Episode 103 – Ten Terrific Tribunes

It’s c. 457 BCE in Rome and in this episode we explore the state of affairs in the wake of Cincinnatus’ dictatorship.

Rome’s affairs with her neighbours are not off to a good start. As the City lifts her gaze outward after recent troubles, nearby peoples have taken matters into their own hands. The Sabines and the Aequians are both making bold moves stretching Rome’s attention both to the north and the south.

Episode 103 – Ten Terrific Tribunes

The Law About the Laws

As Rome faces threats from a range of peoples, the usual patrician policy of fielding a citizen army through the levy comes about. We’re in pretty familiar territory here as the levy has been a sore point for years according to our narrative tradition and we can reliably expect the tribunes of the people to request greater transparency in relation to the laws. The desire for a law code that is public and accessible is increasing.

As tensions rise, the differing political aims of the Senate, the consuls, and the tribunes clash.

Things to Look Forward to

  • Roman masculinity – how to define it and what it means from the perspective of a Greek writer
  • Cincinnatus makes a fantastically interesting speech!
  • Horatius tries to rally the people together for war while preserving the patrician position of privilege
  • A discussion of some of the intersections and conflicts that arise from gender and class narratives
  • A rhetorical exploration of age versus youth
  • A proposal to increase the number of plebeian tribunes to ten!
  • The senatorial back-and-forth regarding the pros and cons of increasing the number of the plebeian tribunes
  • Hints of when we recorded this piece – during the long Australian bushfire season, but prior to concerns about COVID-19

Who’s Who


  • Quintus Minucius P.f. M. n. Esquilinus (pat.)
  • Marcus (Gaius?) Horatius M. f. M. n. Pulvillus (pat.) COS II


  • Aulus Verginius
  • Volscius Fictor (?)
  • Two or three other tribunes unnamed in our sources


  • Dr G reads Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman Antiquities 10.26-30
  • Dr Rad reads Livy Ab Urbe Condita 3.29-30

Jean Lemaire c. 1645-55 Roman Senators and Legates

Sound Credits

  • Sound Effects courtesy of BBC Sound Effects (Beta), and John Stracke via Sound Bible
  • Final credits: Excerpt from ‘Ancient Arcadian Harp’ by Cormi
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Drs R and G laugh and spar their way through the ancient Roman world!

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