation is probably that it was a rhetorical device similar to others that were frequently used by orators, and that therefore it was not necessary to hide it. Indirectly this supports the idea that there were no substantial differences in content between the oral and the written versions of a speech. All historical examples in Cicero’s speeches to the people were drawn from Roman history. Many of them alluded to Roman wars and heroes. The wars in Hispania and against the Carthaginians were described as the major wars in the history of Rome.41 Cicero particularly emphasized the capture of Carthage and of the Celtiberian city of Numantia.42 Also the destruction of Corinth was one of the recurring topics.43 According to Cicero, the victories over Carthage in Africa, Corinth in Greece and Numantia in Hispania seemed to be the key moments in the Roman expansion during the second century BCE. Or were they perhaps the best-known events in collective memory? However they are not the only episodes mentioned by the orator. In Pro lege Manilia, he referred to the wars against Antiochus, Philip, Aetolia, Carthage and Perseus.44 In his second speech on the agrarian bill, Cicero made a list of external wars fought by the Romans after the Hannibalic War, including once again the wars against kings Philip, Antiochus, Perseus, Pseudo-Philip, Aristonicus and Mithridates, in addition to those against Carthage, Corinth and Numantia.45 In the same speech Cicero also cited the bellum sociale,46 the war against Sertorius in Hispania and the Slave War in Sicily.47

40  van der Blom (2010), 126. 41  Cic. Manil. 60. 42  Cic. leg. agr. 2.87; Phil. 4.13. 43  Cic. Manil. 11. 44  Cic. Manil. 14, 55. 45  Cic. leg. agr. 2.90, 2.51. 46  Cic. leg. agr. 2.80. 47  Cic. leg. agr. 2.83.


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In the recent history of Rome, Pompey was no doubt the greatest victorious general. The description of his triumphs obviously played an important role in Pro lege Manilia, a speech whose main topic was warfare. Yet Cicero also alluded to them in the second address De lege agraria and in the second Catilinarian oration.48 But Roman history was full of great imperatores. Some of them were mentioned in the speech on behalf of the Manilian bill, as a means of linking the glorious past to the present, of showing Pompey as a descendant of those who turned Rome into an empire. The orator cited three notable generals who fought in the Hannibalic War (Fabius Maximus Cunctator, Marcellus and Scipio Africanus) together with C. Marius,49 who was mentioned later again as the victor against Jugurtha, the Cimbri and the Teutons.50 In the second speech against the Rullan bill, P. Servilius Isauricus was mentioned briefly as the general who conquered some areas of Cilicia in the 70s.51 And in the sixth Philippic Cicero spoke of the equestrian statue of Q. Marcius Tremulus, placed before the Temple of Castor in the Forum.52 The orator made it clear to his audience that he was talking of the victor over the Hernici in the fourth century. Ultimately, Cicero used the example of Tremulus to denigrate L. Antonius, one of whose statues was also placed before the Temple of Castor. Tremulus deserved that honour, but in no way did Antonius do so. Again in the second address to the people on the agrarian rogatio, Cicero referred to several famous Romans from the third and second centuries.53 The most ancient of these were C. Fabricius Luscinus and A. Atilius Calatinus, who played prominent roles, the former in the war against Pyrrhus and the latter in Sicily during the First Punic War. The others were Cato, the eminent censor and triumphator in Hispania in 195; L. Manlius Acidinus, held up as a model of good citizen;54 C. Laelius, consul in 140 and nicknamed Sapiens because of his prudence; and L. Furius Philus, consul in 136. In this case Cicero chose as exemplary ancestors politicians who were acknowledged for their austerity, courage and wisdom, not only victorious generals. His purpose was obviously to contrast their virtues with the iniquity of the tribune Rullus. The historical references contained in the speeches after his return from exile were adapted to the subject and were therefore quite different. Repeating 48  Cic. leg. agr. 2.23, Catil. 2.29. 49  Cic. Manil. 47. 50  Cic. Manil. 60. 51  Cic. leg. agr. 2.50. 52  Cic. Phil. 6.13; cf. Plin. nat. 34.23. See Kardos (1997), 225–226. 53  Cic. leg. agr. 2.64. 54  Cic. de orat. 2.260.

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his arguments with almost the same words in both addresses, in the senate and to the people, Cicero alluded to three consulars that were forced to go into exile in the past.55 P. Popillius Laenas, consul in 132, was banished during the tribunate of C. Gracchus as a result of his repression of the followers of Tiberius a decade earlier. He was recalled to Rome after C. Gracchus’ death.56 Q. Caecilius Metellus Numidicus spent a year in Rhodes as a consequence of his confrontation with the tribune of the plebs Saturninus. Following the death of Saturninus, Metellus was allowed to return to Rome.57 Finally, Cicero referred in a more detailed way to the exile of Marius, whose complaints and lamentations he claimed to have heard personally.58 Cicero’s goal was to compare with his own circumstances the contexts in which those three consulars returned to Rome. The comparison was obviously favourable to Cicero. So, the consuls of the year that followed Metellus’ exile did not intercede in his favour as Lentulus had done with the greatest conviction in 57. On the other hand, Cicero and Marius had suffered similar affronts, but whereas the latter took revenge on his enemies with arms, Cicero wished to use only his words as a weapon. Ancient wars and generals, famous exiles, virtuous ancestors: were these individuals and events known to the audience in a contio? We may assume that there were different levels of historical knowledge among the attenders of a popular assembly. Yet, in a society such as republican Rome in which something akin to a public education did not exist, it is difficult to believe that the common inhabitants of the city were able to understand all historical references. An orator might consider it necessary to include some following the logic of the speech, but that did not mean that his listeners knew everything that he was talking about, or even that he expected to be completely understood.59 The same happened with geographical references. Cicero made use of them when it was necessary for his argument, sometimes even in an almost exhaustive way. That was the case for instance in his second speech on the agrarian bill, in which, as he had already done in the senate, Cicero included a complete list of places whose lands were concerned in the rogatio. He mentioned cities and territories in different regions of the whole Empire, as Cilicia, Bithynia, 55  Cic. p. red. ad Quir. 6–7, 9–11. 56  Cic. Brut. 128, dom. 82; Vell. 2.7; Plut. C. Gracch. 4. Kelly (2006), 71–76, 167–168. 57  Like Cicero, Metellus Numidicus also pronounced a speech before the people after his return (Gell. 13.29.1). Kelly (2006), 84–88, 178–179. 58  Cic. p. red. ad Quir. 19–20. Kelly (2006), 74, 98. 59  Morstein-Marx (2004, 72) has argued that the speech could function as the orator intended even if the audience was unable to understand all historical references.


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Chersonese, Macedonia, Corinth, Cyrene, Hispania, Africa, Paphlagonia, Pontus, Cappadocia and the Lake Maeotis (today called Sea of Azov).60 How could his listeners have possibly known where some of these areas were? To be sure, in some cases they would have never heard the place names. In referring to a large number of place names, Cicero did not intend the audience to locate them on a mental map of the Empire, which the audience obviously would not have had in their minds. Rather, Cicero was overwhelming his listeners with all this information, with his geographical and historical knowledge, which was actually demonstrating his cultural and social superiority: he simply knew a lot more history and geography than his listeners.61 It was clearly a question of auctoritas emanating from the orator’s words and from the orator’s tribunal itself, an auctoritas that made the speech credible.62 The plebs probably did not know many of the historical details, and even less could they have placed events in their chronological order. Most of the historical information provided by Cicero in his speeches lacked chronological references. Nevertheless, sometimes he tended to order the events he mentioned according to their relative chronology. For instance, in the third Catilinarian oration, Cicero listed the main conflicts that occurred in the 80s and in the early 70s in perfect chronological order, from the confrontation between Sulla and Sulpicius to the repression by Catulus of Lepidus’ followers.63 In the fourth Philippica the orator praised the ancestors that had first conquered the whole of Italy, and had then destroyed Carthage and Numantia.64 However, when he was reporting to the people how the praetor Lentulus had told the Allobroges that he was the third Cornelius after Cinna and Sulla destined to rule in Rome, Cicero used, exceptionally, an absolute chronology. Lentulus alluded to a prophecy supposedly included in the Sibylline Books, according to which 63 BCE would be a fatal year for Rome and its Empire, ten years after the acquittal of the Vestals and twenty years after the Capitolium burned down during the Civil War.65 Sometimes Cicero gave a precise date, referring to the consuls then in office. In his second speech on the agrarian bill, he stated that 60  Cic. leg. agr. 2.50–52. See Vasaly (1993), 222–243 (222: “Cicero has attempted in the speech to control his listeners’ conception of geographical space”, 241: “the orator has set out to create in the minds of his listeners a psychological map of the Roman world”). 61  See van der Blom (2010), 121: “By referring to historical individuals, events, and traditions of those not known to the audience, the orator or author could present himself as an expert whom the audience should trust and follow”. 62  Pina Polo (2005); Id. (2011). 63  Cic. Catil. 3.24. 64  Cic. Phil. 4.13. 65  Cic. Catil. 3.9. Cadoux (2005); Flower (2008).

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the decemviri would be authorized to sell everything included in the senatus consulta issued during the consulship of M. Tullius and Cn. Cornelius in 81 BCE and afterwards.66 Later on, he added that the decemviri could sell the public land acquired during the consulship of Sulla and Pompeius in 88 BCE.67 It is questionable whether the audience was capable of placing with precision the dates of both consular years, or at least of identifying approximately when some events had occurred two decades earlier. Personal experience probably played an important role. Nonetheless, that the people in all probability did not have a clear chronological structure in their minds – obviously knowledge of events became more confused the more distant in time they were – does not mean that they had no idea or sense of history. Some historical key facts must have remained in the collective memory.68 Furthermore, the plebs had its own historical perspective, sometimes noticeably dissenting from the official view. The Roman aristocracy must have realized the risk of this alternative to their own view. For that reason the senate attempted the damnatio memoriae of the Gracchi and ordered the construction of a temple to Concordia presiding over the Forum as a perennial symbol of the victory of the established order over sedition. The people very likely did not remember the detailed events concerning the killing of both the Gracchi brothers and Saturninus, but had preserved an independent memory of them as politicians who tried to introduce reforms favourable to the people.69 They knew who the Gracchi and Saturninus were, and what they had meant for them. They were popular heroes, and this image could not have arisen from the official version. That the plebs had its own historical view is indirectly shown by the support of the people for some men whose only merit was to be descendants of very popular politicians. That was the case of Equitius, the presumed son of Tiberius Gracchus, the so-called Pseudo-Marius and Trebellius Calca, who claimed to be Clodius himself. All of them enjoyed unusual popularity in the Late Republic.70 Warfare had always been a very important part of Roman society. Throughout the republican period, thousands of citizens fought in the legions in different 66  Cic. leg. agr. 2.35. 67  Cic. leg. agr. 2.38. In the third speech Cicero (leg. agr. 3.7) mentioned as a chronological reference the consulship of C. Marius and Cn. Papirius Carbo in 82 BCE. 68  van der Blom (2010), 118–119. 69  Similarly, some statues were spontaneously erected by the urban plebs in honour of the praetor M. Marius Gratidianus, who had promoted a monetary reform: Cic. off. 3.80; Plin. nat. 33.132, 34.27; Sen. de ira 3.18.1. See also Marco Simón – Pina Polo (2000). 70  See now Pina Polo (2014).


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locations, first in Italy and afterwards across the whole Mediterranean. The duration of military service increased after the Hannibalic War. Those who returned home brought with them their experiences: they could tell of battles and of the military skills of their commanders, and could describe landscapes in unfamiliar lands. As a result, a collection of private memories may have been created within families, at the same time being transmitted to the collective memory. Thus there were simultaneously unwritten histories perceived from below from the perspective of the plebs, and others written from the top by the aristocracy and destined to become the official history. The latter was only partly and indirectly available to the plebs. The unofficial history had been lived and experienced by the plebs itself. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the uncultivated populace in Rome retained the memories of ancestors who had fought in Asia, Macedonia, Hispania, etc., and could also remember the names of great enemies such as Hannibal, Perseus or Mithidrates, as well as those of the greatest Roman imperatores. As a result, names such as Carthage, Corinth or Numantia that were repeatedly mentioned by Cicero before the people would have sounded familiar. The abundant monuments and statues in Rome would have helped to keep those memories alive.71 The Ciceronian reference to Tremulus’ statue might be an example, though one might doubt that the greater part of the population in Rome really knew its historical background. In De finibus, Cicero pointed out that the lower classes also had an interest in history. He was talking about the importance of history as well as about the pleasure of knowing the particulars of the lives of illustrious men, and added: “What could be said about the fact that men of the humblest condition, with no expectation of participating in public life, workmen in short, are delighted with history?”72 Was it a rhetorical statement or a reality? In his second speech on the agrarian bill, Cicero asserted: “Which of you is ignorant that it is said that this kingdom belongs to the Roman people by testament of king Alexas?”73 The kingdom to which he referred was Egypt and the king Ptolemy Alexander. It was in all probability a rhetorical exaggeration to claim that the entire audience was aware of the details concerning the Egyptian question. However, it was very possible that many of the listeners had heard something about it, since Egypt had been present in Roman politics for decades. In any 71  See Sehlmeyer (1999), as well as Hölkeskamp’s contribution in this volume. 72  Cic. fin. 5.52: Quid, quod homines infima fortuna, nulla spe rerum gerendarum, opifices denique delectantur historia? 73  Cic. leg. agr. 2.41: Quis enim vestrum hoc ignorat, dici illud regnum testamento regis Alexae populi Romani esse factum?

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case, Cicero gave a clue as to how the information could have reached the audience: “Which of you is ignorant that it is said … ?”, he stated. That indicates that, unsurprisingly, oral transmission was the main way by which information reached the population in Rome. In the third Catilinarian speech, Cicero appealed to the recent memory of the citizens: “Surely you remember that at the time of the consuls Cotta and Torquatus …”.74 He was talking about the portents that occurred in Rome just two years earlier. Further on in the same speech, Cicero mentioned past civil strife: “Indeed you remember, citizens, all our civil conflicts, not only those that you have heard of, but those that you recall and have seen yourselves”.75 The orator then gave a list of the disorders and wars that had occurred in the 80s, referring to Sulpicius, Sulla, Marius, Cinna, etc. Ultimately, Cicero intended to communicate to the audience in the assembly the idea that the Catilinarian plot was more dangerous than all the civil wars had been two decades earlier.76 But again, the point is the way in which the people had access to historical information: either they had lived through the events themselves, or they had heard about them. Aside from private conversations within the family circle and across the city, there were some public venues in which the people could hear something about Roman history. The theatre had for centuries been one of these.77 The fabulae praetextae brought to the people performances dealing with historical Roman figures and events. Obviously, it should be borne in mind that these were above all a theatrical spectacle intended to entertain the audience, and not essays concerned with historical accuracy. Nevertheless, even if the fabulae praetextae essentially did not have an educational purpose, they served inevitably as a means of providing a limited selection of episodes of Roman history to a wide public composed of people from different social levels and with very dissimilar levels of education. Moreover, for the large illiterate part of the audience, which had no means to contrast what they saw with other sources of information, the theatre was the real history.78 In this regard, evidence collected by Aulus Gellius deserves to be mentioned. According to him, the Annales of Ennius were recited to the people in the theatre of Puteoli by a reader with a 74  Cic. Catil. 3.19: Nam profecto memoria tenetis Cotta et Torquato consulibus … . 75  Cic. Catil. 3.24: Etenim recordamini, Quirites, omnis civiles dissensiones, non solum eas, quas audistis, sed eas, quas vosmet ipsi meministis atque vidistis. 76  Cic. Catil. 3.25. 77  Cic. off. 1.47. On the subject: Wiseman (1998); Manuwald (2001). Cf. Flower (1995); Horsfall (1996a), 107; Walter (2004), 75–83. 78  Walter (2004), 75.


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powerful voice.79 It is not easy to establish to what extent this type of public reading of historical works was common. However, the fact that the performance was held in Puteoli and that Gellius alluded to the reader with a Greek word (anagnostes) suggests that it was rather typical of Hellenised southern Italy. A kind of theatrical performance also took place during the celebration of an aristocratic funeral, the pompa funebris.80 As described by Polybius,81 the procession leading the corpse ended at the Rostra situated between the Comitium and the Forum. During the procession the ancestors were ordered chronologically from the oldest to the youngest. From the orator’s tribunal usually a relative delivered a speech (laudatio funebris) praising the deceased and his glorious ancestors, who symbolically were present on the Rostra impersonated by actors wearing their masks and wearing clothes indicating their status as triumphators or the highest magistracy that they reached. Eminent consuls, famous generals and renowned victories were celebrated before the people. In this way the history of the most prominent Roman families was implicitly identified with the collective history of Rome. The triumphal procession was one of the most impressive celebrations in ancient Rome. It was actually conceived as a sort of performance, which may have attracted a huge audience along the route.82 The victory over a foreign enemy was glorified. The people could learn which kings had been defeated, which battles had been won, which cities had been taken. Let us take as example Plutarch’s description of Pompey’s third triumph in 61.83 The procession lasted two days. There were spoils, prisoners and many trophies. Some inscriptions indicated the peoples over which he had triumphed in the Orient, the number of strongholds and cities that had been captured, as well as the 79  Gell. 18.5.2. 80  Beck (2006); Hölkeskamp (2008); Walter (2004), 89–108. 81  Pol. 6.53–54. 82  Beyond general references, there is no concrete evidence for the size of audiences at triumphs in the sources. However, see the description of Aemilius Paulus’ triumph in 167 (Plut. Aem. 32.1): “The people sat up wooden stands, both in the theatres for horse-races, which they call circuses, and around the forum, and they occupied all the other parts of the city which provided a view of the procession.” On the triumph, see Itgenshorst (2005); Beard (2007); Östenberg (2009). Specifically on the triumphal route, see Östenberg (2010), who states (313): “The triumph was a pregnant public feast, and Rome was beyond doubt extremely crowded on the day of celebration. Many had travelled from far to see the parade, and together with the people of the city, they occupied all available room to get at least a glimpse”. 83  Plut. Pomp. 45.

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cities which the triumphator had founded. According to Appian, images of Mithridates and Tigranes were carried, depicting them as fighting, as defeated, and as fleeing. Mithridates’ silent flight by night was also represented. Finally, it was shown how he had perished, and even the daughters who chose to die with him were depicted.84 Placing all this in the context of a spectacular show no doubt helped the people to assimilate the information more easily. The orations delivered in the courts usually contained historical references, as Cicero’s speeches exemplify very well. They were addressed directly to the jurors, who had to pronounce the sentence, so the cultural level must have been higher than in a popular assembly. But trials were held in the Forum and were open to other attendants, the so-called corona that surrounded the venue. This indirect audience could hear the speeches perfectly well and could draw conclusions from them.85 However, the contio was the main venue in Rome in which oral transmission was possible.86 Contiones were frequently held in the city.87 Before voting on a bill, at least three assemblies had to be convoked to discuss it. In these assemblies orators could speak in favour of, or against, the rogatio. Cicero’s speeches in favour of the rogatio Manilia and against the agrarian bill of Rullus illustrate this kind of oratory. A similar procedure existed in the iudicia populi before permanent courts were established. The Pro Rabirio perduellionis is actually reminiscent of that procedure. There were also informative contiones in which the audience was advised about anything of interest for the community. The triumphators would deliver speeches to the people after the triumphal procession, describing their victories and conquests. Cicero’s return after his exile was not exactly a triumph, but he conceived of his travel from Brundisium to Rome as a kind of triumphal procession.88 In the city, his speeches in the senate and to the people had a certain analogy with the usual triumphal discourses. Throughout the year, many political contiones took place in Rome. This was the venue in which discussions before the people were held, the place in which to praise or to disqualify other politicians. Both the Catilinarian speeches and the Philippics that were pronounced by Cicero in contiones are good examples.

84  App. Mithr. 116–117. 85  See Rosillo-López (2017b). Horsfall (1996b, 9–20) points out popular songs as a means of learning. 86  Morstein-Marx (2004), 70: “important information was on the whole heard, not read, above all in the contio”. He stresses the “educative function of the contio” (117). 87  On contiones: Pina Polo (1989); Hiebel (2009). 88  Pina Polo (2010), 154–156.


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This implies that the speeches delivered to the people in contiones should not only (and not necessarily) be seen as an indication of the historical knowledge of the audience, but rather as a place for learning history.89 Obviously, that could not happen in a systematic way, especially because the contio was linked to contemporary issues, so that history may only occasionally intervene. Orators selected the information they wanted to convey, as well as the historical examples they wished to use in their speeches. In other words, they decided what individuals and events should be remembered and for what.90 Taking into account that only members of the elite acted as orators in contiones, this was another way to control indirectly the history that could be learnt and transmitted. Consequently, the analysis of a speech in a contio acquires a different perspective if we think of the historical information that was occasionally provided as something that could be learnt and that should not necessarily be recalled by the audience. Or rather, whereas some of the listeners could remember something they already knew, the information would be completely unknown for many of them. In the Pro lege Manilia Cicero linked implicitly the memory of some of the most important wars and imperatores in the Roman history with Pompey and the present situation. Yet the really prominent topic in the speech was the Mithridatic War. Cicero tried to paint a dramatic situation, in order to make the approval of the bill unopposable. As a result, Cicero provided a lot of information about the development of the conflict over the previous twenty years.91 He mentioned briefly the victories of Sulla and Murena, which unfortunately had not resulted in the final triumph. He explained the alliance of Mithridates with Tigranes; he reported how the king of Pontus killed all Roman citizens living in Asia. The orator described in some detail the activity of Lucullus: he had released Cyzicus from its siege, destroyed the fleet of the enemy and captured a number of cities in Pontus and Cappadocia. Mithridates had been forced to flee, but he managed to recover in Armenia under the protection of Tigranes. This is not completely correct. When Mithridates went to Armenia his relationship with Tigranes was distant. He was not even received by the Armenian king for more than one year. Only when the two were finally reconciled did they begin to act jointly.92 But was the total accuracy of the story essential? Could the audience have evaluated it? 89  The point has been stressed by Horsfall (1996b), 46–49. See also Id. (1996a), 116–117. 90  van der Blom (2010), 146. 91  Cic. Manil. 4–10, 20–26. 92  Ballesteros Pastor (1996), 247.

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Anyway, the point was that Mithridates still remained a great danger for Rome. The only man who could save the situation was Pompey, just as he had done over the past two decades. To prove it, Cicero mentioned all his victories in Italy, Africa, Sicily, Gaul and Hispania.93 In particular he focused on the war against the pirates: among other cities, Cnidos, Colophon and Samos were taken by the pirates; Gaeta was plundered; the fleet in Ostia was sunk.94 Despite all these disasters, Pompey managed to re-establish peace in the whole Mediterranean with extraordinary celerity. We could probably distinguish within the audience different levels of knowledge about the information conveyed by Cicero. Some of the events he related had happened in recent years, and most should have been known at least in broad terms. Others were more distant in time, and the recollection of them may have been confused. People in Rome had no doubt heard of Mithridates during the last twenty years, some of them perhaps even having fought in the Orient. With absolute certainty everyone in the city knew of the victories achieved by Pompey. But beyond this superstructure of knowledge, i.e the basic outline of events, the vast majority of the population could not be familiar with all the details that Cicero gave in his speech. Some of that information was possibly new for them, but from that moment on it could become part of their historical knowledge. Nevertheless, the people could have obviously received complementary information in other assemblies, since we do not know what other orators had been saying on the topic. The second speech on the Rullan agrarian bill was unusually long in comparison to the other Ciceronian addresses to the people, and was full of information relating to very different periods of Roman history. For instance, the orator devoted particular attention to the relationship between Capua and Rome. He referred to the decrees issued by the senate after Capua was defeated during the Hannibalic War, explaining in particular detail what the senatorial decisions meant.95 Giving great authority to his words, Cicero noted that many official documents existed on this matter. It was obviously implicit that he knew them. It is hardly plausible that the Roman people were familiar with what had happened in Capua almost 150 years ago. How could they be?96

93  Cic. Manil. 28–31. 94  Cic. Manil. 32–35. 95  Cic. leg. agr. 2.88–89. 96  Even if the matter had been mentioned exactly twenty years earlier during the discussion of the bill enacted by Brutus in 83 to found a colony in Capua, as Cicero recalled in his speech (Cic. leg. agr. 2.92).


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Cicero was indoctrinating his audience with the ultimate purpose of discrediting Rullus by comparing him with his wise ancestors.97 In the same speech Cicero mentioned a more recent matter in which Hiempsal was involved. The Numidian king owned some territories on the African coast that Scipio Aemilianus had assigned to the Roman people. In 75 the consul C. Aurelius Cotta signed a treaty with the king asserting his ownership of the land, but the agreement was not corroborated by the people. Cicero stated that this issue had frequently been discussed in the senate, but sometimes also from the orator’s tribunal in contiones.98 The debate in assemblies had offered the people the chance to become aware of the particulars of that situation in the past. Now, through Cicero’s words, some of the listeners were recalling events that had occurred more than ten years ago, while others were probably hearing them for the first time. In both cases the contio either had been, or was, the venue in which the information could be acquired. The speech on behalf of Rabirius is a good example. Cicero gave a comprehensive account of the events since the senatus consultum ultimum was issued in the year 100, calling attention, of course, to everything that favoured his position on behalf of Rabirius and the senatus consultum ultimum. Consequently, he enumerated the names of those prominent citizens who had supported the repression of Saturninus in order to exonerate the defendant.99 Cicero even mentioned the name of the man who had actually killed Saturninus, the slave Scaeva.100 Taking into account that liberty had been granted to Scaeva, what reward should be granted to a knight such as Rabirius if he had killed the tribune? In the process against Rabirius events that had happened nearly forty years earlier were being judged. It seems evident that the plebs had a positive memory of Saturninus, as shown by its reaction to the unfavourable judgement of Cicero. The people would have known that the tribune had been murdered. They might even have felt that his killing had been unfair. It should not be forgotten that the events took place in the very heart of the city – like the killing of the Gracchi brothers some decades earlier. Some listeners could have been alive when the events took place, and consequently they had first-hand 97  In another passage Cicero explained that the praetor P. Cornelius Lentulus was commissioned by the senate to purchase private land in Campania located within public ground. That happened in 165. It is again highly unlikely that the audience had the slightest clue about it (Cic. leg. agr. 2.82). 98  Cic. leg. agr. 2.58: Audivit hanc rem non a me, sed ab aliis agitari saep in senatu, non numquam ex hoc loco … . 99  Cic. Rab. perd. 20–26. 100  Cic. Rab. perd. 31.

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information. Now, different versions of these facts could be learnt or remembered by listening not only to Cicero but also to the accuser, the witnesses and the other defenders speaking in contiones during the process.101 Finally, in the fourth and sixth Philippics, Cicero used very few historical examples, because the most recent events were his priority. This was why he spoke of the actions carried out by Antonius and by the other main protagonists of the moment. Both contiones would have served for the people to obtain information that was usually more easily accessible to the elite in general, and to senators in particular. In conclusion, we should not take for granted that all historical information contained in a speech delivered before the people was known in advance by the audience. Cicero’s speeches show how the contiones functioned as a place in which the people could learn past history and in which their opinions about current events could be formed, events which themselves became history in turn. In an essentially oral society, the contiones were a source of general information for the usually hundreds of attendants. In a further step, we may imagine that this information was also circulated orally across the city thanks to circles of sociability reaching a wider audience.102 As part of this information, local and global, recent and past history was a constant subject for orators. On one hand, they used historical examples to illustrate the present. On the other, they gave information about contemporary facts that were destined to become history in the future. The aspiration to influence the future interpretation of these events should be taken into account as well. Roman assemblies were therefore one of the main disseminators of historical knowledge for the inhabitants of the city. Of course, we do not know how accurate the versions circulating from the Rostra across the city were. Consequently, the history the Roman people could have known in the first century BCE was not the result of learning in a non-existent public school or of reading books of scarce circulation and reserved for the aristocratic minority, but was rather the outcome of their capacity to comprehend and memorise what they had heard in the theatre, in the courts, during triumphal 101  In the same speech Cicero (Rab. perd. 12) summarised the laws Porcia and Sempronia de capite civium Romanorum, whose details were surely unknown for most of his listeners. On the other hand, he compared Labienus to Romulus, Numa Pompilius and Tarquinius, the latter being “the most arrogant and cruel of the Roman kings” (Rab. perd. 13). In this case it is sure that people had heard of the founder of the city as well as about some of the kings, for example in some theatrical performances. 102  Cf. Rosillo-López (2017a).


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processions, in assemblies and in private conversations within the family and across the city. It could not by any means be a history articulated around a recognisable chronological structure. The common Roman did not have in his mind a history organised according to periods and well-established dates. At most, he would know some historical events and perhaps place them earlier or later than others in a relative chronology.103 Obviously, events that happened at Rome were better known than others that took place far away from the city. It was a history of scattered highlights, composed of extraordinary characters and facts, such as Hannibal, Carthage, Scipio, Corinth, Gracchus, Saturninus, Numantia, Mithridates, etc.104 It was a history made of timeless fragments105 which had been selected and interpreted by the cultivated social elite, to be dramatised in the theatre and in the pompa funebris, or to be used in the courts and in contiones. Nonetheless, it must not be forgotten that the plebs developed an independent memory according to which some historical characters were regarded more favourably than others. Bibliography Alexander, M. C. (1990). Trials in the Late Roman Republic, 149 BC to 50 BC (Phoenix, suppl. 26), Toronto. Ballesteros Pastor, L. (1996). Mitrídates Eupátor, rey del Ponto, Granada. Beard, M. (2007). The Roman Triumph, London – Cambridge, MA. Beck, H. (2006). ‘Züge in die Ewigkeit. Prozessionen durch das republikanische Rom’, in F. Marco, F. Pina Polo, and J. Remesal (eds.), Repúblicas y ciudadanos: modelos de participación cívica en el mundo antiguo (Barcelona), 131–151. Béranger, J. (1972). ‘Les jugements de Cicéron sur les Gracques’, ANRW 1.1: 732–763. 103  The pompa funebris (and perhaps the subsequent laudatio) could be of some help, given that ancestors of the deceased marched in chronological order. But again, these processions only represented small portions of the Roman history taken from family stories. Moreover, only the most prominent ancestors were admitted into the procession, therefore painting a discontinuous history. 104  More optimistic is the conclusion of Morstein-Marx (2004), 117: “But the overall picture, I submit, stands out clearly: that the audiences of public speeches were expected to be quite aware of the Roman past and present, and were treated as involved and regular participants in political affairs”. In the second chapter of this study (pp. 68–118), MorsteinMarx provides evidences of what he reckons the impressive civic knowledge among the people. 105  In a sense, Valerius Maximus’ work, which lacks a chronological structure, could be similarly defined.

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van der Blom, H. (2010). Cicero’s Role Models. The Political Strategy of a Newcomer, Oxford. Bloomer, W. M. (1992). Valerius Maximus and the Rhetoric of the New Nobility, London. Bücher, F. (2006). Verargumentierte Geschichte. Exempla Romana im politischen Diskurs der späten Republik (Hermes Einzelschriften 96), Stuttgart. Cadoux, T. J. (2005). ‘Catiline and the Vestal Virgins’, Historia 54: 162–179. Cornell, T. J. (2001). ‘Cicero on the origins of Rome’, in J. G. F. Powell and J. A. North (eds.), Cicero’s Republic (BICS, suppl. 76, London), 41–56. Fleck, M. (1993). Cicero als Historiker (Beiträge zur Altertumskunde 39), Stuttgart. Flower, H. I. (1995). ‘Fabulae praetextae in context. When were plays on contemporary subjects performed at Rome?’, Classical Quarterly 45: 170–190. Flower, H. I. (2008). ‘Remembering and forgetting temple destruction. The destruction of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus in 83 BC’, in G. Gardner and K. L. Osterloh (eds.), Antiquity in Antiquity. Jewish and Christian Pasts in the GrecoRoman World (Tübingen), 74–92. Gaillard, J. (1975). ‘Que représentent les Gracques pour Cicéron?’, BAGB 4.34: 499–529. Hiebel, D. (2009). Rôles institutionnel et politique de la contio sous la République romaine, Paris. Hölkeskamp, K.-J. (1996). ‘Exempla und mos maiorum. Überlegungen zum kollektiven Gedächtnis der Nobilität’, in H.-J. Gehrke and A. Möller (Hrsgg.), Vergangenheit und Lebenswelt. Soziale Kommunikation, Traditionsbildung und historisches Bewußtsein (ScriptOralia 90, Tübingen), 301–338 (= Id. [2004], 169–198). Hölkeskamp, K.-J. (2004). SENATVS POPVLVSQVE ROMANVS. Die politische Kultur der Republik – Dimensionen und Deutungen, Stuttgart. Hölkeskamp, K.-J. (2008). ‘Hierarchie und Konsens. Pompae in der politischen Kultur der römischen Republik’, in A. H. Arweiler and B. M. Gauly (Hrsgg.), Machtfragen. Zur kulturellen Repräsentation und Konstruktion von Macht, papers presented at a colloquium held in 2005 at Institut für Klassische Altertumskunde der ChristianAlbrechts-Universität zu Kiel (Stuttgart), 79–126. Horsfall, N. (1996a), ‘The cultural horizons of the plebs romana’, MAAR 41: 101–119. Horsfall, N. (1996b), La cultura della plebs romana, Barcelona. Itgenshorst, T. (2005). Tota illa pompa. Der Triumph in der römischen Republik (Hypomnemata 161), Göttingen. Jehne, M. (2006). ‘Who attended Roman assemblies? Some remarks on political participation in the Roman Republic’, in F. Marco, F. Pina Polo, and J. Remesal (eds.), Repúblicas y ciudadanos: modelos de participación cívica en el mundo antiguo (Barcelona), 221–234. Kardos, M.-J. (1997). Lieux et lumière de Rome chez Cicéron, Paris – Montréal. Kelly, G. P. (2006). A History of Exile in the Roman Republic, Cambridge. Mack, D. (1937). Senatsreden und Volksreden bei Cicero, Würzburg.


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Manuwald, G. (2001). Fabulae praetextae. Spuren einer literarischen Gattung der Römer (Zetemata 108). München. Marco Simón, F. and Pina Polo, F. (2000). ‘Mario Gratidiano, los compita y la religiosidad popular a fines de la República’, Klio 82: 154–170. Morstein-Marx, R. (2004). Mass Oratory and Political Power in the Late Roman Republic, Cambridge. Mouritsen, H. (2001). Plebs and Politics in the Late Roman Republic, Cambridge. Östenberg, I. (2009). Staging the World. Spoils, Captives and Representations in the Roman Triumphal Procession, Oxford – New York. Östenberg, I. (2010). ‘Circum metas fertur: An alternative reading of the triumphal route’, Historia 59: 303–320. Pina Polo, F. (1989). Las contiones civiles y militares en Roma, Zaragoza. Pina Polo, F. (1996). Contra arma verbis. Der Redner vor dem Volk in der späten römischen Republik (Heidelberger Althistorische Beiträge und Epigraphische Studien 22), Stuttgart. Pina Polo, F. (2004). ‘Die nützliche Erinnerung. Geschichtsschreibung, mos maiorum und die römische Identität’, Historia 53: 147–172. Pina Polo, F. (2005). ‘I rostra come espressione di potere della aristocrazia romana’, in G. Urso (a cura di), Popolo e potere nel mondo antico. Atti del convegno internazionale, Cividale del Friuli, 23–25 settembre 2004 (Pisa), 141–155. Pina Polo, F. (2010). Rom, das bin ich. Marcus Tullius Cicero. Ein Leben, Stuttgart. Pina Polo, F. (2011). ‘Public speaking at Rome. A question of auctoritas’, in M. Peachin (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Social Relations in the Roman World (Oxford), 286–303. Pina Polo, F. (2014). ‘Impostores populares y fraudes legales en la Roma tardorrepublicana’, in F. Marco, F. Pina Polo, and J. Remesal (eds.), Fraude, mentiras y engaños en el mundo antiguo (Barcelona), 123–138. Powell, J. G. F. and Paterson, J. (2004). ‘Introduction’, in J. G. F. Powell and J. Paterson (eds.), Cicero the Advocate (Oxford), 1–58. Rambaud, M. (1953). Ciceron et l’histoire, Paris. Rawson, E. (1972). ‘Cicero the historian and Cicero the antiquarian’, JRS 62: 33–45 (= Ead. [1991], 58–79). Rawson, E. (1991). Roman Culture and Society. Collected Papers, Oxford. Rosillo-López, C. (2017a). Public Opinion and Politics in the Late Roman Republic, Cambridge. Rosillo-López, C. (2017b). ‘The role and influence of the audience (corona) in trials in the Late Roman Republic’, Athenaeum 105: 106–119. Sehlmeyer, M. (1999). Stadtrömische Ehrenstatuen der republikanischen Zeit. Historizität und Kontext von Symbolen nobilitären Standesbewußtseins (Historia Einzelschriften 130), Stuttgart.

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Skidmore, C. (1996). Practical Ethics for Roman Gentlemen: The Work of Valerius Maximus, Exeter. Thompson, C. E. (1978). To the Senate and to the People. Adaptation to the Senatorial and Popular Audiences in the Parallel Speeches of Cicero (Diss., Columbus). Vasaly, A. (1993). Representations. Images of the World in Ciceronian Oratory, Berkeley – Los Angeles. Walter, U. (2004). Memoria und res publica. Zur Geschichtskultur im republikanischen Rom, Frankfurt am Main. Walter, U. (2013). Cicero. Zweite Rede an das Volk gegen den Volkstribunen Publius Servilius Rullus über das Ackergesetz, Bielefeld. Wiseman, T. P. (1998). Roman Drama and Roman History, Exeter.


Ciceronian Constructions of the Oratorical Past Henriette van der Blom 1 Introduction Oratory was central to public life in republican Rome. Public speeches formed the main means of communication in all political discussions in the senate and the popular assemblies as well as in legal proceedings in the courts of justice, which were all held in the public arena of the Forum. When the Romans remembered and recorded the past – especially the public aspects of the past – oratorical performances formed part of the memory and the material by which it was remembered. One way in which the Romans approached the past was through references to specific individuals, groups or events from the past which were used as examples to guide behaviour in the present. Oratorical performances provided a substantial element in this rich exempla-culture of the Romans. A history of oratory built around the recollection of individual orators speaking in specific spaces can be constructed from Cicero’s speeches, where examples of the actions and words of orators serve to support his arguments and his broader agendas. Later in his career, Cicero developed a different kind of history of Roman oratory. In his treatises on rhetoric, most notably in the De oratore and the Brutus, he constructed a narrative about skill and technique which placed Roman oratory in the context of Greek oratory, and Roman orators in the context of rhetorical education and oratorical ability. This chapter investigates these two approaches to Rome’s speaking culture and discusses the background to this development of a new and parallel approach. The analysis will focus on what Cicero’s constructions and presentations of past Roman orators and their speeches tell us about the role of oratory in Roman memory and history, on the ways in which this new approach links to Cicero’s own project of self-presentation and to a late republican trend of memorialisation, and, finally, on whether Cicero’s presentation of a history of oratory fits into a broader Roman interest in and concern with recording past orators and their speeches.

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Cicero’s Speeches: A Repository of a Roman History of Oratory

Cicero’s speeches can be read as a a repository of well-known Roman history through the myriad of historical exempla contained within them.1 Among the many different types of historical exempla, references to specific orators and specific speech occasions crop up, usually to support a particular argument of Cicero. For example, in his speech De provinciis consularibus, delivered in the summer of 56 BCE, Cicero argued for an extension of Caesar’s command in Gaul. A further purpose of his speech was to counter the criticism of his support for Caesar in spite of Caesar’s indirect support for Cicero’s exile. Cicero did so by referring to a contio speech delivered in the 180s BCE by Tiberius Gracchus, the father of the tribune: an Ti. Gracchus – patrem dico, cuius utinam filii ne degenerassent a grauitate patria! – tantam laudem est adeptus, quod tribunus plebis solus ex toto illo conlegio L. Scipioni auxilio fuit, inimicissimus et ipsius et fratris eius Africani, iurauitque in contione se in gratiam non redisse, sed alienum sibi uideri dignitate imperi quo duces essent hostium Scipione triumphante ducti, eodem ipsum duci qui triumphasset? Did not Tiberius Gracchus – I mean the father, whose sons I wish had not become unworthy of their father’s seriousness – obtain so much praise, because he alone among all his colleagues, as tribune of the plebs, gave service to Lucius Scipio (although a strong enemy of both Lucius and his brother Scipio Africanus), and did he not state in a contio that he had not become friends again, but nevertheless it seemed to him alien to the dignity of the empire, that Scipio, who had himself triumphed, should be led to the same place to which two enemy generals had been led in triumph by Scipio?2

1  See also Pina Polo (this volume). 2  Cic. prov. 18 (my translation) with the commentary of Grillo (2015), 175–181. The date is either 187 or 184 BCE; for discussion of the event and its date, see Gruen (1995), and for an overview of the question and the bibliography, see Briscoe (2008), 170–179; Broughton, MRR I, 376, 378 n. 4 originally argued for 187, but Broughton, MRR III, 188–189 argues for 184 BCE.


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This story can be found in a number of later works which emphasize the selflessness of Tiberius Gracchus and the essential point in Cicero’s description.3 Cicero’s point was that disapproval of his support of Caesar given Caesar’s role in Cicero’s recent exile was misplaced, because also in the past great and famous politicians, such as Tiberius Gracchus, had publicly announced their support of a just and right arrangement even if the arrangement benefited their political enemy. The reference to Tiberius’ contio served to justify Cicero’s own public position vis-à-vis Caesar, both at the time of speaking and afterwards when he circulated his written version of the speech. Moreover, the reference compared Caesar with Scipio Africanus which cannot have been unwelcome. Apart from the flattery of Caesar, Cicero was already at the stage of circulation attempting to memorialise his own performance and to emphasize his own public image. Cicero used the same kind of reference to past oratorical performances in his forensic speeches, as is illustrated in a passage from his defence of Balbus in 56 BCE. Cicero countered the charge of receipt of an illegal grant of Roman citizenship partly through the reference to a past trial concerning the grant of citizenship:4 quem [T. Matrinium] cum disertus homo L. Antistius accusaret, non dixit fundum Spoletinum populum non esse factum, – uidebat enim populos de suo iure, non de nostro fundos fieri solere, – sed cum lege Apuleia coloniae non essent deductae, qua lege Saturninus C. Mario tulerat ut in singulas colonias ternos ciuis Romanos facere posset, negabat hoc beneficium re ipsa sublata ualere debere. nihil habet similitudinis ista accusatio … . When that eloquent man Lucius Antistius prosecuted him [Titus Matrinius], he did not say that the people of Spoletium had not supported this, – for he saw that communities usually support something in their own legal system, not in ours, – but since the colonies under the Appuleian law had not been founded, that law which Saturninus passed for the sake of Gaius Marius so that he could grant Roman citizenship on three people in each colony, he said that this grant ought not to be valid after the law itself had been repealed. That prosecution has no resemblance to our case … .

