In spite of the main goal of the annalistic narration of Livy, the description of the history of Rome, Alexander the Great has an important role in the
Ab Urbe condita
. In this way, Livy composed the first known counterfactual episode of European historiography (IX 17–19). Moreover, Livy compared the courage, knowledge and the fortune of the Macedonian and the Roman military commanders, and the opposing forces. Livy presents Alexander with his bad traits, therefore the historiographer denies the divinity of the Macedonian king. Livy opposes the few Greeks, who rejected the order of Augustus, and hated the princeps himself.
The tradition of Alexander the Great influenced strongly Livy’s historiography. Although the marginal Roman state of the 4th century BC only had negligible connections to Alexander the Great, his figure and historical role were in the center of Livy’s interest. Beside the famous Alexandros digression (IX 17–19), Livy used other elements of the Hellenistic tradition which was based on the prosopography of Alexander III.
It is not surprising, given that the Ab urbe condita is an important source of information about Roman religious practices, to find frequent mentions of Juno’s shrines or cults in Livy’s work. Yet, we have to ask ourselves to what extent this religious data has been rewritten and recomposed according to the Roman historiographical tradition in order to provide the audience with a particular view of Roman history. A further study allows us to distinguish two kinds of Junones: Roman and Italian Junones who stood as a protective goddess of Rome, on the one hand, and on the other, Junones from the borders of the Roman world, who supported or questioned Rome’s identity and its Empire’s guiding principles in the historical narrative.
The military success of Alexander and his early death lends itself perfectly to the realm of counterfactual history. No less than nine authors partook in the creation and propagation of Alexander counterfactual history. Our extant examples range from as early as the third century BCE to the sixth century CE. This paper examines first the scholarly debates surrounding the placement of Livy’s digression in his larger narrative, the objectives of Livy’s digression, and the reasons for its existence. It then turns to a discussion of the popularity and consistency of the Roman tradition of Alexander counterfactual history. The tradition not only attempted to represent Rome and Italy as places of relative international importance in the late forth century BCE but also served to compare a young Roman state, which would rise to dominance in the Mediterranean world, favorably to the mightiest conqueror in all of ancient history.
In Livy XXI 45. 8 Hannibal makes a promise to his soldiers, confirming it by a rite very similar to the one performed by the fetials when making a treaty. The main difference is that Hannibal uses a lamb instead of a pig. The author of the paper investigates how and why this motive could come into being, and how it could fit into the narrative of the second Punic war in Livy’s source.
Livy was born in Padua, among the Venetes, in a part of Italy which received Roman citizenship only in 49 BC and he was very proud of the origins of his little hometown — that could take pride in being, like Rome, a Trojan foundation. Indeed, before telling Aeneas’ arrival on the shore of Latium, he begins his Roman history telling the story of Antenor, the Trojan hero who founded Padova. Later, he insists on the victory of his fellow-citizens in 302 BC over the Spartan Cleonymos, one of the Greek generals who were appointed by the Tarentines to protect them from their enemies — a victory which appears to be a kind of anticipation of that of Rome against Pyrrhus. But Livy was well conscious that, in present times, the leading center in Italy and elsewhere was only Rome: the last time we hear of his native town in the extant books of his work is 174 BC, when the Romans had to restore order and peace in the Venetian town — an event which was considered so important in local memory that it was considered as the beginnig of a new era. The deep attachment of a provincial Roman like Livy to his little hometown did not prevent from feeling himself a member of the larger Roman comunity and resenting a strong attachment to Rome, head of the whole oikoumene and common patria of all Italians. He gives us a good example of the construction of a Roman Italy under Augustus.
The Life of George Washington in Latin prose, edited in 1834 by Francis Glass, is an outstanding document of how a certain intellectual élite in the United States strived for being acknowledged by European academic circles as a nation of high cultural level. The author, a Philadelphia-educated Irish immigrant, who earned his living by teaching ancient and modern languages in Ohio, intended to draw attention to the similarities which, in his opinion, linked the United States, recently independent, with the early Roman Republic, free and independent, as he believed. In doing so he imitated, apart from learned archaisms and peculiarities of expression, both Livy, the most important source of the early Rome's history, and Cesar's De Bello Gallico, thus demonstrating that his hero, George Washington, exceeded the great Romans of the Age of the Republic as well as the founder of Roman monarchism, combining in his person all possible qualities of a statesman. In praise of him the author did not refrain from fictional testimonies, starting his work with a prophecy ascribed to Cicero and enriched by a reference to Accius. However, the Vita Georgii Washingtonii Latina, highly estimated by Washington's successor, John Q. Adams, affords an insight into the 'Roman' roots of US-American pathetic patriotism sometimes so surprising for Europeans.
