Spectacle and Society in Livy's History

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University of California Press, Aug 15, 1998 - Literary Criticism - 250 pages
Public spectacle—from the morning rituals of the Roman noble to triumphs and the shows of the Arena—formed a crucial component of the language of power in ancient Rome. The historian Livy (c. 60 B.C.E.-17 C.E.), who provides our fullest description of Rome's early history, presents his account of the growth of the Roman state itself as something to be seen—a visual monument and public spectacle. Through analysis of several episodes in Livy's History, Andrew Feldherr demonstrates the ways in which Livy uses specific visual imagery to make the reader not only an observer of certain key events in Roman history but also a participant in those events. This innovative study incorporates recent literary and cultural theory with detailed historical analysis to put an ancient text into dialogue with contemporary discussions of visual culture.

In Spectacle and Society in Livy's History, Feldherr shows how Livy uses the literary representation of spectacles from the Roman past to construct a new sense of civic identity among his readers. He offers a new way of understanding how Livy's technique addressed the political and cultural needs of Roman citizens in Livy's day. In addition to renewing our understanding of Livy through modern scholarship, Feldherr provides a new assessment of the historian's aims and methods by asking what it means for the historian to make readers spectators of history.
 

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Contents

Vision and Authority in Livys Narrative
1
I Enargeia and the Political Function of Spectacle
4
II Political Authority and the Representation of the Past in the Latin Historiographic Tradition
19
III Avarice Vision and Restoration
37
Historian and Imperator
51
I The Battle of Aquilonia 103841
55
Imperium and the Existence of the Gods
64
III Camillus the Historian
78
III The Death of Horatia
132
IV Sacrifice and Perspective
144
V Sacrifice and Imperium
155
The Alternative of Drama
165
I The Stage and the State
169
II The Dramatic Digression 72
178
III Tragedy and the Tarquins
187
IV Sacrifice and the Restoration of the Res Publica
194

Duels and Devotiones
82
I Devotio
85
II Duels
92
III Torque and Crow
99
IV The Duel of the Younger Torquatus
105
Sacrifice Initiation and the Construction of the Patria
112
I The Boundaries of the Patria
116
II The Horatii and Curiatii
123
V Verginia
203
Tanaquil and the Accession of Servius Tullius
212
Epilogue
218
Bibliography
227
General Index
239
Index Locorum
243
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Andrew Feldherr is Assistant Professor of Classics at Princeton University.

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