Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Deeds of the Romans, Story #130

    Of course this story may have another number in another collection but I feel like translating one of the shorter stories that probably does not get much attention on the world wide web.

      Refert Valerius, quod Fabius praefectus redemerat captivos Romanorum promissa pecunia. Quam cum senatus dare nollet, ipse fundum unicum habens vendidit et pretium promissum solvit volens se portius patrimonio privare quam propria fide inopem esse.

     "Valerius relates how Fabius, Prefect (or Governor), had paid the ransom for Roman captives with the agreed on money. How, when the senate was unwilling to pay, he himself having one piece of property, sold and paid the promised price, more willing to deprive himself of his inheritance than to be poor in personal faith."

Presumably this story is told about  Fabius Maximus(ca. 280-203 B.C.), who paid the ransom for captives taken by Hannibal. Virgil names him as one of the greatest of the Fabii in the Aeneid, whom Anchises mentions in the trip to the underworld. He practiced a 'scorched earth' strategy against Hannibal which did not endear him to the Romans but after more conventional methods of warfare failed and a number of Senators were killed at Cannae, they called him back and he was named "The Shield of Rome".

Valerius is presumably Valerius Maximus, a Latin writer from the reign of Tiberius. The story itself may have come from Livy but it is also reported in Plutarch's biography of Fabius, chapter 7.


Anachronist said...

Funny how people think similarly, no matter what era. Nowadays also the goverments are often very unwilling to pay pensions to veterans or allow them a proper treatment after they return injured from wars.

The Red Witch said...

We have not evolved all that much. We don't burn people alive for being witches any more but I am sure I know a few people who would gladly set some one on fire and watch them burn to death. Plus ça change, eh?

Anachronist said...

Plus ça change, eh?