The Sources for Early Roman History

  • M. Cary
  • H. H. Scullard


So far reference to the sources of our knowledge of Rome’s early history has been made mainly in regard to specific points rather than in any systematic manner. It may be well therefore at this point to break away from the story of Rome’s growth in order to consider briefly what evidence survived until Roman writers wanted at the end of the third century b.c. to tell the history of their city, what use they made of the evidence available to them, and to what extent we can today supplement their knowledge.


Fourth Century Roman History Republican Period Greek Historian Documentary Material 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes and References

  1. 1.
    For a text of the so-called Lapis Niger see Dessau, ILS, 4913: Degrassi, ILLRP, n. 3. For recent discussion see R. E. A. Palmer, The King and the Comitium (1969).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    For the text of the Twelve Tables see Riccobono, Fontes, i. 23 ff.; for translation with notes, A. C. Johnson, P. R. Coleman-Norton and F. C. Bourne, Ancient Roman Statutes (1961), 9 ff. Hypercritical attempts to lower the date of the Tables to c. 300 B.C. (E. Pais, Storia critica di Roma) or even 200Google Scholar
  3. (E. Lambert, Nouvelle Revue de droit 1902, 149 ff.) have been rebuttedGoogle Scholar
  4. e.g. by A. H. J. Greenidge, Eng. Hist. Rev. 1905, 1 ff.).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    On the credibility of the early census returns see T. Frank, AJ Phil. 1930, 363 ff.Google Scholar
  6. The received figures in our manuscripts contain some obvious copyists’ errors. Those before 392 B.C. purport to include men, women and children. They are rejected by P. A. Brunt, Italian Manpower (1971), 27, who follows Beloch in believing that so primitive a state would not have collected statistics of this kind. However, a figure for the Servian census is given by the annalist Fabius Pictor and may go back to Timaeus who died in 260: see Pliny, NH, xxxiii. 42; Livy, i. 44.2. Cf. A. Momigliano, Terzo Contrib. 649 ff.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    The various surviving lists of consuls in the republican era, together with the Fasti Triumphales, will be found collected in Inscriptiones Italiae, xiii, pt i. An indispensable tool for all historians is T. R. S. Broughton, Magistrates of the Roman Republic (2 vols and Supplement, 1951–60), where all the known Republican magistrates are recorded, together with full references to the ancient sources for their activities.Google Scholar
  8. The Fasti are discussed by K. J. Beloch, Römische Geschichte bis zum Beginn der punischen Kriege (1926), 9 ff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 7.
    On the Tabula Pontificum and the Annales Maximi see J. E. A. Crake, Cl. Ph. 1940, 375 ff.;Google Scholar
  10. P. Fraccaro, JRS 1957, 59 ff.;Google Scholar
  11. J. P. V. D. Balsdon, Cl. Qu. 1953, 162 ff. The view, of Mommsen and others, that Scaevola’s edition was preceded by an earlier published edition is rejected by Crake, who also argues that Scaevola did not expand his material.Google Scholar
  12. For the suggestion that in practice the Annales Maximi were not much used by later writers see E. Rawson, Cl. Rev. 1971, 158 ff.Google Scholar
  13. 8.
    See L. G. Roberts, Memoirs of the American Academy at Rome, ii (1918), 55 ff. When Athens was burnt by the Persians in 480 and 479 the names of earlier eponymous magistrates survived.Google Scholar
  14. 13.
    Some of these legends attached to temples and holy places, yet they were popular rather than priestly. The official Roman religion had no mythology (M. Grant, Roman Myths (1971).Google Scholar
  15. 17.
    On the Roman annalists see the excellent essay by E. Badian in Latin Historians (ed. T. A. Dorey, 1966), ch. i, with the literature there cited. Cf. also the brief accounts by A. H. McDonald, OCD, s.v. Historiography and the individual annalists. See also notes below dealing with the various writers.Google Scholar
  16. The fragments themselves are collected in H. Peter, Historicorum Romanorum Reliquiae, vol. i2 (1914), with discussion in Latin. See also Ogilvie, Livy, introduction and passim; E. Gabba, ‘Considerazioni sulla tradizione letteraria sulle origini della Republica’, Entretiens Hardt, xiii, 135 ff.Google Scholar
  17. 22.
    On the attitude of Livy and Dionysius to early Rome see D. Musti, Tendenze nella storiografia romana e greca su Roma arcaica (1970)Google Scholar
  18. 23.
    Historia Plantarum, v. 8.2. Cf. A. Momigliano, Interpretations (ed. C. S. Singleton, 1969), 10 f.Google Scholar
  19. 26.
    The Fasti in Diodorus are printed by A. B. Drachmann, Diodorus: Römische Annalen bis 302 a. Chr. (1912).Google Scholar
  20. See also G. Perl, Kritische Untersuchungen zu Diodors römischer Jahrzahlung (1957)Google Scholar
  21. on which cf. E. S. Staveley, Cl. Rev. 1959, 158 ff.Google Scholar
  22. Bibliography by G. T. Griffith in Fifty Years of Classical Scholarship (ed. M. Platnauer, 1954), 190.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The representatives of the estate of the late M. Cary and H. H. Scullard 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Cary
    • 1
  • H. H. Scullard
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LondonUK

Personalised recommendations