Rome faces disaster as the consul Gaius Sempronius takes a negligent approach to battle preparation. Will plucky plebeian Sextus Tempanius save the day?
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!
No war to fight? No grumpy neighbours to quibble with? Whatever shall Rome do? One thing’s for sure, it’s a good time to be a plebeian!
The bromance between Mamercus and Cossus knows no bounds. One swift cavalry move later and these two are riding high for Rome!
The years of 430-428 BCE are a hazy time for recorded Roman history. We dip in to see the lay of the land and catch up on the drought!
Postumius Tubertus becomes dictator in Rome. What happens under his command will make history and but necessarily for all the right reasons…
Military tribunes with consular power, men all dressed up in their white togas (toga candida only please). It’s early republican mayhem!
It’s the mid-430s BCE. Rome is feeling the pressure of their neighbours, so they order dictators by the dozen. It’s going to be a ride!
The 430s BCE are a challenging time for Rome. Aulus Cornelius Cossus is a perfect example of the issues of historical chronology!
Aulus Cornelius Cossus is a patrician on a mission. His exploits against Lars Tolumnius will become the stuff of legend.
Did Spurius Maelius incite the violence, or was Ahala a secret assassin? Things are very messy in Rome and there’s some mopping up to do!
What happens in Rome during a time of famine when a young equestrian has just come into his inheritance? We’re about to find out!
Rome is all caught up in its dealings with the nearby city of Ardea. Tune in for land allotment, pretty plebeian women, and more!
The Romans are in an organisational frenzy. Grab your red tape and sword, we’re off to 443 BCE for a little bureaucracy and war in Ardea.
Rome is ruled by three military tribunes with consular power. What happens with three men in place of the consuls? We find out!
It’s 445 BCE and the republic is still young enough to fail. How will Rome face the chaos outside while weakened from internal conflict?
Who has the right to rule Rome? In this episode, the plebs push for new laws that would give them greater political power…
The year 446 BCE has it all – battles, civil strife, virtus, dynamic leadership. Is Rome ready to embrace strength through unity?
Rome seems to be bouncing back into republican form! Listen in for prickly characters and rich kids with too much time on their hands.
Rome is still in the depths in 449 BCE, but there’s been an epic turn of events. Appius Claudius may be dead, but what happens next? We’re here to find out! Importantly, some of our key players in the plebeian set find themselves upgraded to the status of tribune of the plebs. Episode 119 – The Triumphant Return of the Consulship The end of Spurius Oppius It’s not just Appius Claudius who finds himself in…
Appius Claudius: what a man, what a couple of decemvirates! Herein, he has to face his crimes and we delve into just what happens next.
We have been trapped under the tyrannical rule of the Second Decemvirate for too long!
But never fear, listeners. Their day has finally come. In this episode, we finally see the decemvirs overthrown and the office of tribune of the plebs restored. It is a time of non-stop drama!
The Second Secession is a contested moment in Roman’s early republican history. Join us as we explore the sources and just how it unfolds!
Virginia has been murdered by her father in the Forum in an attempt to protect her from Appius Claudius. What will this act mean for Rome?
The story of Verginia is an achingly tragic tale central to understanding the Second Decemvirate. Both Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus go into some detail about what happens and how it unfolds and we’ll explore both accounts to compare and contrast them.
We are deep in the Second Decemvirate (c. 449-447 BCE) and Rome faces war on two fronts. Enter Lucius Siccius Dentatus: the Roman Achilles…
The decemvirs continue to drive strong feeling among the senators. But while the patricians argue, Rome’s enemies draw ever closer…
After seizing power, the decemvirs under Appius Claudius realise that they might need the Senate as Rome faces war on two fronts!
The First Decemvirate was a big success, so much so that Rome opts for a Second Decemvirate! It’s only now that the cracks start to appear…
The Twelve Tables are a landmark moment of early Republican Roman history. In this episode we explore some of the highlights of this law code!
