Ancient Reports of the Etruscans, c. 800 BCE - 10 CE

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Homeric Hymns c 750 BCE (Traditionally assigned to Homer)

VII To Dionysus:

"...Presently there came swiftly over the sparkling sea Tyrsenian pirates on a well- decked ship -- a miserable doom led them on. When they saw him they made signs to one another and sprang out quickly, and seizing him straightway, put him on board their ship exultingly; for they thought him the son of heaven-nurtured kings. They sought to bind him with rude bonds, but the bonds would not hold him, and the withes fell far away from his hands and feet: and he sat with a smile in his dark eyes. Then the helmsman understood all and cried out at once to his fellows and said:

(ll. 17-24) `Madmen! What god is this whom you have taken and bind, strong that he is? Not even the well-built ship can carry him. Surely this is either Zeus or Apollo who has the silver bow, or Poseidon, for he looks not like mortal men but like the gods who dwell on Olympus. Come, then, let us set him free upon the dark shore at once: do not lay hands on him, lest he grow angry and stir up dangerous winds and heavy squalls.'

(ll. 25-31) So said he: but the master chid him with taunting words: `Madman, mark the wind and help hoist sail on the ship: catch all the sheets. As for this fellow we men will see to him: I reckon he is bound for Egypt or for Cyprus or to the Hyperboreans or further still. But in the end he will speak out and tell us his friends and all his wealth and his brothers, now that providence has thrown him in our way.'

(ll. 32-54) When he had said this, he had mast and sail hoisted on the ship, and the wind filled the sail and the crew hauled taut the sheets on either side. But soon strange things were seen among them. First of all sweet, fragrant wine ran streaming throughout all the black ship and a heavenly smell arose, so that all the seamen were seized with amazement when they saw it. And all at once a vine spread out both ways along the top of the sail with many clusters hanging down from it, and a dark ivy-plant twined about the mast, blossoming with flowers, and with rich berries growing on it; and all the thole-pins were covered with garlands. When the pirates saw all this, then at last they bade the helmsman to put the ship to land. But the god changed into a dreadful lion there on the ship, in the bows, and roared loudly: amidships also he showed his wonders and created a shaggy bear which stood up ravening, while on the forepeak was the lion glaring fiercely with scowling brows. And so the sailors fled into the stern and crowded bemused about the right-minded helmsman, until suddenly the lion sprang upon the master and seized him; and when the sailors saw it they leapt out overboard one and all into the bright sea, escaping from a miserable fate, and were changed into dolphins. But on the helmsman Dionysus had mercy and held him back and made him altogether happy, saying to him:

(ll. 55-57) `Take courage, good...; you have found favour with my heart. I am loud-crying Dionysus whom Cadmus' daughter Semele bare of union with Zeus.'"


The Histories, c. 430 BCE, I.94

The Lydians have very nearly the same customs as the Hellenes, with the exception that these last do not bring up their girls the same way. So far as we have any knowledge, the Lydians were the first to introduce the use of gold and silver coin, and the first who sold good retail. They claim also the invention of all the games which are common to them with the Hellenes. These they declare that they invented about the time when they colonized Tyrrhenia [i.e., Etruria], an event of which they give the following account. In the days of Atys the son of Manes, there was great scarcity through the whole land of Lydia. For some time the Lydians bore the affliction patiently, but finding that it did not pass away, they set to work to devise remedies for the evil. Various expedients were discovered by various persons: dice, knuckle-bones, and ball, and all such games were invented, except checkers, the invention of which they do not claim as theirs. The plan adopted against the famine was to engage in games one day so entirely as not to feel any craving for food, and the next day to eat and abstain from games. In this way they passed eighteen years.

Still the affliction continued, and even became worse. So the king determined to divide the nation in half, and to make the two portions draw lots, the one to stay, the other to leave the land. He would continue to reign over those whose lot it should be to remain behind; the emigrants should have his son Tyrrhenus for their leader. The lot was cast, and they who had to emigrate went down to Smyrna, and built themselves ships, in which, after they had put on board all needful stores, they sailed away in search of new homes and better sustenance. After sailing past many countries, they came to Umbria, where they built cities for themselves, and fixed their residence. Their former name of Lydians they laid aside, and called themselves after the name of the king=s son, who led the colony, Tyrrhenians.



(415/4 BC. Athenian expedition to Sicily)

Supplies for the army were now being brought in from all parts of Italy; many of the Sikels, who had been waiting to see how things progressed, now allied with the Athenians, who were reinforced by 53 ships from Etruria.


