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Aedificare, res damnosissima. Building and Historiography in Livy, Books 5–6

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Chapter Summary

This paper reads Livy as a case study for historiographical interest in the building process with the aim of making two points. The first is the considerable attention invested not only in Rome’s architectural landscape, but in the construction process which generated this landscape in the aftermath of the Gallic sack. By emphasizing the great physical effort involved in rebuilding Rome, Livy connects several disparate but potentially authentic pieces of information on Roman monuments into a coherent socio-historical narrative. The second aim is to understand this narrative in the context of energetic urban building during the early principate. I point out the stark contrast between the negative social role which building plays in Livy and the positive implications associated with building in other Augustan authors.

10.1163/9789004355552_018
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