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Ancient texts

Liv. (2.33)

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Spurius Cassius

War against the Volsci

492 bc

Grain shortage
After the plebeian secession arose a grain shortage. Livius (2.33) puts the blame for this on the plebaians, who would have neglected their fields. Other fields had been plundered by other peoples. The senate sent out envoys to buy grain. This would lift the needs only partially and the price of grain was raising.

Malicious proposal
Gneus Marcius, a young patrician who had made name in the conquest of the nearby city of Corioli, literally, he would be called Corolianus, was a fiercely opposed against the institution of the plebeian tribunes. He now saw an opportunity to do something against that office. He proposed to raise the price of grain as high as possible until the office of the plebeian tribune was abolished.

Though this proposition did not pass the senate, the peoples tribunes were as furious as the rest of the plebeians and organized a trial against Coriolanus. Though Marcius did not recognize the power of the peoples tribunes to try him, he was nevertheless forced to go in exile.

Plotting against Rome
Attius Tullius, an important member of the Volsci. Together they started plotting a war against Rome. The problem was the Volsci were not ready for war and they wanted not to be blamed for breaking the treaty with Rome.

Great games
Then, in Rome the great games were held. These games were also visited by non Romans and thus also by quite some Volscians. Now Attius Tullius went to the Roman senate and warned the senate secretly, he had heard the Volscian in Rome were planning to make trouble. The Senate believed him and ordered the Volcians to leave the city. This stirred up enough anger to start a war against Rome.

Mother saves the day
Marcius Coriolanus and Attius Tullius were appointed commanding generals. Marcius' army conquered city after city while approaching Rome. The Romans feared this powerful army and tried for peace. But Marcius' was to bitter to be mollified. As a last resort the Romans sent his mother, who still live in Rome, to him, who convinced him to make peace.

This tale, what it probably is, emphasizes the role of the Roman women as well as the struggle of the orders.

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