History of Rome, c. 10 CE

Book 5.1: The coming of peace elsewhere found Rome and Veii facing each other with such hatred and ferocity that none could doubt that defeat for either would mean extinction. Elections in the two cities revealed wide differences of policy in each: the Romans increased the number of their military tribunes to an unprecendented number of eight..... The Veientines, on the other hand, tired of the annual canvassing for office, elected a king. This gave great offence to the Etruscan cantons, owing to their hatred of monarchy and their personal aversion to the one who was elected. He was already obnoxious to the nation through his pride of wealth and overbearing temper, for he had put a violent stop to the festival of the Games, the interruption of which is an act of impiety. The Etruscans as a nation were distinguished above all others by their devotion to religious observances, because they excelled in the knowledge and conduct of them....

Book 7.2. But the violence of the epidemic was not alleviated by any aid from either men or gods, and it is asserted that as men's minds were completely overcome by superstitious terrors they introduced, amongst other attempts to placate the wrath of heaven, scenic representations, a novelty to a nation of warriors who had hitherto only had the games of the Circus. They began, however, in a small way, as nearly everything does, and small as they were, they were borrowed from abroad. The players were sent for from Etruria; there were no words, no mimetic action; they danced to the measures of the flute and practiced graceful movements in Etruscan fashion. Afterwards the young men began to imitate them, exercising their wit on each other in burlesque verses, and suiting their action to their words. This became an established diversion, and was kept up by frequent practice. The Etruscan word for an actor is istrio, and so the native performers were called histriones. These did not, as in former times, throw out rough extempore effusions like the Fescennine verse, but they chanted satyrical verses quite metrically arranged and adapted to the notes of the flute, and these they accompanied with appropriate movements.

4.37. During this year [423 BC] an incident is said to have happened which. although not connected with Roman history, is nevertheless of interest. The Etruscan city of Volturnum was taken by the Samnites, who gave it its modern name of Capua. This name is supposed to have been derived from that of their leader, Capys; but it is more likely to have been descriptive of the region in which it lies - campus or 'plain'. The seizure of the city took place in an unusually horrible manner: the Samnites, had been allowed by the Etruscans, whose strength had been drained by war, to share in the amenities of the city and in the working of its territory, and one night, after a public holiday, when the Etruscans were sleeping off the effects, they set upon them and slaughtered them.

Several years later Livius for the first time abandoned the loose satyrical verses and ventured to compose a play with a coherent plot. Like all his contemporaries, he acted in his own plays, and it is said that when he had worn out his voice by repeated recalls he begged leave to place a second player in front of the flutist to sing the monologue while he did the acting, with all the more energy because his voice no longer embarrassed him. Then the practice commenced of the chanter following the movements of the actors, the dialogue alone being left to their voices. When, by adopting this method in the presentation of pieces, the old farce and loose jesting was given up and the play became a work of art, the young people left the regular acting to the professional players and began to improvise comic verses. These were subsequently known as exodia [after-pieces], and were mostly worked up into the Atellane Plays. These farces were of Oscan origin, and were kept by the young men in their own hands; they would not allow them to be polluted by the regular actors.

Polybios 2.17

The Etruscans were the oldest inhabitants of this plain [the Po valley] at the same time as they also controlled the Phlegraean plain, close to Capua and Nola, which is accessible and well-known to many people, and has such a reputation for fertility. Those people, therefore, who want to understand the power of the Etruscans should look not at the region which they now inhabit, but at these plains and the resources they drew from them.

Diodurus Sicolus, Bibliotheke c. 60 - 30 BCE

3.59, 61

59. The last battle between the Etruscans and the Romans was fought near the city of Eretum in the territory of the Sabines. For the Etruscans had been persuaded by their leading men (dynastoi) to march through this country on their expedition against the Romans, on the assurance that the Sabines would join them in this war. [… Rome defeats the Sabines and Etruscans …] It broke the spirit of the Etruscans, who, after sending out all the forces from every city to the war, received back safely only a few out of that great number. For some were cut down in battle, while others who found themselves in rough territory from which they could not escape, surrendered to their conquerors. The leading men of their cities, having met with such misfortune, acted with prudence. For when King Tarquinius led another army against them, they met in a general assembly and voted to negotiate about ending the war. They sent him the oldest and most honoured men from each city, giving them full power to settle the t erms of the peace.

61. The envoys, having received this answer [i.e. to hand over symbols of sovereignty to Rome] left, and returned after a few days, not only with words, but also bringing the insignia of sovereignty with which they decorated their own kings. These were a golden crown, an ivory throne, a sceptre with an eagle perched on it, a purple tunic embroidered with gold, and an embroidered purple robe like those the kings of Persia and Lydia wore except that it was not rectangular like theirs, but semicircular. This kind of robe is called a toga by the Romans and a tebenna by the Greeks … and according to some historians, they also brought to Tarquinius the twelve axes, taking one from each city. For it seems to have been an Etruscan custom for the king of each city to have been preceded by a lictor bearing an axe together with the bundle of rods, and whenever the twelve cities undertook a joint military expedition, for the twelve axes to be given to the one man who was invested with absolute power.

