S. P. Oakley (ed.), A Commentary on Livy, Books VI–X, Vol. 2: Books VII–VIII
1. rem bonam exemplo haud probabili: for the moral ambiguity, see 5. 2 n. The ablative is characteristic of L.; cf. e.g. 16. 7, iv. 13. 1 'tum Sp. Maelius … rem utilem pessimo exemplo, peiore consilio est adgressus', v. 29. 7 'pessimo exemplo innoxii denis milibus grauis aeris condemnati sunt', x. 15. 11, 37. 9, xxv. 4. 7, and xlv. 21. 4.
†cernebat censebat tamen facturum quod milites uellent se recepit†: MOZsΛ (whose combined testimony ought to point to the archetypal reading) have cernebat censebat, PU censebat and ZbZt cernebat. Most scholars have taken the view that cernebat and censebat are alternative variants which were both incorporated into N (for the phenomenon, see vol. i, pp. 316–20). If this approach is correct, one of the verbs must be deleted, and censebat gives much better sense than cernebat;1 Latinity may then be restored at the end of the sentence by Weissenborn's (Komm.3) ⟨in⟩ se recepit (for recipere or in se recipere in the sense 'undertake' or 'guarantee', Walters cites Cic. fam. xiii. 10. 3, 17. 3; see also OLD s.u. 10b). Foster prints this text and translates thus: 'Though the dictator felt that a good thing had been carried out in a way to set a bad example, yet he undertook to do what the soldiers wished. In private he questioned Tullius …'.2
Yet there is a major difficulty with this approach: it is far from clear from §§ 2–5 that Tullius and the troops have heard of any undertaking given by the dictator in § 1; and indeed it would be strange at this point for the dictator publicly to admit that he would do what the troops wished. Hence one wonders with Bayet whether after all something cannot be salvaged from the ms. reading, and whether it is absolutely impossible for both cernebat and censebat to pg 165stand in chiasmus ('although he realized that a good thing had been carried out in a way to set a bad example [the stress is on exemplo haud probabili], he yet determined to do what the soldiers wanted'. At this point there would have to be a slight ellipse of thought, as L. does not make quite clear that the dictator said nothing to the soldiers; he then continues: 'He retired (sc. from the assembly) and asked Tullius in private …'. Yet se recepit seems far too abrupt, and it must remain doubtful whether L. really wrote cernebat. Until a satisfactory explanation of the passage is produced, it is best to obelize.
4. procursum utrimque est: procurro and cognates are regular of troops rushing spontaneously forth to fight in front of the line of battle; cf. e.g. v. 19. 9 'a procursationibus quae multae temere inter murum ac uallum fiebant, edicto ne quis iniussu pugnaret, ad opus milites traducti', xxii. 47. 1, xxiii. 40. 9 'primo castra castris modico interuallo sunt obiecta; deinde per procursationes leuia certamina uario euentu inita', xxvii. 2. 11 'ibi per dies aliquot cum ab stationibus procursaretur, mixta equitum peditumque tumultuosa magis proelia quam magna et ferme omnia Romanis secunda fuere', 41. 5 'in medio campo ab stationibus procursantes', xxviii. 14. 3, and see Packard (1968) iii. 1150.
5. res erat: thus some recentiores against N's res erant. Bayet preferred the plural, but this is an intolerable violation of Livian idiom; cf. e.g. xxv. 19. 14 'haud dubia res erat', 30. 12 'quarum fama maior quam res erat', and see Wesenberg (1870/1) 29, Häggström (1874) 65, and Packard (1968) iv. 362–3.
qua … usi sunt: see Frontin. strat. ii. 4. 5–6 for the stratagem of Peticus and its being repeated by Marius at Aquae Sextiae; Caesar used a similar plan at Gergovia (Gall. vii. 45. 2), and this may pg 166explain L.'s nostra aetate. Other similar stratagems which involved the dressing up of retainers as troops are recounted at x. 40. 8 (n.), Frontin. strat. ii. 4. 3, 8, and 20; for the surprise appearance of real soldiers in the rear, see x. 14. 14 and Frontin. strat. ii. 4. 7.
