S. P. Oakley (ed.), A Commentary on Livy, Books VI–X, Vol. 2: Books VII–VIII
Link 1–36. 12. The dispute between Papirius Cursor and Fabius Rullianus
L.'s account of this dispute consists of six interlocking sections. The length of the tale, and the fact that it took place in two different locations (at the Roman camp near Imbrinium and at Rome), meant that he was not entirely able to effect the unity of time and place which he liked to give to his episodes; nevertheless, we should still note the care which he took over his transitions. In the first section (30. 1–13) the military situation is outlined: Papirius Cursor, forced to return to Rome to seek favourable auspices, had forbidden his magister equitum to undertake any military operations in his absence. Fabius, however, seized an opportunity to defeat the complacent Samnites. When Papirius learnt of this in Rome, he returned at once to the camp, full of anger. L. cunningly uses the litterae (30. 10) of Fabius smoothly to transfer our attention from the camp to Rome;1 then, after he has encompassed the scene at Rome in as brief a space as possible, the dictator's return is viewed from the perspective of Fabius and the troops (30. 11–13). In the second section (31. 1–32. 1) Fabius harangues his troops (in indirect speech) and urges them to protect him from the wrath of the dictator. In the third (32. 1–33. 2) the dictator arrives, calls an assembly, and challenges Fabius to explain his disobedience; his direct speech (32. 3–8) contrasts with the indirect speech given earlier to Fabius. When Fabius does not answer his questions directly, he orders the lictors to scourge him, but the young man escapes to the back of the contio. Tumult now breaks out everywhere, and the legates advise the dictator to abandon his wrath; he will not, and the fracas is stopped only by night. As both these scenes take place in castris they have a spatial unity, and by connecting them with the vague haud pg 705multo post L. effectively lets them run into each other; and the arrival of night at the end of the third scene very effectively marks the end of an act in the drama. In the fourth scene (33. 3–8) Fabius flees to Rome and, at the instigation of his father M. Ambustus, summons the senate; and, when Papirius arrives in the middle of the session and orders his magister equitum to be seized, his father exercises the right of prouocatio. L.'s concern for unity of composition is shown by the placing of the flight right at the beginning of the next day (33. 3) and by the masterly transitional period into which Papirius bursts as he comes into the senate (33. 4–5). With the appeal to the people the scene has to change again (but only from the curia to the comitium), and in the fifth section (33. 9–35. 9) M. Fabius criticizes the attitudes of Papirius before the people (without, however, touching the legal issue); but the dictator replies by stating that the whole future of military discipline is at stake and ends by turning on the tribunes, who had been supporting Fabius. At this point the young man, his father, the tribunes and the people all turn from argument to entreaty, thereby admitting the guilt of the magister equitum and the right of the dictator to punish him. Having made his point, Papirius relents, to universal rejoicing. The final section (35. 10–36. 12) stands somewhat apart from the rest of the episode, but presents an important coda. Fearful of the dictator, his legate, M. Valerius, allows some frumentatores to be killed rather than engage the enemy. This further alienates the troops from Papirius, and when he returns they do not fight effectively for him. He realizes that his demeanour must change, and his new kindness produces a major victory.
The episode balances the tale of the execution of the young Manlius (7. 1–22 n.), and central to both is the question of how military discipline should be enforced. These facts, together with several cross-references to the earlier tale (30. 13, 34. 2, 35. 9),1 invite us to compare and contrast the two stories. L. leaves us in no doubt that Fabius Rullianus was legally in the wrong: Rullianus is said to have been ferox and jealous of the dictator (30. 4); he deliberately snubs the dictator by failing to report his victory to him (30. 10); he falsely claims to have fought under his own auspices (31. 1); he fails to refute the accusations of Papirius (32. 9); he encourages sedition (31. 1–9, 32. 11–13); and, finally, all admit that the dictator was within his rights (35. 1–3). Moreover, the decrees of Roman dictators were (at least in L.'s view) absolute; the Romans pg 706believed that disciplina militaris was one of the corner-stones of their success (7. 16 n.); and Papirius gives a long and effective account of the dangers of indiscipline (34. 5–11). Thus, when L. writes (34. 1–2) 'stabat cum eo senatus maiestas, fauor populi, tribunicium auxilium, memoria absentis exercitus; ex parte altera imperium inuictum populi Romani et disciplina rei militaris et dictatoris edictum pro numine semper obseruatum et Manliana imperia et posthabita filii caritas publicae utilitati iactabantur', the weighting of the language leaves the reader in little doubt as to who was right on the substantive issue.
