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Nikolaus Leo Overtoom Washington State University, United States

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Abstract

The Romans were conquerors, and it is unsurprising that they looked favorably upon the greatest conqueror of antiquity, Alexander the Great. In Livy's Ab Urbe Condita, there are several passages in which he uses the image of Alexander to help craft his own concept of Rome's place within the wider Hellenistic world, especially within the eastern Mediterranean. Livy, despite his generally positive opinion of Alexander, ultimately created scenarios where he portrayed the Romans as superior to the Macedonian king, first, because of the primary focus of Livy's history, namely the rise of Rome to Mediterranean dominance, and second, because of the political atmosphere in which Livy was writing, namely the complete submission of the Mediterranean basin under Augustus' empire. Although scattered throughout Livy's extensive writing, when analyzed together these passages illustrate a persistent and connected motif that influences Livy's larger narrative: Alexander was great, but Rome is greater.

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  • Overtoom, N.L. (2012). A Roman Tradition of Alexander the Great Counterfactual History. Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 52(3): 203212.

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  • Overtoom, N.L. (2013). Six Polybian Themes Concerning Alexander the Great. Classical World, 106(4): 571593.

  • Overtoom, N.L. (2016a). Challenging Roman Domination: The End of Hellenistic Rule and the Rise of the Parthian State from the Third to the First Centuries. Diss. Louisiana State University.

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  • Overtoom, N.L. (2016b). The Rivalry of Rome and Parthia in the Sources from the Augustan Age to Late Antiquity. Anabasis, 7: 137174.

  • Overtoom, N.L. (2017). The Parthian Rival and Rome’s Failure in the East: Roman Propaganda and the Stain of Crassus. Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 57(4): 415435.

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  • Overtoom, N.L. (2019). The Power-Transition Crisis of the 160s–130s BCE and the Formation of the Parthian Empire. Journal of Ancient History, 7(1): 111155.

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  • Overtoom, N.L. (2020). Reign of Arrows: The Rise of the Parthian Empire in the Hellenistic Middle East. Oxford.

  • Overtoom, N.L. (2021). Reassessing the Role of Parthia and Rome in the Origins of the First Romano-Parthian War (56/5–50 BCE). Journal of Ancient History, 9(2): 238268.

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  • Walbank, F.W. (2002b). Polybius, Rome, and the Hellenistic World: Essays and Reflections. Cambridge.

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