Tyrannies for Livy were the regimes of families. When Tarquin was driven from Rome, he appealed to the Etruscan cities for aid on the basis of his children and their new found poverty (2.6), when the untrustworthy young rich Romans rebelled they rebelled to find a regime of friends instead of one of laws (2.2). Livy found that the early history of the republic demonstrated that this regime was different. The character in particular of two of the early consuls- Lucius Junius Brutus and Marcus Horatius Pulvillus demonstrated that Republican politicians had to separate their private and their public personas.
Let us take these two incidents in which Brutus and Horatius rejected claim of family for that of public duty. Both are interesting- one demonstrates the way that Republican politicians in Livy's view should act, the other the way that they have to act. In the first year of the Republic, as we have already seen, various young noblemen decided to plot against the new regime. They were swiftly found out. Amongst them were two of the sons of Brutus- they were both prosecuted, and then:
The Consuls [including Brutus] took their seats upon the tribunal; the lictors were ordered to carry out their sentence. The prisoners were stripped, flogged and beheaded. Throughout the pitiful scene all eyes were on the father's face where a father's anguish could be seen. (2.6)
Brutus's action in allowing his sons to fall victim to the law is one that we are supposed to admire- the actions of his sons, according to Livy, had 'betray[ed] the entire population of Rome, high and low alike, and all her Gods.' (2.6) Brutus performed the action and demonstrated through performing it that the law rose above his personal feelings, despite his anguish, he executed his sons.
Brutus's example was important in later history- in comparison the second incident I wish to narrate is almost forgotten. However it is almost as important in demonstrating the way that Livy wished to portray the change in Roman history. After Brutus died in battle (which I will deal with elsewhere), Marcus Horatius Pulvillus was appointed consul. Horatius was consul with Publius Valerius. When the two consuls first met, they drew lots as to which would conduct the continuing war against the Tarquins and which would dedicate the temple of Jupiter- Livy leaves us in no doubt that the more prestigous service was the latter. Valerius's family went and told Horatius that his son was dying, Horatius though preferred to continue consecrating the temple- rather than go to seek his son. Public duties came first in Roman republicanism- not merely in terms of ideology but in terms of politics too. The only use for private emotion was an attempt to deceive a consul into losing a prestigous post.
Both of these instances though demonstrate that peculiar Roman quality of stoicism in a particular context- that of family. I think what they really are about is the idea that the state for public officials comes first. In this sense Livy is endorsing an idea which would acheive its full expression centuries later in the work of Machiavelli that the moral world of the statesman and the moral world of the citizen are very different. The priorities of the statesmen are to support the law and carry out his duties- that of the citizen are to enact his private duties. What the case of Brutus demonstrates is that Livy thinks that the first state is morally preferable, what he demonstrates in the case of Horatius is that the magistrate is politically advantaged by adopting the first stance too. In this sense tyranny brings together the private and the public- a tyrant is a man who can afford private passion- whereas a republican has to put the state first whilst he is acting in a civic fashion. This argument is one that will reappear through Livy's history- and if I have not captured it well here- there will be plenty of occasions when we return to it in this commentary.