The Decline of the Roman Republic - Vol. 2

The Decline of the Roman Republic - Vol. 2

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The Decline of the Roman Republic - Vol. 2

The Decline of the Roman Republic - Vol. 2

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Excerpt

I have a remark to make on the way in which I have used some of my authorities in these volumes. In a few short passages I have kept so close to the originals that my text is almost a translation. I have done this purposely. It makes no difference sometimes whether a man professes to translate a portion of an ancient writer or gives it as near as he can without making a translation. The object in both cases is to present the evidence or statement just as it is without adding to it or taking from it. There are cases in which it is useful for the reader to have the exact words of a witness, that he may be able to estimate their value, and be certain that the modern writer has not altered the meaning of the ancient writer by dressing it in his own words. There is more reason for doing this sometimes than many persons can see, unless they have tried the experiment of making an historical narrative out of insufficient materials. The taste for adding ornament to the simplest facts is now become a fashion, which some writers indulge in to a great extent, and some readers appear to admire. The practice is supposed to relieve the almost unavoidable dullness of a narrative, when the events themselves are not such as to fix the attention and move the feelings. If a man could thus amuse a few idle persons without deceiving them, it would be a harmless pastime; but . . .

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