Author:
Nicolas L.J. Meunier UCLouvain (Université catholique de Louvain), Belgium

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Abstract

Livy's narrative, far from being a faithful and scrupulous account of historical facts, is first and foremost a piece of literary, a narration, a collection of exempla that should serve as models or anti-models for readers, as Livy himself says in his Praefatio (Liv. Praef. 10). In his writing work, he follows guiding principles, the most important of which is the dialectic of contrasts, inspired by oratory and rhetoric. On the basis of different examples from the first decade of Ab Urbe condita, the objective of this article is to examine how this principle of writing was applied to the theme of Returns (a motif well known in the imaginary and literature of classical Antiquity). Thus, it appears that each episode of return or attempt to return is systematically preceded by an episode of withdrawal from the civic community, with which it is contrasted in various ways. Examples of such withdrawal-return antagonist pairs are numerous, and they concern both individual characters (Tarquin the Proud, Coriolanus, Cincinnatus, Kaeso Quinctius, etc.) and collective ensembles (in the form of a secessio of an entire ordo).

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  • Miklós MARÓTH (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Avicenna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies)
  • Gyula MAYER (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Classical Philology Research Group)
  • János NAGYILLÉS (University of Szeged)
  • Lajos Zoltán SIMON (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest)
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