S. P. Oakley (ed.), A Commentary on Livy, Books VI–X, Vol. 2: Books VII–VIII
lacrimis non minus quam laudibus debitis prosecutus: cf. e.g. Tac. ann. iv. 38. 3 'cum laude et bonis recordationibus facta atque famam nominis mei prosequantur' and CIL iii. 13529. 10 'et lacrimis prosequor uerba'.
pellerent ui tamen: Madvig (1860: 163 = 1877: 192) made the following objections to the paradosis: (i) that ui (for which M has the nonsensical ut)1 is otiose in a description of a battle; (ii) that tamen has nothing with which to contrast; and (iii) that tamen is not possible in third position in tali asyndeto. He therefore proposed pellerentque tandem. Alternatively, Walters deleted ui, which removes objections (i) and (iii) and makes the sentence easier to read. However, (i) ui is often somewhat otiose in battle narratives (cf. expressions such as ui capere and L.'s redundant use of hostiliter, for which see Briscoe on xxxvi. 20. 1), and here we may compare vii. 33. 8 'quando ui pelli non poterant'; (ii) the contrast is as follows: 'although they made their weapons blunt in the process, they still managed to drive back the enemy'; and (iii) ui and pellerent go so closely together that tamen naturally falls into third position. The paradosis is undeniably somewhat awkward, but there is probably no need to emend.
4. memores patriae parentumque et coniugum ac liberorum: for this exhortatory τόπος, cf. e.g. xxi. 41. 16 'unusquisquis se non corpus suum sed coniugem ac liberos paruos armis protegere putet', xxxix. 15. 14, Hom. Il. xv. 662–3, Virg. Aen. x. 280–1 'nunc coniugis esto │ quisque suae tectique memor' (with Harrison's note), Tac. Agr. 32. 2, and hist. v. 17. 2 (with Heubner's note). See also vii. 11. 6, ix. 12. 6 nn.
morte occubantis: for occubare in the sense 'lie dead', cf. [*] Virg. Aen. i. 547, v. 371, x. 706, Val. Fl. iii. 111, and Stat. Theb. ii. 574; with our passage compare in particular Sen. Phaed. 997 'Hippolytus … flebili leto occubat'. L.'s coupling of the verb with morte was doubtless encouraged by the common morte occumbere (see e.g. xxix. 18. 6); as the distribution of occubo shows, it must have been poetical for him.1 The sense 'to lie against' is attested once for this verb, at Plaut. Mil. 212. See further TLL ix. 360. 62–81.
6. ora fodientes: for this coupling, cf. Curt. iv. 15. 31, Mart. vi. 74. 3, Tac. Agr. 36. 2 (with Gesner's conjecture, for which see Ogilvie and Richmond's note), and ann. ii. 21. 1. Though fodio is used to describe the piercing of human or animal bodies as early as Plautus (e.g. Aul. 418), this figurative sense becomes common only in the historians (note also [x] xxi. 55. 11, Curt. iv. 15. 31, v. 4. 32, ix. 1. 16, Tac. hist. i. 79. 4, iv. 29. 3, v. 18. 1) and the epic and tragedy of the first century ad (from some sixteen instances, note e.g. Sen. Oed. 957, Luc. iv. 511, Stat. Theb. iv. 631, and Sil. iv. 198). The usage was certainly choice and may have been somewhat poetical, but it should be noted that (i) there is only one instance in Virgil (Aen. vi. 881), and (ii) outside the historians and epic, stabbings of this kind are not likely to be attested often. See further TLL vi. 1. 993. 67–994. 15.
tantaque caede perrupere cuneos: for the notion of breaking through the cuneus (for which see vii. 24. 7 n.) with slaughter, cf. the analogous idea at xxxii. 17. 11 'cohortes … quae cuneum Macedonum … ui perrumperent'.
