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The History of Rome, Books 1-5: The Early History of Rome

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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 founding of Rome (traditionally dated to 757 BC) to the Gallic invasion in 386 BC - an era which witnessed the reign of seven kings, the establishm 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 founding of Rome (traditionally dated to 757 BC) to the Gallic invasion in 386 BC - an era which witnessed the reign of seven kings, the establishment of the Republic, civil strife and brutal conflict. Bringing compelling characters to life, and re-presenting familiar tales - including the tragedy of Coriolanus and the story of Romulus and Remus - The Early History is a truly epic work, and a passionate warning that Rome should learn from its history.


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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 founding of Rome (traditionally dated to 757 BC) to the Gallic invasion in 386 BC - an era which witnessed the reign of seven kings, the establishm 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 founding of Rome (traditionally dated to 757 BC) to the Gallic invasion in 386 BC - an era which witnessed the reign of seven kings, the establishment of the Republic, civil strife and brutal conflict. Bringing compelling characters to life, and re-presenting familiar tales - including the tragedy of Coriolanus and the story of Romulus and Remus - The Early History is a truly epic work, and a passionate warning that Rome should learn from its history.

30 review for The History of Rome, Books 1-5: The Early History of Rome

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    If you've ever 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 ever you want, fairly and squarely, by force of arms (hide spoiler)] or seven with a view to growing to become one of the world's pre-eminent states then Livy's history of the first 400 odd years of Rome's history contains plenty of warnings, firstly you may struggle to establish any kind of dynasty over the city you fou If you've ever 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 ever you want, fairly and squarely, by force of arms (hide spoiler)] or seven with a view to growing to become one of the world's pre-eminent states then Livy's history of the first 400 odd years of Rome's history contains plenty of warnings, firstly you may struggle to establish any kind of dynasty over the city you founded even if you do kill your own brother. Even once a firm constitutional order has been established you are apt to get caught up in century long wars with neighbouring cities all within a day's walk of your own. And of course you have to be careful not to cook your goose for fear of the Gauls even without magic potions. What Livy offers is a set of Roman fairy stories to begin his epic history of the city of Rome, written in the early days of the First Citizen and chief of the armies: Augustus, who is emphatically not a King, because as Livy shows kings are unRoman (frequently literally so, men of foreign birth). There are many familiar stories here, Romulus and Remus, Horatius and the bridge, Coriolanus, Cinncinnatus, the geese who saved Rome, Camilus and the school teacher, thematically there is a strong emphasis on sexual violence as a historical motive force (Romulus and Remus, Lucretia,the rape of the Sabine women, the fall of the Decemvirs), and on fraternal violence (Romulus and Remus, unending struggle between Patricians and plebeians) ( a pertinent theme in the days after civil war), and the importance of religious observance, Rome is strong when the rituals are correctly performed and promises to the gods (amusingly their religious practises are all imports - mostly from the Etruscans - literally when they carry off Juno from Veii to Rome) are honoured, no accident then that Augustus was also Pontifex maximus, the chief priest was the guardian of the Roman universe, so long as the ritual tent was correctly pitched for the observation of omens prior to elections then life would flow smoothly, if not, as Livy shows, the Capitol would be crawling with hairy Gauls. As these are fairy stories they all exist in an eternal present. There are hardly any historical indications as in details of how society actual functioned in 400 or so BC for example Livy mention sums of money, but it becomes clear later on when he mentions patriotic Senators delivering bars of bronze to the treasury that Rome presumably didn't have any kind of currency or physical coinage at this remote and dreamlike period, unlike his account of the war against Hannibal these stories exist outside of history, despite being presented as the historical foundation of the present (which is now our past). Livy makes his purpose clear: "The study of history is the best medicine for a sick mind; for in history you have a record of the infinite variety of human experience plainly set out for all to see:and in that record you can find for yourself and your country both examples and warnings; fine things to take as models, base things rotten through and through, to avoid" (p30). Livy's history is not meant to be historical, it is meant to provide examples for the reader to follow or to shun, it is didactic and designed as a response to the author's perception of Rome as being in a a state of Moral decline (ibid) although considering the city was founded by a fratricide who led a bunch of outlaws, who obtained wives by kidnapping and raping them, one can't say that it stated from the moral high ground, if anything a low moral level was the only consistent point in Roman history. Structurally Romulus ( the child of the rape of a vestal virgin) founds Rome after having been suckled either by a wolf or a prostitute ( this apparently makes better sense in Latin than in English), this is mirrored at the end by Camillus who gets to re-start Rome after recapturing it from the Gauls. In the middle the Plebeians revolt, wander off to another hill and think about starting their own city (fed up after having been obliged to fight, at their own expense, annually against all comers, but not getting any share of the spoils of war, or protection from debt slavery) until they are persuaded to return by a story of how in ancient times, the parts of the body rebelled against the stomach which appeared to do nothing only to find without it that the separate parts withered and died, convinced by this analogy the Plebeians return, yet it is hard to see any useful function provided by the Patricians to them save for the tax-day loans they give out, ensnaring people into poverty. The space between these events are filled by interchangeable battles and campaigns that until the end of the book seem to fail to achieve anything - in this way another contrast with the description of the war with Hannibal which has a simpler narrative drive although confused by fighting in different theatres of war. Hard by the end of Livy's fifth volume to see how Rome will emerge as leading Italian power let alone a world class empire. Interestingly the kings are rather unkinglike, but more similar to the tyrants of the Greek city states - there is no dynasty for instance, they come in offering specific answers to certain problems providing either military leadership or religious guidance. However unlike in the Greek cities soldiers don't seem to own their own arms - although they are divided into five classes for conscription purposes on the basis of armaments, since several times weapons are described as being distributed from stores, so there is no 'hoplite revolution' as in the Greek states, instead the aristocrats dominate as a caste. Reading I was reminded of my no doubt deeply biased impression of the history of the USA, not so much the warfare and search for domination over neighbours, more the adherence to the ancestral constitution over social equity. Plain though is the cultural influence of these stories whether from Livy or via Plutarch, the idea of(the perpetual?) moral decline of a state, that suicide is an appropriate response to rape ( or more broadly that women's lives are expendable to preserve men's honour), various degrees of double standards- selling women and children into slavery is ok, but waging war against them isn't, in this way, Rome is eternal, an empire of the mind, on the plus side, the positive example of Livy's Rome, one might think of the Cincinnati which perhaps made the difference between the young republic in north America and its southern cousins, or indeed the strict commitment to constutionalism, here even to a ridiculous extent when Camilus having got together an army won't march on Rome and attack the Gauls who are occupying Rome without authorisation from the Senate who are besieged by the Gauls on the Capitol (view spoiler)[ naturally this constitutional impasse is resolved through an act of heroism (hide spoiler)] .

