Roman Republic

Events of 315 BC

The war with the Samnites resumed in earnest in 315 BC.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 282) noted that Livy’s account of the events of this year:

  1. “... presents major historical difficulties.  Fortunately, the long, parallel narrative of Diodorus Siculus is more coherent, although it too is unreliable in various ways.  ... [It nevertheless] allows us to distinguish three theatres of war:

  2. Saticula;

  3. Apulia; and

  4. Sora”, (my slightly changed word order).


Diodorus’ account of this engagement seems to be jumbled: Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at pp. 282-3) argued that, in his account of engagements at the now-unknown Plesticê, at Sora and at Saticula in quick succession, the reference to Sora should have related to a separate and slightly later engagement.   Livy placed engagements at Plesticê, at Sora and at Saticula at the start of the year, but his account is undermined by the fact that he had described similar engagements in the previous year.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at 277) presented what he considered to be strong evidence for rejecting the account for 316 BC, but observed (at pp. 283-4) that:

  1. “The core of the notice concerning the capture of Saticula [in 315 BC] is guaranteed by the foundation of a Latin colony there in 313 BC [see below] ...”

Saticula was a Samnite town on the border with Campania.  Diodorus’ account of the its fall  was as follows:

  1. “... as the Romans were besieging Saticula, [a strong Samnite army] suddenly appeared  ... , intent on raising the siege.  A great battle then took place in which many were slain on both sides, but eventually the Romans gained the upper hand.  After the battle, the Romans carried the siege of the city to completion and then advanced at will, subjecting the near-by towns and strongholds”, (‘Library of History’, 19: 72: 4).

While there is no other evidence for widespread Roman victories on Samnite territory at this time, we might reasonably assume that the Roman’s apparently unprovoked attack of Saticula precipitated the end of the Caudine Peace.


As we have seen, the Romans had made significant gains in Apulia during the Caudine Peace.  However, it is clear that they were involved in hostilities at Luceria in 315/4 BC.

  1. The account of Diodorus Siculus  is jumbled because he seems to have believed that Lautulae (the site of a significant Roman defeat in 315 BC - see below) was in Apulia.  He therefore recorded that, after this defeat, the Romans:

  2. “... fearing that they might completely lose control throughout Apulia, sent a [Latin] colony to Luceria, which was the most noteworthy of the cities of that region.  Using it as a base, they continued the war against the Samnites ...”, (‘Library of History’, 19: 72: 8).

  3. According to Livy, in 314 BC:

  4. “... Luceria, betraying its Roman garrison to the enemy, passed into the possession of the Samnites; but the traitors did not long go unpunished ..., since a Roman army that was stationed nearby captured the city (situated as it was in a plain) at the first attack.  The Lucerini and Samnites were shown no quarter, and resentment ran so high that, even in Rome, when the Senate was debating the dispatch of colonists to Luceria, there were many who voted rather to destroy the town, because:

  5. [public opinion] was very bitter against those whom they had twice subdued; and

  6. the remoteness of the place made them shrink from condemning fellow-citizens to an exile so far from home and surrounded by such hostile tribes.

  7. However, the proposal to send colonists prevailed, and 2,500 were sent”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 26: 1-5).

We should first look at Livy’s assertion that the Romans had subdued Luceria on two occasions.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 35) argued that this followed  from the tradition that, although Luceria had fallen into Samnite hands at the time of the defeat at the Caudine Forks in 321 BC, it had been retaken in 320 BC: it therefore had to defect again by expelling the Roman garrison before it could be recaptured in 314 BC.  He argued that, rather than accept the assertion that Luceria changed hands on five occasions in 326-314 BC:

  1. “... it is probably better to reject the [ludicrous account of] the Roman [recapture] of Luceria in 320 BC and therefore also its subsequent defection to the Samnites [immediately prior to its colonisation]: this latter [defection] could have been inserted into the tale after the fictitious story of revenge in 320 BC had been composed, in order to explain why the Romans had to retake the town in [315/4 BC].  If this hypothesis is correct, then Luceria would have been in Samnite hands [continuously]:

  2. from 321 BC (when it was regained [by the Samnites] in the aftermath of the Caudine Forks); to

  3. [315/4 BC].”