The Roman republic is in full swing and it’s time for the first decemvirate! The growing discontent amongst the population is reaching breaking point according to our narrative sources.
It’s 453 BCE and just as Rome seems to be heading towards a legal milestone disaster strikes: it’s a plague! Now plagues are terrible, of that there is no doubt, but how does this influence the path to codification? We’re here to find out. Episode 108 – Plague and Politics The Character of the Plague It is hard to identify the plague with certainty. What is clear from our later written sources is that the…
We jump into 454 BCE where we start to see the consequences of the events of the previous year play out. It’s hard to get away from our “Roman Achilles” who, in his position as plebeian tribune, levels a charge of “injuring the state” against the former consul Romilius. This sets up a cascade of interesting incidents. Episode 107 – Let the Codification Begin There’s little agreement between our major written sources for this year.…
We continue to follow the cause of our Roman Achilles–more formally known as Lucius Siccius Dentatus–in 455 BCE. Dentatus is truly the star of the this period of history from the perspective of Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Dr G has a lot to say about that! Episode 106 – Spoiler Alert What can we glean from a history written long after the fact? Dr Rad takes us through some of the key concerns we face…
There’s nothing quite like learning that there’s a Roman Achilles! In this episode we get to meet the man behind the legend. Episode 105 – The Roman Achilles Before we jump in, let’s find out where things stand. It’s 455 BCE and our narrative sources have put forward the case that the opening up of the Aventine was an important step under the new collective of ten tribunes. But all is not well on the…
We return to the City of Rome in 456 BCE and follow the ongoing domestic struggles that Rome faces in defining herself in terms of transparency at law. Episode 104 – Aventine, Aventine With a new crop of tribunes come some important consequences. While in previous years the tribunes have focused on the goal of ensuring that there is a clear and public way for any Roman citizen to access the laws in order to…
It’s c. 457 BCE in Rome and in this episode we explore the state of affairs in the wake of Cincinnatus’ dictatorship. Rome’s affairs with her neighbours are not off to a good start. As the City lifts her gaze outward after recent troubles, nearby peoples have taken matters into their own hands. The Sabines and the Aequians are both making bold moves stretching Rome’s attention both to the north and the south.
It’s c. 458 BCE and Rome’s troubles culminate in the appointment of a dictator. In this episode we explore the context which leads to the appointment of this emergency position and trace Rome’s progress as she attempts to face enemies on multiple fronts.
The Romans find themselves on the wrong end of Aequian aggression and its not long before we meet Cloelius Gracchus!
!!MILESTONE EPISODE!! We’re celebrating our 100th episode! Join us for this very special exploration of the Roman consulship.
It is c. 459 BCE and Rome faces the consequences of the Capitol having been seized and a consul killed in the previous year. The challenges come on two fronts: Tusculum and Antium.
It’s c. 460 BCE and this hectic year in Roman history continues! In this episode we consider Rome in the wake of the sneak attack on the Capitol by Herdonius’ disaffected Sabines. During the challenges of wrestling control back, the Romans lose one of their own. The consul Publius Valerius Pubicola falls in battle. This is a tragic loss and opens the way for Lucius Cincinnatus to return to the narrative. Episode 98 – Cincinnatus,…
We return to our narrative of Rome’s history of its foundation with some surprising Sabines. It’s still 460 BCE, which is an indication of just how complicated Rome’s history is becoming when we read our sources. Both Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus are very focused on the ongoing conflict between the Roman elites and the emerging claims to power from the plebeians. We wouldn’t would to give too many spoilers away, but while the Romans are busy trying to figure out what their internal politics will look like, there might just be an enemy on the horizon!
