Author - Editor - Translator       of    Latin Texts

Audiobooks  -   Ancient latin

Who is reading Livy, may not only read with eyes and reason, he must imagine himself in the events that the historian is describing, and he must feel the pulse of this man filled with belief in the strength of Romanity, who devoted his life to the task of reawaking the good spirits, who, being free from prejudices, but also from political experiences, was not a great historian, but in his manner a great human and artist.
Livy’s work reflects the mental and moral movement of the Augustean age. What Virgil  wanted in his great epic work, that was the correspondent aim of Livy’s historical work written in prose. Not the easy devotion to the belief in a perennial peace is living in him (nor in Virgil and Horace), but the wish to reawake and invigorate the forces of the past in order to make them effective for the present and the future time. In 142 books Livy has written the history of the city of Rome from its foundation until to the death of Drusus (9 B.C.), and the assumption is obvious that he had planned to continue his history in 150 books until the death of Augustus (14 A.D.), but that death has prevented the completion of the monumental work.  Livy has created an enormous work, that he begun between the years 29 and 25 B.C., in order to complete every year first three, later even more books, which he then collected to single groups.  It is an irreplaceable loss that only a relatively small part of the work has been preserved. We only possess book I-X (from the city’s foundation until 293) and book XXI-XLVI (from the beginning of Second Punic War until 167 B.C.), in which the third decade contains the 2nd Punic War.

CD: Livy, The siege of Saguntum.

The text of the work selected by us for our Livy audiobook deals with the beginning of the Second Punic War, of the „most memorable of all wars that were ever waged“, as the author says.
After a preface, in which he emphasizes the unique character of this war, Livy begins to speak about the commanders of the Carthaginians: about Hamilcar and his son who would the Romans learn to fear – Hannibal: 

„There never was a genius more fitted for the two most opposite duties of obeying and commanding; so that you could not easily decide whether he were dearer to the general or the army: and neither did Hasdrubal prefer giving the command to any other, when any thing was to be done with courage and activity; nor did the soldiers feel more confidence and boldness under any other leader. His fearlessness in encountering dangers, and his prudence when in the midst of them, were extreme. His body could not be exhausted, nor his mind subdued, by any toil. He could alike endure either heat or cold. The quantity of his food and drink was determined by the wants of nature, and not by pleasure. The seasons of his sleeping and waking were distinguished neither by day nor night. The time that remained after the transaction of business was given to repose; but that repose was neither invited by a soft bed nor by quiet. Many have seen him wrapped in a military cloak, lying on the ground amid the watches and outposts of the soldiers. His dress was not at all superior to that of his equals: his arms and his horses were conspicuous. He was at once by far the first of the cavalry and infantry; and, foremost to advance to the charge, was last to leave the engagement. Excessive vices counterbalanced these high virtues of the hero; inhuman cruelty, more than Punic perfidy, no truth, no reverence for things sacred, no fear of the gods, no respect for oaths, no sense of religion..

The Siege of Saguntum took place in 218 BC between the Carthaginians and the Saguntines which led to the Second Punic War.

After Hannibal was made Supreme comander of Spain (221 BC) at the age of just 26, he spent two years maturing his plans and completing his preparations to secure power in the Mediterranean. The Romans, though receiving ample warning of Hannibal's movements, did nothing. They were yet to learn the characteristics of the man to whom they had to deal with. The Romans thought that they could strike down this Carthaginian youth whenever they pleased, and no special effort was required. The Romans even went as far as ignoring Hannibal by turning their attentions to the Illyrians who had begun to revolt. The Romans did not even react when news reached them that Hannibal was besieging Saguntum in South-east Spain...

CD audio-file, 53 min.
ISBN 978-3-938905-28-9
order number: 00207A price € 13,90
recording sample