Episode 88 – Battle After Battle!

What kind of drama could follow the career of uber patrician Appius Claudius? As it turns out, those Romans are really all about battle after battle! We’ve reached a hazy period in our historiography where the narratives of Livy and Dionysius start to diverge on specifics; some events play out over different years depending on the author.

The general consensus amongst historians is that these narratives are a reworking backwards from the period in which they were written. The argument follows that they become less and less reliable the farther back they go. Be that as it may, it is clear that Rome and her neighbours are each struggling to expand and hold the territories. Rome’s position of superiority in the region by the mid-Republic requires some explanation. And that’s where we come in 🙂

Look Out for these Characters!

Consuls of c. 470 BCE

  • Lucius Valerius Potitus (cos. II)

  • Tiberius Aemilius Mamercus

Consuls of c. 469 BCE

  • Titus Numicus Priscus

  • Aulus Verginius Caelimontanus

Consuls of c. 468 BCE

  • Titus Quintius Capitolinus Barbatus (cos. II)

  • Quintus Servilius Priscus

Battle after Battle, you say. Yes, yes, we do say.

We pick up the narrative deep in c. 470 BCE with the military exploits of the consuls Lucius Valerius Potitus and Tiberius Aemilius Mamercus. Both have a mission:

  • Valerius takes on the Aequians;

  • and Aemilius heads toward Sabine territory.

The most significant event amongst these campaigns is a great storm, considered an omen by the augurs. This disruption effectively puts an end to the Roman’s ambitions against the Aequians for this year.

New Year; New Rome?

c. 469 BCE is the consulship of Titus Numicus Priscus and Aulus Verginius Caelimontanus. Both are patricians, though the Numicii are later known as a plebeian family. Details about domestic politics are thin on the ground, but what we can be sure about is Rome’s continuing tussle with the surrounding peoples. There are Volscii incursions into Roman territory, and the consuls sally forth to meet the threat:

  • Numicius heads south towards Volscian territory;

  • while Verginius heads east for the Aequians.

Antium – just a big old town full of Volscii?

The shoreline position of Antium means its a strategic city for Volscian operations. So its not surprising to see the Romans move in closer, taking smaller coastal settlements along the way. It’s clear the Romans mean to take Antium…but not before the end of the year!

Vote? For a consul? Never!

c. 468 BCE sees Titus Quintius Capitolinus Barbatus and Quintus Servilius Priscus come into the consulship. Our sources differ on the election of these consuls and the also on the significance of agrarian reform in this year. Did the plebeians turn out for the election of the consuls or not? And if not, why not? Is land reform on the agenda this year or the following year? We consider the details!

Foreign threats continue to dominate proceedings:

  • Servilius marches against the Sabines;

  • Quintius takes on the Aequians and the Volscii.

There is a growing sense in our sources that the Aequians and the Volsci are banding together to fend off Roman aggression and this requires some special tactics from Quintius.

Listen in to find out all the details!

Battle After Battle

Battle after battle
Image from page 510 of “Eastern Nations and Greece” (1898). Source: Internet Archive Book Images.
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Drs R and G laugh and spar their way through the ancient Roman world!

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