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Titus Livius: The Early History Of Rome

1302 words - 5 pages

In Titus Livius’, The Early History of Rome, Livy takes on the task of documenting Rome’s early history and some of the famous individuals who help contribute to the ‘greatness’ of Rome. Livy dedicates an entire portion of his writing to describe the reigns of the first seven kings of Rome; all who influence the formation and governance of Rome in some way. However, of the seven kings in early Roman history, King Romulus and King Numa Pompilius achieved godlike worship and high esteem from their fellow Romans. While both highly important and respected figures in Rome’s history, the personalities and achievements of King Romulus and King Numa Pompilius are complete opposites of one another. Despite the differences found in each king and of their rule over Rome, both Romulus and Numa Pompilius have a tremendous influence in the prosperity and expansion of Rome in its early days.
While Romulus is credited for exemplifying many of Rome;’s fundamental values, his reign over Rome is one that is infamous for its abundant bloodshed, violence against Rome’s neighbouring cities and demonstrations of his accumulated power. In comparison to Romulus’ rule, King Numa Pompilius reign is filled with undisturbed peace and coexistence in Rome and its neighbouring communities. Romulus often resorts to utilizing methods like violence or deceit to achieve his aspirations for the glory of Rome. One of the very first of Romulus’ acts of violence “to obtain sole power” (Livy 37) is to brutally murder his own twin brother, Remus in an angry fit of rage. The murder of Remus is a reflection of Romulus’ violent, ruthless nature and demonstrates the drastic measures he will go to achieve ultimate power. “To increase the dignity and impressiveness of his [kingly] position” (39), Romulus begins to “adopt certain visible signs of his power” (39) to encourage his rapidly expanding population to respect and fear him. Instead of extravagant, boastful exertions of power and oppression on his citizens, King Numa Pompilius, unlike his predecessor, “[has] a great reputation [during his] time for justice and piety” (51). These are “Numa’s noblest qualities” (51) that he is able to instil into the people of Rome’s everyday life. Under Numa Pompilius’ peaceful reign “military decline [is] relaxed” (52) and the “rough…ignorant” (52) mob that was once under Romulus’ tyrannically rule “[is] given a great many new things to think about and attend to” (54). It was King Numa Pompilius’ many virtuous qualities that hoist him to cult-like reverence which caused “men of all classes [to] [take] Numa as their unique example and modelled themselves after him” (54). Unlike King Romulus’ brute force and military campaigns to unite the citizens in Rome, Numa Pompilius’ gentle nature is able to pacify the surrounding communities to “revere [Rome]” (54) and implant new purpose and meaning into the lives of Romans. The brutality found in King Romulus’ nature and the peaceful nature of King Numa...

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