'People have it in their minds that he would have been a match for Alexander, had Alexander turned his arms on Europe.' So Livy characterizes Papirius Cursor, one of Rome's famous generals in the fourth century BC. In Books 6 to 10 of his monumental history of Rome, Livy deals with the period in which Rome recovered from its Gallic disaster to impose mastery over almost the entire Italian peninsula in a series of ever greater wars. Along with Papirius, Livy paints vivid portraits of other notable figures, such as Camillus, who rescued the city from its Gallic captors in 390, young Manlius Torquatus, victor in a David-versus-Goliath duel with a Gallic chieftain, and Appius Claudius who built Rome's first major highway, the Appian Way. Livy's blend of factual narrative and imaginative recreation brings to life a critical era for the rise of Rome, and Books 6 to 10 of his work are the one complete account we have, as the city passes from myth and legend into the increasing light of reliable history. John Yardley's fluent translation is accompanied by an introduction and notes that set Livy in the context of Roman historiography.
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