Livy: Ab Urbe Condita Libri



F the Republic from Rome s small beginnings to her conuests and domination of Italy it s all here All the familiar stories of Romulus and Remus mothered by the wolf Horatius at the bridge the rape and suicide of Lucretia the tragic story of Corialanus and his mother are here and it s fascinating to read them in their original contextLivy is lively tragic vivid and witty and that all comes over in the translation Read this together with Vergil and compare their creative conception of what it means to be Roman where they have come from and where they are going I m going to read as much of Livy as I can stomach over the summer My stomach comes into it because I don t have the patience for or the interest in military hijinx to see me through very page And I fear that this volume is setting a high bar for those to follow There s war here sure but a real stress on internal matters instead And those internal matters are Doglands essentially what people who haven t read Marx think Marx is the patricians will come up with anyxcuse to maintain their privileges inter alia patriotism security religion dignity tradition and the plebeians will fold sometimes but always come back and demand better treatment The arly history of Rome as told by Livy is class warfare This is fascinating stuff if a little repetitive tribunes introduce a law to give the plebes land the senate rejects it scuffles appeals to the Greatness of Our State by the senate plebes let it lie for a while so they can beat up on the Aeuii or whomever the law gets passed the patricians find a new way to screw over the plebes repeat from the top But the repetition is made bearable by some great stories and the overall pace We move pretty uickly from year to year I was also surprized by Livy s ability to think critically about his sources Everyone says Livy just reports miracles and tall tales as if they were true in my xperience he s pretty good about highlighting when that s going on On the other hand he has no interest in making his story cohere which is a bit sad On the other hand that lack of coherence means the reader can judge for herself why things happened as they did and Livy s occasional moralizing never seems to heavy handed or to influence his actual presentation Looking forward to the second set of five Oh one thing the translation is kind of funny Luce delights in using uncommon words when there s no real need for it no doubt it s meant to represent archaisms in Livy himself but it might annoy you This book has been in my sights since I finished Gibbon but I was wary of beginning another interminably long history series Luckily as I soon discovered Livy is a lucid and An Officer and a Spy engaging writer so the reader has little need to fear getting bogged down as one sometimes does with Gibbon As one mightxpect the English and the Roman historians are worlds apart Livy is almost xclusively a dramatic historian and the book often feels uite like a novel There is little attempt at analysis Nor is Livy drawn to the vaguer sort of philosophical moralizing that historians sometimes indulge inThe closest that Livy gets to analysis is in his speeches As in Thucydides I m reading primarily the Penguin Livy Four Vol and the Loeb Classics Livy 14 Volumes but I m primarily reviewing the Loeb versions So for the Early History of Rome please see my reviews of1 Livy I History of Rome Books 1 22 Livy II History of Rome Books 3 43 Livy III History of Rome Books 5 7OtherwiseLook that you may see how cheap they hold their bodies whose yes are fixed upon renown Livy Book II xii 13Oratory was invented for doubtful matters Livy Book III lv 3 Vae victis Livy Book V xlviii 9 Book 1 Rome Under the Kings Book 2 The Beginnings of the RepublicThis might be the first book to bankrupt me Or rather books I own several versions of Livy Folio The first Penguin Books 1 5 second Books 6 10 and third Hannibal Books 21 30 plus the first six volumes of the Loeb s History of Rome by Livy I ve decided to track and read through the Loeb while listening to Audible but that is going to reuire me to buy another 8 volumes The good from that is well ight little red books The bad Well these little books retail for 26 although you can usually find ither really good used copies or new copies for 12 18 So I m looking at almost 200 to finish purchasing these books and I ve already spent about 60 So why read the Loeb versionuod st in Latinam verso Because Latin is on the leftEt lingua mea sedenti in recto And English sits on the right Now those who know me KNOW I don t read or speak Latin So why is having Livy in Latin and English that important Because some day I DO want to read Latin Because it pleases me Because if I read on the recto side a phrase that strikes my fancy likeTheir name was irksome and a menace to liberty Livy Book II ii 4I can go almost straight across and discover what that was in LatinNon placere nomen periculosum libertati sseIt delights me I know that probably sounds a bit affected and OBaby effete but hell itntertains me I don t complain that American consumers spend than 253 billion a year on video games So let me have my 14 little red books I m not sure how fast I ll get through all of them I think for my family s financial stability I ll drip and drab these out through out the year I kill me Book 3 The Patricians at Bay Book 4 War and PoliticsMy second of fourteen Livy s History of Rome covers books 3 and 4 467 404BC It largely deals. Founding of Rome traditionally dated to 757 BC to the Gallic invasion in 386 BC an Nerds era which witnessed the reign of seven kings thestablishment of the Republic civil strife and brutal conflict Bringing compelling char.

