What do you get when Mamercus Aemilius Mamercinus and Aulus Cornelius Cossus return in our source material? The continuation of a beautiful bromance.
After an unfortunate amount of disease and destruction in our last episode, we return to Rome for some classic political and military action.
The Romans are ready to put a year of horrible drought behind them and seek revenge on Veii and the ongoing thorn in their side. Fidenae. It also turns out that war is the perfect backdrop for some male bonding.
Episode 135 – Building the Bromance
Jupiter as my Witness!
Before the Romans can get involved in any conflicts with Veii, there are rules of warfare that need to be observed. It is time for the fetiales! With Jupiter as their witness, they will make sure that Rome only goes to war in the right circumstances.
Fresco of Jupiter, National Archaeological Museum of Naples (inv. nr.9551).
From Pompeii, House of the Dioscuri, dating to the 1st century CE, so much later than the 420s BCE! Jupiter was invoked by thefetiales during their rituals.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Building the Bromance
The Romans elect military tribunes with consular power as they embark on their war with Veii. Unfortunately, the tribunes don’t have a talent for teamwork. It’s time for a dictator!
Our old friend Cossus nominates Mamercus Aemilius as dictator. In return, Aemilius makes Cossus his Master of the Horse. The bromance between these two is so strong that Veii doesn’t stand a chance. They are the Roman equivalent of Batman and Robin.
Watch out Etruscans! The caped crusaders are out to get you.
The classic duo: is that Mamercus and Cossus or Batman and Robin? When we squint, we can’t even tell, that’s how strong the bromance is here.
Things to Look Out For:
- More confusion over consuls
- Murder most foul
- Birds in the sky (they might be trying to tell you something)
- Smugness from Mamercus
- Fiery combat
- Did we write a book? Oh boy, yes we did! If you enjoy the podcast, this might be just the ticket. You can purchase our popular history Rex: The Seven Kings of Rome HERE
- Interested in the first instalment of the bromance between Cossus and Mamercus? We’ve got you covered – that’d be Episode 129 – Lars Tolumnius and the Fate of Fidenae
Our Players 427 BCE
- C. Servilius – f. – n. Structus Ahala (Pat) Mil. Tr. c. p. 419, 418, 417
- L. Papirius (L. f. – n.) Mugillanus (Pat) Mil. Tr. c. p. 422
Our Players 426 BCE
Military Tribunes with Consular Power
- T. Quinctius L. f. L. n. Poenus Cincinnatus (Pat) Cos 431, 428a, Mil. Tr. c. p. 420?
- C. Furius – f. – n. Pacilus Fusus (Pat) Cos. 441
- M. Postumius A. ? f. A.? n. Albinus Regillensis? (Pat) Mil. Tr. c. p. 403?
- A. Cornelius M. f. L. n. Cossus (Pat) Cos. 428
- Mam. Aemilius M. f. – n. Mamercinus (Pat)
Master of the Horse
- A. Cornelius M. f. L. n. Cossus (Pat) Cos. 428a, Mil. Tr. c. p. 426
- T. Quinctius Poenus Cincinattus (Pat) Cos. 431, Mil. tr. c. p. 426, 420?
- Dr G reads Diodorus Siculus 12.78.1, 12.80.1; Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman Antiquities 12.6; Valerius Maximus 3.2.4; Frontinus Stratagems 2.4.18-19, 2.8.9; Florus 1.6.7; Aurelius Victor De Viris Illustribus urbis Romae 25; Orosius 2.13.8-11
- Dr Rad reads Livy ab Urbe Condita 4.31-34.
- Broughton, T. R. S., Patterson, M. L. 1951. The Magistrates of the Roman Republic Volume 1: 509 B.C. – 100 B.C. (The American Philological Association)
- Cornell, T. J. 1995. The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c. 1000-264 BC) (Taylor & Francis)
- Forsythe, G. 2006. A Critical History of Early Rome: From Prehistory to the First Punic War(University of California Press)
- Ogilvie, R. M. 1965. A Commentary on Livy: Books 1-5 (Clarendon Press).
- Santangelo, F. 2008. ‘The Fetials and Their Ius’. Bulletin: Institute of Classical Studies 51:1, 63-93.
Fesliyan Studios, Orange Free Sounds and Pixabay.
Thanks to the fabulous Bettina Joy de Guzman for our theme music.
The Apollo of Veii, dated to around 550-520 BCE. This is a terracotta artefact that is now held in the National Etruscan Museum in Rome.
Source: Obelisk Art History Project.
Transcript generated by Otter AI. Edited by Dr G for those tricky Latin names!
Dr Rad 0:16
Welcome to The Partial Historians,
Dr G 0:19
we explore all the details of ancient Rome.
Dr Rad 0:22
Everything from the political scandals, the love affairs, the battles waged, and when citizens turn against each other. I’m Dr. Rad.
Dr G 0:33
And I’m Dr. G. We consider Rome as the Romans saw it by reading different authors from the ancient past and comparing their stories.
Dr Rad 0:43
Join us, as we trace the journey of Rome from the founding of the city.
Dr G 0:54
Hello, and welcome to a brand new episode of The Partial Historians. I am one of your hosts, Dr. G. And sitting with me in the realm of cyberspace.
Dr Rad 1:09
Is Dr. Rad. That’s cyberspace.
Dr G 1:17
I feel ya, I feel ya. And we are tracing the history of Rome from the foundation of the city. And hoo-we, we have made it out of the 430s and scraped into the 420s. And we are about to look at 427 BCE. But before we do that, perhaps we should do a bit of a recap of where we’re up to in the narrative.
Dr Rad 1:47
I was just thinking to myself, how do you recap nothing? How do you recap, the nothingness that was the previous three years?
Dr G 1:58
Well, I mean, it’s not like there was absolutely nothing. There was a drought, there were some there was some bad news. And there was a truce made between the Aequians and the Romans.
Dr Rad 2:10
Definitely, like there was some stuff going on. But by the standards that we have come to expect of Rome, it was it was low, it was low.
Dr G 2:20
And I think we can attribute part of the fallowness of those years to the source material. As much as Livy is still with us. He did say that nothing happened.
Dr Rad 2:33
He did, I can’t deny it. But also, I feel like this has to do a lot with what we’ve been talking about for a really long time now, literally years for us. So decades. For the Romans, we talked about the fact that there does seem to have been this really tough time in Roman history. If we look at the archaeological record, I thought we were looking at a tough time in the late 450s and into the 440s. But I had no idea what was awaiting us in the 430s. It is out of control.
Dr G 3:10
Yeah, there’s heaps of problems with like, what might be going on with how Rome is in central Italy in this period. And, as we’ve noted before, there’s not any sort of extensive record of a building programme, we’ve had some references to what this new temple to Apollo come up in the last few years, but that’s the first building we’ve heard about in a while.
Dr Rad 3:33
They’re suspicious of that building now.
Dr G 3:36
Dr Rad 3:36
Just slightly, just slightly
Dr G 3:37
That temple. Can we trust Apollo? That God looks fishy to me. And so they have a sense in which their competition with their neighbours is so all consuming that it makes it very difficult to make progress at home. And that’s just adding into what is the broader confusion, which is all of our source material, generally speaking, comes from centuries later, where they’re unsure about what happened. And they’re trying to figure it out from the limited records that have survived from this period. And they’re a little bit all over the shop. So we’re in some trying times, and that’s okay. We’ll just keep going.
Dr Rad 4:23
Look, I’m excited because the next couple of years, I know that there’s potential for some very dramatic things to happen. So let’s get into it, Dr. G. Let’s head into 427 BCE!
Dr G 5:20
It is 427 BCE and Dionysius of Halicarnassus is missing.
