A biography episode in The Tale of Rome. We compare and contrast two giants of their time. Livy and Virgil.
Hello, this is Abel, speaking from Beijing, China. Welcome to my podcast.
The Tale of Rome, Episode 40 — Livy and Virgil.
Virgil and Livy — Livy and Virgil. At the end of the day, the order of these two names doesn’t really matter. However — I felt like sharing why I chose to name this episode, the way I did.
Our podcast started with a story where a guy named Aeneas was fleeing from a city called Troy. This was obviously brought to us by Virgil.
Still — I decided to put Livy’s name first, on the cover of the episode.
And no — the reason is NOT their looks. I can promise you that. This is not a beauty contest!
But, after I picked the two pictures that would illustrate this episode’s cover, I ended up having Livy — full front, and Virgil, seen from a side.
Had I placed Virgil on the left side of the cover, he would be facing away from Livy. Not nice!
And since we — and when I say “we,” I mean the vast majority of readers in the western world — since we usually write from left to right, the title ended up being “Livy and Virgil,” because — well… Livy was on the left, and Virgil was on the right.
All right, that’s sorted out!
And now, let’s start this story, and let’s start it this way…
We are in the year 18 AD — AD, as in ANNO DOMINI, or “after the birth of Christ.”
A ship was arriving in Rome’s port. And I am not talking about the port of Ostia, the one built by the fourth king of Rome — Ancus Marcius.
I am talking about another port — a few hundred miles south.
SIX — While Livy would sometimes write up to 20 pages a day, Virgil had days where not even a single sentence was created.
Furthermore, if it wasn’t that Virgil’s death wish was deliberately disobeyed, today we would not have his works. Nothing.
That’s right. The whole Aeneid would have been burned. That was the wish of Virgil, on his deathbed. And what’s even more curious, Virgil never considered his Aeneid as a complete work of art.
On a personal note, that’s understandable. Artists are often like that.