The conflict between patricians and plebeians continues apace as we explore the political complexities of 460 BCE. Much like a Jane Austen novel, letters and rumours abound in the fair city of Rome… According to the annalist tradition, debate continues to rage about the proposal for clarity around laws and the idea of equality before the law. This leads to an unusual situation: the tribunes from the previous year return to continue pushing for these…
The complex relationship between the patricians and plebeians is central to our appreciation of the 460s BCE. In this episode we’ll get to consider the complexities first hand with the entrance of Caeso Quinctius (remember this name, he’s going places!). We jump back into the narrative history of c. 461 BCE with our guides of the moment, Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Both are writing long after these events, which means that their accounts leave…
We return to Rome’s narrative from the founding of City. The year c. 462 BCE ends on a high note with the consuls both gathering honours for their military exploits. L. Lucretius Tricipitinus is awarded a triumph for his successes against the Aequii while T. Veturius Geminus scores an ovatio for his part against the Volscii. As for the title of this episode—’Flesh Rains Down Upon Thee’— well, we wouldn’t want to spoil it, but…
Rome emerges from the year of pestilence and moves straight on to divide and conquer. While this seems implausible, we’re still navigating the tricky gaps in our annalist historians – uncertainty is the name of the historical game at this stage. Welcome to c. 462 BCE! The pestilence ensured the death of both consuls of c. 463 BCE so it’s only after a series of interreges that we stumble into the new consular year. Join…
We’re jumping back into the narrative. The title might be a bit of a giveaway, yes yes, we’ll be talking about … pestilence! But before we get there we need to consider the circumstances. Rome has been having lots of problems with their neighbours, particularly the Aequians and we’ve seen a shift in tactics from Aequians engaging in guerilla style raiding to seeking out the Romans in pitched battle. To say that Rome has been…
In this episode, we dip in the years c. 466-4 BCE to explore the continuing conflict between Rome, the Aequians, and the Volscians. These years are packed with drama, politics, and virtus!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
The patrician and plebeian conflict explodes over the redistribution of public land. The Vestal Virgin Oppia finds herself the object of public scrutiny.
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.
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.
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!
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.
We dive right back into the narrative of Rome’s history with an examination of the years just following the death of Coriolanus. Rome, perhaps unsurprisingly, doesn’t really know how to get along with her neighbours…
In this special episode we turn our roving eye on how the story of Coriolanus has been transformed by his reappearance into the cultural mind of the West through Shakespeare’s play and the centuries that follow.
It is the end of Coriolanus. How does his grisly end unfold? Who will be pivotal to the end of his career? In this episode, Drs R and G push through all the barriers to make sure this part of Roman history comes to a close!
The complexities of Coriolanus’ narrative continue to build and things are about to get a little bit hairy for our man of the moment. Join Drs R and G for the ride ahead!
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.
In the last episode Coriolanus loomed large on the agenda, and here he takes centre stage again. Ever wondered what a real patrician’s patrician looked like? Wait no more!
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!
In this episode, the Doctors examine the continuing Struggle of the Orders, some of the consequences of the strife between the Plebeians and Patricians, and *drum roll please* … we catch our first glimpse of the man who will become Coriolanus.
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.
In this episode, the struggle heats up in earnest and we follow the growing antagonism between the patricians and the plebeians.
In this episode, Drs R. and G. consider the events of 494/3 BCE and the contextual factors that culminated in the Conflict of the Orders between the patricians and the plebeians.
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.
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.
There is word of a truce between Rome and the Latins, yet another dictator, and the infamous battle of Lake Regillus. For your listening pleasure there may also be some surprising divine sightings!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
In this episode, discover how Tarquinius Superbus attempts to hold on to power despite being exiled from Rome, how Brutus meets his end, as well as a heady discussion on the topic of ‘well, what have we really learnt anyway so far?’
As the tide of popularity turns against Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, what will he do? And how will the Romans respond? Drs R and G return with a consideration of the last king of Rome. Follow the action as the decline of Superbus sets in.
Can a king really be brought low by the actions of his relatives? The story of Lucretia offers some clues. Join Drs R and G for the second part of the life and times of the final king of Rome, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus.
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…
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.
Join your favourite debonair scholars as they explore the rule of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, a man of such charisma, and favourable signs from the gods, who wooed Rome from the moment he entered the city!
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.
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!
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.
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!