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«Ethics and Imperialism in Livy by Joseph Viguers Groves A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor ...»

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Ethics and Imperialism in Livy


Joseph Viguers Groves

A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment

of the requirements for the degree of

Doctor of Philosophy

(Classical Studies)

in the University of Michigan

Doctoral Committee:

Professor David Potter

Professor Sara Forsdyke

Professor Katherine French

Associate Professor Celia Schultz

Professor Nicola Terrenato

© Joseph Groves

For my grandparents



Finishing this project would never have been possible without the support of so many mentors, colleagues, and friends that it would be impossible to do justice to, or even fully articulate, the help they’ve given me. From all those in the Classics community here, I am especially indebted to David Potter for many enlightening and humorous conversations about the ancient world that always brought some new facet of a text or idea to my attention. Without his direction my curiosity about ancient diplomacy and why anyone bothered would never have coalesced into this work. To Nic Terrenato for thought-provoking classes and looking after my toads on a holiday break. To Celia Schultz for her patience, always being supportive, and offering such indispensable feedback. To Sara Forsdyke for helping me find a way to streamline an unwieldy amount of material. To Katherine French for being so generous with her time and offering a valuable and different perspective. And, of course, to Michelle Biggs and Debbie Walls, without whom everything would have come to a crashing halt. I would also like to thank the American School of Classical Studies, especially my instructors, Margaret Miles and Denver Graninger, for teaching me not just about archaeology but how much we don’t know during what will always be one of the best years of my life. I am also fortunate to be able to thank so many friends here, Evelyn Adkins, Katherine Lu, Charlotte Maxwell-Jones, Karen Laurence, Britta Ager, Shonda Tohm, Dina Guth, Richard Persky, Cassandra Borges, Karen Acton, Peanut, Naji Husseini, Jacque Cole, and many others. Then, an unequaled friend I could always count on, Linda WangSol, and Zahide, for showing me the difference between Turkish and Finnish. Finally, my parents and grandparents, who worked so hard to give me the opportunities they never had.

iii Table of Contents Dedication



Sources and Structure

The Problem of Roman Expansion

The Roman Virtue of Fides

Chapter 1: Livy’s First Pentad and the Formation of Roman Character

Fides and Integration in Livy’s Regal Period

International Law and the Ius Gentium

Fides Romana in Practice: Latins and Volsci

A Different Kind of Enemy: Veii as a Model of Perfidy

Roman Misdeeds and the Redirection of Guilt

Chapter 2: Roman Ideals and the Limits of Fides

The Immediate Aftermath and Latin Defection

The Latin War of 340-338 BCE

The Defection of Capua in the Second Punic War

Roman Apologetics in the First Samnite War: The Capuan Deditio

Livy’s Second Samnite War and the Caudine Forks

Chapter 3: Case Studies in the First and Second Punic Wars

Livy and Polybius on the First Punic War

Saguntum and the Causes of the Second Punic War

Syracusan Fides in the Second Punic War

The Romans in Spain

Chapter 4: The Illyrian and First Macedonian Wars

Livy, Polybius, and the Illyrian Wars

Livy’s Rejection of Polybius’ συμπλοκή in the First Macedonian War

Timeline: The Outbreak of the Second Macedonian War

Chapter 5: The Second Macedonian War

Livy’s Version of the Second Macedonian War

Flamininus and Freedom for the Greeks

iv Chapter 6: Rome and Antiochus III

Diplomacy with Antiochus during the Second Macedonian War

The Diplomatic Confrontation with Antiochus: Isthmia and Lysimachia

Escalation and Preparation

The War with Antiochus

The Peace of Apamea and Roman Continuity

Chapter 7: Perseus and Roman Disillusionment

Philip and Perseus’ Opposition to Rome

The Reign of Perseus

Greek Instability and Roman Frustration

Eumenes, Rhodes, and Proper Allied Behavior

Epilogue: Carthage and Corinth to 146 BCE


–  –  –

This passage was once thought to derive from Polybius and reflect that historian’s Machiavellian sentiment. We now know that his views were very much the opposite. 2 Nor would any Roman, at least during the heyday of the Republic, say such a thing. Nevertheless, Diodorus could not only say this of Roman expansion a few centuries later, he could say it approvingly. While most scholarship has focused on crafting a synthetic explanation of Roman expansion, I use historiographical analysis to pinpoint the ethical terms used by Romans of the Republic and their contemporaries to justify or find fault with Roman expansion. I find that the Romans’ own ethics of imperialism were based around consistency and good faith, fides, in their dealings with other states. The demands of fides, a characteristically Roman virtue, determined what actions and wars the Romans felt the need to justify and the arguments they used to do so.

