|Died||AD 17 (aged 74–75)|
|Years active||Golden Age of Latin|
|Main interests||History, biography, oratory|
Titus Livius (Latin:
Livy was born in
Livy's teenage years were during the 40s BC, a period of
Livy probably went to Rome in the 30s BC, and it is likely that he spent a large amount of time in the city after this, although it may not have been his primary home. During his time in Rome, he was never a senator nor held a government position. His writings contain elementary mistakes on military matters, indicating that he probably never served in the Roman army. However, he was educated in philosophy and rhetoric. It seems that Livy had the financial resources and means to live an independent life, though the origin of that wealth is unknown. He devoted a large part of his life to his writings, which he was able to do because of his financial freedom.
Livy was known to give recitations to small audiences, but he was not heard of to engage in declamation, then a common pastime. He was familiar with the emperor Augustus and the imperial family. Augustus was considered by later Romans to have been the greatest Roman emperor, benefiting Livy's reputation long after his death. Suetonius described how Livy encouraged the future emperor Claudius, who was born in 10 BC, to write historiographical works during his childhood.
Livy's most famous work was his history of Rome. In it he narrates a complete history of the city of Rome, from its foundation to the death of Augustus. Because he was writing under the reign of Augustus, Livy's history emphasizes the great triumphs of Rome. He wrote his history with embellished accounts of Roman heroism in order to promote the new type of government implemented by Augustus when he became emperor. In Livy's preface to his history, he said that he did not care whether his personal fame remained in darkness, as long as his work helped to "preserve the memory of the deeds of the world’s preeminent nation." Because Livy was mostly writing about events that had occurred hundreds of years earlier, the historical value of his work was questionable, although many Romans came to believe his account to be true.
Livy was married and had at least one daughter and one son. He also produced other works, including an essay in the form of a letter to his son, and numerous dialogues, most likely modelled on similar works by Cicero.
Titus Livius died at his home city of Patavium in AD 17.
Livy's only surviving work is commonly known as History of Rome (or
When he began this work he was already past his youth, probably 32; presumably, events in his life prior to that time had led to his intense activity as a historian. He continued working on it until he left Rome for Padua in his old age, probably in the reign of Tiberius after the death of Augustus. Seneca the Younger says he was an orator and philosopher and had written some historical treatises in those fields.[iii]
History of Rome also served as the driving force behind the "northern theory" regarding the Etruscans' origins. This is because in the book Livy states, "The Greeks also call them the 'Tyrrhene' and the 'Adriatic ... The Alpine tribes are undoubtedly of the same kind, especially the Raetii, who had through the nature of their country become so uncivilized that they retained no trace of their original condition except their language, and even this was not free from corruption". Thus, many scholars, like Karl Otfried Müller, utilized this statement as evidence that the Etruscans or the Tyrrhenians migrated from the north and were descendants of an Alpine tribe known as the Raeti.
Livy wrote during the reign of Augustus, who came to power after a civil war with generals and consuls claiming to be defending the
The historian Tacitus, writing about a century after Livy's time, described the Emperor Augustus as his friend. Describing the trial of Cremutius Cordus, Tacitus represents him as defending himself face-to-face with the frowning Tiberius as follows:
I am said to have praised
During the Middle Ages, due to the length of the work, the literate class was already reading summaries rather than the work itself, which was tedious to copy, expensive, and required a lot of storage space. It must have been during this period, if not before, that manuscripts began to be lost without replacement. The Renaissance was a time of intense revival; the population discovered that Livy's work was being lost and large amounts of money changed hands in the rush to collect Livian manuscripts. The poet Beccadelli sold a country home for funding to purchase one manuscript copied by Poggio. Petrarch and Pope Nicholas V launched a search for the now missing books. Laurentius Valla published an amended text initiating the field of Livy scholarship. Dante speaks highly of him in his poetry, and Francis I of France commissioned extensive artwork treating Livian themes; Niccolò Machiavelli's work on republics, the Discourses on Livy, is presented as a commentary on the History of Rome. Respect for Livy rose to lofty heights. Walter Scott reports in Waverley (1814) as an historical fact that a Scotchman involved in the first Jacobite uprising of 1715 was recaptured (and executed) because, having escaped, he yet lingered near the place of his captivity in "the hope of recovering his favourite Titus Livius".
The authority supplying information from which possible vital data on Livy can be deduced is
Eusebius' work consists of two books: the Chronographia, a summary of history in annalist form, and the Chronikoi Kanones, tables of years and events. St. Jerome translated the tables into Latin as the Chronicon, probably adding some information of his own from unknown sources. Livy's dates appear in Jerome's Chronicon.
The main problem with the information given in the manuscripts is that, between them, they often give different dates for the same events or different events, do not include the same material entirely, and reformat what they do include. A date may be in Ab Urbe Condita or in Olympiads or in some other form, such as age. These variations may have occurred through scribal error or scribal license. Some material has been inserted under the aegis of Eusebius.
