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