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    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 worthwhile. The 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, for example, when he observes talking cows or phenomenal weather. But this charge is frankly stupid. It 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 worthwhile. The 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, for example, when he observes talking cows or phenomenal weather. But this charge is frankly stupid. It is preposterous to expect of ancient historians sensibilities that are modern. And, in any case, it presumes to judge what is the method best equipped for recounting a political story. This entry then will waste no more time answering charges of this sort. They do not deserve the dignity of a reply, let alone a serious one. There 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 giving epic history, but without epic form. And by that reason his History is boring. It is tedious and dull, and at times almost admittedly so--when, for example, Livy emphasizes "once again" the Aequians and the Volscians are pillaging the Roman hinterland, since such, like his History, are routine in pattern. This 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 quite ingenious. If 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 require epic arrangement, the second does not. Instead Livy has organized his narrative as a montage. The origin and life of Romulus, for example, is really a collection of unrelated accounts, but each 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, each is a story of its own, adjoined only by the coincidence of their Roman association. This technique of story-making is distinctive. And readers may be wrongly expecting from Livy qualities of the larger Roman genre of history that is dominated by the Polybian style. In Tacitus, in Gibbon--there you see the epic form of history told. The question then should not be why Livy went wrong in his recount. That question, I have just argued, is a misapprehension of his History. Instead the question should be what motive Livy had to write the way that he did? Why the anti-epic? 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 elevate the ordinary travails of republican life to the level of the extra-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 virtue? These are questions to which I have not the answer. But they are questions 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 experience similar to having heard something without listening to it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    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 of: 1. Livy I: History of Rome, Books 1-2 2. Livy II: History of Rome, Books 3-4 3. Livy III: History of Rome, Books 5-7 Otherwise: Look, that you may see how cheap they hold their bodies whose eyes are fixed upon renown!" - Livy, Book II, xii 13 "Oratory was invented for doubtful matters" - Livy, Book III, lv 3 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 of: 1. Livy I: History of Rome, Books 1-2 2. Livy II: History of Rome, Books 3-4 3. Livy III: History of Rome, Books 5-7 Otherwise: Look, that you may see how cheap they hold their bodies whose eyes are fixed upon renown!" - Livy, Book II, xii 13 "Oratory 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 Republic) This 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 require me to buy another 8 volumes. The good from that is, well, eight more little red books. The bad? Well, these little books retail for $26 (although you can usually find either 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 version? Quod est in Latinam verso | Because Latin is on the left Et 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, like: "Their name was irksome and a menace to liberty." - Livy, Book II. ii. 4 I can go almost straight across and discover what that was in Latin: "Non placere nomen, periculosum libertati esse." It delights me. I know that probably sounds a bit affected and effete, but hell it entertains me. I don't complain that American consumers spend more than $25.3 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 Politics) My second (of fourteen) Livy's History of Rome covers books 3 and 4 (467-404BC). It largely deals with early growing pains in Rome as its second census shows its population swollen beyond 100,000. 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 Quintus Cincinnatus, the machinations of the decemvirs, and Appius Claudius claiming Verginius' daughter Verginia as a slave. My 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 easily have been used 2000+ years later when debating a woman's right to vote, etc.. Here are some of Livy's best lines: 'When we raise the question 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 expelled no plebeian has 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 practice, even if it be expedient?" (Book IV, iv 1). "Finally, I would ask, is it you, or the Roman People, who have supreme authority? Did the banishment of the kings bring you dominion, or to all men equal liberty?" (Book IV, v 1). ______________________________ Book 5 (Gauls at Rome) One of my favorite characters in the book is Marcus Furius Camillus, one of Rome's great, early generals. He was given at his death the title of Second Founder of Rome after he helped to defend a sacked Rome against the Senoni chieftain Brennus and his gallic warriors. Some men are generals. Some are statesmen. Others just seem to have it all. Camellus is one of those men who seem destined to lead, protect, and inspire. These three books are filled with battles, wars, and manly, martial speeches. I think one of the best parts of these early Roman histories of Livy are his speeches. Obviously, he is embellishing things and probably making a great deal up, but still -- this is damn good stuff. Here are some of Livy's best lines: 'Do we think the bodies of our soldiers so effeminate, their hearts so faint, that they cannot endure to be one winter in camp, away from home; that like sailors they must wage war with an eye on the weather, observing the seasons, incapable of withstanding heat or cold?" (Book V, vi 4) "The gods themselves never laid hands upon the guilty; it was enough if they armed with an opportunity for vengeance those who had been wronged." (Book V, xi 16). "...since it commonly turned out that in proportion as a man was prone to seek a leading share of toil and danger, he was slow in plundering." (Book V, xx 6).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    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 engaging writer, so the reader has little need to fear getting bogged down, as one sometimes does with Gibbon. As one might expect, the English and the Roman historians are worlds apart. Livy is almost exclusively a dramatic historian; and the book often feels quite like a novel. There is little attempt at analysis. Nor 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 engaging writer, so the reader has little need to fear getting bogged down, as one sometimes does with Gibbon. As one might expect, the English and the Roman historians are worlds apart. Livy is almost exclusively a dramatic historian; and the book often feels quite like a novel. There is little attempt at analysis. Nor is Livy drawn to the vaguer sort of philosophical moralizing that historians sometimes indulge in. The closest that Livy gets to analysis is in his speeches. As in Thucydides, Livy puts long orations into the mouths of his principle characters, all of which are pure fabrications. For the most part these speeches are dramatic devices, allowing us to see why the Romans acted in a certain way; but the reader often notes the opinion of Livy himself creeping into these orations—the historian’s strong sense of what is right and proper for Romans to do. Of course we poor Anglophones can only guess at the true merit of these compositions, as Livy is considered to be one of the great Latin stylists. Even with much of the rhetorical beauty stripped away, however, they are rousing pieces. Livy’s stated aim in writing his history was to escape his degraded present into a glorious past. A thoroughgoing Republican, he mourned the birth of the Empire, though he did see why a strong hand was needed amid the political chaos of recent years. The result is a kind of prose poem, a sequel to Virgil’s epic, telling the heroic story of Rome’s rise from a small city-state to a world power. Livy explains this ascent like a true patriot: as the consequences of a particularly Roman virtue, a manly courage and intelligence which saw the Roman people through innumerable obstacles. Dominion is the only fitting reward. These first five books cover the city’s mythical founding by Romulus up to the sacking of the city by the Gauls, in 390 BCE. During this time the monarchy gave way to the republic, which soon found itself embroiled in a thousand wars, big and small, with Rome’s neighbors on the Italian peninsula. The annalistic recounting of the elections of tribunes and consuls, the battles fought and won, can get tiresome at times. More interesting, to me, were the conflicts between the patricians and the plebeians—a proto-Marxist story of class conflict. In general, Livy’s eye turns to wherever there is turmoil; and the final impression is of an endless battle. One wonders whether the Romans are doing anything else, such as farming or trading or making music. As with any ancient historian, Livy falls far short of the accuracy and transparency that is expected of modern historians. And since he is a patriotic writer, this is doubly true. Even so, this is a tremendously valuable historical document, and a thrilling read to boot.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Justin Evans

    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 every 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, essentially, what people who haven't read Marx think Marx is: the patricians will come up with any excuse to maintain their privil 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 every 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, essentially, what people who haven't read Marx think Marx is: the patricians will come up with any excuse 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 early 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 more 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 Aequii 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 quickly 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 experience, 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.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    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 B.C. 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 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 B.C. 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 early in their existence, the patrician classes and the common people (or plebs) were at each 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?

  7. 5 out of 5

    AB

    Livy's first 5 books managed to be both a quite boring and a quite exciting experience. I have never read Roman history in a format quite like Livy's before. He is almost the epitome of Annalistic writing (I know that's probably not the right thing to describe this as). He painstakingly discusses almost every year from the foundation of Rome to the expulsion and defeat of the Gauls. It does not matter if no events occur in that year, Livy makes sure to give you the names of the Consuls/Military Livy's first 5 books managed to be both a quite boring and a quite exciting experience. I have never read Roman history in a format quite like Livy's before. He is almost the epitome of Annalistic writing (I know that's probably not the right thing to describe this as). He painstakingly discusses almost every year from the foundation of Rome to the expulsion and defeat of the Gauls. It does not matter if no events occur in that year, Livy makes sure to give you the names of the Consuls/Military 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 this early period but at the same time I would be bogged down by the constant and repetitive flow of information. Large chunks of the book, especially books 3 and 4 would consist of very little beyond tribunician agitation, patricians fighting back and then a quick resolution due to an invasion by the Aequi, Volsci, and/or Veii. That being said, this book contained so much interesting information that would keep me constantly engaged with the work. I feel that there is more 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 symbolic/poetic devices to dig into. If you like thinking about obscure and no longer extant narratives of Roman/Italian history than Livy is your man. Not only does Livy quote early Roman historians but it also appears that he quotes 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 entire Monarchy gives explanations for a wide variety of things and this continues all the way until the 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 by example. 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 subsequent 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 earlier attempts at speeches. There is more of a flare for the dramatic while still attempting to 'properly' describe events 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 excited to continue on with Livy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    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 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 more 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 past. Having said that, Livy tells a fabulous story: from the early kings to their expulsion by the first Marcus Brutus and the beginning of the Republic, from Rome's small beginnings to her conquests 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 context. Livy 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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Straight forward and enjoyable, 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 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 very even-handed depictions of major conflicts and crazy personal ambitions. In their early stages, you can Straight forward and enjoyable, 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 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 very even-handed depictions of major conflicts and crazy personal ambitions. In their early stages, you can't help but root for these scrappy guys and their big dreams.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Pete daPixie

