A Commentary on Livy, Books VI-X - Vol. 1

A Commentary on Livy, Books VI-X - Vol. 1

A Commentary on Livy, Books VI-X - Vol. 1

A Commentary on Livy, Books VI-X - Vol. 1


This magisterial work, to be published in three volumes, is the first full-scale commentary to be written in modern times on this part of Livy's great history of Rome. This second volume consists of Books VII and VIII, in which Livy describes Rome's annexation of Capua and Naples and her first fighting against the Samnites, the powerful tribe that lived in the mountains of central Italy. (The commentary is not accompanied by the Latin text or a translation).


This book is the first instalment of a commentary on books vi-x of Livy; it contains an introduction to all five books and the commentary on book vi. the second volume, which is already in the press, will contain the commentary on books vii and viii. the third, which I hope to finish within two years, will contain the commentary on books ix and x. After completing the commentary I intend to produce a new text of these books.

The project owes its origin to the late Professor R. M. Ogilvie. Early in 1980, when I was in my final year as an undergraduate, I wrote to him seeking advice about research on Livy, who had long been my favourite author. He replied that book ix 'cries out for a proper commentary'; and later in that year an afternoon's conversation with him convinced me that book ix was indeed the book on which to work. I have never regretted this advice: my Ph.D. thesis, on book ix chapters 1-28, was finished in 1984, and for over a decade further research on books vi-x has brought the greatest pleasure.

Ogilvie's own famous commentary on books i-v of Livy was the first work of classical scholarship that I purchased and has long provided an inspiration. in it he combined--perhaps for the first time in a commentary on a classical author--historical, archaeological, topographical, literary, linguistic and textual comment; and he wrote stylishly and elegantly, being unfailingly lucid in synthesis and economical in his use of space. in trying to produce a commentary which gives equal attention to both historical and literary matters I have been ever conscious of his example; and if my own commentary is rather longer and more detailed than his, that is because it became apparent that more space was needed to develop the approach which he had so successfully pioneered.

The format of a commentary, while it is ideal for the study of detailed problems posed by a text, may be thought less effective for the wider exploration of general issues, and it may encourage an antiquarian rather than a truly historical or literary approach. Yet the antiquarian detail which a commentator is forced to handle will . . .

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