5.40. It mow remains for us to speak of the Etruscans. This people, excelling as they did in manly vigour, possessed great territory in ancient times and founded many notable cities. Because they possessed great naval forces and were masters of the sea for a long time, they caused the sea along that coast of Italy to be named they Tyrhennian Sea, after them; and because they also perfected the organisation of land forces, they were the inventors of the salpinx, as it is called, an invention of the greatest usefulness in war, and named the 'Etruscan trumpet', after them. They were also the originators of that dignity which surrounds rulers, providing them with lictors and an ivory chair and a toga with a purple band.

19.106.2 Accordingly [the Carthaginians] at once prepared 130 triremes, chose Hamilcar - one of their most distinguished men - as general and gave him 2000 citizen troops, including many nobles, 10,000 Libyans, 1,000 mercenaries and 200 cavalry from Etruria …

(311 BC. War between Sicily and Carthage.)

XX. Sextus, the son of Lucius Tarquinius (Superbus), the king of the Romans,1 left2 and came to the city of Collatia, as it was called, and stopped at the home of Lucius Tarquinius,3 a cousin of the king, whose wife was Lucretia, a woman of great beauty and virtuous in character. And Lucretia's husband being with the army in camp, the guest, awakening, left his bed-room during the night and set out to the wife who was sleeping in a certain chamber. [2] And suddenly taking his stand at the door and drawing his sword, he announced that he had a slave all ready for slaughter, and that he would slay her together with the slave, as having been taken in adultery and having received at the hand of her husband's nearest of kin the punishment she deserved. Therefore, he continued, it would be the wiser thing for her to submit to his desires without calling out, and as a reward for her favour she would receive great gifts and be his wife and become queen, exchanging the hearth of a private citizen for the first pl ace in the state.

Lucretia, panic-stricken at so unexpected a thing and fearing that men would in truth believe that she had been slain because of adultery, made no outcry at the time. But when the day came and Sextus departed, she summoned her kinsmen and asked them not to allow the man to go unpunished who had sinned against the laws both of hospitality and of kinship. As for herself, she said, it was not proper for the victim of a deed of such wanton insolence to look upon the sun, and plunging a dagger into her breast she slew herself.

XXII. King Lucius Tarquinius ruled in a tyrannical and violent fashion and made it his practice to slay the wealthy citizens among the Romans, advancing false charges against them in order to appropriate their possessions. Consequently Lucius Junius (Brutus), since he was an orphan and the wealthiest of all the Romans, for both these reasons viewed with mistrust Tarquin's grasping ambition; and because he was the king's nephew and therefore close to him on every occasion, he acted the part of a stupid person, his purpose being both to avoid arousing envy because of any ability of his, and at the same time to observe, without rousing suspicion, whatever was taking place and to watch for the favourable moment to strike at the royal power.

Velleius Paterculus 1.7

I now come to an event relating to our own history, one in which there has been much error and in which the views of the authorities show great discrepancies: For some hold that about this time, 830 years ago, Capua and Nola were founded by the Etruscans. I am personally inclined to agree with these, but the opinion of M. Cato is very different. He admits that Capua, and later Nola, were founded by the Etruscans, but claims that Capua had only been in existence for around 260 years before its capture by the Romans. If this is so, since it is only 240 years since it was captured, it is only 500 years since it was founded.

Strabo, Geographia, 6.2.2-3 c. 15 CE (writing of c. 8th Cent BCE

According to Ephorus, these were the earliest Greek cities to be founded in Sicily, that is, in the tenth generation after the Trojan war; for before that time men were so afraid of the bands of Etruscan pirates and the savagery of the barbarians in this region that they would not even sail there to trade.

Strabo, Geographia 5.2.3

And still to be recorded are the achievements of the people of Caere: they defeated in war those Gauls who had captured Rome, having attacked them when they were in the country of the Sabini on their way back, and also took away as booty from the Gauls, against their will, what the Romans had willingly given them; in addition to this, they saved all who fled to them for refuge from Rome, and the immortal fire, and the priestesses of Vesta. … Among the Greeks, however, this city was in good repute both for bravery and for righteousness; for it not only abstained from all piracy, although particularly well fitted therefore, but also set up at Pytho [Delphi] what is called 'the treasury of the Agyllaei'; for what is now Caere was formerly called Agylla, and is said to have been founded by Pelasgi who had come from Thessaly.

Strabo, Geography 5.2.8

And Pyrgi, which is a settlement of the Pelasgi, has a temple of Eilethyia; it was once rich but was robbed by Dionysios, the tyrant of the Sicilians, on his expedition to Corsica.