    I thought Livy's 'The Rise of Rome' Books 1-5 to be some of the hardest reading I've done for quite some time. Like eating cardboard. The more I read, the harder it was to digest the thing. A historian whose work I read recently, my colander brain prevents recall of who this was, advocated strongly for reading the literature of a period to fully understand the history. So I met the advice half way in deciding to read this book. Titus Livius wrote 142 books in this monster series of his history of I thought Livy's 'The Rise of Rome' Books 1-5 to be some of the hardest reading I've done for quite some time. Like eating cardboard. The more I read, the harder it was to digest the thing. A historian whose work I read recently, my colander brain prevents recall of who this was, advocated strongly for reading the literature of a period to fully understand the history. So I met the advice half way in deciding to read this book. Titus Livius wrote 142 books in this monster series of his history of Rome, from it's foundation in 753bc to 9bc. Only 35 books survive. (Thank the gods for that!) This series from 1-5 covers the formation of the city of Aeneas, after the fall of Troy, with guest appearances from Hercules and the dynamic duo of Romulus and Remus. Book 5 ends with the sack of the city by the Gauls in 390bc. What is incredible about Livius' work is that all of this data was available at all in the first century bc. As well as consulting earlier historical writings from Fabius Pictor, Licinius Macer or Valerius Antias, he was also able to access histories recorded in the Linen Books kept in the Temple of Juno Moneta. (This was also home to Rome's mint, hence our money.) Occasionally the narrative contains a gem. Information of the first settlements on Rome's hills, or the founding of temples or the mythical creation of the Isola Tiberina. However the bulk of this work covers the almost continuous attrition between the city and her neighbours, the Sabines, Etruscans, Volsci, Aequi, Fabii, Veii, etc. Or who were consuls for the year. What politics occupied the senate. Who stabbed who in the back, or who was sent into exile. Who offended the plebs. As Livius states, 'the fates ordained the founding of this great city and the beginning of the world's mightiest empire, second only to the power of the gods.' On the subject of gods, Romulus and Remus were born from a Vestal virgin, the father was Mars. The children were cast adrift in a basket to be reared by a she wolf. It is also interesting to learn that Romulus ascended bodily to heaven and that Rome was bidden to perform rituals by a voice from heaven on Mount Alba. All very familiar.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Diem

    This translation was first published in 1960 and it retains a scholarly and serious tone that tends to be abandoned in favor of a more accessible simplicity such as is found in modern translations of ancient texts. Where "accessible simplicity" means "dumbed down patter". All the same it really is accessible to all but the most simple-minded reader. How do I know? I read it with what I think was great success. I even enjoyed it and looked forward to my hour with this book and a mug of coffee eve This translation was first published in 1960 and it retains a scholarly and serious tone that tends to be abandoned in favor of a more accessible simplicity such as is found in modern translations of ancient texts. Where "accessible simplicity" means "dumbed down patter". All the same it really is accessible to all but the most simple-minded reader. How do I know? I read it with what I think was great success. I even enjoyed it and looked forward to my hour with this book and a mug of coffee every morning. Would I have like it as much without the coffee? No. This isn't a very serious review because, as usual, I feel utterly unqualified to review it. I've written nothing of merit. I have buried in my reading history multiple encounters with V.C. Andrews. I'm not climbing into the ring with Livy and Aubrey de Selincourt.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Roger Burk

    Livy tells the traditional story of the first 365 years of Rome, from the wanderings of Aeneas to the sack of the city by Gauls in 386 B.C. Myth slides seamlessly into legend and then on into history. There is perhaps too much detail on who was consul each year and what inconclusive battles they fought, but the main events make a gripping story. It seems early Rome was set up by random gangs of freebooters and riffraff who found a convenient place on top of the Palatine Hill to base their husband Livy tells the traditional story of the first 365 years of Rome, from the wanderings of Aeneas to the sack of the city by Gauls in 386 B.C. Myth slides seamlessly into legend and then on into history. There is perhaps too much detail on who was consul each year and what inconclusive battles they fought, but the main events make a gripping story. It seems early Rome was set up by random gangs of freebooters and riffraff who found a convenient place on top of the Palatine Hill to base their husbandry and raiding. Livy himself calls them "a rabble of vagrants, mostly runaways and refugees" (p. 105). Some of their kings were descended from slaves. Unlike Greeks, they welcomed many others, including former enemies, to join their commonwealth and receive citizenship. Around 670 B.C. (according to the tradition) they defeated the town of Alba Longa, whence their initial founders had come, and integrated the defeated into Rome, giving them citizenship and including their patricians into the Senate. But the Alba Longans had to move--the old town was demolished and all the houses pulled down (but not the temples, the Romans being a pious folk). This seems a shaky foundation for an integration of peoples on terms of equality, but the tradition assures us that it happened. We learn that the early kings of Rome were elected by the people and confirmed by the Senate, though they served for life and their word was law. After the kings were expelled in 507 B.C., we have consuls, also elected and also having final decision authority, but two of them at a time, each a check on the other, and serving for one year only (and they could be tried and condemned after their term for what they did in office). For the following century, while the Greeks entered their Golden Age, Rome fought more or less annual inconclusive wars with their neighbors, the Sabines, Aequians, Volscians, Etruscans, and so on, most within 10 or 20 miles of Rome. The method of war was to march into hostile territory and build a defensible camp, then raid the countryside until the enemy showed up and offered battle. One side or the other got defeated and scattered and fled to their walled town. The next year they did it again. For 427 B.C., we learn of pious Romans' antipathy towards foreign forms of worship. A new cult was deemed debased and superstitious and so banned. The ancient Roman practices of getting divine instructions from the livers of animals and the flights of birds continued. Warfare developed little during this long century, but politics did. Roman law did not provide for bankruptcy, and insolvent debtors could literally be put in chains, Roman citizens though they were. The plebs got tired of the patrician Senate and consuls deciding such things, and got constitutional change via a remarkable use of civil disobedience. In 493 B.C. they picked up and moved out of town to the Aventine Hill, leaving the patricians in a panic over the defenseless state of the town. The plebs were granted the right to elect tribunes whose person was sacrosanct and who could veto any act of the consuls. In 451 B.C. the "Twelve Tables" of laws were posted publicly to provide a sort of government by consent of the governed. More power-sharing was demanded by the plebs, and in many years "military tribunes with consular power" were elected instead of consuls. It's not so clear what the difference was, beyond the non-patrician title and the fact that these tribunes were three or four or more in number, not two. These military tribunes could legally be plebeians (unlike consuls), but they almost never were. Livy's sympathies are pretty clearly with the patricians in all this, but he does give us the contrast with a neighboring city where similar conflicts led to civil war, much bloodletting, and finally defeat and incorporation into Rome. As the decades passed the Romans got better at achieving decisive results in their wars. One after another, neighboring towns and peoples asked for treaties of alliance, meaning mutual raiding ceased but they accepted political subordination to Rome. Finally, around 392 B.C. the Romans decided to crack the biggest nut: Veii, the biggest Etruscan town, and only nine miles from Rome. After ten years of investing it every campaigning season, the Roman army broke through the walls and poured into the city, slaughtering every one they found. After a while the slaughter ended, and such population as survived and lay down their arms in surrender was sold into slavery. The great idol of Juno was moved from the main Veiian temple to Rome (with its own acquiescence, according to a story the Livy recounts without committing to its truth). The city was left desolate and deserted. The plebes wanted the lands divided among the people and perhaps the town repopulated with emigrants from Rome, but the Senate would have nothing to do with the idea. I suspect Livy means us to ponder the connection between the fate of Veii and what happened to Rome a few years later. In 386 B.C. an army of Gauls appeared out of nowhere, scattered with inexplicable ease the Roman army sent to deal with it, and appeared before the walls of the defenseless city. However, they did not invest the city or assault it until the next day, giving the Senate some time to make a few decisions. The city was not provisioned for a siege and there were not enough fighting men to man the walls, so what young men were there were instructed to go with their families to the citadel on the Capitoline Hill and hold that place for as long as possible. The Vestal Virgins were instructed to preserve the sacred objects as best they could and carry on the rites as long as one was alive to do it; they buried what they could not carry and set out with the rest on foot for Caere, twenty miles away. The older senators decided to array themselves in their robes of state and sit in the courts of their houses to await their fate. The plebeians were left to flee leaderless across the Tiber and then wherever they could go. The next day the Gauls were amazed to find the gate of Rome open before them, and inside all the houses of the rich unlocked. This bewildered them for a while, but after a while a Gaul pulled the beard of a senator sitting in his court, the senator whacked the Gaul with his ivory rod, and the Gaul then killed the senator. That broke the spell, and the usual slaughter, pillage, and burning began. However, the citadel held out for the months it took for the scattered Roman remnants and their allies to put together an army that could convince the Gauls to leave the smoking ruins. (We are assured that they were all intercepted and slaughtered before making it home, and the ransom they were paid recovered.) In the aftermath, the plebs and tribunes tried to convince the Senate to move the town wholesale to the still-intact town of Veii. There was much deliberation, but ultimately sentimental and religious ties to the site of Rome prevailed and the city was rebuilt. Livy cannot really say what of this is sober history and what is exaggeration or simple legend. Neither can we. All I can say is that if it didn't happen that way, it ought to have.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Way