3  Liv. 38.53.6, 38.57.3–4; Val. Max. 4.1.8; Gell. 6.19.6–7; Vir. ill. 53.2, 57.1. 4  Cic. Balb. 48–49 (my translation). The date of the trial is 95 BCE, see Alexander (1990), no. 89.

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The argument of the prosecutor Antistius was that Titus Matrinius of Spoletium should be stripped of his citizenship because the law, under which Marius had been allowed to grant it, had been repealed.5 Cicero is right to state that Matrinius’ trial was quite different from Balbus’ from a legal view point, but he goes on to imply a similarity through an argument from character (ethos): Matrinius was acquitted because of Marius’ auctoritas, and therefore Balbus should also be acquitted because of Pompeius’ (who granted Balbus the citizenship) auctoritas. Although Cicero describes the prosecutor Lucius Antistius as disertus (eloquent), his possible eloquence did not help him win his case as the auctoritas of Marius was overwhelming. Indeed, the eloquence of Antistius plays no role in the anecdote, because the focus is on his argument and the way in which it was overturned. Looking beyond the context of these speeches, and across Cicero’s entire extant output, illustrates some of the characteristics of Cicero’s references to past oratorical performances: they refer to specific individuals speaking in a specific situation, cited to support a specific argument of Cicero within a specific speech context. The presented view of past orators and speeches is fragmentary, related to a particular and usually named orator, and it offers some details about the occasion or the speaker. Cicero usually does not pass judgement on the orator’s broader oratorical qualities but he does use brief and general adjectives such as ‘prominent’ (amplius or nobilis or praestans), or ‘outstanding’ (clarus) which do not imply anything about oratorical skill but rather emphasize general standing. The point to be made is often not about the quality of the person’s oratory in relation to the oratory of others, but much more about the situation, the authority of the orator, or the argument made on the occasion. Therefore, the story of Roman orators and Roman oratory found in Cicero’s speeches is indirect, offered in glimpses only. Gathering the threads of this story necessitates reading across the speeches and considerable background knowledge. When reading across the speeches, there is unsurprisingly some variety in the extent and manner in which Cicero employs such references to past oratorical performances. The scope of this chapter does not allow a detailed analysis of all these different variations here, but the changes over time can stand as an example of these variations. In his early forensic speeches, Cicero 5  Cicero’s text is ambiguous: Lintott (1968), 137–139 argues that re ipsa sublata would usually mean that a law was annulled but that the ease by which Marius, with his auctoritas, could counter the accusation suggests not. Lintott is followed by Straumann (2016), 127 with n. 44, but not by Bleicken (1975), 464–466 and Williamson (2005), 389 who both think the senate formally annulled Saturninus’ law.


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limits his mentions of speeches or public expressions to those which are part of the case at hand.6 An example of this comes from Cicero’s first extant speech, Pro Quinctio from 81 BCE, where Cicero acted as advocate for the plaintiff Quinctius in a civil law case about a business partnership. Hortensius was speaking on behalf of the defendant Sextus Naevius:7 uerum quoniam tibi instat Hortensius ut eas in consilium, a me postulat ne dicendo tempus absumam, queritur priore patrono causam defendente numquam perorari potuisse … . Since Hortensius presses you to consult your consilium, demands of me not to waste time in talking, complains that when the previous advocate was defending Quinctius’ cause the speech could never be concluded … . Cicero here refers to what Hortensius said in his speech in defence, and so this reference to an oratorical performance is not only relevant to Cicero’s argument but part of the forensic proceedings at hand. While such references continue to occur in speeches from the Verrines onwards, Cicero begins from the first Verrine speech onwards to include references to oratorical events further back in the past whose relevance to the case in question has to be explained to the audience.8 One illustration of this phenomenon is Cicero’s reference to Q. Calidius’ remark in court upon his conviction:9 cognoscet ex me populus Romanus … quid sit quod, iudiciis ad senatorium ordinem translatis sublataque populi Romani in unum quemque uestrum potestate, Q. Calidius damnatus dixerit minoris HS triciens praetorium hominem honeste non posse damnari … . The Roman people shall learn from me … why it is that, when the courts had been given over to the senatorial order and the power of the Roman people over you as individuals had been taken away, Quintus Calidius

6  Cic. Quinct., S. Rosc., Var., Tul. all from the 80s and 70s BCE. Full data can be found in Bücher (2006), Anhang III, also for the rest of Cicero’s speeches. 7  Cic. Quinct. 34. 8  Cic. Verr. 1.45, 2.1.45, 2.1.85, 2.1.107, 2.2.5, 2.2.28–29, 2.2.191–192, 2.3.3, 2.4.22, 2.4.73, 2.4.75–80, 2.5.3. 9  Cic. Verr. 1.38. The trial was probably de repetundis and took place in 77 BCE: Alexander (1990), no. 139.

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said, having been convicted, that an ex-praetor could not be respectably convicted for less than three hundred thousand sesterces … . Here, Cicero refers not to a speech or public expression given as part of the case in question, but to a statement given at an earlier and unrelated trial for extortion. Although the charge was the same as in Verres’ trial and the issue of corruption of the judges relevant in Verres’ trial too, the two trials were not directly linked. Cicero is here demonstrating not only his obvious understanding of the present case and the oratory contained in it but also knowledge of past oratorical occasions harnessed to his immediate argument. As such, this example is similar to the two passages quoted from the De provinciis consularibus and the Pro Balbo, and such references occur in speeches from 70 BCE onwards.10 However, after 49 BCE, Cicero’s speeches contain noticeably fewer references to oratorical occasions which are not closely linked to the situation. The so-called Caesarian speeches, that is, the Pro Marcello, the Pro Ligario and the Pro rege Deiotaro, contain almost exclusively references to oratorical occasions in direct relation to the case.11 The fact that Cicero addressed Caesar in his dominant position as dictator may account for this difference; the speeches deal directly with the issue at hand without a great deal of oratorical flourish or elaborate exemplification.12 In the Philippic speeches, Cicero is busy dealing with the immediate and fast-moving political and military situation and only in the Philippics 8 and 11 are there some references to oratorical occasions going further back in the past.13

10  For example prov. (4 references to external oratorical occasions: §§ 15, 18, 21, 22), Balb. (8 references: §§ 4, 11, 28, 34, 45, 48, 49, 55), Pis. (5 references: §§ 6, 8, 34, 56, 80), Scaur. (1 reference: § 23), Planc. (4 references: all in § 33), Mil. (3 references: §§ 7, 8, 39). 11  The few exceptions are: Deiot. 31 (Domitius and Scaurus in 104 BCE), 36 (Antiochus III in ca. 188 BCE). 12  There are only few references to historical exempla generally; see Bücher (2006), Anhang III and Pina Polo (this volume). The difference in use of historical exempla between civil and criminal forensic speeches, discussed in van der Blom (2010), 132–133, may also provide a parallel. The limited audience for the Caesarian speeches (especially the Pro Ligario and Pro rege Deiotaro) may explain the low number of references to historical exempla as well as oratorical exempla. 13  Cic. Phil. 5.27 (Hannibal), 8.1–2 (Cicero in 63), 8.14 (Opimius), 8.15 (Marius in 100), 8.23 (Popilius), 8.31 (Scaevola Augur), 9.4 (Octavius), 11.17 (Antiochus and the Scipiones), 11.17 (Scipio), 11.18 (Aristonicus), 11.18 (Pompeius), 11.33 (Deiotarus), 11.34 (Pompeius), 11.36–37, 12.27 (Pompeius Strabo), 12.27 (Sulla).


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In general, Cicero’s references to past orators and their speeches present a fragmented picture of specific orators in specific speech occasions, and the manner in which he refers to such occasions changes over the course of his own oratorical career. Exactly where Cicero’s knowledge of the specific occasions derived from is often unclear, as he certainly does not cite his sources. The citing of sources is, in fact, more common in his rhetorical works.14 But his wide-ranging education in history – both political history and less formal oral and family history – as well as his thorough education in rhetorical literature, which was interspersed with examples from history, literature and myth to illustrate types, genres and situations, meant that he had a firm grasp of Roman history.15 Moreover, as the rhetorical handbooks both recommended and exemplified the use of illustrative exempla in effective speeches,16 Cicero’s frequent and expert employment of exempla was an extension of rhetorical recommendations and past practice. 3

Cicero’s Rhetorical Treatises: A Narrative about Rome’s History of Oratory

Cicero’s rhetorical works present a different and more complex view of the past. I shall discuss his first rhetorical treatise, the De inventione, below, but first I will focus on the first of his more mature rhetorical works, the De oratore from 55 BCE, because the setting of this major work on the ideal orator offers a multi-layered staging of the past. The dialogue between the prominent orator-politicians Crassus and Antonius and their friends, which is set in 91 BCE, points both forward and backward in time. Their discussion frequently includes references to and vignettes of oratorical performances in the past which they had themselves carried out, witnessed or heard about from eye witnesses. The two young orators in the dialogue, Cotta and Sulpicius, push the more senior interlocutors to talk about the past while they themselves represent the future, albeit the future that was to be brutally cut down in the civil wars of the 80s BCE; of the entire cast of seven interlocutors, only Cotta and Caesar Strabo survived. 14  Cic. de orat. 2.270 (= FRHist Fannius 12 F6): Cicero refers to Fannius’ annals as a source for Aemilianus’ irony in oratory; 2.271 refers to Cato’s mention of Publicius’ remark on Mummius. 15  For a discussion of Cicero as a historian, see Rawson (1972). 16  The Rhetorica ad Herennium (4.62) and Cicero (inv. 1.49) discuss the use of exempla in oratory.

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Another link to the future is Cicero himself. He explains that although not present at the discussion, he heard about it from Cotta.17 Moreover, by explicitly placing his own two mentors and oratorical role models, Crassus and Antonius, as the oratorical leaders of their generation, Cicero implicitly refers to his own heritage in oratory and himself as the embodiment of Crassus’ and Antonius’ teachings. Cicero’s conception of the imaginary dialogue in 91 BCE reaches at least as far back as the famous Athenian embassy to Rome in 155 (through reference to eye-witness accounts heard by the interlocutors) and as far forward as Cicero’s own performances at the time of writing, exactly 100 years later. Moreover, the De oratore sits within a nexus of other treatises of Cicero, including De republica, De legibus, De amicitia, and De senectute, which offer further links between Cicero’s own time and the past.18 The table below shows the ways in which Cicero’s references to generations of orators and their personal connections as depicted in Cicero’s rhetorical treatises are paralleled in and linked to those described in his De senectute and De amicitia. 155 BCE: Carneades, Critolaus and Diogenes deliver speeches in Rome as Athenian ambassadors (de orat. 2.152–161). ↓ 155 – ante 129 BCE: The Athenian ambassadors’ speeches are witnessed by Scipio Aemilianus, Laelius and Fufius, who later told Catulus about them (de orat. 2.155). ↓ 91 BCE: Catulus is present in the dialogue presented in the De oratore between Crassus and Antonius. The dialogue was attended by Cotta, who later told Cicero (de orat. 3.16). ↓

150 BCE: dialogue between Cato the Elder, the young Scipio Aemilianus and Gaius Laelius on old age (Cato) ↓ Post 129 BCE: dialogue between Laelius and his sons-in-law Scaevola Augur and C. Fannius on Laelius’ friendship with Scipio Aemilianus (Lael.) ↓

17  Cic. de orat. 3.16. 18  See also Steel (2013), 224 on Cicero writing a history of elite through his dialogue settings.


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Table (cont.)

90s BCE: Cicero also listened to Crassus and Antonius giving advice to clients in their homes (Cic. de orat. 2.1–3, Brut. 307; Suet. rhet. 26). ↓ 55–46 BCE: Cicero wrote his rhetorical works and set himself up as a climax in Roman oratory and an exemplum for future generations (De oratore written in 55 BCE, and Brutus in 46 BCE).

90s BCE: Cicero was student of Scaevola Augur, who told Cicero about his dialogue with Laelius (Cic. leg. 1.13, Brut. 306, Lael. 1). ↓ 40s BCE: Cicero wrote the Cato de senectute and Laelius de amicitia, taking credibility from his claim of direct testimony from eye witnesses.a

a For the links between these two dialogues and their interlocutors, see van der Blom (2010), 244–245.

The links back in time in the De senectute and the De amicitia lend credibility to Cicero’s discussions on old age and friendship, whereas the links in the De oratore focus specifically on oratory and orators. Through this multi-layered depiction, Cicero creates a history of oratory in Rome which is based on personal links and patronage, forms a narrative about generations passing down lessons of oratory which are both specific and general, and, at the same time, shows that using public oratory to gain political influence can be independent of one’s past: like Cicero, Antonius was a homo novus without the ancestry and social status to pave the way for a political career.19 In this vision, the relevant past history and inheritance necessary is not that of the traditional family history but instead that of knowing your role models and selecting the right aspects for imitation.20 Apart from the setting – and not all of Cicero’s rhetorical works offer such a complex backdrop to his argument – Cicero’s treatises on oratory present narratives of historical orators and their speeches which differs from that offered 19  Scholz (1963), 5, 51–52; Gruen (1968), 129; Badian (1990), 388; Fantham (2004), 29 (“almost a homo novus”), although Cicero never explicitly mentions Antonius’ background: discussion in van der Blom (2010), 272–273. 20  See also Steel (2005), 106–114 (on Cicero creating an intellectual pedigree for himself) and Gildenhard (2013), 240–242 (on Cicero carving out a space for himself in Rome’s memorial culture through his dialogue settings).

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in the speeches. Although historical exempla are frequent in the De inventione, De oratore, Orator, and Brutus, and although the interlocutors in the dialogues give frequent references to past orators and their performances, these exempla fit into a broader narrative about the desirable skill and technique to be found in an orator, sometimes qualified by political outlook. There is a change in focus from specific situations and specific orators, presented in Cicero’s speeches, to an ideal of the orator who can operate across the oratorical occasions encountered in his career. This is exactly what Cicero makes Scaevola and Crassus discuss in the De oratore:21 [Scaevola:] … tua autem fuit oratio eius modi, non ut ullam artem doctrinamue contemneres, sed ut omnis comites ac ministratrices oratoris esse diceres. quas ego si quis sit unus complexus omnis, idemque si ad eas facultatem istam ornatissimae orationis adiunxerit, non possum dicere eum non egregium quendam hominem atque admirandum fore; sed is, si quis esset aut si etiam umquam fuisset aut uero si esse posset, tu esses unus profecto, qui et meo iudicio et omnium uix ullam ceteris oratoribus – pace horum dixerim – laudem reliquisti … . Hic Crassus ‘memento’ inquit ‘me non de mea, sed de oratoris facultate dixisse; … quid censes, si ad alicuius ingenium uel maius illa, quae ego non attigi, accesserint, qualem illum et quantum oratorem futurum?’ [Scaevola:] … but your argument was of such a kind that you didn’t despise any of the branches and disciplines of learning [all the liberal arts], but even said that they were all supporters and servants of the orator. If there should ever be someone mastering all these disciplines, and if this man should have added to these disciplines this skill in speaking elegantly, I for my part cannot say that he would not be an outstanding man worthy of admiration. But this man, if he should exist or if he ever existed or even if he could exist, you would surely be the one, who, in both my judgement and in that of everyone, left behind almost no praise for other orators – if I can say so … . Here Crassus said: ‘Remember that I spoke not about my own oratorical skills but of the skills of the ideal orator; … what do you think would be the quality and greatness of such an orator in whom all those skills, or greater ones than those which I have not reached, were combined?’

21  Cic. de orat. 1.74–79.


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The ideal discussed by Scaevola and Crassus is teleological with Cicero as the end point, the orator who masters all disciplines and harnesses them to his oratorical activity and broader political project of furthering his public career and securing his memory. References to specific orators used for a specific argument in the speeches are replaced in the treatises with references to the ideal orator. 4

Roman Oratory within a Greek Context

Another difference between the presentation of past orators and orations in the speeches and the rhetorical works is that in the latter, Cicero’s narrative of Roman oratory is set firmly within a context of Greek oratory and Greek rhetorical literature, which is – for historical reasons – coloured by Greek philosophical thinking. Cicero’s early work De inventione starts off by looking at the development of eloquence from the early beginnings of man, but quickly moves on to describe the various classifications of eloquence and its functions. It is clear from his references to Gorgias, Aristotle and Hermagoras, that Cicero uses Greek rhetorical theory as his source and inspiration.22 His chronology of Greek orators and oratory is also embedded in a Greek tradition,23 and he uses more Greek language in his treatises than in his speeches.24 Moreover, most of the references to historical examples in the treatises are Greek.25 And this is no surprise. Very few Latin alternatives to the wealth of Greek rhetorical works existed at this time. Apart from a possible short work by Marcus Antonius (cos. 99 BCE), which is no longer extant, we only know of the anonymous rhetori22  See Cic. inv. 1.1–6 for early beginnings of eloquence, 1.7–9 for references to Greek rhetoricians. For parallel arguments about oratory’s civilising influence on man: Cic. de orat. 1.33; Quint. inst. 2.16.9. Rabe’s (1931) collection of prolegomena shows that such references to named philosophers were frequent and does not necessarily prove direct knowledge of their rhetorical theory, as indeed Kennedy (1999), 102 says, but Barnes (1997, 50–54) has argued that Cicero knew a version of Aristotle’s Rhetoric (and if not, he knew a handbook which transmitted its teachings). For Cicero’s knowledge of Plato and Aristotle: Long (1995); Fantham (2004). In any case, Cicero used Greek rhetorical theory, whether directly or by the mediation of handbooks, for writing De inventione. 23  Hutchinson (2013), 17, 229–233. 24  Although he is careful even there: Cic. orat. 132. 25  The only Greek historical exempla in the speeches are S. Rosc. 70, Cluent. 32, Arch. 20–21, Sest. 48, 141, Scaur. 3–4, Rab. Post. 23, Mil. 80, while the Greek exempla in the theoretical works are too many to list here.

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cal handbook Rhetorica ad Herennium, which was written either just before or after Cicero’s De inventione.26 And the Rhetorica ad Herennium was a different work with a different outlook from Cicero’s.27 Any serious thinking about rhetoric and oratory had to engage with the Greek masters and it was in their works that one found helpful examples for illustration. Yet it is also exactly at this time that the Greek dominance in the field of rhetoric and oratory at Rome was being challenged: apart from the Rome-focused Rhetorica ad Herennium, the Latin school of rhetoric (closed in 92 BCE by censorial edict) proves that there was a perceived need for teaching of eloquence in Latin.28 Indeed, Cicero’s work itself forms part of this trend and his later rhetorical works were also partly aimed at addressing this need for sound rhetorical instruction in Latin for a Roman audience. In spite of recognising this need, Cicero continued to acknowledge the debt to Greek oratory and rhetorical literature. Throughout the De oratore, which was written decades after the De inventione, his interlocutors constantly refer to Greek rhetoricians and philosophers, and the first fifty chapters of the Brutus are devoted to Greek orators because they form the historical background to Roman practice of public speech-making.29 The role of philosophy in relation to oratory went back to the Greek intellectual development of disciplines of enquiry and knowledge, and although practitioners of both disciplines quarrelled about the nature of the disciplines vis-à-vis each other, philosophical thinking formed an ingrained part of rhetoric, and, according to Cicero, a necessary element in the education of the orator.

26  Cic. de orat. 1.94 for Antonius’ libellum. 27  Contra: Adamietz (1960). Space does not allow a full discussion of the differences and similarities of these two rhetorical works, but the following observations build on the research by Jennifer Hilder in her doctoral dissertation: Both the Rhetorica ad Herennium and the De inventione employed historical exempla to support their points, but the Rhetorica tended to employ more recent and more Roman exempla, while the De inventione tended to include more chronologically distant and more Greek historical exempla. Moreover, while both works put forward both positive and negative exempla of controversial figures such as the brothers Gracchi, the Rhetorica seems to have favoured the positive version and indeed included more exempla of political violence. For the Gracchi in De inventione and Rhetorica ad Herennium: cf. inv. 1.5 (positive) with 1.48 and 1.91 (negative). Rhet. Her. 4.7 (positive, the Gracchi as great orators), 4.31 (positive, the Gracchi as true patriots and statesmen), 4.68 (positive, Ti. Gracchus as great politician), 4.38 (negative), 4.42 (balanced) – for discussion, see van der Blom (2010), 105–106. 28  On the censorial edict, see Cic. de orat. 3.93–95; Suet. rhet. 1.1; Tac. dial. 35; Gell. 15.11.2. 29  Cic. Brut. 13–51. McDonnell (2011), 32.


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This interconnection between philosophy and oratory is exemplified by Cicero’s discussion of the Athenian embassy to Rome in 155 BCE.30 This story also illustrates one of the major ways in which Cicero engaged with past orators and their speeches and, perhaps, shaped it according to his own agenda. Halfway through the De oratore, Cicero has his interlocutors discuss the stage of ‘invention’ when preparing a speech. In a fashion typical for a Ciceronian dialogue, the story about the Athenian embassy is introduced as an anecdote about Scipio Aemilianus, Gaius Laelius and Lucius Furius having told the interlocutor Catulus about the embassy. Through these several layers of history and exemplarity, the story about the philosophers and Athenian ambassadors Carneades, Critolaus and Diogenes arriving in Rome is narrated. Shocking to the Roman audience of mid-second century BCE, Cicero tells us, were two public lectures on justice delivered by Carneades: the first was delivered in support of justice, but on the following day, Carneades argued against justice and thereby destroyed the argument he had presented the day before.31 In that way, he illustrated the power of persuasion and demonstrated that eloquent oratory could be separated from morality. The historical Carneades was not an orator, but a philosopher, and the Academy he led was not much concerned with rhetoric and oratory until after his death, but Cicero could use the anecdote productively for his own purposes.32 Cicero had three messages, at least, to deliver with this story in the De oratore. Most basic was the argument that philosophy was a necessary element in the education of the orator because philosophy could teach the orator how to think up and organise his arguments in a persuasive fashion and indeed bring morality to oratory. From a more historical viewpoint, this story illustrated the reigniting of the quarrel between the philosophers and rhetoricians in Greece, as Carneades’ two lectures so disturbingly displayed how oratory could be harnessed to any purpose, whether good or sinister. Thirdly, the Athenian embassy formed one of the turning points in Cicero’s history of oratory at Rome.33 30  Cic. de orat. 2.152–161. See also Cic. rep. 3.9, 3.21, Luc. 137, Tusc. 4.5, Att. 12.23.2; Plut. Cato Mai. 22; Gell. 6.14.8–10. 31  Lact. inst. 5.14.3–5, 5.16.2–3 = Cic. rep. 3.9, 3.21. For a brief discussion of the content of, implication of, and sources for Carneades’ speeches, see Erskine (1990/2011), 188–192. 32  On the Academy’s interest in rhetoric in this period, see Brittain (2001), 310–312. Powell (2013) has argued that the two public lectures by Carneades were Cicero’s invention, which supports the argument put forward in the present contribution. 33  Although the embassy is not mentioned in the Brutus. It is, however, mentioned in Gellius (6.14.8–10) who strikingly focuses only on the three ambassadors’ oratorical style as illustrations of the ‘grand’, the ‘middle’ and the ‘plain’ styles. Holford-Strevens (1988, 162–163) states that Gellius picked his examples of these styles from Varro, who might therefore

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Indeed, when looking at Cicero’s broader narrative of the history of oratory at Rome in his rhetorical works, from the bewildering mass of details and instances of oratory performed in a Roman context there emerge four major turning points. Cicero acknowledges Cato the Elder’s transformative influence on Roman oratory: Cato was the first systematically to record and circulate his speeches in written form, he actively used his speeches to support his public persona, and he managed to create a brilliant career for himself in spite of his status as a homo novus.34 Yet, the first real turning point in Cicero’s history of Roman oratory is rather the Athenian embassy of 155 BCE when Carneades provided his graphic illustration that oratory could be separated from morality. In Cicero’s depiction, this event marked the loss of innocence of Roman oratory – although one should certainly be cautious in believing the Romans to be totally innocent of sinister persuasion before 155 BCE. The next turning point came with the brothers Gracchi, and especially Gaius, who not only seemed to revolutionise Roman society with their reforms of agrarian distribution, introduction of equestrian juries, and demonstration of the actual power of the tribunes, but also revolutionised the way in which oratory could be used to drum up popular support for their political initiatives and the variety of delivery possible. Although it is hard to believe no orators before the Gracchi mustered popular support or used gestures and movements on the speaker’s platform, Cicero emphasizes their oratorical brilliance, innovative oratorical style, and most importantly, their decision to use oratory for the wrong ends.35 In Cicero’s narrative, the Greek visitor Carneades showed how to separate brilliant oratory from morality, and the talented sons of a celebrated consular, the Gracchi, learnt the lesson and brought this horrible misuse of oratory into a Roman setting. From there, he saw a straight line down to Saturninus’ oratory and wickedness and on to further such immoral populists. In a brief period of time, the Gracchi brothers changed the perceptions about what a tribune could do politically and oratorically. The third turning point in Cicero’s story marks another era, longer than the Gracchan one yet suggesting a similar cohesion and timelessness in terms of oratorical practice and brilliance based on the many specific occasions recorded in Cicero’s rhetorical treatises. This period is marked out by a small group of men who over the course of their careers offered further innovations in oratory, but crucially for the political purpose of supporting the existing system. represent a different tradition about the embassy from Cicero’s. For a brief discussion of Cicero’s point about the remarriage of philosophy to rhetoric, see Reinhardt (2013), 533. 34  Cic. Brut. 61–69. 35  Cic. Brut. 103–104, 125–126.


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The era of L. Licinius Crassus and M. Antonius was a period in which Rome might have seen political trials and increasing pressure from its Italian allies, but Crassus, Antonius and their peers showed that there were still men of brilliant oratory who were willing and able to stand up for the right values, even if on the brink of disaster with the Social War and civil wars of the 80s looming. Cicero singles out Crassus’ prosecution of Carbo in 119 because Crassus was successful in spite of his youth,36 Crassus’ speech (in a style worthy of a popularis tribune) in support of Caepio’s judiciary lex Servilia in 106 BCE,37 Antonius’ use of emotional appeal when baring the scars of Manius Aquilius to defend the old general,38 and Crassus’ swan song in the senatorial debate around Livius Drusus in 91 BCE.39 This focus on Crassus and Antonius as markers of a new era in the history of oratory at Rome is, one suspects, entirely Ciceronian. Would observers without a personal connection or acute need for self-fashioning as a follower of models of oratory have singled out Crassus and Antonius to the same extent?40 In the Orator, Cicero himself nearly admits that in the Brutus he had exaggerated the accomplishments of Roman orators.41 Moreover, while both Velleius Paterculus and Quintilian praise Crassus’ and Antonius’ oratory, Velleius’ narrative suggests a Ciceronian influence and Quintilian almost exclusively refers to Crassus as the interlocutor of the De oratore. Moreover, in Velleius, Crassus and Antonius form part of a more linear history and not a particular peak in the history of Roman oratory.42 They seem not to have been

36  Cic. de orat. 3.74. 37  Cic. de orat. 1.225, Brut. 164, Cluent. 140. 38  Cic. Verr. 2.5.3, de orat. 2.194–199. 39  Cic. de orat. 3.2–6. 40  Cicero had been taught in the house of Crassus, and Crassus had taken an interest in Cicero’s education: Cic. de orat. 2.1–2; Suet. rhet. 26 (with Cic. de orat. 3.93) with Rawson (1971), 83 for further discussion, and Kaster (1995), 294 on the passage from Suetonius. It is clear from the De oratore, that Cicero identified with Crassus: at the dramatic date of 91 BCE, Crassus was 50 years old as was Cicero at the time of writing the work; moreover, Cicero has Crassus think of writing on civil law, as Cicero had thought of doing, and planning to devote himself to philosophy in old age: Cic. de orat. 1.190 with Fantham (2004), 106–107, 112. Cicero was also in contact with Antonius: Cic. Brut. 307; de orat. 2.3. For Cicero’s self-fashioning with the help of Crassus’ and Antonius’ examples, see Dugan (2005), chs. 2–4; van der Blom (2010), 226–230, 251–254. 41  Cic. orat. 22–23 with Griffin (1996), 700. 42  Vell. 2.9.1–2, 2.36.2; Quint. inst. 11.1.4, 11.1.37, 11.3.8, 11.3.38, 12.2.5, 12.10.11, 12.11.4, 12.11.27.

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such successful orators as Cicero makes them out to be, but he sets them up as ideals on which he builds up his own self-presentation.43 The final turning point is Cicero himself. Very subtly in the De oratore, as we have seen, do we get a hint that Cicero’s apprenticeship with these great orators, Crassus and Antonius, anticipates his own brilliance in oratory. This message becomes clearer in the later works, the Brutus and Orator, in which Cicero’s role as interlocutor allows his fellow interlocutors to praise him and he openly quotes his own speeches in Orator as exemplary illustrations.44 Moreover, his praise of past orators communicates his own position as their follower and the culmination of the long history of oratory at Rome.45 Seen together, these changes were set in motion by a Greek philosopherambassador and taken up by Roman politicians, whether for good or bad purposes. While Roman oratory was indebted to Greek rhetorical theory and practice, Cicero’s narrative puts forward the claim that Roman oratory had finally acquired an identity and history of its own. 5

Two Approaches to Past Roman Orators and Orations

Cicero’s speeches and rhetorical works offer two different approaches to Rome’s past: one providing glimpses of specific oratorical occasions and speeches and another presenting a continuous narrative of Roman orators and oratory developing from a Greek context into a fully Roman identity. Cicero’s history of oratory in the speeches is qualitatively different from that in the treatises because it is generally focused on argument and its context, whereas the history from his treatises looks also at the qualities of the orator(s) in question. One element which comes through in both his speeches and his rhetorical works is Cicero’s self-projection as a brilliant orator. Yet, this has little impact on the form of his two approaches to past Roman orators and their orations. In his speeches, Cicero prefers to demonstrate his oratorical skill rather than to talk about it, and when he does mention his oratorical experience and knowledge, there is less of a sense of a history of oratory behind his brilliance and

43  On Cicero’s choice of interlocutors to create a public persona for himself, see Steel (2005), 108; Dugan (2005), 87–104; Gildenhard (2007), 23; van der Blom (2010), 168–174. 44  Cic. Brut. 161–162, 189–190, 330, orat. 102–104. 45  For more discussion, see van der Blom (2010), 303–307. Contra: Steel (2003), 207–211. For another outline of Cicero’s “ages of oratory”, see Gildenhard (2007), 143–145. For a similar argument based on Tacitus’ Dialogus, see van den Berg (2014), 265.


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more a sense of Cicero as the best speaker of the present.46 In his treatises, however, Cicero’s oratorical skills place him firmly within a tradition and history of oratory which has developed from Greece to Rome.47 While most of Cicero’s rhetorical works were composed in the second half of his political and oratorical career, his speeches span his entire career. Cicero therefore did not abandon the first approach for the second, but used them in parallel, even if he may have developed the second approach from the first. Cicero’s reason for employing two parallel approaches lies chiefly in the difference between speeches and rhetorical works and their different contexts and purposes. His speeches were designed to have as their effects immediate persuasion of his audience and long-term nurture of his public image as a great orator and politician. For those purposes, demonstration of his vast knowledge of the Roman past would help to build up his credibility within a society greatly concerned with the past. Long discourses on the development of oratory at Rome, however, were irrelevant in any speech addressing a particular and urgent question (whether political or legal) and would have been counterproductive. Moreover, Cicero seems in his speeches to have avoided overt cultural analyses which involved discussion of any non-Roman influence on oratory. In the rhetorical works there was time and space to develop a broader story line, also across individual treatises. Moreover, the multiple purposes of Cicero’s rhetorical treatises included an attempt to situate oratory within the broader history of Rome, an argument which I shall come back to in a moment. Cicero’s constructions of oratory at Rome give us some indication of the role of oratory in Roman memory. His list of orators in the Brutus provides a few hints: first of all, his list suggests that he follows a tradition of keeping track of politicians and their oratory. Indeed, he openly admits that writing the Brutus would not have been possible without Atticus’ Liber annalis which, according to Cornelius Nepos’ biography of Atticus, contained a chronological list of all magistrates, laws, treaties, and other important public events.48 Yet, he also underlines the fact that for many of the earlier politicians and statesmen mentioned, no knowledge of their speeches survives and he therefore has to make presumptions about their oratorical abilities.49 It is only with Ennius’ descrip46  One such rare example is Cic. Arch. 1–4, 12–16; in this speech, Cicero uses his point about oratorical brilliance to argue the beneficial services of Archias to Cicero personally as a parallel to Archias’ services to other Romans and the state as such. 47  For further discussion of Cicero’s self-projection as an orator in his treatises, see van der Blom (2010), 303–307. 48  Cic. Brut. 15; Nep. Att. 18.1–2. 49  Cic. Brut. 52–57.

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tion of the oratory of Marcus Cornelius Cethegus – consul during the Second Punic War – that Cicero can offer evidence for his assumptions.50 Indeed, indirect information about orators was the main source for Cicero’s narrative of the orators of the early second century, with the major exception of Cato the Elder, who famously circulated his speeches and also included them in his prose works. Cicero was able to read 150 of Cato’s speeches in his day.51 It seems from Cicero’s narrative in the Brutus that the knowledge of orators and oratory in the past was closely linked to these orators’ political role in society. Essentially, what was recorded was political events and political actors who, as part of their public activity, delivered speeches. Before Cicero, there was no separate history of Roman oratory. The fragmentary character of a Roman past of orators served up in Cicero’s speeches offers a part of the rich Roman tradition of exempla as carriers of memory. But alongside the exempla-tradition, a historical tradition developed from the most basic annalistic records and into fully fledged historical narratives. Cicero’s rhetorical treatises offer a parallel continuous narrative of a history of oratory at Rome. His mode of recording and remembering this history in his rhetorical works was radically different from the speeches’ exemplamode: he offered a coherent history of the development and improvement of oratorical practice in Rome and he provided an argument for treating ‘oratory’ as an independent aspect of history in its own right, and as a parallel to political and military history. This was Cicero’s attempt to elevate the history of orators and oratory to a central part of Roman history. In the De oratore, Cicero made his interlocutors discuss the relationship between historiography and oratory and conclude that good historical writing needed to be eloquent as well as true; in other words, only someone possessing the broad education needed for oratory would be able to produce historical works.52 This was a line of attack complementary and parallel to his attempt to put the history of orators and oratory on par with political and military history. Cicero’s introduction of this new approach to past orators and his attempt to describe a history of increasing ability to compete with Greek standards of oratory and rhetoric are linked to Cicero’s project of self-presentation. By writing his mentors into his history as universal role models, and by writing himself into the history of Roman oratory as its climax, he supported his claim to be Rome’s greatest orator, his contention that oratory was a necessity for a 50  Cic. Brut. 57–60. 51  Cic. Brut. 65. 52  Cic. de orat. 2.33–36. See Woodman (1988), 70–116; Cape (1997) and Gildenhard (2013), 242–245 for further discussion of this point.


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successful public career, and his assertion of the close relationship between oratory and Rome’s success. The timing of Cicero’s new approach, essentially with the circulation of the De oratore in 55 BCE and onwards, corresponds exactly with his realisation of his changed political situation: while he thought that he would regain his civic status and political independence after his triumphant return from exile in 57 BCE, Pompeius and Caesar made clear in the spring of 56 that Cicero’s recall had to be repaid with loyalty to their causes. While speeches such as that in favour of the extension of Caesar’s Gallic command or the defence speeches for Balbus and Vatinius signalled this shift in Cicero’s position to the general public, his literary output from 55 BCE onwards addressed the new situation from a more intellectual vantage point. In the treatises, he could offer an alternative narrative about what he felt mattered in the republic, namely conscientious and well-educated statesmen using brilliant oratory to steer the republic safely through the sustained political violence and attacks on traditional politics towards his ideal of the republic. All his major treatises from the 50s and 40s BCE can be read partly as commenting on the current political situation. Although he considered writing a more traditional history of Rome, as far as we know he never did so.53 Yet, his treatises offer an alternative to this history never written, and indeed the narrative of oratory at Rome belongs to his alternative history of Rome. Cicero’s narrative of oratory at Rome should be seen in light of the development of what has traditionally been called antiquarianism.54 The growing interest in investigating and collecting information about the past, especially the religious, legal, genealogical, chronographical, and etymological developments leading from the past to the present, related to Cicero’s interest in constructing a history of oratory at Rome with its own periodisation, detailed information about orators, and the chronological structure of, particularly, the Brutus. Atticus’ Liber annalis, which seems to have provided at least some of the chronological structure and details about individual orators in Cicero’s work if not all, was very much a product of this antiquarian trend.55 Although 53  Cic. leg. 1.5–11. For treatments of Cicero’s views of history and how history engaged with other genres, see, among others, Rawson (1972) and Fox (2007). 54  Duncan MacRae, in this volume, argues that the term ‘antiquarianism’ is anachronistic for the ancient period, but for the sake of convenience, I shall use this as shorthand for the intellectual practices normally associated with ‘antiquarianism’. See also Smith and Binder (this volume). 55  Rawson (1972, 41–42) sets the Brutus in the wider context of Cicero’s works and his relationship with the antiquarian trend.

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Cicero was not writing such antiquarian works himself, his dialogues and other rhetorical treatises were composed within this intellectual culture of antiquarianism. His narrative of a Roman history of oratory also fits into a broader trend of memorialisation in the late republic: history – whether personal, family or Roman history – was increasingly monumentalised in the second and first centuries BCE. Monumental building works, family tombs and statues were set up partly to immortalise and memorialise certain individuals and deeds. Coinage was increasingly used to advertise messages of familial exploits, memoirs and autobiographies were on the rise, and there were a growing number of speeches and other works circulating in written form so as to provide a concrete foot print of an event or action.56 Cicero, of course, circulated a great number of his speeches in written form, as well as poetry and his many treatises. His attempt at creating an oratorical history for Rome should be seen in this vein too because it could monumentalise and memorialise the great success story of oratory at Rome and his own crucial role within this story. The question whether Cicero’s presentation of a history of oratory is in any sense representative is complex and crucial. His interest in oratory is not unique; just think of Cato the Elder’s circulation of hundreds of his own speeches and constant self-reference in his other prose works. In some sense, Cato’s historical work Origines offers a version of past oratory, although heavily biased, through the numerous references to Cato’s own speeches.57 Moreover, the inclusion of speeches in historical works was not new; it was a trait of historiography going back to, at least, Thucydides and Herodotus. But what Cicero did differently was to separate out a history of oratory from the mainstream political history, and at the same time to argue that this history of oratory was a crucial element of the history of public life at Rome. Cicero is our main source for Roman oratory and he is also one of our earliest sources, only preceded by Cato the Elder and bitty fragments and testimonia in the early historians and in autobiographical works. This means that it is very difficult to gauge whether Cicero presents a truthful picture of Roman oratorical practice before his own time or a continuous Roman history of oratory. The projected Fragments of the Roman Republican Orators edition may alleviate some of these difficulties as it aims to collect, translate and comment on fragments and testimonia of oratory in the republican period in order to 56  For monumentalisation related to family histories, see discussion with references in van der Blom (2010), 88–93. For coinage, see Meadows – Williams (2001), and for memoirs, see Smith – Powell (2009). 57  See FRHist 5 Cato for the fragments of this work.


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provide the means to reconsider Cicero’s presentation. However, Cicero is unavoidable as a major source for oratory. For Cicero’s own time, he is also the main source, but the material is here so rich and detailed, that it is possible to build up profiles of individual orators to contrast with Cicero’s self-presentation. Evidently, not all shared Cicero’s emphasis on excellent oratorical skills as necessary for a political career, but it is clear that all Roman politicians had to speak in public and therefore the depiction of regular oratorical activity as part of public life must be right – in Cicero’s time and in the past.58 Bibliography Adamietz, J. (1960). Ciceros de inventione und die Rhetorik ad Herennium (Diss., Marburg). Alexander, M. C. (1990). Trials in the Late Roman Republic, 149 BC to 50 BC (Phoenix, suppl. 26). Toronto. Badian, E. (1990). ‘The consuls, 179–49 BC’, Chiron 20: 371–413. Barnes, J. (1997). ‘Roman Aristotle’, in J. Barnes and M. Griffin (eds.), Philosophia Togata II. Plato and Aristotle at Rome (Oxford), 1–69. van den Berg, C. (2014). The World of Tacitus’ Dialogus de oratoribus. Aesthetics and Empire in Ancient Rome, Cambridge. Bleicken, J. (1975). Lex Publica. Gesetz und Recht in der römischen Republik, Berlin. van der Blom, H. (2010). Cicero’s Role Models. The Political Strategy of a Newcomer, Oxford. Briscoe, J. (2008). A Commentary on Livy, Books 38–40, Oxford. Brittain, C. (2001). Philo of Larissa. The Last of the Academic Sceptics, Oxford. Bücher, F. (2006). Verargumentierte Geschichte. Exempla Romana im politischen Diskurs der späten Republik (Hermes Einzelschriften 96), Stuttgart.

58  I should like to thank the editors and organisers of the conference in Rome 2013 for creating a wonderfully productive atmosphere and indeed for their invitation to contribute to this volume. Thanks also go to the audience at the conference for helpful comments, as well as to audiences in Oxford and Glasgow for comments and suggestions. Tobias Reinhardt, Thierry Hirsch, Jennifer Hilder and Miriam Griffin read versions of this contribution and offered helpful observations for which I am grateful. I should also like to thank the British School at Rome, the Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, and the Lorne Thyssen Research Fund for Ancient World Topics at Wolfson College, Oxford, for institutional and financial support.

