1. Me quoque iuvat, velut ipse in parte laboris ac periculi fuerim, ad finem belli Punici pervenisse. 2nam etsi profiteri ausum perscripturum res omnes Romanas in partibus singulis tanti operis fatigari minime conveniat, 3tamen cum in mentem venit tres et sexaginta annos—tot enim sunt a primo Punico ad secundum bellum finitum—aeque multa 4volumina occupasse mihi quam occupaverint quadringenti duodenonaginta1 anni a condita urbe ad Ap. Claudium consulem, 5qui primum bellum Carthaginiensibus intulit, iam provideo animo, velut qui proximi litoris2 vadis inducti mare pedibus ingrediuntur, quidquid progredior, in vastiorem me altitudinem ac velut profundum invehi, et crescere paene opus, quod prima quaeque perficiendo minui videbatur.
Pacem Punicam bellum Macedonicum excepit, p6ericulo
1. I too am happy to have reached the end of the Punic war, just as if I had myself shared its hardships and dangers!2 While it is most inappropriate for one who has made the rash promise to cover all Roman history to flag in specific sections of such a major work, it does nevertheless occur to me that the sixty-three years from the beginning of the First Punic War to the end of the Second3 have taken up as many scrolls as did the four hundred and eighty-eight years4 between the foundation of the city and the consulship of Appius Claudius,5 who began the first war with Carthage. I feel like those who wade out into the depths after being initially attracted to the water by the shallows of the sea at the shoreline; and I foresee any advance only taking me into even more enormous, indeed bottomless, depths, and that this undertaking of mine, which seemed to be diminishing as I was completing the earliest sections, is now almost increasing in size.
Peace with Carthage was followed by war with Macedon.
- 1Dates are BC unless marked AD.
- 2Livy’s prefaces to this book and to Book 21 (the start of the Hannibalic war) suggest that his history followed a decadal or pentadal structure (see Introduction, xv–xvii).
- 3The first started in 264, and the second ended in 201.
- 4The manuscripts read seventy-eight years, which would give 742/1 as the date for the founding of Rome, whereas Livy elsewhere clearly regards it as 751/0. As numerals are often corrupted in transmission, Glareanus’ emendation (see textual note) is to be accepted.
- 5Appius Claudius Caudex (102), consul in 264 (MRR 202–3).