An ancient Roman History podcast hosted by smart ladies!
What a confusing decade the 410s have been. It’s definitely time for a Partial Recap! We run through what the ancient sources tell us about this decade.
The Partial Recap – The 410s BCE
Want to get all the details? Jump in at Episode 140: The Commonwealth of Slaves.
Our music was composed by Bettina Joy de Guzman.
Dr Rad – Welcome to the Partial Recap for the 410s BCE!
Dr G – I’m Dr G
Dr Rad: and I’m Dr Rad
Dr G: and this is our highlights edition of the 410s in Rome. We’ll take you through from 419 to 410 in an epitome of our normal episodes.
Dr Rad: Perfect for those mornings when you don’t want some lengthy rhetoric with your coffee – but please be warned – the Roman world is a violent one.
Dr G: Get ready for a recappuccino.
- In 419 BCE, the military tribunes with consular power were Agrippa Menenius Lanatus, Publius Lucretius Hosti Tricipitunus, Spurius Nautius Rutilus and Gaius Servilius Axilla.
- This was a year of high drama, mama!
- Some of the slaves in Rome decided to stage a pretty audacious uprising – setting fires all over the city and then taking control of the Capitol whilst everyone else was distracted.
- Naturally, Rome’s best bud – Jupiter – made sure their plot failed.
- In other words, some of the slaves turned informer and were rewarded with their freedom and a healthy bonus
- As for the rest of the slaves – they were simply showered with attention – of the sharp and pointy kind. It’s a sad tale that does not end well.
- The Aequians and the Labici started rumbling in the distance this year – there was no major military action, but the Romans had their eyes peeled.
- In 418 BCE, the military tribunes with consular power were Lucius Sergius Fidenas, Marcus Papirius Mugillanus, and Caius Servilius Axilla.
- Ambassadors from Tusculum arrived in Rome in this year with very expected news – the Labicani were ready for war. They were so ready, they had already teamed up with the Aequians and started attacking areas in the countryside.
- The Romans did not need to hear any more – it was war!
- The Senate dispatched two of the military tribunes to campaign whilst one would remain in the city.
- The military tribunes immediately started slappy-fighting over who got to command the armies
- Quintus Servilius – the dictator who had captured the slippery city of Fidenae and father of one of the military tribunes – had to step in and send them all to their rooms whilst he sorted out the mess.
- Servilius placed his son in charge of Rome and packed off the other military tribunes with a hefty smack around the ears and some stern marching orders – “You’ve bragged an awful lot about yourselves so – You’d better WERK!”
- Almost as though the ROmans knew something was going to go wrong, only ten tribes were levied – and it was just as well because the military tribunes started swinging their ….swords around before they had even left the city.
- They could not agree on anything – the struggle was real.
- Things were so out of control that their lieutenants had to insist that the military tribunes held supreme command on alternate days
- Now, none of Rome’s wars happened very far away, so word made its way back to the city.
- Quintus Servilius told his son to get ready – disaster was on the horizon.
- Sure enough, Sergius ended up falling for the Meryl Streep performance given by the Aequians in an engagement and many of his men were slaughtered.
- The following day, the Roman camp was almost entirely surrounded and they had to abandon ship. OH THE SHAME!
- The leaders managed to grab their standards on the way out and headed for their most adorable allies – the Tusculans.
- With the rest of the Roman forces scattered as they fled – confusing reports reached Rome
- The general impression was – WORLD APOCALYPSE.
- Thanks to the wise leadership of Daddy and Sonny Servilius, the rest of the tribes were levied and readied.
- Sonny Servilius’ scouts tracked down the surviving soldiers at Tusculum, and it was a real morale booster to see that they were, you know, alive.
- The Romans felt a little more positive, but they knew they weren’t out of danger yet! Just to be safe, Daddy Servilius was made dictator.
- Servilius Snr chose Jnr to serve as his master of the horse – or perhaps he chose Mr Servilius Armpit (AHALA)?
- The Servilii trotted off into the fray and wouldn’t you know it? The Aequians were so overly confident after winning that Oscar in the previous battle, they started to get sloppy.
- In the very first engagement, Servilius Snr caused major disruption amongst the Aequian forces.
- Just to prove that he was the most serious Servilii in the camp, Servilius Snr killed a standard-bearer who hesitated when he ordered his troops to advance quickly. There’s no time for thinking!!! Just act, now, move, move, move.
- The Romans were feeling his energy and went full berserker
- The Aequian defence collapsed and this time they were the ones running back to their camp in total disarray.
- The Romans seized their camp and snatched that bootay.
- Perhaps feeling like he could relax a tad, Servilius Snr allowed the soldiers to share the spoils.
- The Romans had won the battle – but what about the war?
- The Aequians had retreated to Labici, to hide with their allies – and the Romans soon showed up with a cake and some ladders.
- Labici was pillaged, allowing Servilius Snr to lead his forces back to ROme, where he laid down his powers after eight days of exhilarating action. What a thrill ride!
- The Senate were pleased, but they also knew that they needed to be on guard. Those tribunes of the plebs would want to get their greedy paws on that new land that had been conquered.
- A quick decree was passed and a colony of 1500 was set up in Labici.
417 BCE and 416 BCE
- In 417 BCE, the military tribunes with consular power were Publius Lucretius Hosti Tricipitinus, Agrippa Menenius Lanatus, Caius Servilius Axilla or Structus, Spurius Rutilius Crassus OR Spurius Veturius Crassus Cicurinus.
- In 416 BCE, the military tribunes with consular power were Aulus Sempronius Atratinus, Marcus Papirius Mugillanus, Quintus Fabius Vibulanus, and Spurius Nautius Rutilus.
- The events of these years blend together a bit, so be prepared for a double act.
- As predicted, some tribunes of the plebs started making the most unreasonable of demands about land.
- Spurius Maecilius and Marcus Metilius wanted a law that would divide captured land up amongst Roman citizens.
- Does this make any sense at this point in time? Probably not! But it’s classic conflict of the orders stuff – the plebs not getting their fair share, concerns over land allotment, greedy patricians… just lean into the narrative and try to ignore those gaping holes in the story.
- The Military Tribunes with consular power started chatting with the senators and other elite dudes – clearly, this was time for an EVIL PLAN.
- Appius Claudius, descendant of the infamous decemvir, came forth to uphold his family legacy of douchebaggery
- He suggested that they should keep it simple stupid! Just divide and conquer – convince the other tribune of the plebs to use their veto against their colleagues in exchange for patrician favour.
- The snaky senators successfully won the wallflower tribune of the plebs over and sure enough, the law was vetoed.
- All Maecilius and Metilius could do was call them CLASS TRAITORS and throw a huge hissy fit in front of an assembly.
- In 415 BCE, the military tribunes with consular power were Publius Cornelius Cossus, Caius Valerius Volusi Potitus Volusus, Numerius or Marcus Fabius Vibulanus, and Quintus Quinctius Cincinnatus.
- Conflict was brewing with Veii AND the Aequians – but then both of them postponed the warfare for another day.
- The people of Veii were scared away from a fight due to the flooding of the Tiber River, which ruined some of their farms.
- The Aequians were still smarting from a previous defeat when they had been defending the Bolani – an Aequian tribe.
- The Bolani seemed to have provoked battle by attacking the Labici and the new Roman colony, but hadn’t managed to secure a victory.
- Lucius Decius, a tribune of the plebs, tried to push through an agrarian law that would send colonists to Bolae as well as Labici, but his fellow tribunes would not agree to a plebiscite without the Senate giving their okay.
- Bolae would not be in Roman hands for long – so perhaps it was for the best!
- In 414 BCE, the military tribunes with consular power were Cnaeus Cornelius Cossus, Lucius Valerius Potitus, Quintus Fabius Vibulanus and Publius Postumius Albinus Regillensis.
- Postumius was placed in charge of a campaign against the Aequians, and he enjoyed a lot of success.
- His troops seized Bolae and beat the Aequians without too much effort.
- Unfortunately, Postumius continued the family tradition of stuffing up royally.
- There was some confusion over exactly where it all went wrong, but it definitely had something to do with the war booty from the captured city.
- Whether Postumius broke a promise about their share, or there was not enough in the city to please the army, the soldiers were Spurius Furius about the lack of goods.