Dr Rad 5:29
Fair enough. Well, once again, you know, I’m very good sharer. You should have the magistrates you should have that honour.
Dr G 5:36
Oh, thank you. Thank you. Well, I don’t have many to report for this year. We apparently have the names of the consuls. So we’ve got Gaius Servilius Structus Ahala. Ahala!
Dr Rad 5:54
Ahala the armpit.
Dr G 5:58
Dr Rad 5:59
Yes, the famous armpit. Yeah.
Dr G 6:01
Well, yeah, so I was gonna say if this name sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve already had a very infamous Gaius Servilius Ahala, the armpit as master of the horse in 439, who was responsible for or scapegoated as the person responsible for the assassination of Spurius Maeilus, also known as the Nacho King. And so this is big news because literally the same name, but we do think that they’re different people. This seems to be the next one down the line.
Dr Rad 6:39
He was meant to be sent into exile, wasn’t he?
Dr G 6:41
Well yeah, he was sent into exile. We don’t seem to hear from him again. And do have this name Structus stuck in this guy for this year. And that name is not present for our previous Gaius Servilius Ahala. So okay, we don’t really we’re not really sure, but it does seem to be slightly different guy.
Dr Rad 7:04
Dr G 7:05
So possibly the eldest son of the infamous armpit because the Ahala name is one of these cognomens, so it’s one of these sort of individualising names. But how many people could be known by their armpit?
Dr Rad 7:21
I’ve never thought about it. I never thought.
Dr G 7:25
I mean, if this is a nickname, I don’t know, but maybe it’s inherited. And our second consul is Lucius Papirius Mugillanus.
Dr Rad 7:35
Dr G 7:39
Another Papirii so this gens is doing well for themselves. But this guy is new. Mugillanus is a new figure that we haven’t really come across before. This seems to be connected, potentially, to a family from the Latin town of Mugilla.
Dr Rad 7:59
Dr G 8:00
Don’t bother trying to find it on any maps because we don’t know where it was.
Dr Rad 8:05
Then Moogly up to the server at night. All right, look, I’ve got a little bit of detail about this year. So let’s get into it. I think you’ll see the pace is starting to build up again. So this is a good sign. So, as is typical for Livy, we’ve had this horrible drought, causing all sorts of problems in terms of disease, death, chaos
Dr G 8:29
Dr Rad 8:30
In the previous year. Yeah, it’s all bad. But it’s miraculously just all over now. We’re on to new things, and the Romans feel well enough to seek vengeance against Veii who, lest we forget, seem to have been conducting some raids into Roman territory over the past year or two.
Dr G 8:50
All right, I’m just gonna interrupt you there because it’s clearly rained, which means and this is one for the Australian listeners, Marge, the rains are here!
Dr Rad 9:04
Classic Simpsons reference and in the previous episode, we had a great Seinfeld reference, we’re basking in the glory of the 90s.
Dr G 9:12
It’s all happening.
Dr Rad 9:13
It is alright, so they want to deal with Veii. Okay, and we’ve got our consuls as you said. However, it was decided that they could not declare war on Veii straightaway. So we know that there’s been this niggling backwards and forwards, but it was iffy about whether they were actually you know, still at war, like it was like an ongoing conflict that they could just renew. And I guess it was decided that it was best to be cautious and therefore presume that they weren’t really already at war with they, and therefore this means that some of your favourites the fetiales have to go through their procedures before anything else can happen. So I thought this might actually be a good time to sort of review, what it is that these people do?
Dr G 10:03
Oh, yeah, look, the fetiales is some of my favourite priests. So they come in pairs. And they roam about the countryside looking for just war. so
Dr Rad 10:14
Sounds very noble when you put it like that
Dr G 10:17
One of them is dressed very fancily, one of them’s not. And they go around together, if if Rome is in the mood, where they’re like, we really do think that possibly conflict is on the horizon, is it going to be just in the eyes of the gods, then they get the fetiale crew out and about, and they have a very particular job, they’ve got a walk towards the territory, which Rome has a problem with. And as they walk along, they sort of announced periodically that they are seeking some sort of like righting of the relationship between Rome and this place, particularly when they get to what is considered to be the borderland between the two and before they step over into the symbolic other place, then they keep going, and periodically keep saying the things until they start to encounter people of that land. And you know, the message starts to spread, and these to continue onwards towards the major city centre of whatever place it is, and continue to announce, and they make some demands being like, you need to really liaise with Rome, otherwise, it’s going to be a bit problematic, then they wait a specified period of time for an answer. And if they get one, that’s fine, they take it back to Rome, and they start to figure things out from there. If they don’t get one, they head back to Rome. And they’re like, I think it might be time to consider a just war. And so then they go out again, and they do a bit of spear throwing into the other territory. And check out how the gods react to that. And if it’s all looking good. War is just and may commence in the eyes of the god.
Dr Rad 11:51
Yeah, absolutely. They have this really interesting position where to quote the article that will be in our sources. So if you want to have a look at this article in full, please do they are in a sense, the people that preside over the rights that precede a war begin a war and at the end of the war, as well. And they serve this really interesting role as the kind of judges slash guardians of the peace of Rome, which I like as a nice little way of conjuring up what it is they do. And their role changed over time, as we shall see, it’s not it’s not always exactly the same.
Dr G 12:33
Look, there’s nothing like a good twist on the tale, or like these are priests that are definitely involved in war. So to suggest that they’re very much involved with peace is fascinating and hilarious.
Dr Rad 12:45
Well, yes. I mean, I think in terms of, you know, as you say, it’s about are the Romans going to war for the right reasons should peace be broken, I suppose in order to go to war in that sense. Yes. Anyway, so we have the fetiales going through their proper procedures, okay. And we know, of course, there has been some conflicts with Rome and Veii because they were involved in the whole issue, over Fidenae, the colony that was and then wasn’t, and then was, but doesn’t seem to be committing to it wholeheartedly. You know, it’s all very iffy with Veii and Fidenae at this point in time, I think we can definitely say that, if what the accounts that were given are correct. Rome is really struggling to assert itself in this whole decade in this part of Italy.
Dr G 13:39
Yeah, they can send as many fetiales as they like searching for just war, but they can’t hold it together. And they can’t seem to retain the things that they have laid out as their own. So Fidenae was theirs. And they’re definitely struggling to hold on to it at this point.
Dr Rad 13:57
Yeah. So after the whole issue that they had had over Fidenae, they had a truce with Veii that had expired, admittedly, but the Romans still see the need to obviously declare war properly. So the fetiales go out and do their business, but rudely, they are completely ignored.
Dr G 14:17
Yeah, amazing. Well, I mean, let’s face it, let’s imagine you imagine the time these two weirdos from Rome, one of them dress very fancily, and the other one sort of like he’s offsider and they sort of approaching and they’re doing this sort of like, did you know that you are not in right relation with Rome?
Dr Rad 14:42
Like ah, yeah, I think I just stole your cow.
Dr G 14:46
They’re like, Well, sure, but whatever. And then the you know, like they walk another 50 metres and like, did you know that you’re not a right relation with Rome, and you know, like waving a fancy stick and stuff. And I can see how some people might not take them very seriously. Or, conversely realise the import of these two people and just laugh in their faces being like, this is how your gonna win the war. Really?
Dr Rad 15:18
I feel like the people of Veii are not particularly interested in preserving peaceful relations at this moment in time. So.
Dr G 15:26
And they probably have good confidence for that.
Dr Rad 15:28
Yeah. Well, should they though? Should they?
Dr G 15:31
Well, well, I guess we’ll find out.