Been reading through these arly books of Livy for a class I m taking on Livy now to move forward to Hannibal next Straight forward and njoyable there are none of those 20 page long digressions which plague the greek historians The real draw of this is that it shows how a small settlement in the ancient world developed and gained power until it became an Shadow on the Crown (The Emma of Normandy Trilogy, entire civilization It s obvious that Livy really really loves Rome and at times it can feel like pure propoganda but its balanced out with some veryven handed depictions of major conflicts and crazy personal ambitions In their ContamiNation early stages you can t help but root for these scrappy guys and their big dreams Livy s first 5 books managed to be both a uite boring and a uitexciting Taxi ins Glück experience I have never read Roman history in a format uite like Livy s before He is almost thepitome of Annalistic writing I know that s probably not the right thing to describe this as He painstakingly discusses almost very year from the foundation of Rome to the xpulsion and defeat of the Gauls It does not matter if no Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas events occur in that year Livy makes sure to give you the names of the ConsulsMilitary Tribunes and a statement that nothing happened This annalistic approach is what made parts of the book so sluggish to me I would be interested in the themes that Livy was presenting and arguably casting onto thisarly period but at the same time I would be bogged down by the constant and repetitive flow of information Large chunks of the book The Magic Rolling Pin especially books 3 and 4 would consist of very little beyond tribunician agitation patricians fighting back and then a uick resolution due to an invasion by the Aeui Volsci andor Veii That being said this book contained so much interesting information that would keep me constantlyngaged with the work I feel that there is to dissect in Livy s work here than in any other work by an ancient author that I have read before There are layers and layers of information and symbolicpoetic devices to dig into If you like thinking about obscure and no longer Indecent... Exposure (Indecent, extant narratives of RomanItalian history than Livy is your man Not only does Livy uotearly Roman historians but it also appears that he uotes Etruscan sources These diverging narratives are seen throughout the most readily able to be called to mind being a discussion of Etruscan and Gaulic interactions in the 7th and 6th centuries BC Another interesting aspect for me was Livy s desire to describe the beginnings of things The Not Without a Fight entire Monarchy givesxplanations for a wide variety of things and this continues all the way until the Garden Bouquets and Beyond end of book 5 For me the most interesting aspect of this was what appears to be Livy s penchant to be anachronistic The struggle of the orders begins almost instantly and so to does tribunican abuse of power that other writers would say started with the Gracchi Tied into this is the Roman ideal of teaching byxample The struggle of the orders is really keyed into this idea of cohesion and peace being necessary for Rome to be stable and victorious abroad For me the best part of this Volume is by far book 5 The destruction of Veii being presented as somewhat analogous to the Trojan war and the subseuent sacking of Rome were very well done Coming from books 1 4 you could really see the growth of Livy as a writer The speeches of Appius Claudius and Camillus are much better than the The Unseen Wonder earlier attempts at speeches There is of a flare for the dramatic while still attempting to properly describevents that may of occurred that I can really appreciate Book 5 made up for any feelings of disinterest that I picked up in the preceding books and has really made me xcited to continue on with Livy This year I have determined to read a number of books written during the Roman Republic and Empire I have started with Livy s The Early History of Rome which covers the period from the founding of Rome to the sacking of the city by the Gauls in 386 BC Although Livy was no match for the dark power of Tacitus the story he tells is one of war all the time From its founding Rome was constantly at war with the Etruscans the Sabines the Volsci and other nearby peoples At the same time from arly in their xistence the patrician classes and the common people or plebs were at ach other s throats For the most part the classes would come to some agreement when war threatened but not always It is interesting to speculate how it was that the Romans became so powerful after the Punic Wars with the Carthaginians Could it be that they were so used to war that over the centuries they developed a superior military that was able to take on all comers This has sometimes been dismissed because of the inaccuracy of the history but the very idea of history in classical times was different from our definition there was no strict divide between literature history and moral philosophy and so we shouldn t judge ancient works by the same criteria that we might use of modern history books Livy writing under Augustus was like his contemporary Vergil mythologising about the foundation of Rome and his story of where the Romans came from and how the Roman character was formed tells us about Roman self identity or the way they wanted to see themselves at the turning point between the Republic and the principate than about the pastHaving said that Livy tells a fabulous story from the Sleepless (Bird of Stone, early kings to theirxpulsion by the first Marcus Brutus and the beginning Livy c 59 BC AD 17 dedicated most of his life to writing some 142 volumes of history the first five of which comprise The Early History of Rome With stylistic brilliance he chronicles nearly 400 years of history from the.

