Episode 84 – The Romans Are Manly Men

The early Republic of Rome is full of strife and tension. As we inch deeper into the history, there are neighbourly struggles and internal political discord on the rise.

Rome is still mourning the loss of the Fabian gens. The Fabians were almost completely destroyed by the forces of Veii and her northern allies, the Tyrrhenians (think, Etruscans!). Just as Rome was devastated by the loss of the Fabians, the Sabines have take solace in Roman defeat. Rome now faces war on ‘two fronts’…

The Exploits of Manly Men in c. 475 BCE

The consuls for this year are Publius Valerius Publicola, son of Publius Valerius Publicola (cos, suff. 509, cos. 508, 507, and 504) and Gaius Nautius Rutilus.

The Sabines are given short shrift in both our major narrative sources for different reasons which means there’s lots to discuss. Important details include: military strategy, camp organisation, and the narrative purpose of these kinds of stories.

Our sources take in details relating not only to the Sabines, but also the forces of Veii (their camps are very close!). Some particular highlights include:

  • the possible redemption of Spurius Servilius Structus Ahala (cos. c. 476 BCE), now legate under Valerius;
  • the triumph awarded to Valerius as a result of this campaign;
  • and Nautius’ campaign with the Roman allies, the Latins and the Hernucians to help attack the Volscians and Aequians.

In the background of all this military activity is the continuing grain crisis…

So c. 474 BCE Begins! And Just Like That Its c. 473 BCE (or is it)?

A new year means new consuls: Lucius Furius Medullinus Fusus and Aulus (Gnaeus/Gaius?) Manlius Vulso (also the namesake of this episode) are the consuls of c. 474 BCE.

Manlius is sent out against Veii because the northern campaign really isn’t over. But it doesn’t take long for the situation to turn in Rome’s favour. Hints of what’s to come:

  • a truce;
  • an ovation;
  • and a return to domestic politics!

We turn our attention to the Gnaeus Genucius, tribune of the plebs, whose exploits cover both the years of c. 474/3 BCE depending on our source material.

We’ve never ripped through years this quickly, which must be a sign of some kind! The consuls for c. 473 BCE are Lucius Aemlius Mamercus (cos. III) and Vopiscus Julius Iullus (though there are name discrepancies to consider here as well!).

Genucius makes some very political moves regarding the agrarian reform that has been playing out in the background since c. 486 BCE! But how do Genucius’ moves go down? Listen in to find out: The Romans Are Manly Men

Manly men rome virtus
Wenceslas Hollar, Unknown date (author lived 1607-1677), Roman soldiers – Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library,
Wenceslas Hollar Digital Collection. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Drs R and G laugh and spar their way through the ancient Roman world!

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