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date: 05 December 2020

Livylocked

  • John Briscoe

Extract

Livy (Titus Livius), the Roman historian, lived 59 bce– 17ce (although Syme has argued for 64 bce– 12ce). He was born and died at *Patavium , the most prosperous city of northern Italy, famed for its stern morality. C. *Asinius Pollio criticized Livy's Patavinitas (Paduanism), but the import of this remark is unclear. An epitaph from Padua recording a T. Livius with two sons and a wife Cassia Prima may be his (ILS 2919). In a letter he urged his son to imitate *Demosthenes (2) and *Cicero , and this or another son wrote a geographical work. A daughter married L. Magius, a rhetorician. We do not know when Livy came to Rome or how much time he spent there; but he was on good personal terms with *Augustus (see below) and encouraged the young *Claudius , future emperor, to write history. Apart from, perhaps before beginning, his major work he also wrote philosophical dialogues.

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