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Cape, R. W. (1997). ‘Persuasive history. Roman rhetoric and historiography’, in W. J. Dominik (ed.) Roman Eloquence. Rhetoric in Society and Literature (London – New York), 212–228. Dugan, J. (2005). Making a New Man. Ciceronian Self-fashioning in the Rhetorical Works, Oxford. Erskine, A. (1990/2011). The Hellenistic Stoa. Political Thought and Action, second edition, Ithaca, NY – London. Fantham, E. (2004). The Roman World of Cicero’s De Oratore, Oxford. Fox, M. (2007). Cicero’s Philosophy of History, Oxford. Gildenhard, I. (2007). Paideia Romana. Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations, Cambridge. Gildenhard, I. (2013). ‘Cicero’s dialogues, historiography manqué and the evidence of fiction’, in S. Föllinger and G. M. Müller (Hrsgg.), Der Dialog in der Antike. Formen und Funktionen einer literarischen Gattung zwischen Philosophie, Wissensvermittlung und dramatischer Inszenierung (Berlin), 235–274. Griffin, M. (1996). ‘The intellectual developments of the Ciceronian age’, CAH IX2, 689–728. Grillo, L. (2015). Cicero’s De provinciis consularibus oratio, Oxford. Gruen, E. S. (1968). Roman Politics and the Criminal Courts, 149–78 BC, Cambridge, MA. Gruen, E. S. (1995). ‘The “Fall” of the Scipios’, in I. Malkin and Z. W. Rubinsohn (eds.), Leaders and Masses in the Ancient World. Studies in Honor of Zvi Yavetz (Mnemosyne, suppl. 139, Leiden), 59–90. Holford-Strevens, L. (1988). Aulus Gellius, London. Hutchinson, G. O. (2013). Greek to Latin. Framework and Contexts for Intertextuality, Oxford. Kaster, R. A. (1995). C. Suetonius Tranquillus, De grammaticis et rhetoribus, Oxford. Kennedy, G. A. (1999). Classical Rhetoric and its Christian and Secular Tradition from Ancient to Modern Times, second edition, Chapel Hill, NC. Lintott, A. W. (1968). Violence in Republican Rome, Oxford. Long, A. A. (1995). ‘Cicero’s Plato and Aristotle’, in J. G. F. Powell (ed.), Cicero the Philosopher (Oxford), 37–61. McDonnell, M. (2011). ‘Virtus as a specialization in the Middle Republic’, in W. Blösel and K.-J. Hölkeskamp (Hrsgg.), Von der militia equestris zur militia urbana. Prominenzrollen und Karrierefelder im antiken Rom (Stuttgart), 29–41. Meadows, A. and Williams, J. (2001). ‘Moneta and the monuments. Coinage and politics in Republican Rome’, JRS 91: 27–49. Powell, J. G. F. (2013). ‘The embassy of the three philosophers to Rome in 155 BC’, in C. Kremmydas and K. Tempest (eds.), Hellenistic Oratory. Continuity and Change (Oxford), 219–247. Rabe, H. (1931). Prolegomenon Sylloge, Leipzig.


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Rawson, E. (1971). ‘Lucius Crassus and Cicero. The formation of a statesman’, PCPhS n.s. 17, 1971: 75–88 (= Ead. [1991], 16–33). Rawson, E. (1972). ‘Cicero the historian and Cicero the antiquarian’, JRS 62: 33–45 (= Ead. [1991], 58–79). Rawson, E. (1991). Roman Culture and Society. Collected Papers, Oxford. Reinhardt, T. (2013). ‘Philosophy comes to Rome’, in F. Sheffield and J. Warren (eds.), Routledge Companion to Ancient Philosophy (London), 526–538. Scholz, U. W. (1963). Der Redner M. Antonius (Diss. 1962, Nürnberg). Smith, C. J. and Powell A. (eds., 2009). The Lost Memoirs of Augustus and the Development of Roman Autobiography, Swansea. Steel, C. E. W. (2003). ‘Cicero’s Brutus, the end of oratory and the beginning of history?’, BICS 46: 195–211. Steel, C. E. W. (2005). Reading Cicero. Genre and Performance in Late Republican Rome, London. Steel, C. E. W. (2013). ‘Structure, meaning and authority in Cicero’s dialogues’, in S. Föllinger and G. M. Müller (Hrsgg.), Der Dialog in der Antike. Formen und Funktionen einer literarischen Gattung zwischen Philosophie, Wissensvermittlung und dramatischer Inszenierung (Berlin), 221–234. Straumann, B. (2016). Crisis and Constitutionalism: Roman Political Thought from the Fall of the Republic to the Age of Revolution, Oxford. Williamson, C. (2005). The Laws of the Roman People. Public Law in the Expansion and Decline of the Roman Republic, Ann Arbor. Woodman, A. J. (1988). Rhetoric in Classical Historiography. Four Studies, London.


Cicero, Documents and the Implications for History Andrew Riggsby This paper examines Cicero’s interpretation of documentary evidence for the past in his speeches.1 The various contributors to the present volume, rightly, strike a variety of balances between establishing the function(s) of particular Roman memory practices (or even of the actual events recalled therein) and theoretical reflection on points of method. This paper is situated towards the methodological end of the spectrum. My conclusions will concern, first, the extent to which Cicero is constrained by the documentary evidence he cites, and, second, the extent to which similar considerations are relevant to (ancient) history-writing. When one speaks of ‘interpretation’ in Ciceronian oratory, the reference is typically to juristic or quasi-juristic reasoning – the parsing of statutory or edictal language – such as is found in Pro Caecina (passim) or Pro Cluentio (esp. 144–157). But this hardly exhausts the field of Cicero’s use of documents. In fact, at least initially, I will exclude such juristic passages from consideration as potentially constituting a separate phenomenon from the documentary use under consideration. Rather, what I have in mind is to consider texts Cicero uses not for what they say about norms, but about events in the immediate past (though we will see eventually that the line is actually hard to draw, but that it is probably unnecessary to do so in the first place). After examining a number of specific cases, I will argue ultimately (1) that Cicero has a powerful set of tools at his disposal which allow him to read both ‘with’ and ‘against’ the grain of a variety of texts in a variety of circumstances to get the results he needs, (2) that there is evidence, both direct and indirect, for the deployment of similar reading strategies in contexts other than forensic oratory, and (3) that the availability of such strategies to historians might mean that their use of documentary evidence could have paradoxical effects, accentuating rather than tempering their shaping of events to fit various preconceptions.

1  My thanks to the editors and the press’s anonymous referee for valuable suggestions on the manuscript and to Tony Corbeill for extensive discussion of both the background issues and the crucial speech De haruspicum responsis. For argument-neutrality, the translations are mostly those of Younge, with a few clarifications and one correction (see n. 6).

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Ciceronian oratory presents notorious complications as a source of evidence for many historical questions; consider, for instance, the need for a recent book-length treatment of the topic.2 But for present purposes skepticism about Cicero’s accounts of the world outside the courtroom is not a problem. Our interest is in the repertoire of interpretive moves or strategies he deploys directly before the jurors, thus creating a scene more-or-less before our own eyes as well.3 What he can get away with is the evidence, not the problem. Given that general methodological outlook, my specific method will be unsurprising. I will begin with a catalog of passages illustrating what I take to be the principal interpretive strategies in Cicero’s arsenal. Then I will offer some suggestions about the relationship of what we find in the forensic context to other interpretive practices, those of jurists and (most importantly) historians. I have arranged my discussion along a rough spectrum that I will describe as ranging from ‘textual’ strategies to increasingly ‘extra-textual’ ones, that is, interpretive strategies that appeal just to the text itself on the one hand and those that rely on increasingly broad swaths of material outside the text (other texts, whole genres, and more) on the other. The divisions between these categories and my ordering of them are theoretically problematic, so I should stress that I do not mean them to have explanatory significance; they are merely intended as structuring devices. Starting with the most narrowly textual strategies, then, I want to look first at appeals to textual coherence. That is, cases in which a potentially ambiguous segment of text is read so as to make it fit as ‘well’ as possible with the text that surrounds it. In practice, this is usually done by flattening the meaning of the text as a whole to make it as redundant as possible. For instance, in De haruspicum responsis, Cicero spends most of his time interpreting the titular oracular response. His repeated conclusion is that all signs point to the gods’ distress at Clodius’ profanation of the mysteries of the Bona Dea in 61 BCE, rather than anything to do with Cicero’s more recent recovery of his confiscated house. About half-way through the speech he comes to the following clause (har. resp. 36): ‘THAT GOOD FAITH AND OATHS HAVE BEEN DISREGARDED.’ What this means by itself, I cannot easily explain; but from that which follows, I suspect that it refers to the manifest perjury of your judges…. And this is the 2  Lintott (2008). 3  I take the position that Cicero’s published speeches are a fairly good representation of what he said in court or, at a minimum, what he reasonably could have said in court. On the vexed topic, see Riggsby (1999), 178–184; Powell – Paterson (2004), 52–57.

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reason why I imagine that they are the persons alluded to, because I lay it down as a fact that that is the most remarkable and notorious perjury ever committed in this city and yet that you yourself are not threatened with the punishment of perjury by those men with whom you conspired.4 The clause itself, he admits, does not point directly to Clodius. Nor is it explained by the prior clause of the response (which is about ambassadors). But the next clause is, at least on Cicero’s construction, ‘clearly’ about the Bona Dea scandal, so Cicero finds a way to bring this bit into line with what follows. The ‘ambiguity’ is resolved by making both clauses mean essentially the same thing: This is all Clodius’ fault. Slightly less explicit in terms of its strategy is the following passage from the third speech against Verres (in what follows references to the Verrines will always be to the second actio). Here Cicero quotes from reports sent by L. Metellus, Verres’ successor in Sicily, back to Rome. In one Metellus alludes to tax revenues that were lower than normal (2.3.126–127): ‘BUT STILL IN SUCH QUANTITIES AS THE DIFFICULTY OF THE TIMES AND THE LACK OF CULTIVATORS (aratorum … peniuria) PERMITTED.’ The lack of cultivators, he says. If I, as the accuser, were to dwell so repeatedly on the same subject, I should be afraid of wearying your attention…. ‘THE CULTIVATORS WHO WERE LEFT,’ (reliquos), he says. Left? In that mournful word he intimates the condition of nearly the whole province of Sicily. He adds, ‘THE LACK OF CULTIVATORS.’…. I say that the fields have been abandoned, and the allotments deserted: Metellus writes word that there is a great lack of cultivators.5 4  Fidem ivsqve ivrandvm neglectvm. Hoc quid sit per se ipsum non facile interpretor, sed ex eo quod sequitur suspicor de tuorum iudicum manifesto periurio dici, quibus olim erepti essent nummi nisi a senatu praesidium postulassent. Qua re autem de iis dici suspicer haec causa est, quod sic statuo, et illud in hac civitate esse maxime inlustre atque insigne periurium, et te ipsum tamen in periuri crimen ab iis quibuscum coniurasti non vocari. 5  His te litteris, homo audacissime atque amentissime, iugulatum esse non sentis? non vides, cum is qui tibi successit aratores reliquos appellet, hoc eum diserte scribere, reliquos hos esse non ex bello neque ex aliqua eius modi calamitate, sed ex tuo scelere, importunitate, avaritia, crudelitate? Recita cetera. Tamen pro eo vt temporis difficvltas aratorvmqve penvria tvlit. ‘Aratorum,’ inquit, ‘penuria.’ Si ego accusator totiens de re eadem dicerem, vererer ne animos vestros offenderem, iudices. Clamat Metellus, Nisi litteras misissem: non est satis. Nisi praesens confirmassem: ne id quidem satis est. Reliqvos, inquit, aratores. Reliquos? prope lugubri verbo calamitatem provinciae Siciliae significat: addit, aratorvm penvria. [127] Exspectate etiam, iudices, exspectate, si potestis, auctoritatem accusationis meae. Dico aratores istius



The phrase I want to focus on here is aratorum … penuria.6 In an argument we will return to shortly, Cicero had found the word reliquos to refer to the survivors of Verres’ depredations. Whether that was a correct interpretation or not, the basic sense of reliquus does at least suggest a transition, specifically a diminution. The same is not true of penuria denoting the mere state of lack or absence. On its own, one could imagine the phrase aratorum penuria appearing in the appeal of the governor of any poor province that was not producing the desired financial results. But if we read the activity perhaps implicit in reliquos into penuria as well, then it is natural to connect both of them with the activity of Verres. Cicero draws attention to what he claims is the redundancy of Metellus’ text, but in fact he creates that redundancy himself. (I should point out here that I am not claiming that Cicero’s reading is necessarily wrong, only that it is a reading, which Cicero nearly admits by hiding his agency behind put-on embarrassment at the poor stylistics of the passage so read.) Moving slightly outward from reading the text itself, we see a series of cases in which Cicero posits an alternative formulation of the text under consideration and then insists that the difference between the actual text and his alternative is interpretively significant. The alternative can be drawn from an attached or related text, taken from a different text altogether, or be entirely hypothetical. My first example is drawn from De domo sua. In the following passage Cicero paraphrases an argument Clodius had apparently made in front of an earlier public meeting to show that he (Clodius) and Caesar were close (dom. 22): You read letters in the assembly which you said had been sent to you by Caius Caesar. ‘CAESAR TO PULCHER.’ And when you proceeded to argue that this was a proof of intimacy, because he only used the names of himself and you, and did not add ‘PROCONSUL,’ or ‘TRIBUNE OF THE PEOPLE,’….7 avaritia eiectos: scribit Metellus ‘reliquos’ ab se esse confirmatos. Dico agros relictos arationesque esse desertas: scribit Metellus aratorum esse ‘penuriam’. 6  Younge translates here “poverty of the cultivators”. That sense would fit with some of the immediate context, and in fact I was tempted to argue that Cicero plays on a potential ambiguity of the two senses, but the general usage of penuria plus genitive suggests that the sense assumed in the translation above is the one one likely to have been in play. 7  litteras in contione recitasti quas tibi a C. Caesare missas diceres ‘Caesar Pvlchro,’ cum etiam es argumentatus amoris esse hoc signum, cognominibus tantum uteretur neque adscriberet ‘pro consvle’ aut ‘tribvno plebi’; dein gratulari tibi quod M. Catonem tribunatu tuo removisses, et quod ei dicendi in posterum de extraordinariis potestatibus libertatem ademisses. Quas aut numquam tibi ille litteras misit, aut, si misit, in contione recitari noluit. At, sive

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Here the alternative text is a slight and conventional variation on the existing one. Modern philology suggests that Clodius may have had a point, though one that might better be framed in terms of formality (not affection), and it might note the unmarkedness (not positive assertion of anything) of the cognomen in this respect. More to the present point, though, one could make an entirely different point by comparing the use of the cognomen to the use of epithets of affection/esteem instead of official titles.8 I will have more to say about this passage later, but will note here that Cicero still does not laugh this argument off, even though the interpretation is not his own but his enemy’s. That is, he finds it reasonable to compare a given text to a parallel generated by simple variation within a set of conventional alternatives. For a case in which the alternative is based on a specific cognate text, we may turn back to the Verrines. Here, in the fourth speech, Cicero is parsing a pair of decrees passed by the city of Syracuse in support of Verres and of Sex. Peducaeus, his predecessor in office. The preambles to the two decrees are, on Cicero’s account, strikingly different (2.4.143): So the question about Peducaeus is put to the senate. Each man gave his opinion in order, according as he had precedence in age and honor…. Read – BECAUSE SPEECHES WERE MADE ON THE SUBJECT OF SEXTUS PEDUCAEUS. It says who were the chief supporters of the motion. The vote is carried. Then the question about Verres is put. Tell me, I pray, what happened. BECAUSE SPEECHES WERE MADE ON THE SUBJECT OF CAIUS VERRES. Well what comes next? AS NO ONE ROSE, AND NO ONE DELIVERED HIS OPINION. What is this? THEY PROCEED BY LOT. Why was this? Was no one a willing praiser of your praetorship, or a willing defender of you from danger?9 ille misit sive tu finxisti, certe consilium tuum de Catonis honore illarum litterarum recitatione patefactum est. 8  See Dickey (2002), 204, 239 (on titles), 129–162 (on terms of endearment). 9  Conclamant omnes et adprobant ita fieri oportere. Refertur de Peducaeo. Vt quisque aetate et honore antecedebat, ita sententiam dixit ex ordine. Id adeo ex ipso senatus consulto cognoscite; nam principum sententiae perscribi solent. Recita. ‘Qvod verba facta svnt de Sex. Pedvcaeo.’ Dicit qui primi suaserint. Decernitur. Refertur deinde de Verre. Dic, quaeso, quo modo? ‘Qvod verba facta svnt de C. Verre’ – quid postea scriptum est? – ‘Cvm svrgeret nemo neqve sententiam diceret’ – quid est hoc? – ‘Sors dvcitvr.’ Quam ob rem? nemo erat voluntarius laudator praeturae tuae, defensor periculorum, praesertim cum inire a praetore gratiam posset? Nemo. Illi ipsi tui convivae, consiliarii, conscii, socii verbum facere non audent. In qua curia statua tua stabat et nuda fili, in ea nemo fuit, ne quem nudus quidem filius nudata provincia commoveret. [144] Atque etiam hoc me docent, eius modi senatus consultum



This contrast in content is taken to reveal the intention behind the Verres decree (§ 144): Moreover they inform me also of this, that they had passed the vote of panegyric in such a form that all men might see that it was not a panegyric, but rather a satire, to remind every one of his shameful and disastrous praetorship. This conclusion in turn licenses a remarkable reading of the substance of the decree, which listed the virtues and accomplishments of Verres’ term. Having decided that the whole was mockery, Cicero then finds the most extreme irony (§ 144, continuing): For in truth it was drawn up in these words: ‘BECAUSE HE HAD SCOURGED NO ONE.’ From which you are to understand, that he had caused most noble and innocent men to be executed. ‘BECAUSE HE HAD ADMINISTERED THE AFFAIRS OF THE PROVINCE WITH VIGILANCE,’ when all his vigils were well known to have been devoted to debauchery and adultery; moreover, there was this clause added; ‘BECAUSE VERRES HAD KEPT ALL PIRATES AT A DISTANCE FROM THE ISLAND OF SICILY;’ men who in his time had entered even into the ‘island’ of Syracuse. This passage also represents a special case of the reading-by-contrast strategy, albeit an extreme one.10 In a number of passages Cicero reads texts which appear to have genuine hedges in them, and makes this an excuse not only to bend their surface meanings, but to arrive at something like their opposites. So, for instance, in Metellus’ letter again (2.3.124), the writer claims that ‘I made an effort with great labor to get as much as possible for the tax contracts.’11 Of course neither data est … opera nor quam plurimo make any guarantee of the actual results, and so Cicero asks rhetorically, without the hedges, ‘Why, fecisse laudatores ut omnes intellegere possent non laudationem sed potius inrisionem esse illam quae commonefaceret istius turpem calamitosamque praeturam. Etenim scriptum esse ita: qvod is virgis neminem cecidisset – a quo cognostis nobilissimos homines atque innocentissimos securi esse percussos; qvod vigilanter provinciam administrasset – cuius omnis vigilias in stupris constat adulteriisque esse consumptas; qvod praedones procvl ab insvla Sicilia prohibvisset – quos etiam intra Syracusanam insulam recepisset. 10  See Cic. Cluent. 136 for another instance. 11  Svmma vi data est a me opera vt qvam plvrimo decvmas venderem. Cur igitur, Metelle, non ita magno vendidisti?

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Metellus, did you not sell them for so much?’ Metellus’ language may have been formulaic, he may have thought his effort more valuable than the detailed results, or he may even have been defending a yield disappointing for other reasons. Whatever the case, it is unlikely – and certainly not a given – that this line alludes to the effects of Verres’ purported depredations. Still, the vagueness of these hedging formulations means Cicero’s radical re-interpretations cannot logically be ruled out. Moving further outward from the interpretandum itself, we can find instances in which the key to interpretation is made out to be an entirely external text. For instance, Cicero spends a good chunk of the first speech against Verres attacking his alleged attempt as praetor to redirect an inheritance from a woman to an unscrupulous relative who would pay Verres off. Verres explicitly claimed to be applying the principles of the lex Voconia which would perhaps have made her ineligible to inherit, to which Cicero replies (2.1.110): You write, ‘IF ANY ONE HAS MADE, OR SHALL HAVE MADE HIS HEIR …’ What are we to think? Suppose a man has bequeathed in legacies more than comes to his heir or heirs, as by the Voconian law a man may do who is not included in the census? Why do you not guard against this, as it comes under the same class? Because in your expressions you are not thinking of the interests of a class, but of an individual.12 Application of the actual lex Voconia was, Cicero says, restricted to estates above a certain size.13 Verres’ omission of this provision suggested that he was not in fact interested in the niceties of inheritance or legal uniformity; he had just picked one part of one statute as a fig-leaf to cover up his greed in this particular case. The difference between texts is made significant by Verres’ own claim of their close relationship. Incidentally, in light of my original methodological claim, I should note that Cicero’s argument reaches a historical conclusion (about Verres’ character and motives) rather than a legal one (what the 12  Ac si hoc iuris, non unius hominis causa edixisses, cautius composuisses. Scribis, qui heredem fecit fecerit. Quid, si plus legarit quam ad heredem heredesve perveniat? quod per legem Voconiam ei qui census non sit licet; cur hoc, cum in eodem genere sit, non caves? Quia non generis, sed hominis causam verbis amplecteris, ut facile appareat te pretio, non iure esse commotum. 13  The actual state of the law on this point is somewhat controversial, but the non-Ciceronian evidence either supports the view expressed here (Gaius 2.274) or is general enough that it is not clear that it is meant to bear on the issue at all (2.226). See also Watson (1971), 29–30, 167–169. At any rate, even if Cicero is overgeneralizing the census clause of the statute, the interpretive move within the speech works in the same way.



proper disposition of the case 74 BCE was). Clearly, however, there is some ambiguity on this point, and I will return to the issue in my general conclusions. A less famous text than that statute provides Cicero’s key to interpreting a passage of the haruspices’ response (§ 37): And I see that in the answers of the soothsayers this is added: ‘BUT THE ANCIENT AND SECRET SACRIFICES (vetusta occultaque) HAVE BEEN PERFORMED WITH LESS THAN DUE DILIGENCE AND HAVE BEEN POLLUTED.’ … Is it mentioned obscurely what sacrifices have been polluted? What can be expressed in a plainer, more dignified or more solemn manner? ‘ANCIENT AND SECRET.’ I say that Lentulus, a dignified and eloquent orator, did not when he was accusing you, make use of any expressions more frequently than these which now are extracted from the Etruscan books and turned against and applied to you.14 In this case the key phrase vetusta occultaque appears both in the decree and the broader frame of Clodius’ profanation of the Bona Dea’s rites. The earlier and apparently repeated use of the phrase in the prior prosecution has, for Cicero’s argument, established it as belonging to that broader frame, which may now be invoked wherever that phrase appears, even in cases where it is superficially unclear. Sometimes, moreover, Cicero appeals to something more general than a specific alternative text, hypothetical or not.15 One set of examples has to do with what might be described in modern parlance as prototypes.16 Even if the ‘literal’ meaning of a word is quite broad, some true examples are better than others: jays and sparrows, for instance, are more bird-y than penguins and ostriches. Often, this difference in fit has to do with the broader scenarios in which the word is typically embedded. Hence, the pope is for many English-

14  Et video in haruspicum responsum haec esse subiuncta: Sacrificia vetvsta occvltaqve minvs diligenter facta pollvtaqve. Haruspices haec loquuntur an patrii penatesque di? Multi enim sunt, credo, in quos huius malefici suspicio cadat. Quis praeter hunc unum? Obscure dicitur quae sacra polluta sint? Quid planius, quid religiosius, quid gravius dici potest? vetvsta occvltaqve. Nego ulla verba Lentulum, gravem oratorem ac disertum, saepius, cum te accusaret, usurpasse quam haec quae nunc ex Etruscis libris in te conversa atque interpretata dicuntur. 15  See Verr. 2.4.108 and har. resp. 37 for other examples. 16  See Taylor (2011) for a survey of prototype theory.

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speakers a poor example of ‘bachelor’ because the whole generic life-course model on which that term is premised is inapplicable to him.17 For a specific case, we turn again to part of Cicero’s reading of Metellus’ letter in the third Verrine. This bit follows immediately on the sentences I have already quoted about the efforts Metellus made to encourage the local farmers (2.3.124): But what is this about which he says that he took so much pains? Read – ‘TO PREVAIL ON THE CULTIVATORS OF THE SOIL, WHO WERE LEFT (reliqui), TO SOW AS LARGELY AS THEY COULD.’ Who were left? What does this mean – left? After what war? after what devastation? What mighty slaughter was there in Sicily, or what was there of such duration and such disaster while you were praetor, that your successor had to collect and recover the cultivators who were left?18 Literally, reliqui need be little more than a logical or mathematical term, not much different than alii or ceteri: those excluded from some previously defined category. But in practice it is often embedded in a larger context of disaster and survivorship.19 Here Cicero chooses not only to read that context into the passage, but to foreground it. There is a transition from more to fewer, typically driven by some powerful, undesirable force. If this much is admitted, then it is hard to see who is to blame other than Verres. But that inference only has force if we accept Cicero’s rich reading of reliqui in the first place. De haruspicum responsis 56 similarly limits the meaning of a word by appealing to what Cicero claims is its typical sense instead of what might be regarded as a broader literal application: These words follow: ‘THAT MORE HONOR MUST NOT BE GIVEN TO WORTHLESS CITIZENS AND REJECTED CANDIDATES (repulsi).’ … Who then, are the rejected candidates? Not, I imagine, they who some time or other have failed to attain some honor more by the fault of the city 17  Sweetser (1987) and Taylor (2011) for this and other examples. Taylor also responds convincingly to criticisms of earlier proposals along these lines. 18  At quid est tandem in quo se elaborasse dicit? Recita. Vt aratores, qvi reliqvi erant, qvam plvrimvm sererent. Qui reliqui? quid hoc est ‘reliqui’? quo ex bello, qua ex vastitate? Quaenam in Sicilia tanta clades aut quod bellum tam diuturnum, tam calamitosum te praetore versatum est ut is qui tibi successerit ‘reliquos’ aratores collegisse et recreasse videatur? 19  Thus most of the uses recorded at OLD, s.v. ‘reliquus 3b, c’.



than by their own … . Those are the rejected candidates meant, whom all rejected, when they were proceeding to the most violent measures, when they were preparing exhibitions of gladiators contrary to the laws, when they were bribing in the most open manner, not only strangers, but even their own relations, their neighbors, the men of their own tribe, townspeople and countrymen.20 Repulsi are not any who have in fact been repulsed, that is, defeated at the polls. That would cast the net too wide for Cicero’s needs. (The argument that it is in fact too broad for his audience’s needs as well is implicitly based on the gods’ justice. Repulse as such does not imply wrong-doing, and the whole premise of the discussion is that the gods have singled out wrong-doers.) Rather, he needs a narrower category, and the ‘natural’ understanding then is that it should refer to people who epitomize defeat, who are the best examples of the category. Beyond the conventional framing and prototyping of individual words, Cicero can appeal to whole genres as part of his interpretive practice. As we have seen, in the first speech against Verres, he reproaches the former governor for implementing something supposedly like the provisions of the lex Voconia in his provincial edict. He quotes part of the edict then comments (2.1.106–107): ‘WHO, SINCE THE CENSORSHIP OF AULUS POSTUMIUS AND QUINTUS FULVIUS, HAS MADE, OR SHALL HAVE MADE ( fecit, fecerit)….’ Has made, or shall have made! who ever issued an edict in such a manner? [107] Who ever proposed by an edict any penalty or danger for an act which could not be provided for otherwise either before the edict or after the edict?21

20  Sequitur illud, Ne deterioribvs repvlsisqve honos avgeatvr. Repulsos videamus, nam deteriores qui sint, post docebo. Sed tamen in eum cadere hoc verbum maxime qui sit unus omnium mortalium sine ulla dubitatione deterrimus, concedendum est. Qui sunt igitur repulsi? Non, ut opinor, ii qui aliquando honorem vitio civitatis, non suo, non sunt adsecuti; nam id quidem multis saepe optimis civibus atque honestissimis viris accidit. Repulsi sunt ii quos ad omnia progredientis, quos munera contra leges gladiatoria parantis, quos apertissime largientis non solum alieni sed etiam sui, vicini, tribules, urbani, rustici reppulerunt: hi ne honore augeantur monent. 21  Recita. Qui ab A. Postumio Q. Fulvio censoribus postve ea testamentum fecit fecerit. [107] Fecit fecerit’? quis umquam edixit isto modo? quis umquam eius rei fraudem aut periculum proposuit edicto, quae neque post edictum reprehendi neque ante edictum provideri potuit?

Cicero, Documents and History


The specific issue here is with the verb tenses; saying fecit along with fecerit makes the edict retroactive. It invalidates wills in cases where they had been written in good faith and arguably in conformance with the legal situation at the time (at least in Sicily). But the force of that initial objection is framed in generic terms: quis umquam edixit isto modo? Edicere specifies the particular official form of discourse in contrast to a more neutral dicere. That is, the mismatch between the form of his words and their content shows something is wrong, as Cicero goes on to spell out. The lex Voconia itself does not contain such language, and, in fact (§ 108): Nor in any law is time past ever implicated in blame, except in cases which are of their own nature wicked and nefarious, so that, even if there were no law, they [viz. the acts] would be strenuously to be avoided.22 Cicero is not entirely making this up. ‘Fecit, fecerit’ and similar combinations of tenses are standard enough legal Latin, but they are more commonly seen in the criminal law and in descriptions of the distasteful behaviors that would result in official infamia.23 Verres is made out to be not just invalidating innocuous, even pious, behavior, but treating it as virtually criminal. Or consider Cicero’s criticism of the agrarian law proposed by the tribune Rullus in 63 BCE. He argued for the rejection of the bill on a variety of grounds, one of which was that the land to be distributed would be of suspect quality: But, says he, the law does say, ‘WHICH CAN BE PLOUGHED OR CULTIVATED.’ Which can be ploughed or cultivated, he says, not, ‘WHICH HAS BEEN PLOUGHED OR CULTIVATED.’ Is this now a law, or is it an advertisement of some sale of Neratius; in whose descriptions people used to find such sentences as these: – ‘TWO HUNDRED ACRES IN WHICH AN OLIVE GARDEN MAY BE MADE. THREE HUNDRED ACRES WHERE VINES CAN BE PLANTED.’ … Why, what soil is there so thin and miserable that it cannot be broken up by a plough? or what is there which is

22  In lege Voconia non est ‘fecit fecerit,’ neque in ulla praeteritum tempus reprehenditur nisi eius rei quae sua sponte tam scelerata et nefaria est ut, etiamsi lex non esset, magnopere vitanda fuerit. 23  Ferrary (1991), 424n24; lex Iulia de vi (62Cr, ch. 88); Tab. Heracl. (24Cr), 110–125. The lex Iulia de adulteriis is not retroactive (D. 48.5.13), but seems to need to go out of its way to point that fact out (not just a negative imperative, but posthac as well).



such a complete bed of stones that the skill of an agriculturist cannot get something out of it?24 Here Cicero suggests the draft law is suspect since it sounds like an auctioneer’s advertisement instead.25 This in turn licenses a reading of possit in a way we have seen before: as a hedge implying the opposite of the surface meaning of the sentence. Tying that hedge to the suspect profession of the auctioneer by way of the formal similarity reinforces Cicero’s claim of duplicity. Moving yet further from reading the document itself, let us turn one last time to Metellus’ letter. Cicero’s reading of its conclusion illustrates another strategy, and one that actually underpins his approach to the document as a whole. He shapes his reading not just by considering the presuppositions supposedly surrounding a particular word or even a genre, but the entire discursive context in which an utterance is embedded: See what Metellus writes at the end: – ‘I HAVE TAKEN CARE OF THE REVENUES FOR THE FUTURE.’ He says that he has taken care of the revenues for the future. He would not write that he had taken care of the revenues, if he had not meant to show this, that you [Verres] had ruined the revenues. For what reason was there for Metellus taking care for the future of the revenues in respect of the tenths, and of the whole corn interest, if that man had not diverted the revenues of the Roman people to his own profit.26 24  Cic. leg. agr. 2.67: Age, non definis locum; quid? naturam agri? ‘Vero,’ inquit, ‘qvi arari avt coli possit.’ ‘Qui possit arari,’ inquit, ‘aut coli,’ non qui aratus aut cultus sit. Vtrum haec lex est, an tabula Veratianae auctionis? in qua scriptum fuisse aiunt: ‘Ivgera cc in qvibvs olivetvm fieri potest, ivgera ccc vbi institvi vineae possvnt.’ Hoc tu emes ista innumerabili pecunia quod arari aut coli possit? Quod solum tam exile et macrum est quod aratro perstringi non possit, aut quod est tam asperum saxetum in quo agricolarum cultus non elaboret? 25  Neratius is otherwise unknown. As far as I know, there is no direct evidence more generally for the kind of language Cicero refers to here. Painted real estate advertisements seem plain enough (for example ILS 5723, 6035–6037), but the non-auction situation there is less competitive. Roman law would appear to be generous to a seller whose promises were not simply false: Zimmerman (1996), 315–316. 26  Cic. Verr. 2.3.128: cognoscite quid ad extremum scribat Metellus. In reliqvvm tamen tempvs vectigalibvs prospexi. In reliquum tempus vectigalibus ait se prospexisse. Non scriberet se vectigalibus prospexisse nisi hoc vellet ostendere, te vectigalia perdidisse. Quid enim erat quod vectigalibus prospiceret Metellus in decumis et in tota re frumentaria, si iste non vectigalia populi Romani quaestu suo pervertisset?

Cicero, Documents and History


Metellus has gone to the trouble of writing a letter. Cicero can reasonably offer the presumption that he means to offer some sort of new information to his audience, so we must have in mind some real or imagined alternative state of affairs. Of course, that alternative state might in fact be previous harvests affected by different weather or simply a hypothetically less diligent version of Metellus himself. Cicero’s tendentious move is to take the alternative to be the activities of Metellus’ predecessor Verres. And at heart, this is what Cicero does throughout his reading of the whole letter. He takes what could well be a generic report of a provincial governor and makes it all about Verres. To the extent that it is about Verres, the rest of Cicero’s reading is at least plausible, but that plausibility derives from an assumption, not fact. Another, non-Verrine example can be found in De domo sua again. This example is less tendentious, but the general principle is the same. Cicero makes a number of arguments to suggest that his exile in 58 had not been legally valid. He then interprets the text of the law for his recall to prove not precisely that point, but the related claim that Lentulus, the proposer of the bill, believed that the exile was invalid (dom. 71):27 And you, O Lentulus, showed that you were aware of its not being one in that law which you carried concerning me. For that law was not framed in such terms as THAT [I] MIGHT BE ALLOWED TO COME TO ROME (venire liceret), but that I should come to Rome (venirem). For you did not wish to propose to make that lawful for me to do, which was lawful already.28 (In passing we may also note the role of another hypothetical alternative text here.) ‘Recall’ would be an implicit concession that there had been a true exile, so Cicero stresses that that loophole had been closed. In essence, he says Lentulus anticipated and closed off a presupposition-based attack of just the sort he himself liked to carry out. Now that I have surveyed much of the evidence seratim, let me turn to some more general observations, and in particular try to set what I have been doing in the context of the goals of the broader project of this volume. To whatever extent my readings have been correct, this paper has at least formally been a contribution of some sort to our awareness 27  Cic. Att. 3.15.5 suggests different concerns, though of a similar order, at the time. Other post-exilic texts suggest that these were in fact issues at the time, see Kaster (2006) ad § 65. 28  Quod idem tu, Lentule, vidisti in ea lege quam de me tulisti. Nam non est ita latum ut mihi Romam venire liceret, sed ut venirem; non enim voluisti id quod licebat ferre ut liceret, sed me ita esse in re publica magis ut arcessitus imperio populi Romani viderer quam ad administrandam civitatem restitutus.



of, to quote the circular for the original event, “how historical knowledge was recorded, transmitted and interpreted in republican Rome”, albeit on a much shorter time-scale of the ‘historical’ than is often understood by that term. I take it, however, that while deliberately not restricting their scope to formal historical writing, the organizers were nonetheless interested in forms of cultural memory that are in some way commensurate with or competitive with or contributive to that kind of writing. In my conclusion I would like to suggest that my local, oratorical claims are in fact relevant to that broader historical project. That argument will come in three steps, the first two still slightly indirect, before I come to confront the question of history directly. First and most briefly, we can see that Cicero’s readings are quite powerful in at least a couple of ways which could easily be used in other arenas. He apparently thinks he can successfully advance a fair number of arguments that look rather tendentious today.29 We might be inclined to tie this feature specifically to his role as an advocate, but in fact the difference in context between advocacy and, say, historiography cuts both ways. In some ways the non-advocate has more freedom to choose his arguments. An advocate will always put his own case in the best light, but his audience will typically anticipate that approach as well. If any of what we have seen was even potentially persuasive to its ancient audience in a context that invited suspicion, it raises the possibility that historians working in a more ‘neutral’ context would be at least as empowered. More specifically, Cicero’s readings are powerful in the sense that he is able to find (or construct) relevance to his case in ways that are not self-evident to the modern eye. But the assumption of relevance can create an argumentative fallacy. Consider the following, randomly chosen example. Gaius describes the transition from the archaic use of legis actiones to formulary procedure as follows: Those legis actiones were done away with by means of the lex Aebutia and two Julian laws, and it has come to the point that we litigate by means of set phrases, that is formulae.30 This has been taken as showing either that the lex Aebutia created the formulary procedure or that it merely limited use of the legis actiones (which would then compel the use of formulae that had previously only been optional). If we assume the passage is relevant to the origins of the system, then the con29  This does not, as is sometimes suggested, mean that the courts were not in principle aimed at assessing actual guilt of the crimes charged, see Riggsby (1997) and Id. (2004). 30  Gaius inst. 4.30: per legem Aebutiam et duas Iulias sublatae sunt istae legis actiones, effectumque est, ut per concepta uerba, id est per formulas, litigaremus.

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clusion that the lex created the formulae is necessary, but if we do not make that assumption, then the narrower reading becomes at least as plausible.31 ‘Relevance’ seems generally desirable, and at least disinterested, so it is a relatively easy assumption to smuggle in. Cicero’s strategic use of it thus biases selected arguments in his favor. The second point is to question my own, self-imposed distinction between historical and juristic interpretation in Cicero’s corpus. As a matter of methodological caution, I tried not to presuppose an equivalence of these, but evidence now before us suggests the line is not clear. Consider again, for instance, the passage from De domo sua 71 discussed above, where Cicero drew a line between venire liceret and venirem. We see that he is in fact making both a legal and a historical argument at the same time. The recall law had one shape rather than another, suggesting something both about the previous statute and about the intentions of the drafters of the recall. As it happens, precisely the distinction between the simple act and the licere of that act is significant in a real juristic context – a standard guarantee of possession given in certain sales.32 Moreover, this argument is very similar to two other, more purely legal, arguments in the same speech. At § 47 Cicero complains that Clodius had asked the assembly:33 But what bill is it that this skillful and experienced law-giver has carried? ‘MAY YOU BE WILLING AND MAY YOU COMMAND THAT MARCUS TULLIUS BE INTERDICTED FROM WATER AND FIRE.’ A cruel vote, a nefarious vote, one not to be endured even in the case of the very wickedest citizen, without a trial. He did not propose a vote, ‘THAT HE BE INTERDICTED.’ What then? ‘THAT HE HAS BEEN INTERDICTED.’34

31  Watson (1965), 40. 32  Nor is it the case that licere habere is simply a weaker guarantee than habere. See the striking disjunction between the two at Pomponius D. 21.2.29 pr. 33  Then at § 50 he rejects the whole statute because one of the clauses reads: Quid si iis verbis scripta est ista proscriptio ut se ipsa dissolvat? est enim: Qvod M. Tvllivs falsvm senatvs consvltvm rettvlerit. Si igitur rettulit falsum senatus consultum, tum est rogatio: si non rettulit, nulla est. 34  At quid tulit legum scriptor peritus et callidus? Velitis ivbeatis vt M. Tvllio aqva et igni interdicatvr? Crudele, nefarium, ne in sceleratissimo quidem civi sine iudicio ferundum! Non tulit vt interdicatvr. Quid ergo? vt interdictvm sit. O caenum, o portentum, o scelus! hanc tibi legem Clodius scripsit spurciorem lingua sua, ut interdictum sit cui non sit interdictum?



Here (and again in § 50 on different grounds) he objects to the confusion of a fact with a prescription, much as some later lawyers find fault with a warranty phrased as a description of the merchandise being sold rather than a penalty in the event of a defect.35 All three passages read legal text to make similar legal points. One of them also happens to reach a historical conclusion. Similar accounts could be given of Verr. 2.1.107–108 and of Leg. agr. 2.67.36 Or one could point to the similarity of Cicero’s style of generating presuppositions to the method used by the jurists to create a method for emancipation of daughters. The Twelve Tables specified that a son sold three times would be freed of patria potestas. This was aggressively interpreted as stating an exception to an unattested general rule that other persons in potestate (daughters, grandchildren) were emancipated by a single sale.37 Now, there are differences between the fully legal world of the jurists in the private courts and the more political world of the criminal courts. The former really does seem to be home of argument and interpretation by the glossing of single words, which appears much rarer in the criminal world.38 However, most of the strategies we have seen here are not restricted to one or the other institutional context, and often appear in contexts where they are carrying out both functions at the same time. Finding overlap between juristic arguments and Cicero’s tendentious forensic advocacy suggests that the methods of the agonistic mode were perhaps not limited to that context and instead spread to the quieter juristic world. Alternatively, one might observe that the juristic world was in its own way quite agonistic, and so perhaps a parallel in broad strategies of argument might be unsurprising, whatever the institutional distinctions.39 In either case, the central point is that we have evidence for habits of mind that are not limited to a single generic or institutional context. For the present purpose, the most relevant consequence, which is still admittedly speculative, is that the same habits could affect writers of history as well, men who after all came from the same educational and cultural backgrounds as orators and jurists. And, in fact, we might observe that history as well can take 35  Ulp. D. 21.2.31, with the discussions of Watson (1995), 86–87 and Zimmerman (1996), 310. 36  One might even take note of more purely juristic argument in the public courts, as for instance when Cicero argues with opposing counsel in his defence of Balbus over the meaning of the term comiter in the treaty between Rome and Gades. 37  Gaius 1.132 discussing Tab. IV.2. 38  Pro Balbo follows a much more juristic model, and it is not accidental that, despite its state-oriented subject matter, it was not tried in one of the canonical public courts. 39  Much, perhaps most, juristic writing was framed on a series of assessments of the opinions of other jurists.

