Barthold Georg Niebuhr.

The history of Rome (Volume 3) online

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VV HEN Niebuhr with sad feelings finislit the second
vokime of his history of Rome, he cxprest in that remark-
able preface his longing for some rest to enable him to
hasten to the completion of the third volume. Four
months later he was called to eternal rest, and left be-
hind him the work which immortalises his name, in the
form which he there intimates, " what was comprehended
within the limits of the original second volume, was already
planned, the remainder down to the first Punic war only
wanted a last revision." It was not granted him to brinof
it to completion. There remained then for his nearest
friends, to whom the last will of the deceast had con-
fided the care of his manuscripts, only the melancholy
duty of preserving this precious bequest in its purity,
and of giving it to our age and posterity as the only pos-
sible compensation for the irreparable loss of the complete
history of Rome. The honourable charge of undertaking
the business of editor was conferred on me by those re-
vered persons. They thought that the circumstance of my
having been closely connected in love and veneration with
the deceast during the last four years preceding his death,
which forms the greatest happiness of my life, rendered me
worthy of such great confidence. If my love and veneration


for the memory of Niebulir could justify their confidence,
I might hope to possess some claim to it. But how could
I conceal from myself the truth^ that very different qua-
lities were requisite to ensure the success of the un-
dertaking ? That I nevertheless did not shrink from
the responsibility, is owing especially to the kind
assistance of Professor Twesten, who gave himself the
trouble to go with me through the whole manuscript,
and to the valuable counsel of Savigny, without whose
sanction I have not allowed myself the solution of
any doubt whatever. But the weight of the respon-
sibility was dimiuisht above all things by the simple
principles which were to guide me, and on which I had
agreed with these eminent men : carefulness, fidelity and
completeness were the laws with which the printing was
conducted. There could of course be no attempt to
make any arbitrary application or alteration of mere ma-
terials; — who would dare to continue that which Nie-
buhr's hand had begun ? — on the contrary the duty
owing to the public of collecting all the fragments of his
history of Rome, and of making them the common pro-
perty of all which the conviction of their undisguised
genuineness will render dear to all his friends and ad-
mirers, must alone have kept at a distance every attempt
to give by polishing and revision an appearance of com-
pletion, which could only have been wisht for from the
hand of the author himself. There is therefore no ac-
count to be given here of any revisal which has been
undertaken, but only information as to the arrangement
of the whole, which from its nature has necessarily grown
out of heterogeneous parts.

What is here presented to the public, united into a
third volume, is all that could be gathered from the
papers of the deceast for publication : it is absolutely


the work of Niebuhr, written by his own pen and printed
from his manuscript with conscientious fidelity. But it
is the work of three different periods of his hfe, which
stand in an inverse relation to the periods of the his-
tory which arc treated of The last part Avas written
first, and has not been revised; the first which belongs
to the second volume of the first edition, has been accu-
rately revised and received various alterations along with
that volume, shortly before the death of the author. This
part which comprises the first nine chapters of the pre-
sent volume down to page 151, is reprinted from the
copy of the earlier edition, which Niebuhr had revised
with extraordinary pains and care, and which had re-
ceived corrections almost in every page: in cases where
the narrow margin of the printed book was too small
to contain the alterations, he had rewritten the whole
on separate pieces of paper. It was in this way that
he had revised the first and second volumes too: we
might therefore have considered this first part of our
third volume to have received his finishing hand, were
it not necessary to suppose, that, as was his custom,
previous to sending it to press, he would with his own
hand have made a copy of the whole, in which of course
the less important defects and inequalities would have
been corrected. A case in which such a final correc-
tion is evidently wanted, is noticed in page 55. In this
sense we must understand the expression of Niebuhr in
the preface, when he calls this part of the former second
volume only planned: he would have once more revised
and copied it.

