The Battle Of The Roman Civil War Essay

The Battle Of The Roman Civil War Essay

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The time in which Livy was growing up in Roman society was a time of much conflict and division within the Roman Republic. From 49 BC to 45 BC, the massive Roman Civil War sharply divided the citizens of Rome based on their class and heritage. The Roman Civil War pitted Julius Caesar and the Populares against Pompey and the Optimates. The Civil War began because of political wrangling in the Roman Senate between the senatorial elite, who supported Pompey, and the tribunes and plebs, who supported Caesar. The Civil War led to many battles that covered the entirety of the Roman Republic, including Italy, Greece, Spain, Egypt, and Africa. In addition to the Civil War, during this span of time, Caesar was named dictator and elected consul multiple times. Eventually in 44 BC, when Caesar won the Civil War, the senate made him a dictator in perpetuum. This office allowed Caesar to serve as dictator forever, without the normal term restrictions that governed dictatorships. By making Caesar the dictator in perpetuum, the senate raised his position above the customary political offices of the Republic and put Caesar on a level dangerously close to the monarchy of past Roman society.

For Livy, the experience of a departure from Roman virtues, a deeply divided Roman Republic, and a leader with powers very similar to past kings influenced his perspectives of Roman society. His experiences encouraged him to write a history that reflected a desire for Rome to maintain historic values, eliminate class-based divisions, and avoid returning to a monarchy. Livy views Rome itself as the main character of his historical text. The most important goal to Livy is preserving the Roman culture and society. Livy says in the preface to Book One that the chi...


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... governing policies. Livy records stories that caused embarrassment to Rome to point out the flaws of having a king, departing from traditional virtues, and discriminating between classes of citizens. However, Livy also includes stories that demonstrate great success that Romans experienced by adhering to what Livy considers the important virtues of Roman citizens. In addition, although some of the stories Livy records paint Rome and its culture in a negative light, those stories often seem to lead to a positive historical outcome. Livy believes in the greatness of Rome and wants to see the Republic continue to grow and develop. Livy uses the opportunity of recording Rome’s long and storied history to encourage the Roman citizens to return to the values of their founders, continue progressing towards a better society, and to avoid destroying the Republic from within.

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