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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



4527
Dionysius Of Halycarnassus, Roman Antiquities, 1.8.2


nan and I bring the narrative down to the beginning of the First Punic War, which fell in the third year of the one hundred and twenty-eighth Olympiad. I relate all the foreign wars that the city waged during that period and all the internal seditions with which she was agitated, showing from what causes they sprang and by what methods and by what arguments they were brought to an end. I give an account also of all the forms of government Rome used, both during the monarchy and after its overthrow, and show what was the character of each. I describe the best customs and the most remarkable laws; and, in short, I show the whole life of the ancient Romans. <


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

5 results
1. Polybius, Histories, 1.4, 6.11.11 (2nd cent. BCE - 2nd cent. BCE)

2. Dionysius of Halycarnassus, Roman Antiquities, 1.6.5, 2.3, 2.12-2.17, 4.71-4.75 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.6.5.  And I, who have not turned aside to this work for the sake of flattery, but out of a regard for truth and justice, which ought to be the aim of every history, shall have an opportunity, in the first place, of expressing my attitude of goodwill toward all good men and toward all who take pleasure in the contemplation of great and noble deeds; and, in the second place, of making the most grateful return that I may to the city and other blessings I have enjoyed during my residence in it. 2.3. 1.  When, therefore, the ditch was finished, the rampart completed and the necessary work on the houses done, and the situation required that they should consider also what form of government they were going to have, Romulus called an assembly of the people by the advice of his grandfather, who had instructed him what to say, and told them that the city, considering that it was newly built, was sufficiently adorned both with public and private buildings; but he asked them all to bear in mind that these were not the most valuable things in cities.,2.  For neither in foreign wars, he said, are deep ditches and high ramparts sufficient to give the inhabitants an undisturbed assurance of their safety, but guarantee one thing only, namely, that they shall suffer no harm through being surprised by an incursion of the enemy; nor, again, when civil commotions afflict the State, do private houses and dwellings afford anyone a safe retreat.,3.  For these have been contrived by men for the enjoyment of leisure and tranquillity in their lives, and with them neither those of their neighbours who plot against them are prevented from doing mischief nor do those who are plotted against feel any confidence that they are free from danger; and no city that has gained splendour from these adornments only has ever yet become prosperous and great for a long period, nor, again, has any city from a want of magnificence either in public or in private buildings ever been hindered from becoming great and prosperous. But it is other things that preserve cities and make them great from small beginnings:,4.  in foreign wars, strength in arms, which is acquired by courage and exercise; and in civil commotions, uimity among the citizens, and this, he showed, could be most effectually achieved for the commonwealth by the prudent and just life of each citizen.,5.  Those who practise warlike exercises and at the same time are masters of their passions are the greatest ornaments to their country, and these are the men who provide both the commonwealth with impregnable walls and themselves in their private lives with safe refuges; but men of bravery, justice and the other virtues are the result of the form of government when this has been established wisely, and, on the other hand, men who are cowardly, rapacious and the slaves of base passions are the product of evil institutions.,6.  He added that he was informed by men who were older and had wide acquaintance with history that of many large colonies planted in fruitful regions some had been immediately destroyed by falling into seditions, and others, after holding out for a short time, had been forced to become subject to their neighbours and to exchange their more fruitful country for a worse fortune, becoming slaves instead of free men; while others, few in numbers and settling in places that were by no means desirable, had continued, in the first place, to be free themselves, and, in the second place, to command others; and neither the successes of the smaller colonies nor the misfortunes of those that were large were due to any other cause than their form of government.,7.  If, therefore, there had been but one mode of life among all mankind which made cities prosperous, the choosing of it would not have been difficult for them; but, as it was, he understood there were many types of government among both the Greeks and barbarians, and out of all of them he heard three especially commended by those who had lived under them, and of these systems none was perfect, but each had some fatal defects inherent in it, so that the choice among them was difficult. He therefore asked them to deliberate at leisure and say whether they would be governed by one man or by a few, or whether they would establish laws and entrust the protection of the public interests to the whole body of the people.,8.  "And whichever form of government you establish," he said, "I am ready to comply with your desire, for I neither consider myself unworthy to command nor refuse to obey. So far as honours are concerned, I am satisfied with those you have conferred on me, first, by appointing me leader of the colony, and, again, by giving my name to the city. For of these neither a foreign war nor civil dissension nor time, that destroyer of all that is excellent, nor any other stroke of hostile fortune can deprive me; but both in life and in death these honours will be mine to enjoy for all time to come." Such was the speech that Romulus, following the instructions of his grandfather, as I have said, made to the people. And they, having consulted together by themselves, returned this answer: "We have no need of a new form of government and we are not going to change the one which our ancestors approved of as the best and handed down to us. In this we show both a deference for the judgment of our elders, whose superior wisdom we recognize in establishing it, and our own satisfaction with our present condition. For we could not reasonably complain of this form of government, which has afforded us under our kings the greatest of human blessings — liberty and the rule over others. 