6.2.2-3. According to Ephorus, these were the earliest Greek cities to be founded in Sicily, that is, in the tenth generation after the Trojan war; for before that time men were so afraid of the bands of Etruscan pirates and the savagery of the barbarians in this region that they would not even sail there to trade.

Vegoia's Prophecy

Tarquitius c. 91BCE

You should know that the sea is separated from the earth. When Jupiter claimed the land of Etruria for himself, he decided and commanded the fields to be surveyed and the lands marked out. Knowing the covetousness of man and his worldly greed, he wanted the boundaries of everything to be marked by boundary stones. Those which at any time anyone has placed because of the greed of this eighth - almost the latest - saeculum, arrogating to themselves licence, men with wrongful deceit will violate, touch and move. But if anyone touches or moves a boundary stone, extending his own possessions or diminishing those of someone else, for this crime he will be condemned by the gods. If slaves shall do this, they shall be moved to a lower status by their owner. But if this is done with the knowledge of the master, the household will be immediately uprooted, and the whole of his family will perish. The people responsible will be afflicted by the worst diseases and wounds and their limbs will be weakened. Then even the land will be shaken by storms or whirlwinds and many landslips. The crops will be frequently laid low and cut down by rain and hail, they will perish in the heat of the summer, they will be killed off by blight. There will be civil strife amongst the people. Know that these things happen, when such crimes are committed. Therefore do not be either a deceitful or treacherous. Place restraint in your heart. Probably c.91 BCE. Supposed prophecy of the nymph Vegoia, preserved in corpus of Roman land surveys and probably dating to the late Republic, although purporting to be much earlier. The text indicates social tension and an extreme concern to protect traditional boundaries.


De Architectura 1.7

Those [temples] which are dedicated to gods who protect the city, and those sacred to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva should be on the very highest point, commanding a vista of the greater part of the city walls. The temple of Mercury should be close to the forum, or in the market, like those of Isis and Serapis; those of Apollo and Bacchus should be near the theatre; that of Hercules should be near the circus, if there is no gymnasium; the temple of Mars should be outside the city, near the military practice field, and that of Venus outside the city close to the harbour.

The writings of the Etruscan haruspices also say that sanctuaries of Venus, Mars and Vulcan should be located outside the city, so that youths and married women in the city do not become used to the pleasures of the flesh; and that by summoning the powers of Volcanus outside the walls with rituals and sacrifices, the buildings may seem to be freed from fear of fires. Since the divinity of Mars is dedicated outside the walls, there will not be armed quarrels amongst the citizens and yet he will keep the walls defended from danger of war. Similarly, a place outside the city should be given to Ceres, and men must always - unless by sacrifice - approach her by this title [i.e. Ceres extra urbem]; this place must always be kept piously and with chaste and reverent manners. Sites fit for temples appropriate to the method of sacrifice are to be set out for other gods.

De Architectura 3.3

The designs of the buildings are themselves wide, top-heavy, low and broad. The pediments are decorated with statues of terracotta and gilded bronze in the Etruscan fashion …

Dionysios of Halicarnassus,1st Century BCE writing of 6th Century BCE

Roman Antiquities, 4.49

As a way of ensuring that the treaties made with those cities might last forever, Tarquinius decided to assign a temple for the joint use of the Romans, Latins, Hernicians, and those of the Volscians who had entered into the alliance, so that by gathering together each year at the appointed place, they might celebrate a common festival, feast together and share in joint sacrifices. Since this proposal was gladly accepted by them all, he nominated as the place of assembly a high mountain located almost in the centre of these peoples, and commanding the city of the Albani; he enacted a law that an annual festival should be celebrated upon this mountain, during which they should all refrain from acts of war against all the others, and should make joint sacrifices to Jupiter Latiaris, as he is named, and should feast together, and he laid down the share which each city was to contribute to these sacrifices, and the share that each was to receive. The cities which shared in this festival and these sacrifices numbe red forty-seven. The Romans celebrate these festivals and sacrifices to this day, and call them Latin festivals; some of the cities which take part bring lambs, some cheeses, and others a certain quantity of milk, and others offerings of similar kind. One bull is sacrificed jointly by all of them, with each city receiving its designated share of meat. The sacrifices which they offer are on behalf of all cities, and the Romans oversee them.