However, if the behaviour of Papirius Cursor was legally justified, that means neither that it was morally justified nor that the reader is expected to approve of it. When Papirius first returns to the camp he is said to praise the action of Manlius Torquatus; but L.'s readers have already learnt that Torquatus was a highly ambiguous figure, of whose actions the author does not wholly approve; and throughout most of the episode (at least until 34. 1, when he begins to give a more rational account of the dangers of indiscipline) the dictator is not portrayed in a good light. He leaves Rome without ensuring that the auspices are favourable (30. 1); he is angry (30. 10, 30. 12, 31. 2, 32. 10, 32. 14, 32. 17, 33. 19) and unable to control his temper (32. 10, 33. 1, 33. 3); he displays tristitia when others are happy (30. 11); he is violent (32. 10–11, 33. 5, 33. 19); he ignores the advice of his legates that Fabius has been punished enough, advice which is impartial and which readers are likely to regard as sensible (32. 14–33. 1); he persists doggedly in his desire for punishment, despite the disapproval of army, senate, and people (34. 1, 34. 4); and he wishes to appropriate all glory to himself—at least in the doubtless biased view of Fabius Rullianus (30. 4, 30. 9, 31. 4–5). By contrast, the magister equitum, though not free from faults (see above), is given a rather favourable portrayal: stress is laid throughout on his youth and inexperience (note adulescens/-entia at 30. 4, 32. 15, 35. 2, 35. 3), and on the victories which he had won (30. 5, 31. 8, 32. 15, 33. 20); there is the suggestion that he did not wish to let a good opportunity pass (§ 4); and the legates term him unicus iuuenis (32. 15).
In a riposte to M. Fabius, who contrasts the moderatio of earlier dictators with the superbia and crudelitas of recent ones (33. 13), Papirius compares the behaviour of indulgent fathers of their own day, such as Fabius himself, with the behaviour of Manlius and L. Junius Brutus (34. 2); and towards the end of the episode he remarks that Fabius would have acted in the same way if he had pg 707been dictator when his son had broken his orders (35. 6). And yet, when his opponents recognize the importance of military discipline and admit the wrong of the magister equitum, Papirius does at last relent; and the joy of the senate and people shows the rightness of his decision. The moral of the tale is that military discipline can be upheld without resort to needless brutality; and at this point the contrast with the imperia Manliana becomes particularly pertinent: (35. 9) 'firmatum … imperium militare haud minus periculo Q. Fabi quam supplicio miserabili adulescentis Manli uidebatur'.
This, however, is not the end of the tale, and in his final section L. makes another moral point. Papirius had criticized Fabius Ambustus for comitas (34. 3), but finds that his own astuteness as a commander is impeded by the failure of his troops to fight properly for him because of his own seueritas (36. 4). Thus, in a moment of peripeteia, he is forced to recognize that there are times when comitas is desirable, and that his natural seueritas should always be tempered by it (36. 5). He proceeds to perform an action that may be described as popularis (36. 7) and to promise to his troops the possession of all the booty which they might obtain. The result of this is a crushing victory: (§ 8) 'refecto exercitu cum hoste congressus haud dubia spe sua militumque ita fudit fugauitque Samnites ut ille ultimus eis dies conferendi signa cum dictatore fuerit'. The brevity of this description of the battle is doubtless due to L.'s primary interest being with the moral point.
For L.'s literary techniques in this episode, see further Lipovsky (1981) 115–30.
Link 30. 1. in Samnium: these two words serve as a heading which announces the move to the other theatre of war.
Link incertis … auspiciis: in other words the army had set out without its being clear whether or not the auspices were favourable. This coupling seems to be found only here and at 32. 4 and 7 [x]; cf. also 32. 4 'dubiis dis' and 34. 4 'dubiis auspiciis'.
Link non in belli euentum: which is what one might have expected; see most famously in L. the Allia (v. 38. 1) and Trasimene (xxi. 63. 1–xxii. 7. 5). This traditional belief is discussed from different standpoints at Cic. diu. i. 28–29 and ii. 71. This phrase picks up 29. 10, from the introduction to the tale.
