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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
12
The Rise of Rome: Books One to Five (Oxford World's Classics) (Bks. 1-5)
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on June 14, 2017
This book was very informative and enlightening about the founding of the city of Rome and the early period of the Roman Republic. The case about the first incidental use bail reinforces the modem-day view use of bail in the U.S. legal system.
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on October 23, 2015
It is so relevant to politics today it's scary! Fantastic read if you take time to dig for each moral.The Rise of Rome: Books One to Five (Oxford World's Classics) (Bks. 1-5)
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on January 21, 2013
required reading for a greek literature course, but I enjoyed it a great deal. if you are interested in roman history straight from the time period, you will enjoy this book.
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on July 20, 2013
Not my favorite way to read about the history of Rome, but it is was well written and very informative.
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on March 5, 2010
Livy's history is fast-paced and colourful. T. J. Luce's notes are very helpful and his translation is very readable, but sometimes his word choices are so modern as to be jarring; for example, "iure gentium," "the law of nations," is anachronistically translated as "international law" in the first half of the book, although it then becomes "the law of nations" in the second half. Another jarring anachronism is "sadist" for "carnifex," a word that means "executioner" (2.35)--not the sexual cruelty named after the Marquis de Sade. And since there are so many Latin-English cognates that have a similar connotation I find it misleading when translators take such liberties. Here are some other examples:

"legum humanarum" becomes "civilized" (1.28, Luce) whereas the Loeb and Sélincourt have "laws of humanity." "inhumanumque" is translated as "barbaric" (1.48) instead of "inhuman." Since the concept of the human as a moral standard is a new one at that time (I'm thinking in particular of the idea of "humanitas"), it is essential to keep it in the text. If Livy had meant "barbaric" he could have used "barbari." To make matters worse, "saevi exempli" (savage example) is later translated as "inhuman example."

"sceleris tragici exemplum" is translated as "a tragic spectacle to rival those of Greece" (1.46). Luce's gloss of "to rival those of Greece" is helpful, but Foster's use of a footnote to make the gloss in the Loeb translation allows the translation itself to remain more literal.

In such cases, it's as if the translator is trying to "improve" upon Livy by using a different word from the one Livy used. But comparing it to the original, I think the more faithful translation is the more colorful and powerful one. Further, if you're really trying to enter into the thought of the original, or are using the translation for academic writing, then it is very helpful to have a translation that stays as close to the original as possible.

However, while the Loeb generally seems to be more faithful that is not always the case. For example, the Loeb awkwardly translates "iniuste impieque" (I.32) as "unduly and against religion" whereas Luce more fittingly has "unjustly and impiously."

For "puro pioque duello" (1.32), Luce has "a pure and pious war" (1.32, Luce) and Foster "warfare just and righteous."

For "iusta ac legitima" (1.48), Luce has "just and legitimate" and Foster "just and lawful."

Thus, sometimes Luce is admirably literal but other times his translations are rather loose.

[Edited Feb 13, 2015]
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VINE VOICEon June 13, 2009
Professor Luce, an eminent Livian scholar, has rendered the first five books of Livy's "Ab Urbe Condita" in concise English that not only retains the essence of the Latin but also conveys the vividness of the narrative. In other words, he tells the tales of the founding of Rome in an entertaining manner that is accessible to today's students, who have little patience for long-winded or stilted prose.

The book includes an informative introduction, two maps, a brief chronology, and copious notes. My only quibble is with the index, which has been geared for scholars of Roman history. For example, a student looking up the dictator Cincinnatus must be aware that he is listed by the gens name of Quinctius (There is no cross-reference.); and then the student has to decide between Titus, Lucius, and Quintus. While this is good practice for the serious scholar of Roman history, it might be infuriating for the casual reader (One hopes that Oxford will correct this flaw in a future edition). Nevertheless, the book is so enjoyable that I recommend it highly and have adopted it for my Roman Civilization class.

Four-and-one-half-stars!
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on June 12, 2013
The introduction to this translation of Livy is immensely helpful. It provides a structural and thematic understanding of the work that guides your reading in a productive manner, and is definitely worth the read.
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on September 10, 2013
Excellent Translation of Livy's Rise of Rome. The book is a fun read that delves into the legends of the Roman Kings and the beginnings of the hallowed Roman Republic. It's a must read for anyone seeking an escape from today's turmoil.
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on January 2, 2001
Professor Luce has done an admirable service to students of ancient history with his new translation of Livy. In addition to the able and idiomatic translation, the volume possesses very helpful but not overly cumbersome explanatory notes. Students in my introductory ancient history course appreciated both the lively content of Rome's founding mythology and the quality of the edition.
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on January 13, 2007
The book itself is, of course, an immortal classic; I can read it reasonably well in the original Latin, myself (being Italian and having received a good classical education before college), but I've long been searching for a suitable English edition to recommend to my American family and friends -- and with this one, I've finally found it! It reads as smoothly as one could hope and loses nothing of the original's flavour. A practical counterexample to the traditional quip about translations being like women -- either beautiful, or faithful -- this book (like my wife!-) is both at the same time!-)
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