That leaves the question of the year in which Luceria was recaptured and the year in which the colony there was founded.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 283) argued that:

  1. “... we should accept, [following Diodorus], that there was a major [Roman] campaign in Apulia [in 315 BC] and that Luceria was indeed captured.  This capture was a very significant landmark in Rome’s conquest of the area.  Nevertheless, it is unlikely that Luceria was actually colonised [immediately], and for this, at least, Livy’s date [of 314 BC] is preferable.”

See below for the context of this colonial foundation. 

Loss of Sora and the Battle at Lautulae

According to Diodorus, since the Romans had recently advanced into Apulia (above):

  1. “... the Samnites enrolled all who were of age for military service, ... as if intending to decide the whole issue.  When the Romans learned of this, ... [they] sent out a large army.   As it was their custom in a dangerous crisis to appoint one of their eminent men as military dictator, they now elected [Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus for that post], with [Quintus Aulius Cerretanus] as master-of‑horse.  [Fabius and Aulius], after assuming command of the army, ... fought against the Samnites at Lautulae ..., losing many of their soldiers”, (‘Library of History, 19: 72: 3-4).

Neither this account nor that of Livy (‘History of Rome’, 9: 23: 1-5) gives a satisfying account of these events.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at pp. 284-5) suggested that:

  1. “... perhaps the Samnites, [having taken Sora, were able] to make their way [along the Liris river, passing Fregellae, which they already controlled, and to]  reach the coast because the Romans had weakened their own defences on the Liris by driving into Samnium and Apulia.”

If so, then they marched for the first time through Roman territory (past Formiae and Fundi) in order to reach the pass at Lautulae. 

Although Livy had Fabius appointed as dictator at the start of the consular year, Oakley argued that:

  1. “Diodorus must have been right to make this the moment when Fabius was created dictator.”

Both Livy and Diodorus recorded the subsequent engagement as inconclusive, albeit that Livy acknowledged that:

  1. “I find in some authorities that the Romans were defeated in this battle ...”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 23: 6).

Oakley argued that subsequent events suggest that:

  1. “Apart from the crisis at Sentinum [in 295 BC], and perhaps also [that at] the Caudine Forks [in 321 BC], the defeat at Lautulae was Rome’s most dangerous hour in the Samnite Wars.”

In particular, he suggested that

  1. “... the events of 315 BC form the obvious context for [the following two passages of Strabo]:

  2. “Near Ardea too there is a temple of Aphrodite, where the Latini hold religious festivals.  But the places were devastated by the Samnites”, (‘Geography’, 5: 3: 5).

  3. “In earlier times, [the Samnites] made expeditions even as far as ... Ardea, and then, after that, they ravaged Campania itself, [which shows that] they must have possessed considerable power”, (‘Geography’, 5: 4: 11).

Although no other surviving source records the Samnite raid through Latium, there is no reason to doubt that Strabo was correct in this respect, particularly since the Samnite raid on Campania was also recorded by Livy (see below).  Fortunately for the Romans, the Samnites did not (apparently) countenance an attempt on Rome itself, which, as Oakley observed, was:

  1. “... protected by her massive ‘Servian’ walls.”

Events of 314 BC

The consuls of 314 BC were C. Sulpicius Longus and M. Poetelius Libo.  The ‘fasti Triumphales’ record that Sulpicius celebrated a triumph over the Samnites in 314 BC.  As we shall see, there was almost certainly a Roman victory in this year, and it proved to be the turning point in the war.

Defeat of the Samnites

Once again, Diodorus and Livy give significantly different accounts of the events of this year, and, once again, it is convenient to begin with Diodorus:

  1. “In Italy, the Samnites were advancing with a large army, destroying whatever cities in Campania were supporting the Romans.  Sulpicius and Poetelius soon came to the aid of ... those [Campanian] allies who were in danger.  They first took the field against the [Samnites] near [Kinna or Kina] and at once relieved that city from its immediate fears.  Then, a few days later, when both sides had drawn up their armies, a hard-fought battle took place and many fell on both sides.  Finally the Romans ... got the better of [the Samnites] and killed more than 10,000 of them”, (‘Library of History, 19: 76: 1-2).

