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Titus Livius statue at the Austrian Parliament Building in Vienna, Austria


Titus Livius[i]

59 BC

Patavium, Roman Republic (modern Padua, Italy)

DiedAD 17 (aged 74–75)

Patavium, Roman Empire

Years activeGolden Age of Latin
Academic background
  • Polybius
  • Cicero
Academic work
Main interestsHistory, biography, oratory
Notable worksAb urbe condita

Titus Livius (Latin: [ˈtɪtʊs ˈliːwiʊs]; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( LIV-ee), 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 founding in 753 BC through the reign of Augustus in Livy's own lifetime. He was on good terms with members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and was a friend of Augustus,[1] whose young grandnephew, the future emperor Claudius, he encouraged to tát take up the writing of history.[2]


Livy was born in Patavium in northern Italy, now modern Padua, probably in 59 BC.[ii] At the time of his birth, his trang chủ thành phố 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 thành phố was well known for its conservative values in morality and politics.[6] "He was by nature a recluse, mild in temperament and averse to tát violence; the restorative peace of his time gave him the opportunity to tát turn all his imaginative passion to tát the legendary and historical past of the country he loved."[7]

Livy's teenage years were during the 40s BC, a period of civil wars throughout the Roman world. The governor of Cisalpine Gaul at the time, Asinius Pollio, tried to tát sway Patavium[when?] into supporting Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), the leader of one of the warring factions. The wealthy citizens of Patavium refused to tát contribute money and arms to tát Asinius Pollio, and went into hiding. Pollio then attempted to tát bribe the slaves of those wealthy citizens to tát expose the whereabouts of their masters; his bribery did not work, and the citizens instead pledged their allegiance to tát 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 thành phố of Patavium from his experiences there during the civil wars.[8]

Livy probably went to tát Rome in the 30s BC,[9] and it is likely that he spent a large amount of time in the thành phố after this, although it may not have been his primary trang chủ. 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 tát live an independent life, though the origin of that wealth is unknown. He devoted a large part of his life to tát his writings, which he was able to tát vì thế because of his financial freedom.[10]

Livy was known to tát give recitations to tát small audiences, but he was not heard of to tát 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 tát 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,[11] to tát write historiographical works during his childhood.[12]

Livy's most famous work was his history of Rome. In it he narrates a complete history of the thành phố of Rome, from its foundation to tát 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 tát promote the new type of government implemented by Augustus when he became emperor.[13] In Livy's preface to tát his history, he said that he did not care whether his personal fame remained in darkness, as long as his work helped to tát "preserve the memory of the deeds of the world’s preeminent nation."[14] 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 tát believe his trương mục to tát be true.[15]

Livy was married and had at least one daughter and one son.[10] He also produced other works, including an essay in the size of a letter to tát his son, and numerous dialogues, most likely modelled on similar works by Cicero.[16]

Titus Livius died at his trang chủ thành phố of Patavium in AD 17.


Ab Urbe condita (1715)

Livy's only surviving work is commonly known as History of Rome (or Ab Urbe Condita, 'From the Founding of the City'). Together with Polybius it is considered one of the main accounts of the Second Punic War.[17]

When he began this work he was already past his youth, probably 32; presumably, events in his life prior to tát that time had led to tát his intense activity as a historian. He continued working on it until he left Rome for Padua in his old age, probably in the reign of Tiberius after the death of Augustus. Seneca the Younger[18] says he was an orator and philosopher and had written some historical treatises in those fields.[iii]

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History of Rome also served as the driving force behind the "northern theory" regarding the Etruscans' origins. This is because in the book Livy states, "The Greeks also gọi them the 'Tyrrhene' and the 'Adriatic ... The Alpine tribes are undoubtedly of the same kind, especially the Raetii, who had through the nature of their country become sánh uncivilized that they retained no trace of their original condition except their language, and even this was not không tính phí from corruption".[19] Thus, many scholars, lượt thích Karl Otfried Müller, utilized this statement as evidence that the Etruscans or the Tyrrhenians migrated from the north and were descendants of an Alpine tribe known as the Raeti.[20]


Imperial era[edit]

Livy's History of Rome was in high demand from the time it was published and remained sánh during the early years of the empire. Pliny the Younger reported that Livy's celebrity was sánh widespread, a man from Cádiz travelled to tát Rome and back for the sole purpose of meeting him.[21] 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 tát Livy, to tát compose his De Prodigiis, an trương mục of supernatural events in Rome from the consulship of Scipio and Laelius to tát that of Paulus Fabius and Quintus Aelius.[citation needed]

