Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Rise of Rome

By Livy

I addressed the “secret” clause in my tagline a couple entries ago, and today I address the “under duress” clause with the first in a series of books I’ve read for class in the past week. I’m in a program at school that studies the development of Western civilization by reading and discussing its great works, which inevitably includes several histories. Last semester the focus was on Ancient Greece and our major historians were Thucydides and Herodotus. This semester it’s all about the Romans. Livy does for Rome what Thucydides and Herodotus did for Greece. Of the three, Livy is my favorite. Yes, he’s a historian like the others, but unlike them he’s firstly a writer, and you can tell. Having about 100 pages of him to read a night, this was something I was very grateful for, as it made the convoluted and sometimes corrupt lineage of Romulus more compelling than it might have been in other hands. In fact, several times the English student in me took over from the student of critical thought and started underlining passages that I just plain liked, even if they weren’t otherwise significant. Which, coming off a tide of Plato, Biblical texts, and the odd appearance by Socrates,  was a nice and somewhat novel feeling. So, verdict on Livy’s Rise of Rome? Not bad. 

Books Read This Year: 4
Top 100 Progress: 38/100

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