- Before the situation was resolved, Postumius was summoned back to Rome to deal with an uppity tribune of the plebs – the seductively named Marcus Sextius.
- Sextius was pursuing Decius’ dream of colonists in Bolae. Give the land to those who bled for it!
- Postumius could not help but make a nasty comment upon hearing about Sextius’ agrarian law – he essentially made a threat about those who fought under his command.
- The Plebeian assembly and the Senate were seriously perturbed when they heard what had been said – their subligaculums were definitely in a twist!
- Marcus Sextius made sure to bait Postumius – how dare he threaten his brave men? How DARE he even suggest that they be punished like mere slaves? And BTW – how are patrician twats still getting elected to the highest office when THIS is how they treat the people? #plebeianmilitarytribuneforoffice
- However, the group that were most upset were the army back at Bolae.
- The quaestor, Publius Sextius (or Sestius), picked up on the mutinous energy and decided that the situation called for a violent solution.
- He used a lictor to arrest a brawling soldier – and surprise surprise – this only inflamed matters.
- In the subsequent riot, the quaestor was either seriously injured or killed by a stone to the noggin.
- Postumius had to return to Bolae to sort matters out.
- He came with the trademark harshness of his gens, and decided to execute some of the ringleaders in a particularly painful way.
- The cries of the condemned caught the attention of a crowd, and when Postumius and his forces tried to get the angry people under control, they turned on him – stoning him to death.
- With one of the leading magistrates murdered in broad daylight, his colleagues quickly set up a senatorial inquiry into his death – but had to hit the brakes when the plebeian tribunes used their veto power.
- Terrified that the plebeians were angry enough to elect one of their own as military tribune in 413 BCE, the senate tried to run consular elections.
- Once more, the plebeian tribunes blocked their plans, and an interregnum ensued..
- The interrex, Quintus Fabius Vibulanus, organised elections and so In 413 BCE, the consuls were Aulus Cornelius Cossus and Lucius Furius Medullinus.
- A senatorial resolution was passed to investigate the death of Postumius.
- Given how popular Postumius was, the investigators wisely only punished a few for their role in his murder – and most of them seem to have been allowed to commit suicide.
- The plebs were not appeased – a lack of punishment cannot make up for a lack of agrarian reform, people!
- Leaving the sulky atmosphere in Rome, the Volscians attacked Herncian territory and the consul Furius was dispatched to slap them back across the border.
- The Volscians were nowhere to be found when Furius arrived, so instead he captured Ferentinum – just to annoy them.
- There was a real lack of booty in the town – leading to a rather anticlimactic conquest that the Romans casually turned over to the Hernicians.
- In 412 BCE, the consuls were Quintus Fabius Ambustus Vibulanus and Gaius Furius Pacilus.
- The real star of the year was one of the tribunes of the plebs – Lucius Icilius. You might recall this family as they have a history of being plebeian heroes.
- Icilius tried to revive the old agrarian laws – but he did not get far as a pestilence hit ROme.
- The population of Rome was not decimated but they were certainly way too sick to be worrying about politics.
- In 411 BCE, the consuls were Marcus Papirius Atratinus and Gaius Nautius Rutulus.
- After the outbreak in 412, Rome was in danger of a famine.
- Whilst some people were a little tight-fisted in this time of need (cough cough – Samnites) – others made sure that the Romans were well-supplied.
- In 410 BCE, the consuls were Marcus Aemilius Mamercinus and Gaius Valerius Potitus Volusus.
- The Aequians were gearing up for another bout with the Romans, and the Volscians were happy to sign on as their auxiliaries.
- When they started attacking Latin & Herncian territory, the consul Valerius started conducting the levy.
- In swept the tribune of the plebs – Marcus Menenius.
- Seizing his moment, Menenius refused to let the levy proceed without an agrarian law FIRST.
- Whilst the Romans squabbled, the citadel of Carventum was captured by the Aequians.
- The patricians tried to use this loss to turn the people against Menenius
- Playing on their divide and conquer tactic from earlier, the patricians had already managed to talk the rest of the tribunes into siding against Menenius – and his refusal to allow the levy after this loss provided them with an airtight excuse for their bizarre stance.
- A Mexican stand-off ensued, with neither side willing to back down and a lot of hysterical posturing.
- The rest of the tribunes decided to take a very dramatic step – publicly supporting Valerius’ right to use force and fines to get people to enlist in the army.
- With this authority in hand, men who were refusing to enlist were dragged in front of the consul.
- This example was enough to scare almost everyone else into signing up.
- The Roman army was now able to march off to the citadel of Carventum,
- It wasn’t the happiest union between commander and troops, but the ROmans got the job done.
- The enemy was routed.
- Valerius was not about to give the army the meager spoils after the trouble they caused, so the quaestors were put in charge of auctioning off the goods.
- This endearing act meant that Valerius was showered with abuse during his ovation back in the city, whilst Menenius was showered with praise.
- With all of these anti-patrician vibes in the air, the elite were looking around nervously and organizing consular elections for the next year.
- Whilst our sources are clearly pushing the conflict between the orders, the Romans seem to be taking on a more aggressive policy of expansion in this decade – makes you wonder what lies ahead!
Dr Rad: And that was the 410s in Ancient Rome… or was it?
Dr G: Remember, this has just been the highlights from the ancient sources, so if you want to delve into the complexities of the different evidence from this period, check out our narrative episodes. Jump in at Episode 140: The Commonwealth of Slaves to join us for a deep dive into the 410s BCE.
Dr Rad: Thanks for turning in to this Partial Recap!
Carventum enters the annalistic narrative of Rome and raises some questions. But in order to get there, we need to consider what Rome faces in 411 BCE. And it seems that the Roman elite are having a run on consuls recently, which, if we follow Livy, means that the plebeians continue to be locked out of the highest magistracy…
Episode 144 – Where in the World is Carventum?
411 BCE – A Year Better Forgotten?
Sadly there’s not much to report about 411 BCE and what there is to know if the kind of thing the Romans would probably rather forget. Turns out that there’s a pestilence on the loose! To compound problems, sick people can’t farm and this has compromised the harvest. Rome faces challenges to its grain supply and they turn to their neighbours for aid.
Keen to catch up on the action from the years leading up to this situation? Check out Episode 143 – Special Victims Unit.
Where in the world is Carventum?
410 BCE gets off to a bad start when the Volsicans and Aequians decide to try to squeeze Rome’s allies the Hernicians… how will Rome respond? First they’ll have to find the citadel of Carventum (location unknown). And that’s only after they resolve the challenge of pulling together a fighting force.
Whenever there’s a tribune of the plebs, we can assume there’s going to be something going on between the elite families of Rome. The tribunes come into their own when there’s a military affair in the off-ing because they can push for rights and recognition for the plebeians in potential exchange for military service. Will the patricians negotiate land rights in order to field a force against the Volscians and the Aequians?
Map of central Italy including Rome and Praeneste, one of the theorised locations of Carventum to the east of Rome.
An ovatio with the a side of verbal abuse…
The Roman populace may be under the pump of the patricians much of the time, so perhaps a protest action at the scene of an ovatio is a very legitimate form of criticism! While Valerius attempts to process through the city to celebrate a military win, things don’t feel so much like a celebration as the people hurl abuse. Who will the crowd turn their support towards in the aftermath?
Things to Listen Out For:
- Disagreements about Livy
- What’s happening in the Mediterranean?
- Who is Cassiodorus?
- Samnites and Sicilians
- A tribunician veto? In this economy?
- What is the tribune of the plebs and how did this position really work in the early Republic?
- What are the quaestors up to?
Our Players 411 BCE
- Marcus Papirius L. f. – n. Mugillanus (or Atratinus?) (Pat.)
- Spurius (or Gaius) Nautius Sp. f. Sp. n. Rutilus (Pat.)
Our Players 410 BCE
- Manius Aemilius Mam. f. M. n. Mamercinus (Pat.)
- Gaius Valerius (L. f. Vol. n.) Potitus Volusus (Pat.)