Link rabiem atque iras: see vi. 33. 4 n.
2. pullario: the sacred hens (see vi. 41. 8 n.) provided the most convenient method of taking the auspices on campaign (see e.g. xxii. 42. 8, Sil. v. 59–62, Fest. 498, schol. Ver. ad Virg. Aen. x. 241). The hens were looked after by pullarii (see e.g. CIL vi. 1008, 1897, 2198–2200), and each army had these officials attached to it (see e.g. ix. 14. 4, x. 40. 2–14, xli. 18. 14, and Val. Max. vii. 2. 5). See further Valeton (1890) 409.
ad auspicium repetendum Romam proficisceretur: cf. x. 3. 6 'cum dictator auspiciorum repetendorum causa profectus Romam esset', xxiii. 19. 3 'dictatore auspiciorum repetendorum causa profecto Romam', Val. Max. iii. 2. 9, and [Frontin.] strat. iv. 1. 31. auspicia repetere is the technical term for further consultation of the auspices; cf., in addition to the passages quoted, e.g. 32. 4, ix. 39. 1, xxiii. 36. 10, Val. Max. ii. 7. 4, and Tac. ann. iii. 19. 3. Why Papirius Cursor left Rome without favourable auspicia is unclear, but perhaps we are to imagine him thinking that no delay was desirable in the campaign against the Samnites. The expression should probably be distinguished from auspicia renouare, which is generally used in the context of the more serious breakdown in communication with the divine associated with disasters, the early departure of magistrates from office, and interregna (vi. 1. 5 n.), for all that at v. 17. 3 L. himself uses auspicia repetere in the context of the early departure of magistrates from their office.
Note that the absence of the commanding officer also leads to trouble at x. 3. 6 and [Frontin.] loc. cit. (in each case a Roman defeat).
3–7. Being more interested in its aftermath, L. makes his account of the battle of Imbrinium brief, and limits himself to one interesting detail, the decision of L. Cominius to take the bridles off the horses. Nor does he attempt to convey much excitement through his sentence-structure, though we may note short sentences (each with anaphora) in both § 5 and § 6 ('non … defuit' and 'per … dedere').
per exploratores: quite a common detail in L.'s reconstruction of early Roman campaigning; cf. ix. 45. 17 'post per exploratores compertis hostium consiliis', x. 17. 1 'ubi comperit per exploratores profectum Samnitium exercitum', xxv. 15. 11 'peditum tantum pg 709agmine per exploratores comperto' (note also the regular coupling with comperio); also vii. 36. 11 and xxii. 15. 3. The importance of the use of scouts is quite often emphasized in our sources—for instance, in training manuals (e.g. Xen. hipparch. 4. 5, Onas. 6. 7, 7. 1, and Veg. mil. iii. 21. 3), or in Suetonius' description of Julius Caesar's qualities as an 'ideal' general (Iul. 58. 1). Failure to use them led to disaster in the Caudine Forks (ix. 5. 7), and nearly to disaster at vi. 30. 4 and at Saticula (vii. 34. 1–2, with which contrast 36. 11). See further Austin and Rankov (1995) index s.u. exploratores.
4. seu ferox adulescens indignitate accensus quod omnia in dictatore uiderentur reposita esse seu occasione bene gerendae rei inductus: the weighting of L.'s language suggests that he favoured the first alternative; for the technique see 7. 8 n.
For ferox see vi. 23. 3 n.; this story provides a particularly good example of how a uir ferox is likely to behave both bravely and rashly.
ita uocant locum: for precisely parallel comments on places with obscure or surprising names, cf. e.g. xxx. 8. 3 'Magnos—ita uocant—campos' and xxxii. 13. 2 'rex … ad castra Pyrrhi peruenit; locus, quem ita uocant, est in Triphylia terrae Molottidis'. L. quite often accompanies the introduction of a precise and rather recherché topographical reference with a parenthetic clause; the technique (which normally involves appellant or uocant) becomes markedly more common in the later books, when he reports detailed information concerning the Greek world; see e.g. vi. 2. 8 'ad Mecium is locus dicitur', ix. 41. 15 'plaga una—Materinam ipsi appellant—', xxxii. 5. 9, 13. 10, xxxiii. 35. 8, xxxvi. 22. 8, xxxvii. 27. 9, and xliv. 2. 11. Similarly, L. glossed Greek words and Greek customs in this way; cf. e.g. xxxi. 36. 1 and some of the passages cited at ix. 19. 7 n.
