THE greatest prose work of the Augustan age is the History of Rome from its earliest beginnings to 9 B. C. by Titus Livius. It was in all probability the author's intention to bring the narrative down to his own times, bat he died before he had accomplished his task. There were one hundred and forty-two books in all, of which only thirty-five have survived, namely the first, third, fourth, and part of the fifth decade. The work was originally published in parts of varying length, as the presence of prefaces at various points in the narrative indicates. The division into decades was made by publishers of the fourth or fifth century.
According to St. Jerome's version of Eusebius, Livy was born at Padua in 59 B. C. He came of a good family and was carefully educated. Rhetoric was the most prominent element in the school curricula of the time, and in his case even special emphasis seems to have been laid upon it. He acquired, moreover, an adequate knowledge of literature, both Greek and Latin, and his interest in philosophy is attested by the fact that he wrote some dialogues on themes which fall within that field. He was probably about thirty years of age when he came to Rome, where he continued to reside till almost the close of his life. In the Civil War his sympathies had been with the party of Pompey, but Augustus harbored no resentment against him on this account, and the friendliest relations existed between the two men.