Tribune of the Plebs
- Marcus Menenius
- Dr Rad reads Livy 4.52.2-4.53
- Dr G reads Diodorus 13.68.1, 13.76.1; Cassiodorus Chronica
- Broughton, T. R. S., Patterson, M. L. 1951. The Magistrates of the Roman Republic Volume 1: 509 B.C. – 100 B.C. (The American Philological Association)
- Cornell, T. J. 1995. The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c. 1000-264 BC) (Taylor & Francis)
- Ogilvie, R. M. 1965. A Commentary on Livy: Books 1-5 (Clarendon Press).
Our music was composed by Bettina Joy de Guzman. Sound effects courtesy of BBC Beta and Freesounds.
Crop from “A new map of Latium, Etruria, and as much of ancient Italy, as lay between Gallia Cisalpina and Græcia Magna, shewing their principal divisions, cities, towns, rivers, mountains &c.”
Sheldonian Theatre (Publisher); Wells, Edward, 1667-1727 (Cartographer).
Source: New York Public Library Digital Collections.
Edited for Latin terminology and to support our wonderful Australian accents!
Dr Rad 0:12
Welcome to The Partial Historians.
Dr G 0:15
We explore all the details of ancient Rome.
Dr Rad 0:20
Everything from political scandals to love affairs, the battles waged and when citizens turn against each other. I’m Dr. Rad.
Dr G 0:30
And I’m Dr. G. We consider Rome as the Romans saw it by reading different ancient authors and comparing their accounts.
Dr Rad 0:41
Join us as we trace the journey of Rome from the founding of the city.
Welcome to a brand new episode of The Partial Historians. I am one of your hosts, Dr. Red,
Dr G 1:02
and I am Dr. G.
Dr Rad 1:06
Welcome, Dr. G. I’m so excited to be back in this century with you.
Dr G 1:10
Woohoo. We’re nearly at the end of the fifth century BCE. It’s kind of incredible that we’ve made it so far.
Dr Rad 1:18
I know. I know. So welcome, everybody. Welcome to our world of ancient Rome. Here we are traipsing our way through the 410s BC as we look at Rome’s journey from the founding of the city. So Dr. G, before we head into a new episode, let’s do a bit of a recap, shall we? Where were we last time we met?
Dr G 1:42
Look, the big standout for me was the return of an Icilius into the role of the tribune of the plebs.
Dr Rad 1:51
That’s right. We have been dealing with all this conflict of the orders stuff for decades now. And I mean decades in the sense of the Romans decades.
Dr G 2:01
Maybe nearly a century now.
Dr Rad 2:03
A decade for us. But for them almost a century, this classic struggle between the patricians, the plebeians, who these people are, God only knows. But it certainly presented to us, like a battle between the elite and the powerful, and those who only wish they were.
Dr G 2:24
Yes, the old class struggle writ large in the early republic of ancient Rome.
Dr Rad 2:30
Yeah, and Icilius is from a family that’s very much historically been on the plebeian side of things.
Dr G 2:37
Yeah, they famously a family that has held the tribunician of the plebs on a number of occasions, each of them landmark events in the struggle of the orders in this classic tale. And yet, what we seem to discover in this third iteration of an Icilius coming into the role is that the potential for revolutionary changes kind of swept away by other matters, there seems to be a pestilence of some kind.
Dr Rad 3:09
There is a pestilence, it’s not the worst pestilence that room has ever seen. Because you know, we’ve had some bad ones in the time that we’ve been talking. I remember that time there was meat falling from the sky. Worse. I think that was I think that was in like the 450s. Maybe, maybe I should have checked that before I brought it up. But yeah, so we’ve had some bad things happening in the past. This one’s not the worst, but it’s certainly serious enough that people are very much focused on just getting by day to day.
Dr G 3:37
And this kind of leaves Rome and the situation of where we’re up to with this history on tender hooks, if you will run with the meat analogy a little bit further with me, because we’re like, what, what’s going to happen in the next year, and luckily, we’re here together to find out.
Dr Rad 3:55
We are indeed so without further ado, let’s delve into 411 BCE.
Dr G 4:21
is 411 BCE. It’s a very thrilling time. We’ve this means we have new consuls.
Dr Rad 4:29
We do have consuls. Note that we still don’t have any military tribunes with consular power. I think the patricians are still feeling a little bit concerned about who might get elected if they opened that door.
Dr G 4:42
Yes, much better to make sure it’s a patrician only situation and what better way to do that. And by having consuls in power,
Dr Rad 4:53
Exactly. So who we got Dr. G.
Dr G 4:56
All right, we have Marcus Papirius. Mugillanus, possibly Atratinus We’re not really quite sure.
Dr Rad 5:06
So I think some of those names sound familiar.
Dr G 5:08
Yeah, some of those names sound familiar
Dr Rad 5:14
Have I ever heard Marcus mentioned on this podcast before?
Dr G 5:18
Never! And fair enough. I mean, it’s a very rare name. So this Marcus Papirius Mugillanus was previously the military tribune with consular power in 418 and also 416. So he’s in the middle of quite an illustrious career at this point.
Dr Rad 5:38
Yeah, this is his decade, the 410s.
Dr G 5:42
It’s happening for him. And he is joined by somebody known as Spurius or Gaius – we’re not quite sure of the praenomen of this fella – Nautius Rutilus.
Dr Rad 5:54
Dr G 6:00
Spurius Naughtiness, what are you up to? He was previously military tribune with concular power in 419, and also served together with Papirius Mugillanus in 416. So these guys have even held the top job together before.
Dr Rad 6:17
And yet, we’re still not certain of their names.
Dr G 6:20
And we still don’t know whether they’re friends.
Dr Rad 6:24
I love the confusion of the source material. Everybody has different names, and nobody can figure out where they go.
Dr G 6:31
Yeah, and the Roman propensity for naming everybody after everybody else in their own family does leave a legacy of some confusion for everybody else studying them 1000s of years later.
Dr Rad 6:44
Absolutely. So what are these consuls facing Dr G? We’ve got a pestilence on the loose, we’ve got a tribune who’s just itching to get an agrarian law passed, it doesn’t bode well for them. I’m not going to lie. And sure enough, the year does not start well. As we know, when people are too sick to get out of bed, they tend not to farm. Lazy.
Dr G 7:07
How dare they? And the trouble with that is that it has some knock on consequences. Because if you don’t farm while you’re unwell, nobody does that farming for you. And then nobody’s got food to eat. So then not only are you sick and hungry, then you’re also starving.
Dr Rad 7:25
Exactly. And this has happened to Rome before after pestilence. We’ve seen this pattern again and again. And it looks like this year was going to be no different. Rome was in dire need of some corn, and it would have been headed straight for a very serious famine, except they asked around, they kind of pass the hat around and said, “Please, sir, I would like some corn,” to some of their neighbours.
Dr G 7:51
“Could you possibly spare any grain?”
Dr Rad 7:53
Yeah, exactly. They were asking up and down the Tiber. They apparently were like, you know, looking around the Tuscan Sea area saying, “Excuse me, I don’t suppose you have any surplus grain?”
Dr G 8:07
I suppose they do have some are friends in the local region? Of course everybody would trade with them.
Dr Rad 8:14
No, this is true. So specifically the Samnites, who at this point in time, well ensconced in Capua and Cumae, would not engage in trade with Rome even in this dangerous hour of need, Dr. G. For shame.
Dr G 8:32
Yes, look, the Samnite relationship with Rome is going to be a rocky one. Let’s put it that way.
Dr Rad 8:40
Yeah, foreshadowing, foreshadowing. Yeah, absolutely. I think
Dr G 8:44
We haven’t seen a lot of the Samnites in the Romans yet, but just you wait.
Dr Rad 8:48
Yeah, exactly. But the person that does apparently come to their rescue is and I’m quoting Livy here: Sicilian tyrants.
Dr G 8:59
Hmm. Fascinating. Well, that’s quite interesting, actually, because the Sicilian tyrants haven’t been having a great run of it themselves, because they’ve just been under the military invasion of the Carthaginians. So it’s not like they’re in a great way right now.
Dr Rad 9:17
Well, this is the thing, right? So most people have pointed out that Livy must be a bit off here because there actually aren’t any tyrants ruling Sicily in this year.
Dr G 9:27
Ah Livy. He’s a lair!
Dr Rad 9:30
Well, how dare you? How very dare you. Look, it’s possible like it’s close in time. It’s possible. Obviously, we’ve just got the order things slightly out of whack, and it is possible.
