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WHERE DID EARLY ROMAN HISTORY COME FROM?

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Abstract

Evaluating the narratives of late sixth- and early fifth-century Roman history provided by writers like Livy, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and Plutarch has proved a contentious business. Some scholars are keen to believe that genuine traditions lie beneath the superficial literary encrustation, while others are inclined to minimize these elements and to emphasize the role of pre-existing Greek historiographical templates in shaping accounts of the early period at Rome. This paper tries to add support to the latter tendency by identifying, beyond the mere mess of motifs, a consistent and continuous sequence of events at Rome that matches up with contemporary goings-on in Sparta and Athens. A small but perfectly-formed detail is pounced upon as confirmatory proof of the hypothesis.

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