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Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter ...
historian. He wrote a monumental history of
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg ...
and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditional founding in 753 BC through the reign of
Augustus Caesar Augustus (born Gaius Octavius; 23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14), also known as Octavian, was the first Roman emperor; he reigned from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. He is known for being the founder of the Roman Pri ...
in Livy's own lifetime. He was on familiar terms with members of the
Julio-Claudian dynasty , native_name_lang=Latin, coat of arms=Great_Cameo_of_France-removebg.png, image_size=260px, caption=Great Cameo of France, The Great Cameo of France depicting emperors Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius and Nero, type=Ancient Rome, Ancient Roman dynasty ...
and a friend of
Augustus Caesar Augustus (born Gaius Octavius; 23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14), also known as Octavian, was the first Roman emperor; he reigned from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. He is known for being the founder of the Roman Pri ...
, whose young grandnephew, the future emperor
Claudius Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor, ruling from AD 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Claudius was born to Nero Claudius Drusus, Drusu ...
, he exhorted to take up the writing of history.


Life

Livy was born in Patavium in northern
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic, ) or the Republic of Italy, is a country in Southern Europe. It is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and its territory largely coincides with the Italy (geographical region) ...
, now modern
Padua Padua ( ; it, Padova ; vec, Pàdova) is a city and ''comune'' in Veneto, northern Italy. Padua is on the river Bacchiglione, west of Venice. It is the capital of the province of Padua. It is also the economic and communications hub of the ...
, probably in 59 BC. At the time of his birth, his home city of Patavium was the second wealthiest on the Italian peninsula, and the largest in the province of
Cisalpine Gaul Cisalpine Gaul ( la, Gallia Cisalpina, also called ''Gallia Citerior'' or ''Gallia Togata'') was the part of Italy inhabited by Celts (Gauls) during the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. After its conquest by the Roman Republic in the 200s BC it was con ...
(northern Italy). Cisalpine Gaul was merged in Italy proper during his lifetime and its inhabitants were given Roman citizenship by
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; ; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC), was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey in Caes ...
. In his works, Livy often expressed his deep affection and pride for Patavium, and the city was well known for its conservative values in
morality Morality () is the differentiation of intentions, decisions and actions between those that are distinguished as proper (right) and those that are improper (wrong). Morality can be a body of standards or principles derived from a code of co ...
and politics. "He was by nature a recluse, mild in temperament and averse to violence; the restorative peace of his time gave him the opportunity to turn all his imaginative passion to the legendary and historical past of the country he loved." Livy's teenage years were during the 40s BC, a period of civil wars throughout the Roman world. The governor of Cisalpine Gaul at the time, Asinius Pollio, tried to sway Patavium into supporting Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), the leader of one of the warring factions. The wealthy citizens of Patavium refused to contribute money and arms to Asinius Pollio, and went into hiding. Pollio then attempted to bribe the slaves of those wealthy citizens to expose the whereabouts of their masters; his bribery did not work, and the citizens instead pledged their allegiance to the
Senate A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house An upper house is one of two Debate chamber, chambers of a bicameralism, bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house.''Bicameralism'' (1997) by George Tseb ...
. It is therefore likely that the Roman civil wars prevented Livy from pursuing a higher education in Rome or going on a tour of
Greece Greece,, or , romanized: ', officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is situated on the southern tip of the Balkans, and is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Greece shares land borders with ...
, which was common for adolescent males of the nobility at the time. Many years later, Asinius Pollio derisively commented on Livy's "patavinity", saying that Livy's Latin showed certain "provincialisms" frowned on at Rome. Pollio's dig may have been the result of bad feelings he harboured toward the city of Patavium from his experiences there during the civil wars. Livy probably went to Rome in the 30s BC, and it is likely that he spent a large amount of time in the city after this, although it may not have been his primary home. During his time in Rome, he was never a senator nor held a government position. His writings contain elementary mistakes on military matters, indicating that he probably never served in the
Roman army The Roman army (Latin language, Latin: ) was the armed forces deployed by the Romans throughout the duration of Ancient Rome, from the Roman Kingdom (c. 500 BC) to the Roman Republic (500–31 BC) and the Roman Empire (31 BC–395 AD), and its ...
. However, he was educated in philosophy and rhetoric. It seems that Livy had the financial resources and means to live an independent life, though the origin of that wealth is unknown. He devoted a large part of his life to his writings, which he was able to do because of his financial freedom. Livy was known to give recitations to small audiences, but he was not heard of to engage in declamation, then a common pastime. He was familiar with the emperor
Augustus Caesar Augustus (born Gaius Octavius; 23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14), also known as Octavian, was the first Roman emperor; he reigned from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. He is known for being the founder of the Roman Pri ...
and the imperial family. Augustus was considered by later Romans to have been the greatest Roman emperor, benefiting Livy's reputation long after his death.
Suetonius Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (), commonly referred to as Suetonius ( ; c. AD 69 – after AD 122), was a Roman historian who wrote during the early Imperial era of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre ...
described how Livy encouraged the future emperor
Claudius Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor, ruling from AD 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Claudius was born to Nero Claudius Drusus, Drusu ...
, who was born in 10 BC, to write historiographical works during his childhood. Livy's most famous work was his history of
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg ...
. In it he narrates a complete history of the city of Rome, from its foundation to the death of Augustus. Because he was writing under the reign of Augustus, Livy's history emphasizes the great triumphs of Rome. He wrote his history with embellished accounts of Roman heroism in order to promote the new type of government implemented by Augustus when he became emperor. In Livy's preface to his history, he said that he did not care whether his personal fame remained in darkness, as long as his work helped to "preserve the memory of the deeds of the world’s preeminent nation." Because Livy was mostly writing about events that had occurred hundreds of years earlier, the historical value of his work was questionable, although many Romans came to believe his account to be true. Livy was married and had at least one daughter and one son. He also produced other works, including an essay in the form of a letter to his son, and numerous dialogues, most likely modelled on similar works by
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and Academic skepticism, academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...
. Titus Livius died at his home city of Patavium in AD 17.