    Read for university this year. This was an intersection read and helpful if wanting to learn more about Ancient Rome.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Even for a huge Latinophile, this history is a bit hard-going. I've probably been spoiled having read Tacitus and Plutarch in the past, with their endlessly entertaining sassy character assassinations. Livy is a lot more... sober. I suppose it's mainly because so little is actually known about the history of early Rome. For the first book in this volume, this actually makes for a fascinating weaving of fact and myth: the almost certainly mythological figures of Aeneas, Hercules (and maybe Romulus Even for a huge Latinophile, this history is a bit hard-going. I've probably been spoiled having read Tacitus and Plutarch in the past, with their endlessly entertaining sassy character assassinations. Livy is a lot more... sober. I suppose it's mainly because so little is actually known about the history of early Rome. For the first book in this volume, this actually makes for a fascinating weaving of fact and myth: the almost certainly mythological figures of Aeneas, Hercules (and maybe Romulus and Remus?) make their appearances, augurs proclaim their divinations, Sabine women are kidnapped, and an Island is created in the Tiber out of discarded wheat stalks from the Campus Martius. This is all great. However, the next four books are unbearably dry, consisting mainly of recounts of cyclical campaigns against the various peoples surrounding early Rome - interchangeable nations such as the Aequii, Volscii, Veii, Etruscans, Sabines... Livy isn't interested in telling us much about these peoples, or about the Roman people for that matter. I would have liked a more thorough discussion about every day life in early Rome, but this is limited to the odd account of agrarian reform (a particular bugbear of Roman Republican patricians), uppity tribunes and rowdy plebs. This is interesting enough the first few times around, but I get the impression that early Roman history was of a cut-and-paste kind: military campaign, pleb uprising, new consuls appointed, rinse and repeat. But one can't be too harsh on Livy. He was writing history for a very different audience and for different reasons than modern historians, so we must be lenient if the style is not to our tastes. The great historian E.H. Carr wrote that works of history tell you more about the writer's contemporary time than they do about their subject matter, and I'm a great believer in this. It is a privilege to be able to read the words of a man who is separated from us by two millennia. Plus, look no further than the Romans for comical names. Spurius Furius and Mettius Fufettius, I'm looking at you.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    I found reading this book to be a mixed experience. It clearly gives a sense of Roman history up to 386 BC, much of course being based on myth and legend, and as such it is an invaluable introduction to the history of Rome. The writing itself seems uneven. There are seemingly interminable chronological lists of consuls and tribunes, squabbles between patricians and plebians, repetitive conflicts with neighboring tribes and cities that become mind-numbing. Interspersed with these are fascinating " I found reading this book to be a mixed experience. It clearly gives a sense of Roman history up to 386 BC, much of course being based on myth and legend, and as such it is an invaluable introduction to the history of Rome. The writing itself seems uneven. There are seemingly interminable chronological lists of consuls and tribunes, squabbles between patricians and plebians, repetitive conflicts with neighboring tribes and cities that become mind-numbing. Interspersed with these are fascinating "highlight" stories and long speeches illuminating and summarizing particular issues. Most of these speeches are constructed monologues created by Livy - much as Thucydides did in his Greek history - rather than historically accurate renditions, but they certainly help provide a sense of what was occurring at the time. Livy is essentially conservative, repetitively bemoaning the encroachment of the people on the prerogatives of the patricians and formulating speeches extolling the need to return to traditional religious and political structures and practices. I found myself alternately fascinated and bored. I'm glad I read it. I'll not read it again.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    Nowhere is the class struggle so vividly laid out as in Livy. Plebeians want more land and equality, so the patricians distract them by going to war; plebeians want equal political representation, so the patricians distract them by invoking the gods ("What would the Gods think? You're too poor!"). My dog, is Appius Claudius not ready for Fox News? This is an excellent translation, superior to the Penguin edition, too, in my regard, for politely breaking up the consulships. By the time the kings Nowhere is the class struggle so vividly laid out as in Livy. Plebeians want more land and equality, so the patricians distract them by going to war; plebeians want equal political representation, so the patricians distract them by invoking the gods ("What would the Gods think? You're too poor!"). My dog, is Appius Claudius not ready for Fox News? This is an excellent translation, superior to the Penguin edition, too, in my regard, for politely breaking up the consulships. By the time the kings are ousted, you will be agape in awe of Livy, and if not by then, then by the sack of Rome by the Gauls; not to mention the fascinating descriptions of cultural practices, i.e. the Saturnalia, a week in December where the masters became slaves and vice versa; the Tarpeian Rock, another manifestation of that ubiquitous human phenomenon called scapegoating. It's also interesting to watch the kings dialectically play off one another - Romulus (war), Numa (religion), Hostilius (circus maximus); now that's what I call a synthesis!

  17. 5 out of 5

    sologdin

    magnanimous romans liberate italia from evil celts and etruscans and whatnot.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Robert Sheppard