Dr Rad 15:36
Anyway, so it’s obvious that a war is going to happen. A controversy breaks out over who has the right to actually declare the war? Is it the Senate or the people?
Turf war. Yeah. So I think it’s, I think it’s seen as like standard procedure at this point in time that the people are generally the ones that decide whether they are going to go to war. But they’re starting to say, well, do we need to take it to the people? Is the senatorial decree enough? Now, again, this is probably a little bit anachronistic, I am not entirely confident in this idea of a senatorial decree, at this point in Rome’s history. Now we are getting later, maybe I’m being overly cautious.
Dr G 16:25
We’re in this very hazy period where it’s hard to say. So from thinking about how Rome works. And we’re not sure like that’s, that’s where we’re at in terms of the scholarship, we’re not entirely sure how it’s working at this point in time. What we do know is that, generally speaking, the Roman people are involved in decisions relating to war, because it relates to things that they’re specifically going to have to do.
Dr Rad 16:57
Dr G 16:57
And the Senate has lots of mechanisms and levers to push and pull those people in particular ways. This is not a democracy. But surely, the Senate has enough of its own levers still, to be able to persuade the people one way or the other. I would have thought this would suggest if we’re looking at something where the Senate is like, well, we’re just going to make that decision for everybody. That would seem to suggest to me that they’ve actually lost control of the populace.
Dr Rad 17:29
Hmm, interesting take. So the tribunes ended up winning this argument, which kind of makes sense. I would kind of expect them to be the people who are representing the people. And they say, look, you’re going to let the people say whether it’s war or not, because if you don’t, then we’re going to screw up your levy. And then who’s going to fight for you, Senate? Who, who?
Dr G 17:56
Dear Lucretia, I didn’t sign up for the levy this year. But somehow I’m still in the battlefield. I don’t know how it happened.
Dr Rad 18:03
I am apart from you. And it is so painful, because I do not know why.
Dr G 18:10
I didn’t sign up for this. And I don’t know why I’m here.
Dr Rad 18:14
So what ends up happening is and this is a bit weird, Livy, or at least the versions of it that I’m reading, so it might be a typo. I probably should have checked the Latin I was a bit slack and I didn’t, the consul Quinctius, which is weird, because we haven’t mentioned a Quinctius in this year.
Dr G 18:30
Yeah, that’s a surprise. Where does it Quinctius? Where is he coming from?
Dr Rad 18:35
I’m wondering if he means like the ex-consul Quinctius, that’s something I probably should have checked in the Latin that me. But anyway, he’s forced to present the question of war to the people. And you know what, it all ends up exactly how they wanted it anyway, because the centuries all vote for war anyway.
Dr G 18:52
Well, well, well. So I mean, it turns out that, in actuality, flesh rabbits, cause we’re still not really sure what’s going on, that the Senate gets their way by using the very levers that it already possesses in order to ensure that the people do what they want them to do, because we know that that voting system is I mean, by any measure of a modern standard completely rigged.
This this artificial tension. It’s really probably not anywhere near as dramatic as it sounds.
The people agree to the thing that they’ve been convinced to agree to, and war shall proceed.
Dr Rad 19:35
Yeah. And the rich people have most of the say.
Dr G 19:39
Dr Rad 19:39
Either way. Either way you look at it.
Dr G 19:42
I mean, does it sound like the modern world?
Dr Rad 19:45
I don’t know. The modern world is just such a delight filled with equality and justice.
Dr G 19:52
Dr Rad 19:54
So this takes me to the year that I’ve been very excited to get to for actually a number of episodes.
Dr G 20:00
Oh, okay, well hold that thought. I only have, I only have one more detail to add about this year.
Dr Rad 20:06
I was going to say, what detail are you adding?
Dr G 20:09
Before we vacate 427, I just want to draw attention to what appears to be the naming conventions in some of the Fasti records that we have attached to this year for Mr. Armpit himself. Ahala. Yeah, because in the Greek this comes through as Axilla. And in one of the Latin Fastis that comes through as Achillo. So we get this sense that there is a potential sort of like Achillius naming convention that might be coming through here where Ahala has been substituted in instead, or there’s been a merging of those names over time. Anyway. Yeah, not that I see this guy as being in any way resemblance of Achilles. But, I mean, we don’t really know what he did. But I thought it was an interesting little detail.
Dr Rad 21:09
Yeah, like until he has a temper tantrum and really stuffs things up for everyone, I’m not convinced.
Dr G 21:15
The other thing that’s worth noting is Diodorus Siculus gets the names right for both consuls this year.
Dr Rad 21:22
Dr G 21:25
Yeah, bringing his a game to this year.
Dr Rad 21:28
He is. All right. So that takes us to 426 BCE. At last!
Dr G 21:34
We’re here this year is filled with drama, and people and potentially lots of stuff.
Dr Rad 21:41
Absolutely. So I don’t know about you, Dr. G. But instead of consuls, I’ve got military tribunes with consular power.
Dr G 21:48
Oh, yes. I got some of those as well.
Dr Rad 21:51
Alright, tell me.
Dr G 21:52
So we have Titus Quinctius Poenas Cincinnatus,
Dr Rad 21:57
Who might be the Quinctius who Livy is talking about
Dr G 21:59
Indeed, in the previous year.
Dr Rad 22:02
Dr G 22:02
So he has been consul twice so far, 431 and in 428, and is now back in this new position. With consular power. We have Gaius Furius Pacilus Fusus.
Dr Rad 22:19
Yeah, it’s been ages since we had a Furius – whoo!
Dr G 22:23
A Furius returns.
Dr Rad 22:24
Dr G 22:25
And he was apparently also previously consul in 441, so this guy’s gotta be getting on a little bit, because it’s been a while.
Dr Rad 22:32
Yeah, it has.
Dr G 22:33
And he was also censor in 435. So they’ve done quite a few censorships as well. It’s been, it’s been tough times for the Romans. Our third military tribune with consular power is Marcus Postumius Albinus Regillensis. A new guy in town. Don’t be fooled all of those names add up to somebody different. And Aulus Cornelius Cossus, the best looking Roman that everybody’s ever known about.
Dr Rad 23:04
Dr G 23:05
Very famous. Is this the year he’s famous for?
Dr Rad 23:10
I think it might be. We also have a dictator, don’t we?
Dr G 23:15
Yeah. So this year, it gets out of hand. So the thing that we tend to assume with military tribunes with consular power is that there is a lot of conflict going on, and Rome doesn’t know how to deal with it anymore. And they need more consuls, essentially. And so they’ve whacked a whole bunch of those people into play. Turns out or it seems initially just from reading this list that that is not enough to deal with this situation and a dictator is required. And this is Mamercus Aemilius Mamercinus.
Dr Rad 23:45
A familiar name.
Dr G 23:46
Yeah, he was part of the special commission in 428. So just a couple of years ago, and you know this name crops up a little bit as well. Was he also the dictator of 437 and 434? Was he milit- was he military tribune in 438? It’s a common name. So he has a master of the horse and we see very quickly the return of Aulus Cornelius Cossus getting apparently upgraded from a military tribune with consular power to master the horse.
Dr Rad 24:20
I think these guys are Batman and Robin I think that they are the dynamic duo of this decade.
Dr G 24:26
I can’t possibly do it without your Cossus. Would you join me? Yes, sir.
Dr Rad 24:31
All right, well,
Dr G 24:32
oh wait oh wait, because apparently we also have a legate as well
Dr Rad 24:38
Dr G 24:39
Which is Titus Quinctius Poenas Cincinnatus. So, so we have this weird sort of, I would say just looking at this list that we are looking at some real confusion from our annalistic sources and our fasti source material. Very confusing. We’ve either got many people in multiple roles, or we’ve got a collapse in the chronology and people don’t know how to separate the years out into the individual pieces, and they’ve just lumped them all in together and they’re like, You know what? I’ll make it work.
