Spectacle And Society In Livy's History Discussion Help

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Question Description

I need an original post that is at least 200 words responding to Part A. Then I need three student responses to post, at least 100 words, that can be found in Part B. Please respond to student response like you are talking to them directly. Do not say “ I agree with this student….this student’s use of …..etc…” Chicago Style Format

PART A

Please read the course materials for week two and then participate in this discussion.

Mary Beard in her excellent account of Roman history, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome (New York, 2015) makes the following observation about Lucretia:

"Lucretia's story remained an extraordinarily powerful image in Roman moral culture ever after. For many Romans, it represented a defining moment of female virtue. Lucretia voluntarily paid with her life for losing, as Livy put it, her pudicitia - her 'chastity, or better the 'fidelity", on the woman's part at least, that defined the relationship between Roman wife and husband. Yet other ancient writers found the story more difficult. There were poets and satirists who predictably questioned whether pudicitia was really what a man wanted in a wife. In one bawdy epigram, Marcus Valerius Martialis ('Martial' for short), who wrote a whole series of clever, sparky and rude verses at the end of the first century CE, jokes that his wife can be a Lucretia by day if she wants, so long as she is a whore by night. In another quip, he wonders whether Lucretias are ever quite what they seem: even the famous Lucretia, he fantasizes, enjoyed risque poems when her husband wasn't looking. More serious was the issue of Lucretia's culpability and the reasons for her suicide. To some Romans, it looked as if she was more concerned with her reputation than with real pudicitia- which surely resided in the guilt or innocence of her mind, not her body, and would not have been remotely affected by false allegations of sex with a slave. In the early fifth century en, St Augustine, who was well versed in the pagan classics, wondered if Lucretia had been raped at all: for had she not, in the end, consented? It is not hard to detect here versions of some of our own arguments about rape and the issues of responsibility it raises." [122-123]

Read the selection from St. Augustine's City of God in Week Two Content. How does Augustine's analysis of the Lucretia story differ from the highly colored and dramatic account of Livy? What fundamental moral and ethical issues does Augustine raise that Livy does not? What does this reveal about the differences between so-called "pagan" Rome and the Christian Rome of the later Empire?

PART B

1

"The beginning of the differences in the analyses of Lucretia’s tale as told by both Augustine and Livy are the rhetorical reasons for the retelling of the tale. Where Livy is desiring to show the historical significance of the woman’s life and death, Augustine is using the tale as evidence for a case to use before the Senate, arguing for punishments to be more closely adequate to crimes committed. He argues that Lucretia punished herself, committing no crime, while the actual perpetrator was, in essence, released penalty-less. The two authors end goals are not the same, so their analyses seek to pull the details that are most pertinent to their causes. Augustine cross-examines Lucretia’s logic behind killing herself; the author asking the Senate if they thought she might have sinned unmentioned in the tale.

Due to Livy’s focus on Lucretia’s desire to keep her blood-tie’s honours, he doesn’t present the same thoughts as Augustine, who, as mentioned earlier, wonders if Lucretia committed suicide to regain her familial honours due to her own sins, and not simply the indiscretions of her tormentor. Livy’s historical reasonings and desire for beauty in rhetoric gives Lucretia a heroic take, while Augustine’s alternate focus desires to give Lucretia a human form, arguing that she, like any other person, might have sinful desires as much as any man. Additionally, Augustine, unlike Livy, casts a negative light on the suicide itself, in essence referring to it as the easy way out, that Lucretia was weak where so many other “Christian women” live their lives carrying on their shame.

Livy and Augustine show how times change the way people criticize any work or story. Early Rome saw Lucretia as almost the forebear of their modern Rome, the reason that brought families together to end Etruscan rule and unite the budding nation. Lucretia is described as a chaste and innocent woman who would rather honourably go about womanly duties than attend feasts and cause raucous with others. Her rape is shown as the work of a tyrant king who had no place in Rome. Her suicide is seen as an act of virtuousness for its soldier-like fortitude. She brought honour to her family and its blood ties, despite others’ words of comfort to her innocence. Alternatively, Augustine’s view of her chasteness is cynical. He sees her as giving up, both during and after the act. His Rome would see that Lucretia should have allowed “King Tarquin’s son,” who he doesn’t name, to kill her instead of “consenting” to the act in the first place, despite there being no tale in which Lucretia does actually consent to being raped by a man who wasn’t her husband. All in all, it shows that “pagan” Rome had more a desire to see heroes and heroines portrayed honourably while “Christian” Rome took a cynical look to anything from their “pagan” ancestors.

Bibliography:

Augustine. The City of God. Translated by Marcus Dods. Vol. 1. 2 vols. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1878. April 8, 2014. Accessed March 28, 2019. http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/45304.

