Chapter

The Ancient Sources for Early Roman History

Gary Forsythe

in A Critical History of Early Rome

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780520226517
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940291 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520226517.003.0004
The Ancient Sources for Early Roman History

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This chapter explains the historiographical background of Rome. A serious study of early Roman history cannot be undertaken without a clear understanding and continual examination of the nature and veracity of the ancient sources that purport to record the history of Rome's distant past. By the time that Livy and Dionysius came to write history, Roman historiography had a complex development of nearly two hundred years behind it, and there were numerous sources at hand from which they could fashion their own works. Cicero and Diodorus are two other ancient writers important for early Roman history and therefore deserving comment. It is suggested that Greek myths and related stories were in circulation in central Italy during the archaic period. Both Cicero and Livy regarded the family traditions as a principal means by which early Roman history was contaminated with exaggerated or falsified claims.

Keywords: Rome; Roman historiography; Livy; Dionysius; Cicero; Diodorus; Greek myths

Chapter.  9365 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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