Episode 41 – The End of the Great War

— In the end, Gaius Pontius saw that his old father — Herennius Pontius, had been right all along. Samnia now had a deadly enemy called Rome, and all Romans could think of, was vengeance.

The end of the Second Samnite War, from the fall of Apulia, to the inspection of Samnia, by Consul Publius Sempronius.

Partial Transcript

Hello, this is Abel, speaking from Sanya, in the south of China. Welcome to my podcast.

The Tale of Rome. Episode 41 — The End of the Great War.

We are in the year 435 of the Founding of the City. By our accounts, that is the year 319 BC.

Early morning. It’s the first day of the year.

Not the first day of the Julian Calendar — that would come centuries later — but, the first day of the Calendar, as it was set by Romulus, and Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome.

And the business of this first day of the year, was to elect the two new Consuls for the year.

Serious business.

Senators old and young, were hurrying to the building of the Curia, for — two really important decisions, depended on today’s vote.

On one hand, somebody would have to deal with the consequences of what happened at the Caudine Forks.

And, on the other hand, there was a law that was going to — either pass, or not pass.

And that law, had nothing to do with war, or the humiliating defeat at the Caudine Forks.

That law, if passed, would take away one certain power from Consuls, and would give it to the new guys in town.

The Censors.

That’s right — if today’s law passed, Censors would become the ones, who would have the power to remove someone from the Senate, and there was a myriad of reasons why this could happen.

So, anyways.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what was going on, I would like to read a short list of six items, on how a Senator’s day went on, when it was time to pass new laws, welcome new Senators into the house, and other (smaller) business at hand.

ONE — Before the start of any important session, Senators would go to the Augurs, or Oracles, and see if the day in question, was actually good for passing new laws, or any other business.

At that time, there were four guys with sufficient authority in all of Rome, to decide whether the day was auspicious or not.

We’ll talk more about this further down the line.

TWO — Before any voting, there were speeches. Always. Even if the voting was as trivial as the naming of a street, a speech was to be had.

THREE — Sometimes these speeches went really long. And I mean, long!


A huge army from Tarentum showed up on the horizon, just as Romans and Samnites were about to get running into each other’s throats.

Their trumpets stopped everyone, and the Tarentines announced that this battle was being ordered, canceled.

That’s right! Canceled! And the Tarentines even said that whoever made a move to attack the other side, the army of Tarentum would immediately join the other side, and make the aggressors lose the whole fight.

Right away, the Romans called up their oracle, and checked on their sacred chicken.

The chicken said — well, they didn’t say a thing — the oracle said, the gods were totally in favor of a frontal, brutal, battle, and that Rome was not to be afraid of the new arrival.

And so — they made their battle formations, and started to walk forward.


Author: MarcusAurelius

Writer. Podcaster. Author. Illustrator and coder. Nutella monster.

One thought on “Episode 41 – The End of the Great War”

  1. Ford Perfect — first, respect is due to me (at my age), and also because this podcast is for free!

    I deleted your comment that starts with “wait, what?” instead of “hello there, I wanted to ask you about” …

    Learn to address people first, Ford Perfect, and you will get far. A little kindness goes a long way, and your comment was rude.

    But I do thank you for pointing out that there is not a whole lot about Maniples in this podcast. So, this might help other listeners! Yes, we never had a specific episode dedicated to the Maniple system and its differences from the Phalanx system (and never will, this is about fiction and truth in ancient Rome, not about Roman warfare), but we did do it in bits and pieces all over the podcast.

    So, here is a brief list of where these pieces are to be found. May this help other listeners, too, thanks to you!

    So, in Episode 33 — Latins and Romans we mention this:
    […] I also want to start explaining the big change that started to happen around that time in the Army of Rome, and here I am talking about the change from the Greek Phalanx, to a much smarter way to fight on terrain that’s not flat. […]

    In episode 34 — From Crete to Campania, we have this:
    […] One of the qualities Romans had, was that they knew when they had a flaw, and they accepted they had it.
    They learned from their mistakes, and they changed their tactics, if the tactics did not give them the expected results.
    The first step to improve of fix something is to admit there is a flaw, and the Romans knew that very well.
    And, in abandoning the method of the Greek phalanx, the Romans showed their genius for change. Italy was not like Greece, […]

    In episode 35 — Alexander of Epirus, we have this:
    […] The formations of the Roman Phalanx, and their gradual transformation, into a system that now know as the Maniples.
    Let’s look first how sources describe the Phalanx, and how these Phalanx operated on a battlefield: […]
    Then we have the light infantry. They were known as the Peltastas. […]

    In Episode 36 — Death by the Volcano, we talk about the Hastati, the Principes, and the Triarii, as parts of the Maniple system.

    In Episode 37 — the Caudine Forks, we see how this system (the Phalanx) bears little fruits in that battle.

    In episode 38 — The First Gladiators, we have this:
    […] As Rome was getting rid off the Phalanxes, those super-long spears began to be a nuisance on a battlefield.[…]

    We also have bits and pieces as early as in episodes 29 — The First Plebeian Consul, and 32 — Marcus Valerius Corvus.
    And of course, we are not done with it, so stay tuned, my friends!

    Thanks again, Ford! That pushed me to be helpful, and yes, I welcome comments, but not written the way you did. While every comment is better than no comment, I suggest you to improve on qualities like amiability.

    Finally, greetings from Beijing, China (I live here since 2011), and may God bless and inspire you!

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