Episode 112 – The Disastrous Decemvirs

We pick up the action straight from the dramatic senate meeting from the previous episode in which was marked by conflict:

  • Lucius Valerius Potitus and Marcus Horatius Barbatus opposed the decemvirs and faced violent intimidation
  • and lead decemvir Appius Claudius faced off against his uncle Gaius Claudius.

Episode 112 – The Disastrous Decemvirs

The Conflict Continues

Once again, we see clear division between the members of the senate. Speaking in favour of the decemvirs is Lucius Cornelius Maluginensis, who just happens to be the brother of one of the decemvirs. He emphasises the need to deal with the external threat from the Sabines and the Aequians, rather than stirring up opposition to their leaders. Cornelius’ views win some support, but Lucius Valerius Potitus is determined to speak as well. Valerius feels the need to highlight how dire the political situation is in Rome. Will these decemvirs ever give up their power? What is to be done?

Taking on the Enemy

As there is no right of appeal against the decemvirs, the levy is held to raise an army. The decemvirs divide the commands between them, with some sent against the Sabines, some are off to deal with the Aequians, and Appius Claudius and Spurius Oppius intend to hold the fort in Rome itself. If they were thinking that this was their time to shine, they are sadly mistaken as they face defeat across the board. Support for this regime, such as it was, is evaporating quickly and the decemvirs start taking ever more drastic measures to maintain their grip on power.

Things to Come

  • Patrician versus patrician conflict
  • People fleeing the city
  • Military defeats on every front
  • Murder and mayhem
  • The popularity of the decemvirs sinks lower still

Our Players

The Second Decemvirate

  • Appius Claudius. Ap. f. M. n. Crassus Inregillensis Sabinus Pat – Cos. 471, 451
  • Marcus Cornelius – f. Ser. n. Maluginenesis Pat
  • Marcus? Sergius Esquilinus Pat
  • Lucius Minucius P. f. M. n. Esquilinus Augurinus Pat – Cos. 458
  • Quintus Fabius M. f. M. n. Vibulanus Pat – Cos. 467, 465, 459
  • Quintus Poetelius Libo Visolus
  • Titus Antonius Merenda
  • Caeso Duillius Longus?
  • Spurius. Oppius Cornicen
  • Manius Rabuleius

The Senators

  • Lucius Cornelius Maluginensis (brother of decemvir Marcus Cornelius)
  • Lucius Valerius Potitus
  • Marcus Horatius Barbatus
  • Gaius Claudius (uncle of Appius Claudius)

Our Sources

  • Dr Rad reads Livy Ab Urbe Condita 3.39-40
  • Dr G reads Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman History 11.16-24

Sound Credits

Additional music and sound in this episode includes:

  • an original composition for our podcast by the incredible Bettina Joy de Guzman
  • and additional sound effects from BBC Sound Effects Beta, Orange Free Sounds, Sound Bible and Fesilyan Studios

A picture of the Roman forum as it can be seen today including the Curia Julia (senate house). The Curia Julia was not where our decemvirs would have met as this curia was built in 44 BCE by Julius Caesar. Caesar’s curia replaced the Curia Cornelia which was itself a replacement for the Curia Hostilia. This image is courtesy of Rachel Claire via Pexels.

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

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