    WHAT EVERY EDUCATED CITIZEN OF THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW IN THE 21ST CENTURY: THE GREAT HISTORIANS OF WORLD HISTORY--HERODOTUS, THUCYDIDES, SIMA QIAN, IBN KHALDUN, THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE MONGOLS, JULIUS CAESAR, PLUTARCH, LIVY, POLYBIUS, TACITUS, GIBBON, MARX, SPENGLER & TOYNBEE----FROM THE WORLD LITERATURE FORUM RECOMMENDED CLASSICS AND MASTERPIECES SERIES VIA GOODREADS—-ROBERT SHEPPARD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." is an apt admonition to WHAT EVERY EDUCATED CITIZEN OF THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW IN THE 21ST CENTURY: THE GREAT HISTORIANS OF WORLD HISTORY--HERODOTUS, THUCYDIDES, SIMA QIAN, IBN KHALDUN, THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE MONGOLS, JULIUS CAESAR, PLUTARCH, LIVY, POLYBIUS, TACITUS, GIBBON, MARX, SPENGLER & TOYNBEE----FROM THE WORLD LITERATURE FORUM RECOMMENDED CLASSICS AND MASTERPIECES SERIES VIA GOODREADS—-ROBERT SHEPPARD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." is an apt admonition to us all from George Santayana, who, in his "The Life of Reason," echoed the similar earlier words of the conservative philosopher Edmund Burke. But the great histories and historians of World History bring us far more than events of nations, chronicles of the Rise and Fall of Civilizations, or lessons and precedents from the past; they also constitute a fundamental part of World Literature, bringing us great reading experiences and exciting sagas as in Thucydides' "History of the Peloponesian War," in-depth portraits and readings of the character of great men and shapers of the world as in Plutarch's "Parallel Lives" and China's "Records of the Grand Historian" by Si Ma Chen, and deep philosophical and scientific insights into the workings of human society its environment as revealed in the panoramic visions of great Islamic historian Ibn Khaldun, Karl Marx, Oswald Spengler and Sir Arnold Toynbee. As such, in our modern globalized world of the 21st century, where not only our own history, but also the interrelated histories of all of nations show so clearly that "the past is always present," and therefore every educated citizen of the modern world has an obligation to read the great works of history from all major civilizations to even begin comprehending the living world about us and the ultimate meaning of our own lives. WHAT WAS THE FIRST WORK OF HISTORY IN THE WORLD? If to begin our survey we put the daunting threshold question of what was the firs work of "history" in human experience, like most radical questions we will find that the answer all depends on how we put the question and define its terms. "History" undoubtedly began with the campfire stories of Neolithic man about families, tribes and conflicts far before the invention of writing. Histories were passed down in oral sagas memorized by poets such as Homer's "Iliad and Odyssey," and only centuries later recorded in script. But true history begins with works of systematic analysis and interpretation of human events, and in that light the general consensus is that the first great work of World History was that of the Greek historian Herodotus in the 5th Century BC, "The Histories." HERODOTUS, AUTHOR OF "THE HISTORIES" Herodotus (5th Century BC) is thus often referred to as "The Father of History," a title conferred upon him by Cicero amoung others, but also disparagingly as "The Father of Lies" by some of his critics. He was born in Halicarnassus, a Greek city which had become part of the Persian Empire that enjoyed strong trade relations with Egypt. He travelled widely, spending time in Periclian Athens, Egypt, Persia and Italy and collected histories, tales and historical lore wherever he traveled, noting the customs of the people, the major wars and state events and the religions and lore of the people. He wrote in a "folksy" style and purported to record whatever was told to him, which led to critics deploring some of the "tall tales" or mythical accounts in his work, but which Herodtodus himself said he included without judgment to their ultimate truth to illustrate the historical beliefs of the peoples he encountered. His primary focus was to explain the history and background of the Persian War between the Greeks and the Persian Empire, though he also included cultural observations of other peoples such as the Egyptians. His "Histories" is entertaining and interesting, though somewhat voluminous and scattered for the modern reader unfamiliar with the context. THUCYDIDES, MASTER OF REPORTORIAL AND EYEWITNESS HISTORY Thucydides (460-395 BC) is most remembered for his epic "History of the Peloponnesian War" of Greece which recounts the struggle for supremacy and survival between the enlightened commercial empire of Athens and its reactionary opponent Sparta, which ended in the defeat of the Athenians. His approach and goal in writing was completely different from Herodotus, as he was himself a General in the wars he wrote about and set out to provide "the inside story" of eyewitnesses and personal accounts of the major participants in the great events of their history so that their characters, understanding, strategies and actions could be closely judged, especially for the purpose of educating future statesmen and leaders. This approach was later shared by Polybius in his "The Rise of the Roman Empire." As a more contemporary history it is often more exciting to read, and establishes the tradition followed by Livy and others of including the "key speeches" of the leaders in war council, the "inside story" of their schemes and motivations, and rousing tales of the ups and downs of fast-moving battles. It contains such classics such as Pericles "Funeral Speech" for the ballen war heroes reminiscent of Lincoln's Gettysburg address. It is a must for those seeking to understand Classical Greece and a rich and exciting read. SIMA QIAN, AND THE "RECORDS OF THE GRAND HISTORIAN" OF HAN DYNASTY CHINA Sima Qian (Szu Ma Chien/145-86 BC) is regarded as the greatest historian of China's long and florid history and his personal tragedy is also held up as an example of intellectual martyrdom and integrity in the face of power. He like his father was the chief astrologer/astronomer and historian of the Han Imperial Court under Emperor Wu. His epic history "Records of the Grand Historian" sought to summarize all of Chinese history up to his time when the Han Dynasty Empire was a rival in size and power to that of Imperial Rome. He lived and wrote about the same time as Polybius, author of "The Rise of the Roman Empire," and like him he wrote from the vantage point of a newly united empire having overcome centuries of waring strife to establish a unified and powerful domain. In style, his history has some of the character of Plutarch in his "Lives" in that it often focuses on intimate character portraits of such great men as Qin Shi Huang Di, the unifier and First Emperor of China, and many others. It also contains rich and varied accounts of topic areas such as music, folk arts, literature, economics, calendars, science and others. He was the chief formulator of the primary Chinese theory of the rise and fall of imperial dynasties known as the "Mandate of Heaven." Like the theory of the Divine Right of Kings, its premise was that Emperors and their dynasties were installed on earth by the divine will of heaven and continued so long as the rulers were morally upright and uncorrupted. However, over centuries most dynasties would suffer corruption and decline, finally resulting in Heaven choosing another more virtuous dynasty to displace them when they had forfeited the "Mandate of Heaven," a kind of "Social Contract" with the divine rather than with mankind. Then, this cycle would repeat itself over the millennia. His personal life was occasioned by tragedy due to his intellectual honesty in the "Li Ling Affair." Two Chinese generals were sent to the north to battle the fierce Xiongnu hordes against whom the Great Wall was constructed, Li Ling and the brother-in-law of the Emperor. They met disaster and their armies were annihilated, ending in the capture of both. Everyone at Court blamed the disaster on Li Ling in order to exonerate the Emperor's relative, but Sima Qian, out of respect for Li Ling's honor disagreed publicly and was predictably sentenced to death by Emperor Wu. A noble like Sima Qian could have his death sentence commuted by payment of a large fine or castration but since he was a poor scholar he could not afford the fine. Thus, in 96 BC, on his release from prison, Sima chose to endure castration and live on as a palace eunuch to fulfill his promise to his father to complete his histories, rather than commit suicide as was expected of a gentleman-scholar. As Sima Qian himself explained in his famous "Letter to Ren An:" “If even the lowest slave and scullion maid can bear to commit suicide, why should not one like myself be able to do what has to be done? But the reason I have not refused to bear these ills and have continued to live, dwelling in vileness and disgrace without taking my leave, is that I grieve that I have things in my heart which I have not been able to express fully, and I am shamed to think that after I am gone my writings will not be known to posterity. Too numerous to record are the men of ancient times who were rich and noble and whose names have yet vanished away. It is only those who were masterful and sure, the truly extraordinary men, who are still remembered. ... I too have ventured not to be modest but have entrusted myself to my useless writings. I have gathered up and brought together the old traditions of the world which were scattered and lost. I have examined the deeds and events of the past and investigated the principles behind their success and failure, their rise and decay, in one hundred and thirty chapters. I wished to examine into all that concerns heaven and man, to penetrate the changes of the past and present, completing all as the work of one family. But before I had finished my rough manuscript, I met with this calamity. It is because I regretted that it had not been completed that I submitted to the extreme penalty without