The subject I have undertaken to treat, the how, when, and why of the subjugation of the known parts of the world to the dominion of Rome, should be viewed as a single whole, with a recognized beginning, a fixed duration, and an end which is not a matter of dispute; and I think it will be advantageous to give a brief preface of the chief parts of this whole from the beginning to the end. For I believe this will be the best means of giving students an adequate idea of my whole plan. Since a previous general view is of great assistance to the mind in acquiring a knowledge of details, and at the same time a previous notion of the details helps us to knowledge of the whole, I regard a preliminary survey based on both as best and will draw up these prefatory remarks to my history on this principle. I have already indicated the general scope and limits of this history. The particular events comprised in it begin with the above-mentioned wars and culminate and end in the destruction of the Macedonian monarchy. Between the beginning and end lies a space of fifty-three years, comprising a greater number of grave and momentous events than any period of equal length in the past. Starting from the 140th Olympiad I shall adopt the following order in my exposition of them.
2 First I shall indicate the causes of the above war between Rome and Carthage, known as the Hannibalic war, and tell how the Carthaginians invaded Italy, broke up the dominion of Rome, and cast the Romans into great fear for their safety and even for their native soil, while great was their own hope, such as they had never dared to entertain, of capturing Rome itself. Next I shall attempt to describe how at the same period Philip of Macedon, after finishing his war with the Aetolians and settling the affairs of Greece, conceived the project of an alliance with Carthage; how Antiochus and Ptolemy Philopator first quarrelled and at length went to war with each other for the possession of Coele-Syria, and how the Rhodians and Prusias, declaring war on the Byzantines, compelled them to stop levying toll on ships bound for the Euxine. Interrupting my narrative at this point, I shall draw up my account of the Roman Constitution, as a sequel to which I shall point out how the peculiar qualities of the Constitution conduced very largely not only to their subjection of the Italians and Sicilians, and subsequently of the Spaniards and Celts, but finally to their victory over Carthage and their conceiving the project of universal empire. Simultaneously in a digression I shall narrate how the dominion of Hiero of Syracuse fell and after this I shall deal with the troubles in Egypt, and tell how, on the death of Ptolemy, Antiochus and Philip, conspiring to partition the dominions of his son, a helpless infant, began to be guilty of acts of unjust aggression, Philip laying hands on the islands of the Aegean, and on Caria and Samos, while Antiochus seized on Coele-Syria and Phoenicia.
3 Next, after summing up the doings of the Romans and Carthaginians in Spain, Africa, and Sicily I shall shift the scene of my story definitely, as the scene of action shifted, to Greece and its neighbourhood. I shall describe the sea-battles in which Attalus and the Rhodians met Philip, and after this deal with the war between the Romans and Philip, its course, its reason, and its result. Following on this I shall make mention of the angry spirit of the Aetolians yielding to which they invited Antiochus over, and thus set ablaze the war from Asia against the Achaeans and Romans. After narrating the causes of this war, and how Antiochus crossed to Europe, I shall describe in the first place how he fled from Greece; secondly how on his defeat after this he abandoned all Asia up to the Taurus; and thirdly, how the Romans, suppressing the insolence of the Galatian Gauls, established their undisputed supremacy in Asia and freed its inhabitants on this side of the Taurus from the fear of barbarians and the lawless violence of these Gauls. Next I shall bring before the reader's eyes the misfortune that befel the Aetolians and Cephallenians, and then make mention of the war of Eumenes with Prusias and the Gauls and of that between Ariarathes and Pharnaces. Subsequently, after some notice of the unification and pacification of the Peloponnese and of the growth of the Rhodian State, I shall bring the whole narrative of events to a conclusion, narrating finally the expedition of Antiochus Epiphanes against Egypt, the war with Perseus, and the abolition of the Macedonian monarchy. All the above events will enable us to perceive how the Romans dealt with each contingency and thus subjected the whole world to their rule.
