Mellor’s aim is to provide a collection of source material from Roman historians suitable for use in undergraduate Roman history or western civilization courses. Though, by their very nature, books like this can neversatisfy all of the people all of the time, The Historians of Ancient Rome will certainly and deservedly satisfy many, more, in fact, than any of its competitors.
After a Preface comprising a succinct overview of Roman historiography (pp. 1-13), Mellor opens his anthology with selections from Polybius — I.1-14, ; II.1-2, 7-12; III.1,4,6-17, and 20-30; and VI.1-9, 11-18, and 56-57 — reprinted from the 1889 translation of Evelyn Schuckburgh. As is his practice with each of the authors he has chosen, Mellor glosses these Polybius selections with a brief biographical and historiographical opening notice and, preceding each individual excerpt, with concise comment on the contents of what will follow. He offers no explanatory notes or other helps. Presented in the same fashion are translations of Appian’s Civil Wars I.1-26, reprinted from Horace White’s 1913 Loeb; of all of Sallust’s Catilinarian Conspiracy, reprinted from John Rolfe’s 1920 Loeb; of Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War I.1-54 and VI.11-28, adapted from the translation of W. A. McDevitte;
There are a few, rather minor, flaws. Though The Historians of Ancient Rome is meant for classroom use, explanatory notes are sparse, limited almost completely to the Res Gestae. Of the translations Mellor has chosen, students will find McDevitte’s 1869 rendering of Caesar difficult going. A spot check for mechanical errors revealed only the omission of to or toward from the translation of Annals XVI.19.