Works

Livy's only surviving work is commonly known as ''History of Rome'' (or ). Together with
Polybius Polybius (; grc-gre, Πολύβιος, ; ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic period. He is noted for his work , which covered the period of 264–146 BC and the Punic Wars in detail. Polybius is important for his analysis of the mixed ...
it is considered one of the main accounts of the
Second Punic War The Second Punic War (218 to 201 BC) was the second of Punic Wars, three wars fought between Ancient Carthage, Carthage and Roman Republic, Rome, the two main powers of the western Mediterranean Basin, Mediterranean in the 3rd century BC. For ...
. When he began this work he was already past his youth, probably 32; presumably, events in his life prior to that time had led to his intense activity as a historian. He continued working on it until he left
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg ...
for
Padua Padua ( ; it, Padova ; vec, Pàdova) is a city and ''comune'' in Veneto, northern Italy. Padua is on the river Bacchiglione, west of Venice. It is the capital of the province of Padua. It is also the economic and communications hub of the ...
in his old age, probably in the reign of
Tiberius Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus (; 16 November 42 BC – 16 March AD 37) was the second Roman emperor. He reigned from AD 14 until 37, succeeding his stepfather, the first Roman emperor Augustus. Tiberius was born in Rome in 42 BC. His father ...
after the death of Augustus.
Seneca the Younger Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger (; 65 AD), usually known mononymously as Seneca, was a Stoicism, Stoic philosopher of Ancient Rome, a statesman, dramatist, and, in one work, satirist, from the post-Augustan age of Latin literature. Seneca was ...
says he was an orator and philosopher and had written some historical treatises in those fields. ''History of Rome'' also served as the driving force behind the "northern theory" regarding the Etruscans' origins. This is because in the book Livy states, "The Greeks also call them the 'Tyrrhene' and the 'Adriatic ... The Alpine tribes are undoubtedly of the same kind, especially the Raetii, who had through the nature of their country become so uncivilized that they retained no trace of their original condition except their language, and even this was not free from corruption". Thus, many scholars, like Karl Otfried Müller, utilized this statement as evidence that the Etruscans or the Tyrrhenians migrated from the north and were descendants of an Alpine tribe known as the Raeti.


