When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes ... Livy (and Polybius) on the Gallic Sack of Rome

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This paper analyses a hitherto unrecognised Polybian dimension in Livy’s narrative of the Gallic Sack of Rome. An initial comparison of twelve motifs and themes with Polybius’ account of the capture of Phoenice demonstrates notable similarities in the narratives’ ‘building blocks’. The ensuing discussion of another shared element – that of the role of fortuna/tyche – challenges the seemingly natural interpretation of the presented overlaps as merely illustrating wider historiographic and narratological commonalities. Instead, it is argued that the best way to make sense of these overlaps is to regard them as evidence of the Livian engagement with Polybius’ account, designed to comment on the Greek’s broader take on Roman world rule, in which tyche plays a central role.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUsages of the Past in Roman Historiography
EditorsAske Damtoft Poulsen, Arne Jönsson
Place of PublicationLeiden
ISBN (Electronic)9789004445086
ISBN (Print)9789004445024
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2021

Publication series

NameHistoriography of Rome and Its Empire

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