64 or 59 BC
Patavium, Adriatic Veneti (modern Padua, Italy)
|Died||AD 12 or 17|
Patavium, Italy, Roman Empire
|Subject||History, biography, oratory|
|Literary movement||Golden Age of Latin|
Titus Livius // LIV-ee-əs, Latin: [ˈtɪtʊs ˈliːwɪ.ʊs] ; 64/59 BC – AD 12/17), known as Livy ( // LIV-ee) in English, was a Roman historian. He wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people, titled Ab Urbe Condita , ''From the Founding of the City'', covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditional foundation in 753 BC through the reign of Augustus in Livy's own lifetime. He was on familiar terms with members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and even in friendship with Augustus, whose young grandnephew, the future emperor Claudius, he exhorted to take up the writing of history.(
Livy was born in Patavium in northern Italy, now modern Padua. There is a debate about the year of his birth – either in 64 BC, or more likely, in 59 BC (see below).At the time of his birth, his home city of Patavium was the second wealthiest on the Italian peninsula, and the largest in the province of Cisalpine Gaul (northern Italy). Cisalpine Gaul was merged in Italy proper during his lifetime and its inhabitants were given Roman citizenship by Julius Caesar. In his works, Livy often expressed his deep affection and pride for Patavium, and the city was well known for its conservative values in morality and politics. "He was by nature a recluse, mild in temperament and averse to violence; the restorative peace of his time gave him the opportunity to turn all his imaginative passion to the legendary and historical past of the country he loved."
Livy's teenage years were during the 40s BC, when a period of numerous civil wars throughout the Roman world occurred. The governor of Cisalpine Gaul at the time, Asinius Pollio, tried to sway Patavium[ when? ] into supporting Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), the leader of one of the warring factions. The wealthy citizens of Patavium refused to contribute money and arms to Asinius Pollio, and went into hiding. Pollio then attempted to bribe the slaves of those wealthy citizens to expose the whereabouts of their masters; his bribery did not work, and the citizens instead pledged their allegiance to the Senate. It is therefore likely[ citation needed ] that the Roman civil wars prevented Livy from pursuing a higher education in Rome or going on a tour of Greece, which was common for adolescent males of the nobility at the time. Many years later, Asinius Pollio derisively commented on Livy's "patavinity", saying that Livy's Latin showed certain "provincialisms" frowned on at Rome. Pollio's dig may have been the result of bad feelings he harboured toward the city of Patavium from his experiences there during the civil wars.
Livy probably went to Rome in the 30s BC,and it is likely that he spent a large amount of time in the city after this, although it may not have been his primary home. During his time in Rome, he was never a senator nor held a government position. His writings contain elementary mistakes on military matters, indicating that he probably never served in the Roman army. However, he was educated in philosophy and rhetoric. It seems that Livy had the financial resources and means to live an independent life, though the origin of that wealth is unknown. He devoted a large part of his life to his writings, which he was able to do because of his financial freedom.
Livy was known to give recitations to small audiences, but he was not heard of to engage in declamation, then a common pastime. He was familiar with the emperor Augustus and the imperial family. Augustus was considered by later Romans to have been the greatest Roman emperor, benefiting Livy's reputation long after his death. Suetonius described how Livy encouraged the future emperor Claudius, who was born in 10 BC,to write historiographical works during his childhood.
Livy's most famous work was his history of Rome. In it he narrates a complete history of the city of Rome, from its foundation to the death of Augustus. Because he was writing under the reign of Augustus, Livy's history emphasizes the great triumphs of Rome. He wrote his history with embellished accounts of Roman heroism in order to promote the new type of government implemented by Augustus when he became emperor.In Livy's preface to his history, he said that he did not care whether his personal fame remained in darkness, as long as his work helped to "preserve the memory of the deeds of the world’s preeminent nation." Because Livy was mostly writing about events that had occurred hundreds of years earlier, the historical value of his work was questionable, although many Romans came to believe his account to be true.
Livy was married and had at least one daughter and one son.He also produced other works, including an essay in the form of a letter to his son, and numerous dialogues, most likely modelled on similar works by Cicero.
Titus Livius died in his home city of Patavium in either (see below) AD 12 or 17; the latter would have been three years after the death of the emperor Augustus.