rancor. When I have truly completed this work, I shall deposit it in the Famous Mountain. If it may be handed down to men who will appreciate it, and penetrate to the villages and great cities, then though I should suffer a thousand mutilations, what regret should I have?” — Sima Qian JULIUS CAESAR: HISTORY AS AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND AUTOMYTHOLOGY Julius Caesar was famous for writing accounts of his own military campaigns, most notably in his "History of the Gallic Wars." Curiously, he writes of himself in the third person. Though a personal history, his writing contains little introspection or deep analytical thought and is rather the action-drama of the campaign, with special care to show his own personal courage and leadership. Before the 20th century most European schoolboys would read the work as part of their efforts to learn Latin in Grammar School. Later famous leaders such as Winston Churchill also followed in Caesar's tradition in writing history alonside making it, for which he received the Nobel Prize. Caesar's work is worth reading and exciting in parts, though sometimes becoming repetitive in the minutiae of the endless conflicts. THE GREAT ROMAN HISTORIES: LIVY, POLYBIUS, TACITUS, SEUTONIUS AND AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS The thousand-year history of the Roman Republic and Empire can be gleaned from these five great historians in the order presented. For the earliest history of the founding of the Roman Republic from the 6th-4th Centuries BC Livy (59BC-17 AD) in his "Ab Urbe Condita Libri" (From the Founding of the City) is the best source, tracing the saga from the tale of Aeneas fleeing from fallen Troy to the Rape of the Sabine Women, Romulus & Remus, the tyranical Tarquin Kings, the Founding of the Republic, the evolution of the Roman Constitution and up to the sack of the city by the Gauls in the 4th Century BC. Though ancient history is presumed to be boring, I surprisingly found Livy's account surprisingly lively, almost a "can't put down read." Polybius (200-118 BC) then picks up the story in his "The Rise of the Roman Empire" tracing the three Punic Wars with Carthage, Hannibal's campaign over the Alps and Rome's entanglement with the collapsing Greek Empire of Seleucis, Macedon and the Ptolmeys until attaining supremacy over the entire Mediterranean. Polybius is a surprisingly modern historian who saw as his challenge to write a "universal history" similar to that of our age of Globalization in which previously separate national histories became united in a universal field of action with integrated causes and effects. He was a Greek who was arrested and taken to Rome and then became intimate with the highest circles of the Roman Senate and a mentor to the Scipio family of generals. He like Thucydides then attempts to tell the "inside story" of how Rome rose to universal dominance in its region, and how all the parts of his world became interconnected in their power relations. Tacitus (56-117 AD) continues the story after the fall of the Republic and rise of the Roman Empire under the emperors. Along with his contemporary Seutonius who published his "History of the Twelve Caesars" in 121 AD, he tells of the founding of the Empire under Julius Caesar, the Civil Wars of Augustus involving Mark Anthony & Cleopatra, the Augustan "Golden Age" and the descent into unbelievable corruption, degeneration, homicidal and sexual madness and excess under Caligula and Nero, followed by a return to decency under Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius. The endstory of the Roman Empire is reflected in Ammianus Marcellinus (395-391 AD) who wrote in the time of Julian the Apostate who unsuccessfully tried to shake off Christianity and restore the old pagan and rationalist traditions of Classical Greece and Rome. PLUTARCH, THE GREAT HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHER Plutarch (46-120 AD) is most famous for his historical biographies in "Parallel Lives" or simply "Lives." He was, like Polybius, a Greek scholar who wished to open understanding between the Greek and Roman intellectual communities. His "Parallel Lives" consists of character portraits and life histories of matching pairs of great Greeks and great Romans such as Alexander and Caesar, hoping to enhance appreciation of the greatness of each. Much of Shakespeare's knowledge of the classical world reflected in his plays such as "Julius Caesar," "Anthony and Cleopatra" and "Coriolanus" came from reading Plutarch in translation. His character analyses are always insightful and engaging to read. His biographical method was also used by the great near-contemporary Sima Qian of Han Dynasty China. IBN KHALDUN, ISLAMIC PIONEER OF MODERN HISTORY, SOCIOLOGY AND ECONOMICS One of the blind spots in our appreciation of World History is the underappreciation of the contributions of Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) and many other Islamic and non-Western thinkers, including Rashīd al-Dīn Fadhl-allāh Hamadānī (1247–1318), a Persian physician of Jewish origin, polymathic writer and historian, who wrote an enormous Islamic history, the Jami al-Tawarikh, in the Persian language, and Ala'iddin Ata-Malik Juvayni (1226–1283) a Persian historian who wrote an account of the Mongol Empire entitled Ta' rīkh-i jahān-gushā (History of the World Conqueror). Of these Ibn Khaldun was the greatest and a theoretical forerunner of our modern approaches to history, far ahead of his time and little appreciated in either the Western or the Islamic world until recently. His greatest work is the The "Muqaddimah" (known as the Prolegomena) in which he anticipated some of the themes of Marx in tracing the importance of the influence of economics on history, including the conflict between the economic classes of the nomadic pastoral and herding peoples, the settled agriculturalists and the rising urban commercial class. Like Marx he stressed the importance of the "economic surplus" of the agricultural revolution and the "value-added" of manufacture, which allowed the rise of the urban, military and administrative classes and division of labor. He stressed the unity of the social system across culture, religion, economics and tradition. He even anticipated some of the themes of Darwin and evolution, tracing human progress in its First Stage of Man "from the world of the monkeys" towards civilization. Toynbee called the Muqaddimah the greatest work of genius of a single mind relative to its time and place ever produced in world history. THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE MONGOL EMPIRE "The Secret History of the Mongol Empire" was precisely that, a private history written for the family of Ghengis Khan recording its rise and expansion from Ghengis Khan's humble personal origin to an empire stretching from China to Poland and Egypt. Its author is unknown but it contains an engaging account of the Khanate, the royal family and its traditions and the incredible expansion of its domain. While not a theoretical work it provides a useful missing link in our understanding of the Mongol Empire as a beginning stage of modern Globalization and a conduit for sharing between civilizations, East and West, and, unfortunatelyh for the transmission of the Black Plague across the world. THE GREAT MODERNS: GIBBON, MARX, SPENGLER & TOYNBEE The "must read" classics of modern World History include the work of Edward Gibbon "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" which traces its fall to a decline in civic virtue, decayed morals and effeminacy amoung the public and the debilitating effects of Christianity vis-a-vis the rationalism of the Greek-Roman heritage. Marx, of course is central to modern history, not only formulating the laws of social development based on economics, class conflict and the transition from agricultural to capitalist economies, but also formulating the revolutionary program of Communism. Oswald Spengler was a remarkable German amateur historian whose "Decline of the West" traced a theory of "organic civilizations" that have a birth, blossoming, limited lifespan and death like all living creatures. He held this to be a cyclical universal historical process of civilizations now exemplified by the West entering the stage of spiritual exhaustion and collaps in warfare. Arnold Toynbee charted a similar process analyzing 26 civilizaitons across all human history, but differed with Spengler in that he believed moral reform and a return to Christian ethics could revive the West and forestall its decline. SPIRITUS MUNDI AND WORLD HISTORY In my own work, the epic contemporary and futurist novel Spiritus Mundi World History plays a central role as various characters such as Professor Riviera in the Mexico City Chapter and Prof. Verhoven of the Africa chapters discourse on human history, evolution, evolutionary biology and the rise of civilization, culminating with the quest of the protagonists led by Sartorius to establish a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly for global democracy, a globalized version of the EU Parliament as a new organ of the United Nations. World Literature Forum invites you to check out the great historians of World History and World Literature, and also the contemporary epic novel Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard. For a fuller discussion of the concept of World Literature you are invited to look into the extended discussion in the new book Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard, one of the principal themes of which is the emergence and evolution of World Literature: For Discussions on World Literature and n Literary Criticism in Spiritus Mundi: http://worldliteratureandliterarycrit... Robert Sheppard Editor-in-Chief World Literature Forum Author, Spiritus Mundi Novel Author’s Blog: http://robertalexandersheppard.wordpr... Spiritus Mundi on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17... Spiritus Mundi on Amazon, Book I: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CIGJFGO Spiritus Mundi, Book II: The Romance http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CGM8BZG Copyright Robert Sheppard 2013 All Rights Reserved

