Roman Republic

Roman Italy (2nd century BC)

Aftermath of Hannibal’s Expulsion from Italy

(203 - 134 BC)

Land Confiscation After the Hannibalic War

According to Livy, Rome’s Italian allies had largely remained loyal to the Romans until their disastrous defeat by Hannibal at Cannae in 216 BC, when some of them began to waver:

  1. “These are the peoples that [subsequently] revolted:

  2. [some of] the Campanians, [including] the Atellani, [and] the Calatini;

  3. ...some of the Apulians;

  4. [most] of the Samnites, including the Hirpini [although not] the Pentri;

  5. the Bruttii;

  6. the Lucanians;

  7. ... the Uzentini;

  8. almost all the Greeks on the coast:

  9. the Tarentines;

  10. the Metapontines;

  11. the Crotoniates; and

  12. the Locri;

  13. together with all the Cisalpine Gauls”, (‘Roman History’, 22: 61: 10-12).

Not all of these defections took place in 216 BC.  However, Livy is certainly correct that Hannibal had:

  1. enjoyed the support of most of Campania from  216 until 211 BC, when the Romans expelled Hannibal from the region); and

  2. won over the support of most of the communities in southern Italy until 203 BC, when he was finally driven from the peninsula. 

Thus, by 203 BC, a number of erstwhile allies had been deprived of their political independence and a vast areas of Campania and southern Italy had been added to the Roman ager publicus.


  1. “[In 197 BC,], Gaius Atinius, tribune of the people, carried a proposal that 5 colonies should be established on the sea-coast,

  2. two at the mouths of the Vulturnus and Liternus rivers [i.e. Volturnum and Liternum];

  3. one at Puteoli;

  4. one at Castrum Salerni [Salernum];

  5. to which Buxentum was added.

  6. It was ordered that 300 families be sent to each colony.  A commission of three, to hold office for three years, was created to found these colonies, and Marcus Servilius Geminus, Quintus Minucius Thermus, and Tiberius Sempronius Longus were chosen as its members.

In 194 BC, Scipio became consul for the second time.  Despite the fact that Hannibal had had taken refuge with King Antichos of Macedonia, the Senate chose to continue with its policy of removing consular armies from the Greece and Macedonia (as Scipio had wanted): instead he and his colleague, Tiberius Sempronius Longus, were both assigned to Italy.


  1. “Colonies of Roman citizens were founded [in 194 BC] at

  2. Puteoli, Volturnum, Liternum, 300 to each; and

  3. Salernum and Buxentum. 

  4. The triumvirs who established them were Tiberius Sempronius Longus (one of the consuls of the year), Marcus Servilius and Quintus Minucius Thermus. The land which had belonged to the Campanians was divided among them. 

  5. Likewise at Sipontum, in the territory which had belonged to [a centre called Arpi, Argyrippa, or Argos Hippium], a colony of Roman citizens was founded by other triumvirs, Decimus Iunius Brutus, Marcus Baebius Tamphilus, and Marcus Helvius.

  6. [Likewise at:]

  7. Tempsa ... ,which had been taken from the Brutti, who in turn had expelled the Greeks. The triumvirs for Tempsa were Lucius Cornelius Merula, Quintus(?) and Caius Salonius; and and

  8. at Croton, which had been held by the Greeks.  The triumvirs for Croton were: Cnaeus Octavius, Lucius Aemilius Paulus, and Gaius Laetorius; , (‘History of Rome’, 34: 45: 1-5).

194: Buxentum (supplemented in 186 BC)

194: Sipontum, supplemented in 186 BC

192 Tempsa and Croton

Edward Salmon (referenced below. at p. 97) described the subsequent establishment of eight relatively small maritime colonies of Roman citizens in southern Italy after the Second Macedonian War: Volternum, Liternum, Puteoli, Salernum, Buxentum, Sipontum, Tempsa and Croto.  The first five had been planned in 197 BC and all eight were  established in 194 BC, the year of Scipio Africanus’ second consulship (see Livy: ‘History of Rome’, 32: 29: 3 for 197 BC and ‘History of Rome’, 34: 45: 1-5 for 194 BC).  Salmon observed that:

  1. “... it may be that this colonisation programme was a favourite project of [Scipio Africanus]. It is to be noted that, when he later fell out of favour, he retired to one of these colonies , ... Liternum ...”.