7. inter omnes ciues sociosque praecipua laus eius belli penes consules fuit: cf. i. 37. 3 'eo proelio praecipua equitum gloria fuit' and xxxviii. 53. 11 'Punici tamen belli perpetrati … unus (sc. Scipio Africanus) praecipuam gloriam tulit'. For the coupling of praecipuus with inter omnes, cf. Val. Max. vi. 5. praef. 'eius autem praecipuum et certissimum inter omnes gentes nostra ciuitas exemplum est', Curt. vii. 5. 19, Plin. nat. xi. 11, and see TLL x. 2. 474. 45–51.
minas periculaque: for the coupling cf. xxxix. 10. 2, Cic. Quinct. 47, and IIVerr. ii. 156; but the combination of minae with terrores is very much more common. See further Landgraf on Cic. Sex. Rosc. 31.
Romanos Latinosque: probably not so much a reference to historians (presumably the Latin towns produced their own local historians, though we may doubt that L. had read them), as to those who fought in the battle and whose testimony served as the basis for legend.
Minturnas: the Auruncan town of Minturnae (modern Minturno) lay close to the coast of the Golfo di Gaeta, some thirteen kilometres east of Formiae. This is its first appearance in our sources; we next meet it at ix. 25. 4, when L. describes the final subjugation of the Aurunci in 314; then at x. 21. 8, when he describes the foundation of a Roman colony there in 295. The Roman site has been extensively excavated, but no Auruncan structures or finds have emerged (see Johnson  147), and we must presume that Auruncan Minturnae lay elsewhere. On the identification of this Auruncan site, Coarelli (1993: 19) well remarks: 'credo che l'ipotesi meno fantasiosa sia identificarli con la Traetto medioevale, cioè l'attuale Minturno'. See further Nissen (1883–1902) ii. 662–3, Philipp, RE xv. 1935–6, Johnson (1933–5), Frier (1969), Arthur (1991) 37–8, and Coarelli (1991).
L. introduces this passage as an appendage to his account of the Veseris and as something of a digression; note the scholarly and somewhat apologetic tone of § 11 'illud adiciendum uidetur' and 11. 1 'haud ab re duxi'. He tells us (11. 1) that he is reporting the traditional words used in prescribing the rituals, and hence his pg 501language is appropriately legalistic; see § 12 'probe factum', 'uideri', 'ni' nn.
We are told that it was permissible for a commander to devote from the army someone other than himself. However, if this man was not killed by the enemy, then the deuotio was unsuccessful; but a vow had been made to the gods of the underworld, and another method of payment had to be found. Consequently a colossal statue was buried as a substitute representation of how the devoted man would have looked had he died (for κολοσσοί as doubles, substitutes, and images of the dead, see Vernant  303–20); and Versnel may have been correct to argue that the size of the statue reflects the view that the dead are large in size (note that at 9. 10 Decius is 'aliquanto augustior humano uisu'; in general on ghosts and visions of abnormal size, see 6. 9 n.). The magistrate (and not, it seems, the surviving legionary, presumably because the legionary had been no more than a substitute for the magistrate who had made the vow) was banned from treading on the grave. If, on the other hand, a magistrate devoted himself and did not die, then it would appear that no colossal statue was buried; the magistrate, however, was sacer, and thus banned from any private or public religious ceremonies.
The historical status of this antiquarian information is unclear. If there were many more Decian style deuotiones in Roman history than we now know about, then these rituals may really have been practised; and it may well have been the case that it was not always thought prudent for magistrates to devote themselves and that legionaries took their place. Such deuotiones, however, are not very likely to have been performed after c.300, or we would read about them in our sources; and, if they pre-dated that year, then one might wonder how accurate information about them was transmitted to the late Republic and to L. Alternatively, some have defended this passage by arguing that it reflects the rituals performed in the aftermath of the unsuccessful deuotio at Ausculum (thus e.g. Holland  245 n. 15 and Skutsch on Enn. ann. 191–3; for Ausculum see above, pp. 477–80); but most of what L. says relates to the failure of a substitute legionary to die, and that has nothing to do with what happened at Ausculum (see Cavallaro  282). There is thus the strong possibility that they are no more than the figment of antiquarian imaginations.
In general, see Versnel (1981) 157–9.
