Roman Republic

Events of 320 BC

Election of the Consuls for 320 BC

According to Livy, when Postumius and Veturius, the disgraced consuls of 321 BC, returned to Rome, they: 

  1. “... shut themselves up in their houses and refused to transact any public business, except that the Senate forced them to name a dictator to preside at the election [of their successors].  They designated Q. Fabius Ambustus [as dictator], with Publius Aelius Paetus as the master of the horse”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 7: 12-13).

As Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 112) observed:

  1. “Livy writes somewhat slackly: it was impossible for both consuls to nominate a dictator and, [furthermore], a dictator appointed his own [master of horse].”

Livy then recorded that:

  1. “A flaw in [the appointment of the dictator and the master of horse] occasioned [their] replacement by M. Aemilius Papus, as dictator and L. Valerius Flaccus, as master of the horse”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 7: 14).

Livy did not explain the nature of the flaw that led to the vitiation of Ambustus’ appointment: Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 113) observed that:

  1. “... it is tempting to argue that the [vitiation] ... came about because of [Ambustus’] nomination by consuls whose imperium was regarded as imminutum [diminished] after their military defeat.”

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 113) observed that this  double dictatorship is sometimes doubted (and the record in the fasti Capitolini for this year no longer survives).  However, Oakley argued that:

  1. “... in the aftermath of a major defeat such as that at the Caudine Forks, it is hardly surprising that there was something of a political crisis at Rome.”

As it happens, even the appointment of a second dictator did not resolve the situation: according to Livy, Aemilius was unable to hold the consular elections:

  1. “... because the people were dissatisfied with all the magistrates of that year.  The state [therefore] reverted to an interregnum.  The interreges were: first Q. Fabius Maximus, [who presumably failed to hold elections within the allowed five-day period]; and then M. Valerius Corvus, who announced the election to the consulship of:

  2. Q. Publilius Philo (for the third time);  and

  3. L. Papirius Cursor (for the second time).

  4. [This secured] the unmistakable approval of the citizens, for there were, at that time, no leaders more distinguished”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 7: 14-5).

Interestingly, the protracted and controversial nature of the election process for the consuls of 320 BC is very similar to that for the consuls of 326 BC (discussed above).  I argued above that Q. Publilius Philo (consul in 327 BC , prorogued as proconsul in 326 BC) had orchestrated Paprius’ election to his first consulship in 326 BC, and that this marked the start of a close relationship between the two men: they then shared the consulship in both 320 and 315 BC.  Their respective elections in the aftermath of the disaster at the Caudine forks is unsurprising:

  1. Publilius had already triumphed in 339 BC (over the Latins) and in 326 BC (over the Samintes and the Neapolitani); and

  2. Paprius had already triumphed in 325/4 BC (over the Samnites).

Nevertheless, it seems that they had had to overcome significant political opposition in order to return to the consulship in 320 BC.

Dictators of 320 BC

The fasti Capitolini, list  three dictators among the magistrates of 320 BC:

  1. C. Maenius, with M. Foslius Flaccinator as his master of horse;

  2. L. Cornelius Lentulus, with L. Papirius Cursor (II) as his master of horse; and

  3. T. Manlius Imperiosus Torquatus, (III), with L. Papirius Cursor (III) as his master of horse.

As Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 168) observed:

  1. “Nowhere else in our sources for the history of the Roman Republic are three dictatorships recorded for one year, ... [although], in a year of crises [like 320 BC], one should not be unduly surprised by an odd pattern in the fasti.

None of the surviving sources specify the reason for these  dictatorships: as Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 167) observed, the fasti would have provided an indication of the respective causae, but this information is no longer legible.  To take this further, we need to look at each of the putative dictators in turn. 

Dictatorship of C. Maenius

Maenius had triumphed as consul following the Romans’ definitive victory in the Latin War in 338 BC.  The fasti Capitolini recorded that he was subsequently appointed as dictator on two occasions:

  1. 320 BC: C. Maenius [record of causa lost], with M. Folius Flaccinator as his master of horse; and

  2. 314 BC: C. Maenius  II, rei gerundae causa, with M. Folius Flaccinator II as his master of horse. 

Livy was apparently unaware of Maenius’ dictatorship in 320 BC, but he recorded his dictatorship of 314 BC in some detail, and our analysis can conveniently begin by looking at what Livy had found in his sources for that year.

Livy began his account of the putative dictatorship of 314 BC by recording that, after the Samnites had defeated the Romans at Lautulae in 315 BC, many of Rome’s allies began to show signs of defecting and: 

  1. “... there were even secret conspiracies among the nobles at Capua.  When these were reported to the Senate,  ... tribunals of enquiry were voted, and it was decided to appoint a dictator quaestionum exercendarum causa (to conduct investigations).  C. Maenius was nominated, and he named M. Folius as master of the horse.  This development caused  great alarm [at Capus], 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 pp. 3oo-1) observed:

  1. “There is no reason to doubt that that Maenius held a quaestio (investigation) at Capua [in 314 BC], but Diodorus Siculus must be right to suggest [at ‘‘Library of History, 19: 76: 3] that he had gone] there as the head of an army and was prepared to fight, [albeit that this proved to be unnecessary].”

Livy then had Maenius return to Rome and, as Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 3o4) pointed out:

  1. “His account of what actually happened [there] is quite bizarre...”

This account began with assertion that:

  1. “... [since] the field of enquiry at Capua [had been exhausted, the proceedings were transferred to Rome: [it was claimed that the Senate had appointed a not dictator] for the investigation of specified individuals in Capua, but ... [for the investigation] of all who had anywhere combined or conspired against the State; and coitiones honorum adipiscendorum causa factas (coalitions that had been formed for the purpose of winning honours) were against the interests of the State”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 26: 8-9).

In other words, Livy claimed that Maneius was appointed as dictator quaestionum exercendarum causa in 314 BC to investigate any and all conspiracies against the State, irrespective of whether these had been hatched in Rome or in any of the allied communities (including Capua). 

This leaves us with two mutually exclusive assertions relating to Maenius’ dictatorship of 314 BC:

  1. the fasti Capitolini recorded and and Diodorus Siculus implied that Maenius was as dictator rei gerundae causa  in order to investigate the conspiracy at Capua and to take whatever action (presumably involving his army as required)in order to suppress it; and

  2. Livy (who did not claim that Maenius had command of an army) recorded that he was appointed as dictator quaestionum exercendarum causa in order to investigate any and all conspiracies against the State (starting with Capua and then Rome, but subsequently extending to the territories of all the Roman allies).

We now need to look at the particular claims that Livy made for Maenius’ putative actions in Rome as dictator quaestionum exercendarum causa in 314 BC:

  1. He claimed that these investigations were to be very wide-ranging:

  2. “The enquiry began to take a wider range, in respect both of charges and of persons, and the dictator was content that there should be no limit to the jurisdiction of his court.  Certain nobiles were accordingly impeached, and no-one was allowed to appeal to the tribunes to arrest proceedings”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 26: 9-11).

  3. At this point, the nobiles allegedly hit back:

  4. “When matters had gone thus far, the nobility (and not only those against whom information was being laid, but the order as a whole) protested that the charge did not lie on the patricians, to whom the path to honours always lay open unless it was obstructed by intrigue, but on the novi homines (new men).  They even asserted that [Maenius and his] master of horse  were more fit to be put upon their trial than to act as inquisitors in cases where this charge was brought, and they would find that out as soon as they had vacated their office [and were, themselves, open to prosecution]”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 26: 11-3).

  5. However, Maenius and Foslius chose to resign immediately in order to defend themselves, and Maenius, in his resignation speech, asserted that:

  6. “The very fact that this office was conferred on me is witness to my innocence; for, it was necessary to select as dictator exercendis quaestionibus (to conduct investigations):

  7. not the most distinguished soldier (as has often been done at other times, when some crisis in the state required it); but

  8. a man who had lived a life far removed from these cabals”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 26: 15).

Finally, Livy described the end of this affair in three sentences:

  1. “[Maenius and Foslius }were the first to be tried before the consuls (for so the Senate ordered, and, as the evidence given by the nobiles against them completely broke down, they were triumphantly acquitted”, (History of Rome’, 9: 26: 20).

  2. “Even Publilius Philo, a man who had repeatedly filled the highest offices as a reward for his services at home and in the field, but who was disliked by the nobiles, was put on his trial and acquitted”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 26: 21).

