Jan 11-18 notes -Intro/Livy Book 1 [antisigma slide notes incl.]
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•Who was a Roman Citizen?
oOriginally: Farmers, shepherds, and craftsmen on the banks of the Tiber
oPeople who immigrated to the city.
oMembers of colonies established in Italy and abroad
oMembers of foreign communities to whom citizenship was granted.
oSoldiers who had served for 25 years.
oAfter 212 AD: basically everyone in the empire.
•What Does “Rome” Mean?
oEarly: a central Italian city with a special from of government: a senatorial oligarchy
oLater: the seat of a military monarchy and a vast and expanding empire.
•A military power with military interests
•A colonial power
•An economic power
•The Ages of Roman History
oEarly: from the settlement to the foundation of the republic (Second millennium BCE
to 500 BCE)
oThe Republican period: 500 BCE - 30 BC
oThe age of emperors: 30 BCE - 476CE
•The Early Period Subdivided
oThe iron age (900-700 BCE)
oThe orientalising (i.e. “eastern”) period (700-580 BCE)
oThe Archaic period (580-480 BCE)
•The Republican Period
oEarly (500-287BCE): in 287 BCE legislation passed by the commoners becomes
binding on the elites as well. “Two cities in one” before then.
oClassical (287-133BCE): relatively stable and expansive.
oRevolutionary (133-30BCE): a series of social and political crises.
Livy Book 1
•he was not born in Rome (instead one of the provinces)
•only Roman historian who was not a politician (he was not active in political affairs)
•started writing in 29BC. There are 142 books in all. The last book ends in his own lifetime.
•his books should be read as novels, not as a history books. He writes them like he tells a
story; it has stories of prominent individuals and abstract forces
Themes to Consider:
•What is history? Who are ‘we’? Where did ‘we’ come from?
•It’s a story of power and social cohesion
•The origin of things that physically exist in Livy’s world (he often references objects and
places in his time and gives a backstory for them)
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•he writes alternate stories and picks the ones he likes best. Why? Because if he continuously
chose the ‘other’ option, then Rome would be a history of criminals with no honour
•Throughout Book One, neighbouring communities continuously become anxious about
Rome’s growing power and wage war. The Romans never consider themselves the starters of
war (it’s never their fault)
•The neighbouring cities also become jealous of Rome’s power, another reason why they wage
•Often he tells stories about a brother fighting a brother. This is a metaphor of civil war, told
through fairy tales.
Livy: Book One
Arrival of Aeneas in Italy and his deeds. Reign of Ascanius, and after him of the Silvii, at Alba.
Romulus and Remus born to Mars by the daughter of Numitor. Amulius killed. The City
founded by Romulus. The senate chosen. War with the Sabines. Spolia opima dedicated to
Jupiter Feretrius. The people divided into wards. The Fidenates and Veientes conquered.
•“...for the majority of my readers the earliest times and those immediately succeeding, will
possess little attraction; they will hurry on to these modern days in which the might of a long
paramount nation is wasting by internal decay”
•recent history is gothic and considered “evil”
•: “Now, if any nation out to be allowed to claim a sacred origin and point back to a divine
paternity that nation is Rome. For such is her renown in war that when she chooses to
represent Mars as her own and her founder’s father, the nations of the world accept the
statement with the same equanimity with which they accept her dominion”
•knowledge and power
•Mars is the father of Romulus, who is the father of Rome
• - the purpose of these stories: practical life lessons; to teach and learn from mistakes
•4: “She named Mars as their father, either because she really believed it, or because the
fault might appear less heinous if a deity were the cause of it”
•women are gullible or cynical
•there is never a “good” view of women in Livy
•4: Two stories being told. Was he raised by a she-wolf or a woman? One story is noble,
where his mother is a wolf. It’s mythical and mysterious. The other is sad, because the
mother is considered a whore (“wolf”). The double story leads to another double story:
Romulus versus Remus (brothers: civil war)
•4: The boys act as Robin Hood: Is that good or bad? Both.
•7: Two stories again. In one, he just died. In the other, it’s more violent and brutal: Romulus
murdered him. Livy spends more time on the latter, because it’s more interesting to tell.
•8: The first citizens of Rome are scoundrel runaway slaves, not nobles.
•9: “The Roman youth could ill brook such insults, and matter began to look like an appeal
•they always “have no choice” and it’s never their fault.
•9: Tells the story of Talassius and how the word is now used in marriage. Their marriage
ceremony recalls the rape of the Sabine women. Not pleasant.
•9: “A please effective beyond all other in appealing to a woman’s nature”
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