The nascent Roman Republic is well under the influence of the Fabii. Marcus Fabius holds the consulship for the second time. He shares the illustrious role with Gnaeus Manlius. The real trouble lies in Roman domestic diplomacy. Herein the Battle of Veii 480 BCE.
The politics starts with some agitation from Titus Pontificus (aka Tiberius Pontificius) the tribune of the plebs who seeks some movement on the stalled agrarian reform, but you may already be able to guess how that turns out! We delve into the perspective offered by the sources and discuss what that may mean in terms of the events narrated, but also how we go about reading and interpreting the sources.
Central to the year is Rome’s conflict with her neighbours and particularly Veii. Without giving too much of the detail away (since we wouldn’t want to ruin the episode for you!), it is fair to say that this battle is devastating for all concerned.
So let us take you on a journey through the signs from the gods read by the Roman augurs and the Tyrrhenian* augurs, the escalating to-and-fro between the forces of Rome and Veii, the moment plebeian farmer Marcus Flavoleius finds fame, and the point when the tide turns on the plan of legate Titus Siccius (aka Titus Sicinius).
It’s all here: glorious details of battle, politics on the edge of sword, and speeches with more rhetorical flourish than you can find in a seasoned orator!
*’Tyrrhenian’ ~ this term pops up in Dionysius of Halicarnassus and tends to refers broadly to the people of Veii and to the north of Veii. These peoples are also known as the Etruscans.