Livy’s The Rise of Rome Essays

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Livy’s The Rise of Rome Livy’s The Rise of Rome serves as the ultimate catalogue of Roman history, elaborating on the accomplishments of each king and set of consuls through the ages of its vast empire. In the first five books, Livy lays the groundwork for the history of Rome and sets forth a model for all of Rome to follow. For him, the “special and salutary benefit of the study of history is to behold evidence of every sort of behaviour set forth as on a splendid memorial; from it you may select for yourself and for your country what to emulate, from it what to avoid, whether basely begun or basely concluded.” (Livy 4). Livy, however, denies the general populace the right to make the same sort of conclusions that he made in…show more content…
Livy’s description of Romulus as a man with exemplary strength and military prowess helps solidify his position as a truly great Roman. The attributes relating to Tarquin Superbus’s effectiveness as a leader hardly stray off the path set forth by Romulus. Tarquin “was not an ineffective leader in war; in the military sphere he would have been deemed equal to the earlier kings…” (Livy 61). Once again, we see the necessity for Roman kings to be skilled in the art of war, leading massive armies to victory for the benefit of the empire. In addition to his prowess on the battlefield, Tarquin demonstrated an overwhelming sense of ambition, a feature that brings with it the desire for power and greatness, the very same desire that characterized Rome as a city. Just as Romulus fought for power against his brother Remus, so too did Tarquin fight for his right to power against Servius. Tarquin’s acquisition of the throne came through brute force, as overwhelming numbers and his own physical strength helped to literally cast Servius from the steps of power. Tarquin’s characteristics mirrored many of the other kings both before and after him, and so it is easy to find justification for his position as a king of Rome. Livy’s portrayal of Tarquin’s rule, however, strays a great deal from the characterization of Tarquin as worthy of holding such a powerful position. Livy’s narrative effectively strips the reader of the ability to make an

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