Livy wrote during the reign of Augustus, who came to tát power after a civil war with generals and consuls claiming to tát 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 tát take the title Romulus (the first king of Rome) but in the kết thúc accepted the senate proposal of Augustus. Rather phàn nàn abolishing the republic, he adapted it and its institutions to tát 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 tát 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 tát their friendship.[22]

Livy's reasons for returning to tát Padua after the death of Augustus (if he did) are unclear, but the circumstances of Tiberius' reign certainly allow for speculation.[citation needed]


Titus Livius by Andrea Briosco (c. 1567)

During the Middle Ages, due to tát the length of the work, the literate class was already reading summaries rather phàn nàn the work itself, which was tedious to tát copy, expensive, and required a lot of storage space. It must have been during this period, if not before, that manuscripts began to tát 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 tát collect Livian manuscripts. The poet Beccadelli sold a country trang chủ for funding to tát purchase one manuscript copied by Poggio.[23] Petrarch and Pope Nicholas V launched a tìm kiếm 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 tát 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".[24]


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.[25]

Eusebius' work consists of two books: the Chronographia, a summary of history in annalist size, 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, vì thế not include the same material entirely, and reformat what they vì thế include. A date may be in Ab Urbe Condita or in Olympiads or in some other size, 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 tát linger. As a result, standard information in a standard rendition is used, which gives the impression of a standard phối 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.[26] All sources use the same first Olympiad, 776/775–773/772 BC by the modern calendar. By a complex formula (made sánh by the 0 reference point not falling on the border of an Olympiad), these codes correspond to tát 59 BC for the birth, 17 AD for the death. In another manuscript the birth is in 180.4, or 57 BC.[27]


  1. ^ Titus is the praenomen (the personal name); Livius is the nomen (the gentile name, i.e. "belonging to tát the gens Livia"). Therefore, Titus Livius did not have a cognomen (third name, i.e. family name), which was not unusual during the Roman Republic. About this, classical sources agree: Seneca (Ep. 100.9); Tacitus (Ann. IV.34.4); Pliny (Ep. II.3.8); and Suetonius (Claud. 41.1) gọi him Titus Livius. Quintilian calls him Titus Livius (Inst. Or. VIII.1.3; VIII.2.18; X.1.101) or simply Livius (Inst. Or. I.5.56; X.1.39). In the sepulchral inscription from Patavium, which most probably concerns Titus, he is named, with the patronymic, T Livius C f, ''Titus Livius Cai filius'' (CIL V, 2975).
  2. ^ Jerome says Livy was born in 59 BC and died in AD 17. Ronald Syme and others have suggested bringing his birth and death dates back five years (64 BC – AD 12), but this idea has not gained consensus.[3][4][5]
  3. ^ "Livy wrote both dialogues, which should be ranked as history no less phàn nàn as philosophy, and works which professedly giảm giá khuyến mãi with philosophy" ("scripsit enim et dialogos, quos non magis philosophiae adnumerare possis quam historiae, et ex professo philosophiam continentis libros") —Seneca the Younger. Moral Letters to tát Lucilius. 100.9.


