Livy

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He is truly a man who will not permit himself to be unduly elated when fortune’s breeze is favorable, or cast down when it is adverse.

Titus Livius (around 59 BC – 17 AD), known as Livy in English, wrote a monumental history of Rome, Ab Urbe Condita, from its founding (traditionally dated to 753 BC) through the reign of Augustus.

Quotes[edit]

  • Aetolos Acarnanas Macedonas, eiusdem linguae homines, leues ad tempus ortae causae diiungunt coniunguntque: cum alienigenis, cum barbaris aeternum omnibus Graecis bellum est eritque; natura enim, quae perpetua est, non mutabilibus in diem causis hostes sunt...
    • Translation: The Aitolians, the Akarnanians, the Macedonians, men of the same speech, are united or disunited by trivial causes that arise from time to time; with aliens, with barbarians, all Greeks wage and will wage eternal war; for they are enemies by the will of nature, which is eternal, and not from reasons that change from day to day...
    • Liber XXXI, 29, 15

History of Rome[edit]

  • Rome has grown since its humble beginnings that it is now overwhelmed by its own greatness.
    • Praefatio, sec. 4
  • We can endure neither our vices nor the remedies for them.
    • Praefatio, sec. 9
  • This above all makes history useful and desirable: it unfolds before our eyes a glorious record of exemplary actions.
    • Praefatio, sec. 10
  • Vulgatior fama est ludibrio fratris Remum novos transiluisse muros; inde ab irato Romulo, cum verbis quoque increpitans adiecisset 'sic deinde, quicumque alius transiliet moenia mea', interfectum.
    • The more common report is that Remus mockingly jumped over the newly raised walls and was forthwith killed by the enraged Romulus, who exclaimed, "So shall it be henceforth with every one who leaps over my walls."
    • Book I, sec. 7
  • The old Romans all wished to have a king over them because they had not yet tasted the sweetness of freedom.
    • Book I, sec. 17
  • Before anything else [Numa] decided that he must instill in his subjects the fear of the gods, this being the most effective measure with an ignorant, and at that time uncultured, people.
    • Book I, sec. 19
  • Law is a thing which is insensible, and inexorable, more beneficial and more profitious to the weak than to the strong; it admits of no mitigation nor pardon, once you have overstepped its limits.
    • Book II, sec. 3
  • Shared danger is the strongest of bonds; it will keep men united in spite of mutual dislike and suspicion.
    • Book II, sec. 39
  • Fame opportunely despised often comes back redoubled.
    • Book II, sec. 47
  • From abundance springs satiety.
    • Book III, sec. 1
  • The troubles which have come upon us always seem more serious than those which are only threatening.
    • Book III, sec. 39
  • Passions are generally roused from great conflict.
    • Book III, sec. 40
  • Nature has ordained that the man who is pleading his own cause before a large audience, will be more readily listened to than he who has no object in view other than the public benefit.
    • Book III, sec. 68
  • Potius sero quam nunquam.
    • Better late than never.
    • Book IV, sec. 2
  • 'Vos telis hostium estis indefensi, inulti? quid igitur arma habetis, aut quid ultro bellum intulistis, in otio tumultuosi, in bello segnes? quid hic stantibus spei est? an deum aliquem protecturum uos rapturumque hinc putatis? ferro via facienda est. hac qua me praegressum uideritis, agite, qui uisuri domos parentes coniuges liberos estis, ite mecum. non murus nec uallum sed armati armatis obstant. virtute pares, necessitate, quae ultimum ac maximum telum est, superiores estis'.
    • "Are you going to offer yourselves here to the weapons of the enemy, undefended, unavenged? Why is it then you have arms? And why have you undertaken an offensive war? You who are ever turbulent in peace, and laggard in war. What hopes have you in standing here? Do you expect that some god will protect you and bear you hence? A way is to be made with the sword. Come you, who wish to behold your homes, your parents, your wives, and your children; follow me in the way in which you shall see me lead you on. It is not a wall or rampart that blocks your path, but armed men like yourselves. Their equals in courage, you are their superiors by force of necessity, which is the last and greatest weapon."
      • Book IV, sec. 28
  • There is nothing man will not attempt when great enterprises hold out the promise of great rewards.
    • Book IV, sec. 35
  • Favor and honor sometimes fall more fitly on those who do not desire them.
    • Book IV, sec. 57
  • Toil and pleasure, dissimilar in nature, are nevertheless united by a certain natural bond.
    • Book V, sec. 4
  • There are laws for peace as well as war.
    • Book V, sec. 27
  • Fortune blinds men when she does not wish them to withstand the violence of her onslaughts.
    • Book V, sec. 37
  • Vae victis!
    • Translation: Woe to the vanquished!
    • Variant: Woe to the conquered!
    • Book V, sec. 48
  • No one wants to be excelled by his relatives.
    • Book VI, sec. 34
  • The result showed that fortune helps the brave.
    • Book VIII, sec. 29
  • Envy like fire always makes for the highest points.
    • Book VIII, sec. 31
  • They are more than men at the outset of their battles; at the end they are less than the women.
    • Book X, sec. 28
  • Luck is of little moment to the great general, for it is under the control of his intellect and his judgment.
    • Book XXII, sec. 25
