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The History of Rome, Volume 5: Books 33 - 39
- Narrateur(s): Charlton Griffin
- Durée: 17 h et 30 min
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Livy's purpose in writing his famous history was to show how Rome had started out as a city state full of brave, idealistic and virtuous citizens, but had then descended into the voracious, debauched, and immoral empire it had become by his own time in the late 1st century B.C. And the evidence was compelling.
In volume five, Rome begins to confront the corrupt tyrannies and monarchies of Greece and the eastern Mediterranean. At first, her intention is simply to free the Greek cities from the yoke of bondage put in place by Philip of Macedon, Antiochus, and others. The task was all the more rewarding in that Philip and Antiochus had aided and abetted the Carthaginians earlier. But the thrill of liberation turns into the burden of empire as Rome assumes a role it cannot easily back away from. Soon, the protector of Greece becomes its jailor. And the corruption in the east moves west.
Livy's The History of Rome continues in one additional volume.
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Too little of glory rather than too much of war..
"What is most glorious is also the safest: to place our hopes in valour."
- Livy, History of Rome, XXXIV, xiv
BOOK 33 sees Titus Quinctius Flamininus end the Second Macedonian war by defeating Philip in the Battle at Cynoscenphalae. His brother, Lucius, receives the surrender of the Acarnanes after capturing Leucas. Peace is signed with Philip. Hannibal starts to plot with Antiochus king of Syria. Marcellus defeats the Boi and the Insubrian Gauls and receives a triumph.
BOOK 34 sees the Oppian law (limits the expenditures of the women) is repealed. Cato goes to Spain and pacifies near Spain. Titus Quinctius Flamininus ends a successful war against Nabis, the tyrant of Sparta. Several colonies are founded. Hannibal flees to Antiochus after trying to plot through Aristo, a Tyrian, to convince Carthage to join with Antiochus in a war against Rome.
BOOK 35 sees Scipio Africanus sent as an embassy to Antiochus. At Ephesus he has a fantastic conversation with his former foe. When Scipio asked Hannibal who he considered the greatest generals, he first listed Alexander the Great; second, Pyrrhus; and third, himself. When Scipio, smiling, asked: "What would you say if you had defeated me?" Hannibal answered "I would have ranked myself ahead of Alexander, ahead of Pyrrhus and ahead of all other generals."
This book details the end of Nabis (at the hand of Philopeomen and the Aetolians) and the beginning of the Roman war against Antiochus.
BOOK 36 sees Acilius Glabrio, with the help of King Philip, defeat Antiochus at Thermopylae and they drive him from Greece. Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica receives a triumph after defeating the Gallic Boii.
BOOK 37 sees Lucius Conrelius Scipio with his brother Scipio Africanus as his lieutenant starts the war against Antiochus, and was the first of all Roman general to cross into Asia. Regillus fights a successful battle against Antiochus' fleet off Myonnesus with the help of Rhodes. Antiochus is captured by Lucius Cornelius Scipio and peace is granted as long as he withdraws to beyond the Taurus mountains. Lucius is given the surname "Asiaticus." Eumenes and Rhodes are givens spoils by Rome for their help against Antiochus.
Things I love about these books: Asia minor. I lived for a couple years in Turkey and love hearing about places like Zmyrna, Pergamum, Ephesus, Sardes and Halicarnassus because these are all places I am intimately familiar with (having crawled all over the ruins of Turkey as a kid). Things that still drive me nuts about this period: keeping all the Scipios, Hamilcars, Alexanders, and Philips separated in my head. I constantly have to remind myself that King Philip here is NOT Alexander's dad. Different era. No. This Cleopatra isn't the one who hooked up with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Different era. Also, the maps help, but I'm still not as familiar with Greek place names as I am with Roman place names, and I'm honestly not great at those either.
BOOK 38 sees Scipio Africanus and his brother Lucius Scipio Asiaticus accused, as some say by Q. Petillius the tribune (and/or Naevius), of cheated the treasury of money taken from the defeat of Antiochus. Scipio Africanus replied “On this day, citizens, I conquered Carthage,” and ascended the Capitoline. To avoid further attacks from the tribunes, Scipio withdrew to voluntary exile and died. Lucius Scipio Asiaticus was also accused and convicted on the same charge of embezzlement. When he was being led to prison, Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, tribune of the people, formerly an enemy of the Scipio bros, intervenes.
When the quaestors go to take possession of the property of Scipio, there is no money, and not even enough money to pay the fine. Scipio Asiaticus even refuses the money collected by his relatives and friends.
BOOK 39 sees the Bacchanalia, a Greek rite celebrated by night involving sex, murder, etc., developed into a conspiracy of large numbers of Romans. An investigation is started and the Bacchanalia is suppressed with many punishment and many put to death. Censors Lucius Valerius Flaccus and Marcus Porcius Cato (the latter the greatest of men in the arts of both war and peace) expelled from the senate Lucius Quinctius Flamininus on the grounds he killed, while Consul of Gaul, a certain Gaul at the request of his degenerate lover. Scipio, Hannibal, and also Philopoemen all die in the same year.
Philip of Macedon is upset his kingdom was diminished by the Romans and that he was compelled to withdraw his garrisons from Thrace, etc.
This is one of my least favorite books so far. It really is an early sign of Roman degeneracy. Super early. They are quick to turn against their heros for poltical gain (Scipio Africanus) and the wealth from their wars is starting to affect those living in Rome. It isn't the end of the Republic by far, but a lot of what happens in this book seems to anticipate later issues during the last days of the Roman Republic.
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