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Livy Book 1

by: Grace Hartley


Grace Hartley
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This detailed summary of the popular Roman History text, Livy's 'History of Rome', covers book 1 - up to the establishment of the Republic. Written in easy to follow terms without skipping the impo...
Roman History 303
Dr. Armantrout
Class Notes
Rome, history, ancient history




Popular in Roman History 303

Popular in History

This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Grace Hartley on Saturday April 9, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HST-316U-GLA: ROMAN HISTORY at Portland State University taught by Dr. Armantrout in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 6 views. For similar materials see Roman History 303 in History at Portland State University.


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Date Created: 04/09/16
Ancient Rome   Livy Book 1(TitusLivius is an ancient author and historian)    Preface: Offers reasons for writing the annals; that even though they might seem in vain, it’s  worth it to write about Rome because Rome has a ‘divine paternity’. People will be able to learn  how to be a nation from what the Romans have done in the past.     Book 1​:   ● After the Trojan war, most Trojans are killed but two are spared with their groups of men;  Aeneas and Antenor. They had been all for returning Hellen and they were hospitable,  so they were allowed to live. They both wandered to find new homes, and made  partnerships and set up cities. Our focus is on Aeneas.  ● Aeneas pillaged the Laurentine area, and the king of the native Aborigines, Latinus, went  to meet the strangers. When he heard their refugee story, he felt for them and they  formed a treaty and Aeneas married his daughter, Lanvinia. They establish a new city,  Lavinium.  ● They soon get in a war with Turnus, Lavinia’s previous engagement. Though Turnus is  defeated, Latinus is killed and Turnus forms an alliance with the Rutulians. Mezentine,  the Rutulian king, doesn’t like how big the Laurentine city is getting ­ it’s threatening.  ● To keep his new group loyal, Aeneas names theLatins​and they band together and  attack their new enemies, taking the fight to them. Despite the power of the opponent,  they are victorious, though Aeneas dies.  ● Ascanius, Aeneas’ son, is too young to rule for awhile so his mom watches the throne till  he matures. Only thirty years after the defeat of the Rutulians/Etruscans, Ascanius  establishes a new city ­ ‘Alba Longa’. Latins are powerful, and the Tiber river serves as  an effective barrier between them and the Etruscans.   ● A few generations pas([details only if you want the Roman Foundation Myth:] and a  descendant of Ascanius banishes his older brother for the throne, kills his nephews, and  makes his niece a Vestal Virgin. She’s impregnated by the war god, Mars, and has twins  (Remus and Romulus). The enraged king throws them in a river in a basket and they  wash ashore, where a she wolf allows them to drink her milk. A shepherd finds them and  raises them, and they become strapping young men ­ very adventurous. Their  adventures take them to their banished grandfather, their identities are revealed by the  perceptive shepherd, and the reunited family kill the king who had taken the throne. The  twins decide to build a city where they were raised, and in a quarrel over who will rule  the city, Romulus kills Re​ and the descendant of Aeneas, Romulus, establishes and  rules Rome.  ○ Notice their self­imposed story of their founding is basically an over the top story  about aggressive kids who were fed by a wolf and fought each other to the death  for power. Rome has a high opinion of itself as powerful and warlike.  ● Romulus creates laws and establishes religion with both Greek and Etruscan influence  and the city grows ­ basically populated by the riff raff and wanderers of Italy. It’s almost  entirely men, and they need women to reproduce/survive as a city, so they throw a  festival for their neighbors to attend and abduct the women (mostly Sabine women  [Sabines are neighboring peoples of Rome]).   ● The indignant neighbors declare war and are a bit slow to unite so the Caeninensians  attack first, and their attack is scattered. Romulus defeats them, then follows them back  to their city and took it over.  ● His wife, Hersilia, convinces him upon his return to let the kinsmen of the abducted  women to join the city, and the city grows in unity and population. With the attack of the  Sabines, the abducted Sabine women appeal to their kinsmen and abductors/husbands  to cease fighting. There is new unity and Rome is further strengthened.  ● A few neighbors are threatened by Rome’s growing power (the Fidinae and Veientes  [kinsman to the Etruscans). And Rome not only defends itself, but once Rome is secure  from threat they immediately attack their enemy. When the Fidenates attack their city,  they protect the city then ambush the Fidenates, following them back to their city and  forcing their way in.  ○ Livy cites these achievements and his founding of Rome as reasons to believe  Romulus is descended from Gods.  ● After these victories, Romulus is in front of his armies, reviewing them, when he is  enveloped by a thunderstorm and taken to heaven.The distraught people are only  soothed when an authoritative city figure tells them he had a divine visit from Romulus  who told him that Rome was the most powerful city of all time, and it was meant to rule  the world.  ○ Notice Rome won’t even admit it’s founder would have a natural death ­ that he  was basically immortal and the only reason he isn’t still here is because he was  physically taken to heaven.  ● The people are given the choice to elect a new king, and they elect a wise, just man ­  Numa Pompilius ­ the first elected king of Rome. He makes peace with all surrounding  kingdoms and reinforces the religious beliefs and practices of the people ­ mainly he  does this because he doesn’t want people to become idle with the absence of war, so he  creates involved rituals, rites, practices, etc . . . So Rome is empowered by war, then  peace.  ● The next king, Tullus Hostilius, is very warlike and ambitious. He attacks the Albans, but  they make peace because the Etruscans could take advantage of their being distracted  and weakened by war. The peace doesn’t last long, and an Alban general engineers a  war to weaken all his neighbors, including Rome, in which Alba feigns alliances with both  sides. Tullus becomes privy to this after a bloody battle and has him killed. Rome  absorbs the Alban population. Later, the kingdom is affected by illness and Tullus is  broken by sickness ­ he becomes religious as opposed to war like.  ● Ancus Marcus, the next king, is a mix of Numa and Tullus ­ he wants peace for his  people, but he also wants to expand the Roman dominion. He establishes a more formal  and systematic imperialism, and leaves wars up to a vote with a council. In this way he  expands Rome in basically all directions, adding to the land and population. As a result,  the first bridge over the TIber river is built to connect with the city opposite, and the city  wall is expanded.  ● Rome shifts into it’s Early republic when their final king proves tyrannical and ill fitted for  rule, so they set up a system (made for the aristocracy) of consuls, the prequel to the  Senate.     Why do we use Livy if his work is not based in fact?    Though Faulkner describes Livy as a lazy historian and a ‘hack’ (Neil Faulkn​rome; Empire  of the Eagles 7), one has to be impressed that Livy can be relevantly discussed at all two  thousand years after his death. Of course, Livy could be preserved for antiquities’ sake alone ­  he makes one of the earliest attempts at recording past historical events, and that in itself gives  the work value worth conserving. Even if his early history is not based in fact, as he states in his  preface, the language, presentation, and tone of the writing will invariably reveal something of  the time in which it was written (mainly something of its conventional literary styles and  academic practices), which is of certain value to historians able to interpret it correctly. However,  it still begs the question: is the actual content ​arly History of Rome​of any worth to  modern historians? To answer this question, it is important to understand the purpose of the  historian ­ any historian that seeks a comprehensive understanding of Rome will not only value  veritable information, but the cultural and subjective as well.  Clearly Livy would be of no use for objectively ‘real’ information; Livy is only a bit less  harsh than Falkner concerning the validity of his recounting, describing i​ore fitted to adorn  the creations of the poet than the authentic records of the historian’. Livy had little more than  myths and word of mouth to write about events that took place seven hundred years prior to his  writing them down. In class, we observed archaeological evidence revealing more precise,  verifiable information concerning the lives of early Roman citizens and their ancestors; tombs,  preserved artwork (namely ceramics), and the foundations of homes give us objective  information concerning dates and locations, even cultural influence between neighboring  peoples. These serve as factual sources for historians, but calling Livy useless functions under  the assumption that historians are only concerned with understanding the past factually.  While the Roman Foundation myth is by no means credible, the very drama that  exposes it as false illustrates the high esteem in which Rome held itself. Even if the powerful  imagery of the children suckling a wolf or the deathless ascension to heaven didn’t give away  the Roman ego, Livy explicitly states that ‘. . . if any nation ought to be allowed to claim a sacred  origin and point back to a divine paternity that nation is Rome’. The conquests and imperial  activity of Rome are evidenced in their cultural influence throughout Europe and parts of Asia ­  the distinctive artistic and architectural marks of the empire expose their expansion in ancient  Italy. But even if we know where they went and what they did there, it makes all the difference to  know ​why.​  This leads to the true value of Livy. Rome did not expand the way it did solely for  economic, political, or even social reasons. Rome believed itself to have a divine right to rule;  the benefits of being in power were not as motivating as their belief in their destiny to have  power. This cultural self image and pervasive pride is a key trait of Rome and a key factor in  understanding the Roman identity. Not only does Livy explicitly describe the Roman ego in his  preface, but in writing down myths as opposed to facts, he records the widely held beliefs of  Roman people at that time. These beliefs are profound and theatrical in their depiction of Rome,  reflecting the reverence in which the people hold their own origins, their own values. It’s this  spirit of Rome that Livy captures, completing the objective with the subjective, giving the facts  and evidence life.      


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