Episode 99 – Tusculum and Antium

It is c. 459 BCE and Rome faces the consequences of the Capitol having been seized and a consul killed in the previous year. The challenges come on two fronts: Tusculum and Antium.

Episode 99 – Tusculum and Antium


  • Quintus Fabius M. f. K. n. Vibulanus cos. III
  • Lucius Cornelius Ser. f. P. n. Maluginensus Uritnus

Trouble at the Margins

The Latins and Hernicians (Rome’s allies) come to Rome to report that the Volscians and the Aequians are still causing trouble at the edges of allied territory. Rome sends some troops to Antium.

The Aequians surprise attack Rome’s friend Tusculum. According to Dionysius this involves enslaving many of the women but leaving many of the men untouched. The Romans are pretty upset by this turn of events and throw themselves into action.

These tussles lead to military actions in Algidum and Ecetra, both of which are near the territory of the Aequians and the latter is described by Dionysius as the “most prominent city of the Volscian nation” (Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 10.21.3).

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Antium?

Rome has been raiding Antium for the past few years and recently converted the city into a Roman colony. None of these measures can be considered wholly successful.

As news of the seizure of Rome’s Capitol reaches south, it seems like a good time to revolt. This is spearheaded by the Volscians, which makes perfect sense as Antium is part of their historical sphere of influence.

Livy and Dionysius of Haliarnassus disagree on a range of details about how this conflict unfolds so it’s fair to say that we’re less than impressed with our narrative sources right now! Nevertheless, what they do tell us is very interesting:

  • Livy has Rome heading in with a force made up of Romans and allies and devastating the Volscian camp by surprising them.
  • Dionysius offers us a tale of Rome turning Antium into a camp by surrounding it with palisades!

Who’s Doing The Fighting Anyway?

Despite Rome facing a war on two fronts this year, Livy suggests that when the forces are drawn up, they are mostly comprised on allied troops, with only a third of the manpower offered by Rome herself. Is this a sign of Rome’s growing hegemony over her immediate neighbours?

Join us for some very conflicting accounts from Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus as we delve into the complicated relationships between the Romans, Volscians, Aequians, Tusculans, Latins, and Hernicians!

P.S. Be on the listen for our podcat Hamish who makes a guest appearance!

Tusulum and Antium

An artistic impression of what early Republican soliders may have looked like (right). If you know the artist, please let us know so we can credit them appropriately.

Our Sources:

  • Dr G is reading Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman Antiquities 10.20-21
  • Dr R is reading Livy Ab Urbe Condita 3.22-24

Selected Secondary Sources:

  • Broughton, T. R. S. 1951. The Magistrates of the Roman Republic,Volume I (American Philological Association)
  • Lomas, K. 2017. The Rise of Rome: from the Iron Age to the Punic Wars(1000-264 BC) (Profile Books)

Sound Credits:

Additional sounds were provided by:

  • Fesliyan Studios
  • Pond5
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Drs R and G laugh and spar their way through the ancient Roman world!

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