The first Punic war from p. 561 to the end is derived
from quite a different source. It will appear unexpected
to all who recollect the words of Niebuhr in his preface,
'' the remainder down to the first Punic war only wanted


a last revision," and who see in this expression the limits
to which he had extended his preparations. There is
no doubt that this was indeed his meaning. His his-
tory, as far as it was written, closes at p. 560 with the
chapter: Internal History — down to the first Punic war:
he himself would here have commenced writing afresh,
if Providence had permitted him to continue his work.
But among the papers left by the author there was
found a carefully written manuscript, which according to
the object expressly stated in its beginning was intended
to be the commencement of the continuation of the lec-
tures on Roman history, which he had delivered in 1811
in the University of Berlin. This manuscript contains in
a briefer narrative nearly the whole history of the pre-
sent third volume from the subjugation of Latium down
to the end of the first Punic war. So long as we possest
along with this manuscript the later and more detailed
history, we could not of course think of making any
public use of it, although the comparison of the two
works shewed that the latter was frequently based upon
the former. But where the completed history breaks
off without any prospect of its being continued in this
manner, and where the wish of every reader is most
ardently excited to be further guided into the most
agitated time of the Roman people by the safe hand
he had hitherto followed : there it seemed no violation
of the intention of the aiithor to use the extant mate-
rials as far as possible, and to add the first sketch of
the further history in an appendix obviously distinct from
the rest of the work : to give it just as it is written
down in its rapid progress, even to where the connected
history breaks up into isolated notes (p. 611 ). Every
one who knows and loves the spirit and hand of Xie-
buhr, will joyfully recognise them even in this uufi-


nisht work. All that is publisht from this earliest manu-
script, contains only the external history: it is followed
in the manuscript by a sketch respecting the change of
the constitution of the centuries upon the basis of the
tribes, which he too formerly placed after the comple-
tion of the thirty-five tribes, consequently after the first
Punic war (compare p. 345). It is now discussed in another
place (p. 320 to p. 319) with a depth which leaves nothing
to be wisht for.

The middle and greatest part, the real kernel and
body of the present volume was written by Niebuhr at
Bonn during the winter of 1824 and 1825, soon after
his return from Italy. He had then not yet formed the
resolution of remodeling the first two volumes, and he
described with all the joy fulness of progressive produc-
tion, which he always remembered subsequently with
great pleasure, the freshest and healthiest period of the
Koman people, for this he considered the fifth century
to be. He wrote, separated from his library, with few
books, from the fulness of his knowledge, the liveliness
of his perception and the warmth of his heart. This
spirit pervades the whole of this main part of the volume,
which comprises the chapters from p. 152 to 560, from
the year of the city 416 down to 488 according to the
common chronology. This character of unity and equality
appears clearly even in the manuscript which consists of
fifty sheets. Nowhere has Niebuhr during the seven years
that followed made any alteration in it, but towards the
end of his life he had a copy made of it.

As this work however was destined to follow the first
two volumes of the first edition, there was frequently occa-
sion to return with new views to subjects that had been
treated of there. All passages of this kind were care-
fully useti by Niebuhr in the subsequent remodeling


of those two volumes, and inserted in the context. From
this circumstance there arose for the publication of the
third volume the necessary law of avoiding the longer or
literal repetitions of what was contained in the new edi-
tion of the first and second volumes, because there could
be no doubt that the author regarded such points as
settled. The most important application of this law, of
which an especial account must be given here, has been
made in the transition from that revised remainder of
the second volume, p. 151, to the real continuation of the
history. For the new manuscript before the chapter
p. 152, Internal History down to the Caudine peace, has
another one entitled. The Roman state after the union
with Latium which has not been printed. For it con-
sists of three parts, all of which were already inserted in
their proper places. Here first were given the outlines
of the theory of the colonies, of the isopolity and the
municipium, which form the fourth and fifth chapters of
the new edition of the second volume. Here secondly
was found a minute development of the view proposed
there, p. 68, foil., concerning the returns of the censors
as the standard for the varying isopolite relations; and
lastly, the part which referred to the settlement of the
relations of Latium and of separate Latin places, had
already been incorporated by Niebuhr with the conclu-
sion of the preceding chapter, The Latin War, as it is
now printed from p. 140. As therefore it could be proved,
sentence by sentence, that the whole substance of that
chapter had been used, the difference in the form, which
belonged to an earlier time, did not seem a sufficient reason
for justifying in the eyes of the public a repetition of several
sheets, which might perhaps have been desirable to separate

