- Paperback: 127 pages
- Publisher: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers (January 10, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0865166803
- ISBN-13: 978-0865166806
- Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,141,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Livy Reader: Selections from Ab Urbe Condita
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Bolchazy-Carducci long has been supplying teachers of all levels with readers of various authors. This book is a welcome addition to that supply. It is one of Bolchazy's Latin Reader series that includes Apuleius, Caesar, Lucan, Martial, and epics, as well as some topical editions, e.g., women, the military, etc.; the title page of Jaeger's book reports that nineteen editions are planned. The Livy edition is a slim volume with little adornment that includes eighteen selections. The readings are presented in order by decade, including one from the preface. Also included are notes, two maps, and a glossary, all of which follow the text.
I do commend Jaeger for providing a full sense of Livy's breadth; too often readings in Livy are confined to the stories of the first decade made so famous by generations of later visual artists. Jaeger's inclusion of the Punic wars and the Bacchic 'conspiracy' (her quotations), in addition to some old favorites from the first decade, will allow students and teachers to experience Livy and his Roman history in its different incarnations.
The introduction includes seven headed sections: Livy's life and times; Livy's work, subject and scope; Livy's sources; ideas; Livy's artistry; reception; and suggested reading. Jaeger makes the economy of the format effective. Each section includes a wealth of useful and interesting information in a relatively small space. In the section on Livy's artistry, for instance, Jaeger manages both to outline the literary tradition within which Livy was writing and to develop specifically how his use of participles represents a departure from that tradition, providing readers with both the broad view of Livy as an author and a specific feature of his writing.
The notes for each section open with a prefatory description of either the selection, its background, or a combination of both. This proves a helpful introduction to the upcoming text and allows students some measure of familiarity with the plot. The notes themselves cover a wide range of topics, from grammar to sentence structure to history and background to rhetorical figures.
The glossary seems comprehensive, stretching from page 87 to 127, comprising almost a third of the pages of the book, and indeed includes in it perhaps the Latin word least in need of defining, et. Some mention of the extent of this comprehensiveness might have been helpful, at least to the instructor, if not the student. The two maps are beautifully done; the cartographers at Bolchazy-Carducci should be commended.
Mary Jaeger's A Livy Reader is a welcome addition to the market. An author as interesting and readable as Livy is surprisingly underrepresented among available readers, Minkova and Tunberg's Reading Livy's Rome: Selections from Books I-VI Livy's Ab Urbe Condita (Bolchazy-Carducci 2005) being an exception. Jaeger not only addresses that lacuna but also does so in a way that does not merely recapitulate what is already available. She introduces the reader and student to the full breadth of Livy's narrative and historiographic scope with a straightforward approach and useful ancillaries. Her text will anchor or supplement courses from a third year high school course that is introducing students to reading Latin for the first time to a college survey course to a course focused on Livy himself. Both it and Bolchazy's Latin Reader series fulfill an important role in classics publishing: the expansion of reading resources available to instructors. For that both Jaeger and Bolchazy should be commended. --Ed DeHoratius, Wayland School, MA
About the Author
Mary Jaeger is Professor of Classics at the University of Oregon. Previous publications are Livy's Written Rome (University of Michigan, 1997), Archimedes and the Roman Imagination (University of Michigan, 2008), and essays on several Latin authors.
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Top Customer Reviews
However, this book is more of a pain in the ass than it ought to be for a Latin student. Mary Jaeger's notes, while occasionally nice in that they will point out a rhetorical device you may not have noticed or that they give present day names for the settings, are entirely unhelpful and at times even misleading for the translator. There were many times working through this book that I said to myself, "a note on this would have been handy" and even points where I found that my translation would run smoother if I did not take Ms Jaeger's "advice". Also her definition of what an "ablative absolute" is seems to differ from what I remember learning from Wheelock, becoming so broad that it encompasses most usages of the ablative. So, yeah, the notes kind of suck. To make matters worse, whereas in most Latin readers either the notes or the glossary is on the same page as the text or on the page facing it, or, if you are lucky, you get both, in this book the notes and glossary are both in the back of the book, forcing you to read the Latin, flip to the notes, flip again to the glossary, and flip back to the Latin, making the work of translation unnecessarily tedious. Furthermore, the glossary seems to take up a large portion of the book, including every word you will come across in the text, whereas most readers like this only include what it doesn't expect you to know; while this would be good for a new student, it is insulting and annoying to an advanced student to see stuff like "ut" or "do, dare" in there, and frankly, if Mary Jaeger expects her readers to be good enough with their Latin to not require helpful notes, then why would she include such an extensive glossary? The mind boggles. Lastly, it is pretty short. There are only 24 pages of Livy in here.
So, teachers who are considering using this book: I wouldn't recommend it for any but advanced Latin students, and keep in mind that it is too short to take up a whole semester with. Students who have been assigned this book: study up on indirect statement and be able to recognize superlatives, comparatives, and future participles, because Livy like to use them. Good luck.