  • He would not anticipate those counsels which are rather bestowed by circumstances on men, than by men on circumstances.
    • Book XXII, sec. 38
  • He will have true glory who despises it.
    • Book XXII, sec. 39
  • Truth, they say, is but too often in difficulties, but is never finally suppressed.
    • Book XXII, sec. 39
  • All things will be clear and distinct to the man who does not hurry; haste is blind and improvident.
    • Book XXII, sec. 39
  • We do not learn this only from the event, which is the master of fools.
    • Book XXII, sec. 39
  • You know how to vanquish, Hannibal, but you do not know how to profit from victory.
    • Book XXII, sec. 51
  • They lived under a just and moderate government, and they admitted that one bond of their fidelity was that their rulers were the better men.
    • Book XXII, sec. 83
  • Notissimum [...] malum maxime tolerabile
    • Translation: The best known evil is the most tolerable.
    • Variant: Those ills are easiest to bear with which we are most familiar.
    • Book XXIII, sec. 3
  • The name of freedom regained is sweet to hear.
    • Book XXIV, sec. 21
  • It is easy at any moment to surrender a large fortune; to build one up is a difficult and an arduous task.
    • Book XXIV, sec. 22
  • Such is the nature of crowds: either they are humble and servile or arrogant and dominating. They are incapable of making moderate use of freedom, which is the middle course, or of keeping it.
    • Book XXIV, sec. 25
  • Many things complicated by nature are restored by reason.
    • Book XXV, sec. 11
  • In difficult and desperate cases, the boldest counsels are the safest.
    • Book XXV, sec. 38
  • Under the influence of fear, which always leads men to take a pessimistic view of things, they magnified their enemies’ resources, and minimized their own.
    • Book XXVII, sec. 44
  • Men are only too clever at shifting blame from their own shoulders to those of others.
    • Book XXVIII, sec. 25
  • I approach these questions unwillingly, as it wounds, but no cure can be effected without touching upon and handling them.
    • Book XXVIII, sec. 27
  • The populace is like the sea, motionless in itself, but stirred by every wind, even the lightest breeze.
    • Book XXVIII, sec. 27
  • No crime can ever be defended on rational grounds.
    • Book XXVIII, sec. 28
  • Temerity is not always successful.
    • Book XXVIII, sec. 42
  • There is always more spirit in attack than in defense.
    • Book XXVIII, sec. 44
  • Greater is our terror of the unknown.
    • Book XXVIII, sec. 44
  • Men are slower to recognise blessings than misfortunes.
    • Book XXX, sec. 21
  • Nowhere are our calculations more frequently upset than in war.
    • Book XXX, sec. 30
  • Better and safer is an assured peace than a victory hoped for. The one is in your own power, the other is in the hands of the gods.
    • Book XXX, sec. 30
  • It is easier to criticize than to correct our past errors.
    • Book XXX, sec. 30
  • It is when fortune is the most propitious that she is least to be trusted.
    • Book XXX, sec. 30
  • Good fortune and a good disposition are rarely given to the same man.
    • Book XXX, sec. 42
  • We feel public misfortunes just so far as they affect our private circumstances, and nothing of this nature appeals more directly to us than the loss of money.
    • Book XXX, sec. 44
  • No law is sufficiently convenient to all.
    • Book XXXIV, sec. 3
  • No law can possibly meet the convenience of every one: we must be satisfied if it be beneficial on the whole and to the majority.
    • Book XXXIV, sec. 3
  • The state is suffering from two opposite vices, avarice and luxury; two plagues which, in the past, have been the ruin of every great empire.
    • Book XXXIV, sec. 4
  • It is better that a guilty man should not be brought to trial than that he should be acquitted.
    • Book XXXIV, sec. 4
  • There is nothing worse than being ashamed of parsimony or poverty.
    • Book XXXIV, sec. 4
  • For he considered that, in many cases, but especially in war, mere appearances have had all the effect of realities; and that a person, under a firm persuasion that he can command resources, virtually has them; that very prospect inspiring him with hope and boldness in his exertions.
  • The most honorable, as well as the safest course, is to rely entirely upon valour.
    • Book XXXIV, sec. 14
  • He was always before men’s eyes; a course of action which, by increasing our familiarity with great men, diminishes our respect for them.
    • Book XXXV, sec. 10
  • Such impetuous schemes and boldness are at first sight alluring, but are difficult to handle, and in the result disastrous.
    • Book XXXV, sec. 32
  • Perīculum in morā
    • Translation: (There is) danger in delay.
    • Book XXXVIII, sec. 25
  • There is nothing that is more often clothed in an attractive garb than a false creed.
    • Book XXXIX, sec. 16
  • The sun has not yet set for all time.
    • Book XXXIX, sec. 26
  • There is an old saying which, from its truth, has become proverbial, that friendships should be immortal, enmities mortal.
    • Book XL, sec. 46
  • A fraudulent intent, however carefully concealed at the outset, will generally, in the end, betray itself.
    • Book XLIV, sec. 15
  • Is demum uir erit, cuius animum neque prosperae <res> flatu suo efferent nec aduersae infringent.
    • Translation: He is truly a man who will not permit himself to be unduly elated when fortune’s breeze is favorable, or cast down when it is adverse.
    • Book XLV, sec. 8

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