  3. “As usual, however, this inquisition was a novelty that it had strength enough to attack illustrious names only when it was a novelty; it soon began to stoop to humbler victims, until it was finally stifled by the very cabals ... that it had been instituted to suppress”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 26: 22).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 304) argued that:

  1. “Difficulties and inconsistencies abound [in this part of Livy’s account] ... and, above all, [it] is replete with the motifs and terminology of the late Republic.  Modern attempts to explain [it] are extraordinarily diverse in their interpretations.”

He concluded (at p. 306) that:

  1. “It is conceivable that a dim memory did survive of an occasion on which Maemius had tried to extend the powers of his dictatorship so as to carry out political business at Rome ..., and this may be the seed from which Livy’s full account grew. ... [However], Diodorus Siculus gives no hint that the dictatorship [of 314 BC] was in any way controversial, and ... it is easier to believe that the annalists invented most of the episode in order to provide a colourful scene in the ‘Struggle of the Orders’. ... [This hypothesis] would explain why scholars have struggled to find a satisfactory explanation of the episode: it is [probably] difficult to interpret because most of the events described by Livy never happened.”

On the other hand, Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 168) also pointed out that:

  1. “... the very [fact of the] extraordinary nature of the notices in the fasti Capitolini [of three dictatorships in 320 BC] strengthens their credibility.  They are rejected  by [some scholars, ... but others] are rightly more cautious.”

In other words, it is quite likely that Maenius did indeed serve as dictator in 320 BC, albeit that none of our surviving sources now record the causa for this dictatorship.  It is important, in this context, to take account of a later passage by Livy, which comes in a speech of  310 BC that he attributed to the plebeian tribune P. Sempronius Sophus (in which Sempronius allegedly demanded the resignation of the censor Ap. Claudius Caecus):

  1. “Recently, within these ten years [i.e., at some time in the period 320 - 310 BC], when the dictator, C. Maenius, quaestiones exerceret (conducted investigations) more rigorously than was safe for certain great men, he was accused by his ill-wishers of being tainted with the very felony that he was investigating and abdicated the dictatorship so that he might face the charge as a private citizen”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 34: 14-5).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p 167, note 1)  observed that Attilio Degrassi (in completing the record for 320 BC in the surviving fasti Capitolini) gave the causa of Maenius’ dictatorship in this year as ‘quaest(ionum) exerc(endarum)’, (in order to hold investigations), albeit that Degrassi acknowledged that this was only a guess.   To see how good a guess this might have been, we need to consider:

  1. what might have provoked a formal investigation of coitiones honorum adipiscendorum causa factas (coalitions that had been formed for the purpose of winning honours); and

  2. why might such an investigation been made in 320 BC.

On the first point, Roberta Stewart (referenced below, at pp. 167-8 and note 84), who accepted 314 BC as the date of Maenius’ investigations as dictator, suggested that the coitiones honorum adipiscendorum causa factas (coalitions that had been formed for the purpose of winning honours) that he investigations had addressed a charge of malpractice in the election of Publilius and Papirius as consuls for that year, despite the fact that they should have been ineligible, since they had:

  1. already served together in 320 BC; and

  2. both iterated in 314 BC without waiting for the required period of ten years between consulships.

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 306) rejected this, reasonably pointing out that:

  1. “... we have no record of similar iterations of consular pairs causing difficulties”; and

he had earlier pointed out (at p. 39) that, among many other examples of iterating consular pairs:

  1. T. Veturius Calvinus and Sp. Postumius Albinus (the first consular pair to be elected on two occasions after the passing of the lex Genucia in 342 BC) had served together in both 334 and  321 BC; and

  2. Q. Fabius Maximus Rullianus and P. Decius Mus had served together in 308, 297 and 295 BC).

However, Oakley’s observations would not rule out the election of  Maenius as dictator in order to investigate electoral malpractice in 320 BC, since:

  1. the election T. Veturius Calvinus and Sp. Postumius Albinus as cos I in 334 BC and cos II in 321 BC (which must have involved electoral ‘co-operation’, if not ooutright malpractice) might have been put forward as one reason for the disaster that had characterised their second consulship;

  2. as we have seen, the process for electing Publilius and Papirius as consuls of 320 BC had been chaotic, and could easily have given rise to charges of electoral malpractice, particularly if (as argued above) Publilius could have been thought to have ‘engineered’Paprius election to his consulship of 326 BC ; and

  3. both Publilius and Papirius had already held the consulship in the previous decade:

  4. Publilius  was cos II in 327 BC and cos III in 320 BC; and

  5. Paprius was cos I in 326 BC and cos II in 320 BC.  

I therefore suggest that we might reasonably:

  1. accept:

  2. the surviving evidence from the fasti Capitolini that Maenius served as dictator in 320 BC (as well as in 314 BC);

  3. Livy’s evidence at 9: 34: 14-5  that Maenius was appointed as dictator quaestionum exercendarum causa’ at some time in the period 320 - 310 BC;

  4. Attilio Degrassi’s guess that this causa was recorded in the now-lost part of record of Maenius’ dictatorship of 320 BC; and

  5. Roberta Stewart’s suggestion that the coitiones honorum adipiscendorum causa factas that Maenius investigated as dictator  had addressed a charge of malpractice in the election of Publilius and Papirius as consuls; but

  6. assume that these investigations had related to the consular elections of  320 rather than those of 314 BC.

In support of this hypothesis, it should be noted that:

  1. not a single dictator quaestionum exercendarum causa is recorded in the fasti Capitolini as they survive; and

  2. Maenius is the only dictator of this type recorded in the surviving passages in Livy’s ‘History of Rome’. 

This does not prove that Maenius was the only man ever appointed as dictator quaestionum exercendarum causa during the Roman Republic, but it does indicate that such appointments were extremely rare, and, as Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 168) observed (above):

“... in a year of crises [like 320 BC], one should not be unduly surprised by an odd pattern in the fasti.

Dictatorship of L. Cornelius Lentulus

The fasti Capitolini record Cornelius as:

  1. Publilius’ consular colleague in 327 BC; and

  2. dictator [causa illegible] in 320 BC, with L. Papirius Cursor (II) as his master of horse

This is the only dictatorship that Livy recorded in 320 BC : he professed himself to be amazed that some sources claimed that the Romans’ victories over the Samnites in 320 BC (discussed below) were:

  1. “... won by:

  2. L. Cornelius [Lentulus], as dictator, with L. Papirius Cursor as master of the horse; rather than

  3. the consuls [Publilius and Papirius] and, in particular, by Papirius”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 15: 9-10).

We know from a passage of Aulus Gellius that Q. Claudius Quadrigarius, who was writing in the early 1st century BC, probably held the view that Livy had rejectd: in a section in which Gellius investigated the precise meaning of the word indutiae (a truce), he asked rhetorically:

  1. “ ... if a truce is to be defined as only lasting for a few days, what are we to say about the fact, recorded by Quadrigarius in the 1st book of his ‘Annals’, that C. Pontius, the Samnite, asked the Roman dictator for a truce of six hours ?” (‘Attic Nights’, 1: 25: 6).

John Briscoe (in T. Cornell, referenced below, 2013, Volume III, p. 308, Fragment 16) observed that:

  1. “The fragment [under discussion here] will belong to [Quadrigarius’] account of the alleged Roman victory revenging Caudium in 320 BC ... [His apparent reference to ‘the Roman ‘dictator’] demonstrates that, in his account, the campaign was conducted by the dictator L. Cornelius Lentulus, with L. Papirius Cursor as [his master of horse, as in the alternative sources described by Livy] ...”

Obviously if (as both Stephen Oakley and John Briscoe suggest), the battle of 320 BC is fictitious, then the accounts of it by both Livy and Quadrigarius must be discounted.  Furthermore, as Oakley pointed out (above), if this is accepted, then we have no reliable evidence for any fighting between Rome and the Samnites in 320 BC.  Even if there were unrecorded Roman military engagements in this year (perhaps, for example, in the Liris valley):

  1. the consuls Publilius and Papirius would presumably have been experienced enough to deal with them without the need for a dictator; and

  2. even if the Senate had pressed for the appointment of a dictator for military purposes, it is hard to imagine the circumstances in which Papirius would have agreed to serve as his second-in-command.

For these reasons, I think that we can discount the possibility that Cornelius’ dictatorship was for military purposes.  I return to the question of the likely causa for this dictatorship after discussing that of T. Manlius Imperiosus Torquatus. 

