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Bill Thayer

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Velleius Paterculus: The Roman History

The Text on LacusCurtius

The Latin text is that printed in the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1924: see the Note on the Text for further details. The English translation is by Frederick W. Shipley, printed in the same edition.

As usual, I retyped the text rather than scanning it: not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if success­ful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

In the table of contents below, both Books are shown on blue backgrounds; red backgrounds would indicate that my transcription was still not proofread. The header bar at the top of each webpage will remind you with the same color scheme. Should you spot an error, please do report it, of course.

Further details on the technical aspects of the site layout follow the Table of Contents.

Prof. Shipley's introduction provides good background material on the author, the History, and the manuscripts. A briefer biographical sketch and assessment of the author and his work, about as different as can be, is provided by the entry in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica; and a third interesting take on Velleius, a rather positive one, can be found on these two pages at Livius.Org.

Latin Text
English Translation


The text and English translation are those of Frederick W. Shipley, as printed in the volume of the Loeb Classical Library, Velleius Paterculus and Res Gestae Divi Augusti, first published in 1924. It is now in the public domain pursuant to the 1978 revision of the U. S. Copyright Code, since the copyright expired in 1952 and was not renewed at the appropriate time, which would have been that year or the year before. (Details here on the copyright law involved.)

Chapter and Section Numbering, Local Links

Both chapters (large numbers) and sections (small numbers) mark local links, according to a consistent scheme; you can therefore link directly to any passage.

In the Latin text, each American flag [American flag] is a link to the corresponding section of the English translation, opening in another window; in the English text, each Vatican flag [Flag of the Holy See] is a link to the corresponding section of the Latin text, opening in another window.

Apparatus and Notes

On the Latin side, the Loeb edition provides a substantial apparatus criticus, which I have reproduced.

On the English side, the Loeb edition includes a number of historical notes, designed to elucidate the text for a general reader. For the interlinked Web, they're both overkill and not enough: so while of my own initiative I wouldn't have put most of them online, given that they're there, I've transcribed them — then added further links to more detailed, more specific, or better sources.

[image ALT: The head and torso of a marble statue of a man, his chest bare but his arm draped with a clothe. His left hand reaches out as if holding something. It is an ancient Roman statue of Tiberius, and serves here as the icon for the History of Velleius Paterculus.]

As far as I know, no portrait of the author has survived. The icon I use to indicate this subsite is based on a photo I took of a statue of his commanding general Tiberius: the statue is in the Vatican Museums, and it's as idealized as Velleius' portrayal of him.

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Site updated: 10 Dec 16