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 36 – Death by the Volcano

— For thinking that the enemy sent his Triarii too early, the Latins ended up sending their own ones too early, and that cost them the battle.

Latins against Romans, on the slopes of Italy’s most famous volcano. And in this battle, we see the death of Publius Decius Mus — the same guy who earned the renowned Grass Crown, years earlier.

Partial Transcript


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

The Tale of Rome, Episode 36 — Death by the Volcano.

— “You snake!”

— “You are the snake!”

— “Coward!”

— “I’ll show you who’s the coward!”

— “I dare you!”

When Decius he wanted to step forward, his heart beating like a drum, he hit the dry, hard floor next to the bed. With an insult, the Consul was now really awake from his sleep.

The dream was gone.

And in that dream, the volcano was talking to Decius.

The volcano was taunting him, all the while spewing fire serpents, and eating up the entire Roman army.

— “One of the two will die before sundown,” he heard the volcano say.

A bit later, he told Manlius Torquatus about the dream.

[…]

ONE — Just as the trumpets sounded, and as was customary in the Roman legion, the oracles of the army threw food at the sacred hens, and they confirmed what everyone feared.

A whole Roman flank, and one of the consuls of Rome, would end up dying.

TWO — Decius Mus rode out on the left side of the Roman army, and Torquatus on the right side.

In other words, Decius was on the slope of the volcano, and Torquatus on the side to the sea, being that they were facing in a south-southeast direction.

THREE — Latins began to tighten the ranks on both sides, but during the first clash neither of the two side gave up a single yard.

One of the flanks of Torquatus was deployed about a hundred meters behind, due to some irregularities of the terrain, while the troops of Decius were face to face with the Latins.

FOUR — the Sidicines, who, fearing a night attack, did not get a lot of sleep, were the first to fall.

This allowed Torquatus to create a wider row, while maintaining the depth of his Phalanx.

But to Decius, this was neither an advantage nor a disadvantage, and his troops began to break for two reasons. The end of the row was in difficulty with the slope of the volcano, and the cavalry of the Latins threatened to break the row of the Hastati, a lot sooner than they both anticipated.

[…]