Civitas secum ipsa discors (II 23, 1)

Political Rhetoric in Livy's First Pentad


  • Stanisław Śnieżewski Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland



virtutes, vitia, regnum, libertas, moderatio, concordia ordinum, discordia, pudicitia, licentia, libido, audacia, saevitia, patientia


Civitas secum ipsa discors (II 23, 1). Political Rhetoric in Livy's First Pentad

Livy tries to judge virtutes and vitia of both patricians and plebeians impartially. Naturally, Livy’s vision of the early republic presented in the first pentad is anachronic and discordant in reference to historical truth. In my opinion he supports an aristocratic republic and Augustus’s principate, but often criticizes patricians and highly estimates valours of the plebs. His observations on regnum, libertas, moderatio, discordia are noteworthy and rhetorically embellished. The language of political rhetoric is extended and close to invective. The struggle between the patricians and the plebeians is a poison (venenum) destroying the city. On the other hand, the best effects are brought out by concordia ordinum (e.g. II 1, 11). As in Vergil’s Aeneid very important are the martial, civil, religious, and familial virtues. The primal role, however, is played by virtus, understood for the most part as military courage (e.g. XXV 14, 1; IX 40, 6; XXIV 38, 2).


Bayet J., 1940, Tite-Live. Histoire romaine, t. I, livre I, Paris.

Borneque H., 1933, Tite-Live, Paris.

Heinze R., 1930, Die augusteische Kultur, Leipzig.

Korpanty J., 1991, ‘Römische Ideale und Werte im augusteischen Prinzipat’, Klio 73, pp. 432-447. DOI:

Luce T. J., 1971, ‘Design and Structure in Livy: 5.32-55’, Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 102, pp. 265-302. DOI:

Luce T. J., 1977, Livy. The Composition of His History, Princeton.

Moore T. J., 1989, Artistry and Ideology: Livy’s Vocabulary of Virtue, Frankfurt am Main.

Ogilvie R. M., 1965, A Commentary on Livy. Books 1 – 5, Oxford.

Rambaud M., 1953, Cicéron et l’histoire romain, Paris.

Seager R., 1972, ‘Factio. Some Observations’, The Journal of Roman Studies 62, pp. 53-58. DOI:

Seager R., 1977, ‘ in Livy and the Livian Tradition’, Classical Quarterly 27, pp. 377-390. DOI:

Śnieżewski S., 2000, Koncepcja historii rzymskiej w Ab Urbe Condita Liwiusza.

Aspekt filozoficzno-polityczny, Kraków.

Śnieżewski S., 2003, Salustiusz i historia Rzymu. Studia porównawcze na tle historiografii greckiej i rzymskiej, Kraków.

Vasaly A., 1987, ‘Personality and Power: Livy’s Depiction of the Appii Claudii in the First Pentad’, Transactions of the American Philological Association 117, pp. 203-226. DOI:




How to Cite

Śnieżewski, S. “Civitas Secum Ipsa Discors (II 23, 1): Political Rhetoric in Livy’s First Pentad”. Classica Cracoviensia, vol. 19, Oct. 2016, pp. 221-44, doi:10.12797/CC.19.2016.14.