The other passages, not many in number, of which


sliorter parts have been omitted without injuring the con-
text, because they had already found their place in the
earlier volumes, are in each case stated in the notes.
Where however such a passage was too closely interwoven
with the context to be severed from it, without considerable
alterations, there it seemed a lesser disadvantage to allow
a short repetition to occur, than arbitrarily to touch the
connexion of the whole. For this reason for instance no
change has been made in p. 177, p. 298, p. 350, p. 450,
p. 451, p. 452, but only references given to the kindred
passages of the first and second volumes.

AV^e have laid down the same principle as our law
in the more difficult cases, where there were differences
between remarks and opinions in the present and former
volumes. However decidedly it must be establisht as a
principle in judging of these cases, that the opinion, which
has been received into the later edition of the first volumes,
according to the last examination and revision, and even
into the first section of the present one down to p. 151*,
is in each case the one preferred by the author himself;
yet the earlier form could and should be effaced just as
little as the whole work could give up the character of its
earlier origin. It was in all these cases sufficient to direct
attention in the notes to the relation between the earlier
work and the more recent treatment of the same subject.
Only in one point was it necessary to allow to the matured
investigations of the first two volumes an influence upon
this third one, that is, in the chronology. After the author
in vol. II. p. 565 and p. 5G6 had exprest his decided inten-
tion to use the corrected chronology throughout the work,

* The differences in the account of Archidamas between p. 86
and p. 1G2, as well as the diflercnce of the expression concerning the
situation of the ancient Vcscia in the notes 253 and 628, are to be judged
of accordingly.


and as this had been done both at the conclusion of the
printed second volume and in the revision of the part of
it hitherto imprinted, it was necessary to observe tbis
principle in the subsequent parts also, although the manu-
script has throughout the common calculation of the years
of Rome. In order however not to offend too much by
the innovation, we have every where chosen to add the
Catonian era in parenthesis to the date corrected by
Niebuhr. The difference between the' two down to the
eleventh year of the second Samnite war, where the com-
mon calculation has again inserted an idle year (compare
p. 2.29, note 401)^ amounts to five years. While we have
thus also followed here the conviction which tlie author
has exprest in the second volume p. 560 and p. 566, it
is nevertheless to be regretted, that the examination of
this question in the passages of the third volume relating
to It (p. 192 and p. 229) had not yet led to the same
result ; so that there is now no perfect agreement between
the critical treatment of the history in the text and the
chronology which is followed.

In one case the difficulty was presented of choosing
between two finisht representations of the same subject
in the manuscript: this occurred in the chapter headed
Epirus and Pyrrhus, where the history of the youth of
Pyrrhus was found in quite a different essay. Nay, it
is a remarkable proof of Niebuhr's peculiar partiality for
that portion of the history and of his love for its hero
that three more modes of treating the same subject are
written down in his papers. The form here publisht,
which was written latest and which thereby had external
appearance also in its favour, appeared at tlie same time
to be the best and most perfect, to which the others
should justly give way.