2.17. 1.  When I compare the customs of the Greeks with these, I can find no reason to extol either those of the Lacedaemonians or of the Thebans or of the Athenians, who pride themselves most on their wisdom; all of whom, jealous of their noble birth and granting citizenship to none or to very few (I say nothing of the fact that some even expelled foreigners), not only received no advantage from this haughty attitude, but actually suffered the greatest harm because of it.,2.  Thus, the Spartans after their defeat at Leuctra, where they lost seventeen hundred men, were no longer able to restore their city to its former position after that calamity, but shamefully abandoned their supremacy. And the Thebans and Athenians through the single disaster at Chaeronea were deprived by the Macedonians not only of the leadership of Greece but at the same time of the liberty they had inherited from their ancestors.,3.  But Rome, while engaged in great wars both in Spain and Italy and employed in recovering Sicily and Sardinia, which had revolted, at a time when the situation in Macedonia and Greece had become hostile to her and Carthage was again contending for the supremacy, and when all but a small portion of Italy was not only in open rebellion but was also drawing upon her the Hannibalic war, as it was called, — though surrounded, I say, by so many dangers at one and the same time, Rome was so far from being overcome by these misfortunes that she derived from them a strength even greater than she had had before, being enabled to meet every danger, thanks to the number of her soldiers, and not, as some imagine, to the favour of Fortune;,4.  since for all of Fortune's assistance the city might have been utterly submerged by the single disaster at Cannae, where of six thousand horse only three hundred and seventy survived, and of eighty thousand foot enrolled in the army of the commonwealth little more than three thousand escaped. 4.71. 1.  Having said this, he called upon all the rest also to take the same oath; and they, no longer hesitating, rose up, and receiving the dagger from one another, swore. After they had taken the oath they at once considered in what manner they should go about their undertaking. And Brutus advised them as follows: "First, let us keep the gates under guard, so that Tarquinius may have no intelligence of what is being said and done in the city against the tyranny till everything on our side is in readiness.,2.  After that, let us carry the body of this woman, stained as it is with blood, into the Forum, and exposing it to the public view, call an assembly of the people. When they are assembled and we see the Forum crowded, let Lucretius and Collatinus come forward and bewail their misfortunes, after first relating everything that has happened.,3.  Next, let each of the others come forward, inveigh against the tyranny, and summon the citizens to liberty. It will be what all Romans have devoutly wished if they see us, the patricians, making the first move on behalf of liberty. For they have suffered many dreadful wrongs at the hands of the tyrant and need but slight encouragement. And when we find the people ager to overthrow the monarchy, let us give them an opportunity to vote that Tarquinius shall no longer rule over the Romans, and let us send their decree to this effect to the soldiers in the camp in all haste.,4.  For when those who have arms in their hands hear that the whole city is alienated from the tyrant they will become zealous for the liberty of their country and will no longer, as hitherto, be restrained by bribes or able to bear the insolent acts of the sons and flatterers of Tarquinius.",5.  After he had spoken thus, Valerius took up the discussion and said: "In other respects you seem to me to reason well, Junius; but concerning the assembly of the people, I wish to know further who is to summon it according to law and propose the vote to the curiae. For this is the business of a magistrate and none of us holds a magistracy.",6.  To this Brutus answered: "I will, Valerius; for I am commander of the celeres and I have the power by law of calling an assembly of the people when I please. The tyrant gave me this most important magistracy in the belief that I was a fool and either would not be aware of the power attaching to it or, if I did recognize it, would not use it. And I myself will deliver the first speech against the tyrant. 4.72. 1.  Upon hearing this they all applauded him for beginning with an honourable and lawful principle, and they asked him to tell the rest of his plans. And he continued: "Since you have resolved to follow this course, let us further consider what magistracy shall govern the commonwealth after the expulsion of the kings, and by what man it shall be created, and, even before that, what form of government we shall establish as we get rid of the tyrant. For it is better to have considered everything before attempting so important an undertaking and to have left nothing unexamined or unconsidered. Let each one of you, accordingly, declare his opinion concerning these matters.",2.  After this many speeches were made by many different men. Some were any other the opinion that they ought to establish a monarchical government again, and they recounted the great benefits the state had received from all the former kings. Others believed that they ought no longer to entrust the government to a single ruler, and they enumerated the tyrannical excesses which many other kings and Tarquinius, last of all, had committed against their own people; but they thought they ought to make the senate supreme in all matters, according to the practice of many Greek cities.,3.  And still others liked neither of these forms of government, but advised them to establish a democracy like at Athens; they pointed to the insolence and avarice of the few and to the seditions usually stirred up by the lower classes against their superiors, and they declared that for a free commonwealth the equality of the citizens was of all forms of government the safest and the most becoming. 4.73. 1.  