Livy: The Early History of Rome, Books I-V by Titus Livy, Aubrey De Selincourt, Stephen Oakley

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By Titus Livy, Aubrey De Selincourt, Stephen Oakley

With stylistic brilliance and ancient mind's eye, the 1st 5 books of Livy's enormous background of Rome checklist occasions from the root of Rome in the course of the heritage of the seven kings, the institution of the Republic and its inner struggles, as much as Rome's restoration after the fierce Gallic invasion of the fourth century B.C. Livy vividly depicts the good characters, legends, and stories, together with the tale of Romulus and Remus. Reprinting Robert Ogilvie's lucid 1971 creation, this very popular version now boasts a brand new preface, studying the textual content in mild of contemporary Livy scholarship, informative maps, bibliography, and an index.

Translated through Aubrey de Selincourt with an creation by means of Robert Ogilvie.

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S. P. Oakley INTRODUCTION LIVY Livy (Titus Livius) was born at Padua in northern Italy in 59 BC, or possibly 64 BC. 1 We know little about his family background, except that Padua, a city famous for its moral rectitude, had suffered severely in the Civil Wars. Livy himself may have been prevented from going to the university in Greece, as most educated young Romans did, but he made a study of philosophy (according to the elder Seneca, 2 he wrote philosophical dialogues) and other traditional subjects.

Its centre–piece is the legendary tragedy of Coriolanus, who led the Volsci to the gates of Rome. Such wars have left little mark archaeologically but we can detect the incursion of the Volsci by a number of archaic inscriptions in the Volscian language which have been found for instance at Tarracina and Velitrae. The pressure by the hill–people at this date fits the historical situation. So long as the Etruscans had a lively interest in the south, they maintained a strong communications corridor from Etruria through the Praeneste gap down to Campania, which effectively isolated the hill–people from Latium; but a series of crushing defeats, notably at Cumae in 474 BC at the hands of the Syracusans, forced the Etruscans to withdraw to Etruria proper and allowed the Aequi and Volsci to encroach on Latium just as it allowed the Samnites to overrun Campania.

They can hardly be identical with those who were too poor to qualify for the centuriate organization (infra classem), because in late history many of the great families that played a prominent role in the first decades of the Republic, such as the Cassii and the Verginii, were certainly not classified as patrician but as plebeian. Such families had presumably migrated to Rome later than the original selection of patres or the increase attributed to king Tarquinius Priscus. Yet the first watch–dogs of the poor were almost certainly called the tribunes of the plebs.

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