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Livy
(Titus Livius)
Roman historian
(59 BC - AD 17)


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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."
-- Ab Urbe Condita, bk. 1

'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."
-- Ab Urbe Condita, bk. 4

Vae victis.
Woe to the vanquished!
-- Proverbial cry of Brennus, the Gallic king, when he captured Rome in 390 BC, quoted in: Ab Urbe Condita, bk. 5

Dum ea Romani parant consultantque, iam Saguntum summa vi oppugnabatur.
While the Romans were thus planning and deliberating, the siege of Saguntum was already being pressed with the greatest vigour.
-- Ab Urbe Condita, bk. 21 (Livy's comment on the endless delberations on whether to intervene in the siege of the Spanish city of Saguntum by the Carthaginians before deciding to take action, by which time it was too late)

Pugna magna victi sumus.
In a might battle we were defeated,
-- Ab Urbe Condita, bk. 22

Notissimum [...] malum maxime tolerabile.
The best known evil is the most tolerable.
-- Ab Urbe Condita, bk. 23

In rebus asperis et tenui spe fortissima quaeque consilia tutissima sunt.
In difficult and desperate cases, the boldest counsels are the safest.
-- Ab Urbe Condita, bk. 25

Periculum in mora.
(There is) danger in delay.
-- Ab Urbe Condita, bk. 38

Is demum vir erit, cuius animum neque prosperae <res> flatu suo efferent nec adversae infringent.
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.
-- Ab Urbe Condita, bk. 45


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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