“Was there any basis for an optimistic view of Rome in Livy and Ovid?”

Livy and Ovid in case you don’t know are Poets and historians. And they both wrote books pertaining to the foundation of Rome, they are both different. Livy’s book is less detailed as Ovid’s book is not. And Ovid’s book contains religion, gods, or some higher power, where Livy’s book doesn’t have a “god” or a “high power” but relies on fate.  Now I am going to summarize both of their books and answer the question (“Was there any basis for an optimistic view of Rome in Livy and Ovid?”) according to my comprehension of the book.

Livy- In his book History of Rome book 1 he covers a span of 700 years. Now instead of summarizing the whole book, I’m going to summarize 2 stories that I think will really cement my opinion that there wasn’t a basis for an optimistic view of Rome. And let me tell you the foundation of Rome was not good! The foundation of Rome was a murder. Livy tells the story of Romulus and Remus. Romulus and Remus were two brothers, and that had a terrible childhood! Before they were grown up they learned of their royal blood and brought

their Grandfather, the rightful king, back to power. Then they decided that they wanted to build a city, not just any city, a great city!  But they got into a dispute over who would rule the city; and who would the city be named after. And that led to the murder of Remus. Then Livy tells more stories; but the one I want to focus on is: The kidnapping of the young women”. Romulus threw a celebration and at the end of the celebration they took all the eligible women and kidnaped them and made them marry the young men of Rome. Now obviously I have summarized both stories, but as you can see after retelling those stories about Rome “Who would have an optimistic view of Rome?”

Ovid- In his book Metamorphoses he covers the creation of Rome/the world and forward.

He says that chaos is the source of everything. And that there is a god or a Mother Nature that imposed order on chaos; but just barely. And then the story is similar to the Bible there was creation, in stages; and man was last. Then you have the 4 ages of mankind: Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Iron. Then the story of the Jude (the supreme god) going to Lycaon because he is angry with mankind. And he is afraid to use thunderbolts against mankind because when he does all will perish. And Lycaon tests Jude and this angers Jude and he turns his anger on Lycaon, and Jude turns him into a wolf. And then following the Bible once more there is a flood. Only 2 people survive; because they are righteous. And they create humans by throwing rocks over there shoulders. 

Livy is leaving it up to fate, so he isn’t going to be optimistic and Ovid won’t be either. Because if someone does something to anger Jude he would destroy them. Livy and Ovid do not give us any real reason to think optimistically about Rome. I have summarized some parts of their books and I hope from that you can come to your own conclusion.

English, Essay 70.


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