Episode 98 – Cincinnatus, Suffect Consul

It’s c. 460 BCE and this hectic year in Roman history continues! In this episode we consider Rome in the wake of the sneak attack on the Capitol by Herdonius’ disaffected Sabines. During the challenges of wrestling control back, the Romans lose one of their own. The consul Publius Valerius Pubicola falls in battle. This is a tragic loss and opens the way for Lucius Cincinnatus to return to the narrative.

Episode 98 – Cincinnatus, Suffect Consul

Looking to catch up on the narrative before diving into this episode? You can find out more about the earlier events of this year here.

Who’s Who


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

Suffect Consul

  • Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus

Tribune of the Plebs

  • Aulus Verginius
  • Marcus Volscius Fictor

A Man of the Land

There’s nothing quite like a man who farms. For fans of men of the land, Cincinnatus is here for you. We explore the important symbolism of Cincinnatus working the land and his reaction to learning about his election as suffect consul.

A New Political Strategy

Cincinnatus takes the opportunity to lead in a new way. With much rhetorical flourish, our new consul lays forth a plan that spells trouble for the plebeians and the ambitions of the tribunes. We dig into the discrepancies between our sources – Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus have different takes on the essential narrative. This is very revealing in terms of thinking about the aims of our written sources for this period.

Things to Look Forward To

  • a taking of auspices
  • a desire for a dictator
  • some senatorial love for our man Cincinnatus
Alexandre Cabanel 1843. Cincinnatus receiving the ambassadors of Rome. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Our Sources

Primary sources

  • Dr G is reading Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman Antiquities 10.17-19
  • Dr R is reading Livy 3.19.1-3

Secondary sources

  • Broughton, T. R. S. 1951. The Magistrates of the Roman Republic, Volume I (American Philological Association)
  • Eck, W. (Colonge) ‘Suffect Consul’ Brill’s New Pauly, Cancik, H. Schneider, H., Salazar, C. F. (eds.), accessed online 29-9-2019
  • Lomas, K. 2017. The Rise of Rome: from the Iron Age to the Punic Wars (1000-264 BC) (Profile Books)
  • Müller, C. (Bochum) ‘Q. Cincinnatus, L.’ Brill’s New Pauly, Cancik, H. Schneider, H., Salazar, C. F. (eds.), accessed online 29-9-2019
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Drs R and G laugh and spar their way through the ancient Roman world!

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