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Livy (about 59 BC - AD 17) was a Roman historian who was born in Padua. He is famous for his 'History of Rome', a mammoth work which started with the legendary foundation of the city. The 'History' was not simply a narrative, it described a series of exemplars of different moral types, which was a fruitful source of inspiration to artists. Bacchiacca depicted one of these figures, 'Marcus Curtius' who sacrificed himself in order to save the city.