Valerius Antias
Valerius Antias was an ancient Roman annalist
Annalists , is the name given to a class of writers on Roman history, the period of whose literary activity lasted from the time of the Second Punic War to that of Sulla...

 whom Livy
Titus Livius — known as Livy in English — was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...

 mentions as a source. No complete works of his survive but from the sixty-five fragments said to be his in the works of other authors it has been deduced that he wrote a chronicle of ancient Rome in at least seventy-five books. The latest dateable event in the fragments is mention of the heirs of the orator, Lucius Licinius Crassus
Lucius Licinius Crassus
Lucius Licinius Crassus was a Roman consul. He was considered the greatest Roman orator of his day, by his pupil Cicero.He became consul in 95 BC. During his consulship a law was passed requiring all but citizens to leave Rome, an edict which provoked the Social War...

, who died in 91 BC. Of the seventy references to Antias in classical (Greek and Latin) literature sixty-one mention him as an authority on Roman legendary history.


Antias' family were the Valerii Antiates, a branch of the Valeria gens
Valerius is the nomen of gens Valeria, one of the oldest patrician families of Rome. The name was in use throughout Roman history...

 residing at least from early republican times in the vicinity of Antium. He may have been related to Lucius Valerius Antias, placed in command of a convoy of five ships to transport high-ranking Carthaginian prisoners in 215 BC.

Life and work

Not much is known about the life of Valerius Antias. He was probably a younger contemporary of Quintus Claudius Quadrigarius
Quintus Claudius Quadrigarius
Quintus Claudius Quadrigarius, Roman annalist, living probably in the 1st century BC, wrote a history, in at least twenty-three books, which began with the conquest of Rome by the Gauls and went on to the death of Sulla or perhaps later....

 and lived in the times of Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix , known commonly as Sulla, was a Roman general and statesman. He had the rare distinction of holding the office of consul twice, as well as that of dictator...

 although some scholars believe that he was a contemporary of Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 and wrote his work after 50 BC, because he seems to have been unknown to Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 (who especially does not mention him in his enumeration of famous historians (de legibus 1.2.3-7)). He was the most important of the so-called “younger annalists”.

The nearly completely lost work of Antias – cited as annales or as historiae – began its account of the Roman history with the foundation of Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 and extended at least to the year 91 BC. The second book told about the legendary Roman king Numa Pompilius
Numa Pompilius
Numa Pompilius was the legendary second king of Rome, succeeding Romulus. What tales are descended to us about him come from Valerius Antias, an author from the early part of the 1st century BC known through limited mentions of later authors , Dionysius of Halicarnassus circa 60BC-...

, the twenty-second book about the capitulation of Gaius Hostilius Mancinus
Gaius Hostilius Mancinus
Gaius Hostilius Mancinus was a Roman consul in 137 BC. Due to his campaign against Numantia in northern Spain, Plutarch called him "not bad as a man, but most unfortunate of the Romans as a general." During this campaign in the Numantine War, Mancinus was defeated, showing some cowardice,...

 in 136 BC (this event Livy only reports in book 55 of his history). Therefore the earlier times were reported much shorter than the contemporary history of the author.

The work of Antias was not very reliable. Livy criticizes his exaggerated numbers of killed and captured enemies in the Roman wars. Sometimes he seems to have invented even battles. But sometimes he also delivered correct values, which fact can be concluded from a comparison with some values given by Polybius
Polybius , Greek ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic Period noted for his work, The Histories, which covered the period of 220–146 BC in detail. The work describes in part the rise of the Roman Republic and its gradual domination over Greece...


Antias’ account of each year included the allocation of troops and provinces, important omen, battles, foundation of new colonies etc. At the end of the description of each year he reported about plays, temple inaugurations, and other news, in particular about events in the city of Rome. Under the influence of Hellenistic historiography Antias related his stories very long-winded and filled with sensationalism to entertain his readers. He embroidered the mostly short accounts of older historians with dramatic details and also recounted legends and miracles. He falsified the report about the trials of the Scipio brothers (compare Livy 38.50-60) and seems to have invented high offices and deeds of members of his house, the gens Valeria, who lived in the early Roman republic because there were no reliable sources about these early times, which could have disproved his assertions. Antias gave a rationalistic account about the discovery of the coffins with the books of king Numa, because he had the coffins uncovered by rain and not by excavation like in the older tradition.

The style of Antias was simple and not archaic and Marcus Cornelius Fronto
Marcus Cornelius Fronto
Marcus Cornelius Fronto , Roman grammarian, rhetorician and advocate, was born at Cirta in Numidia. He also was suffect consul of 142.- Life :Fronto, who was born a Roman citizen c...

 (epistel ad Verus 1, 1, p. 134, 2 ed. Van den Hout) judged his language to be not attractive (invenuste). Therefore he was rarely cited literally by later grammarians.

Influence on Livy

In one long-standing view of Antias' influence on Livy
Titus Livius — known as Livy in English — was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...

, the latter relied mainly on the former in Books 1-10 of Ab Urbe Condita Libri, the legendary history of Rome. To elucidate this possible influence, A.A. Howard compared each of Antias' fragments with the equivalent story in Livy. He deduced that there is no evidence of such influence in the first ten books. Of twenty fragments falling within the period Livy does not use any, either omitting the information, or explicitly disagreeing with it. Howard says:
"The argument that Livy made free use of Antias and mentioned him only in case of disagreement is absolutely without foundation, for we have seen fourteen specific instances in which, although Livy does not mention him, he nevertheless disagrees with his statements as known to us from other sources, or absolutely disregards them ...."

For example, in Fragment 1 Acca Larentia
Acca Larentia
Acca Larentia or Acca Larentina was a mythical woman, later goddess, in Roman mythology whose festival, the Larentalia, was celebrated on December 23.-Foster mother:...

 willed her property to Romulus
- People:* Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of Rome* Romulus Augustulus, the last Western Roman Emperor* Valerius Romulus , deified son of the Roman emperor Maxentius* Romulus , son of the Western Roman emperor Anthemius...

. Livy does not mention it. Fragment 3 mentions that 527 Sabine Women were kidnapped. Livy says the number is greater than 30, and so on. For the entire period covered by Livy, 33 fragments of Antias come from Livy. He disagrees with six of these, criticizes eleven more, quotes Antias in disagreement on ten, and agrees with, but later disproves, two. Howard concludes disparagingly that
"It is on such evidence as this that we are asked to believe that Antias was the source of considerable portions of Livy's history and that Livy followed blindly, at least in the earlier part of his work."

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.