7.5-8. ..the Etruscans who had inhabited the country lying near the Ionian Gulf, but had been driven from thence in the course of time by the Gauls, joined themselves to the Umbrians, Daunians, and many other barbarians, and undertook to overthrow Cumae, the Greek city in the country of the Opicans founded by Eretrians and Chalcidians, though they could allege no other just ground for their animosity than the prosperity of the city. For Cumae was at that time celebrated throughout all Italy for its riches, power, and all the other advantages, as it possessed the most fertile part of the Campanian plain and was mistress of the most convenient havens round about Misenum. The barbarians, accordingly, forming designs upon these advantages, marched against this city with an army consisting of no less than 500,000 foot and 18,000 horse. While they lay encamped not far from the city, a remarkable prodigy appeared to them, the like of which is not recorded as ever having happened anywhere in either the Greek or the barbaria n world. The rivers, namely, which ran near their camp, one of which is called the Volturnus and the other the Glanis, abandoning their natural course, turned their streams backwards and for a long time continued to run up from their mouths toward their sources. The Cumaeans, being informed of this prodigy, were then at last encouraged to engage with the barbarians, in the assurance that Heaven designed to bring low the lofty eminence of their foes and to raise their own fortunes, which seemed at low ebb. And […] having been the chief cause of the victory; but Aristodemus, nicknamed Malacus, distinguished himself above all the rest, for he alone sustained the attack of the enemy and slew their general as well as many other brave men. When the war was at an end and the Cumaeans had offered sacrifices to the gods in thanksgiving for their victory and had given a splendid burial to those who had been slain in the battle, they fell into great strife concerning the prize for valour, disputing to whom they ought to award the first crown. For the impartial judges wished to bestow this honour upon Aristodemus, and the people were all on his side; but the men in power desired to confer it upon Hippomedon, the commander of the horse, and the whole senate championed his cause. The Cumaeans were at that time governed by an aristocracy, and the people were not in control of many matters. And when a sedition arose because of this strife, the older men, fearing that the rivalry might proceed to arms and bloodshed, prevailed on both parties to consent that each of the men should receive equal honours. From this beginning Aristodemus became a champion of the people, and having cultivated proficiency in political oratory, he seduced the mob by his harangues, improved their condition by popular measures, exposed the powerful men who were appropriating the public property, and relieved many of the poor with his own money. By this means he became both odious and formidable to the leading men of the aristocracy.

When the barbarians learned that they were ready to fight, they uttered their war-cry and came to close quarters, in the barbarian fashion, without any order, the horse and foot intermingled, in the expectation of utterly annihilating the Greeks. The place before the city where they engaged was a narrow defile surrounded by mountains and lakes, a terrain favourable to the valour of the Cumaeans and unfavourable to the multitude of the barbarians. For they were knocked down and trampled upon by one another in many parts of the field, but particularly around the marshy edges of the lake, so that the greater part of them were destroyed by their own forces without even engaging the battle-line of the Greeks. Thus their huge army of foot defeated itself, and without performing any brave action dispersed and fled in every direction. The horse, however, engaged and gave the Greeks great trouble; yet being unable to surround their enemies by reason of the narrow space, and Heaven also rendering the Greeks some assist ance with lightning, rain and thunder they were seized with fear and turned to flight. […]

the barbarians ambassadors from the Aricians came to the Cumaeans with the tokens of suppliants to beg their assistance against the Etruscans who were making war upon them. For, as I related in an earlier book, Porsenna, king of the Etruscans, after making peace with Rome, had sent out his son Arruns with one half of the army when the youth desired to acquire a dominion for himself. Arruns, then, at the in question was besieging the Aricians, whom he had forced to take refuge inside their walls, and he expected to capture the city soon by famine. When this embassy arrived, the leading men of the aristocracy, who hated Aristodemus and feared he might do some harm to the established government, thought they had got a very fine opportunity to get rid of him under a specious pretence. They accordingly persuaded the people to send 2,000 men to the aid of the Aricians and appointed Aristodemus as general, ostensibly because of his brilliant military achievements; after which they took such measures as they supp osed would result in his either being destroyed in battle by the Etruscans or perishing at sea. For being empowered by the senate to raise the forces that were to be sent as auxiliaries, they enrolled no men of distinction or reputation; but choosing out the poorest and the most unprincipled of the common people from whom they were under continual apprehension of some uprisings, they made up out of these the complement of men who were to be sent upon the expedition. And launching ten old ships that were most unseaworthy and were commanded by the poorest of the Cumaeans, they embarked the forces on board these ships, threatening with death anyone who should fail to enlist.