Livy (‘History of Rome’, 9: 27):

  1. placed this decisive Roman victory at the end of the consular year;

  2. attributed it to both consuls (as did Diodorus); and

  3. located it near Caudium

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 282) argued that:

  1. the other events of 314 BC would make more sense if they followed a Roman victory over the Samnites early in the consular year; and

  2. since it is hard to see why the fasti would have ignored a triumph that had been awarded to  Poetelius if he had been awarded one, the likelihood is that he had not taken part in the battle.

Oakley discounted Livy’s record that the battle was fought at Caudium as an annalistic fantasy, but he pointed out that the frequent assumption that Diodorus’ Kinna/ Kina was Tarracina also presents difficulties.  In short, we do not really know where this victory was secured.

Livy recorded that, after the victory:

  1. “The consuls, who had won a brilliant victory, at once marched away to lay siege to Bovianum, where they remained in winter quarters [until the end of the consular year]”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 28: 1-2).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 303) observed that:

  1. “... it seems rather improbable that, at this date, [a Roman army could have] wintered near the capital settlement of the Pentri [the most important of the Samnite tribes] ... and the [notice of 313 BC, like others that followed it], seems rather doubtful.”

In any case, as discussed above, it is likely that this victory was won early in the consulr year, and that Poetelius and  Sulpicius continued in the field to consolidate their gains.

Recapture of Sora

According to Livy, Poetelius and  Sulpicius then marched on Sora, where a deserter from the city offered to betray it to them.  A Roman advance party was therefore able to effect entry, and:

  1. “... Sora was already taken, when the consuls arrived at early dawn to receive the surrender of the survivors] of  the rout and slaughter of the night.  225 of them were [identified] as the authors of the revolt and the  massacre of the [Roman garrison], and these they sent to Rome in chains; they left the others unharmed in Sora, only setting a garrison over them. [15] all those who were taken to Rome were scourged and beheaded in the Forum ...”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 24: 13-5).

The ‘fasti Triumphales’ record a triumph awarded in 312 BC to the consul M. Valerius Maximus Corvus over the Samnites and the Sorani.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 302) observed that either year is possible, but that there is no reason to reject Livy, since:

  1. “... Sora was a crucial site, which the Romans would have wished to retake quickly [once the Samnites had been defeated].”

Defeat of the Ausones and Aurunci

Prior Events

As described in my page Between First Two Samnite Wars II (337 - 328 BC), the Ausones, who seem to have been ethnically related to the Aurunci, were based around Cales, a strategically-located stronghold that had fallen to the Romans in 335 BC and been used for the foundation of a Latin colony in the following year.  It is possible that the Romans had withdrawn from Cales under the terms of the Caudine Peace.  

Revolt of 315 BC

We now learn that the Aurunci had at least three other strongholds, at Ausona (now unknown), Minturnae, and Vescia, and that they had defected to the Samnites.  Therefore, Sulpicius and Poetelius marched into Ausonian territory, where he was met by:

  1. “Twelve young nobles from Ausona, Minturnae and Vescia who conspired to betray their cities [to Rome]”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 25: 4).

These deserters first  explained the circumstances in which the Ausones had defected:

  1. “... their countrymen had no sooner heard of [the Roman defeat at] the battle at Lautulae than they had concluded that the Romans were vanquished and had aided the Samnites with men and arms”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 25: 4-5).

They also explained that, now that the Samnites were defeated, the Ausones were unsure of how to react to the Roman advance.  Finally, they suggested a strategy by which the rebel cities could be taken.  This strategy worked, and

  1. “... the three towns were taken in an hour ... Because the leaders were not present when the attacks were made, there was no limit to the slaughter, and the Ausonian nation was wiped out ...”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 25: 8-9).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998 at p. 266) observed that:

  1. “The revolt on [315 BC] is the last recorded resistance of the Aurunci: it must have been mercilessly put down by the Romans, and it was followed by confiscations to provide land for:

  2. the Latin colonies at Suessa Aurunca, [Pontiae] and Interamna Lirenas [founded in 315-4 BC];

  3. settlers of the tribe Teretina, [which was established in 299 BC]; and

  4. the [maritime] colonies at Minturnae and Sinuessa [founded in 296 BC]

Revolt at Capua

Centres in italics (Casilinum, Calatia and Atella) = satellites of Capua

It seems that the Roman defeat at Lautulae also had repercussion  among the Campani.  Once more, Diodorus and Livy gave significantly different accounts:

  1. According to Diodorus:

  2. “While [the Roman victory over the Samnites] was still unknown to them, the Campani ... rose in rebellion [against Rome]; but the [Romans] immediately sent an army against them with the dictator C. Manius (sic) as commander and, accompanying him (according to the national custom), Manius Fulvius (sic) as master of horse.  When [this army was] in position near Capua, the Campani initially [decided] to fight.  [However], on hearing of the Roman victory and realising that [the combined Roman army might well now] come against them, they made terms with the Romans.  They surrendered those guilty of [inciting] the uprising, and [these rebels] killed themselves without awaiting the judgement of the trial that had been instituted.  The cities that had rebelled were pardoned and reinstated in their former alliance”, (‘Library of History, 19: 76: 3-5).

  3. According to Livy:

  4. “Whilst disloyalty was thus manifesting itself everywhere [after the defeat at Lautulae], there were even secret conspiracies of the nobles, at Capua.  When these were reported to the Senate,  ... tribunals of enquiry were voted and it was decided to appoint a dictator to conduct the investigations.  C. Maenius was nominated and named M. Folius as master of the horse.  The greatest alarm was created by this step, and the ringleaders, Ovius and Novius Calavius, did not wait to be denounced to the dictator ... [before committing suicide]”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 26: 5-7).

As Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 300) pointed out, although Livy (or his sources) obscured the situation in Campania:

  1. “... there is little reason to doubt that Capua defected (or, at least, tried to defect) to the Samnites.”

He also observed (at pp. 300-1) that:

  1. “There is no reason to doubt that, Maenius held a quaestio at Capua [as Livy recorded], but Diodorus must be right to suggest that he went there at the head of an army and was prepared to fight.”

Both sources recorded that the Romans were content to restore the status quo ante once the ringleaders of the revolt had killed themselves.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 300) argued that the fact that:

  1. “... the historical tradition made light of the affair ... may suggest that [Capua] was put under intolerable pressure by the Samnites.”

However, it is also possible that the sources on which both Diodorus and Livy and relied had deliberately minimised the seriousness of the situation.  It is surely significant that:

  1. Diodorus reported that the Romans reinstated the Campanian cities in their former alliances after they surrendered in 313 BC, which suggests that some or all of Casilinum, Calatia and Atella (which all seem to have been politically dependent on Capua) had also rebelled; and

  2. according to Livy, the Romans laid siege to, and then recaptured, Calatia in the following year.

This suggests (at least to me) that:

  1. both authors underestimated the significance of this revolt; and

  2. the ringleaders of the revolt at Capua took refuge at Calatia in 314 BC and that the revolt was not completely suppressed until Calatia fell in the following year (at which point the ringleaders might well have committed suicide).

In that case, one might have expected that the Romans would have taken other measures to consolidate their hold on the cities of northern Campania.  It is in this context that I suggested (in my page on the Political Settlement of 318-4 BC) that the leges datae imposed on Capua, which Livy mentioned in the context of the census of 318 BC, actually formed part of a settlement that followed the suppression of the revolt of 314-3 BC.

Events of 313 BC

Appointment of a Dictator Clavi Figendi Causa (?)

Both Livy (History of Rome’, 9: 28: 1-2) and the fasti Capitolini record that the consuls for 313 BC were:

  1. L. Papirius Cursor was now serving for the fifth time; and

  2. C. Junius Bubulcus Brutus for the second time.

A number of sources suggest that a dictator was also appointed in this year, although there is some divergence as to his function:

  1. the fasti Capitolini describe him as a dictator rei gerundae caussa (for the purpose of conducting affairs) and both Livy (in his preferred version of events) and Diodorus had him exercising military command; while

  2. other sources known to Livy recorded that the consuls appointed this dictator:

  3. ... on the outbreak of a pestilence in order to drive the nail”, (History of Rome’, 9: 28: 6)


  1. Livy and the fasti Capitolini identified him as C. Poetelius Visolus; while

  2. Diodorus identified him as Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus.

Taking the easiest discrepancy first, Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 332) is surely correct that:

  1. “... [Diodorus’] alleged dictatorship of Fabius Rullianus ... is very suspect ...”

