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Livy: the Periochae


Fantasy bust of Livy.
Livy (©!!!)
Titus Livius or Livy (59 BCE - 17 CE): Roman historian, author of the authorized version of the history of the Roman republic. Many of the 142 books of the History of Rome from its beginning are now lost; however, we do have a fourth-century excerpt, the Periochae. Overview: below.

The Periochae are not the only summary of Livy's History: in the Egyptian town Oxyrhynchus, a similar summary of books 37-40 and 48-55 was found on a scroll of papyrus that is now in the British Museum. However the Oxyrhynchus Epitome is damaged and incomplete. This leaves us with the Periochae as our most important tool to reconstruct the general scope of Livy's monumental History of Rome from its beginning.

The books that were used by the maker of the Periochae appear to have been in bad condition. When we can control the text of the complete books with a summary (i.e., Books 1-10 and 21-45), sometimes the sequence of the events, as given in the Periochae, is not identical to that in the real books. At the very end, summaries of two books (136 and 137) are lacking, although it is possible that they have been integrated in the Periocha of book 141.

Another remarkable aspect of the Periochae is that they tend to become shorter, as is shown in the picture below. There is no explanation for this phenomenon. Probably the epitomator was simply tired, but it can not be excluded that it partly reflects that Livy's books tend to become shorter, something is evident in books 30-45.

Comparative length of the Periochae. Design Jona Lendering.

Overview

Bold italics on a red-brown field: full text exists and a translation can be found here.
 
1
11
21
31
41
51
61
71
81
91
101
111
121
131
2
12
22
32
42
52
62
72
82
92
102
112
122
132
3
13
23
33
43
53
63
73
83
93
103
113
123
133
4
14
24
34
44
54
64
74
84
94
104
114
124
134
5
15
25
35
45
55
65
75
85
95
105
115
125
135
6
16
26
36
46
56
66
76
86
96
106
116
126
138
7
17
27
37
47
57
67
77
87
97
107
117
127
139
8
18
28
38
48
58
68
78
88
98
108
118
128
140
9
19
29
39
49
59
69
79
89
99
109
119
129
141
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
110
120
130
142
Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
The Latin text is based on the text from the Latin Library, which has been corrected by comparison to the Budé-edition of Paul Jal, published in 1984. The spelling has been harmonized. The rather free translation is by Jona Lendering. Thanks to Andrew Smith (www.attalus.org), who suggested many improvements for the translation.
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