Friday, 28 July 2017

Livy 40, 4: rather dead than humiliated.



Philip V of Macedon (238–179 BC) tried to resist Roman expansion, which resulted in two Macedonian Wars. Philip was rather paranoia and highly unpopular. Before and during the Second Macedonian War (200–197 BC) he had many noble men killed and resettled the population of various harbours to other places, lest they might open the ports for Roman ships, and filled those cities with loyal troops. To demonstrate Phillip’s cruelty Livy tells us a story otherwise unknown, but probably related in one of the lost books of the historian Polybius. Philip wanted to arrest the children of those men he killed, because he was afraid that when older they might try to assassinate him. One particular woman, Theoxena, is determined not to let this happen and is willing to kill herself and her children rather than deliver them in the hands of the king. When an attempt to escape by ship fails, she, her husband and her children commit suicide.
Especially in such anecdotes Livy is at his best as narrator.

Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, 40, 4

[4] Eam crudelitatem, foedam per se, foediorem unius domus clades fecit. Herodicum principem Thessalorum multis ante annis occiderat; generos quoque eius postea interfecit. in uiduitate relictae filiae singulos filios paruos habentes. Theoxena et Archo nomina iis erant mulieribus. Theoxena multis petentibus aspernata nuptias est: Archo Poridi cuidam, longe principi gentis Aenianum, nupsit et apud eum plures enixa partus, paruis admodum relictis omnibus, decessit. Theoxena, ut in suis manibus liberi sororis educarentur, Poridi nupsit; et tamquam omnes ipsa enixa foret, suum sororisque filios in eadem habebat cura. postquam regis edictum de comprehendendis liberis eorum, qui interfecti essent, accepit, ludibrio futuros non regis modo sed custodum etiam libidini rata ad rem atrocem animum adiecit ausaque est dicere se sua manu potius omnes interfecturam quam in potestatem Philippi uenirent. Poris abominatus mentionem tam foedi facinoris Athenas deportaturum eos ad fidos hospites dixit, comitemque ipsum fugae futurum esse. proficiscuntur ab Thessalonica Aeneam ad statum sacrificium, quod Aeneae conditori cum magna caerimonia quotannis faciunt. ibi die per sollemnes epulas consumpto nauem praeparatam a Poride sopitis omnibus de tertia uigilia conscendunt tamquam redituri [in] Thessalonicam: sed traicere in Euboeam erat propositum. ceterum in aduersum uentum nequiquam eos tendentes prope terram lux oppressit, et regii, qui praeerant custodiae portus, lembum armatum ad retrahendam eam nauem miserunt cum graui edicto, ne reuerterentur sine ea. cum iam appropinquabant, Poris quidem ad hortationem remigum nautarumque intentus erat; interdum manus ad caelum tendens deos, ut ferrent opem, orabat. ferox interim femina, ad multo ante praecogitatum reuoluta facinus, uenenum diluit ferrumque promit et posito in conspectu poculo strictisque gladiis 'mors' inquit 'una uindicta est. uiae ad mortem hae sunt: qua quemque animus fert, effugite superbiam regiam. agite, iuuenes mei, primum, qui maiores estis, capite ferrum aut haurite poculum, si segnior mors iuuat.' et hostes aderant et auctor mortis instabat. alii alio leto absumpti semianimes e naue praecipitantur. ipsa deinde uirum comitem mortis complexa in mare sese deiecit. naue uacua dominis regii potiti sunt.

eam crudilitatem: the arrest of children
foedus: horrible
clades cladis (f.): misfortune
Herodicus: not further known
gener generi: son-in-law
viduitas viduitatis (f.): widowhood
multis petentibus: either abl abs `though many asking’ or dative with  nuptias: rejected  (aspernor) a marriage with all asking
Poridi cuidam: some Poris. The story is completely focussed on Theoxena
gentis Aenianum: the inhabitants of Aenea? But these are called Aenii. May be the name of the inhabitants of Aenia having settled in Tessalonica
plures enixa partus: having brought forth (enitor enixus) many offspring
paruis admodum relictis omnibus: all left behind still small
in suis manibus: in her care, under her supervision
edictum accepit: she heard the edict
de comprehendendis liberis: about the children to be taken prisoner
ludibrio futuros non regis modo sed custodum etiam libidini rata: thinking (reor ratus) her (children) not only to be (futuros, suppl. liberos) an object of derision (ludibrio and libinini are predicative datives) for the king, but even an object of lust for their guards
audeo ausus: to dare
abominor abominatus (+ acc.): to be horrified
facinus facinoris (n.): crime
comitem ipsum futurum: to be himself their companion
statum sacrificium: the ordained sacrifice
Aeneae conditori: according to tradition Aeneas founded Aenea when he fled from Troy
quotannis: every four years
epulae epularum: banquet
sopitis omnibus: when all were asleep (sopio)
tertia vigilia: the night was divided in four vigiliae
erat propositum: it was planned
ceterum in aduersum uentum nequiquam eos tendentes prope terram lux oppressit: but the light caught them struggling in vain against an opposing wind near land
regii: the king’s troops
qui praeerant custodiae portus: who were in charge for guarding (litt: till guard) the harbour
lembus: fast ship, cutter
ea (nave)
ad hortationem remigum nautarumque intentus: busy with encouraging the oarsmen and sailors
fero opem: to bring help
ad multo ante praecogitatum reuoluta facinus: returned to the crime long planned before
venenum: poison
diluo dilui dilutum: to dissolve
ferrumque promit: and drew a sword
poculum: cup
gladiis strictis: unsheathed swords
vindicta: deliverance
qua quemque animus fert: by what the mind brings to each
segnior mors: a slower death by poison was seen as less courageous
auctor mortis instabat: the promotor of death was pressing
alii alio leto absumpti: the various (children) being killed by a various death
semianimis: half-alive
uirum comitem mortis: her husband as a companion in death
complector complexus: to embrace
vacuus (+ abl.): free from, without
potior potitus (+ gen. acc. or abl.): to become master of