Poetelius was almost certainly appointed as dictator in 313 BC, but his precise role needs to be addressed.

Mark Wilson (referenced below, at p. 545, entry 54) observed that:

  1. “Unusually, this dictatorship came, not in the wake of a crisis or disaster, but [in the wake of] a great victory won the previous year by the consuls [of 314 BC.  Nevertheless, according to Livy’s preferred sources, the consuls for 313 BC appointed] a dictator to [continue the prosecution] of the war...”

He also noted that later tradition had Poetelius as ‘dictator clavi figendi causa‘ in 313 BC.   Stephen Oakley (as above) pointed out that the appointment of a dictator ‘clavi figendi causa’ was unusual, which makes it more likely that this was, indeed the post assigned to Poetilius in 313 BC. Finally, Mark Wilson (referenced below, at pp. 327-8) observed that:

  1. “To accept [Poetelius as ‘dictator clavi figendi causa’] makes sense of the otherwise mysterious decision to appoint an inexperienced dictator over very experienced consuls to fight ... the Samnites ” (my slightly changed word order).

Thus, the likelihood is that one or both of the consuls were responsible for each of the military campaigns of 313 BC.  Nevertheless, since the matter is not completely clear, I have replaced the individual names in the passages below by the phrase ‘the Romans’, ‘the Romans army’ or ‘the Roman commander’.  

Consolidation in the Liris Valley

Recapture of Cales and Fregellae (313 BC ?)

As discussed in the previous page, it is likely that:

  1. the Romans’ foundation of a Latin colony at Fregellae in 328 BC had been an important factor in precipitating the Second Samnite War; and

  2. Livy had recorded its capture by the Samnites in 320 BC, in the aftermath of their victory at the Caudine Forks.

Livy recorded that, at the start of this consular year, the Roman commanders:

  1. “.... on hearing that the Samnites had [recaptured] the arx Fregellana (citadel of Fregellae) ... proceeded to Fregellae.  Having regained possession of the place without a struggle (for the Samnites fled from it in the night), [they] installed a strong garrison there”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 28: 3).

This implies that the Romans had already regained the citadel of Fregellae: however, there is no surviving record of when this putative recapture took place.  It is however reasonable to assume that the Romans did capture and re-colonise Fregellae at this point, and (with Edward Salmon, referenced below, at p. 238 and not 4) that they also recaptured and re-colonised Cales. 

Capture of Atina (313 BC) ?

According to Livy, after the recapture of Fregellae:

  1. “... [the Roman army] marched into Campania [see below].... Some sources claim that Atina [was captured at this time by the Romans]”, (‘History of Rome, 9: 28: 3-6).

Atina had been a Volscian stronghold in the valley of the Melfa (a tributary of the Liris).  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 334) commented that:

  1. “The Romans further consolidated their position in the Liris Valley by capturing, probably for the first time, Atina, the leading settlement in the Val di Comino ...” 

He acknowledged that, since this notice is embedded in one that otherwise relates to the Campani:

  1. “... some scholars think that Livy meant Atella (another satellite of Capua) rather than Atina here.”

However, Oakley himself argued that:

  1. “... the geographical position of Atina shows the [Livy’s] notice is quite credible.”

If it is correct, then this engagement was of little significance: as we shall see, Atina was in Samnite hands in 293 BC, during the Third Samnite War.

Consolidation in Campania (313 BC)

Both Livy and Diodorus Siculus recorded Roman activity in Campania in 313 BC:

  1. According to Livy, after the recapture of Fregellae (and probably that of Atina):

  2. “... [the Roman army] marched into Campania, chiefly for the purpose of winning back Nola by force of arms.  As [it] drew near, the whole Samnite population and the Nolani of the countryside took refuge within its walls.  ... Nola was captured”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 28: 3-6). 

  3. He also noted that some of his sources claimed that the Romans also captures Calatia, a satellite of Capua at this point.

  4. According to Diodorus Siculus:

  5. “... the Roman army marched into] hostile territory, and took by siege Calatia and the citadel of Nola: [the Roman commander] sold a large amount of spoil but allotted much of the land to his soldiers”, (‘Library of History’, 19: 101: 1-3).


