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bius, Diodorus Siculus, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Dion Cassius, Appian, Dexippus, and Eunapius, for the most part inedited; besides many from Xenophon, Arrian, Procopius, and Theophylact, which, as being already published, the editor has omitted in his most interesting volume. It would, of course, be impossible to compress into any reasonable space an account of the new historical matter recovered by this discovery; and perhaps we shall better consult the convenience of our readers by briefly noticing the present condition of the text of these several historians, as enlarged by the restoration of the fragments thus unexpectedly brought to light.
We shall begin with Polybius, -the writer whose mutilation, if we except Tacitus and perhaps Livy, has left the most deplorable gap in ancient history. Out of the forty books which he wrote, only the five first have come down to us entire. A few inconsiderable fragments of the succeeding twelve (especially the seventeenth, which contains the chapters De Re Militari) had also been preserved, in many instances rather condensing the substance, than presenting the form, much less the words of the narrative. The titles of the Constantinian collection, already published,* contained fragments of the remaining books, much more considerable and better preserved, especially the title De Legationibus, which is very full in some of the books. Perhaps the Vatican title is less rich in a historical point of view. But, on the other hand, it is more miscellaneous; and, its subject being entirely independent of the others, there is less of repetition than there would have been, had it been purely historical in its character. It is better calculated, therefore, to form a supplement to what had been already published, very little of the matter which it contains having been anticipated. The extracts commence with the sixth book, and extend to the thirty-ninth inclusively, and form one hundred quarto pages, without counting passages already published, and therefore omitted in this edition. There is only one drawback on the satisfaction with which we regarded these long lost treasures. We had occasion just now to observe, that the reader is sometimes referred for a passage from one title to another, and a most mortifying example of this occurs in the Vatican palimpsest. The entire of the fortieth book is omitted. We have not even a single fragment, but are referred for it to the title De Rerum Inventoribus.* Now, from the fragments which we already possess, we know enough of the fortieth book to feel its loss the more severely. It contained the history of the close of the Achæan war, a period but little known, and in which Livy's account, besides being miserably meagre, is not altogether above suspicion. The history of this great writer, therefore, is still in a deplorably mutilated state, and, even with the addition of these numerous and valuable morsels, is, after all, but a series of disjointed fragments. For almost all that we possess, we are indebted to the Vatican Library. The original edition was published from a Vatican MS. by Perotti, in the reign of Nicholas V, almost at the very first introduction of printing into Italy.
* “De Legationibus” (by Fulvius Ursinus ; Antwerp, 1582 ; and by Hoeschel; Vienna, 1603) and “ De Virtutibus et Vitiis ” (by Henry de Valois; Paris, 1634).
The first edition of Diodorus Siculus,—an equal sufferer from that fate which has fallen so heavily on the ancient historians,—was also printed from a Vatican MS. by the celebrated Poggio. It contained only fourteen out of the forty books into which the “ Historical Library” was divided, viz. the first five, and from the eleventh to the twentieth. A few fragments, some of them of doubtful authenticity, were all that remained of the rest. Since that time this valuable history has received no considerable accession; and it is naturally a subject of self-gratulation to the editor, that the same library to which we owe it in the first instance should now possess the further claim upon our gratitude, which the publication of so considerable a supplement must give. The Vatican palimpsest has, indeed, added very considerably to the existing remains of Diodorus, although (we need hardly observe), in the same fragmentary form. It consists of seven sheets, five of which are entirely inedited; and it is the more available, inasmuch as it appears that Diodorus has shared but little, if at all, in the injuries of other parts of the MS. It would seem that we have the extracts from his works almost as they were inserted in the original compilation. The only loss is one of little moment, as the books which would have suffered from it (i.-v.) are preserved entire in the original edition. The extracts, therefore, commence with the sixth, and are continued (except, as we have said, in the books which we possess entire) down to the fortieth inclusively. Hence there is no portion of the volume in which the learning of the editor has been rewarded with more tangible success. It consists of a hundred and thirty-one pages, and the extracts are often of a very considerable length. They are all restored with much judgment to their proper places; the chronological arrangement displays the vast erudition of the editor, and the text is constantly illustrated by references to the other historians or antiquarians; every apparent discrepancy of facts, or of chronology, which the new discovery has suggested, being pointed out and fully investigated. He has been enabled in the course of his researches, not only to identify, as the property of Diodorus, several passages which were hitherto unappropriated, but also to detect many unsuspected plagiaries. The thefts of the Latin writers from the Greeks, in all matters, but especially in history, were no secret; we were aware that Livy was not the only Roman historian to whom the “ haud spernendus auctor” had supplied materials. But the Vatican manuscript has proved fatal to the literary honesty of Diodorus; he, too, is discovered not immaculate, and, on the evidence of Cardinal Mai, we are compelled to pronounce him, as well as the Romans, guilty of petty larceny from the pages of Polybius.
