Episode 101 – Talk to the Tree

It can be quite insulting to be told to ‘talk to the hand’ and, for the Romans, it would seem that being told to ‘talk to the tree’ is just as problematic. In this episode, we explore the tail end of 459 BCE and enter 458 BCE. It’s fair to say that some mud is being flung between Rome and her neighbours…

Episode 101 – Talk to the Tree

The Trouble with Murder…

Livy and Dr Rad have some excellent details to offer about the ongoing and troubling ambiguity surrounding the plebeian push for the ‘the law about the laws’. This ongoing issues between patrician interests and the tribunes fighting for greater transparency is soon waylaid, however, by concerns pertaining to the recent accusation of murder! Dr Rad delves into the murky narrative and Livy’s account of the affair.

New Year, Same Tribunes

Intrigues and law cases regarding potentially spurious accusations of murder give way to new elections and we find ourselves in c. 458 BCE. Both Verginius and Volscius make it back it into the tribuneship!

Listen out for Dr G forgetting Volscius (awkward for everyone) and temporarily being unable to read a map (to clarify, the Sabines and the Aequians are both East of Rome, North and South respectively).

Trouble in the South

It isn’t long before Rome learns of Aequian incursions into Tusculum, which is a huge surprise given the peace treaty concluded between Rome and the Aequians just the year before. Listen in to find out how:

  • Rome reacts to threats from the south
  • the fetiales get involved
  • and oak trees take on an important cameo role

While Dionysius of Halicarnassus gets swept up in the military narrative, Livy seeks to balance the challenges the Rome faces externally and internally…

Our Players

459 BCE


  • Q. Fabius M. f. K. Vibulanus
  • L. Cornelius Ser. f. P. n. Maluginensis Uritinus

Prefect of the City

  • Lucius Lucretius (Tricipitinus)


  • Aulus Verginius
  • Marcus Volscius Fictor (maybe a tribune)


  • Aulus Cornelius
  • Quintus Servilius (Structus Priscus?)


  • Kaeso Quinctius

458 BCE


  • C. Nautius Sp. f. Sp. n. Rutilus – cos II
  • L. Minucius P. f. M. n Esquilinus Augurinus

Prefect of the City

  • Q. Fabius Vibulanus


  • Aulus Verginius
  • Marcus Volscius Fictor


  • M. Valerius M’. f. Volusi Maximus
  • T. Quintius Capitolinus Barbatus

Roman Embassy

  • Q. Fabius Vibulanus (also Prefect of the City)
  • P. Volumnius Amintinus Gallus
  • A. Postumius Albus Regillensis

Aequian Leader

  • Cloelius Gracchus

Claude Lorrain 1682 Ascanius Shooting the Stag of Sylvia, chosen for its artful arrangement of trees, which are quite pertinent to this episode. The story of Ascanius we’ll save for another time.

Additional sounds in this episode: BBC and WolframTones

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

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