4 Now if from their success or failure alone we could form an adequate judgement of how far states and individuals are worthy of praise or blame, I could here lay down my pen, bringing my narrative and this whole work to a close with the last-mentioned events, as was my original intention. For the period of fifty-three years finished here, and the growth and advance of Roman power was now complete. Besides which it was now universally accepted as a necessary fact that henceforth all must submit to the Romans and obey their orders. But since judgements regarding either the conquerors or the conquered based purely on performance are by no means final - what is thought to be the greatest success having brought the greatest calamities on many, if they do not make proper use of it, and the most dreadful catastrophes often turning out to the advantage of those who support them bravely - I must append to the history of the above period an account of the subsequent policy of the conquerors and their method of universal rule, as well as of the various opinions and appreciations of their rulers entertained by the subjects, and finally I must described what were the prevailing and dominant tendencies and ambitions of the various peoples in their private and public life. For it is evident that contemporaries will thus be able to see clearly whether the Roman rule is acceptable or the reverse, and future generations whether their government should be considered to have been worthy of praise and admiration or rather of blame. And indeed it is just in this that the chief usefulness of this work for the present and the future will lie. For neither rulers themselves nor their critics should regard the end of action as being merely conquest and the subjection of all to their rule; since no man of sound sense goes to war with his neighbors simply for the sake of crushing an adversary, just as no one sails on the open sea just for the sake of crossing it. Indeed no one even takes up the study of arts and crafts merely for the sake of knowledge, but all men do all they do for the resulting pleasure, good, or utility. So the final end achieved by this work will be, to gain knowledge of what was the condition of each people after all had been crushed and had come under the dominion of Rome, until the disturbed and troubled time that afterwards ensued. About this latter, owing to the importance of the actions and the unexpected character of the events, and chiefly because I not only witnessed most but took part and even directed some, I was induced to write as if starting on a fresh work. 5 This period of disturbance comprises, firstly the war waged by Rome against the Celtiberians and Vaccaei, that between Carthage and Massinissa the King of the Libyans and that between Attalus and Prusias in Asia. Next, Ariarathes, King of Cappadocia was expelled from his kingdom by Orophernes through the agency of King Demetrius and recovered his ancestral throne by the help of Attalus. Then Demetrius, son of Seleucus, after reigning in Syria for twelve years lost both his kingdom and his life, the other kings combining against him. Next the Romans restored to their homes the Greeks who had been accused in consequence of the war with Perseus, acquitting them of the charges brought against them. A little later the Romans attacked Carthage, having resolved in the first place on changing its site and subsequently on its utter destruction for the reasons that I shall state in due course. Close upon this followed the withdrawal of the Macedonians from their alliance with Rome and that of the Lacedaemonians from the Achaean League, and hereupon the beginning and the end of the general calamity that overtook Greece.
Such is the plan I propose, but all depends on Fortune's granting me a life long enough to execute it. However I am convinced that in the event of my death, the project will not fall to the ground for want of men competent to carry it on, since there are many others who will set their hands to the task and labor to complete it.
Now having given a summary of the most important events, with the object of conveying to my readers a notion of this work as a whole and its contents in detail, it is time for me to call to mind my original plan and return to the starting-point of my history.
6 Some of those authors who have dealt with Hannibal and his times, wishing to indicate the causes that led to the above war between Rome and Carthage, allege as its first cause the siege of Saguntum by the Carthaginians and as its second their crossing, contrary to treaty, the river whose native name is the Iber. I should agree in stating that these were the beginnings of the war, but I can by no means allow that they were its causes, unless we call Alexander's crossing to Asia the cause of his war against Persia and Antiochus' landing at Demetrias the cause of his war against Rome, neither of which assertions is either reasonable or true. For who could consider these to be causes of wars, plans and preparations for which, in the case of the Persian war, had been made earlier, many by Alexander and even some by Philip during his life, and in the case of the war against Rome by the Aetolians long before Antiochus arrived? These are pronouncements of men who are unable to see the great and essential distinction between a beginning and a cause or purpose, these being the first origin of all, and the beginning coming last. By the beginning of something I mean the first attempt to execute and put in action plans on which we have decided, by its causes what is most initiatory in our judgements and opinions, that is to say our notions of things, our state of mind, our reasoning about these, and everything through which we reach decisions and projects. The nature of these is evident from the instances adduced above; it is easy for anyone to see the real causes and origin of the war against Persia. The first was the retreat of the Greeks under Xenophon from the upper Satrapies, in which, though they traversed the whole of Asia, a hostile country, none of the barbarians ventured to face them. The second was the crossing of Agesilaus, King of Sparta, to Asia, where he found no opposition of any moment to his projects, and was only compelled to return without effecting anything owing to the disturbances in Greece. From both of these facts Philip perceived and reckoned on the cowardice and indolence of the Persians as compared with the military efficiency of himself and his Macedonians, and further fixing his eyes on the splendor of the great prize which the war promised, he lost no time, once he had secured the avowed good-will of the Greeks, but seizing on the pretext that it was his urgent duty to take vengeance on the Persians for their injurious treatment of the Greeks, he bestirred himself and decided to go to war, beginning to make every preparation for this purpose. We must therefore look on the first considerations I have mentioned as the causes of the war against Persia, the second as its pretext and Alexander's crossing to Asia as its beginning. 7 Similarly it is evident that the cause of the war between Antiochus and the Romans was the anger of the Aetolians, who (as I above stated) looking upon themselves as having been slighted in many ways by the Romans as regards their share in bringing the war with Philip to an end, not only invited Antiochus over, but were ready to do and suffer anything owing to the anger they conceived under the above circumstances. But the liberation of Greece, which they announced in defiance of reason and truth going round with Antiochus from city to city, we must consider to be a pretext of this war, and its beginning the landing of Antiochus at Demetrias.
