logo for the-romans.eu
logo for the-romans.eu

Ancient texts

Liv. (6.11-20)

retreat to previous page to next page
Licinius and Sextius

Manlius Capitolinus

385 bc

Clock round war
After the Gauls had left Rome, some cities under Rome's rule meant is was a good time to revolt. Also the Volsci waged war against Rome. In 389 Camillus was appointed dictator once more. In 388 Etruscan city of Cortuosa was conquered. Interesting here is the city was assaulted day and night. The army was divided in 6 shifts. Each of those took 6 hour turns. In short: every year the Romans waged war.

Choosing sides
In this period M. Manlius Capitolinus, the same who defended the Capitol against the Gauls and had been woken by the geese, hence his nickname, chose the side of the plebeians.

A crime?
According to Livius Manlius Capitolinus did this because of his jalousie of Camillus, who was the big man in those days. He wished to be as important as Camillus. I doubt that. The only important thing he ever did was being woken and stopping the Gauls. Nowhere is mentioned him showing special talents in leading an army. The way Livius describes his further actions it is more likely he simply wanted to improve their circumstances.

Leader of the plebeians?
Either way Manlius Capitolinus stirred up a lot of trouble, for the patricians that is. Livius brings up an interesting observation:
The need of the people to follow and obey their leader(s).
These leaders happened to be the patricians. Now a patrician leader presented himself and promised to take care of needs of the plebeians. He actually did. He paid the debts of an adjudged debtor and set him free. Livius describes this as a crime.

Dictator appointed
The senate recognized the danger. Trying this man would lead to nothing: If he were convicted he would appeal to the people and be acquitted. The solution seemed to be appointing a dictator against whose verdict no appeal was possible. This had been done before with Spurius Maelius App. Cornelius Cossus was appointed dictator and had Manlius Capitolinus arrested. But then nobody knew what to do next. The dictator resigned and Manlius Capitolinus was released.

Now Manlius Capitolinus started all over again and told the plebeians the treasure that had been recaptured from the Gauls had been confiscated by the patricians and hidden somewhere. Now the senate invented another idea. Manlius was to be accused of hankering after kingly power; a capital crime. Somehow they succeeded in convincing the peoples tribunes, the man was a danger to Rome. Manlius was found guilty and condemned. He was hurled from the same Tarpeian rock where had had his finest hour.

    Tarpeian rock    

Tarpeian rock

    Poor Roman man    

Poor Roman man

Abguss Museum München    

footer for Romans  page
advertentie Hekate