The choice appearing to all of them difficult and hard to decide upon by reason of the evils attendant upon each form of government, Brutus took up the discussion as the final speaker and said: "It is my opinion, Lucretius, Collatinus, and all of you here present, good men yourselves and descended from good men, that we ought not in the present situation to establish any new form of government. For the time to which we are limited by the circumstances is short, so that it is not easy to reform the constitution of the state, and the very attempt to change it, even though we should happen to be guided by the very best counsels, is precarious and not without danger. And besides, it will be possible later, when we are rid of the tyranny, to deliberate with greater freedom and at leisure and thus choose a better form of government in place of a poorer one — if, indeed, there is any constitution better than the one which Romulus, Pompilius and all the succeeding kings instituted and handed down to us, by means of which our commonwealth has continued to be great and prosperous and to rule over many subjects.,2.  But as for the evils which generally attend monarchies and because of which they degenerate into a tyrannical cruelty and are abhorred by all mankind, I advise you to correct these now and at the same time to take precautions that they shall never again occur hereafter.,3.  And what are these evils? In the first place, since most people look at the names of things and, influenced by them, either admit some that are hurtful or shrink from others that are useful, of which monarchy happens to be one, I advise you to change the name of the government and no longer to call those who shall have the supreme power either kings or monarchs, but to give them a more modest and humane title.,4.  In the next place, I advise you not to make one man's judgment the supreme authority over all, but to entrust the royal power to two men, as I am informed the Lacedaemonians have been doing now for many generations, in consequence of which form of government they are said to be the best governed and the most prosperous people among the Greeks. For the rulers will be less arrogant and vexatious when the power is divided between two and each has the same authority; moreover, mutual respect, the ability of each to prevent the other from living as suits his pleasure, and a rivalry between them for the attainment of a reputation for virtue would be most likely to result from such equality of power and honour. 4.74. 1.  "And inasmuch as the insignia which have been granted to the kings are numerous, I believe that if any of these are grievous and invidious in the eyes of the multitude we ought to modify some of them and abolish others — I mean these sceptres and golden crowns, the purple and gold-embroidered robes — unless it be upon certain festal occasions and in triumphal processions, when the rulers will assume them in honour of the gods; for they will offend no one if they are seldom used. But I think we ought to leave to the men the ivory chair, in which they will sit in judgment, and also the white robe bordered with purple, together with the twelve axes to be carried before them when they appear in public.,2.  There is one thing more which in my opinion will be of greater advantage than all that I have mentioned and the most effectual means of preventing those who shall receive this magistracy from committing many errors, and that is, not to permit the same persons to hold office for life (for a magistracy unlimited in time and not obliged to give any account of its actions is grievous to all and productive of tyranny), but to limit the power of the magistracy to a year, as the Athenians do.,3.  For this principle, by which the same person both rules and is ruled in turn and surrenders his authority before his mind has been corrupted, restrains arrogant dispositions and does not permit men's natures to grow intoxicated with power. If we establish these regulations we should be able to enjoy all the benefits that flow from monarchy and at the same time to be rid of the evils that attend it.,4.  But to the end that the name, too, of the kingly power, which is traditional with us and made its way into our commonwealth with favourable auguries that manifested the approbation of the gods, may be preserved for form's sake, let there always be appointed a king of sacred rites, who shall enjoy the honour for life exempt from all military and civil duties and, like the "king" at Athens, exercising this single function, the superintendence of the sacrifices, and no other. 4.75. 1.  "In what manner each of these measures shall be effected I will now tell you. I will summon the assembly, as I said, since this power is accorded me by law, and will propose this resolution: That Tarquinius be banished with his wife and children, and that they and their posterity as well be forever debarred both from the city and from the Roman territory. After the citizens have passed this vote I will explain to them the form of government we propose to establish; next, I will choose an interrex to appoint the magistrates who are to take over the administration of public affairs, and I will then resign the command of the celeres.,2.  Let the interrex appointed by me call together the centuriate assembly, and having nominated the persons who are to hold the annual magistracy, let him permit the citizens to vote upon them; and if the majority of the centuries are in favour of ratifying his choice of men and the auguries concerning them are favourable, let these men assume the axes and the other insignia of royalty and see to it that our country shall enjoy its liberty and that the Tarquinii shall nevermore return. For they will endeavour, be assured, by persuasion, violence, fraud and every other means to get back into power unless we are upon our guard against them.,3.  "These are the most important and essential measures that I have to propose to you at present and to advise you to adopt. As for the details, which are many and not easy to examine with precision at the present time (for we are brought to an acute crisis), I think we leave them to the men themselves who are to take over the magistracy.,4.  But I do say that these magistrates ought to consult with the senate in everything, as the kings formerly did, and to do nothing without your advice, and that they ought to lay before the people the decrees of the senate, according to the practice of our ancestors, depriving them of none of the privileges which they possessed in earlier times. For thus their magistracy will be most secure and most excellent." After Junius Brutus had delivered this opinion they all approved it, and straightway consulting about the persons who were to take over the magistracies, they decided that Spurius Lucretius, the father of the woman who had killed herself, will be appointed interrex, and that Lucius Junius Brutus and Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus should be nominated by him to exercise the power of the kings.
3. Dionysius of Halycarnassus, De Veterum Censura, 4.1-4.2 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