From these accounts, we can reasonably assume that Scipio did indeed take an active interest in the settlement of his veterans, and that this extended into the 190s BC.  

Simone Sisani (referenced below, 2007, at p. 218) pointed out that, in 199 BC, when Scipio Africanus held the post of princeps senatus, the praetorship of Caius Sergius Plautus was extended into the following year:

  1. “... so that he might superintend the distribution of land to the soldiers who had served for many years in Spain, Sicily, and Sardinia ...” (‘History of Rome’, 32: 1: 6).

He reasonably suggested that Scipio Africanus had probably arranged for Sergius’ term of office to be prorogued in order facilitate the settlement of his own veterans.  David Gargola (referenced below, at p. 104) assumed that Livy’s three records of 201, 200 and 199 BC:

  1. “... probably record the initial passage of a programme [of veteran settlement] and two later modifications to the project.”

This programme, as amended, might be have extended beyond Samnium and Apulia, although no other territories are identified.

Reinforcement of Latin colonies

Narnia 199 BC

Cosa 197

Cales 183 (185?)

New Latin Colonies

Thurii Copia in 193 BC: 20 iugera

Vibo in 192 BC: 15 iugera


  1. “At the end of[194 BC]. Quintus Aelius  Tubero, the tribune of the people, on the authority of the Senate, proposed to the people and the assembly voted that two Latin colonies should be founded:

  2. one among the Brutti; and

  3. the other in the country around Thurii.

  4. Triumvirs were chosen to establish these colonies, whose authority should continue through three years;

  5. for the colony among the Brutti, Quintus Naevius, Marcus Minucius Rufus, and Marcus Furius Crassipes;

  6. for the colony in the land of Thurium, Aulus Manlius, Quintus Aelius, and Lucius Apustius.

  7. These two elections were conducted by the city praetor Gnaeus Domitius on the Capitoline”, (‘Roman History’, 34: 53: 1-2).


  1. “[In 193 BC], a Latin colony was established at Castrum Frentinum [Thurii] by the triumvirs Aulus Manlius Volso, Lucius Apustius Fullo and Quintus Aelius Tubero; by the law of the last-named the colony was created.  3,000 infantry and 300 hundred cavalry joined it, a small number in proportion to the size of the tract.  The allotments of land could have been 30 iugera per infantryman and 60 per cavalryman.  At the suggestion of Apustius one-third of the land was reserved, whereby they were enabled later to enrol new colonists if they saw fit. 20 iugera were given to each infantryman, 40  to each cavalryman”, (‘Roman History’, 35: 9: 7-8).


  1. “[In 192 BC], In the same year a colony was established at Vibo in accordance with a decree of the Senate and an enactment of the assembly.  3,700 infantry went there and 300 cavalrymen; the commission which established it consisted of: Quintus Naevius; Marcus Minucius; and Marcus Furius Crassipes.  15 iugera of land were given to each infantryman and twice that to each cavalryman.  The land had recently belonged to the Brutti; they in turn had taken it from the Greeks”, (‘Roman History’, 35: 9: 7-8).

Bononia in 189 BC: 15 iugera

Aquileia in 181 BC, reinforced in 169 BC


  1. “[In 181 BC], Aquileia, a city situated on land belonging to the Gauls, received ... a body of Latin colonists; 3,000 infantry soldiers were settled there, and each man was allotted 50 iugera, the centurions 100, and the cavalry men 140. The supervisors of the settlement were P. Cornelius Scipio Nasica, C. Flaminius and L. Manlius Acidinus”, (‘Roman History’, 40: 34: 1-2).