11. consuli dictatorique et praetori: i.e. a magistrate with pg 502imperium. Note the precision of L.'s language; he is more explicit and accurate than Macr. Sat. iii. 9. 9 'dictatores imperatoresque'.
non utique: 'not necessarily'; cf. xxiv. 28. 7 'Carthaginiensibus ita pax negari possit, ut non utique in praesentia bellum cum eis geratur' and see OLD s.u. utique 3b. W–M cite xxxix. 54. 12, the only other instance of the combination in L., but there the meaning seems to be 'not in any case'.
ex legione Romana scripta: again we may note the precision of L.'s language: Romana makes a contrast with the troops of Rome's allies: a substitute must come from the troops of Rome herself (for this contrast, cf. xxxvii. 2. 4 'duae legiones Romanae et socium Latini nominis quindecim milia peditum equites sescenti', 39. 7 etc.); and scripta implies a contrast with those who had not been properly enrolled into the legions by means of the sacramentum (for Roman scruples about this, see the interpolated passage at [Cic.] off. i. 36; for scribere of enlisting troops, see OLD s.u. 7b).
12. probe factum: probe is commonly found in colloquial Latin as an equivalent for bene (note that Cicero uses the adverb twice in his speeches, but a dozen times in his letters), and L. himself uses it with nosco (ix. 36. 3 n.) and scio (ix. 43. 19 n.). Here, however, the tone is formal and dignified, and the adverb means 'properly' or even 'ritually correct'; cf. probe alone at Ulp. dig. xxxviii. 1. 7. 3 and, esp., probe factum at Liv. xxii. 10. 4–6 'qui faciet, quando uolet quaque lege uolet facito; quo modo faxit probe factum esto. si id moritur quod fieri oportebit, profanum esto, neque scelus esto. si quis rumpet occidetue insciens, ne fraus esto. si quis clepsit, ne populo scelus esto neue cui cleptum erit. si atro die faxit insciens, probe factum esto. si nocte siue luce, si seruus siue liber faxit, probe factum esto'. Parallels for this usage are not easily found [x], but cf. x. 9. 5 'improbe factum' (in a quotation from the lex Valeria) and Asc. in Corn. p. 48 'quod cum improbe fieri C. Piso consul uehementer quereretur'.1
uideri is well glossed 'to appear after due consideration, or sim., be deemed' at OLD s.u. 22; and this usage is found particularly in formal and legal contexts. Instances in L. include 15. 6 'cum augures uitio creatum uideri dixissent', 23. 14 (n.), 32. 18, xxiii. 31. 13, xxx. 42. 9, xxxviii. 44. 6, and xxxix. 4. 9.
ni is quite regularly used for si non in formal and legal style; cf. e.g. i. 22. 6 'ni reddantur bellum indicere iussos', ii. 26. 4 'legati Aurunci senatum adeunt, ni decedatur Volsco agro bellum indicentes', xxxii. pg 50333. 2, lex XII tab. i. 1 (Riccobono  26 = Crawford  578), viii. 2 (Riccobono  53) = i. 13 (Crawford  605), and Cic. leg. iii. 9. See further W–M on i. 22. 6, K–S ii. 421–2, and H–S 667–8.
signum septem pedes altum aut maius in terram defodi: not 'then an image of him is buried seven feet or more underground' (Foster), but 'then an image of him which is seven feet tall or more is buried underground'; see Holland (1956) 245 n. 15.
Holland (1956) and Boethius (1956) argued that the statue of a warrior found near the Vestinian village of Capestrano, and now to be seen in the Chieti museum, is an example of such a burial; they noted that it is about seven Roman feet high and seems to represent a dead man. This thesis is possible, but cannot be regarded as established, since (i) the ritual of deuotio is not explicitly attested for any of the Italic tribes; (ii) the Capestrano warrior dates from the sixth century, that is some two hundred years before the Veseris; and (iii) a female statue was found in the vicinity. For judicious discussion, see Cavallaro (1976) 280–5 and B–G, pp. lxxxii–vii (with illustration of the Capestrano warrior at plates 3–4).1
piaculum hostia⟨m⟩ caedi: N has piaculum hostia caedi, which was adopted by e.g. W–M and B–G. If the text is sound, then hostia must be in the ablative, and we should have to translate 'an expiatory offering was slain by means of a sacrificial victim'; but this is absurdly contorted (in § 10 'suouetaurilibus piaculum fieri' fieri makes all the difference). Walters deleted hostia, and this may be right, but it is more economical to adopt hostia⟨m⟩ with U and e.g. Luterbacher. Translate 'a sacrificial victim is slain as an expiatory offering'.