The topic of manuscript variants is a large and specialized one, on which authors of works on Livy seldom care to linger. As a result, standard information in a standard rendition is used, which gives the impression of a standard set of dates for Livy. There are no such dates. A typical presumption is of a birth in the 2nd year of the 180th Olympiad and a death in the first year of the 199th Olympiad, which are coded 180.2 and 199.1 respectively. All sources use the same first Olympiad, 776/775–773/772 BC by the modern calendar. By a complex formula (made so by the 0 reference point not falling on the border of an Olympiad), these codes correspond to 59 BC for the birth, 17 AD for the death. In another manuscript the birth is in 180.4, or 57 BC.
- Jerome says Livy was born in 59 BC and died in AD 17. Ronald Syme and others have suggested bringing his birth and death dates back five years (64 BC – AD 12), but this idea has not gained consensus.
- "Livy wrote both dialogues, which should be ranked as history no less than as philosophy, and works which professedly deal with philosophy" ("scripsit enim et dialogos, quos non magis philosophiae adnumerare possis quam historiae, et ex professo philosophiam continentis libros") —Seneca the Younger. Moral Letters to Lucilius. 100.9.
- Tacitus. Annales. IV.34.
- Suetonius. Claudius. The Twelve Caesars. 41.1.
- S.P. Oakley, "Livy and Clodius Licinus", The Classical Quarterly, vol. 42, no. 2 (1992), p. 548
- T.D. Barnes, "Roman Papers by Ronald Syme, E. Badian", The American Journal of Philology, vol. 102, no. 4 (1981), p. 464
- A Companion to Livy, Wiley-Blackwell (2014), p. 25
- Livy 1998, ix.
- Livy (1978). Livy: The History of Early Rome. Translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt (Collector's ed.). Norwalk, Connecticut: Easton Press. p. viii.
- Livy 1998, ix–x.
- Hazel, John (2001). Who's Who in the Roman World. Who's Who Series. Routledge – via EBSCOhost.
- Livy 1998, x.
- Payne, Robert (1962). The Roman Triumph. London: Robert Hale. p. 38.
- Suetonius. Claudius. The Twelve Caesars. 41.1.
Historiam in adulescentia hortante T. Livio, Sulpicio vero Flavo etiam adiuvante, scribere adgressus est. ('In his youth he began to write a history under the encouragement of Titus Livius and with the help of Sulpicius Flavus.').
- Dudley, Donald R (1970). The Romans: 850 BC – AD 337. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 19.
- Feldherr, Andrew (1998). Spectacle and Society in Livy's History. London: University of California Press. p. ix.
- Heichelheim, Fritz Moritz (1962). A History of the Roman People. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall. p. 47.
- Livy 1998, xi.
- Seneca the Younger. Moral Letters to Lucilius. 100.9.
- Livy. History of Rome. Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts, E. P. Dutton and Co., 1912.
- Pallottino, Massimo (1975). The Etruscans. Translated by Cremona, J. (2nd ed.). Indiana University Press. p. 65.
- Pliny. Epistlae. II.3.
- Foster 1919, p. 24.
- "St. Jerome (Hieronymus): Chronological Tables". Attalus. 29 February 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
- Livy (1919) [written 27–9 BC]. Livy. Vol. I. Translated by Foster, B. O. Boston: ISBN 0-674-99256-3.
- Livy (1998) [written 27–9 BC]. The Rise of Rome. Vol. Books 1–5. Translated by Luce, T. J. Oxford: Oxford University Press..
- Chaplin, Janes D. (2000). Livy's Exemplary History. Oxford: ISBN 978-0-19-815274-3.
- S2CID 162297951.
- Davies, Jason P. (2004). Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Dorey, Thomas Allen, ed. (1971). Livy. London: Routledge. ISBN 9780710068767.
- Feldherr, Andrew (1998). Spectacle and Society in Livy's History. Berkeley: University of California Press.
- ISBN 978-0-19-860641-3.
- Klindienst, Patricia (1990). "'Ritual Work on Human Flesh': Livy's Lucretia and the Rape of the Body Politic". Helios. 17 (1): 51–70.
- Kraus, C. S.; Woodman, A. J. (1997). Latin Historians. Oxford: ISBN 9780199222933.
- Levene, D. S. (2010). Livy on the Hannibalic War. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Universitätsverlag Konstanz. pp. 53–70.
- Miles, Gary B. (1995). Livy: Reconstructing Early Rome. Ithaca, New York: ISBN 9780801430602.
- Moore, Timothy J. (1989). Artistry and Ideology: Livy's Vocabulary of Virtue. Frankfurt: Athenäum.
- Rossi, Andreola (2004). "Parallel Lives: Hannibal and Scipio in Livy's Third Decade". S2CID 154240047.
- JSTOR 310937.
- Vandiver, Elizabeth (1999). "The Founding Mothers of Livy's Rome: The Sabine Women and Lucretia". In Titchener, Frances B.; Moorton, Richard F. Jr. (eds.). The Eye Expanded: Life and the Arts in Greco-Roman Antiquity. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 206–232.
- Walsh, Patrick G. (1961). Livy: His Historical Aims and Methods. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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