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19 641-617 B.C. Ancus Marcius is elected king his wars and
30 Death of Servius: He is killed by his son-in-law, L. Tarquinius:
his daughter Tullia drives over his dead body
INQUIRY INTO THE CREDIBILITY OF THE
EARLY ROMAN HISTORY.
NEW attempt to investigate the early history of Rome may incur the risk of being condemned as either presumptuous or superfluous. It may be thought that preceding writers have discovered the truth; or that, if they have failed to discover it, the endeavours of others are not likely to be more successful. It is indeed certain that if, on the one hand, the subject is exhausted, all additional labour bestowed upon it must be thrown away; and that if, on the other, the problem is insoluble, all efforts to solve it must be vain. Before, however, we adopt either of these definitive views, and assume either that our knowledge of early Roman history is so complete that nothing can enlarge it, or so obscure that nothing can enlighten it, an accurate survey of the position in which the subject has been left by the most recent inquiries seems imperatively required. For this purpose we will briefly trace the general progress of Roman history, from the revival of literature to the present time.
In the first two centuries after the invention of printing, the history of Rome, for the regal and republican periods, was principally studied in Livy or in the classical compendia of Florus and Eutropius, and in Plutarch's Lives. The work of Dionysius was occasionally consulted, but was never generally read. Learned and laborious men called in the assistance of the VOL. I.
treatises on various branches of Roman antiquities which had been composed by Italian, French, Dutch, and German scholars.(1) The entire history of Rome was in general treated as entitled to implicit belief; all ancient authors were put upon the same footing, and regarded as equally credible; all parts of an author's work were, moreover, supposed to rest on the same basis. Not only was Livy's authority as high as that of Thucydides or Tacitus, but his account of the kings was considered as credible as that of the wars with Hannibal, Philip, Antiochus, or Perseus and again the Lives of Romulus, Numa, or Coriolanus, by Plutarch, were deemed as veracious as those of Fabius Maximus, Sylla, or Cicero. Machiavel, in his 'Discourses on the first Decad of Livy,' takes this view of the early history. The seven kings of Rome are to him not less real than the twelve Cæsars; and the examples which he derives from the early period of the Republic are not less certain and authentic than if they had been selected from the civil wars of Marius and Sylla, or of Cæsar and Pompey. Antiquity and ancient writers were, at this time, studied and admired as a whole: there was little critical discrimination in appreciating the varieties in the evidences and character of the different periods of ancient history. Romulus and Augustus Cæsar; Lycurgus, Solon, and Pericles, all came under the same general category, as great men of the Greek and Roman world.
The works of universal history which were published during the seventeenth century, (such as those of Sir Walter Ralegh and Dr. William Howel,) (2) necessarily included a narrative of
(1) For a character of this class of writings, see Schwegler, 'Römische Geschichte' (Tübingen, 1853), vol. i. p. 133-4.
(2) Ralegh's History of the World,' (published in 1614) is very brief on the first five centuries of Rome. B. 2, c. 24, includes the period from the foundation of the city to the reign of Tullus Hostilius. B. 4, c. 7, the period from the reign of Tullus Hostilius to the wars of Pyrrhus. Dr. Howel's History of the World,' in two large closely printed folio volumes, ed. 2, 1680, is more copious upon this portion of Roman History than Ralegh. B. 1, c. 6, contains the foundation of Rome and the early period. B. 2, c. 4, relates the period from the banishment of Tarquin to the war with Privernum, 424 v. c. B. 3, c. 9, relates the period from the war with Privernum to the dominion of Augustus. On Howel's History, see Wachler, Geschichte der Historichen Forschung,' vol. i. p. 807.
Roman affairs; but it was not till the beginning of the eighteenth century that separate Roman histories, composed in the modern languages, began to issue from the press. One of the first of these was the Roman History of Lawrence Echard, one volume of which, containing the period from the foundation of the city to the dominion of Augustus, was published near the end of the seventeenth century.(3) It was followed, after a short interval, by the voluminous work of the Jesuits, Catrou and Rouillé (1725), in which the former contributed the text, and the latter the notes and dissertations.(4) The Roman history of Rollin, published in 1739, was in substance am abridgment of the more copious work of the Jesuits, and viewed the early ages of Rome in the same light.(5) That of Hooke, which followed soon afterwards, had likewise the same character in its first volume: in the subsequent volumes he pursued a more independent course.(6) Vertot's work on the
(3) The Roman History from the building of the City to the perfect settlement of the Empire by Augustus Cæsar. By Lawrence Echard, A.M.,' in 1 vol. 8vo. The copy in the British Museum is the eighth edition, of the date 1719. The history down to the first Punic war occupies 181 pages of vol. 1. In four additional volumes the history of the Roman empire is brought down to 1453. The fourth edition of the first vol. is stated by Chalmers to have been published in 1699. Echard says, in the preface to his Roman History: There never was anything of this kind in our language before, nor anything relating to the Roman affairs, but either what has been intermixed with much more other history, or what has contained but a few years of this part.' Concerning Echard's Roman History, see Wachler, ib. vol. i. p. 390. Echard was born about 1671, and died in 1730.
(4) This work, entitled 'Histoire Romaine, depuis la fondation de Rome,' occupies twenty quarto volumes. The first volume relates to the regal period; the fifth volume brings the history to the year 467 v.c., a few years before the landing of Pyrrhus. The approbation of the censeur royal is dated March, 1724. The preface alludes to its being the first complete History of Rome. The doubts respecting the early Roman history, re, cently started by Pouilly, are mentioned and controverted, pref, p. ix,—xxii, An English translation of this work in six folio volumes, by R. Bundy, bears the date 1728-37. A life of Catrou and an account of his Roman History is in Moreri, Dict. Hist. in v., where there is also an article on Rouille. Catrou was born in 1659, and died in 1737.
(5) Rollin was born in 1661, and died in 1741.
(6) Hooke, in the preface to his Roman History, alludes to the compendious History of Echard, and to the extensive one of the Jesuits; also to Rollin's History: and he states that his project at first was nothing more than to abridge the Jesuits' voluminous compilation, making use