  1. ^ Tacitus. Annales. IV.34.
  2. ^ Suetonius. Claudius. The Twelve Caesars. 41.1.
  3. ^ S.P. Oakley, "Livy and Clodius Licinus", The Classical Quarterly, vol. 42, no. 2 (1992), p. 548
  4. ^ T.D. Barnes, "Roman Papers by Ronald Syme, E. Badian", The American Journal of Philology, vol. 102, no. 4 (1981), p. 464
  5. ^ A Companion to tát Livy, Wiley-Blackwell (2014), p. 25
  6. ^ Livy 1998, ix.
  7. ^ Livy (1978). Livy: The History of Early Rome. Translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt (Collector's ed.). Norwalk, Connecticut: Easton Press. p. viii.
  8. ^ Livy 1998, ix–x.
  9. ^ Hazel, John (2001). Who's Who in the Roman World. Who's Who Series. Routledge – via EBSCOhost.
  10. ^ a b Livy 1998, x.
  11. ^ Payne, Robert (1962). The Roman Triumph. London: Robert Hale. p. 38.
  12. ^ Suetonius. Claudius. The Twelve Caesars. 41.1. Historiam in adulescentia hortante T. Livio, Sulpicio vero Flavo etiam adiuvante, scribere adgressus est. ('In his youth he began to tát write a history under the encouragement of Titus Livius and with the help of Sulpicius Flavus.').
  13. ^ Dudley, Donald R (1970). The Romans: 850 BC – AD 337. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 19.
  14. ^ Feldherr, Andrew (1998). Spectacle and Society in Livy's History. London: University of California Press. p. ix.
  15. ^ Heichelheim, Fritz Moritz (1962). A History of the Roman People. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall. p. 47.
  16. ^ Livy 1998, xi.
  17. ^ Dillon, Matthew; Garland, Lynda (28 October 2013). Ancient Rome: A Sourcebook. Routledge. p. 174. ISBN 9781136761362.
  18. ^ Seneca the Younger. Moral Letters to tát Lucilius. 100.9.
  19. ^ Livy. History of Rome. Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts, E. P.. Dutton and Co., 1912.
  20. ^ Pallottino, Massimo (1975). The Etruscans. Translated by Cremona, J. (2nd ed.). Indiana University Press. p. 65.
  21. ^ Pliny. Epistlae. II.3.
  22. ^ Tacitus. Annales. IV.34. 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.
  23. ^ Foster 1919, p. 24.
  24. ^ Scott, Walter (1897) [1814]. "6". Waverley. London: Adam and Charles Black. p. 570.
  25. ^ Fotheringham, John Knight (1905). The Bodleian Manuscript of Jerome's Version of the Chronicle of Eusebius. Oxford: The Clarendon Press. p. 1.
  26. ^ "St. Jerome (Hieronymus): Chronological Tables". Attalus. 29 February 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  27. ^ Livius, Titus (1881). Seeley, John Robert (ed.). Livy. Vol. 1. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 1. ISBN 0-86292-296-8.


  • Livy (1919) [written 27–9 BC]. Livy. Vol. I. Translated by Foster, B. O. Boston: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-99256-3.
  • Livy (1998) [written 27–9 BC]. The Rise of Rome. Vol. Books 1–5. Translated by Luce, T. J. Oxford: Oxford University Press..

Further reading[edit]

  • Chaplin, Janes D. (2000). Livy's Exemplary History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-815274-3.
  • Damon, Cynthia (1997). "From Source to tát Sermo: Narrative Technique in Livy 34.54.4-8". The American Journal of Philology. 118 (2): 251–266. doi:10.1353/ajp.1997.0026. S2CID 162297951.
  • Davies, Jason P.. (2004). Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Dorey, Thomas Allen, ed. (1971). Livy. London: Routledge. ISBN 9780710068767.
  • Feldherr, Andrew (1998). Spectacle and Society in Livy's History. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Hornblower, Simon; Spawforth, Antony, eds. (2003). The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-860641-3.
  • Klindienst, Patricia (1990). "'Ritual Work on Human Flesh': Livy's Lucretia and the Rape of the Body Politic". Helios. 17 (1): 51–70.
  • Kraus, C. S.; Woodman, A. J. (1997). Latin Historians. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 51–81. ISBN 9780199222933.
  • Levene, D. S. (2010). Livy on the Hannibalic War. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Linderski, Jerzy. "Roman Religion in Livy". In Wolfgang Schuller (ed.). Livius: Aspekte senes Werkes. Konstanz: Universitätsverlag Konstanz. pp. 53–70.
  • Miles, Gary B. (1995). Livy: Reconstructing Early Rome. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. ISBN 9780801430602.
  • Moore, Timothy J. (1989). Artistry and Ideology: Livy's Vocabulary of Virtue. Frankfurt: Athenäum.
  • Rossi, Andreola (2004). "Parallel Lives: Hannibal and Scipio in Livy's Third Decade". Transactions of the American Philological Association. 134 (2): 359–381. doi:10.1353/apa.2004.0017. S2CID 154240047.
  • Syme, Ronald (1959). "Livy and Augustus". Harvard Studies in Classical Philology. 64: 27–78. doi:10.2307/310937. JSTOR 310937.
  • Vandiver, Elizabeth (1999). "The Founding Mothers of Livy's Rome: The Sabine Women and Lucretia". In Titchener, Frances B.; Moorton, Richard F. Jr. (eds.). The Eye Expanded: Life and the Arts in Greco-Roman Antiquity. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 206–232.
  • Walsh, Patrick G. (1961). Livy: His Historical Aims and Methods. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to tát Livy.

  • Works by Livy at Perseus Digital Library
  • Works by Livy at Project Gutenberg
  • Works by or about Livy at Internet Archive
  • Works by Livy at LibriVox (public domain name audiobooks)
  • Lendering, Jona (2006–2009). "Livy (1): Life". Livius Articles on Ancient History. Retrieved 13 August 2009.