Livy: Reconstructing Early Rome

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Cornell University Press, 1997 - History - 251 pages
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Some critics of the Roman historian Livy (59 B.C.-A.D. 17) have dismissed his work as a compendium of stale narratives and conventional attitudes. Gary B. Miles reveals in Livy's history a creative interplay between traditional stories, contemporary ideological assumptions, and the historian's own perspective at the margins of Roman aristocracy. Drawing on a range of critical approaches, Miles considers Livy's stance as a historian, the ways in which he reworked his sources, and his interpretation of such historical phenomena as recurrence, continuity, and change. Miles focuses on the foundation stories with which Livy begins his account, detecting in Livy's rendition certain original conceptions of historical time including the suggestion that Roman identity and greatness might be preserved indefinitely through successive reenactments of a historical cycle. Miles pays particular attention to two stories--those of the abduction of the Sabine women and of Romulus and Remus, showing how Livy's versions of these traditional narratives--far from leading to a simplistic moral--address unresolved political issues of his day. According to Miles, Livy shows an unusually tenacious willingness to confront dilemmas in historiography and Roman ideology which were commonly ignored or suppressed by both his predecessors and his contemporaries.

 

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Contents

History and Memory in Livys Narrative
8
The Cycle of Roman History in Livys First Pentad
75
Maiores Conditores and Livys Perspective on the Past 110
110
Foundation and Ideology in Livys Narrative
137
The First Roman Marriage and the Theft
179
Index of Ancient Passages Cited
239
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About the author (1997)

Gary B. Miles is Professor of History at Cowell College at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is also the author of Virgil's Georgics: A New Interpretation and Livy: Reconstructing Early Rome, from Cornell.

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