Everything was going fine for the Romans, until they walked into a canyon, and got trapped. The most humiliating defeat for 50,000 Roman soldiers, at the Caudine Forks.
Hello, this is Abel, speaking from Beijing, China. Welcome to my podcast.
The Tale of Rome, Episode 37 — The Caudine Forks.
During our last episode, we saw the end of many things. Many, many, things.
The end of Publius Decius Mus, for he sacrificed himself on the battlefield.
The end of Titus Manlius Torcuatus, in the books of Livy, for Livy banned him from his books, after the sacrifice of his own son.
The end of the war against the Latins. The end of many peoples of Italy, such as the Sidicines, the Auruncians, the Volsci, and the Campanians, as free people. Yes, some lived on — under the strict yoke of Rome.
It was also the end of the Latin League.
And, yes — I was also the end of a respected Senator from Tusculum. Latin landowner and aristocrat Annius saw the end of his life, when he rolled down the stairs, at the very Roman Senate.
We also saw the end of the Athenian resistance against King Philip II of Macedon, who just married yet another wife — a girl named Cleopatra of Macedon.
I think, she was like, his sixth or seventh wife.
And finally, I sadly announce that today we have yet another loss — this time from Ostia.
In an event that happened all too often in Rome, and in cities built by Romans, the three-story insulae, where our good old slave lived, burst into flames, on a moonless night.
Our slave had no time of getting down the stairs from his third floor, and while people were trying to get themselves to safety, a woman slipped on the stairs and — grabbing her husband, she dragged them both to their death.
The fire devoured the entire block by the port of Ostia.
Well, before the Romans entered the valley through the narrow pass, the Consuls sent troops ahead, to go see if something was amiss.
The soldiers returned saying that everything seemed just fine, and that the valley was completely empty.
But when the Roman troops began to march through the gorge, the Triarii, the most veteran soldiers, began to sense that something, was wrong indeed.
It was just too calm, and they didn’t like it at all.
And just when the last regiment of the Romans passed through the canyon, and just when the first part of the forces reached the exit of the canyon, they found it blocked with rocks and logs.
Noticing they were trapped, they quickly began to walk back, but by then, the first entrance was blocked, too.
Samnites were standing there, watching the Romans from above.