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on the same kind of agonistic coloring as the other two areas. It is commonly observed that many Roman historians cite sources by name primarily to disagree with them.40 My third point, and the one that applies most directly to history (that is, ‘history’ qua genre), can be illustrated by several of the passages I just cited as evidence for the overlap of legal and historical reasoning (‘historical’ qua attending to the past).41 While Verr. 2.1.107–108, Leg. agr. 2.67 and Dom. 71 begin by reaching legal conclusions, their ultimate aim is to illuminate the characters of the respective lawgivers. Cicero also makes such claims in passing when talking about Clodius’ legal drafting in Dom. 47. Beyond such legal passages, let us return to a non-legal one we have already seen for a similar approach to character. In Dom. 22 Cicero recounted, and not did not reject, Clodius’ claim that the phrasing of Caesar’s letter suggested closeness between himself and Caesar. Cicero’s answer, as I remarked, was not a refutation of the interpretation as such but pure denial: letters which he never sent to you at all, or which, if he did send them, he certainly never meant to be read in the public assembly.42 That is, the logic of Clodius’ reading of the document produced intolerable conclusions about Caesar’s character, so the document itself must be wrong. And, of course, Cicero is presumably also thinking of character first in places where he does not mention it. For instance, in effect Verres’ edict might have been ‘retroactive’ only because it was implementing an already century-old statute. It is precisely Cicero’s commitment to Verres’ villainous character that leads him to read villainy here. This, I think, is the point where Cicero’s adversarial approach to interpretation could be particularly important for understanding ancient history-writing. Obviously ‘character’ was conceptually more important to both Roman oratory and history than it is to modern historical practice.43 The operational problem, of course, is how to recognize character. A modern approach might suggest, if anything, an objective review of a person’s actions, which could then be used as the basis of an assessment of character. Romans, however, seem in fact to have experienced something of a chicken-and-egg dilemma here. On the one hand, moving from details to character in more modern fashion seems to have been normal enough and, in fact, to have justified a lot of courtroom 40  For Tacitus, see Matthews (2007), 292. For Livy, see Forsythe (2007), 391. 41  Cic. Att 3.23.3 (§ 3 of tribunician bill shows cowardice of drafters), Verr 2.2.127 (shows Verres’ over-cleverness), leg. agr. 2.35–36 (choice of admittedly [legally] equivalent formulations reveals drafter’s character). 42  For Latin text, see n. 7 above. 43  This paragraph summarizes conclusions of Riggsby (2004).



invective. On the other hand, the presumption of the unity and stability of character encouraged what we might regard as tampering with the evidence in specific cases, and both the rhetorical manuals and oratorical practice show, there were rich resources to arrive at the answer one desired (e.g concealment, youth, must-be-a-first-offense). Yet, as I argued some years ago, these are not mere advocates’ tricks. They represent strategies and axioms of folk psychology that go much deeper in the culture. ‘Known’ character is a basis for assessing the likelihood of particular actions. In such an environment, ambiguous facts are likely to be read to reinforce preconceptions of the character of the parties involved. Even seemingly unambiguous facts may be found to be surprisingly flexible. None of my examples, of course, show this mechanism at work in the interpretation of texts about the deeper historical past. Yet we know that historians explicitly factor character into their judgments of historical plausibility.44 A modern historian might have hoped that the use of documentary evidence formed, or could have formed, a counterweight to the tendency of ancient writers to shape events to fit character. The evidence developed here suggests to me that we should at least consider the opposite possibility. Documents could as well have been a mechanism to implement the character-first approach instead.45 44  Livy (21.46.10) prefers Africanus to an anonymous Ligurian slave as the protagonist of an incident early in the Second Punic War, at least partly for characterological reasons. Tacitus (ann. 4.57) suggests that the view that Sejanus, rather than Tiberius himself, was responsible for the latter’s removal to Capri should perhaps be reconsidered partly on grounds of character as well. See also the observations of Cornell on the practice of Dionysius of Halicarnassus (FRHist I, 63). 45  A sceptic considering the thesis offered here might object that it neglects the importance of ‘truth’ as a defining feature of the genre of history as opposed to that of oratory; I have in mind here especially Lendon (2009). And, indeed, the generic differences are real, even if the conventional opposition perhaps undervalues the different but real role of ‘truth’ in oratory; see again Riggsby (1997). But the more important point here is that I have not simply assumed the interchangeability of the two – that would indeed be a methodological error. Rather, I have attempted to show concrete features that make a more limited connection plausible: overlap of personnel, shared agonistic tendencies, and the potentially parallel connections between oratorical and juristic interpretation. The most important point in this respect, however, is the one made in the last few paragraphs. The concept of character as knowable and highly predictive feature of human psychology is a deeply rooted one in Roman culture (and thus plausibly operates across genres), and it makes senses of arguments that might seem backwards to a modern historian because it breaks down what are for us natural distinctions between premises and what are conclusions. A character-oriented Roman historian need not neglect the ‘truth’ as he sees it in doing violence to the evidence as we see it. He might even feel an obligation to do so.

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Bibliography Dickey, E. (2002). Latin Forms of Address. From Plautus to Apuleius, Oxford. Ferrary, J.-L. (1991). ‘Lex Cornelia de sicariis et veneficis’, Athenaeum 79: 417–434. Forsythe, G. (2007). ‘Claudius Quadrigarius and Livy’s second pentad’, in J. Marincola (ed.), A Companion to Greek and Roman Historiography (Oxford), 391–396. Kaster, R. A. (2006). Marcus Tullius Cicero, Speech on Behalf of Publius Sestius, Oxford. Lendon, J. (2009). ‘Historians without history. Against Roman historiography’, in A. Feldherr (ed.), Companion to Roman Historiography (Cambridge), 41–61. Lintott, A. W. (2008). Cicero as Evidence. A Historian’s Companion, Oxford. Matthews, J. (2007). ‘The Emperor and his historians’, in J. Marincola (ed.), A Companion to Greek and Roman Historiography (Oxford), 290–304. Powell, J. G. F. and Paterson, J. (2004). ‘Introduction’, in J. G. F. Powell and J. Paterson (eds.), Cicero the Advocate (Oxford), 1–58. Riggsby, A. (1997). ‘Did the Romans believe in their verdicts?’, Rhetorica 13: 235–251. Riggsby, A. (1999). Crime and Community in Ciceronian Rome, Austin, TX. Riggsby, A. (2004). ‘Character in Roman oratory and rhetoric’, in J. G. F. Powell and J. Paterson (eds.), Cicero the Advocate (Oxford), 165–185. Sweetser, E. (1987). ‘The definition of lie’, in D. Holland and N. Quinn (eds.), Cultural Models in Language and Thought (Cambridge), 43–66. Taylor, J. (2011). ‘Prototype theory’, in C. Marienborn, K. von Heusinger, and P. Portner (eds.), Semantics. An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning (Berlin), 643–663. Watson, A. (1965). The Law of Obligations in the Later Roman Republic, Oxford. Watson, A. (1971). The Law of Succession in the Later Roman Republic, Oxford. Watson, A. (1995). The Spirit of Roman Law, Athens, GA. Zimmermann, R. (1996). The Law of Obligations. Roman Foundations of the Civilian Tradition, Oxford.

Part 4 The Literary Construction of History


Livy’s Battle in the Forum between Roman Monuments and Greek Literature Dennis Pausch* 1

Romans against Sabines: Livy’s Version

Livy (1.11.5–1.13.5) vividly depicts the decisive battle between the Romans and the Sabines over the abduction of the Sabine women, which the young king Romulus had planned. It was the famous intervention of the Sabine women which finally brought an end to the fighting. The battle is not only located at the very place where the Forum Romanum would be in later times,1 but also makes use of many of its monuments, which were presumably quite familiar to Livy’s readers in the second half of the first century BCE, but which were of course not yet in existence at the dramatic date of the encounter some years after the supposed founding of the city.2 The purpose of Livy’s specific way of narrating the events related to this ‘prehistoric’ battle is apparently to describe the alleged origins of as many of these monuments as possible within one and the same narration, thus creating a kind of super-aition that is able to assemble and to embrace half a dozen smaller foundation stories. The narrative structure, therefore, in a way closely corresponds to its content, since the Sabine-Roman synoecism likewise acts as a ‘super-explanation’ for a number of presumably separated cultural and historical phenomena.3 At the same time, however, this way of narrating the story is an important contribution to * I would like to thank Christopher Smith and Kaj Sandberg for a very illuminating conference, the audience for helpful comments and Calum A. Maciver for doing his very best to improve the English of this paper. 1  For a reading of this passage with special regard to the spatial elements of the narration, see Jaeger (1997), 30–56; see also Kowalewski (2002), 17–33, and Schmitzer (2005), 243–248. 2  Livy’s account of Romulus’ reign in general can be understood as kind of ‘guided tour’ through the historical centre of the city; for an interpretation along these lines, see Jaeger (1997), esp. 7, and Pausch (2008), 42–46; for an more general approach to this literary technique, see Schmitzer (2001) and Id. (2005). 3  For the debate on the historical reliability, see Mommsen (1886); Poucet (2000), 382–388; Dench (2005), 177. For the relevance of these events for the Roman identity during the first century BCE, see Ver Eecke (2008), 25–31, 80–95.

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the literary value of Livy’s Ab urbe condita, since it elicits a vivid picture in the mind of the reader by creating the impression that this ‘prehistoric’ action really takes place between the contemporary localities of the Forum and thus enables Livy to bring past history back to life by connecting the material and topographical memory with a moving description. I will start by giving a short summary of the salient points. The war which resulted from the kidnapping of the Sabine women opens with the betrayal of one of two strongholds of the Roman city, the Arx Capitolina, by Tarpeia, the young daughter of its commander. She had fallen in love with Titus Tatius, the Sabine king.4 Without the need to make the relation explicit, it must have been obvious to Roman readers that we have encountered our first aition here, namely the one of the Rupes Tarpeia or the Mons Tarpeius, for which this unlucky lover was the eponymous heroine, at least since the historical accounts of Fabius Pictor and Calpurnius Piso.5 As a result of this treachery, the Sabines are now in possession of the Capitol, whereas the Romans still hold the Palatine. This means that the open ground for their further engagement is provided by the valley between the two hills, later to be known as the Forum Romanum, as Livy himself remarks in the middle of the description.6 Due to the anger of the Romans and the vigour of Hostus Hostilius, the first part of the action takes place rather close to the camp of the Sabines which is almost at the slope of Capitoline hill. The death of Hostus Hostilius and the subsequent retreat of the Roman lines mark the first turning point of the narrative and, at the same time, present another topographical aition, as Hostilius will later be buried at the very spot where he was killed.7 His tomb was either located in the area of the Comitium close by the Lapis Niger or even – according to some authors – identified with this mysterious stone itself (usually attributed of course to Romulus or sometimes Faustulus).8

4  Liv. 1.11.5–9. 5  Dion. Hal. 2.38–40 (= FRHist 1 F 10 and FRHist 7 F 7). On the adaption of this well-known and often varied story by the poets (esp. Prop. 4.4), see Welch (2005), 56–78. 6  Liv. 1.12.8: Mettius Curtius ab Sabinis princeps ab arce decucurrerat et effusos egerat Romanos toto quantum foro spatium est. (“Meanwhile Mettius Curtius, the Sabine leader, had plunged down from the citadel, driving the Romans in confusion before him over the entire area of the present forum”; translation Luce [1998]). 7  Liv. 1.12.1–3. 8  Fest. 184 L; Dion. Hal. 3.1.2. See Coarelli (1983), 161–168; Kolb (1995), 77–84; Ver Eecke (2008), 220–222.

Livy ’ s Battle in the Forum


After the loss of their promachos, the Romans fall back along the Via Sacra,9 and do not come to a stop before they reach the other end of the valley – namely the slope of the Palatine Hill and the Porta Mugonia (called porta vetus by Livy). Even now Romulus can only convince them to take up their arms again by making a vow to Iuppiter.10 This second turning point, of course, offers another topographical aition as he allegedly takes his vow right where Livy’s readers still could see the Temple of Iuppiter Stator,11 although we cannot locate this place exactly today.12 There is another problem here, since it apparently took the Romans some centuries and at least a second vow by M. Atilius Regulus (against the Samnites) to keep this pledge and really to build the temple,13 as Livy himself reports for the year 294 BCE, surely in order to reconcile two older versions.14 As a consequence of Romulus’ prayer and speech, the tide was changing again and now the Sabines were falling back the same way they had come. Even one of their leaders, Mettius Curtius, was forced to retreat and got himself and his horse into trouble as he stumbled into a little swamp in the middle of the valley. He finally managed to come out again, but his struggle with the soft ground firmly locates this part of the action at the Lacus Curtius,15 which received its name from this incident, as Livy explicitly states at the end of the whole passage.16 This does not prevent him, however, from giving two other explanations for the name later on in his work,17 but Livy’s readiness to

9  Even the name of the street itself is connected to these events by some sources, see Fest. 372 L: sacram viam quidem appellatam esse existimant quod in ea foedus ictum sit inter Romulum ac Tatium; cf. Coarelli (1983), 51–52. 10  Liv. 1.12.3–7. 11  His prominence in the historical imagination of the first century BCE is highlighted by Cicero’s usage of this location for his first Catilinarian speech; see Vasaly (1993), 40–59 and Ver Eecke (2008), 247–256. 12  For the debate on the possible locations, see Ziolkowski (1992), 87–91; F. Coarelli, LTUR III (1996), 155–157 s.v. ‘Iuppiter Stator’; Freyberger (2012a), 24–26 (arguing for an identification with the Temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina). 13  Liv. 10.36.11. 14  Liv. 10.37.14–16; for text and translation see below. 15  Liv. 1.12.8–10. 16  Liv. 1.13.5: monumentum eius pugnae, ubi primum ex profunda emersus palude equus Curtium in vado statuit, Curtium lacum appellarunt. 17  Liv. 7.6.1–5; Varro ling. 6.148–150. Bremmer (1993), 165–170; LTUR III (1996), 166–167 s.v. ‘lacus Curtius’ (Giuliani).



incorporate conflicting versions from time to time into the narrative of his Ab urbe condita clearly is another story.18 Even the next and best known act of this truly dramatic story, the famous intervention of the Sabine Women, is presented with an eye to the right locality.19 They appear on the scene at the very moment when the Sabines – after the rescue of Mettius Curtius – have regathered their courage and are ready to move against the enemy once more.20 This is a fairly precise reference to the location of the sanctuary of Venus Cloacina, whose name – according at least to Pliny the Elder – does not point to the construction of the Cloaca Maxima (though this is more likely from an historical point of view), but to the ritual ablution of our combatants after they had been brought to their senses by their women.21 And one can even take into account the final episode, though only mentioned in passing by by Livy: Because the place where the peace treaty between the Romans and Sabines is officially concluded, offers another topographical aition, namely one of the several attached to the Comitium.22 To a reader especially interested in the interaction of literary texts with the cultural environment from which they arose, this is one of the most fascinating passages in the whole Ab urbe condita.23 Livy has of course profited in many ways from his predecessors in the field of historiography, and especially in this case, where it is obvious that the individual aetiological stories are much older. What is harder to find in the Roman tradition, however, is a previous example of uniting several aitia into a coherent story in the way Livy does here. I will 18  See for example Spencer (2007) and Miles (1995), 35–38, who cites this passage as one of his main arguments that Livy wants to show to this reader the unreliability of historical knowledge in general; for further references see Pausch (2011), 17–46. 19  Although Livy does not mention it explicitly, they seem have been the spectators of battle for some time, thus further enhancing the ‘spectacular’ quality of the depiction, see Jaeger (1997), 47 and Schmitzer (2005), 245–246. For a close reading of the whole chapter 1.13 in linguistic terms, see Wankenne (1975). 20  Liv. 1.13.1–3. 21  Plin. nat. 15.119–120: [scil. Myrtus] fuit, ubi nunc Roma est, iam cum conderetur, quippe ita traditur, myrtea verbena Romanos Sabinosque, cum propter raptas virgines dimicare voluissent, depositis armis purgatos in eo loco, qui nunc signa Veneris Cluacinae habet. cluere enim antiqui purgare dicebant. See Coarelli (1983), 83–89; Poucet (2000), 359; Freyberger (2012b), 57–58. 22  Cf. Liv. 13.4; Plut. Rom. 19.10; Cass. Dio frg. 5.7. See Coarelli (1983), 161–188; Hölkeskamp (2001), 119–123. For possible references to further aitia in this last scene of Livy’s account, see Jaeger (1997), 49–50. 23  For other reasons why this passage is counted among the most widely read of Livy’s work, see Seel (1960) or Ogilvie (1965), 64–65.

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present the results of my search in the third section. My general concern in the following remarks, therefore, is to discuss the origin of the literary technique that can be observed here and to see if it had already been part of the historiographical tradition of the Roman republic or if our author had perhaps found other models for his way of writing history. In order to do so, I will start not in Rome, but in Athens by presenting a fragment of Kleidemos who in his Atthis did something very similar. The parallel was already noticed Franz Rühl in 189924 as well as by Peter Wiseman in his Unwritten Rome,25 but has not been discussed at any length before now.26 2

Athenians against Amazons: Kleidemos’ Story as an Archetype?

Plutarch, in the Greek counterpart to his Vita Romuli, the life of the Athenian hero Theseus, relied on, among others, Kleidemos of Athens, and has transmitted two of the longer of the 36 fragments of his History of Athens, presumably written in the middle of the fourth century BCE.27 According to Pausanias (who calls him Kleitodemos), he was the first to write Atthidography,28 whereas others give this honour to Hellanikos of Mytilene.29 Whoever can lay claim to the first place in this literary contest, what is important for the following argument is that we are still in a rather early phase of the development of this genre. Some of the features to be observed here may be characteristic also for most of the later works. Following in the giant footsteps of Felix Jacoby, research on 24  See Rühl (1899), 317: “So ward die Sage von Kleidemos erzählt, wie Plutarch im Theseus c. 27 berichtet, der leider nicht mittheilt, wie Kleidemos die Sache im Einzelnen ausgemalt hatte. Anderswo scheint sich diese Version in der erhaltenen Literatur nicht zu finden, und wie mir der zu früh verstorbene Ferdinand Dümmler mittheilte, hat sie sich auch auf Bildwerken noch nicht nachweisen lassen.” 25  See Wiseman (2008), 234: “And there is reason to suppose that some Romans also read the ‘Atthidographers’, whose narratives of the long history of their city’s political development conspicuously prefigured the later historiography of Rome. A particularly revealing parallel is the description in Kleidemos of Theseus’ battle with the Amazons in what was in historical times the middle of Athens [FGrH 323 F 18]: the topographical details are used as ‘evidence’ in just the same way as the Lacus Curtius and the Iuppiter Stator temple in the story of Romulus’ battle with the Sabines in what was in historical times the middle of Rome.” 26  For a first, but rather insufficient attempt, see Pausch (2008), 57–58. 27  For the dating of his life time, see esp. BNJ 323 F 8 (with commentary). 28  Paus. 10.15.5 (= BNJ 323 T 1). 29  See for example Thuk. 1.97.2.



the Atthidographers has mainly focused on the political dimension of their works,30 whereas literary technique has been seriously understudied, not least because Dionysius of Halicarnassus’ verdict still prevails that they did not advance much beyond a purely chronological way of writing history.31 Although Plutarch criticizes Kleidemos in both instances for his length,32 he seems to have rendered the content quite faithfully. Whereas the first passage relates to Theseus’ journey to Crete (apparently understood by Kleidemos as an early success of Athenian sea power) and is of no further relevance for us,33 the second one bears close resemblance to Livy’s story with regard to the general plot, since again a woman is kidnapped and what follows is a war with her relatives.34 This time, however, it is Hippolyte, the queen of the Amazons (more often called Antiope),35 who is abducted by Theseus (alone or with the help of Heracles)36 and then claimed back by her fellow warriors.37 The general outline of the story derives its origin from the epic reworkings of the Theseus legend from the sixth century BCE onwards (known as the Theseis) and thus shows the numerous variants typical for this kind of myth.38 Even with an eye to the spatial setting, there is an intriguing parallel, as the Amazons, too, not only set up their camp within the city walls, but thereby also occupied one of the most prominent hills: the so-called Amazoneion must have been a part of the Areopagus and directly faced the Acropolis which was still held by Athenians,39 although its exact location is lost to us today.40 What differs, however, is the duration of the plot, as Kleidemos, in accordance with 30  See in general Jacoby FGrH 323, 71–79, and for Kleidemos in particular McInerney (1994), passim and esp. 21: “Eventually, in the work of Kleidemos … , a democratic answer would take shape in the form of a history of Attica organized around the twin themes of naval strength and the rule of the demos.” 31  Cf. Dion. Hal. 1.8.3. See for example Harding (2007), 180–183, but now also Schubert (2010) and the ongoing commentary in Brill’s New Jacoby. 32  Cf. Plut. Thes. 19.8, 27.2. For further criticism, see Plut. mor. 345E (= BNJ 323 T 3). 33  Plut. Thes. 19.8 (=BNJ 323 F 17). 34  For a brief discussion of the parallels, see Rühl (1899). 35  On the variants of the name see Harding (2008), 65–66. 36  Cf. Eur. Heracl. 215–217; Pind. frg. 175 Maehler. 37  Cf. Isokr. or. 12.193; Diod. 4.28; Apollod. epit. 1.16; Plut. Thes. 26–28. 38  Bernabé (1987), 135–136. The fight with the Amazons was also depicted on the south metopes of the Athenian treasure house at Delphi in the late 6 century BCE (see Fornasier [2007], 43–48) and became a popular element of the epitaphios logos (cf. for example Lys. epitaph. 4–6 and Isokr. paneg. 68–70; see Loraux [1986], 147–149 and Harding [2008], 66). 39  Aischyl. Eum. 681–694 (even tracing back the name to the Amazons, who are supposed to have worshipped their father Ares on this hill); Diodor 4.28 and Apollod. epit. 1.16. 40  Aischyl. Eum. 681–694; see for example Köhler (1872), 105.

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older traditions, apparently told a longer story of an outright siege of Athens by the Amazons extending over at least three months,41 whereas in Rome the final fighting takes place on the day immediately after the betrayal of the Capitol by Tarpeia. But the site of the decisive battle in Athens is spread over a larger area, too, here between Museion and Agora and likewise incorporates a number of further topographical aitia in addition to the Amazoneion. This is a significant enlargement of the ‘memorial landscape’42 that may be traced back to Kleidemos, at least in large part.43 After these general remarks, I would like to point out some of the more detailed parallels between the story told by Kleidemos and Livy’s battle in the Forum Romanum:44 τὸ δ’ ἐν τῇ πόλει σχεδὸν αὐτὰς ἐνστρατοπεδεῦσαι μαρτυρεῖται καὶ τοῖς ὀνόμασι τῶν τόπων καὶ ταῖς θήκαις τῶν πεσόντων. πολὺν δὲ χρόνον ὄκνος ἦν καὶ μέλλησις ἀμφοτέροις τῆς ἐπιχειρήσεως, τέλος δὲ Θησεὺς κατά τι λόγιον τῷ Φόβῳ σφαγιασάμενος συνῆψεν αὐταῖς. ἡ μὲν οὖν μάχη Βοηδρομιῶνος ἐγένετο μηνός, ἐφ’ ᾗ τὰ Βοηδρόμια. That they [the Amazons] encamped almost in the city is proved by the names of the places and by the tombs of the fallen. For a long time there was hesitation and fear on both sides of the attack, but finally Theseus, in obedience to a certain oracle, made sacrifice to Phobos [Fear] and engaged with them [the Amazons]. The battle was during the month of Boêdromiôn, on the day that up to the present time the Athenians celebrate the festival of the Boêdromia. Strictly speaking, this is still Plutarch’s version, but as Kleidemos is cited for what follows, it may be reasonable to assume that this part of the narrative goes back to him. If so, we have an interesting parallel to Romulus’ prayer to Iuppiter Stator as a strategy to prevent the Romans’ flight. No topographical 41  For a detailed calculation of the presumed duration, see Jacoby FGrHist. 234, 76. 42  For the expression (“Erinnerungslandschaft”) and useful summary, see Taube (2013), 51–52. 43  See Jacoby FGrHist. 234, 76: “[scil. Kleidemos’ account] … replaces the simple old contrast of Areopagos and Akropolis by the town of the fifth/ fourth century”. See also McInerney (1994), 29–31, who argues that Kleidemos deliberately has transferred the action from the traditional place at the Areopagus towards the Pnyx, in order to emphasize his strictly pro-democratic interpretation of the events. 44  Plut. Thes. 27.2–3 (= BNJ 323 F 18); translation by Morison in BNJ.



aition, however is attached to this part of the story – unless we should happen to find a temple dedicated to Phobos in Athens. Apart from that, Livy also uses the date of a religious festival to fix the whole narrative temporally, as the rape is conducted when the Consualia were held for the first time.45 We now come to battle proper as well as to Kleidemos’ narration, however faithfully reproduced by Plutarch:46 μέχρι νῦν Ἀθηναῖοι θύουσιν. ἱστορεῖ δὲ Κλείδημος, ἐξακριβοῦν τὰ καθ’ ἕκαστα βουλόμενοι, τὸ μὲν εὐώνυμον τῶν ᾿Αμαζόνων κέρας ἐπιστρέφειν πρὸς τὸ νῦν καλούμενον ᾿Αμαζόνειον, τῷ δὲ δεξιῷ πρὸς τὴν Πνύκα κατὰ τὴν Χρύσαν ἥκειν. μάχεσθαι δὲ πρὸς τοῦτο τοὺς ᾿Αθηναίους ἀπὸ τοῦ Μουσείου ταῖς ᾿Αμαζόσι συμπεσόντας, καὶ τάφους τῶν πεσόντων περὶ τὴν πλατεῖαν εἶναι τὴν φέρουσαν ἐπὶ τὰς πύλας παρὰ τὸ Χαλκώδοντος ἡρῷον, ἃς νῦν Πειραϊκὰς ὀνομάζουσι. καὶ ταύτῃ μὲν ἐκβιασθῆναι μέχρι τῶν Εὐμενίδων καὶ ὑποχωρῆσαι ταῖς γυναιξίν, ἀπὸ δὲ Παλλαδίου καὶ ᾿Αρδηττοῦ καὶ Λυκείου προσβαλόντας ὤσασθαι τὸ δεξιὸν αὐτῶν ἄχρι τοῦ στρατοπέδου καὶ πολλὰς καταβαλεῖν. Kleidemos, wanting to describe each individual detail precisely, relates in his history that the left flank of the Amazons faced the place now called the Amazoneion, and on the right they approached the Pnyx, beside the Chrysa [a golden statue of Victory].47 Against this wing the Athenians fought with and fell upon the Amazons from the Mouseion; the tombs of the fallen are on both sides of the street heading towards the gate beside the heroön of Chalkôdon, which they now call Peiraïka gate.48 On this side, [the Athenians] were defeated and gave way to the women as far the [sanctuary] of the Eumenides, but those attacking from the Palladion and Ardettos and the Lyceum pushed back their right flank up to their encampment and slew many. The last detail is rather puzzling in regard to the exact movements of the combatants, as the sanctuary of Eumenides is to be located near the Areopagus.49 45  Liv. 1.9.6. For Kleidemos’ interest in festival dates (being an exegetes), see Jacoby FGrH 323, 76. 46  Plut. Thes. 27.3–4 (= BNJ 323 F 18); translation by Morison in BNJ. 47  See BNJ 323 F 18, ad loc.: “The site of the Chrysa (probably a golden statue of Victory) was apparently situated near the Pnyx; but other than a brief mention by the lexicographer Harpokration (s.v. ‘Chrysa’), nothing further is known about it.” 48  The shrine is otherwise unknown, see BNJ 323 F 18, ad loc. 49  See for example Paus. 1.28.6; for further references see BNJ 323 F 18, ad loc.

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Nonetheless, it becomes very apparent that we have here – as we do in Livy – the successful attempt to integrate separated topographical aitia into a coherent narrative or, to put it the other way around, to inscribe a detailed action into the spatial memory of the Athenian city.50 The war is concluded, again as in ‘prehistoric’ Rome, by a formal treaty.51 This was initiated – according to some authors – by Hippolyte herself, who is thus acting as the direct equivalent to the Sabine women.52 Admittedly, it cannot be proved that Plutarch relies on Kleidemos for the end of the story too, but since other sources are not named before the end of the passage it is not improbable that he is still at least one of the authors used by the biographer:53 Τετάρτῳ δὲ μηνὶ συνθήκας γενέσθαι διὰ τῆς Ἱππολύτης· Ἱπολύτην γὰρ οὗτος ὀνομάζει τὴν τῷ Θησεῖ συνοικοῦσαν, οὐκ Ἀντιόπην. ἔνιοι δέ φασι μετὰ τοῦ Θησέως μαχομένην πεσεῖν τὴν ἄνθρωπον ὑπὸ Μολπαδίας ἀκοντισθεῖσαν, καὶ τὴν στήλην τὴν παρὰ τὸ τῆς Γῆς τῆς Ὀλυμπίας ἱερὸν ἐπὶ ταύτῃ κεῖσθαι. καὶ θαυμαστὸν οὐκ ἔστιν ἐπὶ πράγμασιν οὕτω παλαιοῖς πλανᾶσθαι τὴν ἱστορίαν, ἐπεὶ καὶ τὰς τετρωμένας φασὶ τῶν Ἀμαζόνων ὑπ’ Ἀντιόπης εἰς Χαλκίδα λάθρα διαπεμφθείσας τυγχάνειν ἐπιμελείας, καὶ ταφῆναί τινας ἐκεῖ περὶ τὸ νῦν Ἀμαζόνειον καλούμενον. ἀλλὰ τοῦ γε τὸν πόλεμον εἰς σπονδὰς τελευτῆσαι μαρτύριόν ἐστιν ἥ τε τοῦ τόπου κλῆσις τοῦ παρὰ τὸ Θησεῖον, ὅνπερ Ὁρκωμόσιον καλοῦσιν, ἥ τε γινομένη πάλαι θυσία ταῖς Ἀμαζόσι πρὸ τῶν Θησείων. In the fourth month [of the war], there was a treaty through the agency of Hippolytê. For (Kleidemos) calls the woman married to Theseus Hippolytê, not Antiopê. Some say that this woman was hit by a javelin by Molpadia and fell while fighting alongside Theseus and that the stele, which is beside the shrine of Olympian Gê, was set up in her honour.54 However, it is not surprising that for deeds of such antiquity, the historical account should vary so much, since they also say that the wounded 50  See Jacoby FGrH 323, 76: “… his purpose is to bring into a historical, which means for him rational, context the memorials of the Amazons scattered over the city … .” 51  Perhaps even an element introduced for the first time by Kleidemos, see McInerney (1994), 29. 52  See Rühl (1899), 317, but also Poucet (1967), 239 n. 170: “En fait, notre connaissance de cette legend est beaucoup trop fragmentaire (Plut. Th., 27 , 5) pour autoriser une telle conclusion.” 53  Plut. Thes. 27.4–5 (= BNJ 323 F 18); translation by Morison in BNJ. 54  It is most probably to be located at the southwest corner of the Olympieion (see BNJ 323 F 18, ad loc.), even so Pausanias (1.2.1) claims to have seen a tomb of Antiope on his way to the Agora (see Fornasier [2007], 61–62).



Amazons had been sent secretly by Antiopê to Chalkis to obtain care, and that some were buried there around the place now called the Amazoneion.55 But there is proof that the war ended in a treaty both because of the name of the place beside the Theseion, which is called the Place of Oath Swearing (Horkômosion), and because of the sacrifice for the Amazons which used to happen before the festival of the Theseia.56 Thus this inner-city amazonomachy ends with the aition for a locality which closely resembles that of the Comitium as the place where Romans and Sabines came together and constituted a new society. Arguing even more generally, one could say that these stories must have been important elements of the historical self-representation and thus the respective cultural identity of both cities. For the Athenians, the Amazons and their ultimately unsuccessful invasion of the inner city acted as a parallel to the city’s capture by the Persians,57 and the same might be true for the Sabines and the supposed sack of Rome by the Gauls. In any case, the respective myths have been very popular in the material culture and the visual memory of both cities. Whereas the Amazons had been displayed inter alia as sculptures on the west metopes of the Parthenon and depicted in the Stoa Poikile,58 the Sabine Women formed part of the frieze decorating the interior of the Basilica Aemilia.59 In both instances, incidentally, the site of the installation is rather close to the mythical setting of their stories. The significance of both legends in the cultural memory may have made it easier, too, to perceive the possible parallels in the way they could be presented in terms of literature. But this is by no means a necessary condition. The same method of combining a number of originally separated aitia by presenting them as a part of an ongoing and coherent story line could, in principle, be employed also by other writers and in other contexts. But given the prominence of Kleidemos’ work as (one of the) first examples of Atthidography,60 there is 55  For the Amazonian lieux de mémoire outside of Athens, see Taube (2013), 51. 56  See BNJ 323 F 18, ad loc.: “At Horkomosion … Theseus and Peirithoos were supposed to have sworn oaths of loyalty. Pausanias (1.17.2–6), however, indicates that the Theseion was in a different location but not very far away … .” 57  See Walker (1995), 55–61; Fornasier (2007), 54–65; Harding (2008), 66. 58  See, for example, Paus. 1.15; see Martini (2013), 172–175. 59  See Kränzle (1994), 93–130, and for the ongoing discussion to which part of the building the frieze had been attached, see now Lipps (2011), 52–53. 60  Although Plutarch blames him for wordiness, his history seems to have been held in great esteem by others, as is suggested at least by the circumstance of his death as reported by Tertullian: cf. anim. 52 (= BNJ 323 T 2): nam etsi prae gaudio quis spiritum exhalet … etsi

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a fair chance that his depiction could have been quite influential on the further development of the genre. That is to say that this literary technique will have been available to Roman historians (or historians of Rome) right from the start – at least in principle. 3

Fragments and Monuments: in Search of Roman Predecessors

As a next step, I will now look at the Roman tradition and try to find evidence for the use of this narrative strategy in the works of Livy’s predecessors or in other forms of cultural memory.61 Of course, the main problem with this approach is that we do not have enough coherent narratives from the time before Livy, but only sketchy fragments on the one hand, and texts about the monuments on the other, and each follows their own independent aetiological tradition.62 In principle, it would be sufficient to find any example of a narrative action that brings together the origins of several topographical phenomena.63 It is more for practical reasons that I have confined myself to the Sabine War here. But then it might be legitimate to ask: where, if not in this case, would an author use such a strategy, if it is known to him at all? Given the state of the evidence we have, it seems natural to start by discussing the evidence for contemporary parallels, in order to see if we can assume the existence of a common source and thus get to a rather simple answer to our question. As one might have guessed, however, things are more complicated. Cicero, in the second book of his De republica, mentions the battle in the Forum, but without any details:64 qua ex causa cum bellum Romanis Sabini intulissent, proeliique certamen varium atque anceps fuisset, cum T. Tatio rege Sabinorum foedus icit, matronis ipsis quae raptae erant orantibus; quo foedere et Sabinos in prae gloria, ut Clidemus Atheniensis, dum ob historici stili praestantiam auro coronatur; see Jacoby FGrH 323, 59: “Quite apart from the public honour (T 2), the detailed accounts of Theseus, of the Persian and the Peloponnesian Wars, prove that Kleidemos claimed literary merits: his Atthis was not a publication of documents like the Exegetikon, it was really a historical book and as such a work of literature.” 61  Both options have, of course, been already envisaged (see for example Ogilvie [1965], 64–65), but not systematically described. 62  For a concise overview see Hölkeskamp (2006), esp. 482–489 (with further references). 63  A similar example, albeit at a smaller scale, is provided by the story of the Horatii and Curatii, see Liv. 1.24–26 with Solodow (1979), esp. 261–264. 64  Cic. rep. 2.13; translation by Zetzel (1999).



civitatem adscivit sacris conmunicatis, et regnum suum cum illorum rege sociavit. This led the Sabines to wage war against the Romans; and when the battle was indecisive, he made a treaty with Titus Tatius the Sabine king at the urging of the women who had been seized. By that treaty he admitted the Sabines to citizenship and joint religious rituals, and he shared his rule with their king. One gets the impression, nevertheless, that his account is a kind of summary of a much more detailed narration known to him in principle.65 An elaborate narrative is what we get – as so often – in Dionysius’ Roman Antiquities, one too long to be discussed here adequately.66 After reporting the capture of the Capitol by the Sabines,67 and an indecisive encounter the day before,68 he describes the main engagement as a varied battle taking the whole day, but containing only one aition, namely that of the Lacus Curtius (made explicit by the author),69 whereas the one of the Temple of Iuppiter Stator is added in retrospect,70 but is strikingly not presented as part of the action.71 As 65  On Cicero’s view on the regal period in general, see Fox (1996), 5–28. 66  Dion. Hal. 2.38–43. For a more detailed comparison, see Poucet (1967), 187–213. 67  Dion. Hal. 2.38–40. 68  Dion. Hal. 2.41. 69  Dion. Hal. 2.42–43, esp. 42.6: ὁ δὲ Κούρτιος πολλὰ μοχθήσας σὺν χρόνῳ σώζεταί τε ἐκ τῆς λίμνης τὰ ὅπλα ἔχων καὶ εἰς τὸν χάρακα ἀπάγεται. οὗτος ὁ τόπος ἀνακέχωσται μὲν ἤδη, καλεῖται δ᾽ ἐξ ἐκείνου τοῦ πάθους Κούρτιος λάκκος ἐν μέσῳ μάλιστα ὢν τῆς Ῥωμαίων ἀγορᾶς (“But Curtius with great difficulty got safely out of the lake after a time without losing his arms and was led away to the camp. This place is now filled up, but it is called from this incident the Lacus Curtius, being about in the middle of the Roman Forum.”; translation by Cary, Loeb 1937). 70  Dion. Hal. 2.50.3: ἱερά τε ἱδρύσαντο καὶ βωμοὺς καθιέρωσαν οἷς ηὔξαντο κατὰ τὰς μάχας θεοῖς, Ῥωμύλος μὲν ὀρθωσίῳ Διὶ παρὰ ταῖς καλουμέναις Μουγωνίσι πύλαις, αἳ φέρουσιν εἰς τὸ Παλάτιον ἐκ τῆς ἱερᾶς ὁδοῦ, ὅτι τὴν στρατιὰν αὐτοῦ φυγοῦσαν ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς ὑπακούσας ταῖς εὐχαῖς στῆναί τε καὶ πρὸς ἀλκὴν τραπέσθαι. (“They built temples also and consecrated altars to those gods to whom they had addressed their vows during their battles: Romulus to Jupiter Stator, near the Porta Mugonia, as it is called, which leads to the Palatine hill from the Sacred Way, because this god had heard his vows and had caused his army to stop in its flight and to renew the battle.”; translation by Cary, Loeb 1937). 71  The same applies perhaps to the sacellum of Venus Cloacina, if this is what is meant by his hint later on in the narrative: cf. Dion. Hal. 2.46.3: ταῦτα ὀμόσαντες καὶ βωμοὺς ἐπὶ τοῖς ὅρκοις ἱδρυσάμενοι κατὰ μέσην μάλιστα τὴν καλουμένην ἱερὰν ὁδὸν συνεκεράσθησαν ἀλλήλοις; See Wiseman (1998), 79.