Dictatorship of T. Manlius Imperiosus Torquatus

As we have seen, the fasti Capitolini record Manlius as dictator for the third time in 320 BC, although Livy was apparently unaware of the dictatorship.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p 168) pointed out that he had been elected to his third consulship in 340 BC (when the fasti Triumphales record his triumph over the over the Latins, Campanians, Sidicini and Aurunci) some 18 years (allowing for two dictator years) prior to this putative third dictatorship.  However, he reasonably pointed out that:

  1. “It is conceivable ... that he was recalled to office during a major crisis, when it was felt that the state needed the experience of an old man.”

It would be surprising if a man of his age would have been appointed to command in a major military crisis (and none is recorded in our surviving sources for 320 BC).   Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p 167, note 1) observed that Attilio Degrassi (in completing the record for 320 BC in the surviving fasti Capitolini) gave the causa of Manlius’ dictatorship in this year as ‘comit(iorum) habend(orum)’, (in order to hold elections), albeit that Degrassi acknowledged that this was only a guess. 

Dictators of 320 BC: Conclusions

I argued above that is likely that (as Attilio Degrassi suggested) Maenius was appointed as dictator quaestionibus exercendis in 320 BC and that his task was to investigate whether the apparent collusion between the supporters of Publius and Papirius (who had been closely connected since 326 BC and then elected as consuls for this year) amounted to corruption.  Stephen Oakley reasonably argued that much of Livy’s account of Maeinus’ investigations in Rome (for example, the prosecution of Publilius and  Maenius’ resignation and subsequent prosecution) was fabricated.  There is, however,  no indication that they resulted in any change to the cabalistic nature of elections at this time, as evidenced by the continuation phenomenon of the re-election of pairs of consuls: for example, Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 39) listed:

  1. four pairs of consuls who were elected together twice in the period 321-296 BC:

  2. T. Veturius Calvinus and Sp. Postumius (in 344 and 321 BC);

  3. L. Papirius Cursor and Q. Publilius Philo (in 320 and 315 BC);

  4. Q. Aemilius Barbula and L. Junius Brutus Bubulcus (in 317 and 311 BC);

  5. Ap. Claudius Caecius and L. Volumnius Flamma (in 307 and 296); and

  6. a fifth pair, Q. Fabius Maximus Rullianus and P. Decius Mus, who were elected together on three occasions (in 308, 297 and 295 BC).

It is, of course, entirely possible that Maenius’ dictatorship was vitiated before his investigations had been completed.

The striking feature of the dictatorships of Cornelius and Manlius, as recorded in the fasti Capitolini, is that they are characterised by what Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 169) described as:

  1. “... the curious phenomenon of Papirius twice performing [the office of master of horse while still consul].”

He found attractive an earlier suggestion by Friedrich Münzer that Papirius:

  1. “... might have been nominated as [master of horse in order] to secure his [own] election to the consulship of 319 BC ...”

He cited four much later examples of this phenomenon:

  1. Q. Fulvius Flaccus: cos II in 224 BC; master of horse in 213 BC; cos III in 212 BC;

  2. Q. Caecilius Metellus: master of horse in 205 BC; cos I in 206 BC; 

  3. M. Servilius Pulex Geminus: master of horse in 203 BC; cos I in 202 BC; 

  4. P. Aelius Paetus: master of horse in 202 BC; cos I in 201 BC. 

In all of these cases, the master of horse in question had been nominated by a dictator who had been appointed comitiorum habendorum causa (for holding elections).  If we exclude the possibility that either Cornelius or Manlius was appointed as dictator rei gerundae causa (for the conduct of things, usually in military emergencies, the most likely scenario (statistically speaking) is that they were also appointed comitiorum habendorum causa.  Since each of them named Papirius as his master of horse, we might reasonably assume that they were appointed in succession.  In other words, the likelihood is that Cornelius was appointed to hold the elections for 319 BC but that, for whatever reason, his appointment was vitiated and he was replaced by Manlius.  I return to this hypothesis at the end of this section, in the context of the elections of 319 BC, when Papirius was indeed immediately re-elected as consul.

Recorded Samnite Gains in Early 320 BC

Livy recorded two significant Samnite gains early in the consular year (the defection to them of the Satricani and the  capture of Fregellae, described in turn below).  More specifically, he placed them:

  1. immediately after his account of the election of the  Publilius and Papirius as consuls; but

  2. before his account of the allocation of their respective provinciae.

This suggests that his sources had recorded that these losses were sustained during the tortuous election process described above (perhaps after the completion of Maenius’ investigations of electoral malpractice).  However, as we shall see, it is more likely that these gains had occurred before the agreement of the treaty and had been ratified therein.

Revolt at Satricum

Livy noted that, in the first hostilities since the agreement of the Caudine Peace:

  1. “... the Satricani defected to the Samnites and the colony of Fregellae [see below] was seized during the night in a surprise attack by the Samnites, who were apparently accompanied by people from Satricum”, (‘History of Rome’, (9: 12: 5).

As will become clear below, Livy thought that this revolt was at Satricum in Latium, which had been incorporated optimo iure in 338 BC.  However, we know from Cicero that there was a centre called Satricum near his native Arpinum: writing to his brother Q. in 54 BC (when he was in Arpinum and Q. was in Britain), he reported that:

  1. “On the 13th of September, I was at Laterium.  I examined the road, which appeared to me to be so good as to seem almost like a high road, except for [a stretch that is] 150 paces ... from the little bridge at the temple of Furina, in the direction of Satricum”, (‘Letter to Q.’, fragment 3).


  1. there is no other evidence that the Samnites penetrated Latium at this time; and

  2. a centre near Arpinum would also have been near Fregellae;

the now-unknown Satricum referred to in Cicero’s letter is an attractive candidate for the rebel city.  However, Livy was not alone is assuming that it was the city in Latium that revolted at this point, and Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 146) concluded that:

  1. “A certain solution to these difficulties is not to be found.  But, perhaps it is best to argue that, although Livy’s ultimate source referred to the capture of the site in the Liris valley, Livy himself and his more immediate sources were unaware of its existence and imagined that the notice referred to the site [in Latium].”

Samnite Capture of Fregellae

As we have seen, the foundation of the colony at Fregellae in 328 BC had been one of the causes of the war with the Samnites.  According to Livy, after the Samnites’ night attack on it mentioned above:

  1. “... both sides to remain quiet until the morning, when the dawn ushered in a battle that remained in the balance  for a long time: the [colonists] were fighting for their hearths and altars, and a throng of those unfit for arms assisted them from the housetops ... [However], a ruse decided the victory; for they permitted a [Samnite] herald to be heard, who promised safety to any who laid down his arms.  The hope of this [reprieve] relaxed the tension of their courage and many of they began throwing down their arms.  The more determined among them retained their weapons and burst out by the opposite gate, and their boldness stood them in better stead: the Samnites ... burned alive [those who remained behind]”, (‘History of Rome’, (9: 12: 6-8).

Roman Losses in Early 320 BC: Conclusions 

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 36) pointed out that:

  1. “Scholars have usually argued that [the accounts above constitute] a chauvinistic fiction, designed to hide the fact that these towns (and, perhaps, Cales) were handed over to the Samnites [under the terms of the Caudine Peace].  Yet, [the evidence for this does] not seem to be decisive: in the turmoil of 321 BC, the Samnites could easily have seized these towns, and this capture could have been ratified in a treaty that Rome may or may not have kept.”

Putative Siege of Luceria

According to Livy:

  1. “When the consuls had divided the provinces between them:

  2. Papirius made his way into Apulia towards Luceria, where the Roman knights who had been given up for hostages at Caudium were under guard; while

  3. Publilius stopped behind in Samnium to oppose the [so-called] Caudine legions”, (‘History of Rome’, (9: 12: 9).

Livy then recorded (at ‘History of Rome’, 9: 12: 11) that the Samnites decided to concentrate their forces against Publilius and (at ‘History of Rome’, 9: 13: 1-5) that he defeated them and forced the remnants of their army to flee to Luceria.  Meanwhile:

  1. “The other army, under ... Papirius, marching along the coast as far as Arpi, had found all peaceably disposed, more because of the wrongs done by the Samnites and the hatred they had engendered than owing to any favour shown by the Roman People”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 13: 6).