The concise history of Rome, covering the 700 years from Romulus until Augustus and composed by an author with the cognomen Florus, is ranked since the Renaissance among the most often printed and most widely read ancient Latin prose works. But whereas this small work was until now commonly supposed to have been written by a “L. Annaeus” oder “P. Annius” Florus during the age of the emperor Trajan (or even later), the present article — based on four essays I have published already more than 20 years ago — demonstrates that almost the entire work was originally composed by a contemporary of Augustus, most likely by the same Iulius Florus to whom Horace addressed two famous letters (I 3 and II 2). We must, indeed, distinguish between two different versions of this work, namely on the one hand the genuine text edited by Iulius Florus, whose name appears as the author in the very important Codex Bambergensis (9th century), immediately after the consecration of the deceased Augustus (17 Sept. 14), and on the other hand a second edition prepared by an anonymous redactor in the era of Trajan (98–117), which was considered a revival of the Golden Age of Augustus; in addition, some further editions appeared later in the second century. All these new editions of Iulius Florus’s work contain just two crucial differences from his original text, namely two short interpolations in Iulius Florus’s preface: the short colon ut postea velut consenuerit, inserted into § 4, and the last sentence (§ 8), added to the original preface. Both interpolations, however, stand in marked contrast to the entire context of Florus’s composition. The main purpose of my article is, therefore, a reconstruction of the original form of Iulius Florus’s historical work, which contained not four or two books (as it is now generally assumed), but only one book, presented as a brevis tabella or breviarium of Roman history.
In the Greek world, the celebrations of Dionysus were different: the Rural Dionysia and the City Dionysia, the Lenee, the Antestèrie, the Oscofòrie, the Ascalia and the Bacchanalia. During the Bacchanalia, women ran, danced and screamed in the woods, and fell prey to Dionysian inebriation. In 186 BC, the Roman Senate issued a decree that limited the cult of Bacchus Dionysus in Rome and in Italy, because of sexual abuses (see Livy, Ab Urbe condita 39. 8 – 39. 18). The diffusion of Bacchanalia was a risk for people and for the dignitas of Rome. In 1640 in Tiriolo, Calabria, during the excavation for the foundations of the so-called Palazzo Cicala, a bronze inscription and fragments of columns were found; the inscription had the original text of Senatus Consultum de Bacchanalibus with which, in 186 BC, the Roman Senate forbade the Bacchanalia. In Latium, during the excavation of the so-called Domus delle Pitture in Bolsena, directed by the École Française de Rome, between 1964 and 1982, a fragment of a throne's base and a cherub's leg were found in a layer of ashes in an underground room. Another 150 pieces of the throne, including ribbons and fragments of a panther head, were recovered in a specific spot of the room. Fragments, carefully restored and reassembled, compose an object called Trono delle Pantere of Bolsena, datable between the end of the 3rd century BC and the early years of the 2nd century BC. The left and rear sides are better preserved. The first represents a panther sitting on a throne with a cherub on his knees while it grabs at the ears of beast; the rear side represents a pattern with wings blocked by ribbons. The front side is completely destroyed. The throne has different sets of problems on its religious meaning and its decoration, where the Dionysiac theme is clear. The panther, the cherubs and the ribbons recall the Dionysus sphere, during which he was hidden inside a cave. Indeed, the underground room of Bolsena was appropriated to Bacchanalia. This paper intends to link Tiriolo and Bolsena, through the specific cases of two cities; in the first we have a proof of the enforcement of the law in 186 BC, and in the second we have an evidence of its application, with the destruction of a throne and of a Bacchic shrine.
human sacrifice, even when discussing the events of 216 BC and 114/13 BC.
Livy, Valerius Maximus, Frontinus, Plutarch, Florus, Aurelius Victor, and others extolled heroes who sacrificed their lives for Rome and condemn foreign peoples for