We continue recording in the library, so advance apologies for potential moments of poor editing!
Episode 76 – Plebeian Struggles and the Vestal Oppia
We return to the podcast fray launching into the elections of c. 483 BCE. The conflict between patrician and plebeian sets the tone. And it turns out that our sources don’t agree right from the start! One of the consuls this year is definitely Marcus Fabius Vibulanus and the identity of the other is a little more of a mysterious Lucius (Valerius? Verus? Publicola? Potitus?)
By this stage the struggles between the patricians and plebeians is in full flight. The plebeian demand for the redistribution of public land (ager publicus) is taking off and there is only one tribune of the plebs, Gaius Maenius, who is willing to support the people’s perspective on this issue.
Threats of violence and coercion ensue. Dr Radness goes so far to liken the extent of conflict in Rome at this point as tantamount to civil war. We are in the midst of a Rome in crisis internally while still trying to face down threats in broader Italy. Follow us into the dangers as the plebeians continue to fight for their share of public land even from the battlefield.
As Rome’s strife continues, they turn their gaze inwards and the pontifical college offers the knowledge that there may be an issue with one of the Vestal Virgins, Oppia. What an action-packed episode!
An imagined vision of the Vestal Virgins (note there should only be six!) – from
“Woman Triumphant; the story of her struggles for freedom, education, and political rights. Dedicated to all noble-minded women by an appreciative member of the other sex” by Rudolf Cronau. (1919). Courtesy of wikimedia commons