Papirius continued to Lucceria ,where he joined forces with Publilius in laying siege to the Samnites there.  Arpi, the most important town in Apulia, now became became the main supply centre for the Romans, and Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 264) argued that it was either already a Roman ally when Papirius passed by it or it became one at this point.  Publilius apparently concentrated on preventing supplies from reaching the Samnites at Luceria, and they:

  1. “... in despair of being able to endure the scarcity, should the siege continued, were obliged to gather up their forces from every quarter and give battle to Papirius”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 13: 12).

Livy claimed (at ‘History of Rome”, 9: 14: 1-5) that ambassadors from Tarentum, the leading Greek city of southern Italy, attempted to impose peace on the warring parties, and that, while the Samnites wanted to take up this option, Papirius simply ignored it.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p.157) argued that:

  1. “Although it would perhaps be surprising if the Tarentine interest in the Samnite war was invented, it is nevertheless [unlikely that] much in Livy’s report is authentic.”

The army swept into the Samnite camp and would have completely destroyed it and killed without mercy had not Papirius ordered their retreat:

  1. “... checked by thoughts of the 600 [Roman] knights who were being held as hostages in Luceria”, (‘History of Rome”, 9: 14: 14).

The consuls then decided:

  1. “... to test the dispositions of the Apuliani around them, since their sympathies were still in doubt. [While Papirius continued the siege of Luceria], ... Publilius marched through Apulia and,  in a single expedition, either subjugated or  ... received into alliance a goodly number of [unnamed Apulian towns]”, (‘History of Rome”, 9: 15: 1-2).

Meanwhile, the Samnite garrison at Luceria was forced by starvation to surrender to Papirius.  Livy’s account of the climax is worth reproducing in full,  just for the great pride that he obviously took in the telling:

  1. “Huge spoils were captured in Luceria, and all the standards and arms which had been lost at Caudium were retaken.  Furthermore, ... the Roman knights whom the Samnites had accepted as hostages and confined at Luceria were recovered.  There is scarcely any other Roman victory more glorious for its sudden reversal of fortune, especially if it is true (as I find in certain annals) that Pontius the son of Herennius, the Samnite general-in-chief, was sent with the rest under the yoke, to expiate the humiliation of the [Roman] consuls. at the [Caudine Forks]”, (‘History of Rome’, (9: 15: 7-8).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p.34) referred to:

  1. “... the absurdity of [this] account of Rome’s glorious victories [in Apulia] in 320 BC, much of which verges on fantasy.”

He continued (at p. 36):

  1. “If [it is discounted], then we have no reliable evidence for fighting between Rome and the Samnites in that year.  There is therefore no reason to believe that the Romans either repudiated or broke their treaty with the Samnites, either in 321 or 320 BC.  The campaigns of 320 BC that adorn the pages of Livy appear to be [no more than] an annalistic fiction ... that gave the Romans great victories to compensate for [an all too real and] crushing defeat.”

Elections for the Consuls of 319 BC

Livy (our only surviving narrative source for the consular elections of 319 BC) recorded only that:

  1. “... it is uncertain whether:

  2. [L.] Papirius Cursor was kept in office [as consul] in recognition of his victory at Luceria, being elected for a third time to the consulship (together with Q. Aulius Cerretanus, who was chosen for the second time); or

  3. it was L. Papirius Mugillanus, the mistake being a matter of the surname”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 15: 11).

In fact, it is almost certain that L. Papirius Cursor was re-elected:

  1. the fasti Capitolini record that he served as consul for the second time in 320 BC and for third time in 319 BC; and

as Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 664) pointed out, the cognomina Mugillanus and Cursor almost certainly belonged to the same L. Papirius.

Papirius’ decision to stand for immediate re-election must have raised eyebrows, and his success in achieving this was probably unprecedented.  It is also potentially significant in the present context that the election of Aulius, his consular colleague, was similarly irregular, since: 

  1. he had held his first consulship as recently as 323 BC; and

  2. Papirius (as dictator of 325/4 BC) had probably presided over the elections for the consuls of that year, which might have suggested that there had been improper collusion between the two men in their quest for the consulship of 319 BC.

In other words, although Livy failed to record any controversy surrounding these elections, that does not mean that they were uncontroversial, and this likelihood is enhanced by the fact that (as discussed above) the fasti Capitolini recorded Papirius served as master of horse to two dictators during his consulship of 320 BC, and both of these dictators might well have presided in succession over his election (and that of Aulius) for 319 BC:

  1. the appointment of the first of these dictators, tL. Cornelius Lentulus, may well have been vitiated; while

  2. the second, the elderly T. Manlius Imperiosus Torquatus, who had served his third consulship and last consulship some 18 years earlier, may well succeeded in holding the elections, presumably in the face of significant opposition.  As Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 168) pointed out that:

  3. “It is conceivable ... that he was recalled to office during a major crisis, when it was felt that the state needed the experience of an old man.”

Events of 319 BC

Thus, after what had probably been a difficult election, L. Papirius Cursor was re-elected as consul for 319 BC, with Q. Aulius Cerretanus as his colleague.


According to Livy, the consul Aulius :

  1. “...finished the campaign against the Frentani in one successful battle, after which, he received the surrender of the [unnamed] town and took hostages”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 16: 1).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 171) observed that this is the first time that Livy referred to the Frentani tribe, whose shared the culture of their Samnite neighbours.  He suggested that:

  1. “It is quite likely that [they] were  often politically dependent on their powerful neighbours.”


Meanwhile, according to Livy, Papirius:

  1. “... overcame the Satricani, who, though Roman citizens, had defected to the Samnites after the Caudine misfortune and admitted a Samnite garrison into their city”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 16: 2).

As noted above, Livy is probably mistaken in thinking that his sources were referring to Satricum in Latium, which had been incorporated optimo iure in 338 BC: this was almost certainly the Satricum in the Liris valley which Cicero referred to in his correspondence with his brother.  Livy continued:

  1. “When the Roman army drew near the walls of Satricum, the townspeople sent ambassadors to sue for peace; but [Papirius] replied that [he would negotiate only if] they killed the Samnite garrison or delivered it up. ... [The Satricani betrayed the Samnite garrison, following which], in one crowded hour, the Samnites were slain, the Satricani were captured, and [Papirius was in complete control. ... He had the leaders of the revolt] beheaded, after which he imposed a strong garrison on the Satricani and deprived them of their arms”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 16: 3-10).

Livy’s account ended with a long paean of praise for Papirius:

  1. “Papirius ... then departed for Rome to celebrate his triumph, [at least] according to those writers who name him as the commander who recovered Luceria and sent the Samnites under the yoke. [These writers were recording an event in 319 BC that almost certainly never happened.].  He was certainly a man deserving of all praise as a soldier ... : there can be no doubt that, in his generation, ... there was no-one who did more to uphold the Roman State.  Indeed, people regard him as one who might have been a match ... for Alexander the Great, if the latter, having subjugating Asia, had turned his arms against Europe”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 16: 11-19).

The ‘fasti Triumphales’ recorded that L. Papirius Cursor was awarded his second triumph over the Samnites as consul for the third time in 319 BC).

Renewal of Peace with Samnium (318 BC)

It is possible that the Roman engagements described above, which were both on the borders of Samnium, interrupted the Caudine Peace.  This would make sense of Livy’s claim that, in the year of the consuls M. Folius Flaccinator and L. Plautius Venox (318 BC):

  1. “... ambassadors from many Samnite states [came to Rome] to seek a renewal of the treaty. ... [Although this request as denied, they] succeeded in obtaining a two years' truce”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 20: 1-3).

Timothy Cornell (referenced below, 1989, at p 371) observed that:

  1. “It seems likely enough ... that, by 318 BC, open hostilities between Rome and the Samnites had ceased, as a result of

  2. either the original foedus [of 321 BC];

  3. or a subsequent truce at the beginning of 318 BC. 

  4. This left the Romans free to strengthen their position [in the territories that they had acquired over the last two decades and also in Apulia and Lucania].”   

Census of 318 BC

It seems that the Caudine Peace left space for the Romans to continue with the consolidation of their earlier expansion.  The fasti Capitolini recorded that:

  1. the censors of 332 BC (Sp. Postumus Albinus and Q. Philo Publilius) completed the 24th lustrum; and

  2. those of 318 BC (Lucius Papirius Crassus and Caius Maenius) completed the 25th lustrum.

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 268) pointed out that there is fragmentary evidence for the appointment of censors in 319 BC, but they seem to have abdicated before the completion of their term.  In other words, the census of 318 BC was probably only the second to be completed since the end of the Latin War.

