The Early History of Rome Quotes

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The Early History of Rome: (The History of Rome, #1-5) The Early History of Rome: by Titus Livy
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The Early History of Rome Quotes (showing 1-16 of 16)
“The study of history is the best medicine for a sick mind; for in history you have a record of the infinite variety of human experience plainly set out for all to see: and in that record you can find for yourself and your country both examples and warnings: fine things to take as models, base things, rotten through and through, to avoid.”
Titus Livy, The Early History of Rome:
“Now I would solicit the particular attention of those numerous people who imagine that money is everything in this world, and that rank and ability are inseparable from wealth: let them observe that Cincinnatus, the one man in whom Rome reposed all her hope of survival, was at that moment working a little three-acre farm (now known as Quinctian meadows) west of the Tiber, just opposite the spot where the shipyards are today. A mission from the city found him at work on his land - digging a ditch, maybe, or ploughing. Greetings were exchanged, and he was asked - with a prayer for God's blessing on himself and his country - to put on his toga and hear the Senate's instructions. This naturally surprised him, and, asking if all were well, he told his wife Racilia to run to their cottage and fetch his toga. The toga was brought, and wiping the grimy sweat from his hands and face he put it on; at once the envoys from the city saluted him, with congratulations, as Dictator, invited him to enter Rome, and informed him of the terrible danger of Minucius's army.”
Titus Livy, The Early History of Rome:
“It is your duty,' he said, 'to recover your country not by gold but by the sword. You will be fighting with all you love before your eyes: the temples of the gods, your wives and children, the soil of your native land scarred with the ravages of war, and everything which honor and truth call upon you to defend, or recover, or avenge.”
Titus Livy, The Early History of Rome:
“In ancient Greece more than one royal house was guilty of crime which became the stuff of tragedy: now Rome was to follow the same path - but not in vain; for that very guilt was to hasten the coming of liberty and the hatred of kings, and to ensure that the throne it won should never again be occupied.”
Titus Livy, The Early History of Rome:
“Now Brutus had deliberately assumed a mask to hide his true character.  When he learned of the murder by Tarquin of the Roman aristocrats, one of the victims being his own brother, he had come to the conclusion that the only way of saving himself was to appear in the king's eyes as a person of no account. If there were nothing in his character for Tarquin to fear, and nothing in his fortune to covet, then the sheer contempt in which he was held would be a better protection than his own rights could ever be.  Accordingly he pretended to be a half-wit and made no protest at the seizure by Tarquin of everything he possessed. He even submitted to being known publicly as the 'Dullard' (which is what his name signifies), that under cover of that opprobrious title the great spirit which gave Rome her freedom might be able to bide its time. On this occasion he was taken by Arruns and Titus to Delphi less as a companion than as a butt for their amusement; and he is said to have carried with him, as his gift to Apollo, a rod of gold inserted into a hollow stick of cornel-wood - symbolic, it may be, of his own character.
The three young men reached Delphi, and carried out the king's instructions.  That done, Titus and Arruns found themselves unable to resist putting a further question to the oracle.  Which of them, they asked, would be the next king of Rome? From the depths of the cavern came the mysterious answer: 'He who shall be the first to kiss his mother shall hold in Rome supreme authority.' Titus and Arruns were determined to keep the prophecy absolutely secret, to prevent their other brother, Tarquin, who had been left in Rome, from knowing anything about it. Thus he, at any rate, would be out of the running. For themselves, they drew lots to determine which of them, on their return, should kiss his mother first.
Brutus, however, interpreted the words of Apollo's priestess in a different way. Pretending to trip, he fell flat on his face, and his lips touched the Earth - the mother of all living things.”
