A Republic of Horror and Chaos

John Williams, Augustus (Book 1):

[Maecenas writing to Livy]

My dear Livy, I chide you often for your Republican and Pompeian sympathies; and though I tease you out of affection, I am sure that you have understood that there is an edge of seriousness in my scolding. You came to manhood in the northern tranquillity of Padua, which had for generations been untouched by strife; and you did not even set foot in Rome until after Actium and the reform of the Senate. Had the chance occurred, it is most likely that you would even have joined with Marcus Brutus to fight against us, as our friend Horace did in fact do, at Philoppi, those many years ago.

What you seem unwilling to accept, even now, is this: that the ideals which supported the old Republic had no correspondence to the fact of the old Republic; that the glorious word concealed the deed of horror; that the appearance of tradition and order cloaked the reality of corruption and chaos; that the call to liberty and freedom closed the minds, even of those who called, to the facts of privation, suppression, and sanctioned murder. We had learned that we had to do what we did, and we would not be deterred by the forms that deceived the world.

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