The census of 332 BC (discussed on the previous page) seems to have been largely concerned with the formalisation of the settlement in Latium after the Latin War (albeit that, according to Velleius Patroculus, the censors of 332 BC,  were responsible for the incorporation of Campanian Acerrae).  Now that relations with the Samnites were quiescent, the Romans  could address the consolidation of the territory outside Latium that they had acquired during and after this earlier war. 

Livy did not refer directly to the census that took place in 318 BC, but he recorded that, in this year:

  1. “At Rome, two tribes were added, the Oufentina and the Falerna”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 20: 6).

Diodorus Siculus also noted that, in this year, the Romans:

  1. “... added two new tribes to those already existing: Falerna and Oufentina”, (‘Library of History’, 19: 10: 2).

These were the first new tribes that had been created since 332 BC, when (in the census of that year) the Maecia and the Scaptia had been created for new citizens in Latium.


Adapted from G. Tol et al. (referenced below) p. 114, Figure 1)

According to Festus:

Oufentinae tribus initio causa fuit nomen fluminis Ofens, quod est in agro Privernate mare intra et Terracinam”, (‘de verborum significatu’, 212, Lindsay)

“The Oufentina was named for the Ufens river, which is in the ager Privernus,

between the sea and Tarracina” (my translation)

According to Strabo:

  1. “In front of Tarracina lies a great marsh that is formed by two rivers, the larger of which is called Aufidus.  It is here that Via Appia [see below] first touches the sea”, (‘Geography’, 5: 3: 6).

According to Duane Roller (referenced below, at p. 251):

  1. “[Strabo’s] Aufidus is probably the Ufens (modern Uffente), which flows down the east side of the Pomptine plain, with its mouth just west of Taracina.”

Given the context, the other river must have been the Amasenus (modern Amaseno). 

As Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 268) pointed out:

  1. “[The Oufentina] must have been established on land confiscated from Privernum, whose territory was thereby restricted to the Amaseno valley and its surroundings.”

It is not clear whether this land was confiscated in 340 or in 329 BC.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 393) observed that creation at the latter date would explain why the Oufentina was created in the census of 318 rather than in that of 332 BC, although he pointed out (at p. 394, note 1) that:

  1. “... the matter cannot be decided beyond all doubt.”

In either event, it seems likely that the land of the senators who were exiled in 329 BC would also have become available for citizen settlement at this point.  

Centres underlined in blue (Privernum; Tarracina,; Frusino ?; and Aquinum)  = Oufentina

As Heikki Solin (referenced below, at p. 78) pointed out,

  1. “The Oufentina was [eventually] the tribe of  citizens of [the following centres in] Regio I: Aquinum; [possibly] Frusino; Privernum; and Tarracina” (my translation).

(For the uncertainty about the assignation of Frusino, see his note 1 at p. 71). 

  1. It seems likely that the Oufentina was created for the viritane settlers on the land that had been confiscated from Privernum in 340 and/0r 329 BC.

  2. As discussed on the previous page, 300 citizens were enrolled in a new colony at Tarracina in 329 BC on land that had been confiscated from Privernum.  Its colonists were presumably also re-registered in the Oufentina in 318 BC. 

  3. Viritane citizen settlers on land that was confiscated from Frusino in 303 BC might have  re-registered in the Oufentina shortly thereafter. 

  4. When the people of Privernum, Frusino and Aquinum were eventually enfranchised (probably after the Social War), they too were (or, in the case of Frusino, were probably) assigned to the Oufentina.  


Underlined in blue = assigned to the Falerna tribe

Other tribes: Cumae = Claudia ?; Suessula and Casilinum = unknown tribe (if any)

See G. Camodeca (referenced below) for these tribal assignations

Red asterisks (Volturnum; Liternum; Puteoli; and Salernum) = citizen colonies founded in 194 BC

Underlined in green = Campanian prefectures (see below)

Adapted from this map on the webpage on Roman Campania by Jeff Matthews

According to Festus:

Falerina tribus ab agro Falerno in Campania”, (‘de verborum significatu’, ??? Lindsay)

“The Falerna tribe is named for the ager Falernus in Campania” (my translation)

There is little doubt that this was the land north of the Volturnus that the Romans had confiscated from Capua in 340 BC.  Saskia Roselaar (referenced below, at pp. 301-2, entry 5) suggested that this territory had been confiscated in its entirety and (at note 20) that, since:

  1. “There is no record of the later distribution of land in the area, .. the whole ager Falernus seems to have been distributed in its entirety [at the time of its confiscation].”

However, as noted on the previous page, the 1,600 Campanian knights who had remained loyal to Rome during the Latin revolt had received citizenship and had been exempted from this confiscation:

  1. We might reasonably assume that the Falerna was created for the re-registration of the ‘old’ citizens who had been settled on the remaining land here during the 22 years since its confiscation.

  2. According to Lily Ross Taylor (referenced below, at p. 160, note 3):

  3. “There is no evidence for t[he tribe to which the 1,600 knights of Capua who had been fully incorporated into the Roman state in 340 BC were registered], but it may have been the Falerna ...”

  4. It seems to me that, since they had retained their land in the ager Falernus in 340 BC, this putative assignation to the Falerna is almost certain.

  5. According to Giuseppe Camodeca (referenced below), a single inscription suggests that the citizens of Forum Popillii in the ager Falernus, which was presumably a Roman foundation, were assigned to the Falerna.

As with the Oufentina, we might wonder why the Romans waited so long to create the Falerna for settlers on land that had been confiscated in 340 BC.  However, new tribes were always added in even numbers (to preserve the total as an odd number, thereby avoiding tied elections), and it might be that the delay related to the situation in the ager Privernus, rather than that in the ager Falernus.

As discussed on the previous page, Capua was incorporated sine suffragio in 338 or (more probably) 334 BC.  Despite this, it revolted against Rome in 216 BC, during the Hannibalic War and (as we shall see) suffered the confiscation of the entire ager Campanus.  Two citizen colonies (Voltumnum and Liternum) were founded on coastal sites here in 194 BC, along with two others on the coast of Campania (Puteoli, the port of Cumae; and Salernum): the citizen colonists at all four were (or, in the cases of Liturnum and Salernum, were probably) assigned to the Falerna.   The case of Capua itself is more complex: according to Lily Ross Taylor (referenced below, at p. 160, note 3):

  1. “The ager Campanus [remained as]  public land until 59 BC, and  was not assigned to a tribe. ... Capua [itself] was assigned to [the Falerna] when it was colonised by [Julius Caesar in 59 BC].

When the majority of the people of Campania were eventually enfranchised after the Social War, a number of them, including those of Calatia, Atella, Suessula and Nola, were assigned to the Falerna: however, according to Giuseppe Camodeca (referenced below), there is no surviving epigraphic evidence for the Falerna at Cumae, and some for its assignation to the ancient Claudia tribe.

Roman Laws at Capua and Antium (318 BC ?)


According to Livy:

  1. “... praefecti (Roman prefects) began to be appointed for Capua after legibus ab L. Furio praetore datis (the praetor Lucius Furius had given/ imposed laws) on the Campani.  The Campani themselves had asked for both [the appointment of a prefect and the imposition of Roman laws], as a remedy for the distress occasioned by internal discord”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 20: 5-6).

In this translation, I have attempted to reflect the comments of Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at pp. 266-7) and Corey Brennan (referenced below, at p. 61).  Both of these authors cited  Jerzy Linderski (referenced below, 1979, at p. 248, note 5), who summarised the situation as follows:

  1. “The Capuans asked the Romans to provide them with [laws] and to send prefects for the administration of justice.  ... It is obvious that a praetor could [neither give laws to anyone nor] send out the prefects without being authorised to do so by the Senate or the [Roman] people.”

This arrangement seems to have been an administrative innovation: according to Corey Brennan (referenced below, at p.61_:

  1. “The early appearances of the praetor in Livy are [all]:

  2. outside Rome; [and]

  3. in a military capacity ... .

  4. When we do see the praetor acting in [Rome itself] ... he is doing practically everything accorded to him by virtue of his imperium except hearing cases at law. ... In one case, we we do see him in a law-making context, but [this case concerns] Capua ....”

This case is also the first time that Livy mentioned dispatch of Roman prefects (presumably as delegates of the praetor) to administer justice in out-lying districts that were under Roman jurisdiction.

