Episode 32 – Marcus Valerius Corvus

— Apparently, the gods of the Romans didn’t feel like going to bed, on that day.

He was a Consul of Rome at the age of 23. He would be Consul five more times, and dictator twice. And he lived to be 100. This is our small tribute.

Partial Transcript

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

The Tale of Rome, Episode 32 — Marcus Valerius Corvus.

The year 342 was hotter than others, and the legionaries garrisoned in Campania felt it firsthand.

Unlike the inhabitants of Capua, and other cities, in the soft and fertile plains of Campania, Roman soldiers lived with the hard life of a legion, as their job — given to them by means of their oath, was to protect the people, and to defend Roman territory, and not necessarily in that order.

And that was what the soldiers were doing — day in, day out.

Left there, to garrison the southern fringes of this new Roman land, they all fulfilled their duties, but inside they all wanted to be in Rome.

Yep.

Further north.

Where it’s not so hot, by Mercury!

That’s right.

While some of them left for Rome, where they would get a triumphal march, this group of soldiers from both Valerius and Cossus, were practically left all alone there, right outside of Capua.

Entertainment was nil. Contact with the locals was almost non-existent.

And so, very soon, these soldiers decided it was not fair that the people of Capua, a bunch of weaklings who could not even defend themselves from the Samnites, were having all the fun, while they — hard-working legionaries had to babysit them.

And, worse, they were not getting any of the fun.

In less than a storm needs to gather, and build up some dark clouds, the ringleaders of the two halves — the guys left by Valerius, and the guys left by Cossus, began to hatch a plan.

A plan of rebellion.

[…]

The Gaul almost fell right there, but he soon got back on his feet.

The black crow just wouldn’t go away!

An then, one second later, the animal made another attack, and this time he tried to get his beak into one of the eyes of the Gaul.

Valerius did not waste any time, and he crouched down, pulled his sword, and he placed the short sword between two ribs of the giant.

The huge warrior now had to worry about the crow, watch his eyes, and he had to fend off the boy.

Bleeding from his stomach, the Gaul ran towards the boy, but again, the raven began to flutter both wings in the face of the barbarian.

That’s when Valerius saw the opening for the second hit.

Another move, and Valerius had his sword half inside the giant’s abdomen, while the raven was still trying to gauge one eye out.

There was no need for a third hit.

The giant fell to his knees, and Valerius let his sword stay there, deep in the giant’s body.

And when the giant fell — face down, the tip of Valerius’ sword came out of the giant’s back.

Three long seconds of silence, and then the Romans began to scream.

[…]

Episode 16 – The Battle of Lake Regillus

— “I have five daughters,” said the giant.

Cloelia’s heroism. King Lars Porsenna’s farewell. A threat on the shores of Lake Regillus. A threat so big, that Rome installs a dictator for the first time, in order to survive its institutional infancy.

Partial Transcript

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

The Tale of Rome, Episode 16 – The Battle of Lake Regillus.

Last week we left off with the siege of Rome, and how Mucius gave King Porsenna the scare of his life, by telling him that the romans were going to kill him sooner or later.

Instead of burning him alive, Porsenna set Mucius free.

Two hours later, as soon as the sun came out, a delegation of Etruscans marched towards Rome, bearing their standard flag aloft, meaning peace.

They were on foot, and kept a continuous step. The signing of a peace treaty took place an hour later.

[…]

We know that in the year 503 BC, Publicola died.

Publius Valerius Publicola died in Rome at an unestablished age, in relative poverty, but loved by his people.

The burial of Publicola was paid for by the city of Rome, as his family did not possess the means, financially speaking.

His body was put on that same promontory next to the place where once people suspected him of trying to become a king of Rome.

[…]

Episode 15 – King Lars Porsenna

— The Romans gave him as much land as he could circle in one day with an ox and a plow, and they’d also give him a cow.

During the first years of the republic, Rome was invaded, conquered and taken by Etruscan King Lars Porsenna. But we’ll also hear the Roman version of that, and hopefully know what exactly happened.

Partial Transcript

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

The Tale of Rome, Episode 15 — King Lars Porsenna.