As noted above, the people of Nola had supported the Samnite faction at Neapolis in the Neapolitan War (327 BC).  The Romans took no action against them after the fall of Neapolis, but it is possible that the Roman action against them in 313 BC represented delayed reprisals.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at pp. 332-3) noted that Rome:

  1. “... extended her power on the Campanian plain further east by subduing, probably for the first time, Nola, which had consistently supported the Samnites since the beginning of the war.”

He observed (at pp. 272-3) that, in a later passage, Livy recorded a speech in which Herennius Bassus, one of the leading senators at Nola in 215 BC (during the Second Punic War), referred to:

  1. “... the bond of friendship between the peoples of Rome and Nola [that] has existed for many years ...”, (‘History of Rome’, 23: 44: 1).

He also noted  (at p. 333) that Livy does not say that the Romans took Nola by force in 313 BC.  He therefore suggested that, since Nola:

  1. “... enjoyed a favourable alliance, she may have surrendered voluntarily; thereafter she remained loyal.”


Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 332) noted that:

  1. “In Campania, Livy and Diodorus concur that [the Romans] recaptured Calatia, a satellite of Capua [in 313 BC] ...”

As noted above, while Livy had obscured the fact that Capua defected to the Samnites in 314 BC, Diodorus recorded both this defection and the fact that, when the revolt was suppressed:

  1. “...the [Campanian] cities [that had revolted] gained pardon and were reinstated in their former alliance [with Rome]”, (‘Library of History, 19: 76: 5).

However, ias discussed above, both he and Livy concurred that the Romans besieged and then recaptured Calatia, a satellite of Capua, in 313 BC. 

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 332 and note 3) pointed out that these sources might have meant Caiatia, a Samnite stronghold that was some 17 km northeast of Capua, but he concluded that this was unlikely.  As discussed above, I wonder whether, pace Livy, the ringleaders of the revolt of the previous year  at Capua had taken refuge at Calatia, and that the fall of Calatia in 313 BC was the last act in the Roman suppression of this revolt.

Events of 312 BC

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 343) observed that:

  1. “Our sources for 312 BC are hopelessly confused.”

These sources indicate that:

  1. the consuls for this year were M. Valerius  Maximus  and P. Decius Mus; and

  2. a dictator rei gerundae caussa (for the purpose of conducting affairs) was appointed.

However, as Oakley concluded (at p. 344):

  1. “... we can establish neither which magistrates commanded armies in this year nor where they commanded them ... The only matter on which we can be certain is that a [Latin] colony was founded at Interamna Lirenas [see below] ...  There probably was some fighting against the Samnites, some of which may perhaps have taken place at Sora, and a dictator was elected, although it is uncertain who he was or what he achieved.”

Colonies Founded or Re-Founded in 314-2 BC

Red squares = Latin colonies re-founded in 313 BC: Cales (334 BC) and Fregellae (328 BC) 

Blue squares = Latin colonies founded in 314-2 BC: Luceria (314 BC);

Saticula, Suessa Aurunca  and Pontiae (313 BC); and Interamna Lirenas (312 BC)

Four colonies are known to have been founded in 314-3 BC:

  1. Luceria was probably captured from the Apulani in 315 BC and received a colony and 2,500 colonists probably in the following year.

  2. Saticula was probably captured from the Samnites in 315 BC.  According to Festus (458 L, reproduced by Stephen Oakley, referenced below, 2005, at pp. 334-5), a colony was founded  there in 313 BC by three land commissioners: M. Valerius Corvus; D. Junius Brutus Scaeva; and P. Fulvius Longus. 

  3. Livy recorded the foundation, in 313 BC, of two colonies on land taken from the Aurunci in the previous year:

  4. one at Suessa Aurunca; and

  5. the other on Pontiae, an island off the coast of Campania.

In addition, it seems likely that colonies at Cales and Fregellae that had been withdrawn under the terms of the Caudine Peace of 321 BC were taken back from the Samnites and re-founded in 313 BC. 

Finally, Livy recorded that, in 313 BC:

  1. “The Senate ... passed a resolution that a colony be sent out to Interamna [Lirenas], but it was left [to the consuls of 312 BC] to appoint the three land commissioners and to send out 4,000 settlers”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 28: 7-8).

