This volume explores the political implications of the first five books of Livy's celebrated history of Rome, challenging the common perception of the author as an apolitical moralist. Ann Vasaly argues that Livy intended to convey through the narration of particular events crucial lessons about the interaction of power and personality, including the personality of the Roman people as a whole. These lessons demonstrate the means by which the Roman republic flourished in the distant past and by which it might be revived in Livy's own corrupt time. Written at the precise moment when Augustus' imperial autocracy was replacing the republican system that had existed in Rome for almost 500 years, the stories of the first pentad offer invaluable insight into how republics and monarchies work. Vasaly's innovative study furthers the integration in recent scholarship of the literary brilliance of Livy's text and the seriousness of its purpose.
Ann Vasaly is Associate Professor of Classical Studies at Boston University. She is the author of Representations: Images of the World in Ciceronian Oratory.
Introduction: Livy and domestic politics; 1. The historiographical 'archaeology'; 2. Livy's preface: on reading the first pentad; 3. Monarchy and the education of the Roman people; 4. Tyranny and the tyrannical temperament; 5. On leadership and oratory; 6. The Roman people and the necessity of discord; Conclusion: Livy's 'republic'.