Dr G 9:47
You’re being very generous to Livy here.
Dr Rad 9:49
Well, look, let me put it this way. We’re fairly certain that the person that he’s referring to even though he does not name him is Dionysius the First, who came to power in 409. So you see it is very close.
Dr G 10:04
Very indeed. All right.
Dr Rad 10:05
Yeah. And it is very possible as well that the Sicilians would have been wanting to win Rome over as an ally at this point in time, because as you said, last episode, Dr. G, there’s some issues going on in Greece, a little thing known as the Peloponnesian War.
Dr G 10:29
There are some things going on in Greece. And one of the consequences of that is that the Greeks are trying to push their way into Sicily. That is one of the grounds in which some of the battles are taking place. There’s a Carthaginian interest also in Sicily. Sicily, historically, as I’m sure listeners are aware, is its location, right smack in the middle of the Mediterranean makes it kind of like a very strategic location for all concerned, who’s who live around that Mediterranean edge. So interest is high. Sicilia is facing various incursions from different directions. So maybe they are desperate, even if the tyrant is not quite in place yet.
Dr Rad 11:17
Yes, I think that’s exactly it with the Battle of Syracuse, which has just been waged in 413 BCE, or in the whole campaign sort of running from 415 to 413 BCE, as Athens is trying to strike out at people who are allied to the Spartans and supplying them with grain. And as you say, with Carthage rumbling around, and Carthage and Rome at this point in time are technically allies, it probably was a wise move for them to help root out whilst you know, Rome is looking around for some friends. No. Yeah. Now, most of the corn, however, comes from the Etruscans.
Dr G 12:00
Curiouser and curiouser.
Dr Rad 12:03
I know. So it seems that the Etruscans, who, by this stage are mostly located to the north of Rome, they obviously don’t want Rome to take their business elsewhere, i.e. Sicily.
Dr G 12:18
“How dare you? We’ve got the best prices on grain.”
Dr Rad 12:22
Yeah. And the Etruscans also have a hostile relationship with the Samnites. Because the Samnites have kind of displaced them in Campania.
Dr G 12:30
Typical typical, the local politics is starting to get messy around here.
Dr Rad 12:36
I know an all over corn.
Dr G 12:40
Well, you gotta eat, what can I say?
Dr Rad 12:42
Yeah. So that’s kind of about all the detail that I have in that basically, there was almost a very serious famine, but Rome managed to find some allies and managed to pull itself out of that, and the danger was averted. It does seem like there was a bit of a shortage of manpower, following on the back of the pestilence, it seems like the consuls need to bring in extra people to help them with things like embassies, because they just don’t have enough people who are available to help them out with the day to day administration. But that’s kind of it. So 411 is a very quiet year. But don’t you worry, we’re about to enter 410 And we’re about to get some serious developments happening.
Dr G 13:29
Well, before we enter into 410, just to give you a sense of just how thin on the ground, my source material is currently-
Dr Rad 13:38
You’re joking. You don’t have any source material?
Dr G 13:42
I know I’ve been chatting about Sicily for like 10 minutes now, but I know nothing! So, in 411, the Fasti Capitolini is missing. So that’s our big list of consuls and magistrates.
Dr Rad 13:57
Yeah. Which explains why we have all the issues with the names. Yeah.
Dr G 14:00
Well, yeah, we’ll explain some of it for sure. Yeah. And then I have Diodorus Siculus, who we’ve talked about recently, is useless, but he comes and goes in terms of accuracy. And when nobody else was around, he gets to be very accurate because he’s the only one who’s got the names.
Dr Rad 14:20
This is true.
Dr G 14:21
That that may or may not mean that he’s correct. But nevertheless, so he has Mamercus Papirius and Spurius Nautius listed. Now there is the ongoing date discrepancy that happens with Diodorus Siculus. Because he always tells us the consuls in the same sentence as he tells us who’s the current eponymous Archon in Athens, right and this is always out by a couple of years. So by Diodorus is reckoning worried about 408-407
Dr Rad 14:57
Well, there you go. Tyrants in Sicily and Livy wasn’t lying.
Dr G 15:01
If Livy is following the same sorts of source material that Diodorus is following, then yes, he’s, he’s on the right track. And the other source that I ended up going to for this, and this is again, testament to the thinness of my source material. Cassiodorus.
Dr Rad 15:22
Wow. Okay. Well, I don’t think we’ve mentioned him at all ever before on this podcast.
Dr G 15:28
Look, I could have gone to him before now. But there was no need in some respects. And yes, things were so desperate for me that I decided that maybe Cassiodorus could help me. Now, who is Cassiodorus? I’m glad you asked. His full name is Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator. Now, Senator is not a title. It’s part of his name. He is living in the late fifth century and doing most of his writing in the sixth century CE II.
Dr Rad 16:04
Dr G 16:05
So he serves under Theoderic, the king of the Ostrogoths at Ravenna.
Dr Rad 16:13
Wow, so we’re not even really under Roman rule anymore.
Dr G 16:19
I’ve got some bad news, listeners of this podcast, the Romans are gonna take some heavy blows. And they shall be no more. Yeah, by the time we get to Cassiodorus, the Romans it’s a little bit over. We’ve got the Ostrogoths that Ravenna. Ravenna is the new capital in some respects, in the Roman West. It’s it’s pretty over. Anyway, he writes a work that’s known as the Veriae – it’s a collection of letters. And he also does some epitomes of other historians. So he’s got a whole list of magistrates, which is very exciting. And it has been translated very kindly by people who live on the internet.
Dr Rad 17:06
Dr G 17:06
I know, aren’t they delightful? Scholars who are like, You know what, this will be a great service to all concerned. Translating is a time consuming task. And so we do have the names for this year of the consuls, also from Cassiodorus. But this is where the Gaius Nautius name comes in.
Dr Rad 17:31
Dr G 17:32
So yeah, we think he’s Spurius. But Cassiodorus says you might be Gaius and such being the thinness of our sources, we let Cassiodorus get away with that one. But that is all I’ve got. That is literally it. I’ve got like three sources, maybe with some names.
Dr Rad 17:54
Okay. Well, I’m glad we got to meet Cassiodorus because I’m sure he will come up again.
Dr G 17:58
I hope so. I hope so. I’m not sure that he’s going to have too much more to offer us besides names, but, you know, it’s fun to know he’s out there.
Dr Rad 18:06
Okay, well, let’s move on from this year of trade and corn and potential famine, and talk a little bit about 410 BCE. So who are our magistrates for 410? Dr. G.
Dr G 18:18
All right. I have a few magistrates, so I’ve got consuls, and I’ve got a tribune of the plebs.
Dr Rad 18:23
Dr G 18:26
Okay, so our first consul is Manius Aemilius Mamercinus.
Dr Rad 18:34
Know that name.
Dr G 18:37
This guy is gonna go on to have a bit of a career. It’s a it’s a time for people having new careers. This is his first time I think is consul, maybe his first time in any particular high level magistracies that we’ve we know about. So this is an exciting year for him. He is joined in the consulship by Gaius Valerius Potitus Volusus. Now this guy we have heard of before.
Dr Rad 19:04
I was going to say I think I remember that name. Volusus.
Dr G 19:07
Yeah, Potitus Volusus. Sounds a bit like a terrible cough actually was a military tribune with consular power in 415. And tribune of the plebs, Marcus Menenius.
Dr Rad 19:25
Ooo interesting name.
Dr G 19:30
Are names all I have? Maybe.
Dr Rad 19:35
All right. Well, let me tell you, let me give you a little bit of narrative to flesh this out. So in 410, we abandon the peacefulness of the previous year because the Aequians are once again getting ready for war, Dr. G.
Dr G 19:48
I hope the plague’s over.
Dr Rad 19:50
Yes, now. Well, I mean, I think the plague was just affecting Rome. They don’t really talk about it being more widespread than that, but we’ll we’ll see. Now the Volscians are going to be teaming up with the Aequians. Once more, however, not in an official capacity, they kind of just want to earn a bit of pocket money. And they’re like
Dr G 20:12
“We’re just going into this as silent partners.”
Dr Rad 20:14
Exactly. Yes, “we will fight as your employees but we’re not going to fight officially.”