It is possible that the tale told here by L. derives ultimately from the exploits of Marius. App. Gall. 1 tells of a very different stratagem:
μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα Βοιοί, Κελτικὸν ἔθνος θηριωδέστατον, ἐπῆλθε Ῥωμαίοις, καὶ αὐτοῖς Γάϊος Σουλπίκιος δικτάτωρ μετὰ στρατιᾶς ἀπήντα, ὅς τις καὶ στρατηγήματι τοιούτῳ χρήσασθαι λέγεται· ἐκέλευσε γὰρ τοὺς ἐπὶ τοῦ μετώπου τεταγμένους ἐξακοντίσαντας ὁμοῦ συγκαθίσαι τάχιστα, μέχρι βάλωσιν οἱ δεύτεροι καὶ τρίτοι καὶ τέταρτοι, τοὺς δʼ ἀφιέντας ἀεὶ συνίζειν, ἵνα μὴ κατʼ αὐτῶν ἐνεχθείη τὰ δόρατα· βαλόντων δὲ τῶν ὑστάτων ἀναπηδᾶν ἅπαντας ὁμοῦ, καὶ σὺν βοῇ τάχιστα ἐς χεῖρας ἰέναι· καταπλήξειν γὰρ ὧδε τοὺς πολεμίους τοσῶνδε δοράτων ἄφεσιν καὶ ἐπʼ αὐτῇ ταχεῖαν ἐπιχείρησιν· τὰ δὲ δόρατα ἦν οὐκ ἀπεοικότα ἀκοντίοις· ἃ Ῥωμαῖοι καλοῦσιν ὑσσούς, ξύλου, τετραγώνου τὸ ἥμισυ, καὶ τὸ ἄλλο σιδήρου, τετραγώνου καὶ τοῦδε καὶ μαλακοῦ χωρίς γε τῆς αἰχμῆς. καὶ οἱ Βοιοὶ οὖν ὑπὸ Ῥωμαίων τότε ἐφθάρησαν πανστρατιᾷ.
The two accounts are quite incompatible, and at least one (and probably both) must be invented.
7. centunculis: 'woollen blankets'. centunculus is a diminutive of cento and often refers to inadequate or barely adequate clothing; see e.g. Apul. met. vii. 5, ix. 12, and ix. 30; for its application to rugs on mules, cf. Frontin. strat. ii. 4. 6. See further Daremberg and Saglio i. 2. 1013–14 and TLL iii. 829. 76–830. 12.
agasones: attendants (often servile) whose duty was to look after the horses of the army; cf. 15. 6, xliii. 5. 8, Enn. ann. 427, Plaut. Merc. 852 'egomet mihi comes, calator, equos, agaso, armiger', Frontin. strat. ii. 4. 6, Serv. auct. ad Aen. iii. 470 'duces equorum scilicet, quos uulgo agasones uocamus', and see TLL i. 1268. 82–1269. 38.
8. moueri: Walters rejected the reading of M and Λ, in favour of Π's mouere: But, though Π's reading gives good sense (see x. 4. 9 n.), the passive infinitive clearly stood in the archetype, is the lectio difficilior (note the preceding active infinitives), and is supported by parallels (see e.g. xxvii. 26. 8 'nemo ab statione mouebatur', OLD s.u. 6a).1
9–10. instructo uani terroris apparatu (qui quidem terror plus paene ueris uiribus profuit) ipse, ubi inluxit, in radicibus montium extendere aciem coepit sedulo, ut aduersus montes consisteret hostis. primo credere duces Gallorum …: I have adopted the transposition of Morstadt (1850: 18). The ms. reading, as punctuated in editions earlier than that of Walters, is ipse, ubi inluxit, in radicibus montium extendere aciem coepit sedulo, ut aduersos montes consisteret hostis. instructo uani terroris apparatu (qui quidem terror plus paene quam ueris uiribus profuit) primo credere duces Gallorum … But the relationship of the ablative absolute to primo credere duces Gallorum … is then quite unclear, and the resulting idiom is not supported by the passages adduced by W–M ad loc. and on xxi. 1. 5. Three remedies have been proposed, and all are possible. The simplest is that of Walters, who placed a comma after hostis and apparatu and a full-stop after profuit; but he himself noted that even with this improved punctuation instructo … profuit largely duplicates information given in §§ 8–9. A little more point is given by Foster's instructo⟨s⟩, which he translated: 'The dictator himself, as soon as it was light, began to deploy his front along the lower slopes, on purpose to make the enemy take their stand facing the mountains, where the preparations had been made for inspiring them with a fear which, groundless though it was, yet served the Romans almost better than actual strength'; but the feeling persists that instructo (or instructos) … profuit would be better after § 8. Morstadt's transposition is undoubtedly bold and is not certain; but it gives admirable sense (instructo elegantly looking back to the previous sentence), and I have found it irresistible.1
1 For the converse opinion, however, see Winkler (1890–2) ii. 10.
2 Novák, ap. H. J. Müller (1884) 104, tried the more extensive supplement ⟨pollicitus in praetorium⟩ se recepit, which is not unattractive.
1 Walters suggested that moueri might be supported by passages like viii. 3. 3 'priusquam mouerentur Romani tolli ab tergo Samnitem hostem uolebant' and 35. 10 ' … ut, quotienscumque dictator ab exercitu recessisset, hostes in Samnio mouerentur'; but these mediopassive instances, which refer to a nation rousing itself to war, are somewhat different.
1 The possibility of transposing in this way also occurred to Walters (apparently independently); one might also place the problematic ablative absolute after ipse, but this is less elegant.