Bryn Mawr Classical Review

BMCR 2015.03.47 on the BMCR blog

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2015.03.47

Filippo Canali De Rossi, Le relazioni diplomatiche di Roma, Volume IV. Dalla 'liberazione della Grecia' alla pace infida con Antioco III (201–194 a. C.).   Roma:  Scienze e lettere, 2014.  Pp. ix, 197.  ISBN 9788866870715.  €35.00 (pb).  

Reviewed by John D. Muccigrosso, Drew University (

Table of Contents

This is the fourth in the series of volumes by Canali de Rossi on the variety of Roman diplomatic activities for which we have evidence. The format and contents are consistent with the previous volumes (reviewed in BMCR 2005.02.19, 2008.07.36, and 2014.06.24, respectively), though the first volume, including as it does the regal period, is somewhat sui generis. Readers are encouraged to consult these reviews, the opinions and overall tone of which remain valid for this most recent volume.

Canali De Rossi notes in the short preface to the work that the number of years covered in each volume is rapidly shrinking (from well over 400 in the first, to 49, then 15, and now eight), as one might expect given the nature of the historical evidence, and expresses a doubt that he will in the end be able to finish the original project of covering the entirety of the republican period. The single note in the preface also contains a welcome comment that Canali De Rossi may take up the suggestion of the reviewer of the third volume by presenting a methodological argument to explain his definition of “diplomatic relations.”

The work covers the second war with Macedonia (in the first two chapters), the liberation of Greece, and the peace with Antiochus. The organization continues that of the previous volumes: chapters are numbered sequentially from them (so, XIX–XXII), as are the individual diplomatic events (778–1000).

The contents of the chapters themselves continue to be narrative accounts of the events of the period in question, arranged mostly year by year, with the year (“a. C.”) and the Italian forms of the names of the consuls provided in the margin. Each chapter concludes with the supporting source material for each event quoted in full in the original language, and occasionally a scholarly bibliography. Occasional footnotes mainly address difficulties with a particular point in the main text, sometimes with reference to scholarship.

Several indices follow the bibliography at the end. First, names of divinities, Romans, non-Romans (“foreigners”), and places and people (combined such that, e.g., Aetolia and the Aetolians form one entry), are all provided in their Latin forms. Then follows a list of Greek and then Latin words cross-referenced to the text, and finally an index locorum. This last is unsurprisingly dominated by Livy, who provides nearly two of the four and one half pages (of which a half page is one inscription, listed under its four possible citations and broken into multiple diplomatic events by groups of lines). Polybius is the other major contributor with about three-fourths of a page to himself.

The indices are extremely useful. My only complaint about their organization is that when reference is made to a diplomatic event, the page number for it is not provided as well. I noted this in my review of the first volume in the series, and I will repeat the request I made there too: “The one addition I would ask for is a simple list of diplomatic events arranged by date with references to their location in the text. It is easy enough to go to the narrative section for any given year, but the reader should not need to wade through Canali De Rossi's narrative to discover what events occurred in a specific range of years.” This last is of course less of an issue in a volume that covers only eight years.

On the editorial side, I found few errors (e.g., a repeated “anche” on p. 17, and an ὄνομα with the wrong breathing, which persisted from the text into the index). The quality of the Greek text is disappointing as the letter spacing often appears “off,” mainly after accented letters.

This is a very useful book, which will serve as an excellent resource for students of the period. I wonder whether a more compact form with less narrative (and perhaps in a heavily linked on-line format, taking advantage of existing textual and other resources associated with the ancient world) might not provide its benefits with much less work for the author.

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