Degree of Administrative Independence at Capua (340 - 211 BC)

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at pp. 556-7) pointed out that, at the time that Capua defected to Hannibal in 216 BC, it clearly enjoyed substantial independence from Rome.  For example, Livy recorded that, on the eve of this revolt, the consul Caius Terentius Varro reminded the Campani that:

  1. “... after you surrendered [to Rome in 340 BC], we:

  2. gave you a treaty on equal terms;

  3. allowed you to retain your own laws; and ...

  4. granted our citizenship to most of you; and

  5. made you members of our commonwealth”, (‘History of Rome’, 23: 5: 5).

There is also other evidence that Capua retained its pre-Roman magistracies up to that point:

  1. According to Livy, by 216 BC

  2. “... Pacuvius Calavius held the senate of Capua entirely in his power  ... He happened to be in summo magistratu (the chief magistrate at Capua) in the year in which [Hannibal defeated the Romans at Lake Trasimene (i.e., in 218 BC)] ...”, (‘History of Rome’, 23: 2: 3).

  3. In 216 BC, we find Marius Blossius, as praetorem Campanum, dealing directly with Hannibal (‘History of Rome’, 23: 7: 8).

  4. In 215 BC, we find Marius Alfius, the medix tuticus, presiding over a local ritual at Hamae, near Cumae.  Livy gave him his Oscan title here, and then explained that this was the title of  the chief Campanian magistrate (‘History of Rome’, 23: 35: 13).

Michael Fronda and François Gauthier (referenced below, at pp. 317-8 and note 37) noted that, despite the variety of terms that Livy used in these passages, all three magistrates were Campanian medices.  Furthermore, Livy referred to four other medices  (two of whom were unnamed) before this final Campanian revolt ended in 211 BC.  Only then did Capua lose its independence: according to Livy, some 370 prominent Campani were executed:

  1. “... and the remaining mass of citizens were sold [into slavery].  ... The whole [of the ager Campanus]  ... became public property of the Roman  people.  While Capua survived as a nominal city, ... it was decided that it should have no political body (neither senate nor council of the plebs) and no magistrates. ... ”, (‘History of Rome’, 26: 16: 6-10).

Thus, we can reasonably assume that Capua also retained its own laws until 211 BC.  If so, we need to consider how the laws that Lucius Furius imposed on the Campani in 318 BC sat alongside Campanian law.  However, before addressing this question, we need to consider more fully what kind of laws those imposed by Furius might have been.

Nature of the Leges Datae of 318 BC

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 267) argued that the expression ‘legibus a ... praetore datis ’ used in the passage above is:

  1. “... a general expression for the imposition of a law, [rather than] a technical term.  Nevertheless, it is ... often found in the context of a Roman magistrate arranging the affairs of a community under Rome’s jurisdiction ...”

He cited a number of examples of this type of arrangement, all of which came from part of speech (‘in Verrem’, 2: 2) that Cicero delivered in his prosecution Caius Verres, the erstwhile governor of the province of Sicily, in 70 BC.  Verres was charged with (inter alia) using bribery to subvert the rule of law in Sicily, and the material that Cicero  presented in court in this part of his speech throws light on the way in which Roman law supplemented traditional Sicilian law at this time. 

Oakley’s first example related to the so-called leges Rupiliae, which were named for Publius Rupilius, who was consul and then proconsul in Sicily  at the time of the First Sicilian Slave War (132-131 BC).  As Oakley pointed out, Cicero’s phrase:

legem esse Rupiliam, quam P. Rupilius consul ... dedisset’ (2: 2: 39)

the lex Rupilia, which Publius Rupilius had given/imposed

is very similar to that used by Livy in the passage under discussion here.  Jonathan Prag (referenced below, at p. 170) argued that laws of this kind:

  1. “... were not statute laws of the Roman people, but leges datae from an individual magistrate in the field, which in turn came to  be maintained and enshrined within the edicts of subsequent governors of Sicily, at their individual discretion, but at the injunction of the original senatus consultum.”

Cicero also claimed that, before Verres became governor:

  1. “... everyone had most strictly observed the leges Rupiliae on all points, and especially in judicial matters (2: 2: 40).

From this, it is clear that Rupilius had given the province of Sicily a number of laws, only some of which involved judicial matters. 

Cicero threw further light on only one of Rupilius’ laws:

  1. “If a Sicilian has a dispute with another Sicilian from a different city, then the praetor is to assign judges of that dispute according to the law of Publius Rupilius, which ... the Sicilians call the lex Rupilia”, (2: 2: 32).

From the context of this last remark, we know that this lex Rupilia operated along other Sicilian laws:

  1. disputes between Sicilians of the same city were decided “according to the laws there existing”;

  2. in disputes between Sicilians from different cities, the judge was selected in accordance with a lex Rupilia;

  3. disputes between a Sicilian and his own community were decided by the arbitration of another city;

  4. a Sicilian judge was assigned in cases in which a Roman citizen made a claim against a Sicilian;

  5. a Roman citizen was appointed to judge cases in which a Sicilian made a claim against a Roman citizen;

  6. ‘in all other matters’, judges were appointed from among the Roman citizens who lived in the relevant community; and

  7. in cases between the farmers and the tax collectors, trials were regulated by the ‘law about corn’ that was known as the Lex Hieronica (which was probably named for Hiero II, the tyrant of Syracuse in 270 - 215 BC)

Oakley’s other examples from in Verrem are more directly relevant to the case of Capua, because they related to leges datae at individual Sicilian cites.  As Jonathan Prag (referenced below, at pp. 170-1) pointed out, Cicero described three such laws in this speech, which related to the cities of:

  1. “...Agrigentum, Halaesa and Heraclea, and [which] were composed by, respectively:

  2. an unidentified Scipio (some time in the 2nd century BC?);

  3. Caius Claudius Pulcher, the praetor de repetundis of 95 BC; and

  4. Publius Rupilius [whose provincial legislation was discussed above].”

In fact, we can identify the ‘Scipio’ who gave laws to Agrigentum, because Cicero referred to him again in a passage (2: 2: 86-7) that clearly related to the activities of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus in Sicily immediately after the fall of Carthage in 146 BC: this passage is translated in the website of ‘Attalus’, alongside a confirming inscription.  We might therefore reasonably assume that the Scipio associated with the leges datae at Agrigentium was Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, and that this law was given in or shortly after 146 BC. 

Taking these three site-specific leges datae in chronological order:

  1. Agrigentum:

  2. “The people of Agrigentum have old laws about appointing their senate, given to them [in ca. 146 BC by Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus], in which the same principles [as those of the law of Claudius Pulcher at Halaesa - see below] are laid down.  [However], there are two classes of citizens of Agrigentum:

  3. one class made up of the old inhabitants; and

  4. the other made up of the new settlers whom Titus Manlius, when praetor [in 197 BC], had led from other Sicilian towns to [a new colony at] Agrigentum, in obedience to a resolution of the Senate. 

  5. [For this reason], the laws of Scipio [contained a provision that was not subsequently needed at Halaesa]: that the number of senators drawn from the [colonists of 197 BC] should not exceed the number drawn from the old inhabitants of Agrigentum”, (2: 2: 123).

  6. Heraclea:

  7. “Publius Rupilius [as proconsul in 131 BC] had led settlers [to Heraclea] and legesque similis  ... dedisset (had given them similar laws) [to those that Scipio had given to Agrigentum] that dealt with:

  8. the appointment of the senate; and

  9. the [proportions] of the old and new senators”, (2: 2: 125).

  10. Halaesa:

  11. “The citizens of Halaesa had long retained their own laws, in return for [their loyalty and that of] their ancestors to our Republic.  [However], in the consulship of Lucius Licinius Crassus and Quintus Mucius Scaevola Pontifex [i.e., in 95 BC], they requested laws from our Senate, as they had disputes among themselves about the elections into their senate.  Our Senate ... voted that Caius Claudius Pulcher, the son of Appius the praetor, should draw up regulations for the elections to their senate.  [He duly] gave laws to the men of Halaesa (leges Halaesinis dedit) ... in which he laid down many rules relating to: the age of the men who might be elected (no one might be under 30 years of age); trade (those engaged in it were ineligible); [the minimum required] income; and all other matters”, ( 2: 2: 122).

Jonathan Prag (as above) pointed out that Cicero used these three examples because they related to:

  1. “... the principal occasions on which Verres’ interference in local civic arrangements could be presented as most unreasonable [to Roman eyes, because these cities had all] ... received specific charters from imperium-holding Roman magistrates, backed by the Roman Senate.”

