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CLA 64 — Teaching the Past: The Roman Historian Livy

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Apr 9—May 14
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 22
Unit: 1
Tuition: $345
Instructor(s): Christopher Krebs
Status: Open
7:00—8:50 pm
Apr 9—May 14
6 weeks
Drop By
Apr 22
1 Unit
Christopher Krebs
After a prolonged ascendency, Rome had fallen. In the preface to his historical work, begun at the twilight of Augustus’s reign, Livy (59 BCE –17 CE) wonders whether his own periled presence might still be rescued. While he trusted that the past had plenty to teach, he doubted that in his own time there remained enough of an interest in learning. Regardless, if nothing else, he himself at least would derive succor from his historical studies, stretching from the founding of Rome and Romulus’s killing of his brother to the end of the Roman republic and the rise of Augustus. Along the way, Livy lingers to flesh out his exemplary protagonists: Lucretia, the beacon of virtue, Brutus, the founding father of the Republic, and Scipio, who freed Rome from Hannibal. They all move Rome forward on its path to grandeur in Livy’s colorful textbook, which Machiavelli admired and Shakespeare studied.

Over six weeks, we will read selections from Livy’s work, develop his influential idea of history, uncover his own presence in his presentation of the past, and reflect on what, if anything, he still might have to teach us some 2,000 years after his death.

Christopher Krebs, Associate Professor of Classics, Stanford

Christopher Krebs studied Classics and philosophy in Berlin, Kiel, and Oxford and taught at Harvard before coming to Stanford. He is the author of A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus’s Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich, which received the 2012 Christian Gauss Award. Krebs has also written for The Wall Street Journal and The Times Literary Supplement.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Titus Livy (Author),‎ Aubrey De Selincourt (Translator),‎ Stephen Oakley (Preface) , Livy: The Early History of Rome, Books I-V (Penguin Classics) (Bks. 1-5) (ISBN 978-0140448092)
(Required) Titus Livy (Author),‎ Betty Radice (Editor, Translator),‎ Robert M. Ogilvie (Introduction) , Rome and Italy: Books VI-X of the History of Rome from its Foundation (Penguin Classics) (Bks.6-10) (ISBN 978 - 0140443882)
(Required) Titus Livius Livy and Aubrey De Selincourt , The War with Hannibal: The History of Rome from Its Foundation, Books XXI-XXX (Penguin Classics) (Bks. 21-30) (ISBN 978-0140441451)
(Recommended) Elizabeth A. Clark, History, Theory, Text: Historians and the Linguistic Turn (ISBN 978-0674015845)