In speaking at such length on this matter, my object has not been to censure previous writers, but to rectify the ideas of students. For of what use to the sick is a physician who is ignorant of the causes of certain conditions of the body? And of what use is a statesman who cannot reckon how, why, and whence each event has originated? The former will scarcely be likely to recommend proper treatment for the body and it will be impossible for the latter without such knowledge to deal properly with circumstances. Nothing, therefore, should be more carefully guarded against and more diligently sought out than the first causes of each event, since matters of the greatest moment often originate from trifles, and it is the initial impulses and conceptions in every matter which are most easily remedied.
8 Fabius, the Roman annalist, says that besides the outrage on the Saguntines, a cause of the war was Hasdrubal's ambition and love of power. He tells us how, having acquired a great dominion in Spain, he arrived in Africa and attempted to abolish the constitution of Carthage and change the form of government to a monarchy. The leading statesmen, however, got wind of his project and united to oppose him, upon which Hasdrubal, suspicious of their intentions, left Africa and in future governed Iberia as he chose, without paying any attention to the Carthaginian Senate. Hannibal from boyhood had shared and admired Hasdrubal's principles; and on succeeding to the governor-generalship of Iberia, he had employed the same method as Hasdrubal. Consequently, he now began this war against Rome on his own initiative and in defiance of Carthaginian opinion, not a single one of the notables in Carthage approving his conduct towards Saguntum. After telling us this, Fabius says that on the capture of this city the Romans came forward demanding that the Carthaginians should either deliver Hannibal into their hands or accept war. Now if anyone were to pose the following question to this writer - how opportunity could have better favoured the Carthaginians' wishes or what could have been a juster act and more in their interest (since, as he says, they had disapproved Hannibal's action from the outset) than to yield to the Roman demand, and by giving up the man who had caused the offence, with some show of reason to destroy by the hands of others the common enemy of their state and secure the safety of their territory, ridding themselves of the war that menaced them and accomplishing their vengeance by a simple resolution - if anyone, I say, were to ask him this, what would he have to say? Evidently nothing; for so far were they from doing any of the above things that after carrying on the war, in obedience to Hannibal's decision, for seventeen years, every resource on which they relied being now exhausted, their native city and her inhabitants stood in deadly peril.
9 One may ask why I make any mention of Fabius and his statement. It is not from apprehension lest it may find acceptance from some owing to its plausibility; for its inherent unreasonableness, even without my comment, is self-evident to anyone who reads it. But what I wish is to warn those who consult his books not to pay attention to the title, but to facts. For there are some people who pay regard not to what he writes but to the writer himself and, taking into consideration that he was a contemporary and a Roman senator, at once accept all he says as worthy of credit. But my own opinion is that while not treating his authority as negligible we should not regard it as final, but that readers should in most cases test his statements by reference to the actual facts.
