Livy, History of Rome 2

LCL 114: 218-219

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Liber II

a.u.c. 245I. Liberi iam hinc populi Romani res pace belloque gestas, annuos magistratus, imperiaque legum 2potentiora quam hominum peragam. Quae libertas ut laetior esset proxumi regis superbia fecerat. Nam priores ita regnarunt ut haud immerito omnes deinceps conditores partium certe urbis, quas novas ipsi sedes ab se auctae multitudinis addiderunt, numerentur. 3Neque ambigitur quin Brutus idem qui tantum gloriae Superbo exacto rege meruit pessimo publico id facturus fuerit, si libertatis immaturae cupidine priorum regum alicui regnum extorsisset. 4Quid enim futurum fuit, si illa pastorum convenarumque plebs, transfuga ex suis populis, sub tutela inviolati templi aut libertatem aut certe impunitatem adepta, soluta regio metu, agitari coepta esset tribuniciis procellis et in aliena urbe cum patribus 5serere certamina, priusquam pignera coniugum ac liberorum caritasque ipsius soli, cui longo tempore 6adsuescitur, animos eorum consociasset? Dissipatae res nondum adultae discordia forent, quas fovit tranquilla moderatio imperii, eoque nutriendo perduxit


Book II

I. The new liberty enjoyed by the Roman people, b.c. 509their achievements in peace and war, annual magistracies, and laws superior in authority to men will henceforth be my theme. This liberty was the more grateful as the last king had been so great a tyrant. For his predecessors so ruled that there is good reason to regard them all as successive founders of parts, at least, of the City, which they added to serve as new homes for the numbers they had themselves recruited.1 Nor is there any doubt that the same Brutus who earned such honour by expelling the haughty Tarquinius, would have acted in an evil hour for the commonwealth had a premature eagerness for liberty led him to wrest the power from any of the earlier kings. For what would have happened if that rabble of shepherds and vagrants, having deserted their own peoples, and under the protection of inviolable sanctuary having possessed themselves of liberty, or at least impunity, had thrown off their fear of kings only to be stirred by the ruffling storms of tribunician demagogues, breeding quarrels with the senators of a city not their own, before ever the pledges of wife and children and love of the very place and soil (an affection of slow growth) had firmly united their aspirations? The nation would have crumbled away with dissension before it had matured. But it was favoured by the mild restraint of the government, which nursed it up to the point

  • 1This statement is too sweeping, for Livy nowhere attributes any enlargement of the City to Numa.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.livy-history_rome_2.1919