Citizen colonies

Pisaurum and Potentia 194 BC

Parma and Mutina in 183 BC

Saturnia in 183 BC

Graviscae in 181 BC

Luna in 177 BC

Veterans of Scipio Africanus

In 201 BC, Publius Cornelius Scipio famously defeated the Carthaginians on their home soil, bringing an end to the Second Punic War.  Livy recorded that:

  1. “As peace was now established on land and sea, Scipio ... made his way to Rome through the multitudes who poured out from the cities to do him honour ... The triumphal procession in which he rode into the City was the most brilliant that had ever been seen.  ... Out of the booty he distributed 40 ases to each soldier.  I cannot say for certain whether the sobriquet of Africanus was conferred upon him by the devotion of his soldiers, by the popular breath or in the flattery of his friends.  At all events, he was the first commander-in-chief who was ennobled by the name of the people he had conquered”, (‘Roman History’, 30: 45).

Livy then described a programme undertaken in this and the following year in order to facilitate the settlement of Scipio’s veterans:

  1. “[In 201 BC], when a proposal was made for a distribution of land to the veterans who had brought to an end the war in Africa under the leadership and auspices of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, the Senate voted that Marcus Junius, the praetor of the city, should ... appoint a board of ten to survey and assign such lands in Samnium and Apulia as were the public property of this the Roman people.  The board selected consisted of: Publius Servilius; Quintus Caecilius Metellus; Caius and Marcus Servilius (both having the surname Geminus); Lucius and Aulus Hostilius Cato; Publius Villius Tappulus; Marcus Fulvius Flaccus; Publius Aelius Paetus [at the end of his year as consul]; and Titus Quinctius Flamininus [see below]”, (‘History of Rome’, 31: 4: 1-2).

  2. “[In 200 BC,] the games that had been vowed by Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus during his consulship in Africa were celebrated with great splendour.  It was also decreed, regarding lands for his soldiers, that each should receive 2 iugera of land for each year of his service in Spain or Africa; [and] the decemvirate should make the distribution”, (‘History of Rome’, 31: 49: 5).

  3. “[In 199 BC], the authority of [Caius Sergius Plautus, one of] the praetors of the preceding year was extended, ... to permit him to organise the distribution of land to the soldiers who had served for many years in Spain, Sicily, and Sardinia ...”, (‘History of Rome’, 32: 1: 6).

Saskia Roselaar (referenced below, pp. 312-3, entry 24 and pp. 323-4, entry 41) suggested that much of this land had probably been confiscated after the recent revolts.  David Gargola (referenced below, at p. 104) suggested that the decree of 200 BC might have extended the earlier provision to include veterans from Scipio’s campaign against the Carthiginians in Spain in 205 BC.  By 199 BC, the project also included veterans who had served in Sicily (from whence the attack on Africa had been mounted) and Sardinia.  Gargola also suggested that the decemvirate of 201 BC might have been appointed for only a year, in which case, Plautus would have taken over in early 199 BC to complete the project. 

Richard Gabriel (referenced below, at p. ?) pointed out that:

  1. “In theory, Roman soldiers were part-time militiamen, who owned farms to which they would return  ... But, the wars [in which Scipio’s veterans had fought] had lasted so long, and Hannibal had ravaged so much of Italy [while they had been fighting], that many of these farms [would have] been destroyed.  ... Although, during the Spanish campaign [of 205 BC], Scipio had (on his own authority) established the military colony of Italica [there], awarding land for military service was a new practice.”

According to Paul Erdkamp (referenced below, at pp. 112-3):

  1. “... some 40,000 veterans were [potentially involved in the settlement of 201-199 BC].  However, [it seems that] not all of them accepted the offer, since some of [them] signed up for the Second Macedonian War (200-197 BC).  The point is that Roman veterans were settled on public land [on this occasion].  That they were not settled in colonies does not matter: [now that the war was over], the Senate probably saw no reason to found new military strongholds in Samnium and Apulia.”

Reinforcement of the Latin Colony at Venusia (200 BC)

The Latin colony of Venusia had remained faithful to Rome throughout the war, despite the defection  of most of the Apulians: indeed, it had served as a haven for defeated Roman soldiers in 216 BC and had served as a command centre in Apulia thereafter.  Livy reported that, in 200 BC: 

  1. “... a commission of three was created to fill up the number of colonists for the people of Venusia, because the strength of that colony had been diminished in the Hannibalic war.  The commissioners chosen were:

  2. Caius Terentius Varro [the commander at Cannae, who had retreated to Venusia after the defeat of 216 BC];

  3. Titus Quinctius Flamininus [see below],; and

  4. Publius Cornelius Scipio [Nasica], son of Cnaeus [the young cousin of Scipio Africanus];

  5. and they enrolled the colonists for Venusia”, (‘History of Rome’, 31: 49: 6).