Dr G 20:21
Wait a minute, the Volscians are now mercenaries?
Dr Rad 20:24
Yes. Absolutely. So the Romans start to hear of the usual signs that trouble is afoot, which is that the Aequians and the Volscians have teamed up and are attacking Latin and Hernician territory.
Dr G 20:42
Hmm. All right. Now this makes perfect sense because the Aequians are to the slight north east of Rome. And the Volscians are to the south and south east, and Hernician territory lies right in the middle between the Aequians and the Volscians.
Dr Rad 21:02
So they’re like, Let’s get together and make a Hernician sandwich.
Dr G 21:06
Well, with a big huge pincer movement, we can punch that Hernician sausage straight out of the sandwich!
Dr Rad 21:14
Yes. Now the Latin-Hernicians are of course going to call on Rome for aid. Rome is going to obviously make sure that they’re going to fend off these attackers. So one of our consuls, Valerius starts getting the troops ready for battle. Except there’s a little thing called domestic politics that he hadn’t counted on, even though we’ve seen this pattern so many times before, and that is our tribune of the plebs ceases as his golden opportunity to stop the levy and try and push for an agrarian law before anyone goes into battle anywhere.
Dr G 21:52
I kind of love these tactics. I mean, they don’t get old and they just keep happening.
Dr Rad 21:57
Yeah, well, exactly. So we’re getting into sort of the classic conflict of the oldest stuff that we have dealt with before where the pavilions know when they’ve got the patricians over barrel. They know that the patricians need them to go to war deal with these issues, and that therefore, they’re going to actually pay more attention than they might normally do, to their cries for land reform. Fair enough. So the men who don’t particularly want to go to war now have a perfect out, and they can go to Menenius, tribume of the plebs, for protection, okay, and they can refuse to take the oath to serve. However, disturbing reports start flowing into Rome. The citadel of Carventum is captured by Aequians forces. Where is Carventum? Nobody’s really sure.
Dr G 22:51
I do have some details on that.
Dr Rad 22:53
Okay, excellent. Do you want to say them now?
Dr G 22:58
Carventum. This is known as an ancient city of Latin. And listed by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, yonks ago as one of the 30 states, that’s part of the Latin League.
Dr Rad 23:12
Dr G 23:12
So definitely part of this Latin group, which means that they probably are on the border line on the edge of Hernician territory. The Hernicians aren’t Latin speakers as far as we’re aware?
Dr Rad 23:28
Yeah, that’s right.
Dr G 23:29
They speak at a slightly different language. So for Carventum to be a Latin city, we’d have to assume that it’s slightly, it’s one of these border land type places. So this means that people have speculated for ages about like where this place could be. And one of the big speculations is that it’s somewhere in the Alban Hills.
Dr Rad 23:52
Yes, that is what I found as well,
Dr G 23:54
Specifically a place called Rocca Maxima. Now, there’s an alternative theory, because that’s pretty old theory. And that’s one that’s mostly discredited. Now, more recent scholarship suggest that the town is near Praeneste. Which is also a member of the Latin League. And if you you can still see it on maps today. And it’s basically due east of Rome. And the Alban Hills are kind of in the middle between them. So to get past the Alban Hills, after you still go east, you hit Praeneste, and they think that this town of Carventum might be there, and the Citadel was obviously inside it somewhere. We haven’t found any trace to prove any of that. But that’s kind of the gist.
Dr Rad 24:45
We;;, there you go. It all makes sense to me that regardless of where this place is the fact that it has been captured by the Aequians. Whilst the Romans are bickering amongst themselves is highly embarrassing. The patricians are not happy. Yeah. The patricians are really not happy and they decide, “You know what, we’re going to use this to our advantage. We are going to use this military setback to shame Menenius, we will manage to turn him around, he will allow the levy because we can’t allow this to stand.” Allegedly, the rest of the tribune of the plebs that are serving this year, who are nameless, of course, have already been won over to the patricians side in this argument, in fact,
Dr G 25:34
But how? But why?
Dr Rad 25:36
I know, I know, there’s so many details I’d like to know, I kind of think this relates back to something we spoke about a few episodes ago, where they had this idea of like dividing and conquering, you know, using like a classic method from way back in the beginning of the conflict of the orders, where, I guess they promised the tribunes, you know, favors, or, I don’t know, some sort of unofficial alliance or something like that. And therefore, the tribune is like, well, you know what, this is a pretty crappy gig that I’ve got here. I may as well make friends with the powerful people in this place. I may as well betray my kind, yeah, I’ll betray my kind and everything that we stand for, so that I can get ahead in this work.
Dr G 26:17
I feel like the only thing that would lure plebeains over at this point would be the promise of becoming a patrician. But I feel like that’s normal on offer that is not on.
Dr Rad 26:28
Yet, we don’t really know the hows and the whys and wherefores, but we know that a few years ago, one of the younger Appius Claudius as of the world has suggested that they bring this tactic back. And I feel like it’s actually never really gone away. Even when they’re not talking about it. I feel like they’re patricians, are continuing to keep the tribune of the plebs divided and winning over some of the ones who may be a little less scrupulous to their side, because apparently, they’ve already been turned against the idea of an agrarian law and land reform or that kind of stuff. And now they’re just using this military defeat to publicly sided against Menenius. And it gives them like sort of the perfect excuse, like they don’t have to try and cover up the fact that they’re doing something a bit weird by siding with the patricians on this issue.
Dr G 27:16
I wonder if this might also be related to the changing dynamic over time of that, what does the tribune of the plebs represented? I feel like potentially Livy’s doing a bit of a retrorejection here, where one explanation you could posit for why tribunes would behave this way is that they actually come from very rich plebeian families.
Dr Rad 27:41
And so as we’ve spoken about before, this is not a class struggle between the rich and the poor. It’s a struggle between the people that hold a lot of power in an official capacity and people that are barred from that.
Dr G 27:55
Yeah. So it might be the case that some of these people who get into the role of tribune of the plebs see this as the top job for people with their kind of background. Yeah. And they’re willing to use that wealth in whatever way sort of furthers their own ambitions rather than looking after as much as we might like them to the little guy who could use some representation.
Dr Rad 28:18
Yeah, exactly. And this is what we’ve talked about before that probably a lot of the people that we hear about from the tribune of the plebs position, or even some of the named plebeains that we get in our sources, they probably have more in common with the patricians that are named in our accounts than they do with the average person in Rome at this point in time. Because if they’re this involved in politics, then you kind of have to imagine they’ve got a fair amount of free time on their hands.
Dr G 28:46
Dr Rad 28:47
Yeah. Now, so you think that this would obviously be really bad for Menenius? You know, Hey, there he is the sole tribune standing out against the levee. Militarily, things are not looking great for Rome’s allies, the Aequians are making incursions into their territory. Is this the moment that he caves? Oh contraire, Dr. G. It only makes him stick to his guns all the more. And so we have a really long drawn out argument apparently ensuing. Between the patricians who were like,” please, for the love of God, just let us hold the levy. We got to go and deal with this,” and Menenius being like, “Not on your life, not until I get some land reform. God dammit!”
Dr G 29:35
It’s like as soon as you do land reform, you can have a levee.
Dr Rad 29:39
Yeah. Now the consuls obviously at their wit’s end, they do not know what to say to this guy to convince him. So the consuls call on the gods and all of Rome to witness that Menenius personally, is to blame for anything bad that is happening or would happen in the future. Whether it’s defeat, whether it’s the ultimate disgrace, whatever it is, it’s all going to be Menenius’ fault because he has held up the levy.
Dr G 30:08
This does sound pretty disturbing. So they brought the gods into this.
Dr Rad 30:14
Dr G 30:15
This is a bad sign for the patricians.
Dr Rad 30:19
Now Menenius comes back to this, you know, big threat. I said, well, not threat. But you know what I mean? Like Menenius comes back to this big call, I suppose, and says, “Look, it’s quite simple. Just give up the land that the patricians are illegally occupying. And I will allow the levy to go ahead. That’s all I’m asking.”
Dr G 30:39
Yeah, that’s very simple.
Dr Rad 30:41
Yeah. And again, we return to this idea which you highlighted again, and again, seems so weird that the land is being occupied illegally, which, as we’ve said, just doesn’t really seem to make sense for Rome in this period. But this is the narrative that they’re sticking with.