Titus Livy, The Early History of Rome:
“What was needed, was not merely a resolute man, but a man who was also free from the net of legal controls. Such being the circumstances, Quinctius declared that he would nominate Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus as Dictator, convinced that in him were courage and resolution equal to the majestic authority of that office. The proposal was unanimously approved, but Cincinnatus, hesitating to accept the burden of responsibility, asked what the Senate was thinking of to wish to expose an old man like him to what must prove the sternest of struggles; but hesitation was in vain, for when from every corner of the House came the cry that in that aged heart lay more wisdom - yes, and courage too - than in all the rest put together, and when praises, well deserved, were heaped upon him and the consul refused to budge an inch from his purpose, Cincinnatus gave way and, with a prayer to God to save his old age from bringing loss or dishonor upon his country in her trouble, was named Dictator by the consul.”
Titus Livy, The Early History of Rome:
“Destiny had decreed that the Gauls were still to feel the true meaning of Roman valor, for when the raiders started on their mission Rome's lucky star led them to Ardea, where Camillus was living in exile, more grieved by the misfortunes of his country than by his own. Growing, as he felt, old and useless, filled with resentment against gods and men, he was asking in the bitterness of his heart where now were the men who had stormed Veii and Falerii - the men whose courage in every fight had been greater even than their success, when suddenly he heard the news that a Gallic army was near. The men of Ardea, he knew, were in anxious consultation, and it had not been his custom to assist at their deliberations; but now, like a man inspired, he burst into the Council chamber.”
Titus Livy, The Early History of Rome:
“When Numa died, Rome by the twin disciplines of peace and war was as eminent for self-mastery as for military power.”
Titus Livy, The Early History of Rome:
“Believing, as they now did, that the heavenly powers took part in human affairs, they became so much absorbed in the cultivation of religion and so deeply imbued with the sense of their religious duties, that the sanctity of an oath had more power to control their lives than the fear of punishment for lawbreaking.”
Titus Livy, The Early History of Rome:
“The political reputation of Servius rests upon his organization of society according to a fixed scale of rank and fortune. He originated the census, a measure of the highest utility to a state destined, as Rome was, to future preeminence; for by means of its public service, in peace as well as in war, could thence forward be regularly organized on the basis of property; every man's contribution could be in proportion to his means.”
Titus Livy, The Early History of Rome:
“At last he was to feel that he had the town, as it were, in his pocket, and was ready for anything. Accordingly he sent a confidential messenger to Rome, to ask his father what step he should next take, his power in Gabii being, by God's grace, by this time absolute. Tarquin, I suppose, was not sure of the messenger's good faith: in any case, he said not a word in reply to his question, but with a thoughtful air went out to the garden. The man followed him, and Tarquin, strolling up and down in silence, began knocking off poppy-heads with his stick. The messenger at last wearied of putting his question and waiting for the reply, so he returned to Gabii supposing his mission to have failed. He told Sextus what he had said and what he had seen his father do: the king, he declared, whether from anger, or hatred, or natural arrogance, had not uttered a single word. Sextus realized that though his father had not spoken, he had, by his action, indirectly expressed his meaning clearly enough; so he proceeded at once to act upon his murderous instructions.”
Titus Livy, The Early History of Rome:
“There, publicly throwing off the mask under which he had hitherto concealed his real character and feelings, he made a speech painting in vivid the cause of her death was an even bitterer and more dreadful thing than the death itself. He went on to speak of the king's arrogant and tyrannical behavior; of the sufferings of the commons condemned to labor underground clearing or constructing ditches and sewers; of gallant Romans - soldiers who had beaten in battle all neighboring peoples - robbed of their swords and turned into stone-cutters and artisans. He reminded them of the foul murder of Servius Tullius, of the daughter who drove her carriage over her father's corpse, in violation of the most sacred of relationships - a crime which God alone could punish. Doubtless he told them of other, and worse, things, brought to his mind in the heat of the moment and by the sense of this latest outrage, which still lived in his eye and pressed upon his heart; but a mere historian can hardly record them.
The effect of his words was immediate: the populace took fire, and were brought to demand the abrogation of the king's authority and the exile of himself and his family.”