Foster, Benjamin Oliver, Ph.D. "Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome, Book 1." Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome, Book 1, Chapter 57. Accessed March 28, 2019. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Liv. 1 57&fromdoc=Perseus:text:1999.02.0151.

Foster, Benjamin Oliver, Ph.D. "Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome, Book 1." Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome, Book 1, Chapter 58. Accessed March 28, 2019. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Liv. 1 57&fromdoc=Perseus:text:1999.02.0151.

Foster, Benjamin Oliver, Ph.D. "Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome, Book 1." Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome, Book 1, Chapter 59. Accessed March 28, 2019. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Liv. 1 57&fromdoc=Perseus:text:1999.02.0151.

Foster, Benjamin Oliver, Ph.D. "Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome, Book 1." Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome, Book 1, Chapter 60. Accessed March 28, 2019. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Liv. 1 57&fromdoc=Perseus:text:1999.02.0151."

2

"How does Augustine's analysis of the Lucretia story differ from the highly colored and dramatic account of Livy?

He seems to address both sides of what her possible reasons of committing suicide were more in depth than Beard does. He first addresses her suicide possibly being due to her wanting to escape the shame that came not only with the fact that she was raped, but those who don't believe her and label her as an adulteress. He then questions how she could bear the harsher sentence of the two if she was innocent in the crime. I'm sure seeing how "light" the sentencing was on Sextus plus the shame from those who believe that she didn't consent took too much of a toll on her, to the point that suicide seemed to be the only way out.

Augustine spoke on both sides and addresses that her suicide might have been out of guilt due to consent of the act, even if it didn't start that way. Even though we'll never know her real reason, there could've been a chance that she did give some consent to Sextus. That coupled with possibly lying about the crime and watching the sentencing could've been enough for her suicide.

Beard's take on the suicide seemed to address things a little differently. She says it's not the shame, but the effect the crime had on Lucretia's reputation. She also addresses that some people even liked the thought that a woman wasn't pure, something I don't believe really mattered in this issue. But something that both Augustine and Beard seem to address equally is how the suicide might be linked to Lucretia's guilt of consent.

What fundamental moral and ethical issues does Augustine raise that Livy does not?

The shaming of a rape victim, especially from a religious view. From reading his last paragraph, it almost seemed like the only way to escape it was to commit suicide, else be ridiculed, condemned, and thought guilty from others even though you've already be found innocent. It seemed that no matter what, if you were raped, you were viewed as no longer clean. He says that some women lived with this and ignored the thoughts of others, but it seemed Lucretia could not. She used here suicide as a means of letting others know how the rape and subsequent guilt from others affected her.

What does this reveal about the differences between so-called "pagan" Rome and the Christian Rome of the later Empire?

Christians tend to let God be the judge of whether they're innocent or guilty instead of allowing the opinions of others decide their guilt. Augustine speaks about this in his last paragraph. Even though others condemn them to guilt for a crime they know they did not commit, they continue to live on knowing that God knows their innocence and purity despite the fact that they are no longer "pure"."

3

"Livy's story tried to show how a virtuous woman in a terrible situation may have tried to give back honor to her father and husband. The way I see it from this weeks readings, the family unit was very important to the roman culture. It was the bedrock of their civilization. So the image of virtue and honor, this was taken from Lucretia by Tarquinius through force and coercion. It may be possible that her act of committing suicide was a way of restoring honor on her family and herself. Livy discusses how the body is taken out and shown to the people, thus rallying the people to rebel against the King. Her act of self sacrifice is a beacon of revolution in Roman in Livy's story.

Augustine's view on the issue shows that he incorporates his christian views on Lucretia's story. He doesn't discuss her rape and suicide in such heroic tones as Livy, but there is almost more of a condemnation of the questions he poses about Lucretia. He questions her actions of suicide as a act more of shame and humiliation. Augustine even goes on to ask if her suicide was because she was "betrayed by the pleasure of the act", which feels more out of touch with how a woman in that situation may feel. He insinuates that her act of suicide is out of shame and guilt. It doesn't paint Lucretia as a virtuous and honorable woman, but more of a guilty party to the rape.

Livy's story appears to me to be in line with Roman stories of that time period. A villain that either steals or kills. A heroic person is the rallying cry for the people to fight. His description doesn't bring the amount of shame and guilt that Augustine does. Augustine use of condemnation and questioning Lucretia's motives can give a reader not well experienced with the story a sense that she committed a great sin."

Tutor Answer

Knutsen
School: Cornell University

Hello there, he...

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Anonymous
Good stuff. Would use again.

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