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Livy on the Hannibalic War$
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D. S. Levene

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780198152958

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198152958.001.0001

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(p.317) 5 Causation
Livy on the Hannibalic War

D. S. Levene (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows that Livy's handling of battle narrative (Chapter 4) is merely a special instance of his general practice. Narrative discontinuities and apparent irrationalities abound; a history that appears on the surface to be treating its subject within an essentially rationalistic framework on closer analysis reveals itself to be doing nothing of the sort. The chapter takes various episodes where narrative logic breaks down, and argues that the general effect is to force the reader to interpret of history in moral terms. Moreover, such a moral interpretation is not merely something that Livy adds on to his narrative, but it actually takes the narrative over. Livy's apparent invitations to analyse history in terms of material causes are continually undermined by his account of a world in which causal factors fail to operate, but where a competing moral structure may be discerned.

Keywords:   causes, moral, narrative, material, rationalistic

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