Aristodemus, merely remarking that he was not ignorant of the purpose of his enemies, namely, that in word they were sending him to the assistance of the Aricians, but in fact to manifest destruction, accepted the command, and hastily setting sail with the ambassadors of the Aricians, and accomplishing the voyage over the intervening sea with great difficulty and danger, came to anchor at points along the coast nearest to Aricia. And leaving a sufficient number of men on board to guard the ships, on the first night he made the march, which was not a long one, from the sea to the city and appeared unexpectedly to the inhabitants at dawn. Then, encamping near the city and persuading the citizens who had fled for refuge inside the walls to come out into the open, he promptly challenged the Tyrrhenians to battle. And a sharp engagement ensuing, the Aricians after a very short resistance all gave way and again fled inside the walls. But Aristodemus with a small body of chosen Cumaeans sustained the united shock of the enemy, and having slain the general of the Etruscans with his own hand, put the rest to flight and gained the most glorious of all victories. After he had performed these achievements and been honoured with many presents by the Aricians, he sailed home immediately, desiring to be himself the messenger to the Cumaeans of his victory. He was followed by a great number of merchantmen belonging to the Aricians, laden with the spoils and prisoners taken from the Etruscans. When they arrived near Cumae, he brought his ships to shore, and assembling his army, inveighed vehemently against the chief men of the city and bestowed many praises upon the soldiers who had distinguished themselves in the battle; and having given money to every one of them man by man and placed at the joint disposal of all of them the presents he had received from the Aricians, he asked that they should remember these favours when they returned home, and if he should be threatened with any danger from the oligarchy, that every one of the m should assist him to the utmost of his power. Then, when all acknowledged themselves to be under great obligations to him, not only for their unexpected preservation which they owed to him, but also for their not returning home with empty hands, and promised to sacrifice their own lives sooner than to abandon him to his enemies, he commended them and dismissed the assembly. After this he called into his tent those among them who were the most unprincipled and the most daring in action, and by means of largesses, fair words, and hopes which seduce all men, he bribed them in readiness to assist him in overthrowing the established government.


Extract from the Lugdunum Tablet (inscription recording a speech to the Senate by the Emperor Claudius in the 40's AD).

If we follow Roman authorities, Servius Tullius' mother was a prisoner of war, Ocresia; if we follow Etruscan authorities, he was once the most faithful companion of Caelius Vibenna and took part in all his adventures; subsequently, driven out by a change of fortune, he left Etruria with all the remnants of the army of Caelius and occupied the Caelian hill, naming it thus after his leader Caelius; Servius changed his name (for his name in Etruscan was Mastarna? and was called by the name I have used and he obtained the throne, to the very great advantage of the state.

Pausanias 5.12.5

As to dedications inside the temple or in the porch, there is the throne of Arimnestos, King of the Etruscans, who was the first barbarian ever to give a dedication to Zeus at Olympia.

Plutarch, Life of Ti. Gracchus 8

His brother Gaius, however, has written in a political pamphlet that while Tiberius was travelling through Etruria to Numantia, he saw how the countryside had been deserted by its inhabitants, and how those who farmed the land or herded the flocks were barbarian slaves introduced from abroad. It was this experience which inspired the policy which later brought so many misfortunes on the two brothers.

The Greek Language Historians
Work [Usual English Form] 


The Illiad 

[Not exactly a history but the an important contributor to the later Greek historiographical tradition] 

Mythical Trojan war
Hekataeos of Miletos 

 c 500 BCE

Periegesis or Guide [fragments survive] 

Histories or Geneaologies 

guide to a map of the world
Hellanicus of Lesbos;


Attic History

c.500-c.415 BCE
Herodotos of Halicarnassus;

 c.490-c.425 BCE

The Histories [in 9 books] 

ed. W.W. How and J. Wells, (Oxford: 1912) 

ed. and English translation, A.D. Godley, Loeb Classical Library, 4 Vols, (London and New York: 19 ) 

English translation 

Mid-6th Cent - 478 BCE, with many historical digressions [e.g. Book 2 on history of Egypt] 

c.460-c.399 BCE

History of the Peloponnesian War [in 8 books] 

ed., (Oxford: 19) 

ed. and English translation, 4 Vols., C.F. Smith, Loeb Classical Library, (London and New York: 19 ) 

English translation 

479-411 BCE 

 Wars of Greek City States

Theopompos of Chios;

378 BCE

Life of Philip

continued Thukydides

[now lost];

378 - 305 BCE


also continued Thukydides

[now lost];

4th Century BCE
Timaeus of Tauromenium

 356 BCE

History (Sicily)

[now lost];

356 - 260 BCE

 c428-c.352 BCE

Anabasis or The Persian Expedition 

ed. and English translation, C.L. Brownson, Loeb Classical Library, (London and New York: 19 ) 

English trans, Rex Warner, (New York: Penguin, 1949, new ed. 1972) 

The Hellenica 

[continues Thukydides] 

ed. and English translation, C.L. Brownson, Loeb Classical Library, (London and New York: 19 ) 

English trans. as A History of My Times, by , (New York: Penguin, 19 ) 

401-399 BCE 

Greek mercenaries for Persia 

411-362 BCE 


 436 BCE

Exchange of Property (Antidosis)



436 - 338 BC
Ephoros of Cyme 

 b.c. 405

Universal History [in 30 books, all now lost, but used in books 11-16 of Diodoros Sikulos]]  400-341 BCE 

history of cities of Greece and Asia Minor 


 384-322 BCE

The Athenian Constitution [part of a collected study of the constitutions of 158 Greek cities by A's students. Only this survives, recovered from an Egyptian papyrus in 1890] 

ed. and English translation, H. Rackham, Loeb Classical Library, (London and New York: 19 ) 

English trans. 