Dr Rad 25:13
Yeah, I think that you can see this very much, because if you actually look at what Livy says, rather than look at Broughton’s record of the magistrates. Livy explicitly says that Titus Quinctius Poenas was consul in the previous year. So that’s a bit weird. And then we’ve got Gaius Furius, Marcus Postumius, Aulua Cornelius Cossus all serving as military tribunes. Now, what they do is they’re going to divide and conquer, Dr. G. So Cossus is placed in charge of the city of Rome itself, and the rest of the military tribunes start organising the levy because they of course, are going to go and kick Veii’s butt and it is a big butt. There is a problem. Yeah, there is a problem. You’ve got three of these guys. They’re, I imagine, pretty typical Roman elites. They’re all very confident in their own opinion, and they refuse to compromise. And so they very quickly start disagreeing with each other, which means that there’s a little sliver of light for the people of Veii, because this is going to be undermining for the whole Roman war effort. The army is really confused because they’re being given different instructions, different orders, you know, some of them are saying, now go sound the charge other than saying no, not yet. Stay in place. It’s just it’s just a big mess where he’s messy us at a time like this. He’s the man has a job. Yeah. So the Romans are in terrible trouble. They flee back to their camp. They’re not really physically injured or anything, but they are injured on the inside, because there is nothing more humiliating or shameful for a Roman soldier than having to tuck his tail between his legs and run back to his camp without having dominated over the entity.
Dr G 27:09
It is tough out there, isn’t it.
Dr Rad 27:12
Yeah, so the Romans are sitting around, crushed, forlorn, heartbroken deal to lose They’re the heroes in this story. They never lose.
Dr G 27:22
I got no spoils and I got nothing to send, ya.
Dr Rad 27:27
Now the people back in the city are so irritated. You can’t explain how irritated they are with the military tribunes and they’re like, you know what, forget you guys, you are useless. It’s time for a dictator. Now, it seems like once again, we have a bit of an argument about exactly how or even if this could come about, some people were saying earlier consul can name a dictator. And do we have a consul? No, we do not.
Dr G 28:01
No, but we do have lots of military tribunes with consular power. And if they have the consular power, that might mean they’re they’re able to do the thing. And
Dr Rad 28:11
I think you’re missing the point, they’re not a consul.
Dr G 28:16
Well, what’s the point of them having consular power if they can’t use it? Dionysius of Halicarnassus does have a little excerpt here.
Dr Rad 28:26
Dr G 28:28
Yeah. And he talks about when Aulua Cornelius Cossus was consul for the second time.
Dr Rad 28:38
Dr G 28:39
And that’s problematic for a whole bunch of reasons.
Dr Rad 28:42
Dr G 28:43
Partly because maybe what he goes on to say, should really go back to 428. Right, but we’re in maybe 426 as well. So for instance, there’s a whole bunch of sort of like Dionysius comes back, but like to what value because he talks about a land that has suffered from a severe drought, all the moisture, and the flowing streams have dried up so you know, the echoes of Livy here?
Dr Rad 29:16
Dr G 29:17
The sheep, beasts of burden, and cattle have disappeared.
Dr Rad 29:21
Oh, this all sounds very familiar. Don’t take me back there!
Dr G 29:26
Humans have been visited by many diseases.
Dr Rad 29:28
Yeah, yeah. Deja vu.
Dr G 29:31
Particularly the mange
Dr Rad 29:34
oh my god,
Dr G 29:35
yeah, dreadful pains in the skin with its itchings and ulcerations, a most pitable affliction, and the cause of the speediest of deaths. I mean, it doesn’t sound like mange, it sounds like Ebola, but I’ll give it to them. They’re calling it as they see it. But we have this issue because he talks about this is the time period when Cossus and Quinctius are consuls together.
Dr Rad 29:59
Dr G 30:00
And that’s that’s a weird thing to say. But they’re definitely both military tribunes with consular power right now.
Dr Rad 30:08
Yeah, look, I think I can help you out here. It’s actually quite straightforward. Dionysius is wrong and Livy is right.
Dr G 30:15
Dr Rad 30:15
it’s just really obvious and I’m glad I could clear it up for you and everyone.
Dr G 30:26
I don’t know if I’m gonna buy what you’re putting down but
Dr Rad 30:30
All right, is that is that all the Dionysius has to say?
Dr G 30:32
Yeah, look, I mean, things get pretty wayward for me in this year in terms of source material. Just to give you a sense of like, where this is going, I’ve got some Diodorus Siculus. I’ve got some Valerius Maximus, I’ve got some Frontinus. Two different passages from Frontinus. I’ve got Florus, I’ve got Aurelius Victor, Pseudo-Aurelius Victor and Orosius.
Dr Rad 30:55
Dr G 30:55
So it’s all manner of craziness over here for like, trying to figure out what to do with this year. But it tells you that something’s gonna happen, I think. And you might know what it is, even though I’ve got no idea despite all the sources I looked at.
Dr Rad 31:09
I think I do. So we’ve gotten this argument about whether you actually consul to name a dictator, so they ended up turning to the augurs which I thought would be something that would excite you. So, the augurs are a religious position, do you want to tell us a bit about what it is that they do? I had, I hear it’s something to do with the bird life?
Dr G 31:31
Yeah, look, it’s the sort of thing that could go wrong if you decide to not follow the rituals like they did a couple of years ago. You know, like, imagine if you decided to start reading the bird signs differently. The augurs have a very specific role. So part of it is dividing up the sky into quadrants, first of all, and then looking and observing the way that birds move in the sky to determine the will of the gods. And the reason why you might be like, I mean, I’ve seen birds fly, not that interesting. But one of the things that they’re really interested in is those murmurations that you get of starlings as they shift through the air, which are really quite poetic and beautiful. And they’re considered to tell us something, but they’re interested in all variety of bird life really, vultures, eagles, whatever they can see, it’s all got some sort of meaning. And the augurs have been integral to the Roman’s self definition since time in memorial
Dr Rad 32:34
Indeed they have. So the augurs are consulted, and they make sure that the signs say that it is not only a council who could name a dictator.
Dr G 32:45
Well, that makes it easy.
Dr Rad 32:46
Yeah. So Aulua Cornelius Cossus picks Mamercus Aemilius as dictator and Mamercus Aemilius then names Cossus as his master of the horse. Aren’t they are adorable.
Dr G 33:00
These two like, will you be my buddy? I’ll be your buddy. If you’ll be my buddy.
Dr Rad 33:05
It’s a bromance to last the centuries, Dr G. Yeah. So now, just a bit of a recap here. Lest we forget the last time that we were talking about Mamercus Aemilius which okay, there are some question marks about whether we should have been talking about him in that time period. but we were, he was taken down by the censors in a pretty devastating way. He basically I mean, they basically took away some of his key rights as a citizen, like they kicked him out of his tribe.
Dr G 33:35
Dr Rad 33:37
Dr G 33:38
But he seems to have bounced back from this.
Dr Rad 33:41
Well, this is the thing Livy comments that this guy was so amazing, that he just rises to the top when it’s a dangerous time for Rome. You know, I mean, suck it censors. The best revenge is a life well lived. You know, you can’t take it away from me.
Dr G 33:58
He must be charismatic, I’m guessing.
Dr Rad 34:01
I think so. Livy was all over him the last time like when we were talking about what the census did to him live, he was clearly devastated. And now he’s all happy again. Anyway, the people have they are thrilled in the meantime, because they’ve done so well against Rome. They’re like, oh, my god, this is amazing. So they send out word to other Etruscan cities, they’re like, yeah, we didn’t just take down one Roman commander, we took down three in just one battle, only. The Etruscans are not interested. They’re like, whatever.
