1
Caudium as Event and Exemplum

CAUDIUM THE NARRATIVE

At first sight, the narrative of Caudium is attractive fodder for those seeking a conventional reading of exempla in Livy. It is a self-contained, carefully constructed, moralizing treatment of a famous event in Roman history. From the opening sentence of Book 9 (Sequitur hunc annum nobilis clade Romana Caudina pax T. Veturio Calvino Sp. Postumio consulibus1) to the praise of L. Papirius Cursor and his generation with which the episode ends (Haud dubie illa aetate, qua nulla uirtutum feracior fuit, nemo unus erat uir quo magis innixa res Romana staret2), Caudium is a near textbook case of an exemplary episode.3

The narrative takes its impetus from the Roman rejection of the Samnites' capitulation at the end of Book 8. Full of righteous indignation, the Samnites' general C. Herennius Pontius convinces them that the gods are on their side and will lead them to victory. Deceiving the Romans into thinking that his forces are concentrated at Luceria, and taking advantage of the Romans' thoughtless decision to proceed there by the more direct, but less safe, route, Pontius manages to trap two consular armies in an area known as the Caudine Forks.4 The Romans see no answer

1 The following year, in the consulship of T. Veturius Calvinus and Sp.
Postumius, occurred the Caudine peace, notorious for the Roman defeat (9. 1.
1). Unless noted otherwise, all references in the chapter are to Livy Book 9.

2 Without a doubt, in that era, which produced more admirable qualities
than any other, there was no single man on whom the Roman state depended
more (9. 16. 19). This claim leads Livy into the Alexander digression, which
seals off the Caudium narrative from the rest of Book 9. See Burck (1966) 325
and Lipovsky (1981) 140–51.

3 For a close reading of the episode as part of Livy's account of Roman
expansion, see Lipovsky (1981) 140–51.

4 On the gap between the actual terrain and Livy's imaginative description
of it, see Horsfall (1982b) 45–52.

-32-

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Livy's Exemplary History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents ix
  • Abbreviations and Editions Used xi
  • Introduction: Livy's Use of Exempla 1
  • 1: Caudium as Event and Exemplum 32
  • 2: Speaker, Audience, and Exemplum 50
  • 3: Reading the Past 73
  • 4: Past and Present 106
  • 5: Precedents and Change 137
  • 6: Livy, Augustus, and Exempla 168
  • Conclusion: Continuity and Change 197
  • Appendix: Models for Imitation and Avoidance 203
  • Works Cited 215
  • General Index 231
  • Index Locorum 239
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