Hieronymous of Cardia 

 3rd Cent BCE

History [Lost, but used by Diodoros Sikulos, Arrian, and Plutarch]  323-272 (poss 263) BCE 

After death of Alexander 

Manetho of Heiropolis 

 3rc Cent BCE

History of Egypt [survives in fragments] 

ed. and English translation, W.G. Wadell, Loeb Classical Library, (London and New York: 19 ) 

Egyptian origins to 323 BCE

c.200-c.118 BCE

Universal History [in 40 books, 5 survive complete plus substantial parts of others.] 

ed. and English translation, W.R. Paton, Loeb Classical Library, 6 Vols, (London and New York: 19 ) 

Partial English trans, Ian Scott-Kilvert, (New York: Penguin, 1979) 

220-146 BCE, but esp after 200 

 Rise of Roman Empire 

Q Fabius Pictor (wrote in Greek)


Roman History

[mostly lost];

2nd Century BCE

 c. 160 CE

Roman History [24 books, 9 survive] 

ed. and English translation, Horace White, Loeb Classical Library, 4 Vols, (London and New York: 19 ) 

German trans. Romische Geschichte / Appian von Alexandria ; ubersetzt von Otto Veh ; durchgesehen, eingeleitet und erlautert von Kai Brodersen, (Stuttgart : A. Hiersemann, 1987-1989), Bibliothek der griechischen Literatur Bd. 23, 27. 

earliest times to Vespasian, most valuable for 146-70BCE 
Diodoros Sikulos 

1st Cent BCE

Biblitheke historia or World History [written bet 60 and 30 BCE] [Survives in part - a complet copy perished during capture of CP in 1453] 


ed. and English translation, C.H. Oldfather, C.L. Sherman, C.B. Welles, Russel M. Geer, F.R. Walton, Loeb Classical Library, 12 Vols, (London and New York: 19 ) 

German trans. Griechische Weltgeschichte : Buch I-X / Diodoros ; ubersetzt von Gerhard Wirth (Buch I-III) und Otto Veh (Buch IV-X); eingeleitet und kommentiert von Thomas Nothers, 2 vols. (Stuttgart : A. Hiersemann, 1992-1993). Bibliothek der griechischen Literatur Bd. 34-35. 

earliest times to 54BCE
Amaseia, Pontus Strabo

c 63 BC- c 26 CE

Historical Sketches (mostly lost)


Quoted Polybius and Posidonius, Apollodorus of Athens and Demetrius of Scepsis

Mythical times - 31 BCE
Dionysios of Halikarnassos 

1st Cent BCE 

Romaike Archiologia or Roman Antiquities [Books 1-9, and parts of 11 and 12 survive. It went up to where Polybios began] 

ed. and English translation, trans Spelman, rev. E. Cary, Loeb Classical Library, 7 Vols, (London and New York: 19 ) 

Mythical times to 264 BCE , although only survives to 441 BCE 
Josephus Flavius 

 37-d.p.93 CE

The Jewish War [originally in Aramaic] 

Antiquities of the Jews 

ed. of Works with English translation, S. St.-J. Thackery, Ralph Marcus, Allen Wikgren, and L.H. Feldman, Loeb Classical Library, 9 Vols, (London and New York: 19 ) 

English trans. The Jewish War, by G.A. Williamson, rev.ed., (New York: Penguin, 1970) 


Adam to 66 CE


 46-120 CE

Parallel Lives [23 pairs of lives, and 4 single lives] 


ed. and English translation, B. Perrin, Loeb Classical Library, 11 Vols, (London and New York: 19 ) 

English trans, John Dryden, in multiple editions. 

Figures from Greek and Roman history

 b. 85/80 CE

Anabasis or Campaigns of Alexander the Great [in 7 books with a 8th descriving India] 

ed. and English translation, P. Brunt and E. Iliffe Robson, Loeb Classical Library, 2 Vols, (London and New York: 19 ) [based on a bad text - see comments in Penguin edition.] 

English trans, Aubrey de Sélincourt, rev. J.R. Hamilton, (New York: Penguin, 1971) 

Events After Alexander [in 10 books, only first 2 years survive.] 

