Classics 210: Greek & Roman Classics in English 11/07
Livy’s Ab Urbe Condita/Foundation of the City
1. Preface: rape of Sabine Women and
Not interested in acquiring fame for himself
Intends to write about the greatest nation in the world
As Rome has grown, it has become too large “of late years wealth has made us
greedy, and self-indulgence has brought us, through every form of sensual
excess, to be, if I may so put it, in love with death both individual and collective”
Rome is killing itself.
Going to attempt to be truthful and objective. Not a interpreter of history – give
facts and let people decide for themselves.
2 versions of how Rome was founded:
i. Remus and Romulus: fight over wall (6/12 vultures) Romulus is murdered
ii. OR Romulus just dies, no murder
Moralistic purpose: intended to provide models and make people a better
Sabine women in the middle of battle between Sabine’s and Romans. “they
besought their fathers on the one side, their husbands on the other, to spare
themselves the curse of shedding kindred blood”
2. Lucretia/Overthrow of the Monarchy
She has no moral flaw – blameless
Brutally raped by Sextus
“As for me I am innocent of fault but I will take my punishment” commits suicide
Sacrifices herself for the good of society
Ending of the monarchy. Foreigners are exiled.
3. Hannibal’s youth
Hannibal’s father forced him to promise eternal hatred against Romans.
Equipped to be a great mil