The converse of this embarrassment arisinof from


fibiinrlanco, in which an expected description is missing
in tlie manuscript, unfortunately occurs likewise, and
that in a passage in which the gap will be very pain-
fully felt; in p. 547. For here, where the discussion
of" the constitution which united Italy for the first time
into one state, is promist in the most distinct words, we
find no more than a reference to a Manuscript f t.
This created a hope of finrling the discussion of the sub-
ject in some other place; but this hope has not been
realised after the most careful searching throuo-h the
papers of the author. The only manuscript which can
be meant, is the very same from which the chapter on
the first Punic war has been printed: the manuscript
in which he made his preparations for the lectures deli-
vered at Berlin: lectures delivered at Bonn cannot be
thought of, for this reason, that the whole manuscript
of the third volume was written before Niebidir had
made up his mind to deliver them. The older manu-
script of the year 1811 must be regarded as the one
referred to by t t the more, since in the earlier chapters,
as was remarkt above, it was frequently made the basis
of the new work. But unfortunately this manuscript,
as the printed essay shews, from p. 613 to p. GIG, only
gives such an unsatisfactory account concerning the im-
portant question of the constitution of Italy, that we
must be convinced, that Niebuhr had reserved to him-
self the complete investigation of it, and that he only
wisht to remind himself by that note of the leading out-
lines, such as he had written them down in the earlier
work. Memorandums of this kind made by short signs,
for the purpose of making use of new thoughts or new
materials in the last revision, occurred not iinfrequently
in the niargin of the manuscript; they have in every
case been indicated in thi< volume with the ])ainrul I'ccHnif,


that tliey only markt so many irreparable losses. See
notes 287. 486. 497. 499. 503. 505. 549. etc.

In looking back upon the whole of this principal
part of the present volume, even apart from the differ-
ences existing between it and the earlier volumes, no
reader who takes an interest in the matter, can refrain,
we think, from asking, how far Kiebuhr himself in revis-
ing it would have left this history of the fifth century
unaltered, and in what form he would have given it to
the public. Who is tliere that can answer this question
put to the grave of the deceast ? Yet I may be allowed
to point out some reasons which render it probable, that
he himself would not have made very considerable
changes in what had been written. This belief is sup-
ported first by the expression, which Niebuhr himself
wrote down in the preface to his second volume, a few
months before his death ; " the remainder down to the
first Funic war only wants a last revision": an expres-
sion, which manifestly does not imply the intention of
making any material alteration. With no less justice
may we infer from the character of the history described
in the third volume, and from the nature of its sources,
that it is almost certain, that a remodeling such as was
called for in the two first volumes by the ever increas-
ing gains of an unwearied investigation of dark times
and difficult relations, would never have become neces-
sary here. On the contrary, the freshness and liveliness
of the description, such as it had been written out fi'ora
the first conception, will retain its imperishable beauty.
I may also add, that Niebuhr's subsequent lectures on
Roman history in the university of Bonn, which I had
the happiness of attending twice from beginning to end,
perfectly agreed with what is contained in this volume,
so far as this can be expected between the careful and


elaborate history such as it is written down, and a gene-
ral sketch communicated in an oral discourse. In these
lectures he only made a slight aUusion to that most
important investigation into the internal history which
adorns this volume: the investigation of the constitutional
changes in the censorship of Fubius and Decius, and of
the alteration in the centuries on the basis of the tribes,
p. 320 to p. 319. But that in this investigation, too,
sucli as it lies before us, we are justified in recognising
the matured conviction of the dcceast, is clear from the
circumstance, that ^SJiebulir even in later years commu-
nicated this part of his histoiy from the manuscript to
several friends : nay I must here quote my own evi-
dence, not without sad feelings, that at Christmas in
1829, only one year before his death, he gave me this
proof of his kindness and confidence, by reading to me that
chapter from tlic manuscript. And as I have here been
obliged to speak of the reasons, on whicli my own convic-
tion is founded, I may add the remark, that in note 320 the
insertion of the name of Niebuhr's excellent friend, does
not rest upon a mere conjecture. Whoever knew his
love and admiration for Count de Serrc, would have guest
it: but as Kiebuhr's recollection always dwelt with in-
describable veneration upon this friend who went before
him to eternity, so he also often related and with delight
the circumstance mentioned in the passage referred to,
how Count de Serre in their common excursions in the
neighbourhood of Naples recognised the site of Palaepolis,
as there described.

