S. P. Oakley (ed.), A Commentary on Livy, Books VI–X, Vol. 2: Books VII–VIII
L.'s story of how Tarentum encouraged the Lucani to abandon their Roman alliance was told also by Quadrigarius; see fr. 15 'persuadenti cuidam adulescenti Lucano, qui adprime summo genere gnatus erat, sed luxuria et nequitia pecuniam magnam consumpserat (to which § 6 'ex iuuentute quidam Lucanorum pretio adsciti, clari magis inter populares quam honesti' seems to correspond) and fr. 16 'ea Lucani ubi resciuerunt, sibi per fallacias uerba data esse' (to which § 11 corresponds). Though it is quite possible pg 686that L. used Quadrigarius as his main source, these correspondences do not suffice to prove this.
It is not absolutely impossible that an alliance between Rome and the Lucani should have been begun and ended in the space of one year; but the speed with which an agreement concluded at 25. 3 is terminated by 27. 11, and the persistently pro-Samnite stance of the Lucani in this period, tell against the probability of L.'s narrative (see also 22. 7–27. 11 n.). The motif of self-mutilation, moreover, is a standard one: one thinks of Z̀ opyrus at Babylon (Hdt. iii. 153. 1–160. 2), Sinon at Troy (Virg. Aen. ii. 57–198), and Sex. Tarquinius at Gabii (i. 53. 4–54. 10, D.H., iv. 53. 1–58. 4). All this, combined with L.'s trite and facile moralizing about the Lucanians coming to their senses too late, renders the whole account most improbable. For further bibliography, see above, p. 651.
L. tells the tale as a self-contained episode, and, at though he has not elaborated it much, several characteristic features of his technique may be noted: the opening periodic sentence (§ 2), the almost imperceptible transition into indirect speech (§ 3), a further and more powerful period launching the second part of the episode (§ 6), the excitement engendered in §§ 8–9 by the historic presents (cogunt, poscunt, discurrunt, decernitur, and mittuntur) and alii … alii …, and the brief close to the scene.
nam utraque eo anno societas coepta est: L. repeats information which he had provided as recently as 25. 3. W–M may have been correct to suggest that he had changed his main source, but this does not make the parenthesis any less surprising.
ad concitandam in arma: for this coupling cf. [x] Ov. fast. iii. 797 and Flor. ii(iii. 14). 2. 7; for [x] concitare ad arma see xxiv. 10. 12, xxvii. 44. 7, Caes. Gall. vii. 42. 6, Hor. carm. i. 35. 15–16, Curt. vii. 6. 15, and Amm. xix. 1. 8. See also x. 21. 2 'Etruriam concitam in arma' (n.).
mitterentur: the reading of N is unclear, as each of MΠΛ has a different reading: M's mitteantur is not even Latin; Π's mittantur makes no sense; and thus either mittuntur (Λ) or mitterentur (Weissenborn [ed.], proposed again by Frigell [1875: 28]) must be adopted. If one follows Λ, then one has another main verb which must be linked with decernitur; if one follows Weissenborn, then one has a continuation of the ut-clause. Λ's reading has ms. authority, but mitterentur would perhaps explain the e in M's mitteantur (which could have been the reading of N, emended by both Π and Λ) and gives a better balanced end to the sentence.
quam … tam …: for the inversion of the normal order of these adverbs, cf. e.g. xxi. 43. 11 'nec, quam magni nominis bellum est, tam difficilem existimaritis uictoriam fore', xxxiii. 17. 9, Vell. ii. 45. 13, Sen. nat. vi. 7. 2, Fest. 494. See further K–S ii. 458.
11. dilucere: 'to become apparent'; cf. iii. 16. 1 'dilucere res magis patribus atque consulibus', xxv. 29. 10 'dilucere id quod erat coepit aliam suam ac perfugarum causam esse'. See TLL v. 1. 1185. 74–81.