Impact of Titicus Livicus’ Writings

1442 words (6 pages) Essay in History

18/05/20 History Reference this

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Considered by many as one of the ‘founding fathers of history’, Titicus Livicus wrote and recorded some of the most impactful and useful histories about ancient Italy, and in particular Rome around 27BC-12AD. This includes one of his more monumental works ‘Ab Urbe Condita’, describing legends such as; the arrival of Aeneas and the fall of Troy, the founding of the city in 753, the expulsion of the Kings in 509 and the reign of the emperor Augustus. This collection of information and recounts of Ancient Roman history has drastically shaped how modern century historians have viewed events in the past, as well as changing how information has been recorded over the centuries.

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‘Titicus Livicus’ – shortened to Livy, was a Roman historian living from 59BC- 12AD, who recorded a large amount of information about the history of Rome/ the Roman people. Ironically, little has been recorded about Livy’s own life and substantially nothing recorded about his pastors. Livy wrote about the earliest legend of Rome (stretching back to 753BC) right the way through to Augustus’s reign (27BC – 14AD). Due to these detailed narrations of Roman’s past, he has been judged one of the ‘founders of history.’ Livy was raised in Patavium located in Northern Italy, now modern-day Padua, capital of Veneto. When Livy was born Patavium it was the ‘second-wealthiest Italian peninsula’, as well as being the largest in Cisalpine Gaul, a merged province in Italia. However, Patavium rigorously suffered throughout its civil wars during the 40s, unsettling the condition of Rome after the death of Julius Caesar. This assumedly prevented Livy from studying in Greek, as many other scholars at the time did. Most of Livy’s life was spent in Rome, early on attracting the interest of Augustus and Claudius around 8 AD. Livy never became involved with the ‘literary world of Rome’, such as Virgil, Ovid and Maecenas, and was viewed to work independently in his private means. Indeed, in one of the few recorded anecdotes about him, Augustus called him a “Pompeian,” implying an outspoken and independent turn of mind. Livy, in his written works, often conveyed his pride for Patavium, its conservative values, politics and morals. Livy was considered a ‘recluse’, who disliked violence by nature, turning to peace instead, which combined with the ‘restorative peace’ of the time fuelled his passion to research and describe the history of Patavium.

The text written by Titicus Livicus named as ‘Ab Urbe Condita’ translated to ‘the founding of the city’, referred to in English as is a collection of books describing legends such as; the arrival of Aeneas and the fall of Troy, the founding of the city itself and many other historical events. ‘Ad Urbe Condita’ was originally comprised of 142 books, however, only 75% survives to this day, where many different areas of Rome’s Beginning years are accounted. The first book describes the traditional legend of Romulus and Remus, his account being one of the most significant accounts of the events. Between chapters 3-7 the lives of the twins are described from birth, the reign of Romulus, the war of Sabines and to the death of Romulus. This compilation of events, originating from the Roman legend, are some of the most accurate and descriptive accounts of Ancient Roman culture. Livy then covers the founding of the Roman Republic, started by Lucius Brutus. The book also recounts the First, Second and Third Samnite Wars, the 2 Punic Wars, all 3 Macedon Wars, and a number of other large events concerning the era of 250BC-200BC. The chronicles also included multiple manuscripts once again giving accounts of events concerning the founding of Rome The recounts bring light to categories such as; religion in the ancient society, Roman practices/ rules, political systems before the Empire, as well as supremely depicting how Romans believed the Empire was founded (including the change as time passed)..

The influence of Livy’s work is quite immense, his writing style exercised a prominent influence on countless other historical pieces written for thousands of years after his death. Livy wrote in a mixture of annual chronology and narrative, however, often intervening his books with the election of ‘consuls’ (roman politicians). This method of storytelling was later defined by ‘Collins’ as the ‘annalistic method’ combining current political events with historic events, drawing contrasts between the two. During 27BC – 9BC, the period in which ‘Ad Urbe condita’ is documenting how the Roman Empire was built, while some of the books are based on legends, many recounts were extremely relevant to progressing the passing of information, especially regarding politics. This has seriously influenced business and writing in the future, with ‘analytical’ thinking being something widely used today. This progress in storytelling developed a group called “annalists”. The annalists were not modern historians, responsibly for deliberating areas of history. The chance that in the past falsified history was deliberated is most likely, but they were nearly all strong partisans, and of two conflicting stories it was most natural for them to choose the one which was most flattering to the Romans/ their political party, changing the principle of historical writing. This later has been believed to have broadened to the career path of modern-day “analysists”, where data (from a range of areas, often political) are combined and compared to past events to predict a future one. This is a combination of an ancient Roman methodology of writing and contrasting to current events, with Livy, in particular, being the main role in designing the methodology. Livy also had an immense influence on how Rome is portrayed today, with information into past political events used to improve existing political policies by analysing the cause and effect of prior political policies. During Livy’s lifetime, he gained a large following from Roman citizens who recognised his ability in conveying the history and current affairs, creating an ever-growing demand for his work. Livy received extreme amounts of praise for his works, one of this, in particular, the first 10 texts of ‘Ab Urbe Condita’, attracting the attention of Augustus and young Claudius (prior Emperor) around 8AD. His work was copied through the Middle Ages, used to compare against an extensive range of developing manuscripts, as it was an exemplary model of extensive authorship, still held at that staple to this day.

In conclusion, Livy was one of the most influential writers of Roman history, his works, such as ‘Ad Urbe Condita’, paving the way for the new analytical style of writing. His recounts not only shaped our understanding of Roman culture, religion and politics, but gives us insight into how the Roman Empire was founded, and built.


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