* Εν τω “ περι τα τις εξευρε” ζητει τον ή λογον. What a treasure, even for its own sake, would this lost title be! How Beckman's eyes would have glistened over its pages!
In speaking of the early publications of our author, while yet attached to the Library of Milan, we noticed several considerable fragments of Dionysius of Hallicarnassus. When, in the first ardour of discovery, he gave them to the public, he imagined them to be portions of that abridgment of his larger work, which we know to have been made by Dionysius himself. A closer investigation has induced him to alter his opinion. Some of the fragments are exactly the same, with the extracts (certainly unabridged) which are contained in the Excerpta de Legationibus, and de Virtutibus et Vitiis
. These, therefore, he has very properly restored to the great historian, and incorporated, in the order of place and of chronology, with those recovered in the Vatican palimpsest. The “Roman Antiquities” consisted originally of twenty books.
Eleven (1x1) have come down to us without any considerable injury, but the rest were known only by a few unimportant fragments. We receive the more gratefully, therefore, the supplement furnished, by the title de Sententiis. It contains sixty-two pages, consisting of extracts from all the lost books, from the twelfth to the twentieth inclusively. And, indeed, independently of the intrinsic value of this new matter, it is even more important, as forming a supplement to the extant books of Livy. Much of the subject of Livy's lost second Decade is treated in the recovered scraps of Dionysius; and we need not say that, whatever it may be in works of purely literary interest, in history every scrap is of importance; every new fact, however minute, is valuable; if not always for its own sake, at least for the light which it may throw upon motives or events but partially explained. And even those which we already possess in the old historians, may be read with interest and advantage in those newly discovered remains. There is always some truth elicited by the collision of authorities.
The preface of the fragments of Dionysius is especially interesting, for a curious and inedited sketch of his life and writings, by Canabutius, a Catholic Greek of the thirteenth century.
We are not so fortunate as regards the history of Appian. The palimpsest adds but little to our previous knowledge of this author; the unpublished extracts are very meagre; and, upon the whole, we can hardly be said to gain more than a couple of pages. But it is not so with his more voluminous successor, Dion Cassius. His immense history originally consisted of eighty books, of which, however, we possess little more than one-fourth,—and these too in a deplorably mutilated condition. The first thirty-four are completely lost; the succeeding ones, as far as the sixtieth, are tolerably preserved; but our only knowledge of the last twenty is through the compendium of Xiphilinus, and the few fragments collected by Theodorus. The palimpsest is far from filling up this lamentable deficiency of the work; but it furnishes a supplement, by a great deal the most important that has been discovered since its first publication. It begins with a part of the original preface, which is somewhat characteristic, as indicating a prejudice against elegance in historic composition, which prevails with some to the present day. After declaring that he has consulted almost all the authorities upon Roman history (although he has not used them indiscriminately in his own work), he requests the reader not to judge him, as other historians have been judged, according to his style. “Let not any one,” says he, « doubt the truth of what I relate, in consequence of my using a pompous style, when the nature of the subject permitted. I have endeavoured equally to attain elegance and truth.”* This is a warning which we should hardly have expected at that era of the Roman-perhaps we should rather call it the imperial— literature. Hun
* P. 135.
Then follows a continuous series of extracts down to the battle of Cannæ, following the thread of the narrative with much more regularity than might at first sight be imagined. Unhappily, at this point of the history the palimpsest is itself defective ; nor is the series resumed till the reign of Augustus, from which period it is continued without interruption throughout those of the succeeding emperors. The work of Dion terminated with the reign of Heliogabalus but the palimpsest contains fragments of a continuation down to the time of the first Christian emperor. The name of the author is not affixed, nor is anything known concerning him beyond the fact (which may be gathered from his history) that he was a Christian, though of what age it is impossible to determine. The mere collection of these fragments into one body, however laborious it must have been, is the least merit of Cardinal Mai's edition. They are all arranged in chronological order, and, by means of the admirable index, digested into a form available for the uses of the student, far beyond what could be believed possible for a series of fragments selected for an object not purely historical. The portion of Dion's history recovered from the palimpsest, occupies a hundred pages; but Cardinal Mai has added a further collection, extracted with great research from the MS. entitled Florilegium Vaticanum, which contains upwards of two hundred authors; and a third from the Anthologia of the learned but unhappy Greek monk Maximus Planudes. Each of these is itself chronologically arranged; but unfortunately not having been discovered till the rest of Dion had been already printed, they have not been interwoven with the general frame of the history
There is another author whose loss would perhaps have furnished less cause of regret, and of whom, notwithstanding, a considerable portion is recovered ;-we mean, the cynical and anti-christian Eunapius, well known to the readers of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. He was a native of Sardis, and a physician by profession, who lived at the close of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth century. He is among the last assailants of the Christian faith, and has distinguished himself by his virulence, even above his most celebrated predecessors. His Lives of the Sophists is still extant; and it is from this work that Gibbon quotes his prediction " that a certain fabulous and invisible influence would tyran