AFTER many Romans,1 men even of consular dignity, had committed the acts of their countrymen to writing in Greek, a foreign language,2 Trogus Pompeius, a man of eloquence equal to that of the ancients,3 whether prompted by a desire to emulate their glory, or charmed by the variety and novelty of the undertaking, composed the history of Greece, and of the whole world, in the Latin tongue, in order that, as our actions might he read in Greek, so those of the Greeks might be read in our language; attempting a work that demanded extraordinary resolution and labour. For when, to most authors who write the history only of particular princes or nations, their task appears an affair of arduous effort, must not Trogus Pompeius, in attempting the whole world, seem to have acted with a boldness like that of Hercules, since in his books are contained the actions of all ages, monarchs, nations, and people? All that the historians of Greece had undertaken separately, according to what was suitable to each, Trogus Pompeius, omitting only what was useless, has put together in one narration, everything being assigned to its proper period, and arranged in the regular order of events. From these forty-four volumes therefore (for such was the number that he published), I have extracted, during the leisure that I enjoyed in the city, whatever was most worthy of being known; and, rejecting such parts as were neither attractive for the pleasure of reading, nor necessary by way of example, have formed, as it were, a small collection of flowers, that those who are acquainted with the history of Greece might have something to refresh their memories, and those who art
strangers to it something for their instruction. This work I have sent to you,4 if not so much that it may add to your knowledge, as that it may receive your correction; and that, at the same time, the account of my leisure, of which Cato thinks that an account must be given, may stand fair with you. For your approbation is sufficient for me for the present, with the expectation of receiving from posterity, when the malice of detraction has died away, an ample testimony to my diligence.
1 Among these were Aulus Albinus, consul A.U.C. 602, Cic. Brut. c. 21; Aul. Gell. xi. 8; Lucius Cincius, mentioned by Dionys. Halicarn. i. 6; Caius Julius a senator, Liv. Epit. liii.; Lucius Lucullus, consul A.U.C. 679, Cic. Acad. ii. 1; and Cicero, who sent an account of his cousulship (A U.C. 690) written in Greek to his friend Atticus; Ep. ad Att. i. 19.Wetzel.
2 Graeco peregrinoque sermone.] Greek, and therefore foreign, not
3 Vir priscae eloquentiae.] More literally, ďA man of ancient eloquence.Ē
4 Ad te.] In the editions before that of Bongarsius, 1581, the words Marce Antonine followed te, but as they did not appear in the manuscripts which Bongarsius consulted, he omitted them. They are generally supposed to have been inserted by some editor or editors, who confounded Justin the historian with Justin Martyr, who lived in the reign of Antoninus. At what time Justin the historian lived is uncertain. See the biographical notice prefixed. But Pontanus and Isaac Vossius argued for the words being retained; and Scheffer, observing that the oldest editions, and that of Bongarsius himself, based on at least eight manuscripts, have Quod ad te non cognoscendi magis quam emendandi causa transmisi, would read, Quod ad te non tam cognoscendi, Marce Antonine Caesar, quam emendandi, &c., supposing magis to be a corruption of M. A. C., the first letters of the emperorís names.