Dr G 30:58
Ah look, Livy’s not going to give that up. And I would assume that if Dionysius of Halicarnassus were here with us, he would not give it up either.
Dr Rad 31:05
Yeah, exactly. So we’ve got this very late Republican idea of land and land reform and what that should look like, in the early republic, nonetheless, let’s power on. This is where something incredibly weird happens. And I honestly don’t think there is a good explanation for what I’m about to say,
Dr G 31:05
Oh, this sounds exciting.
Dr Rad 31:06
Yeah. So there are nine other tribunes of the plebs. These are the guys that have already turned on Menenius and now publicly have a reason to be calling him out and saying that he shouldn’t be holding up the levy. Okay. So all of these other tribunes agree to back Valerius if he starts using harsh measures to get people to enlist in the army.
Dr G 31:56
Oh, they’re going to use violence to enact the levy?
Dr Rad 31:59
Not just violence. Money too. Valerius is allowed by these tribunes to start using fines and other forms of coercion, which I presume does mean physical force to get people to enlist, even though Menenius is using his veto power to hold up the levy. Now, this is apparently passed as like some sort of actual decree. It’s not just like a wink, wink, nudge, nudge will back you up, buddy. It seems like there is something made very official about this so that Valerius can go about his business.
Dr G 32:40
That is very interesting, because and it doesn’t make sense. I agree with you.
Dr Rad 32:44
It does not.
Dr G 32:44
Because: one, it calls the whole concept of the veto into question. And the veto power of the tribune of the plebs is something that we haven’t really strongly historically established yet anyway. And so for it to be sort of dismantled so robustly in this moment, is a bad sign. And I would question whether that would be the case. But also, what the hell is going on?
Dr Rad 33:16
I know, I know, I think this highlights as you say, it definitely highlights I think the fact that supposedly, we have this position of the tribune of the plebs that has come out of the conflict of the orders, you know, it’s been one of the only big wins that really had, I mean, I’ve had a few, but that’s probably the biggest one. However, you and I have also talked about the fact that we’re not really sure if any of the magistracies actually exists, all their consuls are there, I don’t know! And so it’s very possible-
We definitely have lists of names.
Yes, we have lists of name. Exactly, we have lists of names. But as we’ve talked about before, you and I very much run with this theory that actually it’s probably a lot more ad hoc, and you know, clan based power, you know, at this point in time, rather than having these very structured systems in place.
Dr G 34:11
It’s pretty clear that Rome is working out its systems of governance. And we were just on the cusp of hitting one century of the Republic, if those sorts of timelines are ones that we sort of notionally want to agree to. So we’re in a working out kind of phase. And arguably, and I think this is true for Rome throughout all of its history, there is never a moment of clear political static stability. The whole thing is always, always dynamic. So, what is happening here, this clash between what seems to be various magistrates, that might be clashes between families, as you say This could be gens versus gens, some with more prestige, some with more wealth. Some who maybe want to see Rome go in a different direction, but that doesn’t get articulated or recorded, and it doesn’t make it into our annalistic histories that are written like centuries later.
Dr Rad 35:18
Yeah, exactly. And as we’ve talked about last episode, this is a period where Rome does seem to be militarily getting back into its game, you know, we do have some expansion happening, like nothing too crazy. It’s not like they like capturing Greece. But we are definitely seeing a slightly different direction for rowing than we have seen for some time. And it seems like the dark cloud that it kind of settled over the latter half of this century is starting to lift and allow for more of these kinds of moves on Rome’s behalf. But certainly, I think it does. It definitely highlights once again, this idea that the tribune of the plebs has like fully is fully formed. And we know exactly what the tribune of the plebs can and cannot do. I think that this highlights that that’s not the case. But it, it’s possible, like if we say for a second that okay, maybe there are people that hold some titles, at this point in time. Maybe one of those titles is tribune of the plebs. Let’s run with that for a moment. If we go along with this idea that they maybe have some sort of veto power, that they’re invested in some sort of sacrosanctity. What this incident might be highlighting is that that isn’t really worth a lot if your colleagues aren’t willing to back you up.
Dr G 35:18
Dr Rad 35:18
Because we’re talking about at this point in time, and we talked about this when I think the tribune is very first came about, literally, the idea is that that the tribune would physically be there to offer protection if someone was in need. Usually, when we were talking about it originally, in this sense, I think we were talking about, you know, being dragged off into debt bondage or something like that. But the idea was, the tribune would be there to physically offer you his protection. And if he wasn’t physically there, you may not get that protection. And I think you can kind of see that potentially, in this instance, as well, in that it’s all very well and good for Menenius to say, “You shall not pass.” But it doesn’t really mean a lot if people aren’t willing to, you know, go along with and back him up and that sort of thing. And he can’t be everywhere at once.
Dr G 37:37
Yeah, that’s that is part of the problem that if he is going to, if he does, indeed have a body, which is considered sacrosanct while he is in this role, to allow him to do that physical kind of protection, he does have to be somewhere really obvious and have everybody who needs his help run to him. So he can then attempt to run a circle around them of protection. You know, this is the only way that it would work. You might have people coming into his house, he might be able to save one or two, maybe 10 people. But if the consuls are getting their military officers to enact a violent levy to enforce enlistment, it’s going to be very hard for Menenius to be everywhere to see that off, particularly if he doesn’t have the support of his other nine tribunes.
Dr Rad 38:30
Absolutely he is absolutely an island right now. He’s the walrus. Now the consul Valerius, of course, now that he is backed by this power that’s been given to him by the other tribunes, it seems he starts dragging people who are refusing to enlist in front of him and making such a spectacle of their set. Everyone else gets really intimidated and is too scared not to enlist so that the tactic works perfectly.
Dr G 38:58
Sounds about right, sounds very patrician, I have to say.
Dr Rad 39:01
It does. So as a result, the Romans are finally able to send an army marching off to this citadel that has been captured – Carventum – wherever that is.
Dr G 39:11
East! Let’s say east.
Dr Rad 39:13
Yeah, to the east. Okay. Now, with everything that’s happened. There isn’t a lot of love happening in this military buddy, Dr. G.
Dr G 39:23
Are you telling me morale is low?
Dr Rad 39:26
It is a little bit the troops hate Valerius and Valerius hates them right back.
Dr G 39:32
Ah, you know, one could have guessed if you violently beat people up to force them to be in your army that maybe they wouldn’t care for it very much.
Dr Rad 39:41
I know. Yeah. I thought when I read this, okay, so we’re headed for one of these classic Roman military defeats or something like that. And this guy is going to end up getting into so much trouble for being a terrible commander. But that’s not actually what happens in spite of the fact that there’s this tension between them. They all do their duty. They serve well and they manage to drive off the joint Aequian- Volscian force, the Aequians having kind of made it easy for them by not putting up a particularly strong defense.
Dr G 40:09
They sent the mercenaries that they’d hired from the Volsci home?
Dr Rad 40:13
Well, I think that rather than maybe having everybody you know, in the Citadel holding on to it, they’d said to people, yeah, you know, if you want to take five, go for a wander, Look for some stuff, do some pillaging, do some rapping, that kind of stuff, you go right ahead, just be backed by six.
Dr G 40:30
Hmmm, discipline was lax.
Dr Rad 40:33
Exactly discipline was lax. And so it was quite easy for the Romans to sort of breeze in and take over. And it’s becoming a bit of a sad and typical story, they did not find a lot of plunder, because of course, the Aequians and the Volscians know that there’s a war going on, and therefore they’d stash anything that was really valuable for safekeeping.
Dr G 40:52
I kind of love that it’s taken like a good century for everybody in the area to figure out that it’s like, “Let’s hide the spoils somewhere else.” You know, first steps first.
Dr Rad 41:04
Let’s not just keep it in the living room.
Dr G 41:07
Let’s hide it somewhere. That could be good. This has taken a while, but we got there.
Dr Rad 41:12
Yeah, so they obviously captured some stuff, because what happens next is that Valerius allows the quaestors to auction off any booty that they have captured. And whatever money is raised is going straight into public territory. Is this a strange thing for the questions to be doing? You betcha.
Dr G 41:31
Very odd. Public territory. Does this mean? Is this a tacit sort of suggestion that there’s ager publicus involved here?