escendere is rather odd, and in elucidation of it I can do no better than repeat the comment made at TLL v. 2. 857. 7–8 'aut fodiendo tumulus fit, in quem eum -ere nefas est, aut -ere hic idem fere ualet atque "ingredi"' (cf. Gell. x. 15. 24 '[flamen Dialis] locum in quo bustum est numquam ingreditur')'.
13. sin autem sese deuouere uolet, sicuti Decius deuouit, ni moritur, neque suum neque publicum diuinum pure faciet, siue hostia siue quo alio uolet. qui sese deuouerit, Volcano arma siue cui alii diuo uouere uolet ius est: this, the reading of all recent editions, is due to the splendid transposition of Madvig pg 504(1860: 163–4 = 1877: 193–4), which removed the ugly repetitions in N: sin autem sese deuouere uolet, sicuti Decius deuouit, ni moritur, neque suum neque publicum diuinum pure faciet, qui sese deuouerit. Vulcano arma siue cui alii diuo uouere uolet, siue hostia siue quo alio uolet, ius est.1
neque suum neque publicum diuinum … faciet: for substantivized neuter adjectives being qualified by another adjective, cf. xxiii. 19. 14 'herbidi terreni' (with the note of W–M), Cic. Cat. mai. 72 'illud breue uitae reliquum', and Virg. georg. iii. 124 'denso pingui'. See further ix. 38. 11 n., W–M on ii. 1. 3, and K–S i. 229.
The expression res diuinae is found regularly in the sense res sacrae, and rem diuinam facere is a very common equivalent of sacrificare. Our expression is a variant on this (though the use of the substantivized diuinum for res sacra seems to be rare: only Hor. serm. i. 6. 114, Vell. ii. 124. 3 [where, however, one should probably supply honoribus with diuinis from earlier in the sentence], and Val. Max. ii. 1. 2 are listed at TLL v. 1. 1626. 16–19).
Vulcano arma siue cui alii diuo uouere uolet: the context suggests that the armour is that of the devoted man rather than that of the enemy; we may presume that dedication to Vulcan involved burning, for which see 1. 6 n.
suouetaurilibus: the suouetaurilia or solitaurilia was a triple sacrifice of a boar, ram, and bull to Mars; no other deity was honoured in this way. It was performed as part of the lustratio of e.g. the centuries on the campus Martius (i. 44. 2, Varr. rust. ii. 1. 10, etc.), the army on campaign (Tac. ann. vi. 37. 1; perhaps implied at Liv. xxxviii. 12. 2), or a temple at its foundation (Tac. hist. iv. 53. 3). For the connection with Mars, cf. esp. Cato, agr. 141. 1–4 and Fest. 204. See further Wissowa (1912) 142–3, 415 n. 1, and Krause, RE Suppl. v. 264–7.
1 ut is commended (as his own conjecture) by Seyffert (1861: 73).
1 Wesenberg (1870/1: 30) stated that 'occubare morte poetis relinquendum esse uidetur' and wished to emend to mortem occumbentis; but it would be both undesirable and extremely difficult to emend away all poeticisms in L.
1 However, for less formal uses of improbe and facio, see TLL vii. 1. 694. 3–9.
1 One may note as a curiosity the attempt of Saulnier (1983: 99–100) to argue, on the basis of the Capestrano warrior and the old and often refuted notion that the Decii were Campanian (see vii. 21. 6 n.), that the whole ritual of deuotio was imported to Rome from Samnium.
1 Huschke (1856: 145) had less successfully proposed … siue hostium siue quae alia uolet, ius esto.