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a further difference, no military decision is reached before nightfall and even the intervention of the Sabine Women takes place only after some more days of deliberation.72 We thus have here the same result that usually emerges from a comparison of these two historical works on a larger scale: both authors wrote roughly at the same time, using roughly same sources, and produced similar, but not identical versions of Rome’s early history.73 As far as our question is concerned, however, this is not too helpful, as the existence of an older version with all the details we know from Livy can neither be proven nor excluded.74 Let us look at what has survived from the republican historians instead.75 Above all, it is the popular story of Tarpeia that is comparatively well attested. In the second book of his Roman Antiquities Dionysius of Halicarnassus quotes Fabius Pictor and Cincius Alimentus for one version, and Calpurnius Piso for another.76 In the present context, Piso is of greater interest to us, as another fragment of the history he wrote during the second half of the second century explains the name of the Lacus Curtius by pointing to Mettius Curtius, the Sabine champion.77 It is cited by Varro in De lingua Latina:78 Piso in annalibus scribit Sabino bello, quod fuit Romulo et Tatio, virum fortissimum Metium Curtium Sabinum, cum Romulus cum suis ex superiore parte impressionem fecisset, in locum palustrem, qui tum fuit in foro antequam cloacae sunt factae, secessisse atque ad suos in Capitolium recepisse; ab eo lacum invenisse nomen. Piso in his Annals writes that in the Sabine War, which took place between Romulus and Tatius, when Romulus and his troops launched an assault from higher ground, Mettius Curtius, a Sabine of the greatest bravery, withdrew to a marshy place in the Forum (it was before the drains had

72  Dion. Hal. 2.44–46. 73  On the relation between Livy and Dionysius in general, see further for example Luce (1995). 74  Plutarch (Rom. 18–19) mentions three aitia (Lacus Curtius, Iuppiter Stator and Comitium), but, with regard to the story line, follows more closely Dionysius than Livy. 75  On aetiology as a general method in Roman republican historiography, see for example Poucet (1992), 281–314; Chassignet (1998), 321–335; FRH I, 25–26. 76  Dion. Hal. 2.38.1–2.40.3; FRHist 1 Fabius Pictor F 10; FRHist 2 Cincius Alimentus F 7; FRHist 9 Calpurnius Piso F 7. 77  For the differences to Livy’s account, see, for example, Poucet (1967), 197–198 and Jaeger (1997), 34–35, 42–45. 78  Varro ling. 5.149 (= FRHist 9 F 8).



been built), and rejoined his companions on the Capitol; it was from him that the pool took its name . Given the dynamic action inherent in the narrative of this extract and the fact that the same author dealt also with the Tarpeia story, it might be legitimate to conjecture that the two snippets that have come down to us originally belonged to a detailed description establishing a narrative linkage between a larger number of monuments and their respective aetiologies.79 Yet, to keep things in perspective, all we have for sure are two isolated fragments out of seven books by the same author. In the remains of Fabius Pictor’s history, however, the reference to the Rupes Tarpeia is the only topographical aition connected with the Sabine War beyond question.80 For it must remain doubtful whether he included a ‘Romulean’ version of the vow leading to the Temple of Iuppiter Stator in addition to the one of Atilius Regulus in the third century BCE81 or if this duplication of explanations belongs rather to Livy alone.82 This absence can, of course, be explained by the highly fragmentary character of his work and thus it is often 79  See for example Forsythe (1994), 150–170, esp. 159–160: “It seems likely that Piso’s narrative contained this aetiological death and burial of Hostus Hostilius as well as Mettius Curtius’ entanglement in the mire of the Forum.” On Piso’s possible motives, see FRH I, 291–292: “Nimmt man noch hinzu, daß die gens Calpurnia ihre Abstammung auf den Sabiner Numa zurückführten, erscheint der Schluss erlaubt, daß Piso die gemeinsame Geschichte von Römern und Sabinern besonders nachdrücklich in den mythhistorische Topographie Roms einzuschreiben suchte – durchaus mit Erfolg, wie die entsprechenden Berichte von Livius zeigen … .” 80  Dion. Hal. 2.38.1–2.40.2 (= FRHist 1 Fabius Pictor F 10). 81  Liv. 10.37.14–16 (= FRHist 1 Fabius Pictor F 25): Fabius ambo consules in Samnio et ad Luceriam res gessisse scribit traductumque in Etruriam exercitum – sed ab utro consule non adiecit – et ad Luceriam utrimque multos occisos inque ea pugna Iouis Statoris aedem uotam, ut Romulus ante uouerat; sed fanum tantum, id est locus templo effatus, fuerat; ceterum hoc demum anno ut aedem etiam fieri senatus iuberet bis eiusdem uoti damnata re publica in religionem uenit. (“Fabius writes that both consuls fought in Samnium and at Luceria; that the army was led over into Etruria – by which consul he does not state – and that at Luceria both sides suffered heavy losses; in the course of the battle a temple was vowed to Jupiter Stator, as Romulus had vowed one before; but only the fanum or place set apart for the temple, had been consecrated; this year, however, their scruples demanded that the senate should order the erection of the building, since the state had now been obligated for the second time by the same vow.”; translation by Foster [1926]). 82  See Oakley (1997–2005), IV, 378–379: “That L.’s summary of Pictor continues to votam is obvious; §§ 15–16 ‘ut Romulus … uenit’ may also record what was found in Fabius but could be L.’s own comment.”

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asserted that Fabius Pictor was not only the one who invented the whole story of the Sabines at Rome, but that he was also responsible for the most of its elaborations.83 But again, we have no certain proof for a coherent story-line or something like Livy’s battle in the Forum. In addition to the historians, two other ‘suspects’ have been named, to whom we will now turn our attention. The first one is more a group of people or, to be exact, their ritual dance, namely the one of the Salian priests. It was Filippo Coarelli who put forward the idea that their war dance acted as a kind of ‘memory by performance’ and thus provided the basis for the later literary elaborations of the narrative.84 In his argument, he combined the reference made by Varro that the Comitium had been one of the places where their dance was staged85 with the notice transmitted by Festus that their procession moved to and fro (his words are amptruare and redamptruare)86 and thus concluded that the Salii not only stopped at various points on the Via Sacra, but also, in so doing, re-enacted the battle in the Forum between the Romans and their Sabine opponents. Admittedly, this is an appealing guess. And one could even add as an afterthought that the Armilustrium, the ritual purification of the weapons at the end of the military season that was accompanied by one of the regular processions of the Salii, was celebrated on the 19th of October. Given the several warlike events supposed to occur between the abduction of the women at the Consualia on the 21st of August and the battle in the Forum, an October date for the dance might plausibly have been reconstructed as a kind of anniversary of this prehistoric victory. Yet, in the light of a parallel in the work of at least one of the Atthidographers discussed above, the development should perhaps be seen as being more complex than the prototypical progression from oral memory to written history, 83  For further references, see FRH I, 17–18. 84  See Coarelli (1985), 303–305, esp. 304: “Non può sfuggire l’analogia assolutamente perfetta tra questa cerimonia e la narrazione mitica della guerra tra Romani e Sabini (che è ovvio identificare, rispettivamente, con i Salii Palatini e i Salii Collini): … È difficile sfuggire alle conclusione che il rito dei Salii sia stato, in ultima analisi, il modello su cui la pseudostoria annalistica esemplò la narrazione del mitico conflitto.” 85  Varro ling. 5.85: Salii ab salitando, quod facere in comitiis in sacris quotannis et solent et debent. (“The Salii were named from salitare ‘to dance’, because they had the custom and the duty of dancing yearly in the assembly-places, in their ceremonies.” Translation by Kent, Loeb). 86  Cf. Fest. 334 L: redantruare dicitur in Saliorum exultationibus: ‘cum praesul amptruavit’ quod est, motus edidit, ei referuntur invicem motus. Lucilius: ‘praesul ut amptruet inde vulgus redamptruet †at†. Pacuius: ‘Promeranda gratia simul cum videam Graios nihil mediocriter redamptruare, opibus summis persequi’.



which surely acts as part of the background to Coarelli’s reconstruction. It would be imaginable, at least in principle, that the conception of the performance of the Salian priests in Rome had been influenced by the knowledge of practices of cultural memory in Athens (in many instances using religious institutions as well) be it from literary texts or from eyewitness accounts. But it is a rather wide detour which the Salii took us along – and perhaps an unnecessary one, too. The second ‘suspect’ mentioned above is none other than Ennius, which leads us back into the realm of literature. What is of interest here, however, is not his Annales, highly influential as it may have been for the historical imagination at Rome, but one of his dramatic productions, a work entitled Sabinae. The title, though, is already the best clue we have to reconstruct the plot of the play, since only two small fragments have come down to us:87 the first presumably being part of Hersilia’s speech at the battlefield,88 the other being far less informative and perhaps not even taken from the play in question.89 Nevertheless, it has been claimed that Ennius was the inventor of the whole story, for example, by Wilhelm Soltau,90 in a kind of “avant la lettre accordance” with the theories of Peter Wiseman regarding the Roman theatre,91 but the communis opinio is that it is more likely that he has done here what he did in his other plays, namely arrange an older topic to the stage and its requirements.92 87  On Ennius’ Sabinae, see Manuwald (2001), 172–179. 88  Iulius Victor RLM, p. 402,28–31 Halm (= F 1 Manuwald): ab eventu in qualitate, ut: ‚qualia sunt ea, quae evenerunt aut quae videantur eventura, tale illud quoque existimetur, ex quo evenerunt’, ut Sabinis Ennius dixit: cum spolia generis detraxeritis, quam inscriptionem dabitis? 89  Macr. Sat. 6.5.5 (= F 2 Manuwald). 90  Soltau (1909a), 31–36, esp. 31: “Ennius hat zuerst dieses Motiv zum Gegenstand eines Dramas gemacht, ja er hat diese poetische Fabel selbst erst geschaffen. Seine ‘Sabinerinnen (Sabinae)’ haben aus dem ätiologischen Märchen, daß die ältesten Formen der römischen Eheschließung auf eine gewaltsame Heimführung der Frauen hindeuteten, ein dramatisches Gemälde geschaffen, welches reich war an psychologisch-anziehenden Episoden.” See also approvingly Forsythe (1994), 161: “The idea is certainly plausible. The poet was certainly capable of enlivening his play with such a heroic duel. The story of the rape of the Sabine Women existed in some form as early as Fabius Pictor, but it is not known how elaborate it was at that stage and how it developed thereafter, but it is only reasonable to think that Ennius’ play on the subject must have been rather detailed.” 91  See esp. Wiseman (1998) and Id. (2008), 24–38. For an opposing view, see, for example, Keaveney (2006) and Lendon (2009), 45–47. 92  See Lenchantin de Gubernatis (1912), 453–457. Cf. Manuwald (2001), 175 n. 117: “Nachweisbar ist diese [scil. Geschichte] seit Fabius Pictor, der zu derselben Zeit wie Ennius und etwas

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Such an adaptation may have included hints to the relevant localities which were presumably well known to the audience. These might even have been integrated directly into the action on the stage, as the play perhaps was performed on the Forum Romanum itself or at least close by. But as the fragments we have contain no data that could be of any use for figuring out the setting of the action, this must remain highly speculative. The same applies to the idea that Ennius could have used a Greek drama dealing with Theseus and the Amazons as his model – especially as no Greek play with this topic has survived even in fragments.93 4

Roman Memory against Greek Historiography?

If we want to summarize our observations, one must confess that all the passages discussed can be read in both ways. To some degree, it depends on one’s personal view of how refined the literary and cultural media used in Rome to present history actually were from the late third century BCE onwards. In other words: if one believes in Cicero’s enforced primitivism of republican historiography, one might be inclined to deny the possibility of a coherent story line already in the work of Fabius Pictor. Since it is the trend in recent research not to believe too much in the survey presented by Cicero,94 it is possible to name quite a few candidates as primus inventor of the narrative technique I have been looking for. If one prefers an early date, one could even argue that this technique predates Roman history written by Roman historians and bring

früher literarisch tätig ist. Da die Geschichte also offenbar zu dieser Zeit bekannt war, ist es nicht wahrscheinlich, daß Ennius sie erfindet.” 93  See Pedroli (1954), 13: “Ora proprio questa leggenda delle Sabinae, che si intromettono come oratores pacis, si trovava già nella leggenda di Teseo (Ruehl, in Rhein. Mus. LIV, 163), e perciò Ennio, secondo il metodo ormai inaugurato da Nevio, che nella lupus e nel Romulus aveva trasferito in Roma la leggenda di Tiro, trasferi dalla leggenda di Teseo, fondatore della monarchia di Atene, un episodio alla leggenda del fondatore della monarchia romana … .” See also, against this view, Manuwald (2001), 175 n. 117: “Pedroli … nimmt an, daß ähnlich wie Naevius’ Romulus / Lupus auf der Erzählung von Tyro … , dieses Drama auf der von Theseus beruhe. Es werde eine Episode aus der Geschichte vom Gründer der athenischen Monarchie auf den der römischen übertragen. Diese These ist schon wegen ihrer Basis fragwürdig.” 94  Cf. esp. Cic. de orat. 2.51–52. For a deconstruction of Cicero’s view, see for example FRH I, 19–21.



Diocles of Peparethos into play.95 We do not know much about his ῾Ρώμης κτίσις from the middle of the third century BCE,96 but Plutarch characterizes it as δραματικὸν καὶ πλασματῶδες (written in a dramatic and fanciful way).97 This would sit well with the idea that he was the one who transferred the whole aetiological action from an Athenian to a Roman topographical setting – as he apparently did with other well-known elements of the myth of Romulus.98 But the opposite might have been the case, too: instead of an Athena-like birth in full armour, it may have been a gradual development, aition by aition, so to speak, and perhaps promoted by a repeated reference to Greek authors and models. The second possibility, apparently, would leave more room for Livy’s own contribution. To support this view, I want to put forward briefly two arguments why the increased interest in aetiologies that can be observed in this passage fits nicely into Livy’s work on a larger scale: firstly, he apparently aimed at employing as many literary techniques as possible to present aitia in the first chapters of his first book and in this kind of kaleidoscope of narrative forms the battle in the Forum acts as one legitimate climax.99 Secondly, our passage is taken up again at the end of Book 5, in the great speech put into the mouth of Camillus who after the sack of the city by the Gauls (to which to capture of the Capitolium by the Sabines might have acted as an important historical parallel) argues against a relocation of Rome to Veii, not least by pointing to the sacral topography of the Forum,100 thus forming a ring composition and establishing an important narrative closure to the first pentad as a thoroughly worked out literary unit.101 Admittedly, it is also perfectly possible that Livy used narrative components which had been formed and established long before him (and perhaps more 95  On the influence contemporary Greek historiography had on Fabius Pictor, see for example Dillery (2002). 96  Plut. Rom. 3.1 (= BNJ 820 T 2a), who dates him prior to Fabius Pictor. 97  Plut. Rom. 8.9 (= BNJ 820 T 2b): ὧν τὰ πλεῖστα καὶ Φαβίου λέγοντος καὶ τοῦ Πεπαρηθίου Διοκλέους, ὃς δοκεῖ πρῶτος ἐκδοῦναι ῾Ρώμης κτίσιν, ὕποπτον μὲν ἐνίοις ἐστὶ τὸ δραματικὸν καὶ πλασματῶδες. (“Most of this is related by Fabius and Diokles of Peparethos, who seems to be the first to have written about the foundation of Rome, (the authenticity of which) is questioned by some for its dramatic and fictitious character.”; translation by Beck in BNJ). 98  Plut. Rom. 3–8 (= BNJ 820 F 1), see FRH I, 89. 99  For a more detailed interpretation along these lines, see Pausch (2008), 49–58. 100  Liv. 5.51.1–5.54.7. For a close reading with due regard to the political implications in Livy’s own time, see Gaertner (2008). 101  On Camillus as alter Romulus in Livy’s conception, see, for example, Burck (1964), 134–136; Feldherr (1998), 46–50; von Ungern-Sternberg (2001).

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or less to the same ends). An important argument in this direction is the fact that thinking in parallels is not only something popular among Roman historians in general, but also in particular in terms of Rome repeating Athenian history, as can be seen, for instance, in the expulsion of the tyrants and kings respectively, in the exile of Coriolanus and Themistocles,102 or – coming closer to our topic again – in the capture of a city by the Persians or by the Gauls which has recently been discussed by James Richardson as a prime example of this allegorical approach to the past which was highly characteristic of Roman historical thinking.103 So in the end, it is not possible for me to give a definite answer as to when the story of the ‘Battle in the Forum’ took on the shape of a coherent narrative and was turned into this kind super-aition that we find in Livy, nor by whom. Personally I am inclined to believe in a gradual growth of the plot and the aitia involved, perhaps influenced more than once by historical models from the Greek world. Even without a definite answer, however, I hope the engagement with this small chapter of Ab urbe condita can help to shed some additional light on the more complex relationship between literary and topographical manifestations of the historical memory at Rome and their interaction with the cultural world outside the Forum Romanum. Bibliography Bernabé, A. (1987). Poetarum epicorum Graecorum testimonia et fragmenta I, Lipsiae. Bremmer, J. N. (1993). ‘Three Roman aetiological myths’, in F. Graf (Hrsg.), Mythen in mythenloser Gesellschaft. Das Paradigma Roms (Colloquia Raurica 3, Stuttgart), 158–174. Burck, E. (1964 [1934]). Die Erzählkunst des T. Livius, Berlin – Zürich. Chassignet, M. (1998). ‘Étiologie, étymologie et éponymie chez Cassius Hémina: mécanismes et fonction’, Les Études Classiques 66: 321–335. Coarelli, F (1983). Il Foro Romano. Periodo arcaico, Roma. Coarelli, F. (1985). Il Foro Romano. Periodo repubblicano e augusteo, Roma. 102  Soltau (1909b), 73–91; Poucet (2000), 245–283; FRH I, 22–23. See also Scapini (2011); Ead. (2017) (this volume); Wiseman (2008), esp. 234: “Moreover, there are structural elements in the ‘history’ of the early Republic, as we have it in Livy and Dionysios, which strongly suggest the influence of Athenian events: the attack of Porsenna to restore Tarquin parallels that of the Spartans to restore Hippias, the exile of Collatinus parallels the ostracism of Hipparchos, the exile of Corilanus parallels the ostracism of Themistokles, and so on.” 103  See Richardson (2012), esp. 130–138 (with further references).



Dench, E. (2005). Romulus’ Asylum. Roman Identities from the Age of Alexander to the Age of Hadrian, Oxford. Dillery, J. (2002). ‘Quintus Fabius Pictor and Greco-Roman historiography at Rome’, in J. F. Miller, C. Damon, and K. S. Myers (eds.), Vertis in usum. Studies in Honor of Edward Courtney (Beiträge zur Altertumskunde 161, Munich), 1–23. Feldherr, A. (1998). Spectacle and Society in Livy’s History, Berkeley – Los Angeles. Fornasier, J. (2007). Amazonen. Frauen, Kämpferinnen und Städtegründerinnen, Mainz. Forsythe, G. (1994). The Historian L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi and the Roman Annalistic Tradition, Lanham, MD. Fox, M. (1996). Roman Historical Myths. The Regal Period in Augustan Literature, Oxford. Freyberger, K. S. (2012a), Das Forum Romanum. Spiegel der Stadtgeschichte des antiken Rom, 2. Aufl., Mainz. Freyberger, K. S. (2012b). ‘Sakrale Kommunikationsräume auf dem Forum Romanum’, in F. Mundt (Hrsg.), Kommunikationsräume im kaiserzeitlichen Rom (Topoi. Berlin Studies of the Ancient World 6, Berlin), 49–76. Gaertner, J. F. (2008). ‘Livy’s Camillus and the political discourse of the late Republic’, JRS 98: 27–52. Harding, P. (2007). ‘Local history and Atthidography’, in J. Marincola (ed.), A Companion to Greek and Roman Historiography (Oxford), 180–188. Harding, P. (2008). The Story of Athens. The Fragments of the Local Chronicles of Attika, London. Hölkeskamp, K.-J. (2001). ‘Capitol, Comitium und Forum: öffentliche Räume, sakrale Topographie und Erinnerungslandschaften’, in S. Faller (Hrsg.), Studien zu antiken Identitäten (Würzburg), 97–132 (= Id. [2004], 137–168). Hölkeskamp, K.-J. (2006). ‘History and collective memory in the Middle Republic’, in N. Rosenstein and R. Morstein-Marx (eds.), A Companion to the Roman Republic (Oxford), 478–495. Jaeger, M. (1997). Livy’s Written Rome, Ann Arbor, MI. Keaveney, A. (2006). ‘Livy and the theatre. Reflections on the theory of Peter Wiseman’, Klio 88: 510–515. Köhler, U. (1872). ‘Der Areopag in Athen. Ein Beitrag zur Topographie und Stadtgeschichte’, Hermes 6: 92–112. Kolb, F. (1995). Die Geschichte der Stadt Rom in der Antike, München. Kowalewski, B. (2002). Frauengestalten im Geschichtswerk des T. Livius (Beiträge zur Altertumskunde 170), München. Kränzle, P. (1994). Der Fries der Basilica Aemilia (Antike Plastik 23), München. Lenchantin de Gubernatis, M. (1912). ‘La leggenda romana e le praetextae’, RFIC 40: 444–462. Lendon, J. (2009). ‘Historians without history. Against Roman historiography’, in A. Feldherr (ed.), Companion to Roman Historiography (Cambridge), 41–61.

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Lipps, J. (2011). Die Basilica Aemilia am Forum Romanum. Der kaiserzeitliche Bau und seine Ornamentik, Wiesbaden. Loraux, N. (1986). The Invention of Athens. The Funeral Oration in the Classical City, Cambridge, MA. Luce, T. J. (1995). ‘Livy and Dionysius’, Papers of the Liverpool Latin Seminar 8: 225–239. Luce, T. J. (1998). Livy, The Rise of Rome. Books 1–5, Oxford. Manuwald, G. (2001). Fabulae praetextae. Spuren einer literarischen Gattung der Römer (Zetemata 108), München. Martini, W. (2013). ‘Die visuelle Präsenz der Amazonen in Athen im 6. und 5. Jh. v. Chr.’, in Ch. Schubert and A. Weiß (Hrsgg.), Amazonen zwischen Griechen und Skythen. Gegenbilder in Mythos und Geschichte (Beiträge zu Altertumskunde 310, Berlin), 171–184. McInerney, J. (1994). ‘Politicizing the past. The Atthis of Kleidemos’, ClAnt 13: 17–37. Miles, G. (1995). Livy. Reconstructing Early Rome, Ithaca, NY. Mommsen, Th. (1886). ‘Die Tatiuslegende’, Hermes 21: 570–584. Oakley, S. P. (1997–2005). A Commentary on Livy, Books 6–10 I–IV, Oxford. Ogilvie, R. M. (1965). A Commentary on Livy, Books 1–5, Oxford. Pausch, D. (2008). ‘Der aitiologische Romulus. Historisches Interesse und literarische Form in Livius’ Darstellung der Königszeit’, Hermes 136: 38–60. Pausch, D. (2011). Livius und der Leser. Narrative Strukturen in ab urbe condita (Zetemata 140), München. Pedroli, L. (1954). Fabularum praetextarum quae extant, Genova. Poucet, J. (1967). Recherches sur la légende sabine des origines de Rome, Kinshasa. Poucet, J. (1992). ‘Les préoccupations étiologiques dans la tradition “historique” sur les origines de Rome’, Latomus 51: 281–314. Poucet, J. (2000). Les Rois de Rome. Tradition et histoire, Bruxelles. Richardson, J. H. (2012). The Fabii and the Gauls. Studies in Historical Thought and Historiography in Republican Rome (Historia Einzelschriften 222), Stuttgart. Rühl, F. (1899). ‘Die Sabinerinnen als oratrices pacis’, RhM 54: 316–320. Scapini, M. (2011). Temi greci e citazioni erodotee nelle storie di Roma arcaica, Nordhausen. Schmitzer, U. (2001). ‘Literarische Stadtführungen – von Homer bis Ammianus Marcellinus und Petrarca’, Gymnasium 108: 515–537. Schmitzer, U. (2005). ‘Rom in der (nach-)antiken Literatur. Konstruktion und Transformation der urbanen Gestalt der Stadt von der augusteischen Zeit bis zur Moderne’, Gymnasium 112: 241–268. Schubert, Ch. (2010). ‘Formen der griechischen Historiographie. Die Atthidographen als Historiker Athens’, Hermes 138: 259–275.



Seel, O. (1960). ‘Der Raub der Sabinerinnen. Eine Livius-Interpretation’, Antike & Abendland 9: 7–17. Solodow, J. B. (1979). ‘Livy and the story of Horatius, 1.24–26’, Transactions of the American Philological Association 109: 251–268. Soltau, W. (1909a). Die Anfänge der römischen Geschichtsschreibung, Leipzig. Soltau, W. (1909b). Livius’ Geschichtswerk. Seine Komposition und seine Quellen, Leipzig. Spencer, D. (2007). ‘Rome at a gallop. Livy, on not gazing, jumping or toppling into the void’, in D. H. J. Larmour and D. Spencer (eds.), The Sites of Rome. Time, Space, Memory (Oxford), 61–102. Taube, C. (2013). ‘Literarische Amazonenbilder der Antike’, in Ch. Schubert and A. Weiß (Hrsgg.), Amazonen zwischen Griechen und Skythen. Gegenbilder in Mythos und Geschichte (Beiträge zu Altertumskunde 310, Berlin), 39–55. von Ungern-Sternberg, J. (2001). ‘Camillus, ein zweiter Romulus?’, in M. Coudry and T. Späth (eds.), L’invention des grands hommes de la Rome antique / Die Konstruktion der großen Männer Roms (Paris), 289–297. Vasaly, A. (1993). Representations. Images of the World in Ciceronian Oratory, Berkeley – Los Angeles. Ver Eecke, M. (2008). La République et le roi. Le mythe de Romulus à fin de le République romaine, Paris. Walker, H. J. (1995). Theseus and Athens, Oxford. Wankenne, J. (1975). ‘Le chapitre de Tite-Live I,13: analyse philologique et linguistique’, LEC 43: 350–366. Welch, T. S. (2005). The Elegiac Cityscape. Propertius and the Meaning of Roman Monuments, Columbus, OH. Wiseman, T. P. (1998). Roman Drama and Roman History, Exeter. Wiseman, T. P. (2008). Unwritten Rome, Exeter. Zetzel, J. E. G. (1999). Cicero. On the Commonwealth and On the Laws, Cambridge. Ziolkowski, A. (1992). The Temples of Mid-Republican Rome and their Historical and Topographical Context, Rome.


Echi dalle tragedie tebane nelle storie di Roma arcaica Marianna Scapini 1 Introduzione Ciò su cui rifletteremo nelle prossime pagine rappresenta una particolare sfaccettatura di un vasto fenomeno letterario e, più in generale, culturale, di cui mi sono occupata in una mia recente monografia.1 Si tratta della tendenza ad evocare, e talvolta a ricalcare con precisione, trame greche – da opere storiche, ma anche poetiche – da parte degli storiografi di Roma, soprattutto nella trattazione delle fasi più arcaiche della storia della città. Il tema è di indubbio interesse, poiché attesta l’esistenza di una intensa e feconda interazione culturale non solo tra gli intellettuali ellenici e Romani – non dobbiamo dimenticare, comunque, il fatto che molti storiografi di Roma furono greci, o di cultura greca – ma anche tra generi letterari dal diverso statuto e differenti obiettivi, quali, appunto, storiografia e poesia epica e tragica, fenomeno che ha suscitato negli ultimi quindici anni un animato dibattito critico.2 In particolare, parlando di echi dalle tragedie tebane nelle storie di Roma, mi riferisco a tutte quelle citazioni, più o meno volontarie, di situazioni e personaggi della saga dei Labdacidi da parte degli storici dell’Urbe. Come vedremo, le sezioni di storia romana che sembrano più aperte ad accogliere questi riferimenti riguardano soprattutto episodi bellici. Ciò è coerente con quanto suggeriscono Levene e Nelis, e cioè che i temi della storiografia e della poesia epico-tragica tendano a sovrapporsi soprattutto quando si tratta di guerre e battaglie.3

1  Scapini (2011). 2  Penso ad esempio all’incontro organizzato a Durham da Levene e Nelis, focalizzato sul periodo augusteo (Augustan Poetry and the Traditions of Ancient Historiography), il cui obiettivo è stato mettere in rilievo “not only direct influences on poets by historians, but also poetic influences on historiography, and wider examinations of themes and techniques that intersect the two genres in Augustan literature”: Levene – Nelis (2002). 3  Levene – Nelis (2002), xiii–xiv.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���8 | doi ��.��63/9789004355552_014

302 2


Questioni di eredità e conflitti fraterni

Quali sono, dunque, tali ‘echi tebani’ nelle storie di Roma? Già l’Ogilvie aveva messo in luce l’influenza della vicenda di Eteocle e Polinice sul tema del conflitto tra Amulio e Numitore. Ipotizzava che questo legame fosse alla base della notizia di un’iniziale alternanza di potere, o di una divisione dell’eredità, tra i due principi albani. Egli riconduceva quest’ultima tradizione ad autorità tarde: citava in proposito Plutarco (Rom. 3) e Origo gentis Romanae 19.4 In effetti, del tema di rampolli regali che, di fronte all’eredità paterna, per stabilire i rispettivi ruoli, cercano inizialmente un accordo destinato ad essere infranto, la storia di Eteocle e Polinice fu sicuramente nell’antichità uno degli esempi più illustri. Il motivo della divisione dell’eredità di Edipo, corrispondente alla tipologia descritta da Plutarco nel Romulus – prescrivente che ad uno vada il potere, e all’altro i beni materiali – è già adombrato nel papiro di Lille attribuito a Stesicoro,5 anche se in quel caso si tratta solo di un’ipotesi ventilata da Giocasta:6 vi propongo, figli, tale soluzione: che uno resti al palazzo, sulle rive del Dirce, e che l’altro, invece, se ne vada, prendendo con sé tutti i beni e l’oro del padre, colui che venga sorteggiato per primo dalle Moire.7 Compare poi in Ellanico (FGH 4 F 98): occorre sapere che non tutti sono d’accordo sulle ragioni per cui Polinice se ne andò ad Argo. Ferecide, ad esempio, dice che fu allontanato con la forza. Ellanico, invece, narra che egli in base ad un accordo lasciò il regno ad Eteocle, avendogli questi posto innanzi la scelta se preferisse il potere o prendere una parte delle ricchezze e trasferirsi in un’altra città. E quello, prendendo con sé il chitone e la collana di Armonia se ne andò ad Argo, decidendo di lasciare il regno al fratello. 4  Ogilvie (1965), 47. Il passo plutarcheo e quello dell’Origo gentis Romanae sono i soli a tramandare il dettaglio della doppia eredità. Le altre fonti su Amulio e Numitore (ad esempio Diod. 7.5.12; Strab. 5.3.2; Iust. 43.2.1; App. reg. 1.2; Liv. 1.3.10–11; Dion. Hal. 1.71.4–5, 1.76.1; Polyain. 8.1) omettono il particolare, e trattano del conflitto fraterno più genericamente; cf. Poucet (2000), 63. 5  222b Davies, part. i versi 218–224. 6  Sul papiro cf., tra gli altri, Gargiulo (1976); Carlini (1977); Neri (2008), 11–44 (che traccia lo status quaestionis relativo al frammento). 7  Per la traduzione degli ultimi due versi ho consultato Neri (2008), 27.

Echi dalle tragedie tebane


L’unico punto della riflessione dell’Ogilvie che mi sembra discutibile è che il parallelo tra la duplice eredità di Amulio e Numitore e quella dei figli di Edipo sia una manipolazione tarda. Plutarco, infatti, attribuisce la tradizione a Fabio Pittore e, ancor prima, a Diocle di Pepareto (Plut. Rom. 3): la versione più degna di fede e la più frequentemente attestata è quella che propose ai Greci Diocle di Pepareto, che fu seguita in gran parte da Fabio Pittore. Vi è qualche variante, ma l’impronta è questa: la successione dei re di Alba, discendenti da Enea, giunse a due fratelli, Numitore ed Amulio. Amulio divise l’eredità in due parti: da una parte il potere, dall’altra i beni e l’oro che era stato portato da Troia. Il regno lo scelse Numitore. Amulio, avendo dunque le ricchezze e diventando grazie a queste più potente di Numitore, gli strappò il regno con facilità. Dunque, se il tema della divisione dell’eredità fu una volontaria citazione dalle vicende della saga tebana, possiamo dire, senza sviluppare la possibilità che fosse già un’iniziativa di Diocle, che il parallelo era già almeno in Fabio. Quanto al più generale tema del conflitto fraterno, il quale, oltre che nella vicenda di Amulio e Numitore, ritorna nella più importante contrapposizione tra Romolo e Remo, penso sia troppo generico e topico per essere considerato una voluta reminescenza dalle leggende tebane. Un altro credibile precedente potrebbe essere stato il mito degli Atridi, e le tragedie greche relative, con il conflitto tra Atreo e Tieste che, peraltro, sembra trapelare altrove nelle storie e nelle tragedie sulla fase monarchica di Roma.8 In ogni caso, abbiamo indizi che il dato dello scontro tra i fratelli fosse originario, e ancorato profondamente nella tradizione romana.9 Lo suggeriscono peraltro i numerosi tentativi correttivi operati da molti autori, che dovevano trovarsi in imbarazzo davanti a un simile ‘peccato originale’ – il fratricidio – che suggellava l’inizio della storia urbana: l’insistenza nell’edulcorare la tradizione dell’omicidio di Remo non si

8  Si consideri in particolare il Brutus di Accio, pregno di temi ‘astronomici’ – l’inversione del corso del sole – tipici delle leggende di Atreo e Tieste: temi che, secondo il Soltau (1909, 71), il poeta avrebbe accolto attraverso l’intermediazione di Ennio. Cf. Mastrocinque (1988), 13–17. 9  Cf. Ogilvie (1965), 54. Il tema dei due gemelli, connesso a quello del conflitto e del fratricidio, ha pure radici antichissime: si vedano, ad esempio, Mazzarino (1966), I, 310; Mastrocinque (1993), 185–190; Meurant (2003).



sarebbe data se essa fosse stata secondaria e surrettizia.10 Non è necessario, dunque, postulare per il tema della lotta fraterna una derivazione greca.11 Si può osservare infine che l’intero episodio dell’infanzia di Romolo e Remo ha molti punti in comune con la vicenda della nascita di Edipo. In realtà a monte di entrambi i racconti sta l’obbligato schema leggendario della nascita dei fondatori, comune a molte altre saghe eroiche. E’possibile comunque ipotizzare che l’affinità generale delle due vicende, data dalla comune dipendenza dai medesimi tòpoi, abbia stimolato l’intromissione nella tradizione romana dello specifico tema tebano della divisione dell’eredità e, eventualmente, del motivo del conflitto fraterno. Quest’ultimo, in particolare, si sdoppierebbe, influenzando da un lato lo scontro tra Amulio e Numitore, dall’altro quello tra Romolo e Remo. Dunque, a differenza di quanto ipotizza l’Ogilvie,12 penso che il percorso della contaminazione tebana sia stato questo: un’iniziale, semi-casuale,13 affinità della saga di Romolo e Remo e di quella tebana avrebbe stimolato gli storici di Roma, già in epoca fabiana, a creare ulteriori, e questa volta volontarie, contaminazioni: il tema della divisione dell’eredità tra Amulio e Numitore sarebbe un frutto di questo processo. 3

Funerali negati

Anche il tema dei funerali negati a Servio Tullio da parte di Tarquinio avrebbe, secondo l’Ogilvie, ascendenze tebane: sarebbe il medesimo che compare nella vicenda del re-tiranno Creonte che impedisce la sepoltura di Polinice.14 Spia di un volontario riferimento alla saga tebana – almeno da parte di Livio – sarebbe l’enfasi posta sulla relazione parentale tra Tarquinio e Servio. Infatti l’uno è gener, l’altro socer, legame non molto lontano, secondo l’Ogilvie, da quello che unisce Polinice a Creonte, il quale è zio materno del primo (Liv. 1.49.1):15

10  Poucet (2000), 59–62. 11  Meurant (2003), 542: “à la vérité, les éléments hélleniques qu’ on y retrouve effectivement résultent d’ enrichissements secondaires ou de l’exploitation parallèle d’ un même materiel légendaire.” 12  Per il quale, quindi, ci sarebbe stato un primo generico e volontario modellamento della vicenda di Amulio e Numitore su quella dei due rampolli tebani, da cui sarebbe scaturito, in epoca successiva, il parallelo tra le due eredità. 13  Non del tutto fortuita in quanto lo schema paradigmatico dei racconti è il medesimo, ed è previsto dalla casistica della nascita dei fondatori. 14  Ogilvie (1965), 197; cf. Martin (1982), 279. 15  Traduzione di Mario Scandola.

Echi dalle tragedie tebane


cominciò quindi a regnare Lucio Tarquinio, al quale fu anche dato per le sue azioni il soprannome di Superbo, poiché proibì, lui, il genero, che si facessero i funerali al suocero, sostenendo che anche Romolo era morto senza aver sepoltura. Il parallelo, comunque, non pare così stringente, e il motivo dei funerali negati mi sembra avere tanto di topico. Si trattava, del resto, di un problema reale: si ricordi che la legislazione romana dava disposizioni precise in merito all’evenienza che gli eredi non adempissero correttamente ai riti funebri in onore del morto. Il gesto, infatti, era considerato empio e offensivo di Cerere e Tellus: a queste dee, infatti, si prescriveva che si sacrificasse in espiazione una porca praecidanea. Che al più illustre tiranno della romanità si attribuisse una manchevolezza del genere, dunque, non desta stupore, e non mi pare necessario postulare un precedente greco. Si potrebbe discutere, poi, se l’eventuale citazione della vicenda di Creonte e Polinice non sia stata un’originale iniziativa di Livio: Dionigi, ad esempio, non dice che Tarquinio proibì i funerali del predecessore; avrebbe impedito soltanto che la cerimonia avesse connotazioni regali (Dion. Hal. 4.40.5). 4

Duelli fratricidi

Più sicura citazione tebana è il duello in cui si compiono insieme il destino di Bruto e quello del suo avversario, che sembra evocare scopertamente il prototipo greco della lotta fra Eteocle e Polinice.16 In entrambi i casi, del resto, l’avversario è un nemico che muove contro la città. Si consideri il vivace racconto liviano (Liv. 2.6.8–9):17 Bruto s’accorge che l’attacco era rivolto contro di lui; a quel tempo era un onore per i comandanti ingaggiare personalmente la battaglia; egli si espose quindi con ardore al combattimento; e i due si affrontarono con tanta furia, l’uno contro l’altro, incuranti di colpire la propria persona pur di ferire il nemico, che, trafitti entrambi attraverso lo scudo dal colpo dell’avversario, stramazzarono morenti da cavallo, rimanendo attaccati per le due aste.

16  Cf. Mastrocinque (1988), 235. 17  Cf. anche Dion. Hal. 5.15.2.



Una delle più note versioni della speculare morte dei figli di Edipo è quella proposta da Euripide nelle Phoenissae (1356–1424):18 ovviamente l’evento è in questo caso solo rievocato, essendo il fatto cruento bandito dalla scena tragica. Si consideri, ad esempio, il seguente stralcio (1377–1424):19 e quando fu lanciato, come fiaccola, dalla tromba tirrenica lo squillo, ch’era il segnale d’una lotta all’ultimo sangue, d’un balzo in un’orrenda corsa si lanciarono, l’uno contro l’altro. Come cinghiali che arrotano denti selvaggi, con le gote tutte madide di bava, s’avventarono con l’asta, ma rimpiattati sotto il grande cerchio dello scudo, perché sgusciasse via il ferro, a vuoto. Se l’uno dei due scorgeva il viso dell’altro affiorare di sullo scudo, manovrava l’asta, cercando il colpo d’anticipo in bocca (…) Afferrarono entrambi, allora, l’elsa della spada, venendo ad uno scontro ravvicinato; al cozzo degli scudi, volteggiavano in un tumultuoso corpo a corpo. Ed Eteocle, ch’era stato in Tessaglia, ebbe un lampo: di tentare proprio il colpo tessalico. (…) Piegando insieme fianchi e ventre, il misero Polinice, fra rivoli di sangue, cade. Convinto d’essere il più forte e d’aver vinto, l’altro gettò a terra la spada, e s’accingeva a depredarlo. E questo l’ha perduto: con un filo di fiato, Polinice, già caduto, stringendo ancora nel funesto crollo il ferro, lo confisse a mala pena nel fegato d’Eteocle. Tutt’e due, mordendo il suolo con i denti, l’uno accanto all’altro, caddero, lasciando ancora impredicata la vittoria. Oltre al tema centrale della mutua uccisione – si noti nei testi le espressioni inerenti alla sfera semantica della reciprocità – altro fondamentale motivo condiviso è quello della salvezza della città, Roma in un caso, Tebe nell’altro. Come la prima, dopo il sacrificio di Bruto, sarà salva per il momento dalle rivendicazioni tarquinie, così la città di Edipo, consumatosi il dramma fraterno, troverà finalmente la pace: Eschilo insiste su questo concetto quasi ossessivamente.20 Non posso fare a meno di notare, poi, un altro elemento di affinità: in entrambi i casi il pericolo deriva da beghe imperniate su una questione di eredità. Come già Polinice, Tarquinio aggredisce Roma per faccende patrimoniali. Come nel ricordato testo eschileo ricorre pletoricamente il motivo della divisione dei beni del padre, causa del conflitto fraterno,21 il tema dei bona regia 18  Si veda anche Aischyl. Sept. 803–1079, part. 803–813, o, ancora, 961–965. Anche Soph. Ant. 141–147. 19  Tutte le traduzioni di Euripide proposte sono di F. M. Pontani. 20  Si veda il già citato verso Aischyl. Sept. 804 o 816. 21  Aischyl. Sept. 817–818.

