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Episode Info:

We continue to follow the cause of our Roman Achilles–more formally known as Lucius Siccius Dentatus–in 455 BCE. Dentatus is truly the star of the this period of history from the perspective of Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Dr G has a lot to say about that!

Episode 106 – Spoiler Alert

What can we glean from a history written long after the fact?

Dr Rad takes us through some of the key concerns we face when approaching the written sources for the early republic.

Part of the trouble steams simply from the time of the events when people like Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus lived centuries later. But we also run into the challenge of stock figures, whose names and existence are open to question. Such figures serve an important role in bringing a historical narrative to life.

The complications of public discourse

The traditionalist streak runs deeply through the patricians. This comes as no surprise as they are the beneficiaries of the structures already in place in Rome, but it does lead to some questionable behaviour.

Things to listen out for:

  • The patricians position in the forum
  • The challenges raised by the pons or ‘voting bridge’
  • Patrician power called into question through trials
  • Some intriguing exchanges through the goddess Ceres…
  • Trouble in Tusculum!
  • A real set to between Romilius and Siccius
  • The discrepancy between Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus about the treasury
Our Players The Consuls
  • Titus Romilius T. f. T. n. Rocus Vaticanus (Pat)
  • Gaius Veturius P. f. – n. Cicurinus (Pat)
Tribunes of the Plebs
  • L. Icilius
  • L. Alienus
  • + 8 others!
Notable Plebeians
  • Lucius Siccius Dentatus
Some Family Appearances
  • the Postumii
  • the Sempronii
  • the Cloelii
Our Sources
  • Dr G reads Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman Antiquities 10.40-47
  • Dr Rad reads Livy ab urbe condita 3.31
Further Reading

Interested in knowing more about this period in Rome’s history. Take a leaf from Dr Rad and jump into some scholarly reading:

  • Cornell, T. J. 1995. The Beginnings of Rome
  • Forsythe, G. 2005. A Critical History of Early Rome
  • Momigliano, A. 2005. ‘The Rise of the Plebs in the Archaic Age of Rome’ in Rafflaub, K. (ed) Social Struggles in Archaic Rome: New Perspectives on the Conflict of the Orders
  • Rafflaub, K. 2005. ‘From Protection and Defense to Offense and Participation: Stages in the Conflict of the Orders’ in Rafflaub, K. (ed) Social Struggles in Archaic Rome: New Perspectives on the Conflict of the Orders

Roman warrior charging – Alex Broeckel. Source: Pinterest.

Sound Credits

Sound Effects courtesy of BBC Sound Effects (Beta)
Final credits: Excerpt from ‘Ancient Arcadian Harp’ by Cormi

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