Dr Rad 41:42
Look, I think it’s more the fact that that kind of a job would usually fall to an urban praetor. So someone who’s located in the city of Rome, they might potentially be involved in something like that. But if we’re talking about military quaestors here, which I think is what is meant to be happening, that is not usually part of their role. It just again, it just doesn’t seem right. It seems anachronistic.
Dr G 42:11
It does. I would say that that may be what’s happening here is that the writers – potentially Livy’s thinking about the quaestorship in it’s much later form exit where it does become this kind of the financial attache of the military commander. That’s not really quite where the quaestors are at far as we can tell.
Dr Rad 42:34
Yeah. Yeah, at this point in time, it doesn’t really make sense if we are reading this the way it’s being presented. And so this is obviously meant to be a big public statement. To the army. “You’re not going to get a cut of anything that we capture until you are obedient. So stop your whinging. Stop your whining or no more spoils for you!”
Dr G 42:58
Dr Rad 43:01
Now, this of course, does not endear Valerius to his man.
Dr G 43:06
Well, there’s a surprise.
Dr Rad 43:08
Yeah. And because most of the people who are serving as your regular rank-and-file soldiers are plebeians. They, of course, let other plebeians know that they are unhappy and the mood spreads. Now Valerius is granted an ovation.
Dr G 43:23
Dr Rad 43:24
Yeah. Yeah, fancy. And it doesn’t seem like that big a deal. To be honest. It seems kind of like he just waltz into this.
Dr G 43:33
Seems like it wasn’t hard to take back this citadel. So is it really deserving of an of an ovatio? But I guess it’s desperate times. And Rome hasn’t had heaps of military success for a few years until the last couple. So maybe they’re excited and their standards are low.
Dr Rad 43:50
Well, yeah. And also, I mean, you know, he’s also from, I guess, one of those families like the Valerii. Like, we’ve talked about them a lot. They’re pretty prestigious.
Dr G 43:56
Yeah, they are very prestigious.
Dr Rad 43:58
They’re really powerful. I’m sure they know who’s back to scratch, if you know what I mean, then anyway, so Valerius rocks up for this ovatio – not quite a triumph – but still, you know, Rome going, “Well done.” And finds that Rome is not actually saying well done. Instead, he’s being pelted with abuse.
Dr G 44:16
Oh, okay. So he’s so he’s been awarded the ovation by the Senate, presumably,
Dr Rad 44:23
it looks it doesn’t actually say but I mean, you would presume so
Dr G 44:27
I would presume so. I think it’s kind of that sort of suggestion would come through like, you don’t get to just have an ovatio, it gets granted in some way. But yeah, if the general urban population is not into that, I can see how a walking procession through the city in a very slow and deliberate – supposedly celebratory way – could be great fodder for your rotten vegetables.
Dr Rad 44:55
Exactly. So he starts getting abused and that’s not really what you’re here with me. tend to be about to be a special moment. And everyone’s kept calling him. And then interestingly, praise starts to be showered on Menenius. So Menenius starts to become, you know, a figure of appeal again, I mean, not that I think everybody like turned on him, for example, but I would imagine that he obviously lost a bit of credibility after everything that had happened. But when everybody starts shouting at the name Menenius, it kind of spreads through the crowd, the enthusiasm just builds. Menenius is now the man of the moment. And he’s the one who’s getting cheered, and everyone’s really crazy for Menenius. And that’s not really how ovatios work.
Dr G 45:46
I love this redemption arc, though, where it’s like, the people have realized that Menenius was the guy that was on their side, and they’re like, “You know what, this has gone badly. And the only guy who stood it our corner? Menenius.”
Dr Rad 46:00
Yeah, and this is the thing, I don’t think that people ever doubted that he was their guy. I think they were just intimidated into obviously behaving a certain way. But now that they’ve seen the way that Valerius has acted after this victory, I kind of think they’ve got nothing left to lose at this point in time, and they’re just being they’re just being vocal. They’re just expressing their feelings, Dr G.
Dr G 46:22
Nobody can get into trouble for that, can they?
Dr Rad 46:25
Exactly. Now, the patricians are extremely nervous by this public display. They’re like, okay, it’s not out of the ordinary for there to be some tension between the regular soldiers and their commanders, who are at this point in time, usually consuls or military tribunes with consular power. They’re like, that’s fine. We can deal with that. That’s apparently how things normally are. We can also accept that there’s usually a lot of tension between patricians and plebeians. Apparently, that’s what our society is all about this century. It’s hashtag trending. But this demonstration kind of puts them on high alert. So once again, we see the paranoia coming out. They feel incredibly certain after everything that’s gone down recently, that if they allow military tribunes with consular power the next year, rather than consuls, Menenius will be the first plebeian to be elected into that position.
Dr G 47:31
Oh, they’ve been paranoid about this for a couple of years. Now. That’s why we keep getting consuls, isn’t it? Well, at least that’s the rationale we’ve been given.
Dr Rad 47:37
They have been paranoid about the plebeians. Finally, getting to that point, however, in this particular instance, is because they’ve actually got a guy like they’re like, “this is the one, this is the one that’s going to cause all these problems.” Okay. Now, this is interesting, because this is where I’m going to highlight this Menenius is not a name, I think we come across much again, there was if we go back to 483 BCE, there was mention of a tense relationship between a Valerius and a Maelius. But that’s not the same name.
Dr G 48:21
Dr Rad 48:21
Okay. So that’s a bit of a – hmmm, not sure about that.
Dr G 48:26
Dr Rad 48:27
Mm hmm. Yeah. Literally, the Menenius family certainly is a well known plebeian family, but it’s just this particular guy, we don’t really hear about him again. So it’s interesting that they’re like, this is the one. This is the one we’ve been afraid of. But yeah, if we, if we go all the way back again, you know, as you highlighted before, we were talking about the Icilius of the previous episode that we were talking about. He’s obviously from a very well known plebeian family with a long history of you know, these important moments of resistance against patrician rule. Menenius, we actually do have a Menenius mentioned back in the First Succession as well. But that’s a Menenius from a patrician family,
Dr G 49:11
I was gonna say this name is unknown to us. We’ve got this patrician side of the gens, and we’ve got a plebeian side of the gens. So…
Dr Rad 49:21
We do. Yeah, yeah. And the plebeian side is well known. And they will be associated with this position again, but yeah, this particular guy, he’s going to be disappearing into the mists of time.
Dr G 49:33
Look, I think this might end up being like a number of things that we see in this time period with our annalist historians, which is that they’re inserting potentially names that are quite familiar from later generation-
Dr Rad 49:47
Dr G 49:48
-into this narrative, one to sort of maybe flesh out the details a little bit. And to maybe there’s some legacy of those family oral histories where people tell of the great people They’re great ancestors, and the stories are coming through in those sort of family traditions. So, without sort of having more independent evidence to think about, it does get quite messy to figure out whether this is like, is this guy real? Is he more of a symbol for something in this narrative, and he needed a name. So we’ll associate him with the kinds of qualities that we associate with the Menenius family from a later period. All that kind of stuff might be going on here.
Dr Rad 50:30
Yeah, absolutely. But anyway, they are so paranoid, they’re like, “not in our treehouse, pal! You’re not coming in, none of you plebeians are coming in! We’re locking the doors!” And so they make sure that there are going to be consular elections, because as you said, not only have they been paranoid about plebeians, you know, crossing that threshold, but now they see this guy, and they’re like, they’re like, “he’s got the fire, you know, he’s got, he’s got the gifts. He’s got the charisma. He’s got the uniqueness. He’s got the nerve, he’s got the talent, he’s going to make it!”
Dr G 50:57
The name on everybody’s lips is gonna be, Menenius.
Dr Rad 51:06
I’m amazed that you managed to make all those syllables fit.
Dr G 51:10
I was really proud of myself that.
Dr Rad 51:14
Anyway, so that is where 410 ends for me. And I can tell you now we are in for more fascinating, bizarre, probably anachronistic, maybe fictional moments in the conflict of the orders in the years ahead.