It seems likely that the new colonists included veterans recently discharged from Scipio’s army.

Titus Quinctius Flamininus

It is noteworthy that Titus Quinctius Flamininus had also served on the decemvirate that had carried out the settlement of some of Scipio’s veterans in Apulia at this time. 

In many ways, his career was to follow that of Scipio: as Cicero summarised:

  1. “[They] were [both] made consuls very young and [they both] performed such exploits as greatly to extend the empire of the Roman people and to embellish its name”, (‘Fifth Philippic’: 48).

Richard Evans and Marc Kleijwegt (referenced below, at p. 192) noted that he was :

  1. “... [a military tribune serving] under M.Claudius Marcellus [in 208 BC ].  He became a propraetor extra ordinem to command the garrison at Tarentum in 205-4 BC, although he had held no curule office.  He was then 23 years old.  He became consul in 198 BC at the age of 30.”

Amanda Coles (referenced below, at p. 312) summarised his subsequent career: his only known offices between his military tribunate of 205-4 BC and his consulate were these two appointments to colonial commissions and a possible term as quaestor in 199 BC.  Thus Plutarch described his startling rise to the consulate:

  1. “To begin with, ... [Famininus] served as military tribune in the war against Hannibal under Marcellus the consul.  Marcellus fell into an ambush [near Venusia] and lost his life, but [Famininus] was appointed governor of ... [nearby] Tarentum ... Here he won a good name, no less for his administration of justice than for his conduct in the field.  For this reason, he was also[appointed as] director-in‑chief of the colonists sent out to the two cities of Narnia and Cosa [sic.].  This success, more than anything else, so exalted his ambition that he ignored the intervening offices that young men generally sought (the offices of tribune, praetor, and aedile) and thought himself worthy at once of a consulship; so he became a candidate for that office, with the eager support of his colonists”, (‘Life of Titus Flamininus’, 1:3-2:1). 

Plutarch is clearly wrong in making Flamininus ‘director-in‑chief of the colonists sent out to the two cities of Narnia and Cosa [see below]: he must have mistaken these for his positions on the two colonial commissions of 200 BC.

It is likely that many of the veterans that were to settle in Samnium and Apulia were still in Rome during the consular elections, and that their support was instrumental in securing Flamininus’ success.  However, as Paul Erdkamp (above) noted, not all of the 40,000 men who were eligible for resettlement took up the offer: Livy recorded that the new consul was assigned to Macedonia to confront King Philip, and that, before leaving for his province, he:

  1. “... conducted his levy in such a way as to select generally soldiers of tried courage who had served in Spain or Africa ... “, (‘Roman History’, 32: 9: 1).

In other words, Flaminius’ interaction with Scipio’s veterans not only provided the votes for his success in the consular elections of 198 BC: it also provided him with a body of men who would contribute to his triumph over King Philip of Macedonia in 194 BC.

  1. Read more:

Coles A., “Founding Colonies and Fostering Careers in the Middle Republic” Classical Journal, 112:3 (2017) 280-317

Erdkamp P., “Soldiers, Roman Citizens, and Latin Colonists in Mid- Republican Italy”, 41  (2011) 109-46

Roselaar S., “Public Land in the Roman Republic: A Social and Economic History of Ager Publicus in Italy, 396 - 89 BC”, (2010) Oxford

Gabriel R., “Scipio Africanus: Rome's Greatest General”, (2008) Washington, DC

Gargola D., “Lands, Laws, and Gods: Magistrates and Ceremony in the Regulation of Public Lands in Republican Rome”, (1999)

Evans R. J. and  Kleijwegt M. , “Did the Romans like Young Men? A Study of the Lex Villia Annalis: Causes and Effects”, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, 92 (1992) 181-95

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