livy: whether the task we have undertaken divine postman, of writing a complete history of the roman people from the very commencement of its existence will reward us for the labour spent on it, we neither know for certain, nor if we did know would we venture to say.
divine postman: if we do not write livy who will? greatness commands unceasing labour. yes it is an arduous task we have undertaken livy but it is not rome that we will be learning about but rather who we are because it is the people that build a nation.
livy: indeed, divine postman. for i see that this is an old established and common custom, each new writer being invariably persuaded that he will either attain greater certainty in the materials of his narrative, or surpass the rudeness of antiquity in the excellence of his style.
divine postman: the tradition of documenting history livy is one that will continue so that things done by man will not be forgotten by time, and that great and marvelous deeds, not lose their glory. the study of history is in the truest sense an education and a training for life.
livy: however this may be, it will still be a great satisfaction to us to have taken our part, too, in investing, to the utmost of our abilities, the annals of the foremost nation in the world with a deeper interest.
divine postman: can anyone livy be so indifferent or idle as not to care to know by what means, and under what kind of polity, almost the whole inhabited world was conquered and brought under the dominion of the single city of rome.
livy: and that too, divine postman, within a period of not quite fifty three years.
divine postman: or who again livy can be so completely absorbed in other matters or subjects of contemplation or study, as to think any of the superior in importance to the accurate understanding of an event for which the past affords no precedent.
livy: when we fail to fix things from the beginning friend they will only accumulate with damage.
divine postman: the most instructive livy, or rather the only, method of learning to bear with dignity the vicissitudes of fortune is to recall the catastrophe of others.
livy: the subject, moreover divine postman, is one that demands immense labour.
divine postman: it goes back beyond 700 years livy.
livy: and after starting from small and humble beginnings, has grown to such dimensions that it begins to be overburdened by its greatness.
divine postman: it is paramount that we focus on the prize of immortal fame friend knowing that the renown and greatness of chroniclers before us will serve to reward our labour.
livy: history is a means by which we connect the dots in order to understand how we reached the current state of our civilization.
divine postman: the ignorant will never read history polybius, neither give themselves to the precepts of philosophy and thus will never be enchanted by the poetry in nature.
livy: i have very little doubt, too divine postman, that for the majority of our readers the earliest times and those immediately succeeding, will possess little attraction.
divine postman: they will hurry on to these modern days friend in which the might of a long paramount nation is wasting by internal decay.
livy: they will therefore, remain ignorant divine postman of the foundation of the empire and instead will see the prosperous nature of this age and thus idolize all that they see without understanding the roots of fortune throughout history.
divine postman: universal history, the history of what man has accomplished in this world, is at bottom the history of great men who have worked here.
livy: let us not close our eyes divine postman to the evils that our generation has witnessed, for so many years.
divine postman: we need to devote all our thoughts to retracing those pristine records, free from the anxiety which can disturb the historian of his own times even if it cannot warp him from the truth.
livy: we always think that we need more not knowing that the past has yielded us enough riches.
divine postman: we fail of the simple task of being still and leaning on love. knowing that all that sustains a man is grace.
livy: the traditions of what happened prior to the foundation of rome or whilst she was being built, are more fitted to adorn the creations of the poet than the authentic records of the historian, and we have no intention friend of either establishing their truth or their falsehood.
divine postman: this much licence is conceded to the ancients, that by intermingling human actions with divine they may confer a more august dignity on the origin of states.
livy: now, if any nation ought to be allowed to claim a sacred origin and point back to a divine paternity that nation is rome.
divine postman: for such is her renown friend, that whenever she chooses to represent mars as her own in war and as her founder’s father all nations accept that statement with the same equanimity with which they accept her dominion.
livy: but whatever opinions may be formed or criticisms passed upon these and similar traditions we regard them as of small importance. yet one need to remember that many small things become one great thing.
divine postman: the subjects to which we would ask each of our readers to devote their earnest attention are these- the life and morals of the community; the men and the qualities by which through domestic policy and foreign war dominion was won and extended.
livy: then as the standard of morality gradually lowers, let him follow the decay of the national character, observing at first how it slowly sinks, then slips downward more and more rapidly, and finally begins to plunge into headlong ruin.
divine postman: until he reaches these days, in which we can bear neither our diseases nor their remedies. greed will never breed joy. the herd in these times livy live in the confines of fear and never stay true to their convictions.
livy: they do not seek to understand divine postman but ruin themselves through self-indulgence.
divine postman: they do not trust their own thought and fail of telling their story. instead they adopt another man’s thinking.
livy: if you do not trust yourself divine postman who will you ever trust?