Dr G 34:35
I wonder what the Etruscans by and large, are really doing. I mean, we know that they’re located generally, to the north, but Veii is like their most southern significant outpost. Yeah. And they really don’t tend to do a lot of reinforcement, or at least not in this period.
Dr Rad 34:52
Look, let that be a lesson to you. It’s the same issues that the Greeks had: unity. Unity is what is important. Don’t go back to each other up because you do anyway. So the Etruscans are not interested. However, there are some people who are interested in joining their cause because of course, whenever there’s this kind of thing going on, like reading whatever, there is bougie aplenty for everyone. So officially, not many people are interested, but there are some. And would you be shocked to know that one of the places that decide that they might join in is none other than Fidenae?
Dr G 35:35
Oh, colour me surprised. This is a turn in the narrative I was not expecting.
Dr Rad 35:40
Yep. So Fidenae. I mean, god, what is it at this point in time, it’s been going backwards and forwards with its allegiances so many times between Rome and the people of Veii I can’t even tell what ethnicity the people there would have been.
Dr G 35:55
Look like everybody in this region. They’re Italians.
Dr Rad 35:59
Okay, yes. Anyway, so they decided they’re going to throw their lot in with Veii. Again, because it went so well, the last time.
Dr G 36:07
Well look, to be honest, I think Fidenae had been pretty consistent in their desire to get away from Rome for at least a few years now. And they’ve been forced and coerced by the Romans back into the fold. And at every opportunity, they’d be like, nah, I’m with those guys.
Dr Rad 36:25
How dare you provide an anti imperial narrative when I’m trying to make Rome look good?
Dr G 36:32
I’ve got nothing to say to that.
Dr Rad 36:34
Dad, dad, dad, dad out data.
Dr G 36:38
I mean, anyway, they’re working on it.
Dr Rad 36:41
Anyway, so Fidenae, obviously, as you say, not happy with what’s going on. But they decided to do it in style, just like they did the first time. So lest we forget, the really big conflict that we talked about, which may or may not have happened about 10 years ago, was really kicked off when the people of Fidenae murdered the Roman ambassadors. This time, they decide they’re going to slaughter all the new settlers.
Dr G 37:11
Well, well, well, I mean, yeah, this is bad news. But it does echo very nicely what has previously happened.
Dr Rad 37:22
Yeah, I mean, I think we can understand why scholars are like, what is going on here? Did this really happen again? Or is there some confusion in the narrative because there are a lot of similar notes that are being struck here.
Dr G 37:37
And there’s also the sense of like, I mean, this is yet again, another candidate for the year that Cossus does the business with killing Lars Tolumnius? That guy keeps coming back from the dead. Tell you what,
Dr Rad 37:52
Well he hasn’t been mentioned by name. But yes. Anyway, so there’s a bit of a debate about where they’re going to set up their headquarters. Veii or Fidenae, but they decided that Fidenae was more suitable. So the people of Veii head on over there and set up. The Romans are freaking out.
Dr G 38:09
And this and fair enough, because it’s on. As I’ve noted before, like Fidenae sits on the opposite side of the Tiber, from Veii, which means that it technically sits on the Roman side of the Tiber. And the Tiber is considered this, like, you know, the point between the two territories. And so if you’ve got that foothold in Fidenae and the Fidenese, like let down their little bridge, or whatever, or the who knows how they did it, and they’re like, come across, Veii come across, it’s like you’re letting the foxes into the chicken coop of Rome.
Dr Rad 38:47
Yeah, I get ya. So Veii recall their forces from Veii who aren’t in a great mood. They’re pretty depressed, to be honest. Because things haven’t gone well until then. And they set up camp just outside the Colline gate. One of the many ways that you can get into Rome which apparently is walls at this point in time,
Dr G 39:07
Well, yeah, and they and the Colline gate is at that side of room that will lead them directly to Fidenae. So all makes sense.
Dr Rad 39:14
Yeah, absolutely. So they make sure everything’s pretty fortified. You know, they do the typical thing arms, men placed along the walls. They also kind of say, right, everybody stop what you’re doing. Pay attention. So business in the courts stop shops close. Livy says that Rome ends up looking more like a military camp than a city at this point in time. The dictator now starts to get down to what he was brought in to do in the first place. He dispatches heralds to go through all the streets of Rome, to round them all up because they’re all terrified and cowering. Take them to an assembly. When they get there. He is furious with them for being so quick to think that Rome is actually going to be defeated. How dare they? Rome had beaten Veii six times and captured Fidenae so many times he can’t even count for heaven’s sakes. Get a grip. And they didn’t lose just recently because their army was weak. They lost because their commanders were arguing. Big difference.
Dr G 40:13
And now, now they have a dictator, there’s gonna be no more arguing and only victory.
Dr Rad 40:32
Exactly. And he says, You just wait guys, you will see that the men who appointed me as dictator have done an amazing thing for Rome because I am awesome. Everybody thinks so. Especially Livy!
Dr G 40:46
Also Cossus the man who appointed him.
Dr Rad 40:49
Exactly and those who tried to ruin him had done the biggest disservice to the state. Hint, hint, censors, need some ointment for that burn. So Mamercus then makes an offering to the gods. Again, this is all sounding very familiar, but not not like it’s not standard practice. I was gonna say
Dr G 41:13
I mean, I mean that’s familiar but to be expected.
Dr Rad 41:16
Yes, absolutely. Marches out sets up camp near Fidenae, make sure that he is shielded by mountains on one side and protected by the Tiber on the other so strategically sound position, he orders his lieutenant to secure the mountains and to secretly sneak sneak sneak occupy the riches behind the enemy. So that’s Titus Quinctius Poenas. So he puts on his sneakers, he gets all the men following him to put on their sneakers. And they are, are over to that location. So the next day, the enemy are feeling pretty confident because of course of everything that’s been happening, they’re ready to fight. The Romans are like, you got lucky. Thank you very much. Mamercus, however, he is not going to be rushed by these people. He’s not impetuous, he is wise. So he’s going to wait until he’s got all his ducks lined up in a row. He needs to make sure that Quinctius has made it to the ridge so that he’s secretly in position.
Dr G 42:22
Yeah, it’s one of those powerful things going into battle to be the one making the decisions.
Dr Rad 42:28
Yeah. And it’s then that he decides, okay, I think I’m almost ready. I’m going to take my infantry and against the enemy. And I’m going to do it really quickly at speed, like, whoo, you blink and we’re there.
Dr G 42:42
Guys, I want you to sprint on my command.
Dr Rad 42:44
Now notice I did say infantry, because he has a special plan for the cavalry. Now, naturally, master of the horse does seem to have some sort of connection to cavalry. And so Cossus is in charge of the cavalry. He says, don’t follow me. I want you to wait and not join the battle until you get an order from me. I need to keep the cavalry from coming in. And so just the right moment, and then it’s going to be the biggest thing you’ve ever seen, Cossus. Do you remember how awesome you were? You killed a freaking king, man, last time? I can’t even wait to see you at the head of the cavalry. This is gonna be awesome. He actually says that to him.
Dr G 43:32
Yeah, okay, so in Livy’s account. Lars Tolumnius is definitely already, well dead.
Dr Rad 43:42
Oh, yeah. He’s just like, he’s just like, look, remember how amazing you were the last time we went battle together, man. Let’s bring that energy again. Let’s get the band back together. Batman and Robin – Whoo. Whoo.
Dr G 43:52
It’s gonna be great.
