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Roman foundation myths and self-image.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Kevin Wilkinson

Lecture 2: Roman Foundation Myths and Self-Image Livy  From modern Padua, but made his name in the city of Rome  60 BCE - 12 CE o Period of significant turmoil in roman politics and society  Claim to fame - History of Rome o From mythical beginnings to his own lifetime (9BcE) o 132 books in all, but only 35 books survived o Published in installments over a period of at least 20 years o Largely repeats traditional stories for Rome's earliest periods  Repeats his predecessors  Gives multiple conflicting accounts  Didn't sift through his sources o Presented his material vividly, making his histories entertaining o After each installment, he would give a public reading in Rome  Augustus a fan of Livy's work o Livy did not record the past as an academic exercise  Was writing for a contemporary audience, including the emperor Augustus  Writing during a period of tentative peace  Wanted to explain how Rome used to be better, and provided models of what Romans should live up to - go back to their roots Three Foundation Myths  Aeneas o A character in Homer's Iliad  A Greek epic that recounts a prolonged mythical war between the Greeks and the Trojans o Aeneas was a Trojan prince and a Demi-God  Son of a human father and the goddess Aphrodite  Depicted as being known for his piety o When Greeks finally defeat the Trojans, Aeneas escapes carrying his father in his back and bringing with him his household gods o Later Greeks invented sequels in which Aeneas travels around Greece, Italy and North Africa - establishing a new culture o Aeneas is believed to arrive at the central coast of Italy and encounters a Latin king called Latinus  Marries the king's brother, becomes king and then founded the city of Levinium  Both kings attacked by northerners, and king Latinus dies  To make amends with his people, he calls them Latins and then leads them to battle against the Etruscans  (All according to Livy)  Romulus (and Remus) o Twin boys whom were distant descendants of Aeneas o About 400 years later o Born into the family of kings from Alba Longa o Sons of the god Mars o Before twins were born, their uncle attempted to kill all descendants of the king  Thus were cast into the river when born  Saved and raised by a she-wolf, and then by a Shepard o Took vengeance on their great-uncle and got their grandfather back on the throne o Wanted to establish a city along the Tiber river  Argued over which of their own citi
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