Livy's only surviving work is commonly known as "History of Rome" (or Ab Urbe Condita , ''From the Founding of the City''), which was his career from his mid-life, probably 32, until he left Rome for Padua in old age, probably in the reign of Tiberius after the death of Augustus. When he began this work he was already past his youth; presumably, events in his life prior to that time had led to his intense activity as a historian. Seneca the Younger gives brief mention that he was also known as an orator and philosopher and had written some treatises in those fields from a historical point of view.
Livy's History of Rome was in high demand from the time it was published and remained so during the early years of the empire. Pliny the Younger reported that Livy's celebrity was so widespread, a man from Cadiz travelled to Rome and back for the sole purpose of meeting him. [ citation needed ]Livy's work was a source for the later works of Aurelius Victor, Cassiodorus, Eutropius, Festus, Florus, Granius Licinianus and Orosius. Julius Obsequens used Livy, or a source with access to Livy, to compose his De Prodigiis, an account of supernatural events in Rome from the consulship of Scipio and Laelius to that of Paulus Fabius and Quintus Aelius.
Livy wrote during the reign of Augustus, who came to power after a civil war with generals and consuls claiming to be defending the Roman Republic, such as Pompey. Patavium had been pro-Pompey. To clarify his status, the victor of the civil war, Octavian Caesar, had wanted to take the title Romulus (the first king of Rome) but in the end accepted the senate proposal of Augustus. Rather than abolishing the republic, he adapted it and its institutions to imperial rule.
The historian Tacitus, writing about a century after Livy's time, described the Emperor Augustus as his friend. Describing the trial of Cremutius Cordus, Tacitus represents him as defending himself face-to-face with the frowning Tiberius as follows:
I am said to have praised Brutus and Cassius, whose careers many have described and no one mentioned without eulogy. Titus Livius, pre-eminently famous for eloquence and truthfulness, extolled Cn. Pompeius in such a panegyric that Augustus called him Pompeianus, and yet this was no obstacle to their friendship.
Livy's reasons for returning to Padua after the death of Augustus (if he did) are unclear, but the circumstances of Tiberius' reign certainly allow for speculation.[ citation needed ]
During the Middle Ages, interest in Livy declined because Western scholars were more focused on religious texts.Due to the length of the work, the literate class was already reading summaries rather than the work itself, which was tedious to copy, expensive, and required a lot of storage space. It must have been during this period, if not before, that manuscripts began to be lost without replacement.
The Renaissance was a time of intense revival; the population discovered that Livy's work was being lost and large amounts of money changed hands in the rush to collect Livian manuscripts. The poet Beccadelli sold a country home for funding to purchase one manuscript copied by Poggio.Petrarch and Pope Nicholas V launched a search for the now missing books. Laurentius Valla published an amended text initiating the field of Livy scholarship. Dante speaks highly of him in his poetry, and Francis I of France commissioned extensive artwork treating Livian themes; Niccolò Machiavelli's work on republics, the Discourses on Livy is presented as a commentary on the History of Rome. Respect for Livy rose to lofty heights. Walter Scott reports in Waverley (1814) as an historical fact that a Scotchman involved in the first Jacobite uprising of 1715 was recaptured (and executed) because, having escaped, he yet lingered near the place of his captivity in "the hope of recovering his favourite Titus Livius."
Livy was likely born between 64 and 59 BC and died sometime between AD 12 to 17. He started his work sometime between 31 and 25 BC. St. Jerome says that Livy was born the same year as Marcus Valerius Messala Corvinus and died the same year as Ovid.Messala, however, was born earlier, in 64 BC, and Ovid's death, usually taken to be the same year as Livy's, is more uncertain. As an alternative view, Ronald Syme argues for 64 BC–12 AD as a range for Livy, setting the death of Ovid at 12. A death date of 12 AD, however, removes Livy from Augustus' best years and makes him depart for Padua without the good reason of the second emperor, Tiberius, being not as tolerant of his republicanism. The contradiction remains.
