Montesquieu

All those small repu­blics were swal­lo­wed up into one large one, and gra­dually the world popu­la­tion decli­ned : we have only to see what Italy and Greece were before and after the Roman vic­to­ries.

“I will be asked,” says Livy, “where the Volsci were able to find enough sol­diers to wage war after being so often defea­ted. There must have been a limit­less popu­la­tion in those pla­ces, which today would be just a was­te­land were it not for a hand­ful of sol­diers and Roman sla­ves.”1

“The ora­cles have cea­sed,” says Plutarch, “because the sites where they spoke are des­troyed ; scar­cely would you find three thou­sand men of war in Greece today.”

“I shall not des­cribe,” says Strabo, “Epirus and its sur­roun­dings, because these regions are enti­rely deser­ted. This depo­pu­la­tion, which began long ago, conti­nues daily, so Roman sol­diers camp in aban­do­ned hou­ses.”2 He finds the cause for this in Polybius, who says that Paulus Æmelius, after his vic­tory, des­troyed seventy cities in Epirus, and left with fifty thou­sand sla­ves.

Book VI.

Book VII, p. 496. [The section of book VII on Epirus is p. 222–227 in the reference edition.]