Episode 140 – The Commonwealth of Slaves

After the kerfuffles of 420 BCE, it’s time for a brand new year or two! In this episode we consider 419 and 418 BCE. These two years are packed with exciting moments as we get to learn about an uprising from below – we’re siding with the slaves!

We recorded in a new location for this episode. So if you hear a little bit of crowd noise in the background that’s all part of the atmosphere of taping out and about.

Episode 140 – The Commonwealth of Slaves

The Slaves are Revolting!

It happens every so often, but in this year there’s a few twists! Whose side are the gods on? Is that the smell of smoke? We consider the representation of enslaved people in the ancient written literary sources that provide us with their annalistic narratives…

As events unfold, we take a moment to explore the nature of bodily punishment and particularly crucifixion in ancient Rome. Where did it come from? When did it come into practice? We consider the details.

Still from the film "Spartacus" (1960) showing the crucifixion of the rebels by Rome.

Still from the film “Spartacus” (1960) showing the crucifixion of the rebels by Rome. We touch on Spartacus in our consideration of the practice of crucifixion. Note, the fate of the historical Spartacus is not known.
Source: No Name Movie Blog

Trouble in the Ranks

It comes as no surprise that the Romans might be facing trouble from their neighbours, but the years 419-418 BCE hold not just trouble without but disagreements between the military tribunes with consular power. How will Rome wrangle their own leaders into line? And will they be able to do it in time to win the day on the battlefield? We delve into the details.

Things to Listen Out For

  • The Aequians
  • Considerations of the Italic peoples
  • What did you say about the Capitol?
  • The Spartacan Revolt
  • Blasé Romans
  • The Tusculums
  • The Labicani
  • Coriolanus!

Our Players 419 BCE

Military Tribunes with Consular Power

  • Agrippa Menenius T. f. Agripp. N. Lanatus (Pat), previously consul in 439
  • Publius Lucretius Hosti f. – n. Tricipitinus (Pat)
  • Spurius Nautius Sp. f. Sp. n. Rutilus (Pat)
  • Gaius Servilius Q. f. C. n. Axilla (Pat), thought to be previously consul in 427

Our Players 418 BCE

Military Tribunes with Consular Power

  • Lucius Sergius C. f. C. n. Fidenas (Pat), previously consul in 437, 429; and previously military tribune with consular power in 433, 424
  • Marcus Papirius L. f. -. n. Mugillanus (Pat)
  • Gaius Servilius Q. f. C. n. Axilla (Pat), previously consul in 427, military tribune with consular power in the previous year 419


  • Quintus Servilius P. f. Sp. n. Priscus Fidenas (Pat)

Master of the Horse

  • Gaius Servilius Q. f. C. n. Axilla (Pat) – upgraded from military tribune with consular power!


  • Lucius Papirius L. f. -. n. Mugillanus (Pat). Previously consul in 427 and military tribune with consular power 422.

Our Sources

Sound Credits

Our music was composed by Bettina Joy de Guzman. Sound effects are courtesy of BBC Beta.

A map showing regions south and east of Rome including a possible location for Labicum. Other important sites include Tusculum in the Alban Hills to the south-east of Rome. The map also includes Suessa Aurunca to the far left. Image credits to ColdEel and Ahenobarbus. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

A map showing regions south and east of Rome including a possible location for Labicum – just north east of Tusculum!
Other important sites include Tusculum in the Alban Hills to the south-east of Rome.
Image credits to ColdEel and Ahenobarbus. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Automated Transcript

Lightly edited for clarity!

Dr Rad 0:12
Welcome to The Partial Historians.

Dr G 0:15
We explore all the details of ancient Rome.

Dr Rad 0:20
Everything from political scandals to love affairs, the battles waged, and when citizens turn against each other. I’m Dr. Rad.

Dr G 0:30
And I’m Dr. G. We consider Rome as the Romans saw it by reading different ancient authors and comparing their accounts.

Dr Rad 0:41
Join us as we trace the journey of Rome from the founding of the city.

Dr G 0:56
Hello, and welcome to a brand new episode of The Partial Historians. And I am one of your hosts, Dr. G.

Dr Rad 1:05
And I am your other host Dr Rad. Welcome.

Dr G 1:08
Welcome, welcome one and all, we are tracing Rome’s history from the foundation of the city. And it’s exciting times. It’s been exciting times for a while. It’s always an exciting episode when we return to Rome,

Dr Rad 1:21
I think, I think so. So last time, Dr. G, we were in the midst of 420 BCE.

Dr G 1:28
Ah, it was a great year.

Dr Rad 1:30
It was a great year because we actually got to talk about a woman It has been so long since we mentioned a woman.

Dr G 1:36
We’ve been going through a real dry patch with ladies.

Dr Rad 1:40
Which is not something you want to hear.

Dr G 1:42
No, no as a lady that is not not a great status quo. So we touched on the life and times of the Vestal Virgin Postumia. We did and she got herself into a little bit of trouble for having a sense of humor and a sense of style.

Dr Rad 1:58
I mean, if they’re not a criminal offense, I don’t know what is.

Dr G 2:03
With the danger of live burial on the table. I think she changed her tune and adjusted her behaviour.

Dr Rad 2:09
It seems like she backed down once she realized just how seriously they took this kind of stuff.

Dr G 2:16
Imagine trying to have a personality in ancient Rome, and now…

Dr Rad 2:20
That’s not what being a Vestal’s about.

Dr G 2:22

Dr Rad 2:22
Yeah. Luckily, she did escape live burial. I mean, that was my real concern that she was actually going to be buried alive for her raunchy dressing. And her jokes.

Dr G 2:36
Yeah, tragic times, tragic times. But no, all is safe. And well, Postumia goes on to live. So she’s presumably still alive as we run into the year. That was 419.

Dr Rad 2:48
Yeah, I know. And we’ve also got, obviously a bit of a patrician-plebeian and drama that’s been happening in that we also had the trial of Sempronius.

Dr G 2:55
Yes, well, that’s what happens when you run away from a battle.

Dr Rad 2:58
Well, this is the thing right? Our sources, as we discovered last week, made out like the tribunes were attacking him because they wanted to vent they rage against his family, and they couldn’t vent it against the person who they felt actually deserved it at that point in time, who was allegedly someone arranging fake elections and not allowing the plebeians to get through and so they decided to target the other Sempronius guy Sempronius military general from a few years before, but if you actually think about it, he deserved to be prosecuted. Because he had done a terrible job.

Dr G 3:36
It’s true.

Dr Rad 3:37

Dr G 3:38
Yeah, look 420, what a time.

Dr Rad 3:41
Yeah, it was interesting. I mean, lots of legal action really. So we really need to insert the doo-dum

Dr G 3:49
I see what you did that more. I heard what you did.

Dr Rad 3:54
Anyway, but that sounds so yeah, it was really all about the legal stuff and 420 but now I think we’re probably ready to move into 419 BCE.

Dr G 4:26
It’s 419 BCE

Dr Rad 4:29
Certainly is. Now let me guess, let me guess. You don’t have any material from Dionysius of Halicarnassus?

Dr G 4:39
Oh well on that front, you’d be mistaken. It’s not that I have a lot of sources though. And it’s not like I have a lot of Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

Dr Rad 4:50

Dr G 4:51
But let’s start with our main players for this year.

Dr Rad 4:56
Let’s do it. Now. I think very excitingly, we have military tribunes with consular power.

Dr G 5:01
We do, and we’ve got four of them.

Dr Rad 5:04

Dr G 5:04
Let me introduce you to our cast of illustrious gentleman.

Dr Rad 5:08
Please do.

Dr G 5:09
We have Agrippa Menenius Lanatus – previously, apparently, consul in 439, which was a long time ago!

Dr Rad 5:20
Who can remember that long ago that was what five years ago now?

Dr G 5:24
Notable for the issue with Spurius Maelius.

Dr Rad 5:29
Ooo, okay yes, I am remembering this guy now. Yes, of course. How could I forget 439?

Dr G 5:37
Yeah, it was a big year.

Dr Rad 5:38

Dr G 5:38
We also have Publius Lucretius Hosti Tricipitinus

Dr Rad 5:46
Bloody hell, what a name

Dr G 5:48

Dr Rad 5:52
I have another version which is I think TricipiTINUS

Dr G 5:56

Dr Rad 5:57
Yeah, I know but who knows? I think basically we can say that three is a part of that name.

Dr G 6:04
I think we can and there are too many ‘i’s for me as an English speaker to be able to handle

Dr Rad 6:08
Yeah, too many.

Dr G 6:08
Which is why I struggle with Italian as well. This guy seems to be new – no mention of him in previous years.

Dr Rad 6:15
I think we’d remember that many syllables.

Dr G 6:17
Look, I’d have trouble every single time as well. I keep tripping over his name. Third off the ranks is Spurius Nautius Rutilus.

Dr Rad 6:31
Yep. Yep.

Dr G 6:33
Also new.

Dr Rad 6:35
I remember I remember Nautius before I feel like I’ve heard that.

Dr G 6:38
Yeah, I like Spurius Nautius. I feel like that’s the nice companion to Spurius Furius.

Dr Rad 6:43
Yeah. Spurius Nautius is just a little bit camp.

Dr G 6:47
He goes to all the parties.

Dr Rad 6:47
He’s like, Oh, giiirl.

Dr G 6:52
The kind of man you want to be friends with.

Dr Rad 6:54
Exactly, exactly.

Dr G 6:55
And last but definitely not least, Gaius Servilius Axilla.

Dr Rad 7:01
Ooh. Now that is an unusual name. But again, I feel like we have maybe come across that before.

Dr G 7:06
We have – previously consul in 427.

Dr Rad 7:09
There you go.

Dr G 7:09
And is about to start a really stellar hattrick as military tribune with consular power – this is the year that it begins. So that’s some foreshadowing for everybody.

Dr Rad 7:23
Now, I’d like to start with a quote, if I may. Oh, unless you have any more magistrates?

Dr G 7:27
No, no, I think that’s it.

Dr Rad 7:29
I didn’t think so. You just looked at me like, “wait, there are more magistrates.” I was like, “Are there? Did I miss it?”

Dr G 7:35
No, there’s only four.

Dr Rad 7:36
Okay, so my translation of Livy has great sentence, I think for kicking off 419 BCE: “It was a year remarkable, thanks to the good fortune of the Roman people, for a great danger, but not a disaster”.

Dr G 7:51
Wow. Livy’s setting up that sense of suspense and mystery really early on.

Dr Rad 7:56
Yeah, but also letting you know that it’s going to be okay. I think like in the grand scheme of things.

Dr G 8:00
Phew – okay, for whom, though? I feel like Livy is a bit pro-patrician really.

Dr Rad 8:05
A bit? Yes, I think you would be correct in it. So I do have a bit of a story about some slaves, Dr. G. Should I tell it to you or do you have some?

Dr G 8:17
I would love that.

Dr Rad 8:18
Okay, so what Livy, I think, he’s referring to here is that we actually have a bit of a conspiracy from below.

Dr G 8:27
Oh, no, not conspirosity?

Dr Rad 8:29
Yeah. Yeah. So the slaves have this plot. And it’s just the slaves. Like, I presume that means every single slave, but obviously, why get into specifics, when it’s coming to the lower classes. They have a plot to set Rome on fire from various points. Now, that’s not because they’re actually trying to set room on fire. Stay with me.

Dr G 8:52
That is an accidental side part?

Dr Rad 8:54
It really is. The idea is that the fires are a mere distraction, Dr. G, because the idea is that the Roman citizens would therefore be sort of pulled in different directions all over the city and kind of to the outskirts of the city, because this is where the fires would be happening. They’d be trying to save their houses. They’re trying to put out the fire. The slaves would be taking over control of the Citadel and the Capitol using an armed force. It’s an evil plan!

Dr G 9:26
Well, that’s very exciting. Okay, all right. I I’m not sure how to necessarily feel about that. There is some correlation in Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

Dr Rad 9:38

Dr G 9:39
My man’s back! For one show only.

Dr Rad 9:43
Well, I have two more details to tell you about that. Should I tell you about it?

Dr G 9:46
Yeah, go for it.

Dr Rad 9:46
Okay. So, as Livy alluded to, this is a great danger to the city, but it did not end in disaster. Because Jupiter was looking out for his people. That’s right. Jupiter made sure that the Romans did not suffer and the slaves did not succeed. Now, he then tells me that there is evidence gathered from some of the participants of this plot. So a couple of the slaves basically informed on what was happening. And it allowed everybody else to be arrested, rounded up, interrogated and punished

Dr G 10:24
Class traitors? No!

Dr Rad 10:26
Yeah, well, I Okay. This is where it gets really interesting. He actually says that the informants were given 10,000 pounds of bronze and their freedom.

Dr G 10:36

Dr Rad 10:36
Yeah, which I actually, I didn’t think that the slaves would actually be treated that generously, I kind of thought that the Romans would see that as just something that they should do. Because you know, they owed it to their masters like maybe freedom, maybe manumission. Sure. But giving them Yeah, money, I wouldn’t have actually seen that coming. And Livy’s actually even a bit dismissive about the amount they’re given. He said, this passed for wealth back then. A pittance now.

Dr G 11:05
I think it’s one of those things where, presumably what the patricians are attempting to encourage here is for more slaves to come forward more often. Before these sorts of conspiracies really get off the ground.

Dr Rad 11:22
True. And I mean, you know, if this has anything to go by, it’s working for them.

Dr G 11:28
We’ve set the precedent. And now we’ll see how we go.

Dr Rad 11:31
And I feel like this is really intriguing. I mean, what a, what a treat for us, in a sense, because last episode, we got to talk about a woman, we haven’t been able to do that for a while. Now we’re able to talk about slavery, because we haven’t really talked about slaves very much.

Dr G 11:44
Yeah enslaved people don’t tend to get a lot of currency in our source material at this point in time, but the ancient world is really foundationally built on the exploitation of human labor. And there’s no doubt that it’s, well, maybe there is doubt, it seems reasonable, that the Roman population may even be outnumbered by enslaved people at this point in time.

Dr Rad 12:11
It’s, it’s so hard to figure out, isn’t it? Yeah. Because generally, we associate slavery and Rome, I think, in that period, when the Romans are truly taking part in these sort of large scale wars of conquest. Now, lately, even though we have seen the Romans taking part, in a lot of warfare, as we’ve talked about, with our expansion scores, it’s not really about adding territory, you know, of late, like, there’s been the odd time when they’ve added a bit of territory in like, the last 100 years that we’ve talked about. But generally, it’s been more about, you know, either putting those people in that place or defending Rome from an attack, it hasn’t really been about adding territory. So they’re not really, you know, expanding their control right now. certainly nowhere near on the scale of that they’re going to, in the well, I say, the not too distant future, but God knows, probably 10 years away.

Dr G 13:02
Hundreds and hundreds of years from now.

Dr Rad 13:06
And that’s I think, when we tend to think of them having slaves, because obviously, one of the easier ways to get slaves is to conquer a place and take the people that have managed to survive the conflict and make them your slave population.

Dr G 13:19
I think the important part here is, as you know, we’re dealing with things that are very close to home geographically. So the slaves that are currently in Rome at this point in time, these are all people from the surrounding areas, they’re all Italic peoples or Etruscans. And that’s just going to continue to expand as Rome continues its expansion. Yeah, it’s not sure bet for Roman at this point in time, that’s pretty clear.

Dr Rad 13:49
For sure. And I mean, the thing is, as well, you have to assume that the slave population is being fed through other avenues. I mean, it’s so hard to know, because we really don’t have much information on slavery in this time period. A lot of what we think we know about slavery comes from later time periods. But obviously, you could become enslaved through debt. We talked about that. That’s obviously one of the things concern the Romans themselves, in that, you know, debt bondage, and then also being sold into slavery because of debts is a huge year has been a huge issue at various points.

Dr G 14:20
Yeah, it’s a thing. And we also have seen them capturing out and about, and so there might be like prisoner exchange and things like that going on a lot. But there is also definitely enslavement of people when cities sort of stand up to Rome for too long. Rome gets jack of that they’ve raised the city and they take people, slaves.

Dr Rad 14:41
Yeah, we definitely had mentioned that. And then of course, we can’t rule out the possibility that even at this early time period, you have maybe parents giving up children that they can’t support. You know, if you have too many children, then you could potentially expose them and I don’t mean that You’re unnecessarily thinking that they’re going to die from exposure, but as in there might be left for people to take. And that’s one way of also getting slaves. I think it’s a less common way of doing it. But it is a possibility.

Dr G 15:13
Yeah, I don’t know that we’ve got good evidence in this time period.

Dr Rad 15:16
We definitely don’t. Yeah. But for later on, we do have some evidence of that happened. And so it’s like, well, maybe that’s what’s happening some of the time. Yeah, we don’t really know.

Dr G 15:26
Yeah. Bring out your children. Yeah.

Dr Rad 15:30
It’s just yeah

Dr G 15:31
Have they misbehave this week? Are you at your wit’s end? Get a great price on the open market?

Dr Rad 15:38
They’re free!

Dr G 15:40
Please, just take them!

Dr Rad 15:41
Just take them, I can’t handle it anymore.

Dr G 15:44
We are not suggesting by any means that you should enslave your children. Yeah. So Dionysius of Halicarnassus has a lot of parallels. I’ve got one fragment from Book 12, part 6, sections 5 to 7. He talks about three of the military tributes with consular power, being involved in the discovery of the plot.

Dr Rad 16:09

Dr G 16:09
Yes. So it seems that it comes to their attention – to the highest magistracy. And that it is being led by a commonwealth of slaves. So there’s some sort of like, you know, class unity going on?

Dr Rad 16:23

Dr G 16:24
Get together.

Dr Rad 16:25
The commonwealth of slaves.

Dr G 16:26
Yes. Get together. Look after your brothers and sisters. And this idea of planning to set fires across the city. Yeah, definite parallel with the aim ultimately of, as you say, seizing the Capitol. And if they can do that, that is a sense in which Rome falls at that point? Yes. Like they they are in a position of power. They’re on the biggest hill. It’s the defensive structure par excellence. Since the beginning of the Republic, it’s the one that everybody cares about. Yeah. So if you didn’t take the Capitol and the Citadel that’s on that hill, more power to you – Rome’s yours!

Dr Rad 17:05
Well, we have seen that before, not by slaves per se. But remember, when we had that there was an invasion…

Dr G 17:10
I was gonna say the Etruscans do the sneaky invasion, where they were like, we’re just gonna cross this little bridge here. And we’re on the Capitol.

Dr Rad 17:17

Dr G 17:18
And Rome fights back, and they managed to win the day in the end. But that was a while back now. And they haven’t really had this sort of problem for a while. So this would be, it would be amazing if the enslaved alliance could pull this off. They don’t seem to though.

Dr Rad 17:37
No, it’s sad.

Dr G 17:39
Now, the thing that struck me as really quite interesting about this, like, in addition, I’ve got this idea of there are two informants. And they win their freedom as a result of informing against their comrades. And they also receive 1000 denarii. From the public treasury. Oh, okay. So I don’t know how that figures with your figure. Ancient economy, it’s all over the shop.

Dr Rad 18:06
I was gonna say. Yeah, that’s,

Dr G 18:09
I have to do some calculations and think about that.

Dr Rad 18:11
Yeah, I think Livy’s given it to me in like the asses system, which is the old school system.

Dr G 18:19
Which is fair enough. But I don’t know what the equivalent and the type of denarii have not been specified. So, I mean, are we talking silver or?

Dr Rad 18:29
Like, it’s clearly far too much maths.

Dr G 18:32
Too much maths and too much money.

Dr Rad 18:34
Exactly. That’s gonna give it away.

Dr G 18:36
Yeah. So. But what happens is that the ringleaders are discovered through the informants. Yes. And they are then scourged and led away to be crucified.

Dr Rad 18:48
Oh, okay. So Livy just told me that they were arrested and punished. He doesn’t get specific with the punishments. But you know, what? Doesn’t surprise me about the crucifixion thing? Because that would be the kind of punishment I think you would expect.

Dr G 19:02
Well, this is where I went down a rabbit hole. Then I was like Roman crucifixion. What do we know? And when do we know it?

Dr Rad 19:08
Yeah. Like when did it start? I mean, it is something that you would use for people who were like traitors, right?

Dr G 19:12
Definitely. Yeah. And obviously for writers like Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Livy’s. The big example is Spartacus.

Dr Rad 19:20
I was gonna say, I mean, I didn’t want to be the one to bring it up. Not that he himself was crucified, I should say, that’s a Kirk Douglas thing. We don’t know what happens to Spartacus, he might have been crucified, but he might not have.

Dr G 19:37
No, but what we do have is the source from Appian. And Appian talks about what happens in the Spartacan revolt after the force is defeated, essentially by the Romans.

Dr Rad 19:49
Oh yeah, the survivors are crucified.

Dr G 19:51
Yeah, and apparently Crassus rounds up about 6000 survivors and you’ve got this horrific imagery of them being crucified along the road from Capua to Rome.

Dr Rad 20:02
Yeah, it would be bleak. I mean, I can’t I honestly can’t picture 6000 people on crosses,

Dr G 20:09
I don’t really want to. But mathematically, I wonder how far apart the crucifixion is have to be. Anyway, that is just a matter for mathematics, which I’m not going to delve into.

Dr Rad 20:19
I don’t know why you keep going down these mathematic paths. Why bring them up? I can’t solve them for you.

Dr G 20:24
I don’t like maths. I don’t do maths. It’s bad enough that we have years that have numbers. So crucifixion, the big sort of ticket example that our source material probably thinking about and having a heads is that Spartacan revolt. But that doesn’t tell us anything about when crucifixion might have begun in the Roman world, because clearly, it wasn’t a surprise, then.

Dr Rad 20:49
No, but I but I feel like it is something that I feel like there is a sense that it is something you would only do you know, it had to be that it was like a weighty punishment it was wasn’t that you were hanging out left, right and center to just anybody who annoys you or anything.

Dr G 21:06
Wow, to imagine like thinking about it. Well, they’re crucifying me so I must be special.

Dr Rad 21:11
Well, no, no like that. But I just mean that. I think sometimes I guess because of the association of crucifixion with Jesus. I feel like sometimes people think, “Oh, it was so cruel and barbaric”, which it was, but that they might have been handing crucifixions out like, a lot more often than I think they maybe were.

Dr G 21:29
It’s possible. Yeah. There’s also the sort of broader context of the ancient Mediterranean to think about and this is part of where I was sort of going with, with some of this because yeah, corporeal punishment is, by no means unusual in the ancient world. It’s something that happens a lot. Even the scourging process that happens to these characters in 419. Prior to the crucifixion is corporeal violence. You know, they’re beaten, essentially, until they almost can’t handle it anymore.

Dr Rad 22:01
Yeah. And that’s, that’s with rods as well. Not just with fists, which you honestly you wouldn’t do because it would hurt you as well as hurting the person being punished.

Dr G 22:08
So scourging – being beaten with rods – sometimes that’s enough to kill the person. Sometimes they’re scourged to death. That doesn’t seem to be the case in this example. But if we’re talking about the broader Mediterranean, this idea of impalement in various ways, the puncturing of major organs as a way to elicit pain and suffering. Fixing people to stakes is something that has a variety of uses, through sources that come through from Mesopotamia and Egypt and Greece.

Dr Rad 22:41
So when you say stakes, so we’re talking like large stakes, like body sized stakes?

Dr G 22:46
Like T-bone steaks?

Dr Rad 22:49
Delicious. No, no, I mean, yeah, like, are we talking like when I think of stakes, I think I think of like, garden size stakes.

Dr G 22:55
Oh, you’re thinking like, like the vampire moment where the stake is going through the heart?

Dr Rad 23:00
Maybe? I mean, I just I don’t think it’s something large. I guess it’s my point. Are we talking about like, fixed into a stake?

Dr G 23:05

Dr Rad 23:06
Like a human sized stake? Okay.

Dr G 23:08
Yeah, large stakes, fixing people to the stake.

Dr Rad 23:10

Dr G 23:11
Yeah. Now, that is slightly different from crucifixion. But you can see how they’re heading in that direction.

Dr Rad 23:17
Oh, they’re going there. Yeah.

Dr G 23:18
Yeah. And so the Romans, they’re not outliers in terms of corporal violence in terms of the ancient world. They do take it to new heights, simply because they ended up being so dominant in the region, I think, so they gain this reputation, which others don’t have the opportunity. Terrible though that might be.

Dr Rad 23:37
Oh, no, I mean, let’s face it. They’re also concerned about law and order, and loyalty, which I mean, as you say, anyone probably would be in their position, but I do feel like they’re particularly equipped for. That’s just something so bureaucratic.


Yes. And they militaristic,

Dr G 23:57
They’re militaristic, they’re legalistic, and they’re hugely superstitious. It’s not a great combo. So we don’t really have any firm idea about when crucifixion comes into, like the Roman sort of practice. But they are sort of drawing on a much broader context of this kind of corporeal violence, which involves this kind of stuff. So they’re not the first. They won’t be the last.

Dr Rad 24:24
Is this our first mention of crucifixion as punishment?

Dr G 24:27
That’s what I was trying to recall.

Dr Rad 24:30
And you didn’t go back and listen to all of our previous episodes?

Dr G 24:33
I was just about to say, but we’ve been doing this podcast 10 years. And you know what, I can’t remember what I said yesterday.

Dr Rad 24:45
You know what, honestly, I’m digging deep here. I really feel like we haven’t mentioned crucifixion before on this show. Apart from obviously doing Spartacus, which is even though we’ve done an earlier episode, it’s later in time.

Dr G 25:00
Yeah, it’s out of the chronological sequence. I’m not sure. I’m not going to put money on it, because I don’t trust my memory to that degree. But I felt like it was something when it came up in the source materials like, Oh, this is something that that is worth sort of doing a little bit of digging into.

Dr Rad 25:15
Yeah, like, I feel like it’s been mostly like the classic punishments. We’ve definitely had people being, you know scourged before we’ve had people being scourged to death before. Certainly that, but yeah, I feel like this might be the first time that it’s come up.

Dr G 25:31
Mm hmm.

Dr Rad 25:33
We’re open to corrections on this point.

Dr G 25:36
Rome – entering a whole new phase of violence.

Dr Rad 25:38
Super fans, to the archives!

Dr G 25:42
And so that’s pretty much all I have, okay, or 419 BCE, the rest of my source material is essentially different fragmented Fasti.

Dr Rad 25:52

Dr G 25:53
And that just sort of confirms the names that we’ve already got.

Dr Rad 25:56
I might be able to piece some things together for you. Look, I don’t have a huge amount of additional detail. This slave conspiracy is definitely the headliner of this particular year. But I do have a bit of military action. Oh, yeah.

Dr G 26:08

Dr Rad 26:08
So the Aequians once again enter the story. I mean, these guys have been quiet for a little while and all sudden, they’re just everywhere.

Dr G 26:14
I think they were just waiting for the Volscians to get off their high horse, and then they could sweep in for the victory.

Dr Rad 26:20
Perhaps Perhaps. So the Aequians are apparently gearing up for conflict again. Now, geographically, Dr. G, can you remind us where the Aequians are?

Dr G 26:31
Well, they come from the sort of south-east-ish region of Rome.

Dr Rad 26:36
Yeah. Now I actually did, because this is a shorter year, I actually did try and look into the Aequians a little bit.

Dr G 26:43
Who are these people?

Dr Rad 26:44
I know, the verdict seems to be that we really don’t know much about them.

Dr G 26:49
This confirms everything that we’ve talked about so far.

Dr Rad 26:51
Yeah, there are some archaeological remains, which I think you’ve talked about before, you know, we’ve got some fortifications in eastern Latium. So obviously, in this region, were we expecting, as you say, in the area we be expecting, which tells us I suppose that they were somebody was there, somebody was there, and they were trying to defend themselves, I suppose. Hints such military conflict, which is confirmed by our written sources, perhaps. But, yeah, we really don’t know much about these people.

Dr G 27:23
In the same way that we don’t know heaps about the Volscians.

Dr Rad 27:26
Yeah, exactly.

Dr G 27:27
But I mean, there, there are definitely groups in and around Rome.

Dr Rad 27:31
Yes. Well, I think that this, bringing up the Aequians, again, you know, Rome having to deal with like military action again, I think that this whole episode, kind of reinforces what we’ve said before about this potentially false narrative that we’re being presented in terms of the way that the Roman state developed, in the sense that military tributes with consular power – if such an office did exist – it seems that it is far more likely that it came about out of necessity, because you couldn’t just have two guys if one of them needs to be with the armed forces. And one of them needs to be in the city. Because if you’re facing multiple enemies, or you know, you’re, you’re being attacked from multiple directions, you need more guys. And so it’s it does seem likely that this position, if it exists, at this point in time exists because Rome is potentially facing a lot more conflict than it has previously. But anyway. And that’s because there is a new enemy.

Dr G 28:27
Uh oh.

Dr Rad 28:28
Yeah. On top of the Aequians. And I love the way Livy’s says he says the Romans hear from reliable sources.

Dr G 28:36
I’m just raising my eyebrows for everybody listening at home raising my eyebrows “reliable sources”?

Dr Rad 28:42

Dr G 28:42
So who’s Livy gone to?

Dr Rad 28:45
The word on the street, Dr. G’s, and there’s some new enemies in town. And they’re the Labicani.

Dr G 28:52
Oh, yes. They are gonna come up for me next year.

Dr Rad 28:55
Okay. Well, I think there is a bit of blending happening at this point in time, which is what’s been happening to me a lot in the last decade that there’s a bit of confusion sometimes about when exactly something’s happening, but

Dr G 29:07
What’s even going on?

Dr Rad 29:08
Yeah, exactly. But these guys are apparently teaming up with Rome’s more traditional enemies. I presume that means people like the Aequians

Dr G 29:18
Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, new enemy enters the ring.

Dr Rad 29:20
Yeah, and again, we don’t know much about these people. I really did try and find some information about them. But it seems that all we really know is that they’re also from somewhere in Latium.

Dr G 29:31
Oh, I’ll tell you all about them… next year.

Dr Rad 29:34
Okay. I’ve got potentially a location of somewhere near the Alban Hills as where they’re from, but I don’t really know if that’s true. Anyway, so the Romans are actually kind of blase about this whole situation because I like the Aequians – those guys – we fight them every year. I mean, you know, just say those same are right and I’m like too true Romans, too true.

Dr G 30:01
Send out the force do what you need to do. And then we’ll go home.

Dr Rad 30:05
Yeah. But they are concerned about these new enemies in that I think they want to initiate contact, establish relations. So they send off some envoys.

Dr G 30:15
Oh, that’s nice. “Hi! Are you trying to kill us? Because if you are, we will crush you.”

Dr Rad 30:23
So they send out these envoys, the envoys don’t get the response that they’re hoping for?

Dr G 30:31
Well, there’s a surprise.

Dr Rad 30:34
Yeah, for the Labicani are somewhat non-committal. It seems like they don’t want to fully say yes, we are going to come for you. But they also don’t want to say no, we’re not so…

Dr G 30:47
“Yeah, look, you know, I’m just, you know, I’m feeling the way I feel and I’m just gonna have to go with my vibes. So guys, I don’t really have an answer for you right now. But come back next week with your army.”

Dr Rad 30:56
Yeah, and this is when Spurius Nautius’ like, “Giiiirl”. So yeah, that definitely, I would say that yeah, they’re preparing for war, but they’re not quite ready yet. So they’re just playing for time.

Dr G 31:08
How coy.

Dr Rad 31:09
Indeed. So the Roman say, Okay, fine. You see what you’re doing here? They turn to they’re good friends, the Tusculans, the most adorable people in this region.

Dr G 31:18

Dr Rad 31:18
I know. And they say to the Tusculans, “Can you just keep an eye on this? Watch them?”

Dr G 31:25
I don’t trust those guys.

Dr Rad 31:26
Not for a second and that’s where 419 ends for me with the Tusculans watching the Labicani.

Dr G 31:33
Getting out their small – but very inefficient because they don’t have the technology yet – spyglasses.

Dr Rad 31:38
Exactly, putting on monocles, like that’s going to make any difference.

Dr G 31:42
Wearing their moustaches as they creep through the undergrowth like, “No one will ever know it’s us.”

Dr Rad 31:47
“Quick. We need some trench coats.” So that’s where it ends up for me. So I agree that we’re going to hear more of the Labicani in 418 BCE.

Dr G 32:22
Turning over my notes.

Dr Rad 32:24
Okay, so, before we get into the action, we have far more magistrates to deal with, I think this year, Dr. G.

Dr G 32:31
Oh, it’s a confusing time in Rome done its usual and started with some magistrates, thrown them all out, replaced them with some others and hoped for the best.

Dr Rad 32:39
It’s very confusing .Yes, yes. All right. What tell me about the more traditional ones first.

Dr G 32:44
We have three military tribunes with consular power.

Dr Rad 32:49
Correct. I don’t know why I’m doubting you, Sorry.

Dr G 32:53
Excuse me, I did my research. So first of all, Lucius Sergius Fidenas – very illustrious so-and-so. You might have heard of him before.

Dr Rad 33:04
I believe that he got that special last name from conquering Fidenae. Or taking part – actually no..

Dr G 33:13
Or being related to somebody who did that?

Dr Rad 33:14
Yeah, true. True. Yeah.

Dr G 33:16
Previously consul in 437 and 429.

Dr Rad 33:19
He is the guy! If he was caught on the 437 he is the guy.

Dr G 33:22
It’s him.

Dr Rad 33:22
It is him. It is the original, the original and the best.

Dr G 33:29
And previously military tribune with consular power in 433 and 424.

Dr Rad 33:35
The last couple of decades have been good to him.

Dr G 33:37
Yeah, look so illustrious. This guy so many magistracies under his belt.

Dr Rad 33:41
Well, Fidenae It’s just such a pain in the arse, or at least it used to be so having a role in bringing them to heel.

Dr G 33:48
Yeah, so we got we got this guy. We also have Marcus Papirius Mugillanus.

Dr Rad 33:54
Hmmm a name I’ve definitely heard before.

Dr G 33:56
But this guy is new to our list.

Dr Rad 33:59
He is new, yeah, but he’s from a family I’ve heard before. I’ve definitely heard of the guy before.

Dr G 34:02
Yeah. And I think we’ve had some Mugillanii as well.

Dr Rad 34:05
Such an unattractive name. It reminds me actually of like, every time I hear it, I think of a really meaty Italian stew, which I like but the name I don’t like.

Dr G 34:18
And it’s one of those names that ends with anus. So it’s always a bit of – a bit of a killer. Yeah. So He’s new. Congratulations, Mugillanus, let’s hope that it goes well for you. And then we have Gaius Servilius Axilla on his second consecutive military tribunate with consular power.

Dr Rad 34:43
Slightly unusual, slightly unusual.

Dr G 34:45
Yeah, he’s in the middle of a streak.

Dr Rad 34:47
Mm hmm. Now do we want to talk about the other magistrates or do we want to introduce them?

Dr G 34:52
Well, I think it’s worth introducing. Mostly because this is gonna give you a foreshadowing of how this year is gonna go.

Dr Rad 35:02
Foreshadowing, foreshadowing.

Dr G 35:04
We have a dictator!

Dr Rad 35:07

Dr G 35:09
It is Quintus Servilius Priscus Fidenas.

Dr Rad 35:12
So related potentially? No.

Dr G 35:15
Well, I mean, I think they seem to have gotten the Fidenas cognomen. Probably through maybe similar military prowesses.

Dr Rad 35:25
I know I said it and then I’m like, wait, wait a minute. It’s not in the right place for them to be related.

Dr G 35:29
All of their names though. They’re nomens and things like that suggests that these come from very different families. So there’s clearly a legacy of issues with Fidenae that are coming through.

Dr Rad 35:42
We know we can see it. Yeah, we can see it in the names.

Dr G 35:44
Yeah. And then we also have the master of the horse

Dr Rad 35:47
Naturally, the dictator’s sidekick. He’s the Robin to his Batman, if you will.

Dr G 35:53
And it’s an upgrade for our man who’s on a his streak Gaius Servilius Axilla.

Dr Rad 35:59
He’s just raking it in.

Dr G 36:03
He’s on his horse, and he’s ready to go. Yeah. And there are also censors this year. One of whom we have the name of.

Dr Rad 36:12
Who is someone we’ve already talked about?

Dr G 36:14
Yeah. Oh, is it? No, I don’t think it is. It’s somebody different.

Dr Rad 36:19
Oh, really? Okay, let me redo that. Then. Censors you say?

Dr G 36:22
I’m so glad you asked. Lucius Papirius Mugillanus – another Mugillanus, but a different one.

Dr Rad 36:31
A different one.

Dr G 36:32

Dr Rad 36:33
Okay. Confusing.

Dr G 36:34
Yeah. Probably brothers. I mean, they’ve got to be related. The only difference is the praenomen.

Dr Rad 36:39
That’s why I got the Yeah, that’s why I was confused. I was like, Wait a second Papirius, Italian stew, man. What are you doing back here? How can you be serving two offices at once?

Dr G 36:50
You do what you gotta do. This suggests that the Romans are not only counting the population for taxation and various other social cultural purposes, but there’s also some kind of military or some other kind of issue that crops up this year.

Dr Rad 37:08
Definitely. Alright, so do you want me to spin my narrative?

Dr G 37:12
Please do.

Dr Rad 37:13
My narrative web. Okay. So the ambassadors from Tusculum arrive telling the Romans that in – and I don’t, I don’t know, like, in a couple of months, maybe I don’t know how long it’s passed that we’re talking about here – but finally, the Labicani are ready for war.

Dr G 37:29
“I’ve seen some pointy sticks. And I’m pretty sure they’re going to run at somebody soon.”

Dr Rad 37:34
Oh no, they’ve gone further than that. They’ve actually started attacking various areas in the countryside in the near area, with the Aequians by their side.

Dr G 37:45
Oh, I see.

Dr Rad 37:47

Dr G 37:49
Raiding hey?

Dr Rad 37:50
Yeah, definitely some raiding going on. And so we have a joint Aequian-Labicani force. And they have decided to camp on no other place than Mount Algidius – perhaps the most named mount in our Republican era-

Dr G 38:06
Very close to Tusculum.

Dr Rad 38:08
Yes, but I don’t know. I don’t know why. I guess just because it’s in that local area. Everything’s very small scale. But I feel like I have sent said that location more than any other. And it’s always because someone’s camping on it.

Dr G 38:19
I think it’s because it’s a relatively low hill with a good outlook. It’s definitely not the highest hill of these particular hills.

Dr Rad 38:27
But it’s handy, very strategic. So the Romans to say, well, this is enough, this is all I need to do here. And they officially declare war on the Labicani. Well, now, Dr G., the Romans – well, some of the Romans, I should say I shouldn’t tar them all with the same brush – don’t really come out of the next bit of detail very well. Because the Senate say, Well, we’re going to need to send two of our military tribunes to deal with these people, because we’re now officially at war. And one of you needs to stay in Rome clearly, to look after things here.

Dr G 39:02
Okay, so they’re going to have two go out and one stay, that’s fine.

Dr Rad 39:06
They’ve got three, you would think that would be fine. The problem is the three men start arguing with each other about who is going to go out and who is going to stay at home?

Dr G 39:16
Well, yeah, because you can’t win a triumph when you stay at home.

Dr Rad 39:19
You can’t and so they are trying to do this by bragging about how amazing they are militarily.

Dr G 39:27
This is not gonna go well for the new guy on the block.

Dr Rad 39:29
No they’re like, “Oh my god, I’m the best general ever. I mean, I’m so military, I sleep in my full armor.”

Dr G 39:36
“I crushed Fidenae – crushed them underneath my boot heel.”

Dr Rad 39:41
“I only speak in battle cry – that’s how military I am.”

Dr G 39:46
I’m not going to try to do my Xena war cry because it’s been too many years.

Dr Rad 39:50
Fair enough. Fair enough. But the message is clear to the people who are observing these arguments clearly. Looking after Rome itself is seen as – and I quote: “a thankless and ignoble task”. Nobody wants it.

Dr G 40:06
Well, I mean you can’t win a triumph…

Dr Rad 40:11
You can’t but the honour!

Dr G 40:14
There is no honour if there’s no triumph.

Dr Rad 40:17
Well, the senators don’t agree with you.

Dr G 40:18
I’m getting into my patrician like outlook in life what do I live for I live with military glory.

Dr Rad 40:24
Yeah definitely I was gonna say the vibe in here is getting uncomfortable. But anyway, the Senate are gobsmacked – they can’t believe that three grown arse men are having this debate amongst themselves and not just you know manning up I mean, okay. Can’t win a triumph, but they are already military tribunes with consular power, I mean…

Dr G 40:45
Play scissor paper rock guys. Not hard.

Dr Rad 40:50
Should go back in time and tell them about that game. Anyway. So this is where Quintus Servilius decides to step in and put an end to things. Yeah, he says, I listen your three you have a no respect. No respect at all.

Dr G 41:06
Does he sound like that?

Dr Rad 41:08
Well, if you know, it’s just the it’s just a no respect line that got me I was like, interesting. I felt like you know, I had to.

Dr G 41:19
Yeah, fair enough.

Dr Rad 41:20
Now this guy Quintus Servilius. He’s the dad of the hat trick, dude.

Dr G 41:25
Oh, yeah. Interesting.

Dr Rad 41:28
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And so he’s like, look, this isn’t the way that we do things here. This isn’t the way that the Republic works. I am going to step in and use my father’s authority to put an end to all of this. Yeah. So he says, I’m going to put my son in charge of the city. Stop this mess.

Dr G 41:51
Okay, so he makes Gaius Servilius Axilla, his son, master of the horse and says you stay home. I’m going out to fight.

Dr Rad 42:00
Just to stop the fighting. Like I can’t take it anymore.

Dr G 42:03
Oh, okay.

Dr Rad 42:04
Yeah. And then he says-

Dr G 42:06
So the Senate calls for a dictator? And they decide that Quintus Servilius Priscus Fidenas should be the guy. And he immediately sets one of the military tribunes over the other two essentially?

Dr Rad 42:23
I’m not up to that point yet. You jumped ahead.

Dr G 42:27
Oh, no, I was just trying to figure out what’s going on.

Dr Rad 42:29
Okay. Okay. Let’s rewind, okay. So, Quintus Servilius steps in, and he’s put his son in charge of the city. He’s like, you’re the one that’s staying behind. The other two are going out to combat. Job done. Because as dad, I can tell you, son, you’re grounded. That’s what’s happening. And he says, I only hope that those who are eager to make the campaign may be conducted with more consideration and harmony than they display in seeking it. In other words, you’re pretty keen to be a general, so you better be damn good at it. Now, they decided they’re not going to conduct a levy on the whole population. Yeah, they decided that they’re going to use just 10 tribes chosen by lot for the levy. From those tribes, the two military tribunes selected the men of military age to serve with them. Okay, so they’re rounding up their forces at this point in time.

Dr G 43:22
Okay, so they must not feel that threatened. They’re not levying the whole population.

Dr Rad 43:27
Well, this might be setting back to something I said from 419, where the Romans are feeling a bit blase about the Aequians by this point in time, but we’ll see. We’ll see. Anyway. Now, obviously, there’s a lot on the line. These guys have really been bragging hard about how amazing they are. But unfortunately, their rivalry is not over.

Dr G 43:45
Oh no.

Dr Rad 43:47
So the feuding that had started amongst the three military tribunes now continues between the two military tribunes and it just gets worse-

Dr G 43:57
Boys boys boys.

Dr Rad 43:59
I know, I know. They’re each keen to be like the dominant one. They can’t share power.

Dr G 44:07
No, I’m the alpha. No, no I’m the alpha.

Dr Rad 44:10
Yeah, exactly. They basically as they cannot agree on anything. They’re just each pushing their own views and their own ideas. And the hatred is obviously just building and even their lieutenants can’t take it anymore. They’re like, “Oh, my God, enough, you guys, this is getting ridiculous. What we’re going to agree is that you each are going to hold supreme command on alternate days.

All right, okay. So that sounds reasonable. I mean, it’s a bit like a consulship.

It is it is kind of like that. However, the people back in Rome find out that this is what’s happening that like the fighting got to such an extent that lieutenants had to step in and be like, right, well, you guys can’t work together. So you’re going to hold power and like alternate days. And look, I guess there is a risk with the military campaign with that being the system, there’s no obviously, continuity. Typically, they actually do have such different ideas that they can’t accept what each other say.

Dr G 45:08
It does sound like a recipe for a Roman defeat.

Dr Rad 45:11
Yeah, absolutely. So this is where Quintus Servilius gets involved again. Yeah, he’s like, Alright, I think we need to ask the gods to protect the city. Because I am foreseeing that this is going to end really badly for us, like has happened previously with feuding commanders at places like they, and I can’t have that happen again. So he tells his son, go out and enlist more men and get them ready because I’m sensing that this is going to go badly, and we’re going to need to act quickly. So we basically need to be prepared, we need to have a backup, ready to go. Okay, now, we have on one day Servius, one of our military tribunes being in charge. Okay? The Romans are in a bad strategic location to start with. Okay, so it’s not beginning. Well, the Aequians start pretending like they’re scared being like, “Oh, my God, oh, my god,” and retreating to their ramparts. And the Romans had basically fallen for the trick. Okay, I guess pursuing them getting into this, like bad location. So that’s why they ended up there. And so they found themselves being attacked by the Aequians being chased down the hill into like a sloping valley. And it must be pretty bad because lots of Romans are not really just being chased. But they’re actually like tumbling down the hill. And because they’re falling over, and like, I guess they’re going, you know, arse over head-

Dr G 46:32
They’re going to be picked off.

Dr Rad 46:33
Yeah, well, exactly. They’re being slaughtered because they’re not even able to stand upright, because in trying to run away, they just like tripping over themselves. Basically, they only manage to hang on to their camp by like the skin of their teeth that particular day. So as predicted, the military campaign is not going very well. So the next day, the Roman camp is almost entirely surrounded. And they’re like, I think we have to abandon it. Because if we don’t leave now, we’re going to be completely surrounded and probably slaughtered. Now, the shame, Dr. G, the shame. It’s intense.

Dr G 47:14
Well, yeah, there’s kind of that moment of no return. If your camp is completely surrounded by the enemy, there is a point at which you will be overcome by them. Yeah, like, so you have to be really quite strategic, because there is a closing window of opportunity to leave the camp when that sort of military formation is starting to happen around your camp. And you haven’t been able to like secure an exit passage yet.

Dr Rad 47:38
Exactly. Yeah. So the generals and lieutenants and the people who will have the standards, they try to get out and they had for Tusculum. And it seems like the rest of the armed forces are just kind of like fleeing through the fields, whichever direction they can, it obviously seems like the Roman forces are in like full chaos at this point in time. There’s no real order to it. And so some of them make it to Tusculum. But some of the guys that are just like sort of randomly running through the field, eventually managed to make it back to Rome. And when they get there, they’re like, “Oh my god, it has all gone south, guys. It’s a terrible defeat. We’re in real trouble.” And they’re exaggerating it and making it sound. Well…

Dr G 48:17
Are they exaggerating? I don’t know. They’ve just run 20 kilometers home. They’re not feeling the best.

Dr Rad 48:24
I guess it may be a little uncertain about whether the camp maybe, you know, whether there was anybody there to be like slaughtered when it was, you know, like when it was obviously left to be captured and that sort of thing. Yeah, whatever it is. They’re saying it’s not clear, but they make out that it’s really, really, really terrible defeat so maybe they say like everyone’s been slaughtered except the me. Oh, and that guy as well. So I don’t think they have any idea what’s really happened to them as a whole force. Yeah. So it’s bad.

Dr G 48:52
They’re lacking military intelligence. They haven’t been on the ground for a while. They’ve been running for a long time. They don’t know how things are. What’s going on.

Dr Rad 48:59
Yeah, exactly. Now, luckily, the Romans are not too disturbed by this news, they’re like, “It’s okay. We knew this was gonna happen.”

Dr G 49:08
“Soon as you two started bickering.”

Dr Rad 49:10
Yeah, exactly. And they’re like, it’s okay. We’ve already got some men standing by. And Servilius had gotten in touch with the lesser magistrates, which I presume means the aediles and the quaestors and that sort of thing. Made sure that the city remained calm. Okay. He had also sent out scouts.

Dr G 49:29
I’m sorry, I just have these visions of everybody like popping like lavender essential oil on their pillows, like, just stay calm.

Dr Rad 49:36
We’ve been here before. It’s okay. It’s okay. Just breathe.

Dr G 49:40
I’m just gonna lead us through a guided meditation.

Dr Rad 49:43
You can come and collect your paper bag for breathing calmly anytime you like from the senate house. Yeah, so Servilius has sent out scouts as well. They’ve all come back and told him that don’t worry, the generals and the rest of the army. And the standards are all at Tusculum. So they’re safe. So the people are feeling actually kind of good, which seems weird because clearly things aren’t going well from them. And this is when Quintus Servilius Priscus is appointed dictator by a senatorial decree.

Dr G 50:16
I see. Okay. So it was just like his sort of like auctoritas and patrician persuasion earlier in the year that enabled him to sort of settled this three way dispute between the military tribunes.

Dr Rad 50:28
Yeah. And also the fact that he’s obviously got, you know, the good pedigree in terms of you know, previous leadership experiences people trust him. He’s not like an unknown quantity. Yeah. And so, and also, he definitely, he definitely had a role in crushing Fidenae. And that, hence his his cognomen. And so yeah, I think people are trusting him already. You know, they’ve taken his advice already. And now, he just seems like an oracle, because he foresaw all of this happening. And because of, you know, all the things that he suggested and put in place, they now don’t have to panic about what would have been seen as a military disaster. So that he just seems the most wise man that they’ve ever met, because he foresaw all the problems. And this is why obviously, his son ends up as his Master of the Horse, his, you know, his aid, because he had made sure that his son was the military tribune who stayed behind in the city. So he’s available

Dr G 51:26
Very convenient.

Dr Rad 51:27
Isn’t it just is this an evil plan? I think it might be so sorry, then you can bring in your additional detail now that he is dictator.

Dr G 51:37
Now that he is dictator. Now, I’m not sure that I’ve got heaps of additional detail, but I’ll give you what I have. So we’ve got the Fasti Capitolini, which just lists the three military tribunes but also then gives us some fragmented parts of the names of the dictator, the magister equitum – master of the horse – and the censor. We also have Diodorus Siculus letting us know about three military tribunes, which he gets mostly right.

Dr Rad 52:10

Dr G 52:11
Yeah, very impressive. This Servilius Priscus business, this name, or this combination of names, has also prompted people to think again about the dictator, who is around when the Faliscans are doing their thing. And this idea of the standard bearer and throwing the standard into the hostile enemy. So maybe that is something that comes up for you. But maybe it’s not I’m not sure I probably should have looked into it action. I don’t I don’t take this piece of evidence. This is from Frontinus. So don’t take this as being particularly on point right now.

Dr Rad 52:49

Dr G 52:50
It’s it’s a reference because we’ve got a Servilius Priscus. But I think we’ve utilized this piece of evidence in another moment in time previously.

Dr Rad 52:59
Yeah, I definitely remember that story about the guy like being like, “Go get the standards!” to inspire the people.

Dr G 53:07
I then have another reference from Didorus Siculus for the same year, but right at the end, he spends all of his time talking about the Syracusan war, so he’s very keen about Greek history at this point in time. But he does mention that in Italy, the Romans went to war with the Aequians and really reduced Labici by siege. So the Labicani-

Dr Rad 53:33
They are from Labici

Dr G 53:34
They are from Labici or Labicum or Lavicum.

Dr Rad 53:39
This is sounding more and more like a lady’s body part every time you say it.

Dr G 53:43
An ancient city of Latium. So as you noted, it’s the exact location is disputed, but it’s thought to be part of the Alban Hills. So that south-east hilly region. Very nice, that’s where Tusculum is

Dr Rad 53:58
Near the Aequians.

Dr G 53:59
Yeah, that’s where Alba Longa is. There’s lots of cool things around there. It’s where Mount Algidum is.

Dr Rad 54:06
Make sense? This is a very localized fight.

Dr G 54:10
Very, yeah, but these guys are not completely unknown to us. Okay. There are a couple of references way back. Oh, yeah.

Dr Rad 54:21
I don’t remember ever talking about them.

Dr G 54:24
So in the 490s,

Dr Rad 54:26

Dr G 54:26
Yeah, way back way back in the early early days of the Republic.

Dr Rad 54:32
So in like 2015 for us.

Dr G 54:36
So Dionysius of Halicarnassus actually records Labici as one of the Latin cities that joins into an alliance against Rome.

Dr Rad 54:44
Well, that makes sense. I was gonna say, I bet they were part of the whole Lake Regillus.

Dr G 54:48
Yes, they were. The infamous battle, Lake Regillus.

Dr Rad 54:54
So they’re just being seem like seething away ever since.

Dr G 54:57
You know, first of all, they wanted to reinstate the Tarquin dynasty and now they’re still pissed off. So it’s not like the Romans don’t know about them. There is, like 29 cities listed in this group that ally themselves against Rome in the 490s.

Dr Rad 55:13
They’re obviously just not like the largest one. Well, well the most powerful.

Dr G 55:17
I mean, I don’t know Dionysius lists them in alphabetical order.

Dr Rad 55:22
So he doesn’t avoid irritating any.

Dr G 55:24
Certainly, nobody is given preference in that list. And then we also see them hooking up with Coriolanus. Yeah. So Coriolanus takes his army – and this is when he’s leading the Volscian forces – and he’s like defected for Rome. Okay. And he marches against Labici.

Dr Rad 55:48
Oh, okay. As part of a Volscian force?

Dr G 55:51
Yeah. So the Volscians aren’t into them.

Dr Rad 55:53
No, I’m not into them.

Dr G 55:56
But the Aequians are. So we do have this sense in which there is a sort of a potted history of the Labicani having a relationship generally against Rome, but also maybe not fond of the Volscians either.

Dr Rad 56:12
Yeah, yeah. The power dynamics of this early early time.

Dr G 56:18
And that is literally all of the detail I have.

Dr Rad 56:20
Alright, well, I don’t have a lot more. So all I can say is that Livy’s says that some other sources – names unknown – have said that it’s actually Servilius Ahala, who was made the Master of the Horse Now, that doesn’t stack up to me, I feel like it’s far more likely that a dad would pick his son.

Dr G 56:41
Well, maybe although having said that this Axilla cognomen has been a source of confusion every time it gets mentioned and the Ahala is one of the potential rereading of it. So…

Dr Rad 56:55
Fair enough. Fair enough. Well, Livy acknowledged. Yeah, he acknowledges the difficulty anyway. So the original Servilius, the dad, he has out with us fresh troops. And he also calls on anyone who’s managed to flee to Tusculum. And he sets up a camp near two miles from the enemy. Now this is where things start to get a little confusing. For me, it seems like I’m kind of blending into 417. A little bit here. I’m not going to go into too much detail. But certainly, we’re gearing up for a campaign with Servilius as dictator at the head. And the Aequians are overconfident because they’ve done so well against the Romans,

Dr G 57:34
They they just had a pretty solid victory where the Romans ran away. Yeah.

Dr Rad 57:40
Obviously, they also think that the Romans have suffered a terrible defeat. And they’re not anticipating Servilius’ organizational skills. And his ability to tell the future.

Dr G 57:49
I don’t know. Is it organization or – by holding back the whole of the Roman military force in the first instance – was the reason why they failed?

Dr Rad 57:58
Well, no, it’s the arguing – it’s definitely the arguing.

Dr G 58:04
I’m just putting it out there. And imagine if you’d turned up with a proper army, Rome, the first time round, and maybe if this Servilius guy was like, you know, like thinking about things realistically, wouldn’t it have been better to just win it once?

Dr Rad 58:22
True, but I think that Livy’s quite heavily suggesting that it’s the leadership that’s the problem, not the size of the army. It’s the quality, Dr. G.

Dr G 58:30
Well, you need to sort out that before you go to war.

Well, this is exactly it.

So everything’s easier from hindsight. And I as a historian can attest…

Dr Rad 58:38
No, I think I think they held back the entire army, because I think there’s meant to be that sort of, “Look, there’s going to be a problem, we’re going to need some reserves” kind of sensation from the beginning.

Dr G 58:50
Don’t give these losers all of the troops.

Dr Rad 58:55
Maybe that maybe they were known before this for not liking each other or being argumentative. But anyway, so I’m not going to go much further. I’m just going to leave it on the cliffhanger of the Aequians are getting sloppy and careless. And now we have a dictator in charge, which means there’s no arguments or death.

Dr G 59:16
Oh, boy. Yeah.

Dr Rad 59:17
So I think with that in mind, Dr. G, it might be time for The Partial Pick. All right, Dr. G, what is the Partial Pick all about?

Dr G 59:26
The Partial Pick is where we rate Rome. That’s it. I mean,

Dr Rad 59:33
Our of five categories.

Dr G 59:35
Five categories. They’re capable of getting 50 Golden Eagles if they really pay their cards, right. Five categories. 10 Eagles each. Military clout is our first category.

Dr Rad 59:46
Okay. Well, in terms of what they’ve actually accomplished, it’s not good.

Dr G 59:56
No, I think it might be a zero loss. Yeah.

Dr Rad 59:59
I mean, there’s There’s a hint that it might not be so bad. But that’s not enough for some eagles.

Dr G 1:00:05
No, no, you would actually have to have done something. Yeah. What we’ve heard is that they ran away. Yeah. And, and tumbled down the hill.

Dr Rad 1:00:13
And what are you concerned with their own personal reputation and authority tasked to actually get it together

Dr G 1:00:18
at the camp surrounded by the enemy? Yeah, no bad. No good. Zero, I’d give them minus equals right now, if I could.

Dr Rad 1:00:23
Well, the only thing I think, allowing them to hang on to their dignity at all, is the fact that they at least have the standards and they didn’t get killed. And that’s not enough for an eagle

Dr G 1:00:34
Oft. Alright, so that’s a solid zero. Diplomacy is our second category.

Dr Rad 1:00:42
Well, look, they did try and send envoys to the Labici. They tried to avoid war, they only declared war once. The Aequians and the beachy had attacked.

Dr G 1:00:54
I mean, we really do need to know more about how those envoys behaved.

Dr Rad 1:00:59
Yeah, I mean, look, I’m not gonna say the Romans have a great reputation with this kind of stuff. But at the same time, we don’t have evidence to suggest that they were awful. I don’t know that they wanted a war at this point in time, to be honest.

Dr G 1:01:11
I’ll give them a one. That’s fair. Our third category is Expansion.

Dr Rad 1:01:19
Well, that’s definitely a zero.

Dr G 1:01:21
No, if anything things have contracted. And our fourth category is Virtus. How manly have they been?

Dr Rad 1:01:31
Well, I feel like Servilius is on the cusp of doing something. But I don’t know if he’s done enough yet.

Dr G 1:01:38
I think there’s something to be said for those military tribunes arguing once themselves about who goes out because they want the glory. They want the virtus. Glory is interconnected with virtus.

Dr Rad 1:01:49
Yeah, but they do such a terrible job of it. I don’t know if they get eagles for that. Just wanting it isn’t enough. Everybody wants that. Everybody.

Dr G 1:01:59
Just trying to put it in context before we give it a score of zero.

Dr Rad 1:02:04
Yes, I think it’s a zero.

Dr G 1:02:06
I think so. I mean, it’s been a mess.

Dr Rad 1:02:09
I’ve considered it carefully.

Dr G 1:02:11
Yeah. And our last category is the Citizen Score.

Dr Rad 1:02:15
Well, again, I’m gonna say it’s probably not a great time to be a citizen, because you’ve got slaves conspiring to kill you. Just leave probably. But nonetheless, it’s not a great time. In that sense. Now, they don’t succeed. I’ll grant you that. But that can’t be good. Can’t be good feeling.

Dr G 1:02:34
No one doesn’t feel quite as safe with their enslaved population.

Dr Rad 1:02:39
No, and presumably, they’ve lost a lot of slaves out of this whole thing. If

Dr G 1:02:44
at least the ringleaders who got scourged and crucified.

Dr Rad 1:02:48
Yeah. Okay. So there’s that, then you’ve got this military defeat, which doesn’t sound good. And the only good thing I can say about it, is that you’re not panicking. Because you’re being told not to panic.

Dr G 1:03:04
I was gonna say, does the lavender oil?

Dr Rad 1:03:07
I don’t know, the paper bags and the lavender oil are enough to actually get an eagle.

Dr G 1:03:11
I mean, that’s a real shame, because somebody in the city was working hard to make sure everybody was calm. There’s some great mental health strategies happening right now.

Dr Rad 1:03:23
But is being told to be calm when there’s been a military defeat. Is that actually meaning that it’s great to be a citizen of Rome?

Dr G 1:03:32
I mean, would you rather be panicking?

Dr Rad 1:03:34
Well, yeah, but like, I’m saying, is it enough to get an eagle like, No, I wouldn’t. But is it enough to get an eagle?

Dr G 1:03:39
I think the bigger problem? I don’t think it is I I’m just arguing for the sake of it. I think the bigger problem is that there has been what essentially sounds like two levys of the population. There’s been the partial levy for the initial military foray in 418. And then there has been the secret – or the additional – the dictatorship levy, that happens to raise the additional force that’s going to, that’s on the cusp of doing something now. So the citizens have been pressed twice.

Dr Rad 1:04:14
They have but on the other hand, I feel like I mean, the whole reason why Servilius obviously got his son to hold back some of the forces is because he knew that there was going to be a problem between these military tribunes and, presumably, that means he’s might he might have lived to save some lives, from people who didn’t get close, like definitely there.

Dr G 1:04:32
So we can’t give people points for hypotheticals.

Dr Rad 1:04:35
No, no, but I mean, I think that lives probably have been saved here. I mean, there were a lot of guys who were like jack and jilling it down that hill. I’m not gonna I’m not gonna get Yeah, no, I’m not gonna give them points for it. But I’m just saying that like, I think holding back some of the forces was actually a good idea in retrospect.

Dr G 1:04:58
So but we’re still giving them a zero.

Dr Rad 1:04:59
Were still giving them a zero. So that means strategy that the Romans had finished for two years together on a grand total of one golden eagle and even that eagle was given begrudgingly.

Dr G 1:05:13
Oh Rome.

Dr Rad 1:05:14
Showing your best you know, like who would have thought like I honestly…

Dr G 1:05:17
We gave them two years so they at least had a chance.

Dr Rad 1:05:20
God wow, I really didn’t think the early Republic was going to have so many grim moments.

Dr G 1:05:26
We are not at the height of Rome’s power yet. It’s pretty clear.

Dr Rad 1:05:29
But even internally, like “Come on, Rome, get it together.”

Dr G 1:05:34
Lavender oil, spread it everywhere.

Dr Rad 1:05:37

Dr G 1:05:37
Bathe in it.

Dr Rad 1:05:39
I will be till next time because I just don’t know what’s gonna happen. Will Servilius manage to extricate the Romans from this difficult situation?

Dr G 1:05:48
Will the Labici hold their ground?

Dr Rad 1:05:51

Dr G 1:05:53
Tune in for the next edition of The Partial Historians.

Dr Rad 1:05:56
Indeed. And before we sign off, I’d like to give a special shout out to the Bella Vista Hotel who have a free podcast studio that we are using today.

Dr G 1:06:06
It’s very exciting.

Dr Rad 1:06:07
Very fancy.

Dr G 1:06:07
We feel very professional right now.

Dr Rad 1:06:09
We do. It took us ages to figure out how to use equipment. It’s like a proper studio.

Dr G 1:06:14
Oh my god.

Dr Rad 1:06:15
Oh my god.

Dr G 1:06:17
I’ll catch you next time. Dr. Rad.

Dr Rad 1:06:20
You will.

Dr G
Thank you so much for joining us for another episode of The Partial Historians. We would like to send a huge thank you to all of our supporters across our various social medias, and particularly to our Patreon supporters. This episode we’re giving a big shout out to the following patrons Lex, Spacefloozy, Rihanna, Maple Leaf Aussie, Dr. Kate, Jonathan, AJ, Sheila, and Marie-Eve. Thank you to you and to all of our supporters. We look forward to having you with us next episode.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Enjoyed this episode? We`d love your support!
Become a patron at Patreon!

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

Be First to Comment

Leave a reply :)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.