This is clearest in Cicero’s charge that Verres had ignored:

  1. “... not only the laws of the Sicilians, but even those that had been given to them by the Senate and the People of Rome: for the laws made by those:

  2. whose supreme command had been given to them by the Roman people: and

  3. whose authority to make laws had been conferred on them by the Senate;

  4. ought to be considered the laws of the Senate and People of Rome”, (2: 2: 122).

The most interesting things about these three leges datae for our present purpose are that:

  1. they all relate to the election of local senators;

  2. at the colonies of Agrigentum and Heraclea, they regulated (inter alia) the proportion of ‘old’ and ‘new’ inhabitants who could be elected at any one time; and

  3. at Halaesa, the people (however defined) asked for leges datae to replace existing local laws that (for whatever reason) had become the subject of contention.

This body of evidence from ‘in Verrum’ contains most of what we know about leges datae.   It seems to me that we might hypothesise about its content on the basis of the following facts:

  1. Livy identified seven cities that had been incorporated sine suffragio since 338 BC (Capua, Cumae, Suessula, Acerrae, Privernum, Fundi and Formiae), but only one that received leges datae (Capua, in 318 BC).  Thus, it seems unlikely that a law of this kind was needed to supplement other legislation  (presumably bilateral treaties and/ or municipal charters) that regulated the new relationships of the civitates sine suffragio with Rome.

  2. In particular, although Livy noted the creation of the Falerna and the Oufentina tribes in 318 BC, which indicate that there was a significant level of citizen settlement on land that had been confiscated from (respectively) Capua and Privernum, he did not record leges datae at Privernum. 

  3. It is possible that hostility between the citizen settlers in the ager Falernus and the native Campani caused the settlers to ask for the laws that Lucius Furius imposed on Capua.  If so, then they would probably have related to legal disputes between the native Campani and the recent settlers from Rome. 

  4. However, it is difficult to imagine why relations between the native Privernates and the recent settlers from Rome in its erstwhile territory should have been less hostile.

  5. There is one way in which Capua can be distinguished from all of the other six new civitates sine suffragio, including Privernum: 1,600 Campanian knights had received full citizenship in 340 BC.  This might well have prompted a lively debate about:

  6. whether local or Roman law applied to the enfranchised Campani;

  7. how legal disputes between enfranchised and un-enfranchised Campani were to be resolved; and

  8. the proportions in which enfranchised and un-enfranchised Campani could be elected to the local senate at any one time.

  9. It seems to me that the most likely scenario is that the enfranchised Campani asked for the laws that Lucius Furius imposed on Capua, and that it dealt with matters like these.

The Practice of Sending Roman Prefects to Capua

As noted above, Livy recorded that, in 318 BC:

  1. “... praefecti (prefects) began to be appointed for Capua ... as [part of] a remedy for the distress occasioned by internal discord”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 20: 5-6).

As noted above, this is the first time that Livy mentioned dispatch of Roman prefects (presumably as delegates of the urban praetor) to administer justice in out-lying districts under Roman jurisdiction.

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at pp. 555-6) pointed out that Livy:

  1. “... need not imply that prefects were sent to Capua every year [from this point]: rather, [in this year] Capua had appealed to Rome, and the praetor consequently passed some laws, [after which] a prefect was dispatched to apply them.”

Oakley was making two suggestions here:

  1. that the first prefects sent to Capua wer sent specifically and solely for the purpose of applying the leges datae and thereby remedying the internal conflict there; and

  2. that Livy’s phrasing does not imply that the sending of prefects was a regular occurrence thereafter.  In his opinion (see Oakley, 1998, at p. 556):

  3. “How often prefects went to Capua after 318 BC we simply cannot say."

It seems to me that Oakley’s first suggestion needs further consideration. 

In the section above, I suggested that:

  1. it was probably the enfranchised Campanian knights who asked the Romans for the imposition of leges datae on Capua in 318 BC; and

  2. this body of Roman law probably addressed matters such as:

  3. whether local or Roman law applied to the enfranchised Campani;

  4. how legal disputes between enfranchised and un-enfranchised Campani were resolved; and

  5. the proportions in which enfranchised and un-enfranchised Campani could be elected to the local senate at any one time.

If this is correct, then the likelihood is that, after its imposition, Roman law would have governed disputes:

  1. between enfranchised Campani; and

  2. (probably) between enfranchised and un-enfranchised Campani. 

Although Capua still had its own magistrates, they could hardly have been tasked with the application of Roman law, not least because at least some of them would not have been proficient in Latin.  In other words, I think that, from this point, Roman prefects were probably sent regularly (perhaps annually) to Capua for the purpose of administering the legal affairs of enfranchised Campani.

Date of these Legislative Innovations at Capua

As noted above, Livy asserted that, in 318 BC, 

  1. the people of Capua asked the Romans to:

  2. provide them with leges datae; and

  3. begin the practice of sending prefects; and

  4. that these measures were needed:

  5. “... as a remedy for the distress occasioned by internal discord”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 20: 6).

Adrian Sherwin White (referenced below, at p. 43) argued that:

  1. “... the leges a praetore datae should have provided a permanent solution of the troubles of the time".  

However, as we shall see, the Campani revolted again in 314 BC, in circumstances that suggest  that internal discord had by no means ended in 318 BC.  It therefore seems to me that it is at least possible (pace Livy) that the legal innovations discussed here were actually made after that rebellion was ended.  I discuss this possibility at the end of the section below on the Campanian Revolt (314 BC).

Antium (318 BC ?)

The people of what was then the Volscian city of Antiumhad joined the Latins in ther rebellion agains Rome in 340 - 338 BC.  Livy had described the Roman settlement with the Antiates after thier surrender as follows:

  1. “... a colony was dispatched to Antium, with an understanding that the Antiates were permitted, if they wished, to enrol as colonists.  ... They were granted civitas (citizenship)”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 14: 7-9).

Since Livy recorded that the Antiates received civitas (as opposed to civitas sine suffragio) we might reasonably assume that they were incorporated optimo iure after their final defeat.  Thus, after 338 BC, ‘the Antiates’ comprised:

  1. citizens from Rome who were enrolled in the colony; and

  2. the people of the Volscian city, all of whom were fully enfranchised, who included:

  3. some who were also enrolled in the colony; and

  4. others who were not.

In 318 BC, according to Livy:

  1. “Once it had become known among the allies that the affairs of Capua had been stabilised by Roman discipline, the Antiates, too, complained that they were living without fixed statutes and without magistrates.  The Senate designated the colony's own patrons give laws [to them]”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 20: 10).

There has been a debate among scholars as to which ‘Antiates’ had complained that they were in a legal vacuum.  However, as Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 566) pointed out, the colony:

  1. “... must always have had [at least] some constitution ...”

He therefore argued (at p. 566) that:

  1. during the twenty years after they received civitas optimo iure, the Antiates who had not enrolled in the colony had no urban settlement to which they might belong; and

  2. thereafter, the laws drawn up by the patrons of the colony meant that they were regulated from it.

This view now seems to be widely accepted: for example, Jeremia Pelgrom (referenced below, at Chapter 5, p. 179) observed that:

  1. “... the consensus now seems to be that the Antiates who were the recipients of a corpus of legal regulations (iura statuenda) from the patrons of the colony were the indigenous people of Antium [who were not colonists].”

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 275) suggested that the ‘patrons’ who drew up these laws would have been the triumviri coloniae deducendae, the three magistrates who had founded the colony, enrolled its colonists, divided its territory for assignation to the colonists, and given it its laws.

Conclusions: Laws Imposed at Capua and Antium in 318 (?) BC

It is interesting to compare the scenarios suggested above for the imposition of Roman laws at Capua and at Antium:

  1. Both bodies of law probably applied specifically to anomalous groups of ‘natives’:

  2. the enfranchised Campani at the civitates sine suffragio of Capua; and

  3. those enfranchised Antiates who had chosen not to be enrolled at the citizen colony of Antium.

  4. Both of these anomalous groups contained only Roman citizens.

  5. However:

  6. the urban praetor seems to have appointed a prefect to draw up the leges datae given to Capua; while

  7. the triumviri coloniae deducendae were available at Antium to draw up the corpus of legal regulations that applied to those Antiates who were not enrolled in the colony.

