Roman Historical Myths: The Regal Period in Augustan Literature

This book offers an enlivening and sophisticated analysis of the pervasive use of historical myth in some of the best-known writers of the Late Republic and Augustan periods - from Cicero in the De Republica and the first book of Livy to Propertius IV and Ovid's Fasti. The chapters on prose narrative uncover an uneasy tension between the desire for accurate historical representation and the legendary character of traditional stories. In the light of modern theories of historical truth, the book argues that the narrative itself expresses a kind of belief in myths, and that this belief is in turn conditioned by historical circumstance. In this way, the accounts of Rome's regal period in both prose and verse bear witness to the uncertainties and upheavals at the end of the republic. At the same time, Dr Fox argues for a more sophisticated relationship between political and textual reality, and concludes that interpretations of political subversion need to be balanced by the sense of destiny and desire for the reinterpretation inherent in recounting the origins of Rome.