After this account of the parts which constitute this
third volume, the remark is perhaps superfluous, that
the original form of Niebuhr's style is nowhere altered
by any addition from the hands of a stranger. The only
point in which the editor might be allowed to supply


thin OS for tlic advanta<TC of the readers, were the refer-
ences given in the notes. As Niebuhr, as we have already
remarkt, had written the chief part of the whole with the
assistance of few books, he had put down a number of
references merely from his admirable memory, often only
mentioning the author, without ever completing the re-
ference afterwards. So far as it was possible for me to

give such passages with certainty, I have done so

J. Classen.


November 12,183-2.

Note. — The remaining part of the Editor's preface
is of no interest to the English reader, as it partly refers
to some deficiencies and inequalities in the references to
writers, as Dionysius, Strabo and Zonaras, which have
been corrected by the translators, and partly to the In-
dexes, which in the translation are united into one for
all the three volumes, and adapted to the last (third)
edition of the first and second volumes.

The Teakslators.

C O N T E N T S.

The Liciniau Ilogations - - . - .-.. ]

The new Curulc Dignities of the year 384 - - - 31

Internal History down to the complete establishment of

the Plebeian Consulship -. - - -...45

On the Uncial Rate of Interest - - - -. - 54

History of the Wars, from 384 to 406 - - - - 74

Rome in Alliance with Latium - - . - ._ 89

The earliest Constitution of the Manipular Legion - - - 97

The first Samnite War - - - IO7

The Latin War - - - - _-.__] 28

The Laws of the Dictator Q. Publilius- - - ._ hg

Internal History down to the Caudine Peace - - - - - 152

Alexander of Epirus - - - - - .. 159

Forein Relations down to the second Samnite War - - - 171
The second Samnite War - - - - - 186

Relations between Rome and the Nations bordering on

Samnium after the Peace - - - - - 2G1

The Etruscan Wars down to the beginning of the third

Samnite War - - - - -__._ 074

Internal History from the Caudine Peace down to the

third Samnite War - - - . - __ 289

Cn. Flavins -. - _.-_ -314

The Censorship of Q. Fabius and P. Decius - - - 320

The Ogulnian Law - - - - - ._ 350

Various occurrences of the same Period -.-... 354
The third Samnite War and the others of the same

Period - - - 357

Internal History from the Beginning of the Second

Samnite War down to the Lucanian - - . - . - 407
Miscelhmeous Occurrences of the same Period - - _ _ 403



The Etruscan and Gallic War - - 426

The Lucanian, Bruttian, fourth Samnite, and Taren-

tine Wars - - - - - - - 434

Epirus and Pyrrhus - - - - - - 450

The Roman and Macedonian Tactics - - - - 466

The War with Pyrrhus - - - - - - 474

Entire Subjugation of Italy, and the Political Rights

of the Italian Allies - -. - - - _ 523

Internal History and Miscellaneous Occurrences of the

Period from the Lucanian down to the first Punic

War- -. - - - . - - .. 548

The first Punic War - - - - - -561

Index - - - - - - - - 621



Op C. Licinius Stolo and L. Sextius, to whom Rome
owed her regeneration, we know scarcely any thing more
than their names, and, very imperfectly, the substance of
their laws. But the greatness and boldness of the plan of
their legislation, their unwearied perseverance, the calm-
ness with which they allowed their work to proceed to its
completion, while they confined themselves strictly to the
paths permitted by the law, so that neither they nor the
commonalty are charged with the slightest act of violence,
although the annals continued for a lonj!: time afterwards
to be written exclusively by the hostile party: — all this
gives us the means of judging of their spirit and of their
character. A revolution, which, in the Greek republics

Online LibraryBarthold Georg NiebuhrThe history of Rome (Volume 3) → online text (page 1 of 69)