LIVY’S POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY: POWER AND PERSONALITY IN EARLY ROME

Classics for All Reviews

By Ann Vasaly

CUP (2015) h/b 209pp £55 (ISBN 9781107065673)

Was Livy really a ‘small man, detached from affairs’ (Ogilvie), a ‘non-political moralist’ (Walsh) and a ‘political innocent… unable to interpret historical phenomena or visualize historical change’ (the view of Collingwood and Syme, as summarised by Walsh)? In this book Ann Vasaly sets out to poke holes in the traditional image of Livy the armchair historian, through close analysis of key passages from the first five books of his history, placed in their historical and historiographical context.

The volume consists of a short introduction to the life and times of Livy, followed by six chapters: The Historiographical Archaeology; Livy’s Preface: A Reader’s Guide to the First Pentad; Monarchy and the Education of the Roman People; Tyranny and the Tyrannical Temperament; The Best Citizen and the Best Orator; The Roman People and the Necessity of Discord.

A brief conclusion is…

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