Home > Catalogo > Lexis > Num. 39 (n.s.) – Dicembre 2021 – Fasc. 2 > Livy’s Cato and Commodities at Centre and Periphery

Livy’s Cato and Commodities at Centre and Periphery

Mary K. Jaeger    University of Oregon, USA    



This paper is part of a larger project on how Livy represents the Elder Cato, from his entrance into the text in Book 29 to his last witticism preserved in the summary of Book 50, the longest biographical arc in this first third of Livy’s text. It views Cato through the lens of his relationship with objects, and with Livy’s narrative as an object as well. This paper focuses on one episode in the life of Livy’s Cato, the debate over the repeal of the Lex Oppia, and builds on previous scholars’ work to unite three arguments: 1) Livy weaves together textual space and Roman topography so as to emphasise the simultaneous marginality and centrality of this debate; 2) Livy’s Cato and Valerius fill Rome’s urban topography with images of things so as to draw attention via women’s bodies to the relationship between luxury and Rome’s imperium; 3) Livy uses this episode to make an argument about his own historical writing and its active relationship to the expansion of empire. This project focusing on Livy’s Cato is itself part of an even larger reexamination of how we read, and might read, Livy.

20 Dicembre 2021
19 Luglio 2021
24 Febbraio 2021

Keywords: Lex OppiaEmpireTopographyLuxuryThing Theory

Copyright: © 2021 Mary K. Jaeger. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.