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II: Part 3

This webpage reproduces part of
The Epitome of Roman History


published in the Loeb Classical Library,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though, please let me know!

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II: Part 5

Lucius Annaeus Florus

The two books of the Epitome,
extracted from Titus Livius,
of all the wars of seven hundred years

Book II (continued)

X. The War with Sertorius.
XI. The Civil War under Lepidus.
XII. The War against Catiline.

p257 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] X. The War with Sertorius

III, 22 What was the war with Sertorius except an inheritance from the Sullan proscription? I know not whether to call it a war against enemies or a civil war, for it was waged by the Lusitani and Celtiberi under a Roman leader. 2 Sertorius, an exile and fugitive from that fatal proscription-list, a man of great, but ill-starred, valour, involved seas and lands in his personal misfortunes. Having tried his fortune at one time in Africa, at another time in the Balearic Islands, he extended his plans to include the Ocean and Fortunate Isles, and finally armed Spain. 3 A brave man easily unites with other brave men; and the energy of the Spanish soldiers never appeared to better advantage than under a Roman leader. 4 Yet Spain was not enough for him, and he turned his gaze towards Mithridates and the people of Pontus and helped the king with his fleet. 5 Why should such a general have limited his ambitions, when the Roman State could not withstand him with one general only? 6 Gnaeus Pompeius was therefore sent to help Metellus. They wore down his forces, pursuing him over almost the whole of Spain. The fighting continued for a long time, always with doubtful result; and his defeat was due not so much to operations in the field as to the crime and treachery of his own followers. The first engagements were fought by lieutenant-generals, Domitius and Thorius commencing operations on one side and the Hirtulei on the other. 7 After the defeat of the latter at Segovia and of the former at the River Ana, the generals themselves tried their strength in combat and suffered equal disasters at Lauro and Sucro. p259Then one army devoting itself to laying waste the country and the other to the destruction of the cities, 8 unhappy Spain was punished for Rome's quarrels at the hands of the Roman generals, 9 until, after Sertorius had been brought low by treachery in his own camp and Perperna had been defeated and given up, the cities also of Osca, Termes, Ulia, Valentia, Auxuma and Calagurris (the last after suffering all the extremities of starvation) themselves entered in allegiance with Rome. Thus Spain was restored to peace. The victorious generals desired that the struggle should be considered a foreign rather than a civil war in order that they might celebrate a triumph.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XI. The Civil War under Lepidus

III, 23 In the consulship of Marcus Lepidus and Quintus Catulus,1 a civil war which arose was suppressed almost as soon as it began. Yet the spark which kindled this disturbance, however insignificant, sprang from the funeral pyre of Sulla. 2 Lepidus, desirous of change in affairs, presumptuously prepared to rescind the acts of that great man; and his action might have been justified, if only he could have carried it out without involving the State in a great disaster. 3 For since Sulla in his dictatorship, on the strength of his victory, had proscribed his enemies, for what possible purpose, except for war, were the survivors recalled by Lepidus? And since the estates of the condemned citizens, assigned to others by Sulla, though wrongfully seized, were yet held under a form of law, the demand for their restoration undoubtedly p261tended to disturb the condition of the State now tranquillized. 4 It was expedient, therefore, that the sick and wounded State should by some means of other be allowed to rest, lest its wounds should be torn open by the very attempt to heal them. 5 Lepidus, therefore, having alarmed the State by his excited harangues, which seemed like a trumpet-call, set out for Etruria and thence directed his arms and troops against Rome. 6 But Lutatius Catulus and Gnaeus Pompeius, who had been leaders and standard-bearers under Sulla's domination, had already occupied the Mulvian Bridge and the Hill of Janiculum with another army. 7 Having been immediately driven back by these generals at his first onslaught and declared an enemy by the senate, he fled without further bloodshed to Etruria and thence to Sardinia, where he died of disease and remorse. 8 The victors were content with restoring peace, a thing which has rarely happened in civil wars.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XII. The War against Catiline

IIII, 1 It was, in the first place, his personal extravagance and then his consequent lack of means, combined with the favourable opportunity offered by the absence of the Roman armies in the uttermost quarters of the world, that induced Catiline to entertain the nefarious design of overthrowing his country. 2 And what men were his associates (oh, the wickedness of it) in his attempt to murder the senate, to assassinate the consuls, to set fire to the city in various places, to plunder the treasury and, in a word, utterly to overturn the whole State and entertain every kind of design of which not even p263Hannibal seems to have thought! 3 He himself was a patrician, but that was a minor consideration. A Curius, a Porcius, a Sulla, a Cethegus, an Autronius, a Vargunteius and a Longinus — what men of family and high senatorial distinction! — and Lentulus, too, while actually holding the office of praetor, all these he had as accomplices in his atrocious crimes. 4 Human blood, which they handed round in bowls and drank, was used as a pledge to bind the conspirators together — in itself an act of the utmost wickedness, were not the object for which they drank it still more wicked. 5 There would have been an end of our glorious empire, had not the conspiracy happened to fall into the consulship of Cicero and Antonius, of whom the former by his diligence laid bare the plot, while the latter suppressed it by force of arms. 6 Information about the outrageous crime came to light through Fulvia, a worthless prostitute, but less blameworthy than her patrician associates. 7 The consul, having called the senate together, made a speech against the accused, who was present; but the only result of his action was that his enemy left Rome, and as he went, threatened openly and without disguise that he would extinguish the flames which he had kindled in general ruin. 8 He set out for the army which Manlius had already prepared in Etruria, intending to march upon the city. Lentulus, prophesying for himself the kingship which the Sibylline verses foretold should belong to his family, disposed throughout the city men, torches and arms ready for the day prearranged by Catiline. 9 Not content with a conspiracy in which only Romans were involved, he incited the representatives of the Allobroges, who happened to be in Rome at the p265time, to take up arms. The rage for conspiracy would have passed beyond the Alps had not a letter from the praetor2 been intercepted by another betrayal, this time on the part of Volturcius. By Cicero's orders the barbarians were immediately arrested, and the praetor was openly proved guilty in the senate. 10 When the question of punishment was discussed, Caesar expressed the opinion that the conspirators ought to be spared on account of their position; Cato thought that they ought to be punished in accordance with their crime. 11 There was a general agreement in favour of the latter course, and the traitors were strangled in prison. Though part of the conspiracy was thus put down, Catiline did not abandon his designs; but, as he was marching against the city from Etruria with hostile intent, he was surprised by the army of Antonius. 12 The result of the battle showed how desperate was the fighting; not a single one of the enemy survived, and each man's lifeless body covered the spot at which he had taken his post in the battle. Catiline was discovered far in front of his fellows amid the dead bodies of his foes, thus dying a death which would have been glorious if he had thus fallen fighting for his country.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 78 B.C.

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2 i.e. Lentulus.

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Page updated: 29 Oct 08