Dr Rad 43:55
They jump together and they chest touch but because they’re wearing some sort of armour, it doesn’t go too well.
Dr G 44:01
Dr Rad 44:01
I’m just kidding. All right, so the battle commences – it is fierce. The Romans are so mad because of the murder of the colonists. And the fact that the Fidenates clearly have no honour. They’re just murderers and traitors, and the people of Veii just faithless breakers of truces. Disgusting, they are Spurius Furius on the scale of anger. That is how angry they are. Now, the people of Veii, the Fidenates they are like completely blindsided in some ways because the Romans are just so angry and they’ve hit them so hard that at first, they are taken aback. Yeah, I was gonna say
Dr G 44:43
this is gonna be shocking feeling the full force of this anger and particularly this pairing of our dictator and our master of the horse being such buddy buddies as well.
Dr Rad 44:55
Yeah, exactly. Anyway, but then the Romans had a moment where they’re a bit shaken, because the gates of Fidenae open and what’s described very vaguely as a new type of army comes pouring out of the gate. Oh,
Dr G 45:09
I have I have some detail on this.
Dr Rad 45:12
Okay, go ahead. There’s a bit of a spoiler with this one isn’t there?
Dr G 45:15
There might be there might be. I have a little snippet from Frontinus who talks about, and interestingly, like the dates are a little bit mixed up, so he talks about this moment where the Faliscans and the Tarquinians disguise themselves as priests
Dr Rad 45:35
Dr G 45:35
and held torches and snakes in front of them like the Furies and that this tactic and this is, this is a spoiler for 356 BCE. This panics, the Romans, and he says that this there is an occasion where the men of Veii and Fidenae do the same thing. They dress themselves up as priests, grab some torches, grab some snakes, goodness knows, and wander out towards the army of the Romans. And put the fear of the gods into them!
Dr Rad 46:17
Yeah, I definitely get the sense that there is something going on here. I must admit, this is one of those things where I probably should have again, checked the Latin but we all know how good my Latin is. So it probably wouldn’t have helped. But yeah, there’s definitely something unexpected. It’s not just the fact that the enemies coming out with blazing torches, it as you say they’re dressed up some way, or I’ve even read somewhere in one of the academics, I was looking at that maybe it was like they thought they were facing women. But anyway, there’s something
Dr G 46:43
Wow, that would be enough to make the men turn tail and run wouldn’t it. They’re like, Oh, yeah. Oh, the women have come out.
Dr Rad 46:52
But anyway, they’re definitely whoever they are. And however they’re dressed that they are bearing blazing torches as weapons and the Romans are momentarily stunned. It’s at this moment that Mamercus is like, right, let’s get Cossus and Quinctius into action, as well as turning to the troops that are around him, you know, in the battlefield, and like trying to, you know, get them to like, get back into the spirit. Like, come on, step out of it. This isn’t a big deal. Like
Dr G 47:20
They’re men dressed up as women. They’re not the Furies at all, those aren’t real snakes.
Dr Rad 47:25
Yeah. So he hurries over to the left flank, which is the most intimidated away, or the fire gives them a massive pep talk. Like, remember, you are Romans, remember your glorious ancestors. Remember your courage. And this is all the weapon that you need. Now unleash it against them, set Fidenae alight, don’t let them let take you on fire. Or something to that effect. The Romans are encouraged by this because he’s apparently just the kind of guy that can just say something and they do it. So they start seizing torches by force, or they pick up ones that have been dropped or, you know, when someone being killed or time being careless or something like that. And then of course, we’ve got Cossus, right. Now, apparently, and this is a direct quote, he invented a new kind of cavalry fighting, and that he told his troops to take the bridles off their horses, and just charge into the fire. And apparently it was, so there was just so many of them that apparently, you know the chaos of battle, all that kind of stuff, they can barely see you with everything that’s going on.
Dr G 48:33
That seems like a really bad idea, removing the bridles from the horses as they’re about to charge the cavalry unit into fire.
Dr Rad 48:44
Nonsense, Dr G. It’s glorious, and it’s magnificent success!
Dr G 48:49
Look, let’s just think about this realistically. Most animals have a healthy respect and fear of fire. A bridleless horse is a horse that you cannot change the direction of because it’s going to run whichever way that it wants, unless you’ve trained it to be controlled by the stirrups alone, which is a whole other thing entirely. And it doesn’t sound like they’ve got that. It just seems like madness, Cossus what are you doing?
Dr Rad 49:14
Actually, as a side note, and I could be wrong here because this is something that’s just come to me out of nowhere. I’m almost 100% sure that the Romans did not ride with stirrups, not at this point in time and
Dr G 49:27
yeah, so so it’s bridles or nothing
Dr Rad 49:31
It’s your thighs, god dammit, Suzanne Somers would be proud.
Dr G 49:35
Well, well well
Dr Rad 49:36
Yeah. Anyway, the horses are apparently not frightened. The Romans are not frightened. The cavalry ends up just eating up huge amounts of the enemy just knocking them out of the battle. Then Quinctius makes his attack – the enemy is trapped. They have nowhere to flee. There’s nowhere to go. They’re pinned in all around. So the people of Veii and the Fidenates, they’re just running around in chaotic circles. The people of Veii, they’re trying to get to the Tiber and the Fidenates are trying to get to their city. But a lot of them are just running in the wrong directions, or they can’t go where they want to go. And they just ran into the very worst parts of the battle. So they’re either killed because they’re in the battlefield, or they drown trying to escape. The Romans, of course show no mercy, they are going to recapture that city if it kills them. So they enter the city, they make their way to the wall, and they send the signals say that Fidenae was captured. Again.
Mamercus was in the camp of the enemy, with all his man, when this signal sort of goes up. The soldiers are really keen to be like, Yeah, cool. Let’s get pillaging this is what we came for. Mamercus says, look, let’s just stay calm, be methodical, takes them to the city. Once they’re inside, Mamerucs can see that the enemy are trying to reach the Citadel there. And they make sure that they basically finish them off. So there’s just slaughter everywhere until finally the enemy surrenders. And then they can loot and pillage and sack the city and the camp.
Dr G 51:22
Oh, wow. All right, this is slightly different in some of the details then. And I’ll admit, I’ve got some pretty disparate source material at my disposal. And so it’s probably not a surprise that they’re quite different. So I’ve got Florus. Yeah, who is probably most famous for doing an epitome of Livy.
Dr Rad 51:47
I was gonna say, surely that means that you should agree with everything I say.
Dr G 51:52
And you’d be surprised, and but it may be the case that the detail that Florus is providing here actually belongs to maybe a later time period, though there does seem to be a bit of overlap in the detail.
Dr Rad 52:03
Dr G 52:04
So he talks about the people of Fidenae are not a match for the Romans. And what they had done is they armed themselves with torches, and they’d put on a variety of fillets, so like head gear, resembling serpents, so we’ve got that serpent reference again. Yeah, and they had marched forth like Furies. And so, so far, there’s a little bit of match up there. But he also says that their funereal attire was an omen of their overthrow.
Dr Rad 52:36
Dr G 52:37
And also seems to indicate that at some point, and maybe this is anachronistic, and maybe it’s a bit of a spoiler for things to come, that Fidenae is consumed by its own flames.
Dr Rad 52:51
Ah, well, I guess that’s, that’s, I think that all kind of matches up really, we’ve got these confusing costumes, which kind of are evoking female. You know, in the way they’re presenting themselves. We’ve got torches, we’ve got fire. I can see some similarities there.
Dr G 53:11
It’s tricky. It’s tricky.
