Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Jackie Elliott

Second Advisor

Carole Newlands

Third Advisor

Isabel Koster

Fourth Advisor

John Marincola

Fifth Advisor

Peter Wood


This project examines the Latin term monumentum, particularly as it appears in Livy’s history of Rome but also in other Latin authors as points with which Livy’s depiction of monumenta can be compared. In his Preface, Livy refers to his own work as a monumentum (praef. 10) in so far as it has the capacity to present models (exempla) from the past to the readers of the history. Other instances of monumentum, however, in the Ab Urbe Condita become problematic in the course of the narrative, especially in their use as source material for history-writing: physical structures can be destroyed, appropriated, or confused; and written works as monumenta (a valence that the term often has in Latin) can suffer from manipulation and bias for individualistic and familial aggrandizement. monumenta—both in the conception of the term and in their general depictions in Latin literature—are ideally thought to be strong points of contact with the past and particularly valuable evidence for uncovering that past. But Livy’s depiction does not attribute to them a privileged status in preserving and conveying information about the past. monumenta in practice provide no clearer or more secure material than traditionally less trustworthy sources, such as oral tradition. In his depiction of monumenta and his connection of the term with statements programmatic for the history, Livy creates an historiographical workshop by which his readers can better understand the nature of history-writing in the Roman world as well as the larger society that it reflects. I argue, thereby, that Livy reveals his perspective on traditional power politics in the Roman world. Though he clearly admires aspects of Rome and its past, Livy criticizes the factionalism and self-serving competition that poses such a significant threat to the state.