a.u.c. 365I. Quae ab condita urbe Roma ad captam eandem1 Romani sub regibus primum, consulibus deinde ac dictatoribus decemvirisque ac tribunis consularibus gessere, foris bella, domi seditiones, 2quinque libris exposui, res cum vetustate nimia obscuras, velut quae magno ex intervallo loci vix cernuntur, tum quod parvae et rarae per eadem tempora litterae fuere, una custodia fidelis memoriae rerum gestarum, et quod, etiam si quae in commentariis pontificum aliisque publicis privatisque erant monumentis, incensa urbe pleraeque interiere. 3Clariora deinceps certioraque ab secunda origine velut ab stirpibus laetius feraciusque renatae urbis gesta domi militiaeque exponentur.
4Ceterum primo quo adminiculo erecta erat eodem innixa M. Furio principe stetit, neque eum abdicare 5se dictatura nisi anno circumacto passi sunt. Comitia in insequentem annum tribunos habere, quorum in magistratu capta urbs esset, non placuit; res ad
I. The history of the Romans from the founding b.c. 389of the City of Rome to the capture of the same—at first under kings and afterwards under consuls and dictators, decemvirs and consular tribunes—their foreign wars and their domestic dissensions, I have set forth in five books, dealing with matters which are obscure not only by reason of their great antiquity—like far-off objects which can hardly be descried—but also because in those days there was but slight and scanty use of writing, the sole trustworthy guardian of the memory of past events, and because even such records as existed in the commentaries of the pontiffs and in other public and private documents, nearly all perished in the conflagration of the City. From this point onwards a clearer and more definite account shall be given of the City’s civil and military history, when, beginning for a second time, it sprang up, as it were from the old roots, with a more luxuriant and fruitful growth.
Now it stood at first by leaning on the same support by which it had raised itself up, that is on Marcus Furius, its foremost citizen; neither would men suffer him to resign the dictatorship till the completion of the year.1 That elections for the ensuing year should be held by the tribunes, in whose magistracy the City had been captured, was considered inadvisable, and the state reverted to an