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è centrale nella vicenda dell’Arsia: si vedano, ad esempio, i primi capitoli del secondo libro liviano, preludenti al racconto dello scontro.22 L’orizzonte da cui scaturì la similitudine tra la fine di Bruto ed Arrunte e quella di Eteocle e Polinice, dunque, non sembra molto lontano da quello in cui avevo situato il parallelo tra l’eredità di questi ultimi e quella di Amulio e Numitore. Vi sarebbe, insomma, una circolarità indissolubile tra il motivo della lotta per l’eredità paterna e quello del conflitto germano. In proposito, non dimentichiamo che anche il duello tra Bruto ed Arrunte è in senso lato fratricida, poiché i due contendenti sono cugini, essendo Bruto figlio di una delle sorelle del Superbo, ed Arrunte figlio di quest’ultimo. La cognatio tra Bruto e Arrunte è tanto più stretta in quanto il Superbo è del primo lo zio materno (avunculus). Sappiamo come i Romani considerassero privilegiato e viscerale il rapporto tra nipote e avunculus e, ancor più, quello tra un giovane e la zia materna, detta non a caso matertera, seconda madre. La parentela tra i due avversari, dunque, passa attraverso una donna, una non meglio conosciuta Tarquinia, madre dell’uno e matertera dell’altro, benché i testi in nostro possesso paiano eludere e non dare troppa importanza al personaggio. Io penso, invece, che la principessa abbia un ruolo più importante di quel che sembri, in quanto è solo in rapporto ad essa che il duello in questione assume una valenza propriamente fratricida, diventando pienamente e coerentemente sovrapponibile a quello tra i figli di Edipo. La sfuggente Tarquinia, dunque, sarebbe speculare alla greca Giocasta. In conclusione, i punti di contatto tra le due vicende sembrano troppi perché siano considerati frutto del caso. Il passo eschileo, poi, insiste sulla fatalità della fine dei due fratelli. Si vedano, ad esempio, i versi 947–948: hanno il loro destino / gli infelici, di calamità/ volute dai numi. Il tema del destino compare anche nel racconto della morte di Bruto, in particolare nella versione di Dionigi (Dion. Hal. 5.15.1–2): mentre le armate si accingevano ormai allo scontro, uno dei figli di Tarquinio, di nome Arrunte, il più valente dei fratelli per la vigoria del corpo e il più distinto per l’altezza dello spirito, avanzò davanti allo schieramento dei Tirreni e, spronato il cavallo, si avvicinò ai Romani così da 22  Cf., ad esempio, Liv. 2.3.5: legati (…) repetentes bona, 2.4.3: reddenda bona e regum res, 2.5.1: bonis regiis. Si noti anche la ricorrenza del lessico della restituzione: ad esempio i verbi repetere, reddere, asportare (2.4.3).



essere riconoscibile da parte di tutti sia dall’aspetto che dalla voce, poi pronunciò con rabbia una violenta requisitoria contro Bruto, il comandante dei Romani, chiamandolo belva feroce coperta del sangue dei suoi figli e rinfacciandogli la pusillanimità e la vigliaccheria. Gli lanciò infine la sfida a trovare la soluzione per tutti in un duello corpo a corpo. Bruto allora, non reputando più tollerabili tali accuse, si slanciò con il cavallo fuori dello schieramento e senza lasciarsi convincere dagli amici che tentavano di distoglierlo, andò incontro alla morte fissata per lui dal fato. Entrambi i contendenti infatti, inferociti nell’animo e indifferenti alle sofferenze che avrebbero patito, intenti solo a tradurre in realtà le loro intenzioni, spronarono i cavalli l’uno contro l’altro a gran forza e, scontrandosi, s’inflissero a vicenda colpi infallibili con le lance attraverso gli scudi e le corazze, l’uno affondando la punta della lancia nelle costole del nemico, l’altro nel fianco. I loro cavalli nell’impeto dello slancio si scontrarono con i petti, si sollevarono sulle zampe posteriori e, riversando le teste all’indietro, sbalzarono di sella i rispettivi fantini. Essi, caduti, rimasero a terra distesi, perdendo molto sangue dalle ferite e ormai in fin di vita. In questa cornice fatale, la fine dell’eroe assume un’intensità pienamente epico-tragica. Il racconto dionigiano in particolare appare pervaso da una forte carica drammatica: stilistica, oltre che tematica. Possiamo supporre che questa sia stata un’originale scelta del retore di Alicarnasso, ma mi chiedo se l’abbrivio non sia stato offerto da qualche fonte più antica. Già sulle urne chiusine di III e II secolo, del resto, il duello è raffigurato in tutta la sua potenza cruenta e barocca.23 Non si può fare a meno di notare che l’epoca di queste realizzazioni non è molto lontana da quella in cui il Pittore si accinse alla sua opera. Rimandando ad un secondo momento la riflessione sui possibili rapporti tra il primo storico di Roma e le più o meno coeve arti figurative, noto per ora che non ci sono valide ragioni per escludere che il racconto della morte di Bruto fosse stato trattato con tono tragizzante già in una fase alta dell’annalistica. E poiché il tenore tragico dell’episodio mi pare strettamente connesso alla reminescenza della morte di Eteocle e Polinice, penso sia possibile inferire che il parallelo fosse già in nuce in una fase antica della tradizione.

23  In merito cf., ad esempio, Åström (1974) e, soprattutto, Krauskopf (1974).

Echi dalle tragedie tebane



Tocchi dai drammi tebane nella ‘tragedia’ di Coriolano

Si è visto che il parallelo tra la morte di Bruto e Arrunte e quella dei due figli di Edipo, oltre che sul tema, che definirei politico, pubblico, dei beni del padre, è imperniato anche su quello, privato, della ‘madre’ comune, uterina per l’uno, matertera per l’altro. Ma in quel caso il motivo non veniva sfruttato fino in fondo, e la comune parente dei due eroi, l’evanescente Tarquinia, rimaneva sullo sfondo. Fu in altre circostanze che gli storici di Roma svilupparono appieno, attraverso l’evocazione della Giocasta tebana, le potenzialità drammatiche insite nel tema della madre. In particolare ciò avverrebbe nel racconto dell’incontro tra il traditore Coriolano e la madre Veturia. Secondo l’Ogilvie, infatti, il quale considera comunque sono la versione liviana della vicenda, l’intero passo è costruito sul famoso episodio delle Fenicie di Euripide in cui Giocasta cerca di persuadere i figli alla riconciliazione.24 Io propongo, in particolare, alcuni possibili paralleli. Innanzitutto si consideri la descrizione euripidea dell’incontro tra la regina e il figlio esule, Polinice (304–326):25 Figliolo, ti rivedo finalmente, dopo innumeri giornate. Della madre tua il petto stringi, abbracciami, e con le gote accostati e getta con l’oscura tua massa dei riccioli l’ombra sul collo mio! Ah dunque, dunque apparso sei a queste braccia che non ti speravano! Che nome darti? E come con braccia e con parole la turbinosa gioia mia danzerò, felicità d’altri dì troverò, che m’arrise? Figlio mio, oh come squallide le avite camere quando esulasti, per colpa fraterna, tu: tutt’i tuoi piansero, pianse te la città. Rasa è la chioma che dedico alla doglianza mia con le mie lacrime. Bianchi non sono più gli abiti, figlio mio, ma questi lugubri cenci mi vestono in una tenebra. Mi sembra che un diretto raffronto testuale sia possibile non tanto con l’incontro tra Coriolano e la madre nella versione liviana – la donna di Livio è descritta più incollerita che pervasa di affetto materno – quanto con il corrispondente passo di Dionigi.26 Quest’ultimo, infatti, che dedica al colloquio tra Veturia e il figlio diversi capitoli, insiste sulla tenerezza e il patetismo che accompagnano

24  Versi 446–637. Ogilvie (1965), 334. Sulla leggenda di Coriolano e il suo possibile fondamento storico, cf. Cornell (2003). 25  Tutte le traduzioni che riporterò dei passi delle Phoenissae sono di F. M. Pontani. 26  Su tale diversità nell’atteggiamento della madre nelle fonti greche e latine, cf. Cornell (2003), 78.



l’incontro, ingredienti che abbiamo visto alla base del passo euripideo. Si veda, ad esempio, lo stralcio che riporto qui (Dion. Hal. 8.45 e 8.48):27 allorché furono l’uno prossimo all’altra, per prima la madre gli si fece incontro per salutarlo, con indosso misere vesti e gli occhi consunti dalle lacrime, una visione molto pietosa. Vedendola Marcio, che fino a quel momento si era mostrato duro e impassibile dinanzi a tutte situazioni gravose, non riuscì più a rimaner fermo nei suoi propositi, ma, sotto la spinta della commozione, si lasciò prendere da sentimenti umani e abbracciò la madre, la baciò, chiamandola con i più affettuosi appellativi e per lungo tempo piangendo e manifestandole il suo amore la tenne stretta mentre ella perdeva le forze e vacillava a terra. Quanto al parallelo tra i tentativi riconciliatori di Giocasta e quelli di Veturia suggerito dall’Ogilvie, io affiancherei in particolare i versi euripidei 568–585 – dove la regina tebana si rivolge all’esule aggressore – ad alcuni passaggi del testo di Dionigi (8.51–52), poiché in entrambi i casi il discorso muliebre verte sull’empietà di cui si macchierebbe l’aggressore nel perpetuare il suo disegno. I valori cui si appellano le due madri sono quelli del sangue, dal carattere fortemente sacrale, adombrati nel primo caso dallo spauracchio delle Erinni di Edipo, nel secondo dalla menzione di quelle materne: si noterà nei testi citati il lessico pertinente alla sfera dell’empietà. Sia Giocasta che Veturia, poi, preconizzano sventure nel caso che i figli ribelli non desistano dall’empio proposito. Ecco le parole della Giocasta di Euripide (Phoen. 568–585 e 624): Quanto a te, Polinice, ti dico questo: insensati favori Adrasto ti promise, e senza senso tu stesso sei venuto a devastare la patria. Di’, se prendi questa terra (e non sia mai), nel nome degli dei, come potrai levare i tuoi trofei a Zeus? Conquistatore della patria, come potrai sacrificare vittime, e sul bottino mettere iscrizioni, presso il corso dell’Inaco? “Agli dei dedicò questi scudi Polinice, dopo avere incendiato Tebe”. No, mai non t’accada d’ottenere, figlio, dai Greci questa fama. Se sei vinto e la meglio l’ha lui, come ritorni ad Argo, dopo avere qui, sul campo, lasciato tanti morti? Si dirà: “Ah che tristi legami hai stretto, Adrasto! Noi, per le nozze d’una donna sola, siamo perduti”. Corri dunque, figlio, verso due mali: perdere le cose che là possiedi, o cadere nell’atto di acquistare quest’altre. Abbandonate gli eccessi, abbandonateli! Non c’è male più tristo che l’insensatezza di due che per un bene solo cozzano. 27  Sulla stessa linea è il racconto di Plutarco (Cor. 33–36).

Echi dalle tragedie tebane


Corifea: ‘Stornate voi queste sventure, dei! Fate che i figli di Edipo si accordino! (…)’ Giocasta: ‘Evitate la paterna Furia!’. Fa eco il discorso della Veturia dionigiana (Dion. Hal. 8.51–53): Prego te, Marcio figlio mio, di non portare la guerra alla patria, e mi pongo come impedimento a te se le fai violenza. O tu di tua mano immolando prima alle Erinni tua madre che ti è di ostacolo, apri poi le ostilità contro la patria, oppure, temendo un empio matricidio, arrenditi davanti a tua madre e di tua iniziativa concedile, o figlio, la tua grazia. Poiché tale legge, che non sarà mai abolita da nessun trascorrere di tempo, mi difende e mi sostiene, non ritengo giusto, o Marcio, che io sola venga privata degli onori che essa mi attribuisce. Ma, tralasciando i vincoli derivanti dalla legge, ricorda i miei tanti benefici. (…) Se invece copri di fango tua madre e la congedi senza onorarla, non sono in grado di dirti a quali sofferenze andrai incontro per questo, ma non prevedo niente di favorevole. Sia concesso pure che tu abbia la felicità in tutte le altre cose, ma il dolore che ti accompagnerà a causa mia e delle mie sventure28 sarà incessante nel tuo cuore e svuoterà la tua vita di tutti i beni, lo so con certezza. Un’ulteriore osservazione: tale doppio binario tematico – da un lato il tema pubblico, dalla connotazione maschile, dall’altro il privato, femminile – sembra ricorrere anche altrove nelle storie di Roma arcaica, e sempre in contesti caratterizzati da una forte intensità drammatica. Si pensi ad esempio al caso del duello tra Orazi e Curiazi, dalla conclusione molto problematica, all’insegna del conflitto tra la dimensione pubblica – dove l’Orazio vittorioso è acclamato da tutta la cittadinanza – e quella privata – rappresentata dalla sorella che, dissociandosi dalla gioia comune poiché afflitta per la perdita del fidanzato, viene uccisa dall’eroe, sordo al suo dolore.29 Del resto, è proprio lo iato incolmabile 28  Questa non sembra altro che una spiegazione psicologica del simbolo delle Erinni. 29  Livio (1.24–26), che pur sembra aver premura di liquidare la vicenda concentrandosi soprattutto sul suo valore eziologico, vale a dire sulla spiegazione dell’origine del tigillum sororium, è pur costretto a menzionare le possibili conseguenze giuridiche del sororicidio: l’Orazio rischia la pena capitale, e si salverà in extremis appellandosi al popolo, che naturalmente gli condonerà il delitto di sangue, anteponendo i suoi meriti civili (e virili) alle responsabilità private. È significativo che nella sua battaglia giuridica l’eroe sia sostenuto dal padre. Né Livio né Dionigi (Dion. Hal. 3.21) parlano invece della posizione assunta in merito dalla madre, ma possiamo intuirla per vie traverse. Sappiamo che l’episodio è costruito in modo analogo ad un racconto tramandato nei Parallela minora dello



tra le istanze politiche, valori propriamente maschili, e quelle degli affetti familiari, propugnati dalle donne, a conferire a questi episodi una forte potenza drammatica, un’insolvibile paradossalità, inoculandovi un aut aut pienamente tragico. Menzionare come illustre precedente il caso – ancora tebano! – di Antigone e Creonte sembra quasi banale. Il discorso che Dionigi attribuisce a Veturia è dunque ricco di riferimenti all’ambito del diritto di sangue – o privato, che dir si voglia – sulla falsa riga dell’appello di Giocasta nelle Phoenissae.30 La volontà di esorcizzare il potenziale contrasto tra i valori privati chiamati in causa e i doveri civili e bellici, che Coriolano aveva contratto con gli alleati, sembra sottesa all’intera perorazione di Veturia, il cui sforzo è tutto teso a dimostrare al figlio che potrà uscire dall’impasse evitando di minacciare la patria ma anche di tradire la parola data agli alleati.31 Ma, come apprendiamo dalla più sintetica e meno retorica versione di Livio, il rischio del conflitto di valori rimane e la situazione di Coriolano non scampa all’aporia: egli prediligerà gli affetti familiari, ma pagherà con la

Pseudo-Plutarco (309 Stephanus). Ho trattato altrove del parallelismo, discutendo quale dei due racconti debba essere considerato anteriore, ma in questa sede ciò non è sostanziale. Interessante è invece che l’anello che ci manca nell’episodio dei gemelli romani – e cioè la figura materna, contrapposta alla paterna – ha il suo degno spazio nel racconto pseudo-plutarcheo, dove l’iniziativa legale contro l’eroe assassino della sorella pertiene proprio alla madre di quest’ultimo. Lo schema, dunque, appare simile (uomini / padre / valori pubblici e politici da un lato, donne / madre / valori di sangue e affetti familiari dall’altro), anche se, come suggerito dal Cornell (2003), 81, nel caso della leggenda di Coriolano la dimensione maschile potrebbe avere anche tratti ‘pre-politici’, e rimandare al “primitive, pre-political world of the all-male warrior group”, mondo che pure si contrappone ai “ties of family and female domesticity”. Tale possibile ‘anacronismo’ implicito della figura di Coriolano rilevato dal Cornell, tale sua ‘alterità’ ed irriducibilità, potrebbero spiegare, in parte, la suscettibilità del personaggio ad essere associato alle figure tragiche proprie del patrimonio collettivo (in questo caso Polinice): “Coriolanus appears as a warrior of a characteristic type celebrated in heroic myth and epic poetry. As such he is something of an anachronism in the context of an organized state”: Cornell (2003), 81. Secondo lo studioso, peraltro, tali caratteristiche del personaggio sono da collegare al fatto che la sua storia fu influenzata da modelli letterari greci, che è proprio quello su cui stiamo riflettendo in questo contesto. 30  Troviamo il medesimo tema – la donna che tenta di persuadere l’aggressore a più miti consigli – anche in Aischyl. Sept. 677–719 (in questo caso la voce della controparte femminile è quella corifea) e in Soph. Oid. K. 1414–1446: qui è Antigone che cerca di convincere Polinice a tornarsene ad Argo. Il conflitto interiore dell’eroe è sempre il medesimo: o egli si decide ad attaccare la terra madre, o vedrà calpestato il suo orgoglio. 31  Dion. Hal. 8.48.

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vendetta degli ex alleati,32 e andrà incontro ad un destino sventurato, secondo alcuni addirittura di suicidio.33 Un destino, ancora una volta, tragico, se è vero che Fabio (attraverso Livio) ricorda che l’eroe soleva ripetere in vecchiaia che “l’esilio è assai più doloroso per un vecchio”, gnòme di cui la critica ha rilevato il sapore da dramma attico.34 Anche in questo caso trovare un precedente tebano è sfida anche fin troppo facile: penso, ad esempio, al derelitto Edipo esule a Colono cantato da Sofocle (Oid. K. 143–151): Chi sei, vecchio?’ – ‘Certo, non uno dal felice passato, custodi di questa terra. Vi sembra che vagherei, zoppo e cieco, peso aggrappato a un fragile sostegno?’ (…) – ‘La tua mi pare una vita lunga e di disagi. Altra possibile traccia di una contaminazione tebana – anche se, devo dire, labile e sconfinante nel topico, ma pure interessante – è il rammarico di Veturia per avere generato un uomo artefice di mali (Liv. 20.40.7): Dunque, se io non ti avessi partorito, Roma non sarebbe assalita! Se non avessi avuto un figlio, io sarei morta libera in una patria libera!. Il precedente tebano che ho identificato è, ancora una volta, nelle Phoenissae, quando il Coro esprime il desiderio retrospettivo che il monte Citerone non avesse mai dato riparo e nutrimento ad Edipo infante (versi 801–804):35 Selva di santo fogliame, che ospiti fiere, nevosa pupilla di Artemide, tu, Citerone, oh non avessi nutrito quel bimbo votato alla morte, Edipo, che di Giocasta fu parto, gittato di casa, reso cospicuo da fibule d’oro!. Infine, uno degli sviluppi del motivo della madre trascende l’ambito degli affetti privati e si amplia metaforicamente nel tema, dai contorni più ampi e patriottici, del tradimento della terra avita: come già rilevato da Tim Cornell, nella tradizione intorno a Coriolano è molto forte l’identificazione della madre

32  Cf. Liv. 2.40.10: ‘si narra che poi, dopo che ebbe condotte via le legioni dal territorio romano, sopraffatto dall’odiosità che si attirò col suo operato, morì, chi dice in un modo, chi in un altro.’ 33  Cf., ad es., Cic. Brut. 42. 34  Ogilvie (1965), 335, o, quantomeno, da storiografia tragica; cf. Frier (1979/1999), 264. 35  E anche, sempre nelle Phoenissae, il passo in cui Edipo esclama (versi 1604–1606): ‘Meglio se nel Tartaro si fosse sprofondato il Citerone, che non m’uccise’.



con la patria.36 Anche per questo è possibile identificare dei precedenti tebani. In particolare, le parole di Veturia, ‘Tu hai potuto devastare questa terra che ti ha generato e nutrito?’,37 paiono esprimere il medesimo concetto che troviamo nei Septem sotteso a una riflessione di Eteocle,38 nonché a una successiva esortazione di Anfiarao diretta a Polinice.39 Si notino in particolare le affinità lessicali relative alla sfera semantica della maternità. Troppi, dunque, i punti di contatto per negare la probabilità dell’influenza del ciclo tebano – e, forse, proprio delle Phoenissae e dei Septem – sulla vicenda di Coriolano. Del resto, il contesto dei brani esaminati è simile, come nel caso del parallelo precedentemente esaminato fra duello tra Bruto e Arrunte e quello dei figli di Edipo: l’eroe, allontanato dalla patria, per vendetta si vota ad una guerra ‘fratricida’, coadiuvato dagli alleati che l’hanno accolto esule. 6 Conclusioni Finora, nell’individuare tutti i possibili echi tebani nelle vicende di Roma arcaica, mi sono riferita in particolare all’opera di Livio e Dionigi, e l’ipotesi che siano questi autori i responsabili di almeno alcuni di questi parallelismi tra la storia romana e il ciclo tragico tebano è legittimo. Del resto, le modalità di scrittura di Livio riflettono in generale una forte tendenza alla drammatizzazione degli eventi trattati, come rilevato dal Foucher con diversi esempi.40 Questo può di certo avere indotto Livio ad incorporare nel suo testo echi tematici dalla tragedia greca già presenti nelle sue fonti, fenomeno che in ogni caso pare limitarsi ad una questione puramente narrativa e stilistica, non solo per l’ineludibile questione data dalla diversità di genere letterario, ma anche per le 36  Cornell (2003), 80. 37  Liv. 2.40.6. 38  ‘Occorre soccorrere i figli, e la terra madre, dolcissima nutrice’ (verso 16). 39  ‘Piacerà agli dei una simile impresa, bella da udire e raccontare ai posteri, che tu hai saccheggiato la città dei tuoi antenati e i tuoi dei nativi e hai lanciato un esercito straniero contro di loro?’ (580–583). 40  Foucher (2000), part. 789–792. Il rapporto tra Livio e la ‘storiografia tragica’ greca fu discusso abbastanza recentemente da Mahé-Simon (2006), la quale ha dimostrato come lo storico abbia adottato certe tendenze proprie degli storici greci ‘tragici’ in tutta la sua prima decade. Che per i suoi primi cinque libri Livio si sia avvalso di tecniche di scrittura attinte dalla letteratura poetica è stato suggerito invece da Ann Vasaly in Levene – Nelis (2002), 275–290, la quale ha pensato in particolare ad un’influenza da parte di opere poetiche di epoca triumvirale ed augustea. In un mio recente lavoro, Scapini (2014), ho analizzato altri parallelismi tra il testo liviano ed episodi di precedente letteratura greca.

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profonde differenze etiche e culturali tra lo storico romano e gli antichi autori di tragedia ed epica greca.41 Quanto a Dionigi, un suo obiettivo fondamentale era dimostrare l’origine greca di Roma in termini etnici, intento che lo indusse senz’altro ad enfatizzare qualsiasi parallelismo tra la storia dei Greci e quella della città fondata da Romolo. E tale interesse di Dionigi dovette appuntarsi in particolare sulla fase arcaica della storia dell’Urbe, desiderando egli dimostrare ai suoi lettori, come ha rilevato recentemente Clemence Schultze, che “Rome’s earliest layer of plupast (…) is made up of ‘people like us’ ”.42 Nicholas Wiater, a sua volta, ha ultimamente analizzato il ‘classicismo’ di Dionigi, per cui lo storico guardava al passato dell’Atene classica come modello per la Roma augustea, attitudine che potrebbe avere ispirato alcune manipolazioni della storia romana per evocare modelli greci.43 Nondimeno, come si è già visto, molto suggerisce che la volontà dei parallelismi fosse più antica. A riportare all’epoca fabiana sono innanzitutto alcuni indizi interni ai testi: già in Fabio, stando a Plutarco, compariva il tema tebano della doppia eredità; già il primo annalista, a quanto dice Livio, poneva in bocca a Coriolano parole da eroe tragico. Anche soltanto questo fa sospettare che la memoria delle tragedie tebane greche fosse già nella sua opera. Ma occorre tracciare un’importante distinzione: un conto è parlare di stile da tragedia, un altro di temi tragici veri e propri. E’una questione che ha creato non poche divisioni nella critica: ad esempio, rispetto all’episodio dei fratelli albani e Romolo e Remo, se da un lato abbiamo Frier che sembra sostenere una dialettica diretta tra la tragedia greca e Fabio lungo il doppio binario tematico e stilistico, dall’altro abbiamo Poucet che, meno ottimisticamente, svaluta la possibilità di attribuire al primo annalista una messa in scena drammatica – che egli comunque riconosce – degli eventi in questione.44 Si tratta di problemi in cui ci siamo già imbattuti. Si era esaminata, ad esempio, la carica tragica – nello specifico euripidea – delle peripezie di Coriolano in Dionigi: avevamo visto che è impossibile stabilire con certezza che questa fosse già nella tradizione precedente e non sia stata semplicemente un’iniziativa dionigiana o comunque – dato che la medesima coloritura è in Plutarco – tarda. Vero è che 41  Diversità che riguarda, ad esempio, la concezione del divino e la partecipazione della divinità nel ‘processo storico’. Vi ha riflettuto Levene (1993, 46) nel suo commento alla versione liviana delle vicende di Annibale in Italia, contrapposta alle precedenti versioni degli storici greci: è estranea a Livio, ad esempio, la visione greca epico-tragica del dio che induce l’uomo alla cecità per poi punirne la hybris. 42  Schultze (2012), 126. 43  Wiater (2011). 44  Cf. Frier (1979/1999), 261–264 e Poucet (1976), 209–210.



già Fabio ci mostrava, come si è visto, un Coriolano dalle sembianze dell’Edipo di Colono. Come avevo notato, poi, non vi sono abbastanza ragioni per escludere che il duello tra Bruto ed Arrunte, evocante quello tebano, fosse narrato con uno stile tragizzante anche in epoca alta, se è vero che già la prima annalistica poteva confrontarsi con un’iconografia del conflitto tra i due figli di Edipo così icastica e barocca. Tendo, insomma, ad essere più positiva del Poucet, e non scarto del tutto la possibilità che già nell’opera fabiana il rapporto con la tragedia greca fosse non solo di dipendenza tematica, ma anche di influenza stilistica. Il fatto che il Pittore, come sappiamo, fosse edotto di cultura greca, rende l’ipotesi ancora più plausibile. Per corroborarla, esaminiamo più approfonditamente il quadro storico-culturale e la psicologia epocale che produssero le contaminazioni in questione, e verifichiamo se tale temperie si addice al primo annalista. Innanzitutto, alla base degli echi tebani dovevano esservi ragioni di gusto letterario. Che nella storiografia romana la coloritura tragica e l’enfasi drammatica abbiano goduto di buona fortuna fino all’epoca augustea ed oltre è risaputo. Ma per gli autori più recenti la drammatizzazione sembra scaturire più che altro da istanze esornative, stilistiche e di amplificazione psicologica: un fenomeno, direi, secondario. Al contrario, nella storiografia romana ai suoi albori l’afflato drammatico dovette essere qualcosa di sostanziale e ad essa connaturato. Questa, infatti, nei suoi primordi appare legata strettamente alla tragedia coeva e all’epopea.45 I primi annalisti trovarono nell’opera storico-poetica degli artisti locali contemporanei un modello letterario e una fonte di temi: questo chiarisce molto la loro propensione ad arricchire il racconto storico di pennellate tragiche. Si ricordi il caso del Brutus di Accio, permeato di temi della saga di Oreste, che influenzò probabilmente Pisone. Le contaminazioni dalla saga di Eteocle e Polinice sarebbero un fenomeno analogo. L’apertura della storiografia romana alla tragedia, conferma Antoine Foucher, favoriva l’importazione nell’Urbe dei moduli della storiografia tragica ellenistica. Infatti, se il fiorire della praetexta educava gli storici romani al gusto 45  I primi tragediografi del resto, erano anche autori di epica. Di più: sembra sia stato nella forma della poesia epico-tragica il primo vero tentativo storiografico romano, gli Annales di Ennio: la poesia, l’epopea e il teatro (si pensi al Brutus di Accio) svolgevano la funzione della storia. Su queste problematiche, cf. Foucher (2000). Da vedere anche il fondamentale contributo di Mazzarino (1966), II, 59–117. Anche Cornell (2003), 93–94: egli ipotizza che il carattere drammatico di molti episodi eroici della fase arcaica della storia romana potrebbe dipendere dal fatto che questi fossero stati celebrati e tramandati in una prima fase attraverso ballate pre-letterarie e recite teatrali, che a loro volta avrebbero contribuito a plasmare la ‘tradizione storica’.

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tragico, è facile supporre che questi cercassero ispirazione nel più immediato modello greco che potesse appagarli in tal senso, vale a dire la storiografia tragizzante che faceva capo a Duride di Samo. E perché non si sarebbero potuti ispirare anche alla tragedia greca vera e propria? Si tratterebbe del caso delle citazioni tebane esaminate. Tutto ciò è ribadito da Santo Mazzarino che, a proposito dell’apertura della prima annalistica alle tonalità tragiche, nota che, come la storiografia greca, con Erodoto e Tucidide, aveva raggiunto il suo apice nel secolo d’oro della tragedia attica, così la storiografia romana mosse i suoi primi passi nell’età tragica di Roma, quando Nevio, Accio e Pacuvio scrivevano le loro praetextae. Tale ‘piccola età tragica’ sarebbe scaturita, secondo il Mazzarino, dallo spirito incline al dramma dell’uomo romano, e dalla sua religiosità ansiosa e pessimistica:46 ne sarebbe un aspetto l’ossessione per il tema fratricida – da cui la continua rievocazione del mito di Eteocle e Polinice – che abbiamo visto ricorrere nei brani esaminati ma anche nell’iconografia etrusca e laziale coeva. Queste riflessioni suggeriscono un’ulteriore spiegazione, e più strettamente psicologica, del fenomeno degli echi tebani. Come si è visto, la saga di Eteocle e Polinice era il referente privilegiato soprattutto quando si trattava di tematiche che ai Romani dovevano stare molto a cuore: lo spettro dello scontro fraterno, allusivo alla spada di Damocle delle lotte civili; il tema del tradimento della patria; le questioni patrimoniali; il conflitto tra valori pubblici e privati e, soprattutto, lo spauracchio di aggressori esterni minaccianti l’integrità dell’Urbe. Non è possibile che il ricorso a modelli greci – nella letteratura come nell’arte – avesse una funzione psicologica di sublimazione, una valenza catartica? Anche questo ci conduce in qualche modo al Pittore: non dimentichiamo che la ‘sua’ Roma stava vivendo un dramma reale, e proprio a causa della minaccia di un aggressore straniero: Annibale. Ma torniamo alle ragioni di gusto letterario: concentriamoci ora specificamente su Fabio. Tutte le riflessioni proposte finora circa la vocazione tragica della prima storiografia romana valgono naturalmente anche per il primo annalista. Sul gusto tragico fabiano hanno scritto esaustivamente Bruno Gentili e il Cerri,47 e non è il caso di ripercorrere qui le loro riflessioni. L’ipotesi della responsabilità di Fabio dei riferimenti tebani è rafforzata anche dal fatto che il tema di Eteocle e Polinice ricorresse nell’iconografia a lui contemporanea. Si rifletta infatti sui rapporti indissolubili tra la prima storiografia romana e le arti.48 Si ricordi che Fabio era (un) Pittore: apparteneva ad 46  Mazzarino (1966), II, 59–117. 47  Gentili – Cerri (1973). 48  Sulle relazioni tra testi ed arte figurativa nell’antichità classica si veda Small (2003).



una gens la cui vocazione pittorica era espressa fin nel cognomen. Sappiamo, ad esempio, che era stato un Fabio Pittore a dipingere, alla fine del IV secolo, gli affreschi del tempio di Salus al Quirinale. Era un’aristocrazia che affidava le proprie memorie non solo alla parola scritta, ma anche alle arti figurative.49 La pittura e, più in generale, la cultura delle immagini appartenevano insomma all’atmosfera culturale da cui scaturì la prima storiografia romana.50 Anzi, l’esistenza di una pittura a tema storico, di raffigurazioni narrativo-cronistiche sin dalle fasi più alte dell’acculturazione di Roma – basti pensare all’antichità del dipinto dell’Esquilino, peraltro legato alla memoria dei Fabii, o agli affreschi della tomba François – è proprio una peculiarità del mondo etrusco-romano rispetto alla grecità.51 Il legame con la pittura era insomma un fatto endogeno: il gusto per il dipinto storico era iscritto nel DNA romano ed etrusco. Dalla storicità della pittura al pittoricismo della storia, si perdoni in gioco di parole, il passo era breve. Pittoricismo della storia inteso non solo come fatto letterario, è ciò che attribuiscono Gentili e Cerri all’opera di Fabio,52 ma anche – ed è quello che più ci interessa qui – come diretta influenza tematica e stilistica delle arti figurative sulla storiografia. Alla dialettica tra Fabio e le arti dovette poi contribuire il fattore allogeno rappresentato dall’esempio della storiografia ellenistica: in particolare, la lezione del filone tragico risalente a Duride, che il primo annalista, dotto grecista, con ogni probabilità conosceva. Il Samiota, che pure si era interessato di arte, propugnava un modello narrativo ‘impressionista’ che, attraverso descrizioni vivide e dettagliate, simili a grandi affreschi, riproducesse il gusto e il colore di una determinata situazione storica: ciò deve aver stimolato ulteriormente

49  Cf. Purcell (2003), 23. 50  Retroterra di cui peraltro faceva parte, come abbiamo già visto, anche l’arte della tragedia: vi è insomma una circolarità indissolubile tra prima storiografia romana, tragedia ed arti figurative. Cf. Purcell (2003), 33. 51  Nel mondo greco le raffigurazioni storiche si diffondono solo a partire dall’Ellenismo (il che, peraltro, è una prova ulteriore del legame esistente tra storiografia tragizzante, pittoricismo e dipinti dal tema storico). Vi sono, in realtà, dipinti greci a tema storico già in età classica (cf. Mazzarino [1966], I, 63), come quello della battaglia di Maratona nella Stoà Poikile: ma in queste opere gli dei sono raffigurati combattere accanto agli uomini, quindi non si può considerarle pitture storiche a tutti gli effetti, ma piuttosto come sorta di variazioni sul tema iliadico di una lotta in cui il piano divino e quello umano si fondono in un’atmosfera da età del mito. 52  Gentili – Cerri (1973).

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il primo annalista a misurarsi con le opere artistiche e a trarre da queste temi e spunti.53 Infine, sempre considerando la fortuna della saga labdacide nell’arte dei Tirreni,54 un ultimo indizio corroborante l’ipotesi ‘fabiana’ delle evocazioni tebane è il fatto che il primo annalista fosse legato alla cultura etrusca: queste, oltre che scaturire da ragioni di gusto e dalla lezione della storiografia tragica ellenistica, sarebbero state indotte dunque anche dal modello tirrenico. L’influenza della cultura etrusca su Fabio comportava profonde implicazioni ideologiche relative alla concezione del tempo storico, percepito dagli Etruschi – e per loro influsso da Fabio – come un susseguirsi di saecula ricorrenti:55 filosofia della storia sottesa all’intero ciclo pittorico della Tomba François, in cui compariva, peraltro, proprio la raffigurazione del conflitto tra Eteocle e Polinice. Già in questi affreschi etruschi, e proprio in virtù della filosofia della ricorrenza della storia, il duello leggendario tra i rampolli tebani veniva posto in parallelo con uno, questa volta storico, combattuto da due nobili del Lazio, Cneve Tarchunies Rumach e Marce Camitlnas. L’ideologia espressa dagli affreschi della tomba vulcente, dunque, è la medesima che è sottesa agli echi tebani, i quali si limitano a sostituire a quest’ultima, storica, coppia di antagonisti, gli altrettanto storici, benché dai contorni leggendari, Bruto ed Arrunte. Vediamo dunque come le radici del fenomeno delle citazioni tebane siano molto antiche, e già in seno all’ideologia etrusca: l’ipotesi che sia stato il Pittore, permeato di questa cultura, ad applicare per la prima volta il medesimo meccanismo alla storiografia romana risulta dunque ancora più credibile. Tracciato un simile quadro, le citazioni tebane nella storia di Roma risultano viepiù comprensibili, come, più in generale, si chiarisce un aspetto del complesso ed affascinante fenomeno che fu quella fitta trama di rapporti tra la prima annalistica e le tragedie greche di V secolo. Frutto ulteriore di queste riflessioni è l’invito a lavorare, almeno per la prima fase della storiografia romana, in parallelo con le testimonianze iconografiche, con cui essa è in continua dialettica. Un esempio: abbiamo visto che per gli storici di Roma il referente prediletto per le citazioni della saga tebana fu l’opera di Euripide – le cui tonalità patetiche dovevano compiacere particolarmente il gusto romano – piuttosto che quella di Eschilo o di Sofocle. Non si può fare 53  Su Duride si veda il recente Naas – Simon (2015). Notiamo come come tutte queste riflessioni confermino l’efficace definizione del Mazzarino (1966, I, 103–104) che presenta l’opera del Pittore come il prodotto dell’incontro tra le forme storico-pittoriche caratteristiche della mentalità etrusco-romana e la cultura greca. 54  Small (1981). 55  Sordi (1960); Id. (1984); Coarelli (1983).



a meno di notare che ciò avviene spesso anche al livello delle arti figurative: l’iconografia del celebre frontone di Talamone, ad esempio, segue proprio la tradizione delle Phoenissae, ponendo in scena Edipo e Giocasta nel momento del drammatico duello fraterno. Bibliografia Åström, P. (1974). ‘Un’urna etrusca con iscrizione dipinta e con scena in rilievo raffigurante la lotta tra Eteocle e Polinice’, OpRom 8: 29–32. Carlini, A. (1977). ‘Osservazioni critiche al papiro di Lille attribuito a Stesicoro’, QUCC 25: 61–67. Coarelli, F (1983). Il Foro Romano. Periodo arcaico, Roma. Cornell, T. J. (2003). ‘Coriolanus: Myth, history and performance’, in D. Braund and C. Gill (eds.), Myth, History and Culture in Republican Rome, Studies in Honour of T. P. Wiseman (Exeter), 73–97. Foucher, A. (2000). ‘Nature et formes de l’histoire tragique à Rome’, Latomus 59: 773–787. Frier, B. W. (1979/1999). Libri annales pontificum maximorum. The Origins of the Annalistic Tradition (PMAAR 27), Rome (second edition, Ann Arbor, MI). Gargiulo, T. (1976). ‘Sul nuovo Stesicoro (Pap. Lille 76 A, B, C)’, BollClass 24: 55–59. Gentili, B. and Cerri, G. (1973). Le teorie del discorso storico nel pensiero greco e la storiografia romana arcaica, Roma. Krauskopf, I. (1974). Der Thebanische Sagenkreis und andere griechische Sagen in der etruskischen Kunst, Mainz. Levene, D. S. and Nelis, D. P. (eds., 2002). Clio and the Poets. Augustan Poetry and the Traditions of Ancient Historiography (Mnemosyne, suppl. 224), Leiden. Levene, D. S. (1993). Religion in Livy, Leiden – New York – Köln. Mahé-Simon, M. (2006). ‘Aspects de l’historiographie hellénistique dans l’œuvre de Tite-Live (livres VIII et IX)’, REL 84: 168–184. Martin, P. M. (1982). L’idée de royauté à Rome, Clermont – Ferrand. Mastrocinque, A. (1988). Lucio Giunio Bruto. Ricerche di storia, religione e diritto sulle origini della Republica romana, Trento. Mastrocinque, A. (1993). Romolo. La fondazione di Roma tra storia e leggenda (Università di Trento, Dipartimento di scienze filologiche e storiche, Pubblicazioni di storia antica 4), Este. Mazzarino, S. (1966). Il pensiero storico classico I–III, Bari. Meurant, A. (2003). ‘D’Albe-la-Longue au pomerium. Romulus et Rémus sur la route’, Latomus 62: 517–542. Naas, V. and Simon, M. (éds., 2015). De Samos à Rome. Personnalité et influence de Douris, Nanterre.

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Neri, C. (2008). ‘Trattativa contro il fato (Stesich. PMGF 222b, 176–231)’, Eikasmos 19: 11–44. Ogilvie, R. M. (1965). A Commentary on Livy, Books 1–5, Oxford. Poucet, J. (1976). ‘Fabius Pictor et Denys d’Halicarnasse: Les enfances de Romulus et Rémus’, Historia 25: 209–210. Poucet, J. (2000). Les Rois de Rome. Tradition et histoire, Bruxelles. Purcell, N. (2003). ‘Becoming historical. The Roman case’, in D. Braund and C. Gill (eds.), Myth, History and Culture in Republican Rome. Studies in Honour of T. P. Wiseman (Exeter), 12–40. Scapini, M. (2011). Temi greci e citazioni da Erodoto nelle storie di Roma arcaica, Nordhausen. Scapini, M. (2014). ‘Literary archetypes for the regal period’, in B. Mineo (ed.), A Companion to Livy (Malden, MA), 274–285. Schultze, C. (2012). ‘Negotiating the plupast: Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Roman self-definition’, in J. Grethlein and C. B. Krebs (eds.), Time and Narrative in Ancient Historiography. The ‘Plupast’ from Herodotus to Appian (Cambridge), 113–138. Small, J. P. (1981). Studies Related to the Theban Cycle on Late Etruscan Urns, Rome. Small, J. P. (2003). The Parallel Worlds of Classical Art and Text, Cambridge. Soltau, W. (1909). Die Anfänge der römischen Geschichtsschreibung, Leipzig. Sordi, M. (1960). I rapporti romano-ceriti e l’origine della civitas sine suffragio, Roma. Sordi, M. (1984). ‘Il Campidoglio e l’invasione gallica’, CISA 10: 82–91. Wiater, N. (2011). The Ideology of Classicism. Language, History and Identity in Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Berlin – New York.


Figures of Memory. Aulus Vibenna, Valerius Publicola and Mezentius between History and Legend Massimiliano Di Fazio* This paper is structured around three stories and a question. The stories, transmitted in the historical traditions of ancient Italy, have in common the fact that they feature names which also occur in inscriptions which are more or less contemporary with the dates of the reported events. The question is: what is the likelihood that the names recorded in the inscriptions refer to the persons featuring in the literary accounts, rather than being cases of mere coincidence?1 An answer can be proposed only after a necessarily concise review of all the data at our disposal. 1

Aulus Vibenna

Massimo Pallottino was thirty when, in 1939, he was put in charge of one of the most important excavations of his career: the Portonaccio sanctuary, very close to the ancient town of Veii.2 His precious notebooks, recently published by his pupil and academic heir, Giovanni Colonna, are testimonies of what was, due to economic constraints, a difficult excavation; but nevertheless the astonishing relevance of the findings was already clear. On the 28th of April, Pallottino had to leave the excavation temporarily, so he agreed with the workmen how * Kaj Sandberg and Christopher Smith have improved both language and contents of my text: I am extremely grateful to them. Opinions and flaws remain of course entirely my responsibility. 1  This question was already briefly posed by Pallottino (1993), 26: he emphasized the importance “dei ritrovamenti epigrafici quali indizi delle condizioni storiche di Roma arcaica aventi il duplice valore di testimonianza contemporanea degli avvenimenti (come ogni dato offerto dall’archeologia) e in pari tempo di testimonianze ‘parlanti’ (a differenza di ogni altro dato archeologico)”. 2  Colonna (2002). On Pallottino and his excavations at Veii, see Bartoloni (2007). For a recent overview of Portonaccio in the context of the Veientine territory, see Di Sarcina (2012), 351–352.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���8 | doi ��.��63/9789004355552_015

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to proceed with the activities in the area of the altar. He then came back on the 17th of May, and made a surprising discovery: a foot of a vase with an inscription which quite clearly bore a name: Avile Vipienna. It was obviously easy for the great scholar to connect that name with the famous Aulus Vibenna known through the literary tradition. It was a great surprise, and Pallottino could not wait to inform the elderly Gaetano De Sanctis, who was of course struck as well. The piece in question is the foot of a bucchero vase, perhaps a large kylix or a thymiaterion, 17 cm high, dated to the first half of the sixth century. The inscription, carved in the middle, is easily readable and understandable: mine muluv(an)ece avile vipiiennas, “I was given by Avile Vipiennas”.3 This document is far from being isolated. The epigraphic dossier of the Portonaccio sanctuary is not small: sixteen inscriptions most of which are on bucchero pottery of the first half of the sixth century, in unusual shapes and large dimensions.4 It seems likely that an artisanal workshop worked for the sanctuary with the responsibility of making pottery and of writing the dedications: the inscriptions show homogeneity as far as writing is concerned. Who signed these offerings? Many gentilicial names recur in Veientine inscriptions: Tolumnii, Hvuluves, Acvilnas for instance;5 others indicate that the sanctuary was frequented by people of diverse origins: from Chiusi, Volsinii and Vulci. Who is this Aulus Vibenna? A personage with the same name is well known: a very complex figure, implicated in a very complex tradition.6 The same name appears on a red-figured Etruscan kylix at the Musée Rodin in Paris.7 In the internal tondo there are two satyrs, and an inscription painted in red: Avles V(i) pinas naplan. The date of the kylix is debated, but recent studies suggest the fourth century BCE.8 The famous François Tomb in the territory of Vulci belongs to the last decades of the same century;9 there, two brothers named Vibenna are represented in wall paintings together with other personages such as Macstrna, Cneve Tarchunies Rumach and others, in a scene that is one of the most debated figural documents of pre-Roman Italy.10 Finally, the same 3  Maras (2009), 417; Briquel (2009), 52. 4  Colonna (2002), 261–273 (D. F. Maras). 5  Briquel (2009), with detailed analysis. 6  Among the wide literature I will only cite Ampolo (1988), 204–210; Cornell (1995) 130–141; Forsythe (2005), 100–108, with different approaches, on which see Smith (2011), 25–26. 7  Ambrosini (2013), 957. 8  F. Gilotta in Buranelli (1987), 234–235; Briquel (1997), 71–72. 9  See Bardelli (2012), with arguments supporting a lower chronology (towards the end of the fourth century). 10  Buranelli (1987). The literature on this monument is enormous and continuously growing.