This colony seems to have been founded on a previously unoccupied site at the confluence of the Liri and Gari rivers. 

All seven of these colonies were among the 30 coloniae populi Romani (colonies of the people of Rome, or Latin colonies) that Livy listed in 209 BC (‘History of Rome’, 27: 9: 7 - 10: 3-7).  As Timothy Cornell (referenced below, 1995, at pp. 354) observed:

  1. “The result was that, by 312 BC, Samnium was encircled by military allies of Rome and confronted in the sensitive Liris - Volturnus region by strings of Latin colonies on strategic sites ...  [This was] the turning point of the war ... [The Romans] were no longer in any serious danger of defeat.”

Census of 312 BC and the Via Appia

Red squares = citizen maritime colonies: Antium (338 BC); Tarracina (329 BC)

Black squares = Latin colonies:  Circeii (before 338 BC); Cales (334 BC); Fregellae (328, refounded 313  BC);

Luceria (314 BC); Saticula (313 BC); Suessa Aurunca (313 BC); Pontiae (313 BC); Interamna Lirenas (312 BC)

The fasti Capitolini record that the censors of 312 BC (Appius Claudius and Caius Plautius) completed the 26th lustrum.   Livy described the context:

  1. “The war with the Samnites was practically ended. ...  The year was noteworthy for the censorship of Appius Claudius and Caius Plautius, although Appius’ name was ... [better-remembered] because he built a road, and also brought water into the City.  He carried out these undertakings by himself, [after] his colleague had resigned ...”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 29: 6-7).

Michel Humm (referenced below, 1t p. 713, note 42) observed that:

  1. “The Roman expansion into Campania and southern Italy in the 2nd half of the 4th century BC and the Samnite threat certainly induced Appius Claudius to build a road that offered a faster and safer alternative to via Latina ...: the road built by Appius Claudius followed the route of an old, coastal road ...”

He also gave the distances from Rome to Capua by each of these roads:

  1. Via Latina: 147 Roman miles (218 km); and

  2. Via Appia: 132 Roman miles (196 km).

Its route is described in the Unesco website:

  1. “For the first 90 km [from Rome, Via Appia ran straight [across the Pontine marshes] to Tarracina.  ... for the last 28 [of these 90 km, it was flanked] by a canal collecting waters of the reclamation works; travellers could then change to boats instead of travelling in wagons or on horseback.  After Tarracina, the road swerved towards Fundi, across the towering gorges of Itri and then down to Formiae, Minturnae and Sinuessa; from there straight again towards Casilinum ... on the river Volturnus, and then on to ...Capua ... .”

As Stephen Oakley (2005, at pp. 373-4) suggested that:

  1. “From Minturnae, the original course to Capua is uncertain, but it probably passed through Suessa Aurunca and the ager Falernus.  Later, it passed through Sinuessa, but this route would have left the new Latin colony at Suessa Aurunca isolated: [this route is unlikely to have been followed before the foundation of the citizen colony of Sinuessa in 296 BC]”

He observed that:

  1. “The construction of Via Appia was one of the most important [events] in Roman history: it was the first road that the Romans constructed for imperialistic purposes, and the precedent was to be repeated all over what was to become the Roman Empire.”

Read more:

M. Wilson, "The Needed Man: Evolution, Abandonment, and Resurrection of the Roman Dictatorship" (2017) thesis of City University of New York

J. Easton, “A New Perspective on the Early Roman Dictatorship (501-300 BC)”,  (2010) thesis of University of Kansas

S. Oakley, “A Commentary on Livy, Books VI-X:Volume III: Book IX”, 2005 (Oxford)

S. Oakley, “A Commentary on Livy, Books VI-X:Volume II: Books VII and VIII”, (1998) Oxford

R. Stewart, “Public Office in Early Rome: Ritual Procedure and Political Practice”, (1998) Ann Arbor, MI

T. Cornell, “The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (ca. 1000-264 BC)”, (1995) London and New York

E. T. Salmon, “Samnium and the Samnites”, (1967) Cambridge

W. B. Anderson (Ed.), “Livy: Book IX”, (1912) Cambridge

Return to Conquest of Italy (509 - 241 BC)



Roman Conquest of Italy (509 - 241 BC)

Second Samnite War III: 315 - 312 BC