The authority supplying information from which possible vital data on Livy can be deduced is Eusebius of Caesarea, a bishop of the early Christian Church. One of his works was a summary of world history in ancient Greek, termed the Chronikon, dating from the early 4th century AD. This work was lost except for fragments (mainly excerpts), but not before it had been translated in whole and in part by various authors such as St. Jerome. The entire work survives in two separate manuscripts, Armenian and Greek (Christesen and Martirosova-Torlone 2006). St. Jerome wrote in Latin. Fragments in Syriac exist.
Eusebius' work consists of two books: the Chronographia , a summary of history in annalist form, and the Chronikoi Kanones, tables of years and events. St. Jerome translated the tables into Latin as the Chronicon , probably adding some information of his own from unknown sources. Livy's dates appear in Jerome's Chronicon.
The main problem with the information given in the manuscripts is that, between them, they often give different dates for the same events or different events, do not include the same material entirely, and reformat what they do include. A date may be in Ab Urbe Condita or in Olympiads or in some other form, such as age. These variations may have occurred through scribal error or scribal license. Some material has been inserted under the aegis of Eusebius.
The topic of manuscript variants is a large and specialized one, on which authors of works on Livy seldom care to linger. As a result, standard information in a standard rendition is used, which gives the impression of a standard set of dates for Livy. There are no such dates.[ citation needed ] A typical presumption is of a birth in the 2nd year of the 180th Olympiad and a death in the first year of the 199th Olympiad, which are coded 180.2 and 199.1 respectively. All sources use the same first Olympiad, 776/775–773/772 BC by the modern calendar. By a complex formula (made so by the 0 reference point not falling on the border of an Olympiad), these codes correspond to 59 BC for the birth, 17 AD for the death. In another manuscript the birth is in 180.4, or 57 BC.
The gens Livia was an illustrious plebeian family at ancient Rome. The first of the Livii to obtain the consulship was Marcus Livius Denter in 302 BC, and from his time the Livii supplied the Republic with eight consuls, two censors, a dictator, and a master of the horse. Members of the gens were honoured with three triumphs. In the reign of Augustus, Livia Drusilla was Roman empress, and her son was the emperor Tiberius.
Lucius Livius Andronicus was a Greco-Roman dramatist and epic poet of the Old Latin period. He began as an educator in the service of a noble family at Rome by translating Greek works into Latin, including Homer's Odyssey. They were meant at first as educational devices in the school he founded. He wrote works for the stage—both tragedies and comedies—which are regarded as the first dramatic works written in the Latin language of ancient Rome. His comedies were based on Greek New Comedy and featured characters in Greek costume. Thus, the Romans referred to this new genre by the term comoedia palliata. The Roman biographer Suetonius later coined the term "half-Greek" of Livius and Ennius. The genre was imitated by the next dramatists to follow in Andronicus' footsteps and on that account he is regarded as the father of Roman drama and of Latin literature in general; that is, he was the first man of letters to write in Latin. Varro, Cicero, and Horace, all men of letters during the subsequent Classical Latin period, considered Livius Andronicus to have been the originator of Latin literature. He is the earliest Roman poet whose name is known.
The gens Claudia, sometimes written Clodia, was one of the most prominent patrician houses at ancient Rome. The gens traced its origin to the earliest days of the Roman Republic. The first of the Claudii to obtain the consulship was Appius Claudius Sabinus Regillensis, in 495 BC, and from that time its members frequently held the highest offices of the state, both under the Republic and in imperial times.
The gens Julia was one of the most ancient patrician families at ancient Rome. Members of the gens attained the highest dignities of the state in the earliest times of the Republic. The first of the family to obtain the consulship was Gaius Julius Iulus in 489 BC. The gens is perhaps best known, however, for Gaius Julius Caesar, the dictator and grand uncle of the emperor Augustus, through whom the name was passed to the so-called Julio-Claudian dynasty of the first century AD. The nomen Julius became very common in imperial times, as the descendants of persons enrolled as citizens under the early emperors began to make their mark in history.
Vipsania Agrippina was the first wife of the Emperor Tiberius. She was the daughter of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Pomponia Caecilia Attica, thus a granddaughter of Titus Pomponius Atticus, the best friend of Cicero.
