Assessment of Livy’s “the History of Rome” Essay

788 Words Aug 16th, 2013 4 Pages
ASSESSMENT OF LIVY’S “THE HISTORY OF ROME”

Titus Livius (commonly known as Livy) is one of the most prominent ancient historians who wrote 142 books of Roman history called the Ab Urbe Condita (Gill, 2013). This essay seeks to assess the work of Livy if it qualifies as a work of history; the assessment will be based on two points namely, unbiased telling of the story and use of myths in ancient history.

The ideal historian of ancient times was supposed to combine rigorous truthfulness and freedom from bias when writing history and Livy is successful in these aspects (Encarta, 2009). He was a Roman citizen but he did not allow his Roman citizenship to affect his authorship of Roman history; he did not write his story in favour of the
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Livy uses the myths in his opening books because that was how the stories were passed down to him, if he would have left them out, that would have made his work incomplete because although they are myths they contains some notions of truth which would not have been known if they were left out. And actually he says it in the preface that one should not actually zero in on the mythical part but on the undertakings of the peoples day to day life. For example the life of Remus and Romulus shows how superstitious the Roman society was from the onset. This is seen when Remus and Romulus consulted the tutelary deities by means of augury to know who was to give his name to the city they founded (Kirschenbaum, 1996); and this is also seen in the latter stories i.e. the defeat at Lake Trasimenus is also linked to some bad omens (ibid.). From this, one will find out that the story of the lives of Romulus and Remus though highly mythical establishes the general lifestyle of the Romans which was rooted in superstition. Hence this work qualifies as a historic text despite of the fact that it is a bit mythical at the beginning; the mythical part is a springboard of the Ancient history divorcing it would be leaving out some important truths.

In conclusion, Livy’s “History of

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