Dr Rad 53:13
Back in my account, the cavalry man and the centurions all draw lots for a single captive each. So this is one of the sad parts obviously, of ancient warfare that the survivors of the sorts of wars usually ended up being captured and sold into slavery, if they’re not killed. Anyone who had received notices fighting with exceptional bravery received two, and then whatever was leftover was sold off at auction. So sad. It’s very sad. This is a this sounds like a lot of people. I mean, obviously, it’s not an on quite a scale that Livy would probably like us to imagine, but it still sounds like a decent amount of people that are being taken into slavery here.
Dr G 53:59
Yeah, this. I mean, it’s pretty typical, I suppose. And depending on how much Rome might be interested in punishing somewhere that it has taken might depend on how many people they decide to then co opt into slavery.
Dr Rad 54:14
This is true.
Dr G 54:15
So if they’re really looking to, to have an impact on Fidenae’s ability to do anything, they might take most people as slaves.
Dr Rad 54:24
This is very true. So, unlike the previous time in 437, when Mamercus and Cossus came together in a battle against these two places, after the murder of the ambassadors, etc. Mamercus is the one that returns to the city in glory. Now, obviously, he wasn’t completely ignored last time because he was also in a position of power then, but this time, there is no Lars Tolumnius for Cossus to have slain in single combat. And so while Cossus has done very well. Mamercus gets to triumph. And he and Cossus give up their power as dictator and master the horse. And apparently this has all happened in 16 days.
Dr G 55:10
Wow. Yeah, that was Fast. Yeah. Look, nothing like the efficiency of a dictator in ancient Rome.
Dr Rad 55:17
I know they’re in and they’re out. So lovely little detail right at the end here, Livy always throws these little bits in, he says that certain analysts – not of course, tell me who these certain analysts are – also mentioned, a naval battle in this war. And we did sort of talk about this when we were talking about the events of 437. And the confusion, mainly between these years. In that, there, it seems like the confusion might have come from the use of the term “classis”, that that that might have somehow given connotations that there was something to do with ships involved here. Whereas other people have said, no, this has more to do with who’s serving.
Dr G 56:04
I was gonna say, I mean, we’re pretty inland, are we talking about river boats?
Dr Rad 56:08
Perhaps perhaps. So Livy says, as if there was a naval battle, even in my own time, the river was not wide enough to accommodate ships or a naval battle like this. Or maybe there was like a ship. And it’s been exaggerated over time. And I’m going to finish with a direct quote from my translation, as so often happens, by those who added to the inscription the false claim of a naval victory. So..
Dr G 56:41
Okay, so the, he’s just introducing a whole level of doubt about any record to do with naval battles, and what appears to be like a fairly standard belief that the inscriptions are docked over time.
Dr Rad 56:56
Well, apparently, and this is in the notation of the translation I was using from the Loeb Classical Library. Apparently, they think that what he probably is referring to is an inscription that accompanied Mamercus’ portrait. So obviously, Mamercus is a pretty awesome guy, everybody loves him, of course, naturally, he would be represented somewhere in the city, and there would be an inscription there. So it seems that Livy is suggesting that there is something about a naval battle mentioned in this inscription, but that he thinks it’s been faked. And I guess that would be maybe by his family, like, maybe he’s descendants.
Dr G 57:36
I just feel like he’s not using his imagination enough. I mean, there is a river there. And just because you can’t fit an ocean going ship in the river, does not mean, you don’t have any naval warfare going on. And it’s like, I mean, I feel like I can see it now. It’s late at night. Somebody’s on the river. You know, somebody’s got to shoot arrows into the fleeing people from Veii, you know,
Dr Rad 58:04
Look Livy does concede that maybe there were some ships, but he’s like a naval battle. Are we really going to call that a naval battle?
Dr G 58:12
Well, I don’t know. I mean, they will have to come up with other words in the Latin for it, I suppose. But barring the fact that they haven’t come up with a river battle situation themselves, maybe naval battle is as good as they’ve got. It’s on the sea, it’s water.
Dr Rad 58:27
Yeah. Anyway, so this is how the conflict of this particular year with Veii, Fidenae and Rome comes to an end. But you can see why there are certainly a lot of similarities with what we described in 437. Not everybody, as you said, believes that Mamercus Aemilius Mamercinus, was actually dictator, back in 437, when we first talked about it, and for some academics, they believe it would make more sense for Cossus to have killed Lars Tolumnius in this year only because, as a king, he’s obviously a hugely significant political figure. So it would kind of be a fitting end to the conflict that has stricken the region, if they kind of give up because they’ve lost their leader. And this is kind of why there’s maybe be confusion. It is obviously though a lot of speculation. And clearly our source material is so confused. I don’t know that any academic is ever going to prove beyond a doubt that their account is the right account.
Dr G 59:33
Oh, yeah, I think it would be very difficult to come to a really firm consensus on this. One of the problems that scholars face and part of the reason why people argue that maybe the stuff with Tolumnius happened in this year rather than the previous account is because Cossus is in this position as master of the horse. And prior to that, before taking on that role, he was is a military tribune with consular power. So the idea of the spolia opima, which is where you take the spoils from a military commander, as a military commander directly, so like one on one combat, you, as a commander have killed and slain the opposing commander, very rare, very difficult to do. Cossus is in a more senior command position in this moment in time than he was in that previous decade where he was pretty low down, he was like some sort of legate. And so it doesn’t seem reasonable that that would have counted as the moment. But this means that, like Livy gives us this whole different battle setup. Our later sources, some of which are epitomising Livy, are giving us very different details about what’s happening in this particular battle, versus what was happening in that previous battle. And there’s no way to reconcile those sorts of things. We know that our historians are sometimes making up a little bit of the detail in order to flesh things out and to give it that spice. But where those stories are coming from, whether they’re like from family traditions, or elsewhere, we’re not really sure. And even Livy, you know, throwing out the sort of like dissing the inscription. Amazing.
Dr Rad 1:01:23
Don’t believe it just because it’s carved in stone.
Dr G 1:01:27
I’ve seen that inscription. Rubbish. I tell you, rubbish.
Dr Rad 1:01:30
Anyway, and so I think this is finally, finally going to bring a little bit of a resolution to the question of Fidenae, I’m sure there’s going to be more conflict in this direction. But I think that the really big conflict is going to be resolved for a little bit of time. So
Dr G 1:01:54
This does seem to be a pretty bad defeat for them. So I guess time will tell I look forward to finding out what happens next.
Dr Rad 1:02:02
Absolutely. You know, that means, Dr G. I think it’s time for the partial pick.
Dr G 1:02:18
The partial pick, Rome has five categories, where they can score up to 10 golden eagles each. So if they max it out, and they’ve done the best that they possibly can. They will get 50 gold eagles. It’s time to find out. Our first category is military cloud.
Dr Rad 1:02:41
Well, I think we can definitely say they’ve got nothing but clout at the moment.
Dr G 1:02:45
It feels like a big 10, really, it’s a resounding-
Dr Rad 1:02:48
Well hang on
Dr G 1:02:51
In the end, it is a resounding defeat of the enemy. It is confusing how they get there.
Dr Rad 1:02:58
In the beginning, it’s definitely not. I don’t think we can quite give them a 10 out of 10. I feel like it’s got to be an eight.
Dr G 1:03:05
Yeah. So like the chaos leading into the dictatorship. All right. All right.
Dr Rad 1:03:11
They did get defeated three commanders in one battle.
Dr G 1:03:15
We all know those commanders were rubbish. They were never going to come to anything.
Dr Rad 1:03:18
Were they though? Were they?
Dr G 1:03:22
Hard to know, but certainly I take your point. Fine. I won’t give them 10.
Dr Rad 1:03:27
Okay, eight it is
Dr G 1:03:29
Dr Rad 1:03:31
No. Nobody has any sense of diplomacy in this episode.
Dr G 1:03:38
Dr Rad 1:03:42
I can’t even remember what we said last time that they recaptured Fidenae, which is meant to be theirs in the first place.
Dr G 1:03:46
Yeah. I don’t think that counts as expansion.
Dr Rad 1:03:48
No, I don’t think so. Particularly not the second time they recapture it.
Dr G 1:03:53
Yeah, it’s beginning to look careless, ancient Rome.
Dr Rad 1:03:57
I shouldn’t even say the second time. It’s way more than two.
Dr G 1:04:00
Yeah, who knows where we’re up to with that. So expansion is a no. All right. Virtus?
Dr Rad 1:04:08
Dr G 1:04:09
Dr Rad 1:04:11
I feel like Mamercus has got some things going on here.
Dr G 1:04:14
He did do some resounding sort of speechifying.
Dr Rad 1:04:17
I think Livy is it real pains to redeem this guy, which is weird, because he then disses his inscription at the end. I mean, he doesn’t name Mamercus personally, I’m speculating based on what I’ve read in the translation. But yeah, he definitely seems very keen on him. I think this guy is a big deal.
Dr G 1:04:36
Dr Rad 1:04:37
Yeah. And I think I think he could say that all the speechifying he’s done, the careful planning, he gets a triumph. I mean, it’s not maybe the most impressive most original thing we’ve ever seen. But yeah,
Dr G 1:04:50
Yeah. I’m just trying to think about it in terms of like, like, literal virtus, where it’s kind of like, I mean, these are all the things that are kind of expected of a Roman military commander, and he does do them and they go well, so I suppose that does count. And then you’ve got Cossus, who sort of goes a bit wild, it would seem, with his like, just take those bridles off the horses, and let’s like the launch in there, and it works. And in a way, I wonder if that is a greater demonstration of virtus in the Roman perception of like really taking that sort of risk, and it really working out in the heat of battle. So like, afterwards, Mamercus is getting sort of lauded with the triumph and that sort of thing. But it might be the case that people like that Cossus guy though. Wild.
Dr Rad 1:05:43
Yeah, yeah, I mean, this is true. And this is exactly what happened the previous time, which is why we see those weird parallels right, where Mamercus is technically in charge to the previous time as well. And yet, it’s Cossus to gets most of the attention because he does something that no one is expecting.
Dr G 1:06:02
Dr Rad 1:06:03
Or he fights with particular vigour.
Dr G 1:06:06
And so maybe this is the power of this duo is that like they work best together and Cossus always just slightly by accident upstages Mamercus.
Dr Rad 1:06:18
But he doesn’t seem to mind I think Mamercus seems incredibly confident. He’s like, you kicked me out of my tribe. Look at me rescuing you, or when you’re in danger again, because I’m so amazing. And my plans always work out and I have the best team and everything I do is amazing. He doesn’t seem at all shaken.
Dr G 1:06:38
That’s true. There’s a firmness of the resolve. Yeah, look, maybe. I feel like maybe a six.
Dr Rad 1:06:46
Dr G 1:06:47
Yeah look, I mean, between the two of them. I don’t think I don’t think this is like the most
Dr Rad 1:06:53
Dr G 1:06:54
impressive kind of Roman virtus. It’s not like yeah, it’s it’s the expected kind of masculine embodiment stuff. Yeah.
Dr Rad 1:07:06
All right. Okay, so we that takes us okay, so I get a six. All right. Next category,
Dr G 1:07:10
The citizen score.
Dr Rad 1:07:12
Oh, we really haven’t heard much about the citizens apart from the fact that they are annoyed with the military tribunals when they stuff up.
Dr G 1:07:20
But they’re also like, you know, like ever present, like there’s no way that Rome could have won this without bodies on the ground in the infantry in the cavalry and stuff like that. So yeah, they’re definitely there. And they do get to partake in those spoils as well.
Dr Rad 1:07:37
This is true, and it sounds like Cossus and, Quinctius, and Mamercus, are pretty popular. So there’s that too. So I’m gonna hedge and say a four, just because they weren’t very happy with the tribunes and their performance. And you know what, I can’t help but think that this is also a little convenient. That, you know, they’ve been pushing for military tribunes with consular power, and then they just get, you know, replaced with a dictator, because there doesn’t work out. But anyway, not that they were plebeians, but
Dr G 1:08:13
the more that you talk about it, the more it makes me think that maybe this is a lower than a four then because it’s like not only do they have to go to war, which is always a problem because people die. But they haven’t been very happy about the whole process anyway. And there was that moment where, what the Senate was kind of like, well, maybe we’ll decide whether it’s a war or not.
Dr Rad 1:08:32
Yeah, this is true.
Dr G 1:08:34
And the the citizens are like, excuse me?
Dr Rad 1:08:36
Yeah, maybe like a three. Although they do win that battle.
Dr G 1:08:39
That’s true. Yeah.
Dr Rad 1:08:43
It’s a three or four for me.
Dr G 1:08:45
Let’s go with the three. I want Rome to really knock it out of the ballpark for the people and they’re not doing it this year.
Dr Rad 1:08:50
Fair enough. All right. Dr. G. That means we’ve ended up with a grand total of 17 out of 50 golden eagles.
Dr G 1:08:58
that’s actually more impressive than expected.
Dr Rad 1:09:01
Well, I knew this was going to be a good year because I knew Cossus and Mamercus were going to you know, be teaming up. So well done. Batman and Robin, well done. You have once again protected Gotham City and the citizens are safe to walk the street. Not at night, because that would be insane. But during the day
Dr G 1:09:20
At other times. Yeah, these two are classic. One hopes to see the duo again, although I have my doubts.
Dr Rad 1:09:32
All right. Well, thanks for taking a little trip into this bromance with me.
Dr G 1:09:36
Oh an absolute pleasure.
Dr Rad 1:09:42
Thank you for listening to this episode of the partial historians. You can find our sources, sound credits and an automated transcript in our show notes. You too can support our show and help us to produce more engaging content about the ancient world by becoming a Patreon. In return you receive exclusive early access to our special episodes and the occasional bonus episode. However, there are other ways you can support our show. We have merch a collaboration with Bridget Clark on Gumroad. And we now also have a book. If you’d like to purchase a copy of Rex, the seven kings of Rome you can find the details on our website or you can head straight to Highlands Press and order a copy now. Today we’d like to send a special shout out to our patrons who pre-ordered this very book. And that’s Dana Erin and Divus Augustus, salve! However, if all of these avenues are beyond your means, please just tell someone about our show or give us a five star review. These are not little gestures to us, they mean the world. So until next time, we are yours in ancient Rome.
Dr G 1:11:22
Have you ever wondered how to cover up an axe in the head, Dr Rad?
Dr Rad 1:11:28
You know, I actually have.
Dr G 1:11:32
I told you that the Romans did it first.
Dr Rad 1:11:36
Oh, what? How?
Dr G 1:11:39
I know. Well, there’s this little thing that I think we could call regal assassination. Regicide, if you will. We wrote about it in a book together.
Dr Rad 1:11:52
Dr G 1:11:53
We certainly did. It is called Rex: The Seven Kings of Rome. And boy is it a romp through history. Packed with source detail, packed with salacious stories
Dr Rad 1:12:07
and packed with our trademark brand of humour.
Dr G 1:12:12
Yes, well where would we be in a book if it is not for our humour? If you would like to support our endeavours into podcastally research then we would love to treat you to Rex: The Seven Kings of Rome. Please
Dr Rad 1:12:33
head over to Highlands Press. If you would like to order a copy now.
Dr G 1:12:38
It should be delivered to you at some time in the future.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai