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Livy's Ab urbe condita Book XXII narrates Hannibal's massive defeats of the Romans at Trasimene (217 BC) and Cannae (216 BC). It is Livy's best and most dramatic book, and the one most likely to appeal to students at every level. Livy drew on the Greek historian Polybius, but transformed his drier treatment into a rhetorical masterpiece, which by a series of insistent thematic contrasts brings out the tensions between the delaying tactics of Fabius and the costly rashness of Flaminius, Minucius and Varro. A substantial and accessibly written introduction by two experienced commentators covers historical, religious, literary and linguistic matters, including the place of Book XXII in the structure of Livy's long work. A new text by Briscoe is followed by a full commentary, covering literary and historical aspects and offering frequent help with translation. The volume is suitable for undergraduates, graduate students, teachers, and scholars.
Human civilization in South Asia is inextricably intertwined with water. It was along the banks of the great rivers that civilization developed, with this relationship enshrined in religious and cultural traditions and values. The development of contemporary South Asian economies, too, is deeply linked to water. Over the last 150 years massive investments were made to reduce the natural rhythms of rivers to better serve people's needs for food, water and safety from floods. The rewards from these investments is clear – in the massive growth of food supply, in the high correlation between irrigation and wealth, and in the production of cheap, clean hydropower. And as in ancient times, those who built such infrastructure have often been elevated by common people to the ranks of saints. Consider just one of many examples. Understanding that the barrage in the lower Krishna River transformed coastal areas of the state of Andhra Pradesh in India from a poverty-wrecked past to a prosperous agricultural present, people in this area have transformed Arthur Cotton, the builder of the barrage, into a saint, worshipped at countless shrines in the delta.
But the history of man's relationship with water – everywhere – shows that progress is never linear, and never static. In the words of Harvard historian David Blackbourn in his book The Conquest of Nature on water management and the state in Germany: “you find that each set of proposed new measures promises to turn the trick and finally overcome the ignorance, or engineering mistakes, or political constraints of earlier generations” and yet the overwhelming reality is that “the state of the art [of water management] is always provisional.”
Cato's Origines marked the beginning of Latin historiography, as earlier authors, beginning with Fabius Pictor, had written in Greek. It was composed in the latter part of his long life (234–149 bc) and consisted of seven books, of which the first three dealt with the foundation of Rome, the regal period and the origins of the cities of Italy (hence the title), while the remaining four contained an account of Roman history from the First Punic War to 149. He included in the Origines (something unique in ancient historiography) at least two of his speeches, one, delivered in 167, arguing in the Senate against declaring war on Rhodes (95), the other, delivered shortly before his death, supporting a bill to set up a special court to try Ser. Sulpicius Galba for his treatment of the Lusitani (108–9); the remaining fragments of his speeches (there are 254 in Malcovati) are not considered here.
Cato wanted to write impressively, and to that end looked for appropriate vocabulary and stylistic devices wherever he could find them. He took words from poetry and he neologised (see Briscoe 2005: 60), and, in principle, there is no reason why he should not, on occasion, have made use of features derived from the spoken language. To identify such elements, however, is very difficult: the only substantial texts earlier than Cato are the plays of Plautus, which certainly contain much that belongs to the spoken language, but also elements which are high-register.