Titus Livy, The Early History of Rome:
“I am a Roman,' he said to the king; 'my name is Gaius Mucius. I came here to kill you - my enemy. I have as much courage to die as to kill. It is our Roman way to do and to suffer bravely. Nor am I alone in my resolve against your life; behind me is a long line of men eager for the same honor. Brace yourself, if you will, for the struggle - a struggle for your life from hour to hour, with an armed enemy always at your door. That is the war we declare against you: you need fear no action in the battlefield, army against army; it will be fought against you alone, by one of us at a time.'
Porsena in rage and alarm ordered the prisoner to be burnt alive unless he at once divulged the plot thus obscurely hinted at, whereupon Mucius, crying: 'See how cheap men hold their bodies when they care only for honor!' thrust his right hand into the fire which had been kindled for a sacrifice, and let it burn there as if he were unconscious of the pain. Porsena was so astonished by the young man's almost superhuman endurance that he leapt to his feet and ordered his guards to drag him from the altar. 'Go free,' he said; 'you have dared to be a worse enemy to yourself than to me. I should bless your courage, if it lay with my country to dispose of it. But, as that cannot be, I, as an honorable enemy, grant you pardon, life, and liberty.'
'Since you respect courage,' Mucius replied, as if he were thanking him for his generosity, 'I will tell you in gratitude what you could not force from me by threats. There are three hundred of us in Rome, all young like myself, and all of noble blood, who have sworn an attempt upon your life in this fashion. It was I who drew the first lot; the rest will follow, each in his turn and time, until fortune favor us and we have got you.'
The release of Mucius (who was afterwards known as Scaevola, or the Left-Handed Man, from the loss of his right hand) was quickly followed by the arrival in Rome of envoys from Porsena. The first attempt upon his life, foiled only by a lucky mistake, and the prospect of having to face the same thing again from every one of the remaining conspirators, had so shaken the king that he was coming forward with proposals for peace.”
Titus Livy, The Early History of Rome:
“True moderation in the defence of political liberties is indeed a difficult thing: pretending to want fair shares for all, every man raises himself by depressing his neighbour; our anxiety to avoid oppression leads us to practice it ourselves; the injustice we repel, we visit in turn upon others, as if there were no choice except either to do it or to suffer it.”
Titus Livy, The Early History of Rome:
“Others Exonerated the plebs and threw the blame upon the patricians: it was owing to their artful canvassing that the plebeians found the road to office blocked; if the plebs might have a breathing-spell from the mingled prayers and menaces of the nobles, they would think of their friends when they went to vote, and to the protection they had already won would add authority. It was resolved in order to do away with canvassing, that the tribunes should propose a law forbidding anyone to whiten his toga, for the purpose of announcing himself a candidate. This may now appear a trivial thing and one scarcely to be considered seriously, but at the time it kindled a furious struggle between the patricians and the plebs. Yet the tribunes prevailed and carried their law: and it was clear that the plebeians in their irritated mood would support the men of their own order.”
Titus Livy, The Early History of Rome:
“The story is that while a child named Servius Tullius lay sleeping, his head burst into flames in the sight of many. The general outcry which so great a miracle called forth brought the king and queen to the place. One of the servants fetched water to quench the fire, but was checked by the queen, who stilled the uproar and commanded that the boy should not be disturbed until he awoke of himself. Soon afterwards sleep left him, and with it disappeared the flames. Then, talking her husband aside, Tanaquil Said: 'Do you see this child whom we are bringing up in so humble a fashion? Be assured he will one day be a lamp to our dubious fortunes, and a protector to the royal house in the day of its distress. Let us therefore rear with all solicitude one who will lend high renowen to the state and to our family.' It is said that from that moment the boy began to be looked upon as a son, and to be trained in the studies by which men are inspired to bear themselves greatly.”
Titus Livy, The Early History of Rome:

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