Parthian History [in 17 books, fragments survive] 

History of Bithynia [fragments survive] 

334-323 BCE 

323- BCE 

Trajan's campaigns 

earliest times to 74 BCE 

Dio Cassius [or Cassius Dio] 


Roman History 

critical ed. U.P. Boissevin, 5 vols, (Berlin: 1895-1931) 

ed. and English translation, E. Cary, Loeb Classical Library, 9 Vols, (London and New York: 1914-1927) 

Partial English trans [books 50-56, 32BC-14CE], Ian Scott-Kilvert, (New York: Penguin, 1987) 

727BCE-3rd Cent CE 

 Portions 64BCE-46CE survive 

 Foundation of Rome to 3rd century CE 

Herodion of Syria 

 fl. c. 230CE

History of the Empire From the Time of Marcus [in 8 books] 

ed. and English translation, C.R. Whittaker, Loeb Classical Library, 2 Vols, (London and New York: 1914-1927) 

180-238 CE 

 Death of Marcus Aurelius to accession of Gordian III 


Latin Sources

 wrote btw 168 and 149 BCE

Origines [fragments]   
Cassius Hemina Annals   
Calpurnius Piso Annals   

86-c.35 BCE

The Jurgathine War 

Conspiracy of Catiline 

ed. and English translation, J.C. Rolfe, Loeb Classical Library, (London and New York: 19 ) 

English trans. (New York: Penguin, 19) 

63 BCE
Cicero Opera  


History of Rome [142 books, of which 35 survive] 

ed. and English translation, B.O> Foster, F.G. Moore, Evan T. Sage, A.C. Schelsinger and R.M. Geer, Loeb Classical Library, 14 Vols, (London and New York: 19 ) 

English translation - various long sections in Penguin volumes trans, Aubrey de Sélincourt 

Foundation of Rome to 9BCE
Julius Caesar 


Gallic Wars or The Conquest of Gaul [8 books, only first 7 by Caesar, 8th by Aulus Hirtius] 

ed. and English translation, H.J. Edwards, Loeb Classical Library, (London and New York: 19 ) 

English trans. S. A. Hanford, rev. Jame Gardner, (New York: Penguin, 1982) 

The Civil War 

ed. and English translation, A.G. Peskett, Loeb Classical Library, (London and New York: 19 ) 

English trans. (New York: Penguin, 19 ) 

58-52 BCE
Quintus Curtius Rufus 

 1st Cent CE

History of Alexander the Great [in ten books, first 2 are lost] 

English trans, (Baltimore: Penguin, 19 ) 

334-323 BCE
Cornelius Tacitus 

 c 56-c.120 CE


English trans. Michael Grant, (Baltimore: Penguin, 1956) 

The Histories 

ed. Histories and Annals with English translation, C.H. Moore and J. Jackson, Loeb Classical Library, 4 Vols, (London and New York: 19 ) 

The Germania 

ed. and English translation, M. Hutton, Loeb Classical Library, (London and New York: 19 ) 

English translation 

14-68 CE 

68-96 CE 


 c.69-c.140 CE

Lives, or The Twelve Caesars 

ed. and English translation, J.C. Rolfe, Loeb Classical Library, (London and New York: 19 ) 

English trans. Robert Graves, (Baltimore: Penguin, 1957) 

100BCE-96 CE 

 Julius Caesar to Domitian 



Breviarum ab urbe condita. 

English trans: The breviarum ab urbe condita of Eutropius : the right honourable secretary of state for general petitions : dedicated to Lord Valens, Gothicus Maximus & perpetual emperor, translated with an introduction and commentary by H.W. Bird., (Liverpool : Liverpool University Press, 1993) 

Ammianus Marcellinus 

b.c 330 CE 

 Greek, but writes in Latin 

Res Gestae 

[intended as a continuation of Tacitus -only books 14-31 survive in a single 9th centuty copy] 

English trans. as The Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus, During the Reigns of Emperor's Constantius, Julian, Jovianus, Valentinianm and Valens, trans C.D. Young, Bohn's Classical Library, (London H.G. Bohn: 1862, repr. 1887, 1894) 

ed. and English translation, J.C. Rolfe, Loeb Classical Library, 3 Vols, (London and New York: 1935-39) 

Partial English trans, Walter Hamilton, (New York: Penguin, 1986) 

353-378 CE


Augustan History 

English trans. The lives of the Roman emperors from Domitian where Suetonius ends, to Constantine the Great : containing those of Nerva and Trajan from dion Cassius: a translation of the six writers of the Augustean history,... John Bernard, (London : Printed for Charles Harper, 1698) 

Partial English trans. as Lives of the Later Caesars, by Anthony Birley, (Baltimore: Penguin, 1976) [also includes lives of Nerva and Trajan, 96-117CE] 

117-260 CE
Marcellinus, comes, fl. 500-534. 


Latin and English. The Chronicle of Marcellinus : a translation and commentary : (with a reproduction of Mommsen's edition of the text), Brian Croke, (Sydney: Australian Association for Byzantine Studies, 1995), Byzantina Australiensia 7.