Titus Livy, the famous Augustan historian was born in the Northern Italian city of Padua His History of Rome was and still is one of the most popular pieces of classical literature. Much of what Livy included in his history was legend and epic drama, but this style was considered good history in Roman times. Though his history consisted of one hundred forty-two books, only thirty-five remain. Byzantine writers later paraphrased much of his work that is now lost. The first five books of Livy's History of Rome From its Foundations are available in an English translation from Penguin Classics.
Livy wrote during the Age of Augustus, a time during which Rome was powerful, prosperous, and still expanding. Livy crafted a history that he thought heroic enough for the greatest empire on Earth at the time. He borrowed freely from Virgils Aeneid. Though Livy is not considered a serious scholar today and his history is not taken to be faultlessly accurate, reading Livy can tell us much about who the Romans were and what they thought of themselves and the rest of the world. He provides a window on the Roman soul and character of the First Century A. D.
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