  19. 4 out of 5

    Eadweard

    " The study of history is the best medicine for a sick mind; for in history you have a record of the infinite variety of human experience plainly set out for all to see: and in that record you can find for yourself and your country both examples and warnings: fine things to take as models, base things, rotten through and through, to avoid. " I don't know how close that is to the original since the translation is so modern (like most of their editions of ancient works, and yes, I disliked it). As " The study of history is the best medicine for a sick mind; for in history you have a record of the infinite variety of human experience plainly set out for all to see: and in that record you can find for yourself and your country both examples and warnings: fine things to take as models, base things, rotten through and through, to avoid. " I don't know how close that is to the original since the translation is so modern (like most of their editions of ancient works, and yes, I disliked it). As a literary work that mixes mythology, history and is obviously biased, four out of five stars. As a historically accurate work, not even worth rating. This shouldn't be read as history, always keep in mind that Livy has an agenda, he also embellishes events, has people saying things that they probably never said and is writing many centuries later. Aside from all that, it's a riveting read. To read about what the romans thought were their origins, what they probably considered truths, all those mythological, semi-historical and historical figures, all those important events in the distant past that shaped them into what they became. To see Rome go from a small city-state to a regional power and eventually (many centuries later) a world power.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    I was in Sienna, Italy back in 2000/2001. My host family had been taking me around some parts of Europe that weren't too distant from Varaždin, Croatia. At one point, while we were walking to the Cathedral, I asked my host brother, "What's up with all those statues and pictures everywhere?" "What statues and pictures?" "The ones with the kids and the wolf." I'll never forget the look he gave me. The look of, "Are you kidding me?" "That's Romulus and Remus..." Blank stare. "Romulus? The founder of R I was in Sienna, Italy back in 2000/2001. My host family had been taking me around some parts of Europe that weren't too distant from Varaždin, Croatia. At one point, while we were walking to the Cathedral, I asked my host brother, "What's up with all those statues and pictures everywhere?" "What statues and pictures?" "The ones with the kids and the wolf." I'll never forget the look he gave me. The look of, "Are you kidding me?" "That's Romulus and Remus..." Blank stare. "Romulus? The founder of Rome?..." Blank stare. Somehow, I had missed or completely blocked out that section of history. I snapped a picture, and followed him to the cathedral as we both cursed my stupidity. I've looked into the founding of Rome since then - going to college to learn history definitely helped... But this is the first time I've read Livy's Early History of Rome completely. Yes, I had to read it in college as well, but we only had to read the first 3 books... I thought Livy's writing style was quite good - especially given the fact it's what? 2000 years old? Livy is funny, witty, and writing with a purpose. He writes, for instance, about Romulus and Remus being raised by the wolf... (I had forgotten how brief this actually was... they suckle from a wolf's teat for 20 seconds, and next thing you know people are defining you by that image and putting statues everywhere...) Anyway, here's a quote: "...the story goes that when the basket in which the infants had been exposed was left high and dry by the receding water, a she-wolf, coming down from the neighboring hills to quench her thirst, heard the children crying and made her way to where they were. She offered them her teats to suck and treated them with such gentleness that Faustulus, the king's herdsman, found her licking them with her tongue. Faustulus took them to his hut and gave them to his wife Larentia to nurse. Some think the origin of this fable was the fact that Larentia was a common whore and was called Wolf by the shepherds." I'm sure Livy got all sorts of complaints about being a revisionist historian - or as a sensationalist trying to paint the founders of his country in a negative light. (What's that you say about Sally Hemings?) Certainly Livy was writing with a purpose. It's interesting that he probably borrowed from the Greek, following a cyclical view of history - that it moves in patterns and what's happened before will no doubt happen again... etc. etc. But he also seems to be writing with a purpose - with the idea that Rome is moving toward something - which makes me wonder if he wasn't a progressive historian after all. Whatever the case, from a cyclical standpoint, there was plenty in there that would resonate with our present world. (Speaking to my American readers here...) There was plenty throughout the books on class warfare, or suspected class warfare. Much of it revolved around political favoritism, and soldiers coming from poorer families. (For instance, the story of Tarquin and Servius - Servius raised taxes on the rich, 1.44: "The poor were thus exempted from contributions, and all financial burdens were shifted on to the shoulders of the rich." Servius was a good king, but not all stories in here have a happy ending. Or from 2.23: "These men complained that while they were fighting in the field to preserve their country's liberty and extend her power, their own fellow-citizens at home had enslaved and oppressed them; the common people, they declared, had a better chance of freedom in war than in peace...") There was quite a bit about using religion to promote politics... not that that ever happens today. 5.14: "This policy proved a success, for even apart from the dignity of the candidates people in general were touched in their religious susceptibilities..." Rome was continually trying to balance the power between those in charge, our founders were wise to imitate, and emulate that. And then of course, there are the stories... the talking cows, the cows that didn't talk... the battle scenes, my favorite being 4.28: "The Dictator was wounded in the shoulder, Fabius's thigh was pinned to his horse by a lance, the consul had an arm shorn off, but the fight was critical and all three fought on." (Keeping in mind that a Dictator in Rome is not what we think of a Dictator today.) Twice we had vestal virgins on trial for losing whatever it is vestal virgins need to keep track of. In both cases they were innocent. Still, one was killed as a scapegoat, the other... 4.44: "Actually she was innocent, but the fact that she dressed well and talked rather more freely and wittily than a young girl should, up to a point justified the suspicion against her. She was remanded, and afterwards acquitted, with a warning from the Pontifex Maximus, in the name of the college of priests, to stop making jokes and to dress in future with more regard to sanctity and less to elegance." Servius's end... that might have been my favorite part in the whole book. When Tarquin removed him from his throne and threw him into the street, I imagine he literally lifted him over his head and threw him into the street. The book is chock-full of instances that have been borrowed in literature, media, speeches, politics, etc... From Horatius at the Bridge by Thomas Babbington Macaulay to The War Inevitable by Patrick Henry. I'm not saying that this book is for everyone, but when it comes to learning history, learning a little Roman history probably isn't a bad idea.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Emily (emilykatereads)

    Took forever to get through, and it was incredibly hard to read, but overall a worthwhile book. My main complaint: too many damn names.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amy Lee

    read for class. should reread. a classic with amazing rhetoric

  23. 4 out of 5

    Isabella Valentine

    The bright side to Livy is that his patriotism doesn’t obscure the facts... that’s all i got on this.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Scriptor Ignotus

    I was introduced to Livy's work by Machiavelli, who was among the first of the moderns to take a deferential view toward the ancients, as Europe climbed out of its Dark Age ditch and labored toward the domineering heights of the Enlightenment. Classical authors, Livy among them, were being unearthed and gave intellectuals a new array of secular (or so they thought) observations to work with. What Galileo did with astronomy and Da Vinci did with anatomy and engineering, Machiavelli attempted to d I was introduced to Livy's work by Machiavelli, who was among the first of the moderns to take a deferential view toward the ancients, as Europe climbed out of its Dark Age ditch and labored toward the domineering heights of the Enlightenment. Classical authors, Livy among them, were being unearthed and gave intellectuals a new array of secular (or so they thought) observations to work with. What Galileo did with astronomy and Da Vinci did with anatomy and engineering, Machiavelli attempted to do with politics by studying Rome, the Enlightenment model for large-scale governance. Thus, Livy's histories became Machiavelli's Bible, so to speak - or at least his Old Testament. It was in this frame of mind that I approached my first volume of Livy, as he takes on, in a characteristically detached, yet quietly patriotic way, the semi-mythical early years of the Roman state; from its founding by Romulus and Remus, to the overthrow of the despotic Tarquins and the establishment of the Republic, through many bitter years of infighting between the patricians and plebeians as the city's power grows, and ending just after the Gallic sacking of Rome in 386 BC. Yet despite surface appearances, Livy is not simply reciting one event after another as an archivist would (although there are long, boring stretches in which Rome alternatively deals with plebeian concerns and fights off invading Volscians and Aequians). He is also telling a moral story about good governance and the personal character needed to sustain it. In making these deeper points, he subtly grappled with political concerns that are as relevant today as they were at the time of writing. The tribunes often don't seem concerned about defending the city in the face of invasion, seeing military service, and patriotism itself, as a tool used by the aristocracy to get the commons to fight for the interests of a decadent elite. This attitude confounds the patrician Consuls, who note that to defend the city is to defend the lives and property of every Roman, patrician and plebeian alike. Such tensions have always strained political bodies. Yet although Livy certainly bemoans the dysfunction of Roman politics, I could also sympathize with Machiavelli's view that class conflict was also a creative force that forged better governance and spurred Rome's martial success, as all citizens had personal interest in honorable service to the state. There are a few instances in which the plebeian soldiers, galvanized by the concessions of the patrician order or by the existential threat posed by enemies in the field, accomplish great acts of heroism. When the classes hammered out some political consensus, they were more formidable than any tyranny.