The book History of Rome, sometimes referred to as Ab Urbe Condita, is a monumental history of ancient Rome, written in Latin between 27 and 9 BC by the historian Titus Livius, or "Livy", as he is usually known in English. The work covers the period from the legends concerning the arrival of Aeneas and the refugees from the fall of Troy, to the city's founding in 753, the expulsion of the Kings in 509, and down to Livy's own time, during the reign of the emperor Augustus. The last event covered by Livy is the death of Drusus in 9 BC. About 25% of the work survives. The surviving books deal with the events down to 293 BC, and from 219 to 166 BC.
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The gens Terentia was a plebeian family at ancient Rome. Dionysius mentions a Gaius Terentilius Arsa, tribune of the plebs in 462 BC, but Livy calls him Terentilius, and from inscriptions this would seem to be a separate gens. No other Terentii appear in history until the time of the Second Punic War. Gaius Terentius Varro, one of the Roman commanders at the Battle of Cannae in 216 BC, was the first to hold the consulship. Members of this family are found as late as the third century AD.
Roman historiography is indebted to the Greeks, who invented the form. The Romans had great models to base their works upon, such as Herodotus and Thucydides. Roman historiographical forms are different from the Greek ones however, and voice very Roman concerns. The Roman style of history was based on the way that the Annals of the Pontifex Maximus, or the Annales Maximi, were recorded. The Annales Maximi include a wide array of information, including religious documents, names of consuls, deaths of priests, and various disasters throughout history. Also part of the Annales Maximi are the White Tablets, or the "Tabulae Albatae", which consist of information on the origin of the republic.
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The gens Annia was a plebeian family at Rome. Livy mentions a Lucius Annius, praetor of the Roman colony of Setia, in 340 BC, and other Annii are mentioned at Rome during this period. Members of this gens held various positions of authority from the time of the Second Punic War, and Titus Annius Luscus attained the consulship in 153 BC. In the second century AD, the Annii gained the Empire itself; Marcus Aurelius was descended from this family.
The gens Antonia was a Roman family of great antiquity, with both patrician and plebeian branches. The first of the gens to achieve prominence was Titus Antonius Merenda, one of the second group of Decemviri called, in 450 BC, to help draft what became the Law of the Twelve Tables.The most prominent member of the gens was Marcus Antonius.
The gens Asinia was a plebeian family at Ancient Rome, which rose to prominence during the first century BC. The first member of this gens mentioned in history is Herius Asinius, commander of the Marrucini during the Social War. The Asinii probably obtained Roman citizenship in the aftermath of this conflict, as they are mentioned at Rome within a generation, and Gaius Asinius Pollio obtained the consulship in 40 BC.
The gens Memmia was a plebeian family at Rome. The first member of the gens to achieve prominence was Gaius Memmius Gallus, praetor in 172 BC. From the period of the Jugurthine War to the age of Augustus they contributed numerous tribunes to the Republic.
The gens Pomponia was a plebeian family at Rome. Its members appear throughout the history of the Roman Republic, and into imperial times. The first of the gens to achieve prominence was Marcus Pomponius, tribune of the plebs in 449 BC; the first who obtained the consulship was Manius Pomponius Matho in 233 BC.
Augustan literature refers to the pieces of Latin literature that were written during the reign of Caesar Augustus, the first Roman emperor. In literary histories of the first part of the 20th century and earlier, Augustan literature was regarded along with that of the Late Republic as constituting the Golden Age of Latin literature, a period of stylistic classicism.
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The gens Norbana was a plebeian family at Rome. Members of this gens are first mentioned toward the beginning of the first century BC, and from then to the end of the second century AD they filled a number of magistracies and other important posts, first in the late Republic, and subsequently under the emperors.
Historiam in adulescentia hortante T. Livio, Sulpicio vero Flavo etiam adiuvante, scribere adgressus est. ('In his youth he began to write a history under the encouragement of Titus Livius and with the help of Sulpicius Flavus.').
Brutum et Cassium laudavisse dicor, quorum res gestas cum plurimi composuerint nemo sine honore memoravit. Ti. Livius, eloquentiae ac fidei praeclarus in primis, Cn. Pompeium tantis laudibus tulit, ut Pompeianum eum Augustus appellaret: neque id amicitiae eorum offecit.
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