ut nihil relictum sit quo, si adfuisset dictator, res melius geri potuerit: for the general sense, cf. iii. 9. 6 '(praefectus urbis) … adeo atrociter in rogationem latoremque ipsum est inuectus ut nihil, si ambo consules infesti circumstarent tribunum, relictum minarum atque terroris sit'. res melius geri echoes occasione bene gerendae rei in § 4.
non dux militi, non miles duci defuit: for a similar, but more complex, formulation cf. vi. 12. 11 'nec dux legiones nec fortuna fefellit ducem' (n.); note also vi. 24. 8 'neque alter tribunus rei defuit' and esp. Curt. iii. 3. 28 'ergo Alexandro in acie miles non defuit'.
6. L. Cominio: (7). Otherwise unknown. The only Cominius mentioned in our sources for earlier Roman history is Pontius Cominius, whose role during the Gallic siege of the Capitol is variously described (see e.g. v. 46. 8–10, D.S. xiv. 116. 3–4).
impetu capto: impetum capere means 'to (make a) charge'; it is a stronger expression than impetum facere, suggesting that some effort was required to do this. Cf. e.g. ii. 65. 5, x. 5. 6 'iam tamen ad impetum capiundum … modicum erat spatium', xxii. 5. 6, and Plin. nat. ix. 91.
detraxit frenos equis: for this τόπος of annalistic battle narrative, cf. e.g. iv. 33. 7 (where see Ogilvie's note, with his addendum on p. 785), D.H. ix. 65. 4, Frontin. strat. ii. 8. 10, Flor. i. 5(11). 3; and esp. xl. 40. 5–6 'id cum maiore ui equorum facietis, si effrenatos in eos equos immittitis; quod saepe Romanos equites cum magna laude fecisse sua memoriae proditum est'. It thus seems likely that on occasions Roman cavalry really did fight in this way; at the very least this last passage suggests that this was believed to have been the case in the second century. However, that an authentic record survived of tactics used in early battles such as that at Imbrinium seems most unlikely.
permisit: permittere is found quite often of horses or cavalry in the sense 'to cause or allow to travel over a distance' (OLD s.u. 1a [a full collection of examples]). Cf. e.g. iii. 61. 9 'concitant equos permittuntque in hostem', 70. 9 'permissus equitatus turbauerat ordines', ix. 22. 7 'in quem … magister equitum Romanus infesta cuspide ita permisit equum, ut uno ictu exanimem equo praecipitaret', x. 5. 6, xxix. 2. 8, xxx. 11. 9, and Sisenna hist. 32.
apud antiquissimos auctores: almost certainly a reference to Fabius Pictor (see § 9) and perhaps to Fabius alone. L. was well aware that the antiquity of an author added weight to his testimony, and in references to Pictor he often notes the early date at which he was writing (see vol. i, p. 17–18); but he does not always choose to follow his earliest sources (see e.g. iv. 7. 10).
8. ut ex: 'as one would expect from'; cf. x. 41. 9 'ad nutum omnia, ut ex ante praeparato, fiunt', xxvii. 47. 2, and OLD s.u. ut 21. The analogous use of ut in the sense 'taking into account the fact that' should be distinguished; for this, see e.g. x. 43. 15 'alio agmine incolumi, ut ex tanta trepidatione, Bouianum peruentum est', xxiii. 18. 6, and OLD 22.
8–9. congesta in ingentem aceruum hostilia arma subdito igne concremauit, seu uotum id deorum cuipiam fuit seu credere libet Fabio auctori … ferret: L. does not state which of these interpretations he regards as correct, but by giving more space to that of Fabius Pictor (for the technique, see 7. 8 n.), and by making the actions of Papirius Cursor confirm this interpretation (§ 10 n.), he makes his preference clear; yet if there is any truth in the story that Fabius burnt the spolia, it is likely to have been for religious reasons; for discussion and a list of the gods to whom spoil was burnt, see 1. 6 n. For concremauit, see vi. 33. 4 n.
9. credere libet: cf. esp. xxxix. 41. 6 'si Antiati Valerio credere libet, ad duo milia hominum damnauit'; also iv. 29. 6 'nec libet credere' (concerning the story that A. Postumius killed his own son), v. 34. 6 'nisi de Hercule fabulis credere libet', and 46. 11 'missique Ardeam legati ad Camillum Veios eum perduxere, seu, quod magis credere libet, non prius profectum Ardea quam compererit legem latam'.