Last week we had that Tarquin the Proud managed to convince the king of a city called Clusium to invade Rome with his forces. That king’s name was Lars Porsenna.

[…]

Finally, Valerius also ordered the Roman Senate to gather on the very next day, and to vote for the missing consul, because he had no intentions of being the only consul of Rome.

So.

The Senate voted, and decided that the consul replacing late Junius Brutus would be a man called let’s see if you guys can repeat this name after hearing it once, … it would be a man called Spurius Lucretius Tricipitinus.

I can imagine you are having trouble pronouncing that name, just like it did.

But it doesn’t really matter, because that Senator died four or five days after he was elected.

What a lucky Senator! They elect him Consul and the guy dies!

[…]

 

Episode 14 – Life and Death of Junius Brutus

— Those guys must have had nerves of steel, the conscience of a vampire, the memory of a fly, and the stomach of a Nile crocodile.

The end of the battle at the Arsian Forest, and the end of the life of Consul Lucius Junius Brutus. We will see that Rome offers him a year-long mourning.

Partial Transcript

Two weeks ago we found ourselves in the middle of the battle of the Arsian forest.

On one side, we had the forces of former King Tarquin, together with forces of the Etruscan city of Veii, and on the side there were the forces of Rome, directed by Junius Brutus and Publius Valerius.

When Arruns saw that the army of Rome being commanded by Brutus, he exclaimed

“That’s the man who kicked us out of Rome!”

Watch how he proudly advances, adorned with our flag!

O Gods, Avengers of Kings, help me!

As was custom and honor at that time, both Arruns and Junius Brutus threw their horses at full gallop, one towards the other, knowing that if they could just hurt the other, the entire battle would shift to a side, just like crooked salt vendor’s scale in a Roman forum.

But, they both managed to sink the spears and penetrate the other’s shield, and both fell off their horses in the very same instant.

They died the next instant, spears deeply nailed in their torsos.

Historically speaking, although these types of duels probably contain a strong mythical element, scholars of ancient Rome say that this kind of personal combat represented a very common aspect of war within the Roman military system, and should not be discounted as a far-fetched tale.

The long tradition of the so-called spolia opina, which involves a Roman commander defeating an enemy commander in a hand-to-hand combat, insinuates that this type of events did indeed happen, every so often.

[…]

But if you take a closer look, and if we take the interpretation of the priestess at Delphi seriously, it was neither Arruns nor Titus who ruled Rome after the old Tarquin was done ruling Rome.

It was Junius Brutus.

[…]

Episode 12 – The First Two Consuls

— That’s what I love about Rome. They kick each other, regardless of family lines, or family ties. So much for family love!

Rome gets to choose two Consuls, then they change their mind about one of their fresh Consuls-elect, and replace him with one of the most famous public servants ever – even today: Publius Valerius Publicola.

Partial Transcript

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

The Tale of Rome, Episode 12 — The First Two Consuls.

Last week, we saw—finally, the final moments of the monarchy in Rome.

We saw how Tarquin the Proud got locked out of his own city, after the rebellion started by Lucius Brutus and Lucius Collatinus.

Without any soldiers left, and knowing that the gates of Rome would be blocked, he and the idiot of his son went into exile.

Today we will see how that exile of his went on, and what exactly happened after Romans got to taste their very first hours without kings.

The very first order of the Roman Senate was to publicly declare Tarquin as an Enemy of the State, and that Rome would never again be ruled by a king.

Neither the king nor his wife Tullia would ever be allowed to put their feet within the city of Rome, and here I want to add that Romans sent a very strong message for Tullia, as a persona non-grata in their city. Do not come back to Rome, as you have killed your own father, back in the time when nobody could do anything about it.

Even though that was decades ago, Romans did not forget.

[…]

I don’t know if you guys realized, but both these guys were relatives of the king Rome had just kicked out.

Excuse me? They kick a king out of their city, and they put two of his relatives as the first two Consuls of Rome?

Yep. Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus was the ex-king’s cousin, and Lucius Junius Brutus was the ex-king’s nephew.

That’s what I love about Rome. They kick each other, regardless of family lines, or family ties.

So much for family love!

[…]