4. Dionysius of Halycarnassus, Letter To Pompeius Geminus, 6.7 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

5. Tacitus, Annals, 4.33 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

4.33.  For every nation or city is governed by the people, or by the nobility, or by individuals: a constitution selected and blended from these types is easier to commend than to create; or, if created, its tenure of life is brief. Accordingly, as in the period of alternate plebeian domice and patrician ascendancy it was imperative, in one case, to study the character of the masses and the methods of controlling them; while, in the other, those who had acquired the most exact knowledge of the temper of the senate and the aristocracy were accounted shrewd in their generation and wise; so to‑day, when the situation has been transformed and the Roman world is little else than a monarchy, the collection and the chronicling of these details may yet serve an end: for few men distinguish right and wrong, the expedient and the disastrous, by native intelligence; the majority are schooled by the experience of others. But while my themes have their utility, they offer the minimum of pleasure. Descriptions of countries, the vicissitudes of battles, commanders dying on the field of honour, such are the episodes that arrest and renew the interest of the reader: for myself, I present a series of savage mandates, of perpetual accusations, of traitorous friendships, of ruined innocents, of various causes and identical results — everywhere monotony of subject, and satiety. Again, the ancient author has few detractors, and it matters to none whether you praise the Carthaginian or the Roman arms with the livelier enthusiasm. But of many, who underwent either the legal penalty or a form of degradation in the principate of Tiberius, the descendants remain; and, assuming the actual families to be now extinct, you will still find those who, from a likeness of character, read the ill deeds of others as an innuendo against themselves. Even glory and virtue create their enemies — they arraign their opposites by too close a contrast. But I return to my subject.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
appian, government, analysis of Scott, An Age of Iron and Rust: Cassius Dio and the History of His Time (2023) 51
aristotle Scott, An Age of Iron and Rust: Cassius Dio and the History of His Time (2023) 51
cassius dio, roman history, agrippa-maecenas debate Scott, An Age of Iron and Rust: Cassius Dio and the History of His Time (2023) 51
cicero (m. tullius cicero), de re publica Scott, An Age of Iron and Rust: Cassius Dio and the History of His Time (2023) 51
cicero (m. tullius cicero), government, analysis of Scott, An Age of Iron and Rust: Cassius Dio and the History of His Time (2023) 51
classicality and classicizing Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 77
codex vaticanus graecus, government, analysis of Scott, An Age of Iron and Rust: Cassius Dio and the History of His Time (2023) 51
dicaearchus Scott, An Age of Iron and Rust: Cassius Dio and the History of His Time (2023) 51
dionysius of halicarnassus, coherence of corpus Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 77
dionysius of halicarnassus, government, analysis of Scott, An Age of Iron and Rust: Cassius Dio and the History of His Time (2023) 51
dionysius of halicarnassus, prohairesis (deliberate choice) Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 77
dionysius of halicarnassus, roman antiquities Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 77, 78
dionysius of halicarnassus, rome and roman history Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 77, 78
dionysius of halicarnassus Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 77, 78
junius brutus, l. Scott, An Age of Iron and Rust: Cassius Dio and the History of His Time (2023) 51
monarchy, homonoia and' Scott, An Age of Iron and Rust: Cassius Dio and the History of His Time (2023) 51
nicolaus of damascus Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 78
plato Scott, An Age of Iron and Rust: Cassius Dio and the History of His Time (2023) 51
polybius, government, analysis of Scott, An Age of Iron and Rust: Cassius Dio and the History of His Time (2023) 51
polybius Jonge and Hunter, Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Augustan Rome. Rhetoric, Criticism and Historiography (2019) 205; Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 78
republic, monarchy, transition from Scott, An Age of Iron and Rust: Cassius Dio and the History of His Time (2023) 51
rome, as empire Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 77, 78
rome, centrality to dionysius of halicarnassuss rhetorical program Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 77
romulus, plebs, people, relationship with Scott, An Age of Iron and Rust: Cassius Dio and the History of His Time (2023) 51
romulus Scott, An Age of Iron and Rust: Cassius Dio and the History of His Time (2023) 51
strabo Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 78
tacitus (p. cornelius tacitus), government, analysis of Scott, An Age of Iron and Rust: Cassius Dio and the History of His Time (2023) 51
theopompus Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 78