Episode 96 – Letters and Rumours

The conflict between patricians and plebeians continues apace as we explore the political complexities of 460 BCE. Much like a Jane Austen novel, letters and rumours abound in the fair city of Rome…

Episode 96 – Letters and Rumours

According to the annalist tradition, debate continues to rage about the proposal for clarity around laws and the idea of equality before the law. This leads to an unusual situation: the tribunes from the previous year return to continue pushing for these changes. Livy notes that the tribunes are riding on a high after ensuring the recent demise of Caeso Quinctius. But this also means that the incoming consuls are dealing with tribunes who seem be becoming entrenched…

Strategies for Violence?

We saw in the previous episode that there seems to be a difference between how the older patricians go about politics—through mechanisms such as magistracies and the senate—and how the younger patricians seek to make plays, through public violence and intimidation. Nevertheless, it seems as though the younger ones might just have hit upon a new approach which Dr Rad explores through Livy’s account.

Letters and Rumours Abound…

Perhaps as a response to the violence in the City, the tribunes hit upon a new approach to push for changes. And before you know it, secret letters are being delivered to the tribunes while they’re in the forum! There are a few implications that arise because of this and more than a little drama…

Dr G considers the narrative provided by Dionysius of Halicarnassus which leads into some intense set-piece speeches from Aulus Verginius and Gaius Claudius.

Join us for an episode full of exciting turns, political jousting, letters and rumours, and maybe even…conspiracy!

Our Players


  • Publius Valerius P. f. Volusi n. Publicola (cos. II)
  • Gaius Claudius Ap. f. M. n. Inrigillensis (or Regillensis) Sabinus


  • Aulus Verginius
  • Marcus Volscius Fictor


  • Caeso Quinctius
letters and rumours
Giovanni Battista Piranesi 1756. Map of the Forum Romanum / Courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons.
Although a much later vision of Rome than what we are exploring in this episode, nevertheless, Piranesi conjures up the Forma Urbis Romae project with this elegant etching which includes the forum, the site of much of the action.
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Drs R and G laugh and spar their way through the ancient Roman world!

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