Dr G 51:30
Dr Rad 51:32
That means, Dr G., that it is once more time for The Partial Pick. All right, Dr. G, tell us what The Partial Pick is all about
Dr G 51:42
The Partial Pick, there are 50 golden eagles on offer for Rome, Judge across five categories. So for each category, they could get a score of 10 Golden Eagles if they perform exceptionally well. And we’re just going to judge them by their own standards, really. So we’ll see.
Dr Rad 52:01
How will Rome perform for me today. All right, what’s our first category, Dr. G?
Dr G 52:08
Our first category is military clout.
Dr Rad 52:11
Well, I do think they deserve some points, because obviously, we have got the recapture of the citadel of the mysterious place that nobody knows where it is, except that it’s east.
Dr G 52:22
Is this the place that they also lost? Or do the Hernicians technically lose it?
Dr Rad 52:28
No, that they didn’t, I mean, they didn’y. They didn’t lose it. It was just taken by the Aequians. And then they took it back.
Dr G 52:34
Dr Rad 52:35
Yeah. And this is why this is why Valerius got the ovatio.
Dr G 52:38
Well, yes. I mean, I understand that concept, but who owned it in the first place?
Dr Rad 52:43
Well, I guess we don’t really know where it is. But given given the narrative that I have, to me, it seems like it must be in either Latin or Hernician territory, because that’s, that’s what the Aequians and the Volscians are doing. They’re attacking, Rome’s allies. Yeah, I’m
Dr G 53:00
Yeah, I’m just wondering, like, you know, does it count as a, as a substantial victory worthy of high praise? And thus, a lot of Roman golden eagles? If they’re just sort of taking back something that maybe wasn’t really part of their stuff anyway, like,
Dr Rad 53:19
this is true. I mean, we don’t it’s not really clear if it’s even maybe it’s this maybe
Dr G 53:25
these are the questions I’m asking.
Dr Rad 53:26
I mean, the consul certainly are very worked up about it. It’s definitely seen as like a really big deal that they’ve allowed this to happen.
Dr G 53:36
It strikes me that Carventum and its citadel may stand at this point in time as kind of like a buffer for Rome on the edge of it’s on the edge of Latin territory, this is just a guess. And so it’s maybe strategically important, and that’s potentially why they’re so invested in making sure that they retake it.
Dr Rad 53:58
Oh, yeah. I mean, it’s obviously a huge deal. It’s not like they’re like, “Eh what’s one citadel?”
Dr G 54:03
A citadel here, a citadel there. Whatever.
Dr Rad 54:07
Yeah, they definitely kind of allow it to happen. So I think it’s, I mean, I don’t know, I guess I see it as, if Valerius is getting an ovatio. That’s what I’m using as my barometer here. I feel like it must be significant enough to matter. And therefore I feel they deserve like maybe like a two or three.
Dr G 54:27
Oh, all right. I was gonna give them like a four or five. And I was like, Look ovatios are hard work. But I you know.
Dr Rad 54:34
Let’s saym three. I think it’s three because as you say, I don’t think it’s that big a deal because it was taken by the Aequians of the Romans just got it back again. It’s not like it’s new territory. Yeah,
Dr G 54:44
Dr Rad 54:46
Although, I mean, again, we don’t really know if it’s theirs or someone else’s, but…
Dr G 54:52
The vagaries of history.
Dr Rad 54:56
Alright, so we got three. Alright, what’s our next category?
Dr G 54:58
Our second category is diplomacy.
Dr Rad 55:02
Okay. I don’t think although I suppose if we go back to 411, sorry, they’re getting 411 because it was a bit of a blah year. There is obviously the whole issue with, you know, securing grain which they do very nicely. They don’t steal it, they buy it.
Dr G 55:17
That’s true. They make friends with the Sicilians. They do the tyrants. Wow. And they also seem to buy some from the Etruscans. So things seem to be going well with that relationship, kind of.
Dr Rad 55:31
Definitely. Yeah. Okay, so what, like a two?
Dr G 55:37
Yeah, I think this has to be held in balance with the fact that diplomacy within Rome doesn’t seem to be going great.
Dr Rad 55:45
I’m still so not sure that we should even be talking about diplomacy if it’s within Rome. I don’t think that makes any sense.
Dr G 55:52
Well, you know, negotiating is negotiating.
Dr Rad 55:56
Yeah, that’s certainly war with the Aequians. It’s not diplomatic now that they started it, but that’s true. They finished it. So we’re gonna give them two points for the grain. Okay. All right. Next category?
Dr G 56:09
Dr Rad 56:11
Hmm. This comes back to the question. Again, I’m really not sure.
Dr G 56:16
I feel like it has been mentioned little enough. That it’s not Roman. It’s yeah. And Look, the Latin place and it’s run by some Latin people.
Dr Rad 56:26
Look, the places that I’ve seen mentioned in connection with this spot, none of which were the ones that you mentioned. So clearly we’re reading different sources. It doesn’t seem like this site is actually that far away from Rome. But it’s certainly not within Rome right now.
Dr G 56:43
Dr Rad 56:44
Yeah. So it’s close. I mean, maybe like Tusculum distance.
Dr G 56:50
But Tusculum isn’t Rome, either. So you know,
Dr Rad 56:53
That’s what I mean. Yeah. It’s not far from Rome.
Dr G 56:56
Yeah, but all of these places are kind of running themselves. So I think this is not so much expansion. Or maybe, if they hold on to it?
Dr Rad 57:09
Well, they do. I mean, at this point in time, they’re holding it and we have to judge them on what we’ve got for this year at this point in time. They’ve held it. Alright, let’s give them to. Okay. I feel guilty because I know something about what happens in the future, which might affect this, but I have to judge them on what we’ve just said.
Dr G 57:26
We can’t talk about the future now. You made it explicitly clear that we could only talk about this year.
Dr Rad 57:32
That’s, I mean, like I feel guilty, because I know what’s coming, but anyway, judging them based on this year, in this year, they hold it. Yes, exactly. All right. Next category?
Dr G 57:47
Dr Rad 57:51
I mean, Menenius is a bit of a stand up guy, but I don’t think that you could call it he does virtus.
Dr G 57:59
Yeah. I’m not sure that we have enough detail to be able to claim virtus for him.
Dr Rad 58:04
No, no, he’s a good tribune of the plebs. Huh? Yeah. And Valerius. He’s just a douchebag. And so
Dr G 58:12
Sometimes that is virtus, though.
Dr Rad 58:15
I know, I know not in the Roman, not in the Roman sense. And like, he’s, he’s a douchebag by like, a lot of people’s standards. Alright, so I think that’s a zero.
Dr G 58:25
Yeah. All right. The final category is the citizen score.
Dr Rad 58:30
Well, I mean, I feel like it’s positive that they don’t starve to death. And I think that it’s positive that they have a pretty good tribune of the plebs on their side, but on the other hand, they have nine who are terrible.
Dr G 58:44
Yeah, the counterbalance isn’t great there.
Dr Rad 58:46
Yeah. But on the other hand, it seems like the wars not too long, doesn’t seem like many people die. And then they have the guts to stand up to the patrician legal areas, when they get there.
Dr G 58:59
They do get to throw some rotten fruit. So that’s fun. That’s good. I feel like that’s gonna count for something. I don’t think that makes up for the trauma of being beaten up to be in the army in the first place, but it certainly helps.
Dr Rad 59:10
Look, I don’t know that many people were actually beaten up. I think that a few people were and everyone else was like, “Okay, I don’t want that to happen to me.”
Dr G 59:20
Like, ew, yeah. All right. But I’d say on average, then we’re probably looking at maybe a three.
Dr Rad 59:26
Okay, all right. Well, that’s good Dr. G, because that means that all my fingers are accounted for. We’ve got 10 Golden Eagles for room for the joint years, 4 11 and 410 BCE.
Dr G 59:43
Now look, that is a whole Golden Eagle up on the previous two years.
Dr Rad 59:48
So it is an improvement
Dr G 59:50
They’re definitely making ground.
Dr Rad 59:52
And I’m really looking I’m looking forward very much to talking about the next couple of years because there’s definitely some prime patrician for the in drama that is going to be happening. If and you know I love exploring the conflict with you, because it’s so crazy.
Dr G 1:00:05
Well, I Look forward to seeing what turns up in my research. Maybe I have some sources and discussing more about the struggle of the orders with you soon,
Dr Rad 1:00:15
Dr G 1:00:24
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai