Category: From the Founding of the City

According to Roman tradition, the City was founded in 753 BCE after the altercation of Romulus and Remus. Herein, Doctors R and G explore Rome’s history as told by the historical sources. We ask questions of the evidence and seek helpful analogies to unlock the past!

December 12, 2018 /

It’s a brand new edition of the Partial Historians covering the Early Roman Republic™! And as the title ‘A Fabian Abroad’ hints, the Fabians are back in the political scene!

There’s nothing we enjoy more than some controversy in the source material and oooo boy does the narrative get hazy with the return of a Fabian back in the scene. We explore some of the challenges with this situation in order to get a better sense of what might be happening in the family history.

November 13, 2018 /

What kind of drama could follow the career of uber patrician Appius Claudius? As it turns out, those Romans are really all about battle after battle! We’ve reached a hazy period in our historiography where the narratives of Livy and Dionysius start to diverge on specifics; some events play out over different years depending on the author.

October 17, 2018 /

We are deep in the conflict between between patricians and plebeians. We jump back into the narrative part way through c. 471 BCE. Our consuls are Titus Quintius Capitolinus Barbartus and Appius Claudius Sabinus and they represent different approaches to political engagement with the plebeians.

September 13, 2018 /

Our jaunt through the history of ancient Rome continues apace! In this episode we cover c. 472-1 BCE. Dr Radness is reading Livy and Dr G is reading Dionysius of Halicarnassus and the comparisons of our sources is quite something! The main stars are the tribunes Volero and Laertorius.

August 16, 2018 /

When we left you at the end of the last episode, there was some major events afoot – there’s nothing like a murder in the city, particularly when the people turning up dead are Romans who hold a public magistracy! In this episode we consider the mystery concerning Gnaeus Genucius and the stories connected with Volero Publilius!

July 11, 2018 /

In this episode, Drs R and G discuss the exploits of the Romans between c. 475-3 BCE. There’s plenty to consider: battles, consular successes, and looming ever larger in the narrative the call for agrarian reform which builds on the back of a grain crisis.

June 13, 2018 /

After the tragic demise of the Fabii gens, what happens next? The rivalry between Rome and her northern neighbour Veii continues! ‘If Only I Had Some Grain’ captures the spirit of this episode. We cover the years c. 476 BCE and part of c. 475 BCE. Is this a sign that our narrative is quickening up? Quite possibly! We face two strands of narrative: The developing grain crisis in Rome and the military consequences of the forces of Veii (aka the Tyrrhenians) on the Janiculum.

May 17, 2018 /

We return to the history of Rome from the founding of the City and that can only mean one thing – the Fabian family are back front and centre. And, yes, that episode title is a bit of a spoiler! We’re talking about the Fabian demise.

March 21, 2018 /

Rome and the Fabians have developed a whole new military tactic by building a fortress near Veii. This is momentous! It allows Rome to station soldiers outside the City in preparation for battle. This force though is made up largely of Fabians and their supporters which will have implications.

February 22, 2018 /

In the wake of the horrific Battle of Veii in 480 BCE we head into c. 479 BCE. While we follow Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus predominantly at this time, we also see a little of the Fasti Capitolini creep in.

After a little bit of faffing about the consuls Caeso Fabius (cos. III) and Titus Verginius Tricostus Rutilus emerge – were these two just as in favour with the plebeians and the patricians? Livy has some details to offer on this front!

We also see a disruption to the argarian situation led by Caeso Fabius – how will that turn out?

January 24, 2018 /

The nascent Roman Republic is well under the influence of the Fabii. Marcus Fabius holds the consulship for the second time. He shares the illustrious role with Gnaeus Manlius. The real trouble lies in Roman domestic diplomacy. Herein the Battle of Veii 480 BCE.

December 28, 2017 /

We dive back into the history of Rome from the founding of the city and end up right in the challenges of 481 BCE. This means that we’re in the hazy early period of the Republic where the conflict between the patricians and plebeians dominates the narratives offered by Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

November 22, 2017 /
October 24, 2017 /

In the wake of Spurius Cassius’ demise, Rome’s attention turns inwards. The plebeians and the patrician conflict continues to escalate and the some of the consequences begin to play out with Rome’s foreign policy.

In c. 483 BCE the conflict between Rome and the Volscii really starts to reflect the internal struggle between the patricians and plebeians in Rome herself.

August 17, 2017 /

We return to the fray to consider the late career of Spurius Cassius! The conflict between the the patricians and plebeians continue and Cassius appears to be running a populist campaign…

In this episode we’ll consider how the political machinations between these groups play out under a new year and new consuls.

July 14, 2017 /

Our narrative returns to the fray of Spurius Cassius’ political machinations while consul!

Can he find a way to distribute Rome’s bounty three ways with the inclusion of the Latins and Hernicians? Find out as Drs R and G compare the narrative sources!

June 5, 2017 /

In this episode, the Doctors return to explore Rome’s continued struggles with her most estimable neighbours, the Volscians, the Hernicans, and the Aequians. The intricacies really start to come to the surface in the consulship of Proculus Verginius and Spurius Cassius.

April 26, 2017 /
March 20, 2017 /
February 18, 2017 /
January 8, 2017 /
November 21, 2016 /

As the suspense develops in Coriolanus’ career, how are the relationships between the patricians and plebeians working out? With the new force of the tribune of the plebs to reckon with, Coriolanus is not a happy patrician.

October 17, 2016 /
August 26, 2016 /

The Doctors pursue the different elements coming to the fore in the 490s BCE by looking at a little more detail at the development of the position of aedile, and the significance of the fetiale priests in matters relating to war, peace, and oaths.

And no episode looking at this period would be complete without more on the developing career of Coriolanus!

July 11, 2016 /
March 22, 2016 /

It turns out the First Succession is only the start of Rome’s troubles. The ongoing struggle is manifest in the development of the Tribune of the Plebs. This important political position emerges from struggle and in this episode we explore that political birth.

February 29, 2016 /
January 16, 2016 /
November 16, 2015 /

Dr R is reading early Roman history through the lens of Titus Livius. In this episode we explore Livy’s life, his work, and questions of historiographical interest that influence our we can understand Rome’s past.

October 5, 2015 /

Dr G has been considering early Roman history through the lens of Dionysius of Halicarnassus’ ‘Antiquitates Romanae’ (The Roman History). In this episode, we consider the implications of reading a Greek source for Roman history including audience expectations and Dionysius’ stylistic leanings.

August 18, 2015 /
July 27, 2015 /

As Rome finds itself friendless after continual aggression throughout Italy, the citizens begin to consider how they can guide the city with decisiveness and clarity. Enter, stage left: the dictator.

July 7, 2015 /

Publicola has died and Rome has mourned … but wait, is that the Latins seeking an opportunity to kick Rome while she’s down? Quite, quite possibly. In this episode Doctors R and G explore the increasing tension between Rome and her Latin neighbours.

June 15, 2015 /

Publicola has quite a significant role to play, holding a number of consulships (according to the extant accounts), and he stars in one of Plutarch’s lives. Let the doctors take you through the highs and lows from a biographical perspective.

May 25, 2015 /

Following the action of c. 504 BCE, this episode covers the consulship of Publius Valerius Publicola (cos IV) and Titus Lucretius (cos II) as they battle for the city of Fidenae, the Sabine attack upon Rome, and the crucial differences between an ovation and a triumph.

May 4, 2015 /

Allow the Doctors to take you a winding scrawl of battles, conflicts, and rising personalities, focusing on the years c. 506-5 BCE. We discuss the challenges with the historical narratives of Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, the possibility that Rome may have been taken by Porsenna, and the lingering spectre of the Tarquinii.

April 13, 2015 /

As the times fly by, the Romans continue to contend with Lars Porsenna and the consequences of the Tarquinii on the development of the political character of the City. The unfurling of narratives also reveal dashes of exciting tales of derring-do from the likes of Scaevola and Cloelia.

March 15, 2015 /

Junius Brutus, a key figure in the expulsion of the King Tarquinius Superbus, has been slain in battle.

But the Tarquinii are down, not out. In this episode, witness the rise of Lars Porsenna and the noble deeds of Horatius Cocles!

February 22, 2015 /
February 10, 2015 /
January 23, 2015 /
January 9, 2015 /

The reign of Roman kings is nearly over, but what a way to go out! In this episode, the Doctors explore the early years of Superbus’ rule, and you’ll never guess which peoples he decides to wage war against!

As is fitting for the last king of Rome, we are taking our time to ensure we cover all the particulars since there are plenty of reasons why the Romans decided they were not so interested in kings anymore…

December 15, 2014 /

Oh, Servius Tullius. A king whose destiny is foreshadowed! A king who rises from obscurity to greatness! The Doctors tackle the sixth Roman king, the drama of his life and rule, and the expansion of Roman organisational systems that are attributed to him.

November 29, 2014 /
November 16, 2014 /

In the wake of violence, and after an appropriate period of an interrex, Ancus Marcius is selected as the king to follow on from Tullus Hostilius. Listen to the dulcet tones of the Doctors’ voices as they explore the life, reign, and interesting developments *sometimes* attributed to this ruler.

November 2, 2014 /

Who is Tullus Hostilius? While no where near as famous as his predecessors, Tullus Hostilius is a significant figure in the Roman historiographical tradition. And yes, he was a king of Rome. Herein: violence, controversy, and a tale of two sets of triplets!

October 20, 2014 /

Numa Pompilius is to laws as Romulus and Remus are to violence … Following in the wake of the violent founding of Rome, a king is chosen for his steady character, disinterest in being a leader, and Sabine heritage. Numa Pompilius, the second monarch recognised from the founding, famously secured the favour of the divine Egeria to guide the City.

October 6, 2014 /

The enigmatic brothers, Romulus and Remus. You can’t start an exploration of Rome from it’s founding without considering this infamous tale of fratricide. It’s a founding mixed with equal parts teenage rebellion, revenge, and violence: it’s the beginning of Rome!