Di Fazio

name is engraved on a mirror from Bolsena, probably produced at Volsinii, and dated between the end of the fourth and the beginning of the third century.11 Here the two Vibenna brothers are represented together with a rather strange figure, Cacu, a well known personage in the Etruscan imagerie, whose possible relationship with the Roman Cacus is disputed.12 Similar scenes are represented on some third-century urns without inscriptions, but it has been supposed that the individuals depicted are the same as those on the mirror.13 The story of the Vibennae was known to Roman sources as well. The most important is surely the speech which the emperor Claudius, apparently an expert on the Etruscans,14 gave to the Roman Senate in 48 CE supporting the claims by Gallic aristocrats that they should have access to senatorial rank. In the speech,15 recorded on a bronze tablet found at Lyon and summarized by Tacitus (ann. 11.24), Claudius – evidently following Tusci auctores – told the story of Caelius Vivenna and his sodalis fidelissimus Mastarna.16 The Vibennae become brothers again in a crucial but poorly preserved passage of Festus (486 L), in which they are referred to as the [Volci]entes fratres. The Roman tradition knew even more connections. Both brothers were related to a Roman hill, Caelius to the homonymous Caelian Hill,17 and Aulus to the Capitoline.18 The whole dossier of information can be easily located in a chronological horizon of mid-sixth century: this makes the connection between the tradition and the inscription, at the very least, credible. 11  Domenici (2009), 115–117. 12  Small (1982). For more recent discussions, see Albini (2009), 141–158; Domenici (2009), 109–132. 13  Small (1982); Domenici (2009), 125–126. 14  “A Latin-speaking Etruscologist”: Momigliano (1975), 1. See also Briquel (1990); Griffin (1990), 482–501; Vernole (2002), 166–176, with references to the debate on the real knowledge of Etruscan traditions by Claudius. 15  CIL XIII 1668 = ILS 212. Griffin (1982), 404–418; Di Stefano Manzella (1987), 236–242; Farney (2007), 229–233. 16  From a huge bibliography, see the still fundamental contribution by Pallottino (1987), 225–233 and the more recent accounts by Maras (2010), 187–200 and Paltineri (2012), 115–122. 17  Varro ling. 5.46. See also Tac. ann. 4.65. 18  According to Arnobius (6.7), the name Capitolium would derive from Caput Oli, the head of Aulus buried there and discovered during the works for the edification of the Temple of Iuppiter Capitolinus. In this passage, Arnobius quotes as auctores Sammonicus, Granius, Valerius Antias, and a Fabius whose identification with Pictor is not certain: see FRHist I F30 (E. H. Bispham – T. J. Cornell). The discovery of a human skull on the Capitoline is recorded also by other sources (Livy, Dionysius, Isidore of Seville), but with slight differences: see full list in Migliorati (2003), 51–52. See also Beck, this volume.

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We are dealing however with a very complex tradition, with two main branches: on one side we have an Etruscan version, found on the mirror and the urns, in which the enigmatic figure of Cacu appears between the brothers; on the other side there is a version closer to that which is reported in the Roman literary tradition, and which seems to coincide with the François Tomb, a monument that is fully Etruscan, but which preceded by only a few decades the fall of Vulci into Roman hands (280 BCE). And it is perhaps just such a situation on the “eve of Romanisation” which makes the dialogue between the pictures of the tomb and the literary tradition so complex. In any case, the existence of the Vibenna brothers seems likely: this, of course, does not imply the historicity of their legend.19 2

Valerius Publicola

The three strange pale green blocks looked as if they had been reused in the substructure of the great temple of Mater Matuta in Satricum. Conrad Stibbe and Arnold Beijer, the two archaeologists responsible for the excavation, were just making this observation in October 1977, when the workmen removed a layer of earth from the surface of one of the blocks, uncovering an inscription about which much ink has subsequently flowed.20 The three blocks, presumably, had been part of the basement of a statue or a statuary group, but in reuse the block had been placed with the inscription upside down. The inscription is in Latin characters, on two horizontal lines proceeding from left to right, in continuous scripture without punctuation. The text is easily read, apart from the first letters: [---]iei steterai Popliosio Valesiosio / suodales Mamartei, “the sodales of Publius Valerius placed (a statue or statuary group?) in honour of Mars”. However, the significance of every single word of the inscription has been debated. The suodales seem to point out the presence of a group of armed warriors led by a warlord, in accordance with a phenomenon that we now know rather well: its historical and sociological nature is well defined by

19  Thus correctly Bickerman (1969), 397, but he may have been excessively ironic when he wrote that “[f]ollowing the same historical logic, the Fogg Museum in Boston goes some way to establish the authenticity of the adventures of Phileas Fogg which a contemporary source described so vividly in Around the World in Eighty Days”. It seems easier to find a namesake in 19th-century United States than in sixth-century central Italy. 20  CIL I2 2832a. Stibbe et al. (1980); Hartmann (2005), 138–142; Colonna (2007), 194–196. On Satricum, see Gnade (2007).


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the German term Gefolgschaft.21 Such groups are well suited to the protection of Mars. The most intriguing aspect for our present considerations is of course the name of Publius Valerius. Several scholars have tried to locate the inscription in its historical context, but there are many debated aspects.22 On one side, most scholars agree in seeing the inscription as one of the most interesting documents of archaic Latin; some others have proposed, but seemingly without good reason, to read it instead as a document written in the Volscian, Faliscan, or Sabine language.23 The case for it being written in Faliscan or Volscian does not convince, for different reasons. More intriguing, although not really convincing on linguistical grounds, is the idea that it is Sabine, a proposal which is also supported by cultural similarities. A Sabine influence would be especially interesting because of the known connection between the Valerii and the Sabine area.24 A further element to consider is the supposed particular interest the Valerii would have had towards the Pomptine area, a kind of “specialisation” similar to that which is attested for the Fabii and southern Etruria, more specifically Veii.25 Such familial interest could provide a reason for the otherwise puzzling presence of this dedication in Satricum. The problem is of course connected to the question of the ethnic makeup at Satricum, and to the more general question of the Volscians, which has been reopened recently but not yet settled.26 To sum up the most agreed version, it is likely that the Latin city of Satricum fell into the hands of the Volscians towards the beginning of the fifth century. In a tomb of the fifth-century southwest necropolis of the city, a small lead axe has been found, with an inscription quite different from the Lapis Satricanus as far as writing and language are concerned. The short text seems rather to recall South Picene writings and the languages of the Osco-Umbrian linguistic group.27 This text would be the only 21  Versnel (1980); Bremmer (1982), 133–147. For further references, see Chiabà (2011), 17–18 n. 79 and, more recently, Di Fazio (2013), 195–212. 22  For a recent overview, see Chiabà (2011), 16–18. 23  Rocca (2009), 67–83, with references. 24  But we should be aware that, during the Late Republic, claims of Sabine ascendancy were more a matter of fashion and political convenience than of actual conditions: see Farney (2007), 78–124. 25  Coarelli (1990), 135–154: two Valerii operated against the Volscians at Satricum in the fourth century, P. Valerius Publicola in 377 and M. Valerius Corvus in 346 (Liv. 6.32, 7.27), and a young Valeria was sent to Pometia (Plin. nat. 7.69). See Rocca (2009), 70; cf. Smith (1999), 473 n. 107, who is more cautious. 26  See Di Fazio (2014), 245–257. 27  Crawford (2011), I. Latium/Satricum, 1. See Calderini (2012), 225–252.

Figures of Memory


testimony of the Volscian language.28 The Lapis Satricanus, instead, recalls the languages known in Latium Vetus and in Rome itself during the sixth century.29 The excavations at Satricum have so far produced ten inscriptions. Six of them belong to the Orientalizing and Archaic periods, from the mid-seventh to midfifth century; three are mid-republican; and one imperial in date.30 In addition to Latin, Etruscan, Volscian and Greek are attested. These data clearly attest to the multi-ethnic nature of the cult at the great Temple of Mater Matuta, and more generally to a good degree of dynamism and openness in the settlement. The linguistic discourse is connected with the historical interpretation: who made the dedication? A group of armed sodales of Valerius who intended to celebrate the conquest of Satricum and/or the foundation of a Roman colony, as suggested by Ella Hermon?31 A group of inhabitants of Satricum, Latins belonging to a philoRoman party? The context of the find plays a pivotal role. The monument to which the inscription refers was destroyed, presumably shortly before the construction of the second temple to Mater Matuta, in whose substructure the blocks were found; but it is not easy to establish whether the destruction can be connected with the arrival of the Volscians rather than with the wars between Rome and the Latins.32 In any case, leaving aside all the different proposals about the inscription and its historical context,33 most scholars are inclined to identify the Poplios Valesios with the famous Publius Valerius Poplicola who together with Lucius Junius Brutus was the one of the first consuls of republican Rome.34 Such an identification, of course, raises several historical questions related to the presence of these sodales of Publicola at Satricum, which could probably be best understood in the context of the activity of founding colonies which is attributed to him by the historical

28  The only other testimony of the Volscian language would be the Tabula Veliterna, that is a later (third-century) document with much more Latin influence. Recently, the whole question has been challenged by Michael Crawford (2008, 87–101), according to whom neither of the two inscriptions is connected to the Volscians. I cannot tackle the question in a short footnote, of course, but see Di Fazio (2014), 245–257. 29  Maras (2009), n. 35. 30  See Colonna (2007), 98–99, 194–197. 31  Hermon (1999), 847–881. 32  See the analysis in Smith (1999), 453–475. 33  There is a wide range of opinions on the identification. Among the favourable, see Pallottino (1979), 12–13; Torelli (1988), 65; Momigliano (1989), 97; Coarelli (1990), 121–122; Cornell (1995), 144. More cautious (but not contrary) Versnel (1980), 136; Bremmer (1982), 134; Smith (1999), 473. Rather sceptical Drummond (2012), 1535. 34  For a critical assessment of the historical context, see Wiseman (1998), 19–26.


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sources;35 but this is a problem which exceeds the purposes of the present paper. 3 Mezentius It is often said that nowadays the most productive excavations take place in the magazzini of the great museums. The story of the cup Cp 3414-C 54 is an excellent demonstration of the validity of this saying. The cup became part of the collections of the Louvre Museum in 1863, coming from the collections of the Marquis Campana.36 It entered the Louvre with a rather offhand label, just as the piece seemed to be insignificant, characterised only by an apparently illegible inscription.37 But when, in the second half of the 1980s, Dominique Briquel and Françoise Gaultier reviewed the materials of the collection, they sensed that the inscription had to be reread. And the outcome was striking: mi Laucies Mezenties, “I (belong to) Laucie Mezentie”.38 As always, when a unique piece has come into a museum collection, and especially in previous centuries, the suspicion of forgery is inevitable, but in this case, scientific analysis has proved the piece to be authentic.39 There is no certainty about its provenance, but several clues (the shape of the vase, and the story of the collection) point towards Cerveteri, the ancient Etruscan city of Caere, and home of the famous Mezentius, one of the main characters of the Aeneid. The date suggested by Gaultier, now widely accepted, is the second quarter of the seventh century. This date could perhaps be lowered a little,40 but this would not affect the overall argument. The inscription thus provides intriguing data of historical relevance. It confirms the historicity of a family named Mezentie, probably at Caere; and it offers the exact form of the name that has been debated since ancient times. But above all, it somehow “anchors” this personality in history, forcing us to rethink the several hypotheses which have been formulated in the past, where 35  See discussion and references in Chiabà (2011), 1–9. 36  On the history of these excavations, see now Gaultier (2014), 45–47. 37  The language of the text had been identified as a form of Oscan by the first editors, or simply considered “indéchiffrable”, see Gaultier – Briquel (1989), 108. 38  Gaultier – Briquel (1989); Briquel (2014), 322–323. 39  Thermoluminescence of course can only prove the pottery to be ancient, not the inscription: but the uniqueness and strangeness of it seems to constitute the best proof of its genuinity. 40  On this kind of pottery, see now Biella (2014), 178–181.

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Mezentius was used as a kind of proxy, mainly in sixth-century contexts, for the historical bonds between Caere and coastal Latium; or as the leader of the Caeretan aristocracy connected with the episode of the stoning of the Phocaean prisoners. For others, Vergil was simply writing fiction.41 In a subsequent contribution, Dominique Briquel provided a fascinating historical reconstruction.42 He noticed the chronological agreement between the Caeretan chalice and the so-called Heroon of Aeneas at Lavinium, a monumental tomb of the second half of the seventh century that later became a cult place. Such an agreement appears to coincide with the literary tradition which makes Aeneas and Mezentius contemporary. Briquel thus proposed that the tradition alludes to a historical event: the attempt of a Caeretan king, Mezentie, to expand across the Tiber towards Lavinium, being rejected by a heroic local chief, who after his death would be deified and then assimilated to Aeneas. Further important considerations have been made by Carlo De Simone: the name Mezentius is not Etruscan, and neither is the praenomen Laucie.43 It would thus be a foreign gens which had settled in Caere some time earlier. De Simone stressed that the inscription would confirm the presence at Caere of a family Mezentie, a member of which would have acquired such power as to prompt the Roman tradition. Briquel again has recently added another interesting piece to the mosaic, pointing out a possible connection between the praenomen Laucie and the name of Mezentius’ son, Lausus.44 If confirmed, this would reinforce the idea of the importance of a family named Mezentie in seventh-century Caere.45 This account is not unproblematic. It presupposes a degree of upper class social mobility, which we see more often in sixth-century contexts, when political adventures of the kind we associate with the phenomenon of tyranny, such as the ones of Tarquin the Elder, Porsenna and the Caeretan king Thefarie 41  For an overview with bibliography, see Di Fazio (2005), 51–69. 42  Briquel (1995), 173–185; Id. (2014), 322–323. A similar suggestion was proposed already by Torelli (1984, 189–195). 43  De Simone (1991), 559–573. 44  Briquel (2011), 14–18. 45  Another inscription has been interpreted as providing the name of Mezentius. A mirror in the Villa Giulia Museum in Rome shows Achle (Achilleus) putting on arms whilst in the presence of some non-Greek characters. One of them is labeled with a name that is traditionally read as Mevntie (J. P. Small, LIMC VI [1992], s.v. ‘Mevntie, 1’), but recently Nancy de Grummond (2006, 205–207) has proposed to read it Mezntie. This proposal has not been accepted by scholars, and does not seem fully convincing from the epigraphic point of view.


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Velianas,46 did find an ideal ground from a historical and social point of view. Sociolinguistic studies, moreover, seem to indicate that our Mezentie was fully integrated in Caeretan society of his age; his onomastic system, although of Italic origin, is treated as an Etruscan one, being adapted to the Etruscan morphological and phonological systems.47 So the seventh-century date is early for such an adventure and the argument that Mezentius is an outsider is somewhat weakened. A further doubt comes from the inscription itself, or better from its vase, a rather poor piece of impasto. Caere during the seventh century shows in its rich burials an uncommon magnificence and wealth, so much as to be defined as a “city of kings”;48 among the significant pieces, there are relevant inscribed mid-seventh century examples such as some bucchero kyathoi, or the famous bucchero olpe bearing one of the most ancient mythological representations, where clear and well carved writing indicates Medea and Daidalos.49 Given all this, it seems rather strange that a family of “kings”, or anyway an important family, should impress its name on such a modest piece. Of course the reasons could be several, as for example that the piece was only part of a rich set; but it remains rather unusual. Clearly, a huge obstacle towards a better comprehension is the lack of information about the find context of the cup. This would have allowed us to have a better idea of the purpose of the inscription and of the gift. In any case, the riddle persists. There is one point that deserves to be emphasized. Mezentius, paradoxically, is in some ways a victim of Virgil, who made him so famous. We tend too often to forget that the Aeneid is only one of the sources mentioning Mezentius.50 This is easily understandable when we consider the founding role the myth of Aeneas had for Rome, and consequently the role that his principal enemy played in the story. A reference to Mezentius will have been compulsory for every historian dealing with the Roman “prehistory”. Cato dealt with Mezentius in his Origines,51 and it appears likely that the tradition was rather ancient, even if we cannot establish by how much. It seems though that the myth of Aeneas’ triumph over Mezentius was used already in fourth-century Praeneste in an ideological manner, if the inter46  Cornell (1995), 143–150; Di Fazio (2000), 393–412; Ampolo (2009), 27–28. 47  Marchesini (1997), 160. 48  Briquel (1987), 146. 49  Kyathoi: Haumesser (2014). Olpe: Cerchiai (2014), 135. For an overview, see Benelli (2014), 131–132. 50  See Di Fazio (2005), 51–69. 51  FRHist 5 Cato F6–9.

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pretation provided by Mauro Menichetti of the iconography on one of the ciste found there is correct.52 Vergil’s version is different from the others; while Livy and the other sources are rather consistent in depicting Mezentius as a fierce enemy, who is defeated by Aeneas and thereafter withdraws, whilst acquiring amicitiam societatemque with the Latins (Orig. gent. Rom. 15.4), only in the Aeneid is he a cruel tyrant, expelled from Caere; such a solution permits Vergil to put his Etruscans in a good light.53 It would thus be misleading to focus on Vergil’s Mezentius in order to try to solve the riddle. 4


What are the points of contact between these three cases? They are three cases of possible coincidence between a personage known from literary sources and a real person. But there are analogies and differences that deserve close scrutiny. No one has really raised doubts about the historicity of Valerius Publicola,54 even if the historical accounts have been debated, and some details of his story are somewhat artificial: for instance his choice to destroy his house on the Velia, which, set high above the community, had been seen by the Roman people as a sign of his desire for supremacy over them.55 The Vibenna brothers, on the other hand, have always been regarded as rather mythical figures, somehow useful to the Roman tradition in order to explain a confused tradition around the Etruscan dominion over Rome. While the Etruscan tradition as expressed on the mirror and the urns seems rather to show them as legendary figures, on the Roman side the speech of Claudius – from a Roman angle, although based on Tusci auctores – seems rather to suppose the existence of some form of historical record of the events, or rather some form of historical reconstruction of the events. Mezentius was commonly considered a legendary creation. Especially in these latter cases, the epigraphic discoveries have given a strong impulse towards a reconsideration of these individuals. Furthermore, Vibenna and Publicola seem to have had a particular kind of power, of the tyrannical sort; their authority, in terms borrowed by Max 52  Menichetti (1994), 7–30; see Bastien (2007), 186–190. The cista Misc. 3238, now in Berlin, is dated towards 340 BCE. 53  Di Fazio (2005), 51–69; Briquel (2014), 322–323. 54  Apart from, of course, Alföldi (1965), on whose hypercritical view see Momigliano (1967), 487–499. 55  Beck (2009), 361–384. See also Smith (2006), 315.


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Weber, could be defined “charismatic” more than “traditional”;56 a personal power, therefore, based on a group of armed followers bound by a special relationship of loyalty. It is thus not at all surprising that the two inscriptions of Vibenna and Publicola are on monuments characterised by a visibility and public exposure. And it is worth recalling an important aspect of the sanctuary of Portonaccio from which the inscription of Vibenna comes: it was at the centre of a political and ideological strategy of a tyrannical nature, as the terracotta statues representing Herakles’ apotheosis accompanied by Athena seem to suggest.57 A similar discourse seems to be involved at the Temple of Mater Matuta at Satricum; in this case too there seem to have been traces of tyrannical ideology in the representation of Herakles and perhaps Athena58 in the decoration of one of the roofs, the second, dated to the third quarter of the sixth century,59 just a few decades earlier than the Lapis Satricanus. Both these temples would thus have similarities with the famous discovery beneath the Church of Sant’Omobono in Rome (Mater Matuta again!), which is regarded as the figurative expression of the tyrannical power of Servius Tullius.60 The case of Mezentius is less clear, but his context is different; the charismatic aspects he seems to share with the other two (a stranger exiled together with his armed supporters) are largely dependent on the Virgilian tradition, which seems to follow a model that the modern scholarship refers to as that of the archaic condottieri.61 Another element unites the three cases: the sacred. Valerius’ inscription is clearly connected with a sacred dedication, as explicitly pointed out by the presence of Mars in the text, a sacred dedication but with public relevance as well, since it is directed towards a whole community. Who was delivering the message? A member of the same community? A stranger? On such questions, interpretation is divided. No doubt this is the case for Vibenna’s inscription, as 56  See Di Fazio (2013), 199. 57  Colonna (1987, 7–39), based upon the “tyrannical” meaning of Herakles on which, see Cornell (1995), 147–148. On Hercules in Etruria and Rome, see Coarelli (2009), 373–381. For a recent comprehensive study on architectural terracotta decorations in Etruria and central Italy, see Winter (2009). 58  Lulof (1997), 85–114; Ead. (2000), 207–219. See also Smith (1999), 462. 59  See Knoop – Lulof (2007), 36. 60  Lulof (2000), 207–219. Bradley (2005, 130) rightly points out that the wide diffusion of this type makes it difficult to link it specifically to the historical context of Roman monarchy. Similar groups with Herakles and Athena, with similar dating to the last decades of the sixth century BCE, come also from Caere and Pyrgi, although the evidence is too exiguous to permit further speculation. 61  Cornell (1995), 143–150. For a more recent discussion, see Di Fazio (2013), 195–212.

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well; it was placed in one of the most prominent sanctuaries in the whole of Etruria. And it was placed there by a foreigner, just like other dedications in the same sanctuary. It might seem strange to speak of Vibenna, a prominent man from Vulci, as a “foreigner” in the context of a sanctuary in Veii, since they are two Etruscan cities, but a man from Vulci in the sixth century was effectively a stranger in Veii, because the Etruscans never attained political unity.62 Less evident, at first sight, is the connection between Mezentius’ vase and the sacred. We should remember that we do not have information about the context from which the vase comes, but a speaking object implies a dedication, usually of religious kind. If we accept the dating to the first half of the seventh century, it is likely that the original destination of the piece was not a sanctuary, but rather a tomb: in Etruria of that period the idea of a sanctuary connected with an urban settlement had still not developed, and the manifestations of the sacred are mainly connected with the great gentilicial tombs.63 A different scenario would be plausible if we considered instead a lower chronology, and then the possibility of a gift in a sanctuary would not be so unlikely. The poor quality of the piece makes a precise dating quite difficult. This said, it appears evident that the methods of traditional inquiries lead us to a situation of impasse; no consideration we may develop says anything useful about the main concern of this paper, which is the potential identity between a historical figure and a legendary one. This is the point where other routes and approaches are needed. What we should try to do is to illuminate the question from another standpoint. Here, studies on cultural memory come into play.

62  The meetings in the sanctuary of Fanum Voltumnae (nowadays identified with a good degree of certainty in the Campo della Fiera area, below Orvieto, ancient Volsinii (Stopponi [2013]), do not imply of course that the Etruscans had some form of stable political unity. I do not share de Grummond’s (2014, 412), view of the Etruscan cities meeting at the Fanum Voltumnae as a “religiopolitical and ethnic entity”. I find it more advisable to recognise that, in the words of Joncheray (2013, 69), “l’image littéraire de la dodécapole, offerte aux Romains par les Étrusques, permet de définir un mode de fonctionnement politique qui se rapproche d’un système politique démocratique. Mais il s’agit en réalité de constructions littéraires”. For a recent overview on the topic, see the essays collected in Della Fina (2012). 63  For an overview, see Naso (2000), 111–130. See also Briquel (2009), 65.

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Figures of Memory

In the last decades, the theme of memory has received enormous attention in classical studies, as elsewhere.64 In particular, archaeologists and historians have emphasized the importance of places in antiquity: lieux de mémoire, Erinnerungsorte.65 In addition, though, drawing on the pioneering studies of Maurice Halbwachs, Jan Assmann has recently developed the concept of figures of memory (Erinnerungsfiguren). In order to be fixed in a group’s memory, a truth must present itself in the concrete form of an event, a place, a person.66 Studies on social memory had already pointed out the importance of such processes: “images of the past commonly legitimate a present social order”.67 The concept of figures of memory thus plays a relevant role in the process of reconfiguration,68 through which each community establishes a relationship with its own past, with the protagonists of the past. The means through which such reconfiguration is made possible are often individuals; ancestors, great figures of the past, and the family genealogies from them down to their heirs. Here we come to another analogy among our three cases: they are all names with a gentilicial element, and therefore refer to families. This gentilicial dimension emerges, both in the Etruscan and the Roman context, in parallel with the collective dimension, but it is less clear if it precedes, emerges from or is in contradiction to a more community-based model of society.69 We seem to be dealing with a collective memory that is connected with restricted groups, bound by ties of consanguinitas. How these gentilicial memories link up, overlap, even clash between themselves, in order to become a more general, “Roman” collective memory, is a theme which perhaps is still waiting to be investigated in depth.70 The contradictions, forced relationships and forgeries 64  A learned overview is Proietti (2012), 13–40. See also Smith (2015), with some important caveats. 65  See the essays collected in Stein-Hölkeskamp – Hölkeskamp (2006). Many of the articles in the current volume touch on this theme in one way or another. 66  Assmann (1992), 37–42, drawing on Halbwachs (1941), 157. 67  Connerton (1989), 3. 68  Cultural memory works by reconstructing; it always relates knowledge to a contemporary situation by criticism, appropriation, preservation and transformation. See Assmann (1992). 69  A ground-breaking study on the Roman gens is Smith (2006). 70  Mehl (2014), 258: “Of course, neither a single family history nor an accumulation of some or all of them could produce a history of Rome, because they all remained focused on single families. But family histories could be used to write Rome’s history – and from this perspective they could also prove problematic.” Among the growing bibliography on Roman memory one of the most recent contributions is Galinsky (2014). The existence of family

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collected by the annalistic tradition, which Cicero knows well and Livy hints at not without annoyance,71 are only one aspect, the more “historical”, of this field of battle, which was fought even with figures of memory such as the ones we have spoken about. In the description of a Roman funeral, Polybius describes the processions during which people wear masks representing the family’s ancestors.72 In the text of Polybius, a structurally domestic phenomenon of mourning becomes public, κοινὸν τοῦ δήμου;73 a theatrical staging is needed, almost a sacred play, in order to overcome the gap between the gentilicial and the collective dimension.74 We thus recover, by the way, one of the deep meanings of that extraordinary phenomenon of ritual mourning,75 whose performative aspect is crucial in order to give value to every commemoration.76 An analogous theme is present in the Etruscan culture. We are aware of the Etruscan interest, almost obsession, for ancestors; they are placed on the roof of the palace of Murlo, in the great gentilicial tumuli, in tombs and palaces. It remains unclear whether we should consider them heroised ancestors or gods.77 Greek and Roman sources provide useful information about how Etruscan cities claimed their mythical founders: Nanas or Nanos for Cortona, Aulestes for Perusia, Halaesus for Falerii, Tarchon for Tarquinii, Caere could choose among Pelasgos, Telegonos and Tyrrhenus.78 These names, of course, say little or nothing about the ancient times of these cities and their processes archives in ancient Italy is a matter of debate. From an immense literature (taking various positions) I cite Wiseman (1974), 153–164; Gabba (1996), 3–11; Torelli (1996), 13–22; Blösel (2003), 53–72; Cornell (2005), 47–74; Smith (2006), 32–44; Fiorentini (2007–08), 992–993; Wiseman (2008). 71  Cic. Brut. 62; Liv. 8.40. 72  Pol. 6.53–54. See Flower (1996); Rodríguez-Mayorgas (2007), 55–62; Mehl (2014), 257–258. Cf. Pina Polo and Hölkeskamp in this volume. 73  Pol. 6.53: “the loss seems to be not confined to the mourners, but a public one affecting the whole people” (translation W. R. Paton, Loeb). 74  This kind of ceremony has been acutely described as a funerary transposition of the triumph by Brelich (1938, 189–193), see also Torelli (2008), 84–89. 75  Di Fazio (2011), 717–726. 76  Connerton (1989), 4–5: “If there is such a thing as social memory … , we are likely to find it in commemorative ceremonies; but commemorative ceremonies prove to be commemorative only in so far as they are performative.” 77  Torelli (1992), 249–274; Id. (2000), 73–74. An interesting point of view on the theme of ancestors is Whitley (2002), 119–126; see also Riva (2010), 187 about how Etruscan elite groups “generated genealogy for themselves by transferring their recent dead into the ancestor line and a collective memory for the larger community”. 78  See Briquel (1984). More generally on the ancient world, see Fromentin – Gotteland (2001). An interesting work on the survival of these myths of founders in the Middle Ages is Beneš (2011), 263–278.


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of formation,79 but rather reflect a historical moment in which the ruling classes had to face the Roman pressure. Myth, historical legend and cultural invention were among the weapons with which these elites tried to react, putting into play what Assmann defines as the “kontrapräsentisch” function of myth to supply the deficiencies of the present through the evocation of a heroic past.80 Etruscan elites seem to have worked on their past and ancestry in the fourth and third centuries BCE especially. Not by chance, the Hellenistic age is the moment of a wider diffusion of literacy in Etruria, when “il testo epigrafico giunge ad avere un carattere di pubblicità che coinvolge una sezione ampia della compagine sociale”.81 It has often been recognized that literacy plays a crucial role in the cultural strategies of memory and the reconstruction of the past.82 The Hellenistic period seems therefore to be marked by the growth of such cultural strategies. It is a historical moment in which pervasive Romanisation compelled the ruling elites to “ridefinire il proprio ruolo in termini che sarebbero stati ormai soltanto culturali e ideologicamente nostalgici”,83 a century in which the Roman pressure was getting stronger not only in military, but also in cultural terms. In such a situation it seems that local elites adopted cultural responses as a means of self-defence. This seems to be true for other communities of ancient Latium as well, as is suggested by two pieces of evidence we have already discussed, the so-called Tomb of Aeneas in Lavinium, which was monumentalised in the fourth century, and the cista from Praeneste with the triumph of Aeneas, which belongs to the same century. But the most intriguing examples come from Etruria.

79  Notwithstanding the frequent attempts by archaeologists to obtain from this data some information about the protohistory of Etruria. This, of course, does not imply that the Etruscans had no myths of their origins at all: it only shows the difficulty of deriving information about them from the (late) sources at our disposal. For an important case of long continuity of ancestor cult, see Bartoloni (2011) on Veii. 80  Assmann (1992), 79. For an interesting parallel, see Burke (1997, 59) on the myth of the Founding Fathers: “Generally speaking, what happens in the case of these myths is that differences between past and present are elided, and unintended consequences are turned into conscious aims, as if the main purpose of these past heroes had been to bring about the present – our present.” 81  Benelli (2012), 440. 82  Connerton (1989), 74–77. Cf. Assmann (1992), 87–129 (quotation p. 99): “eine der typischsten und verbreitetsten Entstehungsbedingungen von Vergangenheit: auf die Schriftlichwerdung von Überlieferung”. See also Goody (2000). Cornell (1991), 7–33 is still a valid overview on literacy in Etruria. 83  Harari (2007), 52. See Torelli (1986), 189–198.

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Working on Their Own Past

The sanctuary of Ara della Regina in Tarquinia is one of the major sacred structures of Etruria. The sixth-century temple faced a forecourt, in the middle of which a chest of stone blocks was buried.84 Later on, during the fourth century, the temple was widened, including the area of the forecourt, and the whole complex changed orientation. But during this operation, the chest was respected and its orientation preserved.85 Interestingly, near the same basement, old excavations had unearthed some epigraphical fragments, now lost; one of these seems to present the name of Tarchon, the mythical founder of the city. It is therefore possible that the fourth-century Tarquinian elite pretended to have found the tomb of the founder, and decided to respect the place, working in this way on their mythical past.86 This reference to the past, quoting Assmann again, would have reassured the members of Tarquinian society of their collective identity and supplied them with an awareness of their unity and singularity in time and space – that is a historical consciousness – by creating a shared past. The picture becomes more complete when we remember that in the same years the Tarquinians were engaged in a harsh war with the Romans, in which context bloody episodes are recorded by the sources: Livy (7.15.11, 7.19.13) tells of the massacre of 307 Roman prisoners in the Forum of Tarquinii in 358 BCE, and a subsequent massacre of 358 Tarquinian prisoners in the Forum of Rome a few years later.87 Mario Torelli has pointed out that the slaughter took place in the Forum of Tarquinia (or, better, a public space which Livy called a forum), and that this can be seen as a hint of the public dimension of the massacre.88 And if, as has been supposed, the space which Livy called the forum was near the temple of Ara della Regina, the picture would assume even greater interest. The François Tomb is also an extraordinary lieu de mémoire. The two main frescoes, placed on opposite walls, represent the Homeric scene of the sacrifice of the Trojan prisoners, and a series of duels between local heroes, among which are the Vibenna brothers. Several scholars, with different emphases, have seen in the frescoes and in their play of correspondences, an expression 84  Bagnasco Gianni (2011), 49–50. 85  For the archaeological data and the fascinating interpretation, see Bonghi Jovino (2009). 86  On the rather different reactions at Rome in the second century BCE, when the tomb and books of Numa were found, see Beck (this volume). 87  See Di Fazio (2001), 445–448. 88  Torelli (1981), 6. For a critical reading of the localisation of the supposed forum of Tarquinii and its meaning, see now Biella (in press).


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of the Etruscan conception of time and history,89 which was not simply linear.90 It was not necessarily cyclical, as sometimes has been said,91 but worked in such a way that the mythical past, the more recent historical past, and the present, remained in a relationship that is different from the one to which we are accustomed in the Western tradition, as a brilliant study of Denis Feeney reminds us.92 The frescoes of the François Tomb show three different times in interrelationship; mythical time, represented by the Homeric episode and by the presence of other heroes of the Theban saga; the time which we could define as “mythistorical”, that of the Vibenna brothers and Mastarna; and the present time, embodied in the portrait of the owner of the tomb, Vel Saties.93 We can furthermore stress the role of the tomb as a “repository” of cultural memory. This function appears clearer when we consider that in the fourth century a previous burial, probably more than a century older, was integrated into the building of the tomb.94 This was probably the burial of an ancestor of the Saties, if Buranelli is right in his intriguing hypothesis which connects this family with the Sataiies (the archaic form of Saties) attested on

89  Unlike the Roman way of reconstructing tradition according to the criterion of State, the ideological reconstruction shown in the François Tomb appears, in the words of Gabba (1993, 20), “sganciata da un contesto ‘statale’ e collocata in un’atmosfera mitica e simbolica”. 90  Briquel (2001), 263–278; Di Fazio (2012), 147–166. 91  For a useful overview of the topic of time in Etruscan culture, see Nielsen (1999), 33–46. 92  Feeney (2007). Feeney draws on the concept of ‘allochronism’, coined by the anthropologist Johannes Fabian (1983), as “niches where the quality of time appears to be not the same as ‘ours’, where the inhabitants are stuck in the past or are perhaps already ahead, in the future” (ibid., 1). It is tempting to recall T. S. Eliot’s famous verses (Four Quartets, I): “Time present and time past / Are both perhaps present in time future / And time future contained in time past.” 93  See Di Fazio (2012), 147–166. A similar tripartite conception of time can be seen in the Aeneid: “L’Italie de l’Éneide est un patchwork qui combine la Rome d’Auguste, le monde homérique et des fictions archaïques” (Dupont [2011], 104). It is worth stressing that the three chronological levels find correspondence in three geographical levels; in the Aeneid the Trojans, in the words of Dupont (2011, 112), “sont aussi bien des Romains contemporains, des semblables, que des Grecs absolument autres, mais qui peuvent en outre se confondre avec des Italiens archaïques, comme les Latins”. This shows how ancient (learned) minds could perceive time. It is beyond the purpose of the present paper to explore the possible connections with the threefold concept of history in Varro’s De gente populi Romani (frg. 1 Fraccaro = ant. hum. 14, frg. 1 Mirsch), as reported in Censorinus (Cens. 21), on which see Romano (2003) and Binder (this volume). 94  Buranelli (1987), 115–124; Torelli (1996), 15.

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the Segmentschale now in Heidelberg, dated to the sixth century.95 More than a century earlier, therefore, and at this distance of time, memory turns from being communicative to being cultural.96 So we come back to Assmann and his figures of memory. The individuals in the François Tomb, a gentilicial burial, seem to play such a role in the local community. It is worth pausing here for a short digression. It is usually held that Roman society throughout its history was roughly divided into two main groups, patricians and plebeians in earlier times, honestiores and humiliores later, and historical records were prevalently a concern of the first group.97 Notwithstanding the inadequate level of our knowledge, it is interesting to wonder whether such view can be considered valid for the Etruscan society as well. Who were the recipients of the messages which we find in the frescoes of the François Tomb? This question is obviously connected to another one; who could see the frescoes? It has been sometimes supposed that tombs were periodically reopened for visit.98 So the question arises again as to who was admitted to visit the dead and thereby to see the frescoes? The members of the gentilicial group? If so, how should we consider them in comparison with the two groups of Roman society? What are the differences between the role of the temple of Ara della Regina in Tarquinia, probably a public monument, and the private tomb of the Saties? Has it something to do with the role the Saties had in the social context of Vulci? Such questions will remain unanswered until we gain a better understanding of the Etruscan social structure. 7 Conclusion The concept of figures of memory helps us better to define the central question. We began by asking whether a name on the inscription and the same name the literary tradition could refer to the same historical person, rather than being a case of mere coincidence? Such a question, we can now see, is misplaced. As incisively stated by Domenico Musti,99 a historical tradition which proceeds through continuous and progressive accretions, but also shifts and changes, and which relies on narrative patterns and solutions of a “mythological” 95  Buranelli (1987), 124. 96  Assmann (1992), 48–51 and Id. (2008), 113, drawing on Jan Vansina’s influential researches. 97  See recently Mehl (2014), 256. 98  For the Hellenistic period, see Nielsen (2002), 89–126 and, more generally, Steingräber (2002), 127–158. 99  Musti (1987), 152.


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nature, will lead to a story, which by the time we see it will certainly be different from how it began. These figures of memory fulfil different functions, they acquire diverse (but not contrary or irreconcilable) values through time, because they are called on to provide answers to different questions posed in different times. The sixth-century Aulus Vibenna, the fourth-century one, the one referred to in the Roman sources, bear the same name, and stem probably from the same “archetype”, from the same historical personage; but in the meanwhile they have become different figures, as the outcome of different complex traditions and developments, following patterns that change through time according to more general cultural changes. This perspective helps us to understand why some Roman sources placed the adventure of the Vibenna brothers not at the time of Servius Tullius but at the time of Romulus, since it was framed in the story of an Etruscan presence in Rome already at the time of its foundation.100 Valerius Publicola is a crucial figure in the complex passage from monarchy to republic, a figure charged with meaning, and used still in later times as a symbol of political fight, as the late-republican account of his house shows. All this transcends whatever may have been related to his historical figure. The Mezentius of Roman tradition acquires through the centuries an autonomous life of its own, substantially independent from that of his possible archetype, so that Vergil can make him an exiled leader, probably in order to redeem the Etruscans from traditional charges of impiety and cruelty. He is still Mezentius but he is no longer Mezentius. In other words, it is the use of these figures that creates their profile, and consequently shapes our attempts at understanding them. And use can result in strong alterations to the original archetype, as the result of the convergence of different traditions (the Vibenna brothers), of historical contingencies (Publicola), of artistic needs (Vergil’s Mezentius), or all of these. What scholars hope to do is to be careful in pointing out the different layers of such complex stratifications, the relationships between these layers, and the processes through which these layers relate to each other. It is therefore on the question of tradition that we are working, of the ways in which traditions at various levels are handed down, worked out, adapted to the needs of the present, confirming once again, with Benedetto Croce, that “all history is contemporary history”,101 because it is the readers’ contemporary concerns which lead them 100  Varro ling. 5.46; Dion. Hal. 2.36.2; Paul. Fest. 38 L; Tacitus (ann. 4.65.1–2), who placed Caelius Vibenna in the reign of Servius Tullius, reported that scriptores in eo dissentiunt. 101  Croce (1920), 4: “considerando più da vicino, anche questa storia già formata, che si dice o si vorrebbe dire ‘storia non contemporanea’ o ‘passata’, se è davvero storia, se cioè ha

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Crawford, M. H. (2008). ‘The epigraphy of the Volsci’, in H. Solin (a cura di), Le epigrafi della Valle di Comino. Atti del quarto convegno epigrafico Cominese, Atina, Palazzo Ducale, 26 maggio 2007 (Cassino), 87–101. Crawford, M. H. (ed., 2011). Imagines Italicae. A Corpus of Italic Inscriptions I–III (BICS, suppl. 110). London. Croce, B. (1920). Teoria e storia della storiografia, seconda edizione riveduta, Bari. De Simone, C. (1991). ‘Etrusco Laucie Mezentie’, Miscellanea etrusco-italica in onore di Massimo Pallottino (Archeologia Classica 43), 559–573. Della Fina, G. (a cura di, 2012). Il Fanum Voltumnae e i santuari comunitari dell’Italia antica. Atti del XIX Convegno di Studi sulla storia e l’archeologia dell’Etruria, Orvieto, 2011 (Annali della Fondazione Museo “Claudio Faina” 19), Roma. Di Fazio, M. (2000). ‘Porsenna e la società di Chiusi’, Athenaeum 88: 393–412. Di Fazio, M. (2001). ‘Sacrifici umani e uccisioni rituali nel mondo etrusco’, Rendiconti dell’Accademia dei Lincei (Scienze morali, storiche e filologiche 9) 12: 435–505. Di Fazio, M. (2005). ‘Uno, nessuno e centomila Mezenzio’, Athenaeum 93: 51–69. Di Fazio, M. (2011). ‘“La morte è dura; ancora più duro il cordoglio”. Primi appunti da una indagine sul pianto rituale nel mondo etrusco’, in V. Nizzo (a cura di), Dalla nascita alla morte: antropologia ed archeologia a confronto, incontro di studi in onore di Claude Lévi-Strauss, Roma 2010 (Roma), 717–726. Di Fazio, M. (2012). ‘Tempo del sacerdote, tempo del cittadino. Sacro e memoria culturale presso gli Etruschi’, in V. Nizzo and L. La Rocca (a cura di), Antropologia e archeologia a confronto: rappresentazioni e pratiche del sacro. Atti dell’incontro internazionale di studi, Roma, Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico “Luigi Pigorini”, 20–21 maggio 2011 (Roma), 147–166. Di Fazio, M. (2013). ‘Mercenari, tiranni, lupi. Mobilità di gruppi nell’Italia antica tra società urbane e non urbanizzate’, Annali della Fondazione per il Museo “Claudio Faina” 20: 195–212. Di Fazio, M. (2014). ‘I Volsci: prospettiva storica’, in M. Aberson et al. (a cura di), Tra archeologia e storia: dialoghi sulle popolazioni dell’Italia preromana (Fondation Hardt 2013, Frankfurt am Main), 245–257. Di Sarcina, M. T. (2012). ‘The archaic and classical period’, in R. Cascino, H. Di Giuseppe, and H. L. Patterson (eds.), Veii. The Historical Topography of the Ancient City (BSR Archaeological Monographs 19, London), 349–358. Di Stefano Manzella, I. (1987). ‘La Tavola del Museo di Lione’, in Buranelli (a cura di, 1987), 236–242. Domenici, I. (2009). Etruscae fabulae. Mito e rappresentazione (Archaeologica 156), Roma. Drummond, A. (2012). ‘Valerius Publicola, Publius’, in S. Hornblower and A. Spawforth (eds.), The Oxford Classical Dictionary, fourth edition (Oxford), 1535. Dupont, F. (2011). Rome, la ville sans origine, Paris. Fabian, J. (1983). Time and the Other. How Anthropology makes its Objects, New York.

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Farney, G. D. (2007). Ethnic Identity and Aristocratic Competition in Republican Rome, Cambridge. Feeney, D. (2007). Caesar’s Calendar. Ancient Time and the Beginnings of History (Sather Classical Lectures 65), Berkeley – Los Angeles. Fiorentini, M. (2007–08). ‘Culti gentilizi, culti degli antenati’, in G. Bartoloni and M. G. Benedettini (a cura di), Sepolti tra i vivi – Buried among the Living. Evidenza ed interpretazione di contesti funerari in abitato. Atti del convegno internazionale, Roma, 26–29 aprile 2006 (ScAnt 14, Roma), 987–1046. Flower, H. I. (1996). Ancestor Masks and Aristocratic Power in Roman Culture, Oxford. Forsythe, G. (2005). A Critical History of Early Rome. From Prehistory to the First Punic War, Berkeley – Los Angeles. Fromentin, V. and Gotteland, S. (eds., 2001). Origines gentium, Bordeaux. Gabba, E. (1993). ‘Problemi di metodo per la storia di Roma arcaica’, in Bilancio critico su Roma arcaica fra monarchia e repubblica. In memoria di F. Castagnoli. Atti del convegno, Roma, 3–4 giugno 1991 (Atti dei convegni Lincei, Roma), 13–24. Gabba, E. (1996). ‘Origine e carattere della più antica storiografia romana’, in Tra storia e antiquitas: percorsi dell’annalistica romana. Atti del convegno internazionale, Perugia, Università degli Studi, 27–28 ottobre 1995 (Eutopia 5, Roma), 3–11. Galinsky, K. (ed., 2014). Memoria Romana. Memory in Rome and Rome in Memory (MAAR, suppl. 10), Ann Arbor, MI. Gaultier, F. (2014). ‘Le collezioni ceretane del Museo del Louvre’, in F. Gaultier and L. Haumesser (a cura di), Gli Etruschi e il Mediterraneo. La città di Cerveteri, catalogo della mostra, Paris – Rome, 2013–2014 (Lens), 45–47. Gaultier, F. and Briquel, D. (1989). ‘Reéxamen d’une inscription des collections du Musée du Louvre’, CRAI 133: 99–113. Gnade, M. (a cura di, 2007). Satricum. Trenta anni di scavi olandesi, catalogo della mostra, Le Ferriere, Latina, 26 ottobre 2007–29 febbraio 2008, Amsterdam. Goody, J. (2000). The Power of the Written Tradition, Washington, DC – London. Griffin, M. (1982). ‘The Lyons Tablet and Tacitean hindsight’, Classical Quarterly 32: 404–418. Griffin, M. (1990). ‘Claudius in Tacitus’, Classical Quarterly 40: 482–501. de Grummond, N. T. (2006). Etruscan Myth, Sacred History and Legend, Philadelphia. de Grummond, N. T. (2014). ‘Ethnicity and the Etruscans’, in J. McInerney (ed.), A Companion to Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean (Malden, MA – Oxford), 405–422. Halbwachs, M. (1941). La topographie légendaire des évangiles en terre sainte: étude de mémoire collective, Paris. Harari, M. (2007). ‘Lo scudo “spezzato” di Vel Saties’, Ostraka 16: 45–54. Hartmann, M. (2005). Die frühlateinischen Inschriften und ihre Datierung: eine linguistischarchäologisch-paläographische Untersuchung (Münchner Forschungen zur historischen Sprachwissenschaft 3), Bremen.


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Haumesser, L. (2014). ‘Kyathos’, in F. Gaultier and L. Haumesser (a cura di), Gli Etruschi e il Mediterraneo. La città di Cerveteri, catalogo della mostra, Paris – Rome, 2013–2014 (Lens), 133. Hermon, E. (1999). ‘Le Lapis Satricanus et la colonisation militaire au début de la République’, MEFRA 111: 847–881. Joncheray, C. (2013). ‘Les invisibles du processus de décision dans les cités étrusques à la période classique et leurs enjeux historiographiques’, in P. Hamman (éd.), Villes et démocratie (Paris), 63–83. Knoop, R. and Lulof, P. (2007). ‘L’architettura templare’, in M. Gnade (a cura di), Satricum. Trenta anni di scavi olandesi, catalogo della mostra, Le Ferriere, Latina, 26 ottobre 2007–29 febbraio 2008 (Amsterdam), 32–42. Lulof, P. (1997). ‘Myths from Greece. The representation of power on the roofs of Satricum’, MNIR 56: 85–114. Lulof, P. (2000). ‘Archaic terracotta acroteria representing Athena and Herakles. Manifestations of power in central Italy’, JRA 13: 207–219. Maras, D. F. (2009). Il dono votivo. Gli dei e il sacro nelle iscrizioni etrusche di culto, Pisa – Roma. Maras, D. F. (2010). ‘Ancora su Mastarna, sodalis fidelissimus’, Annali della Fondazione per il Museo “Claudio Faina” 17: 187–200. Marchesini, S. (1997). Studi onomastici e sociolinguistici sull’Etruria arcaica: il caso di Caere (Biblioteca di “Studi Etruschi” 32), Firenze. Mehl, A. (2014). ‘How the Romans remembered, recorded, thought about and used their past’, in K. A. Raaflaub (ed.), Thinking, Recording and Writing History in the Ancient World (Malden, MA – Oxford), 256–275. Menichetti, M. (1994). ‘Praenestinus Aeneas. Il culto di Iuppiter Imperator e il trionfo su Mezenzio quali motivi di propaganda antiromana su una cista prenestina’, Ostraka 3: 7–30. Migliorati, G. (2003). ‘Forme politiche e tipi di governo nella Roma etrusca del VI sec. a.C.’, Historia 52: 39–66. Momigliano, A. (1967). Review of A. Alföldi, Early Rome and the Latins (Ann Arbor 1965), JRS 57: 211–216 (= Id., Quarto Contributo alla storia degli studi classici e del mondo antico, Roma 1969, 487–499). Momigliano, A. (1975). Alien Wisdom. The Limits of Hellenization, Cambridge. Momigliano, A. (1989). ‘The origins of Rome’, in F. W. Walbank et al. (eds.), CAH2 VII.2. The Rise of Rome to 220 BC, 52–112. Musti, D. (1987). ‘Etruria e Lazio nella tradizione (Demarato, Tarquinio, Mezenzio)’, Quaderni di archeologia etrusco-italica, 15: 139–153. Naso, A. (2000). ‘Le aristocrazie etrusche in età orientalizzante’, in M. Torelli (a cura di), Gli Etruschi, catalogo della mostra, Venezia, 2000 (Milano), 111–130. Nielsen, M. (1999). ‘The conception of time among the Etruscans’, Leidschrift 14: 33–46.

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Nielsen, M. (2002). ‘… stemmate quod Tusco ramum millesime ducis …’ (Persius Sat. 3.28). Family tombs and genealogical memory among the Etruscans’, in J. Munk Højte (ed.), Images of Ancestors. Papers given at the international seminar held in Aarhus, 26–28 August 1999 (Aarhus Studies in Mediterranean Antiquity 5, Aarhus), 89–126. Pallottino, M. (1979). ‘Lo sviluppo socio-istituzionale di Roma arcaica alla luce di nuovi documenti epigrafici’, StudRom 27: 1–14. Pallottino, M. (1987). ‘Il fregio dei Vibenna e le sue implicazioni storiche’, in Buranelli (a cura di, 1987). 225–233. Pallottino, M. (1993). ‘Verité ou vraisemblance des donnés prosopographiques à la lumiére des decouvertes épigraphiques’, in R. Bloch (éd.), La Rome des premiérs siécles. Legende et histoire, Actes de la Table Ronde, Paris 1990 (Firenze), 3–7. Paltineri, S. (2012). ‘I segni della discordia. Annotazioni sui sodales della Tomba François’, in M. Harari and S. Paltineri (a cura di), Segni e colore: dialoghi sulla pittura tardoclassica ed ellenistica. Atti del convegno, Pavia, Collegio Ghislieri, 2012 (Roma), 115–122. Proietti, G. (2012). ‘Memoria collettiva e identità etnica. Nuovi paradigmi teoricometodologici nella ricerca storica’, in E. Franchi and G. Proietti (a cura di), Forme della memoria e dinamiche identitarie nell’antichità greco-romana (Trento), 13–40. Riva, C. (2010). The Urbanisation of Etruria. Funerary Practices and Social Change, 700– 600 BC, Cambridge. Rocca, G. (2009). ‘Tracce di sabinità nel Lapis Satricanus?’, Alessandria 3: 67–83. Rodríguez-Mayorgas, A. (2007). La memoria de Roma: oralidad, escritura e historia en la República romana, Oxford. Romano, E. (2003). ‘Il concetto di antico in Varrone’, in M. Citroni (a cura di), Memoria e identità. La cultura Romana costruisce la sua imagine (Studi e Testi 21, Firenze), 99–117. Small, J. P. (1982). Cacus and Marsyas in Etrusco-Roman Legend, Princeton, NJ. Smith, C. J. (1999). ‘Reviewing archaic Latium. Settlement, burials and religion at Satricum’, JRA 12: 453–475. Smith, C. J. (2006). The Roman Clan. The gens from Ancient Ideology to Modern Anthropology. Cambridge. Smith, C. J. (2011). ‘Thinking about kings’, BICS 54: 21–42. Smith, C. J. (2015). ‘Urbanization and memory’, in R. Raja and J. Rüpke (eds.), A Companion to the Archaeology of Religion in the Ancient World (Malden, MA – Oxford), 362–375. Steingräber, S. (2002). ‘Ahnenkult und bildliche Darstellungen von Ahnen in etruskischen und unteritalischen Grabgemälden aus vorrömischer Zeit’, in J. Munk Højte (ed.), Images of Ancestors. Papers given at the international seminar held in Aarhus, 26–28 August 1999 (Aarhus Studies in Mediterranean Antiquity 5, Aarhus), 127–158.


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Stein-Hölkeskamp, E. and Hölkeskamp, K.-J. (Hrsgg., 2006). Erinnerungsorte der Antike. Die römische Welt, München. Stein-Hölkeskamp, E. and Hölkeskamp, K.-J. (Hrsgg., 2010). Erinnerungsorte der Antike. Die griechische Welt, München. Stibbe, C. M. et al. (eds., 1980). Lapis Satricanus. Archaeological, Epigraphical, Linguistic and Historical Aspects of the New Inscription from Satricum, ‘s-Gravenhage. Stopponi, S. (2013). ‘Orvieto, Campo della Fiera – Fanum Voltumnae’, in J. MacIntosh Turfa (ed.), The Etruscan World (Abingdon – New York), 632–654. Torelli, M. (1981). ‘Delitto religioso. Qualche indizio sulla situazione in Etruria’, in Le délit religieux dans la cité antique, actes table ronde, Rome, 6–7 avril 1978 (Collection de l’École française de Rome 48, Rome), 1–7. Torelli, M. (1984). Lavinio e Roma. Riti iniziatici e matrimonio tra archeologia e storia, Roma. Torelli, M. (1986). ‘La religione’, in G. Pugliese Carratelli (a cura di), Rasenna. Storia e civiltà degli Etruschi (Milano), 159–240. Torelli, M. (1988). ‘Le popolazioni dell’Italia antica: società e forme del potere’. in A. Momigliano and A. Schiavone (a cura di), Storia di Roma I. Roma in Italia (Torino), 53–74. Torelli, M. (1992). ‘I fregi figurati delle regiae latine ed etrusche’, Ostraka 1: 249–274. Torelli, M. (1996). ‘Riflessioni sulle registrazioni storiche in Etruria’, in Tra storia e antiquitas: percorsi dell’annalistica romana. Atti del convegno internazionale, Perugia, Università degli Studi, 27–28 ottobre 1995 (Eutopia 5, Roma), 13–22. Torelli, M. (2000). ‘Le regiae etrusche e laziali tra orientalizzante e arcaismo’, in Principi etruschi: tra Mediterraneo ed Europa, catalogo della mostra, Bologna, Museo Civico Archeologico, 1 ottobre 2000–1 aprile 2001 (Venezia), 67–78. Torelli, M. (2008). ‘Quel funerale così simile al trionfo. Funus triumpho simillimum (Sen. Cons. Marc. 3.1)’, in E. La Rocca and S. Tortorella (a cura di), Trionfi romani, catalogo della mostra, Roma, marzo–settembre 2008 (Milano), 84–89. Vernole, V. E. (2002). Servius Tullius, Roma. Versnel, H. (1980). ‘Historical implications’, in C. M. Stibbe et al. (eds., 1980), Lapis Satricanus. Archaeological, Epigraphical, Linguistic and Historical Aspects of the New Inscription from Satricum (‘s-Gravenhage), 95–150. Whitley, J. (2002). ‘Too many ancestors’, Antiquity 76: 119–126. Winter, N. (2009). Symbols of Wealth and Power. Architectural Terracotta Decoration in Etruria & Central Italy, 640–510 BC, Ann Arbor, MI. Wiseman, T. P. (1974). ‘Legendary genealogies in late Republican Rome’, G&R 21: 153–164. Wiseman, T. P. (1998). ‘Roman Republic, Year One’, G&R 45: 19–26. Wiseman, T. P. (2008). Unwritten Rome, Exeter.

Part 5 History and Monuments


Monumenta, Documenta, Memoria: Remembering and Imagining the Past in Late Republican Rome Kaj Sandberg* Like any other object of scholarly inquiry, Roman historiography is an everchanging topic in terms of how it is perceived and studied. Earlier generations of philologists focused on the language, style and narrative techniques of individual authors. Such themes continue to be addressed, but have constantly been extended and reinterpreted in new ways, most recently under the influence of literary and cultural theory and other post-structural approaches to literary texts.1 As for the concerns of historical research, after the birth of critical history these have largely centered on bias and, to no lesser degree, on the evidentiary basis of the information conveyed by the ancient historians. In the 19th century many scholars indulged in Quellenforschung, which eventually matured into the study of the fragments of lost authors; such material has to this day continued to attract a fair amount of attention. One of the really big issues of 20th-century scholarship was the general reliability of the annalistic tradition; this very animated discussion, which still goes on, has been fuelled by a growing body of archaeological and epigraphic evidence. During the last few decades the scope has gradually broadened from a primary focus on authors and works of historiography to include all sorts of expressions, in the entire literary canon, of historical thought, historical consciousness and historical culture. Also audience expectations and reception, within their ideological and communicative framework, have emerged as new categories for study. We also note that the theoretical currents associated with the linguistic turn have

*  I owe a debt of gratitude to several people who have helped me at the various stages of the preparation of this paper. Especially my co-editor, professor Christopher Smith, has been most helpful, but also professor emerita Eva Margareta Steinby and professor Jyri Vaahtera read early drafts and provided most valuable comments. And Ms. Jasmin Lukkari kindly and competently assisted me in checking bibliographic references in the libraries of Rome. 1  For a discussion of how postmodern historiographical theory has affected our perception of the evidence provided by the Roman historians, see Batstone (2009), 24–40.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���8 | doi ��.��63/9789004355552_016



brought about a rapprochement between the study of historiography and historical research proper.2 It is nowadays fully recognized that, in any society, sources of historical knowledge (or, better, notions about the past) exist in altogether other forms than in the guise of records and written accounts, and even outside the medium of writing itself.3 Therefore the range of source material for the study of the foundations of historical traditions has now widened far beyond the works of historiography. Collective memory in particular, along with the cultural processes preserving and transmitting historical information, is attracting increasing scholarly attention. Before we go on to consider the significance of this new approach to the raw materials of constructed history, we note that the development in question has been a comparatively recent one and that, for a long time, the methods of critical history actually contributed to prevent a full view of how historical notions are passed along. For one thing, there has been a major preoccupation with discerning documentary evidence in our sources, that is, the kind of material that modern historians value the most. Scholars have also assigned considerable significance to the emergence of a formal historiography, as opposed to epic poetry on historical themes or mere record keeping. Accordingly, many assessments of the reliability of the annalistic tradition stress the importance of the publication of the first prose accounts of Roman history and, effectively, pinpoint a date around 200 BCE as the beginning of Rome’s recorded history.4 Plainly, for the modern reader the prosaic format is apt to be perceived as a familiar and reassuring element in narratives making assertions about the past, but it might too readily have prompted the perception that the prose works are conforming to modern standards in a higher degree than the epic accounts of Roman history (the earliest 2  For a good overview of twentieth-century approaches to Roman historiography, though concerned mainly with the historians of the imperial period, see Dench (2009), 394–406. On ancient audiences and expectations, see Marincola (2009), 11–23. 3  For a treatise of alternatives to written history in republican Rome, see Flower (2009), 65–76. 4  Only treatises written in prose have usually been qualified as historiography by modern scholars; see, for instance, T. J. Cornell, FRHist I, 7 (the emphasis is mine): “[W]e have identified as “Roman historians” all Roman authors of prose works dealing with some or all of the history of Rome and presented primarily in the form of a chronological narrative of political and military events.” However, it has been repeatedly observed that this kind of definition of historians and historiography did not apply among the Romans, see Gowing (2005), 11: “for the Romans historia is less a genre than a definition of subject matter”. Also Galinsky (2014, 1) notes that history, or the preservation of memory (memoria), “could take on the shape of poetry as well as prosaic historiography”. Cf. Serv. Aen. 1.382: Lucanus … in numero poetarum esse non meruit, quia videtur historiam composuisse, non poema.

Remembering And Imagining The Past


of which predated the work of Q. Fabius Pictor and the other Graeci annales). Whether or not, and/or to what extent, Ennius should be considered an historian is a recurring question.5 We also note here that the conventional distinction between historiography on the one hand and a separate antiquarianism on the other has been questioned by Duncan MacRae who, in his contribution to the present volume, advocates a more inclusive conception of historical writing at Rome in the republican period.6 As for the importance of literacy itself, the development of a literate culture has usually been considered a prerequisite for the emergence of sound historical traditions and for the preservation of factually accurate historical data. As I will go on to argue here, this kind of view is by no means outdated, but it does overemphasize the significance of written records and literary accounts in the diachronic transmission of cultural knowledge (a concept that will be more fully addressed later). Obviously, when we deal with republican Rome the history component of such knowledge is not necessarily the historical “truth” that modern historians like to think they are pursuing. Though the notion of the past as a self-contained reality has become increasingly obsolete from an epistemological point of view,7 it is still meaningful to maintain a conceptual distinction between history in the sense of objective past (however eluding it may be) and history as a cultural construct. What is of relevance here, as long as the focus is on historical culture, is the past as it was known to the Romans themselves. This perceived history is fully self-evident, consisting of everything the ancients believed had occurred in bygone days. However, the study of historical traditions must always involve attempts at critical examination of the accuracy and veracity of their factual contents. Without that kind of analysis nothing meaningful can be ascertained about the origins and nature of these traditions. General notions about the past never rest primarily (or even substantially) on the products of historical research, or their equivalents, let alone the information contained in public and private archival holdings. In the current 5  Gildenhard (2003, 113) argues that Ennius’s best claim to being an ‘annalist’ is the title he chose for his, but according to Elliott (2013, 198–232) he was an exponent of Roman historiography. For an overview of Ennian studies in the 20th century, see Suerbaum (2003). On Fabius Pictor’s relationship to annalistic historiography: Northwood (2007), 97–114; Rich (this volume). 6  MacRae observes that recent scholarship “has already worked to break down the monolithic concept of the so-called ‘annalistic tradition’ and emphasize the diversity of Latin historiography before Livy”, see p. 151. On the meaning of annales, as opposed to other forms of historical writing: Verbrugghe (1989), 192–230; Scholz (1994), 64–79; Rich (this volume). 7  See the discussion in Laird (2009), 197–213.



era the products of literary fiction and popular culture – in the form of novels, movies for the big screen, TV-productions and computer games – reach more people and shape popular perceptions of the past more profoundly than what the works of scholars do. As for late republican Rome, this observation is even more valid, because most people did not read the works of the historians (or any books for that matter). Harriet Flower, in a discussion of “alternatives to written history” in republican Rome, makes a very good point in overturning some of the basic preconceptions of the current era: “[T]he vast majority of Romans could not read and only had very limited access to literary texts. Historiography as a literary genre is, therefore, by definition the alternative … to a wide variety of more or less traditional forms of memory making in Roman culture”.8 One of the most important insights of recent research on Roman historical culture is that the works of historiography, with regard to their general viewpoints and the core of their factual assertions, did not represent a separate tradition compared to other concurrent media transmitting the elements of historical narratives and traditional lore. Obviously, Roman historians did not carry out critical research in the modern sense.9 To what extent, if any, the phenomenon that Badian famously dubbed the expansion of the past entailed the search for and retrieval of new data in archival repositories is a question that cannot be conclusively resolved.10 We do know of historians who looked for new sources of information in order to clarify discrepancies that puzzled them,11 but even if we make allowance for the possibility that significant amounts of new data from time to time were introduced into the annalistic tradition, there is no evidence that anyone of the annalists ever challenged any of the mainstream collective perceptions of the Roman past. In their general outlines, as well as in most essential details, the accounts of the historians conformed to the information, true or false, that was familiar to everyone through manifold representations in other contexts. The grand narratives and the big defining stories (though constantly evolving), along with an assortment of 8  Flower (2009), 65. Cf. Rodríguez-Mayorgas (2007, 100), who terms historia “una nueva forma de concebir el pasado”. 9  For a good discussion of “what an ancient historiographer was, and, more importantly, what he was not”, see Mehl (2011), 26–32 (quotation p. 31). 10  Badian (1966), 11. 11  A well-known example is C. Licinius Macer, who discovered new information on early magistrates in the Libri lintei in the Temple of Iuno Moneta on the Capitolium: Liv. 4.7.11, 4.13.7, 4.20.8, 4.23.2–3. Modern discussions: Frier (1975), 79–97; Walt (1997), 75–85; FRHist I, 324–326.

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minor tales, were passed from one generation to the next in various media and no one ever attempted to present revisionist views in the manner characteristic of modern, critical research. The subject matter of Roman history, which always retained a strong element of exemplarity,12 was the well-known deeds (res gestae) at home and at war (domi militiaeque) of valiant men. Even if educated Romans of the late Republic clearly were capable of thinking critically about the records of past events,13 and even if historians sometimes did criticize earlier historians for errors and inaccuracies, it never became an objective per se in Roman historiography to examine critically the famous stories about the heroic past. The distinctive feature of Roman historical writing was embellishment, and the historians were first and foremost creative writers. The affinities between historical writing and oratory were recognized by the ancients themselves,14 who even compared the craft of historians to the art of poets.15 As was already noted, even after the birth of historiography the works of the historians were not the principal and certainly not the most obvious sources of historical knowledge for most people. Representations of historical events, whether actual or imagined (again, a distinction serving no purpose here), were present everywhere in Rome. Themes from the political and military history of the Republic are markedly rare in surviving visual art from antiquity, but it is attested in the literary sources that some public buildings were adorned with paintings commemorating military exploits.16 There can be no 12  On exemplarity in Roman culture and Roman history as an exemplary past: Roller (2004), 1–56; Id. (2009), 214–230. For Livy’s work as an exemplary history, see Chaplin (2000). 13  In an interesting passage Cicero (Brut. 62) refers to the corrupting of historia rerum nostrarum by the agency of exaggerating funeral orations; this phenomenon is also attested by Livy (8.40.4–5), who provides the additional information that fabrications generated in such contexts sometimes found their way into the tituli imaginum. On falsi triumphi and plures consulatus, see Ridley (1983), 372–382. For a study of critical thinking in republican Rome, see Moatti (1997), a work which has recently appeared in English translation: Ead. (2015). 14  Cicero (de orat. 2.36) famously identified the importance of oratorical skills both for attaining an appropriate style and for the organization of the material. For a debate on Cicero’s views of historiography and the role of rhetoric in the writing of history at Rome, see Northwood (2008), 228–244 and Woodman (2008), 23–31; this discussion departs from the views presented by the latter in Woodman (1988), 70–116; other important treatises of the subject include Cape (1997), 212–228; Damon (2007), 439–450; Laird (2009), 197–213. More generally on Cicero as an historian, see Fleck (1993). 15  Quint. inst. 10.1.31: Est enim [scil. historia] proxima poetis. 16  We know, from a passage in Pliny the Elder (nat. 35.22), that the practice of commissioning public paintings commemorating military victories commenced at the beginning of the First Punic War and that the first tabula proelii, which was set up in latere curiae



doubt that such visual depictions played a decisive role in the passing along of historical information. Also the importance of songs, tales and other orally transmitted traditions has been long recognized,17 and in recent years it has become increasingly clear that, in the pre-literary period, public drama performances (ludi scaenici) – at annual festivals or in connection with triumphal celebrations, temple dedications, aristocratic funerals etc. – were instrumental in transmitting the stories and scenarios of Roman republican historiography.18 Yet, it is only during the last few decades that the larger phenomenon – historical remembrance outside the realm of formal historical writing – has been fully identified as a category for study. In recent years the study of historiography and historical thought has been increasingly integrated into the broader context of collective, social or cultural memory. Memory studies – also known as mnemohistory or Gedächtnisgeschichte – have fast become an exceptionally thriving field of research. German scholars in particular have led the way. The Egyptologist Jan Assmann, the originator of the very concept of Kulturelles Gedächtnis, devised much of the theoretical foundation for such research defining the problems

Hostiliae anno ab urbe condita CCCCXC (263 BCE), celebrated the victory of M’. Valerius Messalla over Hiero and his Carthaginian allies. Our literary sources provide additional information on such paintings, and a fresco found in the so-called tomb of Fabius on the Esquiline Hill, featuring representations of historical scenes from the time of the Samnite Wars, gives us an idea of what such paintings were like: Coarelli (1976), 13–21; La Rocca (1985), 169–191. Also the paintings of the Tomba François at Vulci constitute evidence for the practice, in nearby Etruria, of representing clearly historical (as opposed to mythological) events graphically; see Roncalli (1987), 79–110 and the other contributions to the volume Buranelli (1987) along with the recent study of Bardelli (2012), 129–134. For a full treatise of the origins of historical commemoration in the visual arts at Rome, see Holliday (2002). 17  For a meticulous analysis of Roman oral traditions, still one of the best discussions of such material, see von Ungern-Sternberg (1988), 237–265 (cf. Id. [1989], 11–27); an English version of this treatise has recently been published in Marincola (2011): von UngernSternberg (2011), 119–149. Another older, but still very valuable discussion of Mündlichkeit and Schriftlichkeit and their interplay in the transmission of historical traditions in republican Rome, see Timpe (1988), 266–286. Among more recent studies we note RodríguezMayorgas (2007), esp. 41–68. 18  The so-called drama hypothesis, which was considered already in the 19th century, has been forcefully revived by Peter Wiseman: Wiseman (1994), 1–22 and 119–124 (notes); Id. (1995), 103–128, 129–150 (chs. 8–9); Id. (1998). For a discussion of “the theory of Peter Wiseman” in the light of evidence from Livy, see Keaveney (2006), 510–515.

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involved and creating much of the now current terminology.19 In Roman studies the phenomenon of cultural memory was first explored by scholars such as Uwe Walter and Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp.20 Initially Roman mnemohistory was something of a German preserve, but during the last few years an entire ‘memory industry’ has emerged on a global scale.21 In the context of classical studies, Hölkeskamp is one of the first scholars who brought the concerns and methods of historical memory studies to the attention of a wider international audience, not least by contributing a treatise of “history and collective memory in the Middle Republic” to a recent companion volume on the Roman Republic.22 In this very valuable discussion, he stresses that written historical accounts are not so much foundations and sources of history as really just one medium among several others. Discussing the phenomenon of ‘collective memory’, using this particular concept and those of ‘cultural memory’ and ‘cultural knowledge’ more or less interchangeably, he defines it as “the collectively shared knowledge of a society, the peculiar set of certainties and convictions it has about itself and, in particular, about its historical roots”.23 He stresses that this body of knowledge, forming an important basis for the self-image and identity of every society, does not depend on the contents of the archives or the writings of learned men, but is preserved, regenerated and transmitted in a broad spectrum of media:24 Fixing cultural knowledge in writing – in the shape of canonical texts or, as in the Roman case, in the form of historiographical narratives written by retired senatorial amateurs addressing themselves to a narrow circle of educated peers in the know – is by no means the only or even the most obvious medium. As in many (premodern) societies, other media are equally or even more important: oral transmission and memorial 19  Assmann (1992); Id. (2000). Assmann drew heavily on the French sociologist Maurice Halbwachs’s elaborate ideas on social collective memory: Halbwachs (1925), Id. (1941); Id. (1950). The pioneer study of the phenomenon is Bergson (1896). 20  Walter (2004); Hölkeskamp (2001), 97–132 (= Id. [2004], 137–168); Id. (2005), 249–271. 21  A leading figure in this dynamic discipline is Karl Galinsky, who for several years has been inspiring and co-ordinating international research that has generated a large number of studies on historical remembrance and memory in the Roman World. A recent product of his project Memoria Romana. Memory in Roman Civilization is the volume Galinsky (2014). Among other important non-German studies on Roman memory we note Gowing (2005); Rodríguez-Mayorgas (2007); Montanari (2009); Miano (2011). 22  Hölkeskamp (2006), 478–495. 23   Ibid., 481. 24   Ibid.



days, festivals, ceremonies, and other rituals of all sorts … as well as the topographical and social spaces in which they take place, including the buildings and monuments that mark such “memorable” locations, as well as the locations themselves.25 According to Hölkeskamp, the topography of Rome was one of the principal foundations of the collective memory of its citizens, and communal commemoration associated with specific buildings and places represented a major source for the history they shared.26 When discussing the role of the cityscape of Rome in the preservation of historical information, Hölkeskamp argues that the Roman past was a ‘contemporary past’ that was ever present in the form of ubiquitous reminders of and allusions to specific stories.27 Drawing on the theories and concepts developed by Pierre Nora,28 he contends that there was a memorial landscape (alternatively designated ‘landscape of memory’ or milieu de mémoire) preserving the memory of the Roman people. According to this kind of understanding, the cultural memory of the Roman people was substantially contained in the ‘monumental memory’ of Rome. This memory was articulated in the public spaces of the city – particularly on the Capitolium, in the Comitium and the Forum – through memorials, victory monuments, dedications of spoils, temples and other buildings, statues, and all kinds of imagery. Hölkeskamp contends that this cityscape of memoria in stone, forming “a physical as well as mental landscape fraught with political, historical, sacral, and mythical meanings and messages”, could be read like a text by the Romans, who knew the semantics of the symbolism contained therein.29 [T]he populus Romanus and its political elite formed a great, collective milieu de mémoire: a vibrant, evolving community of memory. In the midst of this community, there was a complex pattern or landscape of lieux de mémoire: these concrete traces and marked spaces of ­remembrance

25   Ibid. 26  See also Hölkeskamp (2001), 137–168. Among other important discussions of the mnemotopoi in the cityscape of republican Rome we note Rodríguez-Mayorgas (2007), 48–55 and La Rocca (2012), 43–77. 27  Hölkeskamp (2006), 491. 28  Nora (1984–1992). 29  Hölkeskamp (2006), 483. In his contribution to the present volume, Hölkeskamp speaks of the Roman ‘memoryscape’.

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r­ etained, continuously reproduced, and indeed re-inforced their meanings and messages over time.30 The study of lieux de mémoire, in German Erinnerungsorte, has become a distinct and very prominent sub-area of research within the field of memory studies.31 In the research pertaining to the classical world Hölkeskamp has played a significant role.32 It is, therefore, just appropriate that his expose of monumental memory has recently become the point of departure for a scholarly debate that is likely to go on for some time. This important discussion brings together the main arguments of two diametrically opposed views on how the Roman cityscape affected the transmission and evolution of historical notions. Among the first classical scholars who gave extensive consideration to the relationship between historiography and historical traditions on the one hand and the physical monumenta of Rome on the other is Peter Wiseman, who has been primarily interested in the role of the latter as fuel for popular imagination (rather than aids for collective remembrance). In several studies, he has compellingly demonstrated the distortive effects of monuments on memory.33 It was therefore a very balanced decision, on the part of Galinsky, to ask Wiseman to contribute his views on the concept of monumental memory in a volume on Memoria Romana.34 In a lucid discussion of “popular memory”, Wiseman uses Hölkeskamp’s aforementioned expose as an exemplary statement of “the Nora/Hölkeskamp hypothesis about monuments carrying memory”. Stressing the need to translate the metaphors, “unexamined concepts” and “grand abstractions” in question into “empirical evidence”, he examines the implications of the theory as outlined by Hölkeskamp in the light of a series of pertinent passages from the literary sources.35 He is very sceptical in his assessment of the viability of the methods in question, but his criticisms are countered by Hölkeskamp in his contribution to the same volume – a vigorous defense of “concepts, categories and other abstractions”.36 30   Ibid., 491. 31  For an overview of research on lieux de mémoire and memorials, containing an extensive bibliography, see Kattago (2015), 179–196. 32  Stein-Hölkeskamp & Hölkeskamp (2006), on the Roman world; Iid. (2010), on the Greek world. 33  His first major treatise of the subject of monuments and the Roman annalists is Wiseman (1986), 37–48. 34  Wiseman (2014), 43–62. 35   Ibid., 43, 44 (the quotations). 36  Hölkeskamp (2014), 63–70.



No attempt will be made here to outline or summarize the arguments advanced by Wiseman and Hölkeskamp, not least because the papers in question are essential reading anyway. Instead, entering the discussion on how the physical environment of republican Rome influenced historical traditions, I will consider the role of the non-commemorative monumenta. These pseudo-memorials, which no doubt were very numerous, constitute a category of sources of cultural knowledge that, for obvious reasons, has received only incidental consideration. It is entirely evident that memorials proper must have played an important role in transmitting historical assertions, true or false, from one generation to another. The study of such monuments is likely to help us discern more clearly the impact of various gentilicial traditions on the memoria rerum Romanarum, which, as has been stressed by Galinsky, “was not uniform but a collection of many memoriae”.37 The potential of such research is manifest in Hölkeskamp’s contribution to the present volume, a study of how members of the Scipionic family publicly commemorated their exploits. The study of historical commemoration has been primarily concerned with the active communication of meaning, whereas the many problems associated with the reception of meaning and meaning-making have attracted less attention. It is evident that the formal memorials that are attested for in Rome, which were often inscribed or at least contained some kind of representational element that helped to preserve the intended original message, constitute a special category of reminders of past events. They represent instances of deliberate communication of explicit assertions to posterity, and in this respect they are comparable to the works of historians. As is well known, the concept of monumenta rerum gestarum “was applied equally to … visible reminders and to the works of historians, which were thought of as performing essentially the same function.”38 However, it is important to recognize that the transmission of cultural knowledge entails both assertions and interpretations of meaning, and that these are cultural processes that do not meet altogether symmetrically. A historical account or an inscription attached to a memorial is a reasonably clear message from one point in time to posterity, but there are also sources of information that are wide open to interpretation. Centuries of human occupation of a site always leave vestiges that are independent of any intention to communicate or convey information. In addition to the many 37  In Galinsky (2014), 2. 38  Wiseman (1979), 39.

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f­ormal ­memorials, parlant or mute, the urban landscape of late republican Rome teemed with many other kinds of physically tangible memories from bygone ages. It is clear that there was, both in the city itself and in the suburbium, an abundance of various traces of human activities in the form of man-made structures that, along with natural topographic features and mere locations, were associated with historical or legendary events and persons. In a few very exceptional cases physical remains that are cited as ancient by classical authors survive, at least partly, into the present day. The most famous example is the hut on the south-western corner of the Palatine Hill that at some point had been associated with Romulus. A pattern of post-holes in the tufa rock, discovered in 1948,39 is all that is left, but these traces are enough to prove the interesting circumstance that an area with iron-age huts was carefully preserved throughout antiquity. The area in question, in the immediate vicinity of the House of Augustus, was unaffected by the building activities that eventually turned the entire hill into an imperial residence. A description of the hut, closely corresponding to a type of primitive dwelling that is well-known from numerous cinerary hut-urns found in Italic cemeteries of the Early Iron Age period, is provided by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who in his account of Romulus’s reign commented on the life of the herdsmen among which the founder of the city grew up. Writing about the kind of shelters they built, “roofs and all out of sticks and reeds”, he states that one such dwelling, called the hut of Romulus, remained even to his own day on the side of the Palatine Hill that looks towards the ἱππόδρομος, i.e. the Circus Maximus. The passage provides near-unique evidence for historical heritage preservation at Rome in the late first century BCE. Dionysius states that the hut “is preserved holy by those who have charge of these matters”. Regrettably, he does not specify who these forerunners of the present-day funzionari of the Soprintendenza were, but he makes it abundantly clear that great care was taken to maintain the structure in its original form: “they add nothing to it to render it more stately, but if any part of it is injured, either by storms or by the lapse of time, they repair the damage and restore the hut as nearly as possible to its former condition”.40 39  There is a brief description of the discovery, by R. Cassetta, in Coarelli (2004–06), II, 69–70. For a full-length account authored by the director of the excavations in question, see Romanelli (1963), 201–330. For the most recent archaeological study of the “villaggio capannicolo del Cermalus”, see Coletti – Falzone – Caprioli (2006), 357–387. See also Pensabene (1990–91), 115–162; Brocato (2000), 284–287. 40  Dion. Hal. 1.79.11: βίος δ᾽ αὐτοῖς ἦν βουκολικὸς καὶ δίαιτα αὐτουργὸς ἐν ὄρεσι τὰ πολλὰ πηξαμένοις διὰ ξύλων καὶ καλάμων σκηνὰς αὐτορόφους: ὧν ἔτι καὶ εἰς ἐμὲ ἦν τις τοῦ Παλλαντίου



The location of the hut believed to be that of the founder of the city, a structure surviving at least into the fourth century CE (when its presence on the hill was mentioned by the regionary catalogues),41 corresponds to that of the present archaeological remains. Plutarch, who just like Dionysius locates the hut on the side of the Palatine Hill that looks towards the “big hippodrome”, provides the important additional detail that it stood near the Steps of Cacus.42 In other sources there are additional references to a structure on the Palatine that may or may not be the hut known to Dionysius and Plutarch.43 We also hear of a cottage of the adoptive father of the twins, the tugurium Faustuli, and of the οἰκία of Cacus (Cacius), both of which, said to be located near the scalae Caci, may be alternative identifications for the Romulean hut.44 Somewhat confusingly, to put it mildly, there are also references to a hut of Romulus on the Capitolium. Vitruvius cites it as an example of extant specimens of primitive

ἐπὶ τῆς πρὸς τὸν ἱππόδρομον στρεφούσης λαγόνος Ῥωμύλου λεγομένη, ἣν φυλάττουσιν ἱερὰν οἷς τούτων ἐπιμελὲς οὐδὲν ἐπὶ τὸ σεμνότερον ἐξάγοντες, εἰ δέ τι πονήσειεν ὑπὸ χειμῶνος ἢ χρόνου τὸ λεῖπον ἐξακούμενοι καὶ τῷ πρόσθεν ἐξομοιοῦντες εἰς δύναμιν. 41  Both in the Notitia and the Curiosum the casa Romuli is listed first among the buildings of the Regio X Palatium. As destruction by fire is recorded for 38 and 12 BCE (Dio Cass. 48.43.4, 54.29.8), these passages constitute additional evidence that the hut was repaired whenever it was damaged. 42