Episode 46 – The Third Samnite War

— That’s right, when the Etruscans heard that Corvus was leading the roman troops, they got into their fort and did not want to come out, not even to check on the weather.

For the third time, the Samnites. And some say, third time is a charm. And in this case, it was exactly like that. It’s the last years of Marcus Valerius Corvus’ life.

Partial Transcript


Hello, this is Abel, speaking from Beijing, China. Welcome to my podcast.

The Tale of Rome, Episode 46 — The Third Samnite War.

Peace reigned supreme in Rome.

We are in the year 302 BC, or — as the Roman liked to refer to their years — we are in the year of the consulship of Denter and Paulus.

Less than six months ago, peace treaties were ratified by the Senate of Rome, and now — Romans were the masters, of all of Central Italy.

And just as we’ve seen in our last episode, there was no shortage of heroes, either.

Take two examples?

Fabius Rullianus and Papirius Cursor.

Yep. It does happen at times. All of the sudden, it happens that a generation springs up in some places, and — suddenly, a nation finds itself blessed, by a generation of people who simply do stuff better.

Better than their parents, and better than their grandparents, at times.

It’s like a wave — like the waves of the ocean, coming ashore.  Every so often, you get a bigger one, a prettier one, and sometimes you can tell by counting the waves in between, but sometimes you can’t.

Yep. Sometimes, it’s almost like magic.

It happened in the States, with the baby boomers, and it happened in Argentina, with the incredible soccer generation, that saw people like Maradona, rise and fall.

True.

Sometimes, a generation like this, changes the destiny of a sport, a view on things, or even a nation, — even for a whole century, only to disappear after that, and never to return.

These waves usually leave nostalgia behind, and a strong taste that thing used to be better, before.

A legacy, if you will.

Alright, before I go all the way off the topic, here is an overview of the stuff we’ll be seeing today.

For that — I made a short list, of five topics.

Have a listen.

ONE — The years 302, 301, and 300 BC, from a legislative point of view. Two important laws are coming out in these years, and we wanna be there, and see what they are all about.

Their names are — the Lex Valeria, and the Lex Ogulnia.

TWO — We are also getting to see Marcus Valerius Corvus again, who — by now — is being addressed as Marcus Valerius Maximus Corvus.

[…]

In the year 300 BC, Corvus was elected again, to lead the destiny of Rome — but this time as a Consul, and not as a Dictator.

His mission this time was to finish the thing with the Aequi, and this was the fifth time, he was elected Consul of Rome.

But — that year — Corvus was doing something more than just leading troops, and winning things for Rome.

Yep. In the year 300 BC, Corvus decided to give his support to the two laws that we talked about, earlier on.

Let me explain.

First — Since Corvus was totally in favor of the Lex Ogulnia, he made sure that, the day the law passed, he was present in Rome, standing — right in front of the building that was housing the College of Pontiffs.

He also made sure he was there, when the first Plebeian priests joined the ranks of those Pontifex.

And second — He himself helped push the Lex Valeria through the red tape, by means of a legal move, known as the provocatio, or the right to stand up for the people of Rome.

[…]

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.

[…]