Speeches as Historical Evidence

Livy 38.56: There are many other details in which writers differ, especially as regards his closing years, his impeachment, his death, his funeral, and his tomb, so that I cannot decide what traditions or documents to follow. There is no agreement as to the prosecutors. . Some say that M. Naevius, others that the Petillii, initiated the proceedings; nor as to the date when they began, nor the year in which he died, nor where he was buried. Some say that he died and was buried in Rome; others say in Liternum. In both places his monument and statues are shown. At Liternum there was a monument surmounted by a statue which we have seen lately, and which was overthrown by a storm. At Rome there are three statues above the monument of the Scipios; two are said to be those of Publius and Lucius; the third that of the poet Q. Ennius.

Nor is it only the chroniclers who differ; even the speeches, if they are really those of the men whose they are said to be, viz., P. Scipio and Tiberius Gracchus, cannot be brought into agreement. The title of Scipio’s speech gives the prosecutor’s name as M. Naevius; in the speech itself the name does not appear; sometimes he describes him as a knave, sometimes as a trifler. Even the speech of Gracchus makes no mention of the Petillii as the prosecutors of Africanus, nor of the actual proceedings.

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