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Ancient texts

Liv. (7.10-11)

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Tarquinian  war

T. Manlius Torquatus

361 bc

Obstruction by the senate
In the period after the first plebeian consul the senate tried to avoid war so the plebeian consuls had no chance for glory. But when the Hernici started to raid on Roman territory, war became inevitable.

L. Genucius was the plebeian consul who was to deal with the Hernici. He ran into an ambush; his army was routed and he was killed. Of course the patricians didn't fail to point out the gods would not have a plebeian consul taking auspices. As usual a dictator (Ap. Claudius) was appointed and he defeated the Hernici

The Gauls are back
In the next year the consuls C. Licinius Calvus and L. Genucius Peticus attacked and conquered the Henician city of Ferentinum. When the Gauls reentered the theatre and also Tibur acted hostile towards Rome, again a dictator was appointed: T. Quinctius. The Gauls made camp three miles from the city and near the via Salaria (Salarian road) across the river Anio.

The bridge
With the Gallic occupation in mind, the dictator raised a huge army and marched to the Gauls and made camp on the Roman side of the river. Between the two armies was a bridge that crossed the river and was in no ones possession, both armies tried to get hold of it in many skirmishes but with little or no effect.

Then a giant Gaul stepped onto the bridge and challenged the Romans to send their best man to fight him. This fight would also determine outcome of the war.

The gladius
At first no one volunteered. Then T. Manlius, indeed family of M. Manlius Capitolinus, asked the dictator permission to fight the Gaul,which was granted. Manlius defeated the Gaul by slipping under the Gaul's shield and stabbing him in the belly. Interesting is Livius's remark, Manlius used a short Spanish sword, which indicates the Romans already knew the gladius, but it was no standard equipment yet. After the fight Manlius didn't take the full equipment of the Gaul, probably because they fought with a naked torso, but he took his torquatus and put it around his own neck. His admirers now called him Torquatus (adorned with a chain) : T. Manlius Torquatus

Gauls move to Campania
The Gauls retreated to Tibur and the Tiburtines supplied them generously with provisions. After this
the Gauls moved to Campania for a while. But when the Romans the following year attacked Tibur,
they returned and again a dictator had to be appointed.

Gauls defeated
While the consuls attacked the Tiburtines and the Hernici, dictator Q. Servius Ahala levied an army and marched out of the city to the Gauls. In plain view from the city he defeated the Gauls.

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Celtic torquatus
Museo Arqueologico Cordoba


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