Sources and Structure To find Republican attitudes towards imperialism we must turn to Livy, whose monumental history of Rome survives only in parts, but which remains our most complete Diodorus 32.2: Ὅτι οἱ τὰς ἡγεμονίας περιποιήσασθαι βουλόμενοι κτῶνται μὲν αὐτὰς ἀνδρείᾳ καὶ συνέσει, πρὸς αὔξησιν δὲ μεγάλην ἄγουσιν ἐπιεικείᾳ καὶ φιλανθρωπίᾳ, ἀσφαλίζονται δὲ φόβῳ καὶ καταπλήξει· τούτων δὲ τὰς ἀποδείξεις λάβοις ἂν ταῖς πάλαι ποτὲ συσταθείσαις δυναστείαις ἐπιστήσας τὸν νοῦν καὶ τῇ μετὰ ταῦτα γενομένῃ Ῥωμαίων ἡγεμονίᾳ.

Arthur Eckstein, Moral Vision in Polybius, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 225-33.

account of the Republic. It is possible to treat Livy’s history as broadly representative of republican attitudes because Livy used the so-called Sullan annalists as his primary sources to produce a refined exemplar of an already homogeneous tradition. While Livy testifies to differences in casualty figures (Valerius Antias was particularly fond of impossibly high enemy death tolls), only internal politics and class divisions seem to have generated any substantial controversy and variance in accounts. Greek authors who used Roman sources, Polybius, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Appian, and Cassius Dio, often provide their own interpretations of Roman foreign policy, but their narratives tend to match extant Roman accounts or, when these are lacking, are consonant with what one would expect. So far as concerns foreign policy during the Republic, the Roman historiographical tradition was characterized by consensus. 3 Using Livy’s work as a representative of this tradition, I have written this study as a series of casestudies following the trajectory of his historical narrative.

Chapters 1 and 2 focus on Livy’s first ten books, for which Valerius Antias and Licinius Macer were the primary sources. 4 The dubious historicity of this material is advantageous for discovering the core values and concerns with which the Romans went to war. The long timespan between these events and their historian reduces the need for exacting accuracy, increasing the degree to which the historical tradition may have been shaped by and altered to reflect Roman values. Such an idealized narrative may be less than trustworthy with respect to historical facts, but can be counted on to display contemporary ideals in stark relief. My first chapter shows that Livy used his initial pentad to establish the trans-historical essentials of S.P. Oakley, A Commentary on Livy Books IV-X, 4 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1997-2005), vol. 1, 15-6: “that there are surprisingly few major variants in these books, and from this we may perhaps deduce that the tradition which he used was relatively uniform.” See also the list, pp. 13-15, of every passage in Books 6-10 that cites or acknowledges the existence of a source.

R.M. Ogilvie, A Commentary on Livy: Books 1-5 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965); P.G. Walsh, Livy: His Historical Aims and Methods (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1961), 110-37; Hermann Tränkle, “Der Anfang des Römischen Freistaats in der Darstellung des Livius” in Hermes 93 (1965): 311-337; A. Klotz, Livius und seine Vorgänger, 3 vols. (Leipzig: Teubner, 1940-1).

Roman character and behavior. Fides dominates Livy’s idealized depiction of relations with the Latins, for his Romans see themselves as offering protection and benevolent stewardship to conquered and subordinate peoples in exchange for loyalty. Through success against Veii and the disaster of the Gallic sack, we also see that the Romans regarded their success as dependent upon their upright behavior. This section also highlights ways in which the Roman tradition attempted to contain the blame for Roman improprieties and keep them from reflecting on the reputation of the state as a whole.