Fabio auctori: the first reference in books vi–x to Fabius Pictor, who owed his cognomen to an ancestor who painted the murals in the temple of Salus, which was dedicated by C. Iunius Brutus Bubulcus in 302/1 (x. 1. 9 [n.]); see esp. Plin. nat. xxxv. 19 'apud Romanos quoque honos mature huic arti contigit, siquidem cognomina ex ea Pictorum traxerunt Fabii clarissimae gentis, princepsque eius cognominis ipse aedem Salutis pinxit anno urbis conditae ccccl, quae pg 712Editor’s Notepictura durauerit ad nostram memoriam aede ea Claudi principatu exusta'; also Cic. Tusc. i. 4 and Val. Max. viii. 14. 6. Pictor was a senator (Plb. iii. 9. 4); he fought in the Gallic campaign of 225 (fr. 23 = Oros. iv. 13. 4–5) and in at least one of the Ligurian Wars of the 230s and 220s (fr. 24 = Plin. nat. x. 71); and in 216, in the aftermath of Cannae, he was sent by the senate to consult the Delphic oracle as to how Rome might propitiate the gods (xxii. 57. 5, xxiii. 11. 1–6, Plut. Fab. 18. 3, App. Han. 116). As he fought in the Gallic War of 225, and was presumably a senator by 216, 241 is a terminus ante quem for his birth; but he is quite likely to have been born several years earlier (see vol. i, p. 22). Pictor is most famous as the author of the first history of Rome, which he wrote in Greek (Cic. diu. i. 43, D.H. i. 6. 2), perhaps c.210 bc (see e.g. Frier  236–46, who, however, admits that the evidence is far from conclusive). D.H. (i. 6. 2) states that Pictor covered his own day more expansively, the earlier period only briefly; but, since fourteen of the twenty-eight surviving fragments relate to the regal period, it is clear that he also covered this first period in some detail. This pattern is found also in the fragments of the annales of Ennius, and, as Momigliano has noted, is characteristic of the Greek historiography upon which Pictor modelled his work. The surviving fragments do not allow us to be certain whether or not he adopted the annalistic format; but the fact that this format was so popular amongst his successors (including Ennius), and that most Greek historians wrote annalistically rather than thematically, makes this very likely (for a brief and firm statement of the view that Pictor was an annalist, see Walbank  15–18 =  94–8). Among the large bibliography on Pictor note e.g. Peter (1906–14) i, pp. lxix–c (for a discussion of the basic facts, to which one should now add the Tauromenium dipinto, published by Manganaro [1974: esp. 394–7]), 5–39 (for the fragments), Momigliano (1960) = (1966) 55–68, (1990) 88–108 (an imaginative reconstruction of Pictor's intellectual world), Alföldi (1965) index s.u. Fabius Pictor (for the implausible hypothesis that Pictor invented much of what passed into the historical tradition concerning early Rome), Timpe (1972), and Frier (1979) 227–84.
nomenque ibi scriberet: the desire to glorify and perpetuate one's nomen was a characteristic aspect of the Roman concern for dignitas (for diverse examples see e.g. Cic. IIVerr. v. 180, Arch. 26, off. ii. 76, Tusc. i. 34, Hor. carm. iii. 30. 6–16, Prop. iii. 1. 24, 2. 25, and Ov. met. xv. 876); and it was this that was to make what modern scholars term damnatio memoriae (for which see Mommsen [1887–8] pg 713iii. 1190–1) so popular a posthumous punishment.1 In particular, a successful Roman general might advertise himself by dedicating spoil with an inscription attached (see vi. 4. 2–3 n.), or converting the booty into money and paying for some public building (see e.g. ix. 40. 16, Cic. IIVerr. i. 154, Arch. 27, dom. 102, Suet. Tib. 20, ILLRP 429, 431, Shatzman  esp. 203–4, and Eck  esp. 131–2, 140–2, and 159–60). For specific allusions to the displaying of nomina on such works, cf. e.g. vi. 4. 3, Prop. ii. 14. 26, Tac. hist. iii. 72. 3 'Lutatii Catuli nomen inter tanta Caesarum opera usque ad Vitellium mansit', and SHA i. 19. 11.