  25. 5 out of 5

    JJ

    Livy has taught me three things. 1) Early Rome went to war A LOT. Like, really, honestly - over and over again, nearly every year. Mostly against the same three or four city states that just never seemed to learn their lesson. 2) The plebeians were REALLY hard to please. They absolutely loved revolting and attempting to bring about revolution. They were insatiable. They were ALMOST Marxists, and hundreds of years before Christ too. 3) Livy did not care much for fun and engaging narratives. Livy liked Livy has taught me three things. 1) Early Rome went to war A LOT. Like, really, honestly - over and over again, nearly every year. Mostly against the same three or four city states that just never seemed to learn their lesson. 2) The plebeians were REALLY hard to please. They absolutely loved revolting and attempting to bring about revolution. They were insatiable. They were ALMOST Marxists, and hundreds of years before Christ too. 3) Livy did not care much for fun and engaging narratives. Livy liked facts. The colder and the drier the better. I'm not going to lie, this was a hard read. Perhaps one of my hardest reads ever. Livy's Histories do not ask to be read. They merely are. He created a record and if you want the knowledge of that record, you have to consult it. He makes his work readable not by making anything in it particularly interesting, but by making it so thorough and so detailed that there is no better source to consult. Would I recommend this book to a friend? If they needed to know about the minutiae of politics in Monarchic and Early Republican Rome, then perhaps. Would I recommend this book to an enemy? Beyond any doubt, I would.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    Amazon review: When Livy began his epic The History of Rome, he had no idea of the fame and fortune he would eventually attain. He would go on to become the most widely read writer in the Roman Empire and was eagerly sought out and feted like a modern celebrity. And his fame continued to grow after his death. His bombastic style, his intricate and complex sentence structure, and his flair for powerfully recreating the searing drama of historical incidents made him a favorite of teachers and pupil Amazon review: When Livy began his epic The History of Rome, he had no idea of the fame and fortune he would eventually attain. He would go on to become the most widely read writer in the Roman Empire and was eagerly sought out and feted like a modern celebrity. And his fame continued to grow after his death. His bombastic style, his intricate and complex sentence structure, and his flair for powerfully recreating the searing drama of historical incidents made him a favorite of teachers and pupils alike. Along with Virgil and Cicero, Livy formed the Latin triumvirate of essential studies for 2,000 years. Hardly anyone who was educated was unaware of at least some of the more famous stories of Roman myth and history as told by Titus Livius. When completed, Livy's magnificent work consisted of 142 "books" (i.e. long chapters) and covered the period from the mythical founding of Rome through the time of Augustus. Books 1 - 10 and 21 - 45 are all that have come down to us in reasonably complete form. Volume 1 consists of books 1 - 5, which takes us from the founding of Rome in the eighth century BC to its sack by the Gauls in 390 BC. The Audio Connoisseur series will eventually come to six volumes. This version was translated by Roberts.

  27. 5 out of 5

    max

    Livy is like fine wine. I keep coming back to him and am never let down. He is the single most important Roman historian when it comes to Rome's early history. He reads rather like Herodotus in many ways. As a storyteller, he appreciates the importance of character and dramatic presentation. He is colorful and entertaining, never dry and tedious. The period of the monarchy, the Struggle of the Orders, the establishment of the Republic: all of these are treated in depth. If you want to know more Livy is like fine wine. I keep coming back to him and am never let down. He is the single most important Roman historian when it comes to Rome's early history. He reads rather like Herodotus in many ways. As a storyteller, he appreciates the importance of character and dramatic presentation. He is colorful and entertaining, never dry and tedious. The period of the monarchy, the Struggle of the Orders, the establishment of the Republic: all of these are treated in depth. If you want to know more of Rome's remote beginnings, of the famous stories connected with such characters as Romulus, Tarquin the Proud, Lucius Junius Brutus, Horatius, Manlius, Coriolanus, Cincinnatus and many others, this is the source. It's a shame that he is not read more widely in our schools. Even brief excerpts of Livy are better than no Livy at all. Bear in mind also that schoolbook treatments of Roman history (from Rome's mystery-shrouded origins up to the Gracchi and beyond) are all extracted from Livy, Plutarch, Appian, and Polybius.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stefan

    Loved it. Was Rome's totally mystical beginnings tale or fact? A rational man would envy at Titus Livius's explanation that the first story is accepted as a result that the military was so powerful and Rome was so Divine that it was characteristic to believe the fairy tales of the She wolf, however... Livy provides an amazing pre-face, I would lie if I didn't say I enjoyed and noted the pre-face more than the actually contents of the Roman History in it's early ages. Heres a sneak peak: "The foll Loved it. Was Rome's totally mystical beginnings tale or fact? A rational man would envy at Titus Livius's explanation that the first story is accepted as a result that the military was so powerful and Rome was so Divine that it was characteristic to believe the fairy tales of the She wolf, however... Livy provides an amazing pre-face, I would lie if I didn't say I enjoyed and noted the pre-face more than the actually contents of the Roman History in it's early ages. Heres a sneak peak: "The following are questions to which I would have every reader direct close attention: the kind of lives men lived; what their moral principles were; by what individuals and by what skills, both at home and in the field, our dominion was born and grew.11 Then let him follow how at first, as discipline gradually collapsed, there was, as it were, a disintegration of morals; then note how more and more they slipped and finally began to fall head- long until we have reached the present times in which we can tolerate neither our own vices nor their remedies"

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Reasonable secondary source history of Rome. Livy covers the time period from 1200BC to ~385BC in minor detail, but includes some famous speeches from the time. Enjoyable for a number of reasons, excruciating for a number of others. Enjoyable: Its nice to hear a pagan bitching about how everything's going to shit because the gods aren't being followed and kids these days don't give the gods the respect they deserve. Enjoyable: The names of Roman Senators. My favorites were definitely Spurius Furiu Reasonable secondary source history of Rome. Livy covers the time period from 1200BC to ~385BC in minor detail, but includes some famous speeches from the time. Enjoyable for a number of reasons, excruciating for a number of others. Enjoyable: Its nice to hear a pagan bitching about how everything's going to shit because the gods aren't being followed and kids these days don't give the gods the respect they deserve. Enjoyable: The names of Roman Senators. My favorites were definitely Spurius Furius and Gaius Manlius. Hysterical. Not Enjoyable: It's basically the same thing year after year until the late 400s BC. I really stopped caring about the war after war between the Volscians and Rome. Really stopped. Overall, not bad, and lots of raw data. Some of the stories are really funny. Mostly, it's dry.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Livy is a master. Much of his history of early Rome is based on incomplete information but it give incredible insight into the politics of ancient Rome. This is a book that all members of the U.S. House and Senate should be required to read before being eligible for office (I am, of course, referring to Livy's plea for compromise and the destructive nature of party politics). This isn't really a casual read, each year he lists the two consuls and other people who hold office (which amounts to a Livy is a master. Much of his history of early Rome is based on incomplete information but it give incredible insight into the politics of ancient Rome. This is a book that all members of the U.S. House and Senate should be required to read before being eligible for office (I am, of course, referring to Livy's plea for compromise and the destructive nature of party politics). This isn't really a casual read, each year he lists the two consuls and other people who hold office (which amounts to a confusing array of ius names). At times Livy can be short in his summary of events, possibly because the information he has is lacking, at other times he can be long-winded (which are my favorite parts because I love the details). The speeches given by leaders at crucial moments in the development of Rome are my favorite part of his writing, looking forward to reading books VI-X.

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