Chapter 2 examines the challenges to this idealized picture of foreign relations that emerge in Books 6-10 and in Livy’s account of Capua’s defection during the Second Punic War.

Livy’s Romans understand the defection of the Latins after the Gallic sack and that of Capua after Cannae as indicative of these allies’ own moral failings; because their allies do not reciprocate fides, the Romans are obliged to find the appropriate admixture of fides and force to guarantee their loyalty. When the Romans acted in their national interest in contravention of their ethical obligations, the Roman historiographical tradition uses the debate as a palliative for seemingly unethical conduct. By focusing on senatorial anxieties over ethical issues rather than the actual result, Livy can reinforce the impression that the Romans were exceptionally concerned with ethics, even when this is contradicted by their actions The main example of this is the decision to accept Capua’s surrender, a move which touched off the First Samnite War.

This finds a strong parallel in Polybius’ account of the outbreak of the First Punic War in my third chapter.

Chapter 3 shows that these patterns of Roman self-presentation are not confined to Livy’s account of early Rome, but shaped traditional accounts of the outbreak of the First and Second Punic Wars, as well as the manner in which the Romans understood their interactions with the Spanish. Livy’s second decade, which included his account of the First Punic War, is lost, yet the Periochae, extremely brief and uneven epitomies, testify to his tone and we find the outlines of the Roman narrative in Polybius. 5 His work seeks to explain, to Romans and his own Greek political class, how it was that Rome came to dominate the Mediterranean in such a brief space of time, and also offers practical models for how rulers of lesser states could operate in this new environment. 6 We will see that, although Polybius used a variety of Greek sources and superimposed his own high-level interpretations, his narrative was one the Romans found largely agreeable and which Livy used in for the Second Punic War. 7 The historical tradition for both wars thus emphasizes the Romans’ own concern with upholding treaties and bringing aid to beleaguered allies, contrasting this with the characteristically perfidious Carthaginians. In Spain we see the Scipios attempting to establish bonds of fides with indigenous peoples in much the same way that the Romans dealt with the Latins in Chapter 1.

In Chapter 4 we turn to Rome’s initial forays into the east, the First and Second Illyrian Wars and the First Macedonian War. Although Appian and Polybius differ on the First Illyrian War’s causes, both accounts fit into the moral framework outlined in previous chapters.

Polybius, however, makes these three wars lead to the συμπλοκή, the irreversible entanglement of eastern and western Mediterranean that led to Rome’s decisive implication into Greek A leading politician in the Achaean League, Polybius turned to history after being taken to Rome as a hostage in 168 BCE and became tutor and companion to Scipio Aemilianus. Scipio would go on to conquer Carthage and, after the Romans destroyed Corinth in 146 BCE, Polybius helped implement and soften the post-war settlement.

Polybius’ first pentad survives intact, along with most of the sixth, which outlines the Roman constitution and military practices. For Books 7-40 we are dependent on quotations in other authors and two traditions of excerpts, the so-called Excerpta Antiqua and those made at the behest of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. See J.M. Moore, The Manuscript Tradition of Polybius (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965).

Livy was generally believed to have almost exclusively used Roman sources, especially Fabius Pictor, whom

Polybius also used heavily, for the Second Punic War. However, D.S. Levene, Livy on the Hannibalic War (Oxford:

Oxford University Press 2010), has recently shown that Livy used and responded to Polybius’ interpretation in a sophisticated manner, making it necessary to consider the possibility that many Livian episodes are actually a unique synthesis of multiple sources. It is likely that such synthesis was largely accomplished in the author’s memory.

There is no indication that Livy ever collated or systematically compared his sources. Hermann Tränkle, Livius und Polybios (Basel: Schwabe & Co., 1977), 193-229, espoused the previous consensus, that Livy only occasionally used Polybius before Book 31, where he began to consult Polybius for Greek affairs.

politics. 8 Here I show that Livy used Polybius for the First Macedonian War, but consciously excluded his interpretive framework. Although these wars ushered in dramatic changes in foreign policy, it was vital for the Roman historian to see them as traditionally motivated and entirely separate occurrences, an interpretation that would be undercut by acknowledging any sort of process underlying Roman expansion. To do otherwise would call Roman ethics into question.

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