Further testimony to the value placed on display of one's family nomen is Cicero's remark that one should ensure that the monuments of one's ancestors are not adorned with the nomina of others (IIVerr. iv. 79). This was a very real hazard in Rome (see Wiseman  99 =  47), and is illustrated best by the senatorial decree which allowed Caesar to inscribe his name on the Capitol in place of that of his enemy Catulus (Dio xliii. 14. 6). Compare also the adverse comments of our (doubtless biased) sources on Augustus (Dio liv. 23. 6), Nero (Suet. Nero 55), Domitian (Suet. Dom. 5), Trajan (Amm. xxvii. 3. 7, [Aur. Vict.] epit. 41. 13 'hic [sc. Constantinus] Traianum herbam parietariam ob titulos multis aedibus inscriptos appellare solitus erat'), Commodus (SHA vii. 17. 5–6; cf. §§ 8–10), and the prefect Lampadius (Amm. xxvii. 3. 7 'per omnia enim ciuitatis membra, quae diuersorum principum exornarunt impensae, nomen proprium inscribebat, non ut ueterum instaurator, sed conditor').
Thus on another occasion Caesar could be praised for leaving for others some building works upon which their nomina might be displayed (Dio xliii. 49. 2), and Augustus could boast that he did not take every opportunity to publicize his nomen (res gest. 19. 1, 20. 1 'Capitolium et Pompeium theatrum utrumque opus impensa grandi refeci sine ulla inscriptione nominis mei'; cf. Suet. Aug. 29. 4 'quaedam etiam opera sub nomine alieno, nepotum scilicet et uxoris sororisque fecit'). These boasts of Augustus introduced what was to become a touchstone for good imperial behaviour: we may compare the alleged practices of Tiberius (Vell. ii. 130. 1 [with Woodman's note], Tac. ann. iii. 72. 2, Dio lvii. 10. 1–2; cf. Suet. Tib. 20, Dio lv. 27. 4, lvi. 25. 1), Hadrian (SHA i. 19. 9–10 'cum opera ubique infinita fecisset, numquam ipse nisi in Traiani patris templo nomen suum scripsit. Romae instaurauit Pantheum, saepta, pg 714basilicam Neptuni, sacras aedes plurimas, forum Augusti, lauacrum Agrippae, eaque omnia propriis auctorum nominibus consecrauit'),1 and Septimius Severus (SHA x. 23. 1 'Romae omnes aedes publicas, quae uitio temporum labebantur, instaurauit nusquam prope suo nomine adscripto'). The passages cited in the previous paragraph provide examples of the test being failed (note the differing views of the activity of Augustus). The restraint of Augustus and Tiberius in this matter contrasts with the behaviour of Republican nobiles (such as that alleged for Fabius Rullianus in our passage), and illustrates that the nature of politics had changed: so absolute was the domination of these men that they did not need to take every opportunity for self-advertisement. See further Eck (1984) 131–2.
A dictator had the right to spolia gained by troops fighting under his auspices, and thus Papirius Cursor would have been able to display his nomen on any dedication of them. Even if Fabius Pictor misunderstood the events at Imbrinium, this passage shows that already in his day there was rivalry over aristocratic self-advertisement. [See also Addendum, p. 781.]
10. litterae: litterae laureatae were the traditional way in which a general requesting a supplicatio (33. 20 nn.) communicated his victory to the senate and people, esp. in the second and first centuries; for the phenomenon cf. v. 28. 13, vi. 22. 3, x. 21. 5, 44. 9, 45. 1, xxxii. 31. 6, xxxiii. 24. 4, 37. 9, xli. 12. 4, xlv. 1. 6, Cic. Pis. 39, prou. cons. 27, Phil. xiv. 11, Caes. Gall. ii. 35. 4, iv. 38. 5, vii. 90. 8, and see von Premerstein, RE xii. 1014 and Halkin (1953) 17–18. The supplicatio was not voted before arrival of the official letter, and in some circumstances might not be granted (see xxxv. 8. 1–9 [an amusing instance], Cic. prou. cons. 25). Our passage and v. 28. 13 are likely to be instances of Livian or annalistic reconstruction; those from book x may be authentic. For the procedure by which letters from commanders were read out, see x. 45. 1 n.