If these scenarios are accepted, we can also infer why prefects sent to Capua but not to Antium:

  1. Roman prefects would have been needed on a regular basis to apply the Roman  leges datae at Capua, since the Campanian magistrates there who applied local law would not have been qualified to do so.

  2. However, there would have been no need for prefects at Antium, since the colony’s existing [and presumably Roman] magistrates who already administered the legal aspects of the colonial charter would have been well-placed to take on the administration of the enfranchised Antiate who were not enrolled in the colony.

I discuss below the possibility that these new measures at Capua and Antium were actually taken after the revolt of the northern Campani in 314-3 BC.

Date of the Leges Datae at Capua (314 BC ?)

As noted above, Livy asserted that, in 318 BC,  the people of Capua had asked the Romans to provide them with leges datae (and to begin sending prefects to the city):

  1. “... as a remedy for the distress occasioned by internal discord”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 20: 6);

Adrian Sherwin White (referenced below, at p. 43) argued that:

  1. “... the leges a praetore datae should have provided a permanent solution of the troubles of the time".  

However, when Rome faced a serious threat from the Samnites in 314 BC, a pro-Samnite faction at Capua was still strong enough to foment a pro-Samnite rebellion that might well have been finally ended only in 313 BC:

  1. There is a danger of applying hindsight here: it is possible that the Romans were sufficiently in control of events in 318 BC to impose these laws, and that the subsequent revolt at Capua took them by surprise. 

  2. However, as discussed above, it is at least possible that these measures followed the revolt of 314-3 BC, at which time the pro-Roman faction at Capua (which would surely have included most of the knights who had been enfranchised in 340 BC) would have been in the ascendancy.  In other words, this would have been the ideal time for them to request (and for the Romans grant the)  measures that would enshrine their position

In this context, we might look again at how Livy concluded his account of the imposition of the leges datae at Capua:

  1. “Once it had become known among the allies that the affairs of Capua had been stabilised by Roman discipline, the Antiates, too, complained that they were living without fixed statutes and without magistrates.  The Senate designated the colony's own patrons give laws [to them.  Now, not only] Roman arms, but also Roman law, began to exert a widespread influence”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 20: 10).

Thus, it seemed to Livy that, with the imposition of the leges datae at Capua, the way in which Rome controlled the outlying areas under her jurisdiction changed fundamentally.  Thus, in my view, it is at least possible that this measure belonged in the period 314-2 BC, in which the Romans:

  1. defeated the Aurunnci and seized their territory (above);

  2. suppressed the revolt of the norther Campani; and

  3. defeated the Campanian city of Nola;

  4. established or re-established a chain of Latin colonies on the western border of Samnium; and

  5. built the Via Appia from Rome to Capua, through what was now a continuous tract of territory that was securely within the jurisdiction of Rome.

Census of 318 BC

The fasti Capitolini record that censors: L. Papirius Crassus and C. Maenius completed the 25th lustrum.  ivy recorded that, in 318 BC:

  1. “At Rome two tribes were added, the Oufentina and the Falerna” (‘History of Rome’, 9: 20: 6).

The names of these two tribes belie the fact that they were each established for citizens settled on land that had been confiscated in 340 BC:

  1. the Oufentina was given the name of the river Oufens, which ran through its territory of Privernum; and

  2. the Falerna was named for the ager Falernus in Campania. 

It is possible that Privernum itself had been enfranchised at this point.  However, we have no evidence that this was the case:

  1. Henry Armstrong (referenced below, at pp. 171-2 and  p. 189) argued that this assignation was initially given only to Roman settlers on the land confiscated that had been confiscated in 340 BC, and that Privernum itself probably received full citizenship shortly before 188 BC, since Fundi and Formiae, which were further from Rome, received citizen at this date (as discussed below).

  2. Lily Ross Taylor (referenced below, at p. 56) was of a similar view:

  3. “The Oufentina [tribe], named for the river Ufens, was in the territory of Privernum, much of which had been had been in Roman possession certainly since 329 BC [and probably since 340 BC]. ...  the tribe would have been made up of confiscated territory, assigned largely to Roman citizens.  The Privernates, after a period of partial rights, were eventually registered in the Oufentina.”

In fact, there is no evidence that Privernum itself received citizenship and was assigned to the Oufentina at a date prior to the Social War. 

Epigraphic evidence suggests that Tarracina was assigned to the Oufentina, which is unsurprising, since it was sited at the point where the river Ufens reached the sea.  We might therefore reasonably assume that that the Oufentina was formed in 318 BC for:

  1. viritane settlers on the land that had been confiscated in 340 BC; and

  2. colonists that had been enrolled at Tarracina in 329 BC.

Prefecture at Privernum

We might reasonably assume that the prefecture at Privernum was established at some time between:

  1. 340 BC, after which date viritane settlement became possible on the land that had been confiscated from the city; and

  2. 318 BC, when the the level of citizen settlement in the area of the river Ufens was sufficient for the formation of a new tribe, the Oufentina.

As noted above, Privernum itself had probably been formally incorporated into the Roman state as a civitatas sine suffgragio only in 329 BC, and it probably retained this status until the Social War.  The jurisdiction of the prefect who had his seat here would have encompassed the territory confiscated in 340 BC, and he presumably administered the legal affairs of citizens who had settled there, possibly including the colonists at Tarricina after 329 BC.  

Apulia and Lucania (318-7 BC)

It is likely that the Romans’ alliances with the Apulini had ended after their defeat at the Caudine Forks in 321 BC.  However, the Romans’ success over the Frentani in 319 BC and the renewal of their peace with the Samnites in 318 BC would have undermined the position of the Apulini.  According to Livy, two of the Apuliani now followed the Samnites in requesting peace:

  1. “In Apulia, likewise, the Teanenses and Canusini [people of Teanum Apulum and Canusium], exhausted by the devastation of their lands, gave hostages to Plautius  ... and made submission”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 20: 4).

Livy then recorded that, in the following year:

  1. “... the Apulian Teates [see below] came to the new consuls, C. Junius Bubulcus and Q. Aemilius Barbula, to sue for a treaty, [promising to deliver to Rome] peace throughout Apulia.  By this bold pledge, they succeeding in obtaining  a treaty,... [albeit that it] made them subject to the Romans.  After Apulia had been thoroughly subdued (for Forentum, a strong town [in Apulia, whose precise location is now unknown], had also fallen into the hands of Junius) the campaign was extended to the Lucanii, from whom, on the sudden arrival of Aemilius, [the now-unknown] Nerulum was taken by assault”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 20: 7-10).

Some of these place names are problematic: according to Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at pp. 268- 270):

  1. The Romans’ advance on Teanum Apulum and then Canusium would have been the natural continuation of Rome’s conquest of the Frentani (above).

  2. The ‘Apulian Teates’ were none other than the people of Teanum Apulum, which suggests that Livy mistakenly reported their surrender in both 318 and in 317 BC.

  3. The capture of Forentum is likely enough, albeit that its precise location is unknown.

  4. The obscurity of Nerulum is an argument in favour of the putative Roman incursion into Lucania, although its location (and hence, its strategic significance) is unclear.

The implication of Livy’s record of these hostilities of 318/7 BC is that the Romans were taking advantage of the Caudine Peace to build up their presence in the territory between Samnium and the Adriatic. 

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 264) observed that Teanum Apulum and Canusium joined Arpi, which had been a Roman ally since  since at least 321 BC.

Read more:

T. J. Cornell (ed.), “The Fragments of the Roman Historians”, (2013) Oxford

J. C. Yardley (translation) and D. Hoyos (introduction and notes), “Livy: Rome's Italian Wars: Books 6-10”, (2013), Oxford World's Classics

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

T. C. Brennan, “The Praetorship in the Roman Republic”, (2000) 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 

K. Lomas, “Rome and the Western Greeks (350 BC - 200 AS): Conquest and Acculturation in Southern Italy”, (1993) New York

T. Cornell, “The Conquest of Italy”, in:

  1. F. Walbank et al. (eds), The Rise of Rome to 220 BC: The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume 7:2)”, (1989) Cambridge, at pp. 351-419

R. Gardner (translator), “Cicero: Pro Caelio: De Provinciis Consularibus: Pro Balbo”, (1958) Cambridge MA

Return to Conquest of Italy (509 - 241 BC)



Roman Conquest of Italy (509 - 241 BC)

Second Samnite War II: Caudine Peace (320 - 316 BC)