To return to the war between Rome and Carthage, from which this digression has carried us away, we must regard its first cause as being the indignation of Hamilcar surnamed Barcas, the actual father of Hannibal. Unvanquished in spirit by the war for Sicily, since he felt that he had kept the army of Eryx under his command combative and resolute until the end, and had only agreed to peace yielding to circumstances after the defeat of the Carthaginians in the naval battle, he maintained his resolve and waited for an opportunity to strike. Had not the mutinous outbreak among the mercenaries occurred, he would very soon, as far as it lay in his power, have created some other means and other resources for resuming the contest, but he was hampered by these civil disturbances which occupied all his time and attention. 10 When, on the suppression of this disturbance by the Carthaginians, the Romans announced their intention of making war on Carthage, the latter at first was ready to negotiate on all points, thinking that, justice being on her side, she would prevail (about this I have spoken in the preceding Books, without a perusal of which it is impossible to follow properly what I am now saying and what I am about to say); but as the Romans refused to negotiate, the Carthaginians had to yield to circumstances, and though deeply aggrieved they were powerless, and evacuated Sardinia, agreeing also to pay twelve hundred talents in addition to the sum previously exacted, in order not to be forced to accept war at that time. This, then, we must take to be the second and principal cause of the subsequent war; for Hamilcar, with the anger felt by all his compatriots at this last outrage added to his old indignation, as soon as he had finally crushed the mutiny of the mercenaries and secured the safety of his country, at once threw all his efforts into the conquest of Spain, with the object of using the resources thus obtained for the war against Rome. This success of the Carthaginian project in Spain must be held to be the third cause of the war, for relying on this increase of strength, they entered upon it with confidence.
Of the fact that Hamilcar, although he died ten years before the beginning of the Second Punic War, contributed much to its origin many evidences can be found; but the anecdote I am about to relate suffices, I think, to confirm this. 11 At the time when Hannibal on his final defeat by the Romans had left his native land and was staying at the court of Antiochus, the Romans, who saw through the project of the Aetolians, sent an embassy to Antiochus, wishing to be fully aware what the king's purpose was. The legates, as they saw that Antiochus was lending an ear to the Aetolians and was disposed to go to war with Rome, paid many attentions to Hannibal, wishing to make Antiochus suspicious of him, as in fact they succeeded in doing. For as time went on, the king's mistrust of Hannibal grew ever more strong; and it fell out on one occasion that they came to have a talk about the alienation which had been secretly growing up between them. In the course of the conversation Hannibal defended himself on various grounds, and at length, being at a loss for further arguments, resorted to the following. He said that at the time when his father was about to start with his army on his expedition to Spain, he himself, then nine years of age, was standing by the altar, while Hamilcar was sacrificing to Zeus. When, on the omens being favourable, Hamilcar had poured a libation to the gods and performed all the customary rites, he ordered the others who were attending the sacrifice to withdraw to a slight distance and calling Hannibal to him asked him kindly if he wished to accompany him on the expedition. On his accepting with delight, and, like a boy, even begging to do it besides, his father took him by the hand, led him up to the altar, and bade him lay his hand on the victim and swear never to be the friend of the Romans. He begged Antiochus, then, now he knew this for a fact, as long as his intentions were hostile to Rome, to rely on him confidently and believe that he would have in him his sincerest supporter, but from the moment he made peace and alliance with her he had no need to wait for accusations but should mistrust and beware of him; for there was nothing he would not do against the Romans. 12 Antiochus, listening to this, thought he spoke genuinely and sincerely and in consequence abandoned all his former mistrust. However, we should consider this as an unquestionable proof of Hamilcar's hostility and general purpose, and it is confirmed by the facts. For he made of his daughter's husband Hasdrubal and his own son Hannibal such enemies of Rome that none could be more bitter. As Hasdrubal died before putting his purpose into execution, it was not in his case fully evident, but circumstance put it in the power of Hannibal to give only too manifest proof of his inherited hatred of Rome. Therefore, statesmen should above all take care that the true motives of the reconciliation of enmities and the formation of friendships do not escape them. They should observe when it is that men come to terms under pressure of circumstances and when owing to their spirit being broken, so that in the former case they may regard them as reserving themselves for a favourable opportunity and be constantly on their guard, and in the latter they may trust them as true friends and subjects and not hesitate to command their services when required. We must consider, then, the causes of the Hannibalic War to have been those I have stated, while its beginnings were as follows.