argumentum fuere: this use of the nominative instead of the predicative dative was rather affected by L.; cf. iii. 55. 9 'aedilem prendi … argumentum esse non haberi pro sacrosancto aedilem', xxxiv. 50. 6; also e.g. iv. 37. 9, xxi. 19. 10. See further K–S i. 345.
prae se ferret iram tristitiamque: prae se ferre means 'to display openly' (cf. e.g. Cic. Mur. 31 and Mil. 52); it is an idiom used often pg 715to refer to a person's demeanour (cf. e.g. xxvii. 34. 5 'prae se ferens in uoltu habituque insignem memoriam ignominiae acceptae' and Val. Max. ii. 6. 14), and this nuance may be present here. tristitia obviously contrasts with laetis; but the word must imply cruelty, bitterness, and old-fashioned severity, as well as sorrow; see 7. 17 n. iram tristitiamque are given emphasis by their final position after the verb ferret.
11–12. itaque … itaque: for the iteration see vol. i, pp. 725–7. pace W–M the second itaque refers back to § 11 as well as to iram tristitiamque in § 10: minarum iraeque picks up the threats and anger inherent in tum uero … imperium fuisset.
maximis itineribus: in military contexts iter regularly means 'march' or 'a day's march', and is found very often in the ablative plural. magnis itineribus ('with a series of long marches') is particularly common (see e.g. ix. 23. 2, 41. 10, 41. 13, x. 20. 2); but we also find e.g. maximis itineribus (with our passage cf. e.g. xxvii. 43. 12 and xxviii. 1. 6), paruis itineribus (e.g. xlii. 55. 2 and xliv. 27. 9), and modicis itineribus (e.g. xxx. 12. 7, xxxii. 14. 7). See further TLL vii. 2. 540. 29–46.
non tamen praeuenire famam aduentus sui potuit: cf. e.g. xxiv. 21. 5 'ceterum praeuenerat non fama solum, qua nihil in talibus rebus est celerius, sed nuntius etiam'; contrast xxvii. 1. 6 'exercitu expedito ita ut famam prope praeueniret magnis itineribus ad Herdoneam contendit', xxviii. 1. 6 'tamen non solum nuntios sed etiam famam aduentus sui praegressus', Caes. Gall. vi. 30. 2, and Suet. Iul. 57. Similar ideas are found at e.g. xxv. 39. 7, xxviii. 20. 9, [Caes.] Afr. 87. 2, and Tac. ann. ii. 39. 4.
13. praecurrerant is the reading of M and Π, and is therefore likely to have stood in N. Λ read praecucurrerant, and this was accepted by Walters; but though reduplicated forms of currere were obviously prone to corruption through haplography, there is no reason to believe that L. could not have written praecurrerant: the evidence assembled at Neue and Wagener (1892–1905) iii. 353–61 shows that both forms were acceptable in the Augustan period. At xl. 7. 7 the mss are divided between praecucurrit and praecurrit pg 716(which could be an historic present); but even if the reduplicated form is correct there, L. need not have been consistent.
The use of praecurrere here, and of incurrere at 31. 7, may perhaps constitute a pun on the name of Papirius Cursor (note also his swift exit from the senate at 30. 11 and return to it at 33. 4); for the technique (which is common), see Woodman and Martin on Tac. ann. iii. 75. 1, to whose examples add xxviii. 43. 6 'maximo cuique id accidere' (in a speech addressed primarily to Fabius Maximus Verrucosus), Virg. georg. iv. 563–4 'illo Vergilium me tempore dulcis alebat | Parthenope studiis florentem ignobilis oti' (Vergilium, suggestive of uirgo, is picked up by Parthenope), and several instances from Argentarius noted by Nisbet (1978: 7 = 1995: 39).
alternis paene uerbis: alternis uerbis must here be equivalent to the English idiom 'with every other word', but parallels for the usage are not easily found. At Stat. Theb. xii. 461 'nusquam illa alternis modo quae reuerentia uerbis' alternis probably means 'of each'. At [Quint.] decl. min. 362. 2 'cum alternis uerbis iactarentur minae' (a dispute between youths) it is also quite likely to have this meaning, although the sense required in our passage is perhaps possible.
1 For such transitions see vol. i, p. 126.
1 For the erasure from monuments of the names of those whose memory was damned, note e.g. SHA xix. 26. 3 and xx. 9. 3.
1 But cf. SHA i. 20. 4–5.