With arly growing pains in Rome as its second census shows its population swollen beyond 100000 The tensions between the plebs represented politically by the tribunes and the patricians represented politically by the senate My favorite parts of Book 3 dealt with Lucius uintus Cincinnatus the machinations of the decemvirs and Appius Claudius claiming Verginius daughter Verginia as a slaveMy favorite part of Book 4 was the debate over a law about marriage between patricians and plebeians and the right for plebeians to be consuls Canuleius speech from this section was brilliant and could asily have been used 2000 years later when debating a woman s right to vote tc Here are some of Livy s best lines When we raise the uestion of making a plebeian consul is it the same as if we were to say that a slave or a freedman should attain that office Have you any conception of the contempt in which you are held They would take from you were it possible a part of the daylight That you breathe that you speak that you have the shape of men fills them with resentment Book IV iii 7 8 But you say from the time the kings were xpelled no plebeian has Invisible (The Curse of Avalon ever been consul Well what then Must no new institution be adopted Ought that which has not yet been done and in a new nation many things have not yet been done never to be put in practiceven if it be Yummy Supper expedient Book IV iv 1Finally I would ask is it you or the Roman People who have supreme authority Did the banishment of the kings bring you domi I read the reviews of Livy s History and I see that his writing has been badly misunderstood Critics make two charges against it one worthless and one worthwhileThe first is that Livy is reliant on myth and miraculous stories He includes tales that are not possibly true or have been pilfered from the Greeks They complain also that Livy is too credulous about fantastic occurrences like forxample when he observes talking cows or phenomenal weather But this charge is frankly stupid It is preposterous to xpect of ancient historians sensibilities that are modern And in any case it presumes to judge what is the method best uipped for recounting a political story This Deep Listening entry then will waste no time answering charges of this sort They do not deserve the dignity of a reply let alone a serious oneThere is however a second criticism of Livy one that must be answered It says that Livy s History is flat it is shaped to read as And then And then And then one consul after another and has no arc or great complication that it builds to Livy they say is givingpic history but without pic form And by that reason his History is boring It is tedious and dull and at times almost admittedly so when for xample Livy mphasizes once again the Aeuians and the Volscians are pillaging the Roman hinterland since such like his History are routine in patternThis criticism is partly right but mostly wrong I concede his History is arranged in unepic form but this is by design not by accident And when one reflects upon it it s usage is actually uite ingeniousIf one wants to read the Rise of Rome you must turn to Polybius This is where Rome s rise as such is given in the classic history Not however with Livy His is the History of the Republic of Rome They are different the Rise and the Republic And where the first might reuire pic arrangement the second does not Instead Livy has organized his narrative as a montage The origin and life of Romulus for xample is really a collection of unrelated accounts but ach to a purpose First there is the story of Romulus s and Remus s adolescence then their revenge against a wicked king then the foundation of Rome and Remus s death then a comparison between Hercules and Romulus then the abduction of Sabine women then the betrayal of a Roman fort by Tarpeius s daughter then the intervention of Sabine women and finally Romulus s strange disappearance The narrative here does not aggregate into something larger Though it progresses with time Trajan each is a story of its own adjoined only by the coincidence of their Roman associationThis techniue of story making is distinctive And readers may be wronglyxpecting from Livy ualities of the larger Roman genre of history that is dominated by the Polybian style In Tacitus in Gibbon there you see the Bunnys Book Club Goes to School epic form of history toldThe uestion then should not be why Livy went wrong in his recount That uestion I have just argued is a misapprehension of his History Instead the uestion should be what motive Livy had to write the way that he did Why the antipic Was it a repudiation of Caesarian politics Was Livy nostalgic for the Republic Was it that he wanted to designify the great moments in their relation to the little Did he want to The Peculiar Pig elevate the ordinary travails of republican life to the level of thextra ordinary Or was his meaning purely moral And does the History figure then only as a stage on which to portray the famous life lessons of Roman virtueThese are uestions to which I have not the answer But they are uestions that are fair to ask And those who wait for Livy to ascend to lofty themes rather than attend to the small will have had an Cherry Ingram experience similar to having heard something without listening to it If you vever planned to gather together a gaggle of car thieves and dognappers to found your own city on a hill view spoiler founded on the firm principle of taking whatever The Mermaids Shoes ever you want fairly and suarely by force of arms hide spoile. Acters to life and re presenting familiar tales including the tragedy of Coriolanus and the story of Romulus and Remus The Early History is a trulypic work and a passionate warning that Rome should learn from its histo.

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Titus Livius Patavinus 64 or 59 BC – AD 17—known as Livy in English and