Reception


Imperial era

Livy's '' History of Rome'' was in high demand from the time it was published and remained so during the early years of the empire.
Pliny the Younger Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo (61 – c. 113), better known as Pliny the Younger (), was a lawyer, author, and magistrate of Ancient Rome. Pliny's uncle, Pliny the Elder, helped raise and educate ...
reported that Livy's celebrity was so widespread, a man from Cádiz travelled to Rome and back for the sole purpose of meeting him. Livy's work was a source for the later works of
Aurelius Victor Sextus Aurelius Victor (c. 320 – c. 390) was a historian and politician of the Roman Empire. Victor was the author of a short history of imperial Rome, entitled ''De Caesaribus'' and covering the period from Augustus to Constantius II. The work w ...
,
Cassiodorus Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator (c. 485 – c. 585), commonly known as Cassiodorus (), was a Roman Empire, Roman statesman, renowned scholar of antiquity, and writer serving in the administration of Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths. ...
, Eutropius, Festus, Florus, Granius Licinianus and Orosius. Julius Obsequens used Livy, or a source with access to Livy, to compose his ''De Prodigiis'', an account of
supernatural Supernatural refers to phenomena or entities that are beyond the laws of nature. The term is derived from Medieval Latin , from Latin (above, beyond, or outside of) + (nature) Though the corollary term "nature", has had multiple meanings si ...
events in Rome from the consulship of Scipio and Laelius to that of Paulus Fabius and Quintus Aelius. Livy wrote during the reign of Augustus, who came to power after a civil war with generals and consuls claiming to be defending the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Res publica Romana ) was a form of government of Rome and the era of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization when it was run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman peo ...
, such as
Pompey Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Republic, Roman general and statesman. He played a significant role in the tr ...
. Patavium had been pro-Pompey. To clarify his status, the victor of the civil war, Octavian Caesar, had wanted to take the title ''
Romulus Romulus () was the legendary foundation of Rome, founder and King of Rome, first king of Ancient Rome, Rome. Various traditions attribute the establishment of many of Rome's oldest legal, political, religious, and social institutions to Romulus ...
'' (the first king of Rome) but in the end accepted the senate proposal of ''Augustus''. Rather than abolishing the republic, he adapted it and its institutions to imperial rule. The historian
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus, known simply as Tacitus ( , ; – ), was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historiography, Roman historians by modern scholars. The surviving portions of his t ...
, writing about a century after Livy's time, described the Emperor Augustus as his friend. Describing the trial of Cremutius Cordus, Tacitus represents him as defending himself face-to-face with the frowning Tiberius as follows: Livy's reasons for returning to
Padua Padua ( ; it, Padova ; vec, Pàdova) is a city and ''comune'' in Veneto, northern Italy. Padua is on the river Bacchiglione, west of Venice. It is the capital of the province of Padua. It is also the economic and communications hub of the ...
after the death of Augustus (if he did) are unclear, but the circumstances of
Tiberius Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus (; 16 November 42 BC – 16 March AD 37) was the second Roman emperor. He reigned from AD 14 until 37, succeeding his stepfather, the first Roman emperor Augustus. Tiberius was born in Rome in 42 BC. His father ...
' reign certainly allow for speculation.


Later

During the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the Post-classical, post-classical period of World history (field), global history. It began with t ...
, due to the length of the work, the literate class was already reading summaries rather than the work itself, which was tedious to copy, expensive, and required a lot of storage space. It must have been during this period, if not before, that manuscripts began to be lost without replacement. The
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Europe, European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an e ...
was a time of intense revival; the population discovered that Livy's work was being lost and large amounts of money changed hands in the rush to collect Livian manuscripts. The poet Beccadelli sold a country home for funding to purchase one manuscript copied by Poggio.
Petrarch Francesco Petrarca (; 20 July 1304 – 18/19 July 1374), commonly anglicized as Petrarch (), was a scholar and poet of early Italian Renaissance, Renaissance Italy, and one of the earliest Renaissance humanism, humanists. Petrarch's rediscov ...
and
Pope Nicholas V Pope Nicholas V ( la, Nicholaus V; it, Niccolò V; 13 November 1397 – 24 March 1455), born Tommaso Parentucelli, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 6 March 1447 until his death in March 1455. Pope Eugene IV, Po ...
launched a search for the now missing books. Laurentius Valla published an amended text initiating the field of Livy scholarship.
Dante Dante Alighieri (; – 14 September 1321), probably baptized Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri and often referred to as Dante (, ), was an Italian people, Italian Italian poetry, poet, writer and philosopher. His ''Divine Comedy'', origin ...
speaks highly of him in his poetry, and
Francis I of France Francis I (french: François Ier; frm, Francoys; 12 September 1494 – 31 March 1547) was King of France France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprise ...
commissioned extensive artwork treating Livian themes; Niccolò Machiavelli's work on
republic A republic () is a "sovereign state, state in which Power (social and political), power rests with the people or their Representative democracy, representatives; specifically a state without a monarchy" and also a "government, or system of gov ...
s, the ''
Discourses on Livy The ''Discourses on Livy'' ( it, Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio, ) is a work of political history and philosophy written in the early 16th century (c. 1517) by the Italian writer and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli, best known a ...
'', is presented as a commentary on the ''History of Rome''. Respect for Livy rose to lofty heights.
Walter Scott Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet (15 August 1771 – 21 September 1832), was a Scottish novelist, poet, playwright and historian. Many of his works remain classics of European and Scottish literature, notably the novels ''Ivanhoe'', ''Rob Roy (n ...
reports in '' Waverley'' (1814) as an historical fact that a Scotchman involved in the first Jacobite uprising of 1715 was recaptured (and executed) because, having escaped, he yet lingered near the place of his captivity in "the hope of recovering his favourite ''Titus Livius''".


