1. Dum haec, si modo hoc anno acta sunt, Romae aguntur, consules ambo in Liguribus gerebant bellum. 2is hostis velut natus ad continendam inter magnorum intervalla bellorum Romanis militarem disciplinam erat; nec alia provincia militem magis ad virtutem acuebat. 3nam Asia et amoenitate urbium et copia terrestrium maritimarumque rerum et mollitia hostium regiisque opibus ditiores quam fortiores exercitus faciebat. 4praecipue sub imperio Cn. Manli solute ac neglegenter habiti sunt. itaque asperius paulo iter in Thracia et exercitatior hostis magna clade eos castigavit.
5In Liguribus omnia erant quae militem excitarent, loca montana et aspera, quae et ipsis capere labor erat et ex praeoccupatis deicere hostem; itinera1 ardua angusta, infesta insidiis; 6hostis levis et velox et repentinus, qui nullum
1. While these events were taking place at Rome—if, in fact, this was the year1 in which they did take place—the two consuls were at war among the Ligurians.2 This was an enemy almost made for sustaining Roman military discipline in the breaks between major wars, and no other province did more to hone the soldiers’ valor. Asia with its captivating towns, ample commodities from land and sea, a spineless enemy, and the wealth of its kings, enriched armies rather than tempered them. Discipline was particularly lax and slipshod under Gnaeus Manlius’ command. This was why the slightly harder journey in Thrace and a better-trained foe proved a chastening experience with heavy casualties.
In Liguria there was everything to energize the soldiers: a mountainous and forbidding terrain where gaining ground themselves and dislodging the enemy from already occupied positions were both a challenge; roads that were difficult and narrow, and fraught with the danger of ambush; a lightly equipped, mobile and unpredictable enemy,
- 1At 38.50.4ff. Livy follows Valerias Antias in placing the trial and death of Africanus among the events of 187 BC but later notes (38.56.2) that there is some discrepancy in the sources about the date of his death. The chronology is the problem to which he alludes here. For the trials of the Scipios and the dating difficulties, see Introduction to vol. IX (LCL 295), xxxii–xxxiii.
- 2The consuls are M. Aemilius Lepidus (68), praetor in Sicily (191), pontifex maximus (180), and censor (179); and C. Flaminius (3), praetorian and propraetorian governor in Spain from 193 to 190. For the Ligurians as their assignment, cf. 38.42.8.