History of Rome

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Harvard University Press, 2017 - 720 pagine

Livy (Titus Livius), the great Roman historian, was born at Patavium (Padua) in 64 or 59 BC, where after years in Rome he died in AD 12 or 17. Livy's history, composed as the imperial autocracy of Augustus was replacing the republican system that had stood for over 500 years, presents in splendid style a vivid narrative of Rome's rise from the traditional foundation of the city in 753 or 751 BC to 9 BC and illustrates the collective and individual virtues necessary to achieve and maintain such greatness.

Of its 142 books, conventionally divided into pentads and decads, we have 1-10 and 21-45 complete, and short summaries (periochae) of all the rest except 41 and 43-45; 11-20 are lost, and of the rest only fragments and the summaries remain. The fourth decad comprises two recognizable pentads: Books 31-35 narrate the Second Macedonian War (200-196) and its aftermath, then Books 36-40 the years from 191 to 180, when Rome crushed and shrank Antiochus' empire to extend and consolidate her mastery over the Hellenistic states. This edition replaces the original Loeb edition by Evan T. Sage.

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Informazioni sull'autore (2017)

Very little is known about the life of Livy (Titus Livius) other than that he was born in Patavium (modern-day Padua) and lived most of his life in Rome. It is clear from his writings that he was familiar with ancient Greek and Latin literature and was, in fact, influenced by Cicero. Although Livy produced several works on philosophy and literary criticism, his masterpiece and life work of 40 years was his "History of Rome", which covers a vast sweep of Rome's history from its origins to Livy's own time. Of the original 142 books that made up the work, only 35 are extant---Books 1--10 and 20--45---which treat the years 753--293 b.c. and 218--167 b.c. Fragments of others, however, do remain, and summaries exist of all but one. When he wrote the history, Livy, who extolled the virtues of discipline, piety, and patriotism, believed that Rome was in a state of decline and moral decay. Wealth and luxury, he wrote, had led to "the dark dawning of our modern day, when we can neither endure our vices nor face the remedies needed to cure them." According to modern standards, Livy was neither an impressive nor critical historian. He perpetuated many inaccuracies. This, however, does not greatly minimize the value of his writing. His acumen lay in his vibrant style, his keen eye for character, and his gift for dramatic composition.

J. C. Yardley is Professor of Classics, Emeritus, at the University of Ottawa.

Dexter Hoyos is Honorary Associate in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Sydney.

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