Dates

The authority supplying information from which possible vital data on Livy can be deduced is
Eusebius of Caesarea Eusebius of Caesarea (; grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος ; 260/265 – 30 May 339), also known as Eusebius Pamphilus (from the grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τοῦ Παμφίλου), was a Greeks, Greek historian of Christianity, exegete, and C ...
, a
bishop A bishop is an ordained clergy member who is entrusted with a position of Episcopal polity, authority and oversight in a religious institution. In Christianity, bishops are normally responsible for the governance of dioceses. The role or offic ...
of the early
Christian Church In ecclesiology, the Christian Church is what different Christian denominations conceive of as being the true body of Christians or the original institution established by Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yē ...
. One of his works was a summary of world history in
ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycenaean Greek (), Greek Dark ...
, termed the '' Chronikon,'' dating from the early 4th century AD. This work was lost except for fragments (mainly excerpts), but not before it had been translated in whole and in part by various authors such as St. Jerome. The entire work survives in two separate manuscripts, Armenian and Greek (Christesen and Martirosova-Torlone 2006). St. Jerome wrote in Latin. Fragments in Syriac exist.
Eusebius Eusebius of Caesarea (; grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος ; 260/265 – 30 May 339), also known as Eusebius Pamphilus (from the grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τοῦ Παμφίλου), was a Greeks, Greek historian of Christianity, exegete, and C ...
' work consists of two books: the '' Chronographia'', a summary of history in annalist form, and the ''Chronikoi Kanones'', tables of years and events. St. Jerome translated the tables into Latin as the '' Chronicon'', probably adding some information of his own from unknown sources. Livy's dates appear in ''Jerome's Chronicon.'' The main problem with the information given in the
manuscript A manuscript (abbreviated MS for singular and MSS for plural) was, traditionally, any document written by hand – or, once practical typewriters became available, typewritten – as opposed to mechanically printing, printed or repr ...
s is that, between them, they often give different dates for the same events or different events, do not include the same material entirely, and reformat what they do include. A date may be in ''Ab Urbe Condita'' or in
Olympiad An olympiad ( el, Ὀλυμπιάς, ''Olympiás'') is a period of four years, particularly those associated with the ancient and modern Olympic Games. Although the ancient Olympics were established during Greece's Archaic Era, it was not unt ...
s or in some other form, such as age. These variations may have occurred through scribal error or scribal license. Some material has been inserted under the aegis of
Eusebius Eusebius of Caesarea (; grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος ; 260/265 – 30 May 339), also known as Eusebius Pamphilus (from the grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τοῦ Παμφίλου), was a Greeks, Greek historian of Christianity, exegete, and C ...
. The topic of manuscript variants is a large and specialized one, on which authors of works on Livy seldom care to linger. As a result, standard information in a standard rendition is used, which gives the impression of a standard set of dates for Livy. There are no such dates. A typical presumption is of a birth in the 2nd year of the 180th Olympiad and a death in the first year of the 199th Olympiad, which are coded 180.2 and 199.1 respectively. All sources use the same first
Olympiad An olympiad ( el, Ὀλυμπιάς, ''Olympiás'') is a period of four years, particularly those associated with the ancient and modern Olympic Games. Although the ancient Olympics were established during Greece's Archaic Era, it was not unt ...
, 776/775–773/772 BC by the modern calendar. By a complex formula (made so by the 0 reference point not falling on the border of an Olympiad), these codes correspond to 59 BC for the birth, 17 AD for the death. In another manuscript the birth is in 180.4, or 57 BC.


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * .


Further reading

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Works by Livy at Perseus Digital Library
* * * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Livy 1st-century BC births 10s deaths Year of birth uncertain Year of death uncertain Golden Age Latin writers Writers from Padua Latin historians 1st-century BC historians 1st-century historians 1st-century BC Romans 1st-century Romans Livii Ancient Romans from Padua