Key to Umbria
 

Prior Events

Rome’s relations with its Neighbours (358 - 342 BC)

As discussed on a previous page, Rome renewed the ancient Latin peace in 358 BC.  It seems that this had the desired effect, at least from the Roman point of view: as Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 7) pointed out:

  1. “Livy makes no mention of any hostilities from any Latin states [other than Tibur and Praeneste] for almost two decades] and the Latins presumably supplied their quota of troops [for most of this period].  This  may well have lain behind Rome’s expansion in the 350s and 340s BC ...”

He also observed (at pp. 4-5) that:

  1. “... there can be no doubt that, by 358 BC, the Hernici had [also] been subdued: Livy did not mention Hernican wars again until the revolt in 307-6 BC ...”

In 358 BC, the Romans were able to create two new tribes, the Poblilia and the Pomptina, for Roman citizens that were settled in these areas. 

However, as discussed in a my pages on ???

  1. Rome was at war with many of its other neighbours (including Tibur, Praeneste, the Volsci and the Aurunci) for much of the 350s and 340s BC; and

  2. she declared her first war with the Samnites in 343 BC.

War with the Volsci of Privernum and Antium (342-1 BC)


Yellow dots = Rome and the centres of Latium

Blue squares = Volscian centres ( including Satricum, which was rebuilt and colonised by Antium in 348 BC and Formiae, which might, alternatively, have belonged to the Aurunci)

Red italics = ‘ikely locations of the Poblilia and Pomptina voting districts (358 BC)

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 393) observed that, as the First Samnite War moved towards its close, and as:

  1. “... Rome steadily grew more influential in Campania, it was inevitable that the Volsci should make a bid for freedom before they were entirely enveloped by territory controlled by [Rome.  Since] Rome was embroiled in both domestic strife and conflict with the Samnites [in 342-1 BC, this] was a particularly good time [for the Volsci] to make a move.”

Thus, Livy recorded that, in 342 BC:

  1. “... the Privernates made a sudden incursion and devastated the neighbouring Roman colonies of Norba and Setia”, (‘History of Rome’, 7: 42:  8).

Then, in 341 BC (in the final stage of the First Samnite War):

  1. “... the men of [the Latin colonies of] Norba and Setia brought tidings to Rome that the Privernates were in revolt, and complained of a defeat that they had suffered at their hands.   It was also reported that a Volscian army, led by the people of Antium, had encamped at Satricum.  [Responsibility for] both wars [was] assigned by ballot to [the consul Caius Plautius Venox]: 

  2. He marched first on Privernum ... [He easily] overcame the enemy and captured Privernum.  After installing a strong garrison in it, he restored it to its inhabitants, but deprived them of two thirds of their territory. 

  3. He then led his victorious army towards Satricum, in order to oppose the Antiates.  The battle there ... was interrupted by a storm before either army had achieved victory. ... [However], the Volsci marched off in the night, like beaten men, for Antium.  ... Plautus proceeded to lay waste the enemy's country as far as the coast”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 1: 1-6).

The most significant element of this account is Livy’s claim  that the Romans confiscated two thirds of the territory of Privernum after its surrender.  However, as we shall see, there is no evidence that they made any use of it until after the Preivernates had revolted and surrendered again in 329 BC.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 394 and note 1) suggested that:

  1. “... perhaps [Livy’s] notice of the confiscation of two thirds of [Privernate territory in 341 BC] should be transferred to 329 BC, ... [albeit that] the matter cannot be decided beyond all doubt.”

I discuss this suggestion further below.

Renewed Peace with the Samnites (341 BC)


As discussed on the previous page, Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1997, at p. 197) noted that the treaty of 354 BC between the Romans and the Samnites involved:

  1. “... an undertaking not to engage in aggression in the sphere of interest of a friendly state and not to help her enemies. ... It is almost invariably held that this treaty established the river Liris (modern Garigliano) as the line demarcating the Roman and Samnite spheres of influence.  This is entirely plausible, but rests only on [the] indirect testimony [of later events].”

In other words, later events suggest that the Samnites recognised Rome’s actual or prospective hegemony north and west of the Liris, while Rome recognised that the territory to the east and south of the river (possibly including Campania) lay within the Samnites’ sphere of influence. 

The events of the First Samnite War (discussed on the previous page) brought Capua and the surrounding territory south of the Liris into the Roman sphere of influence (which might have constituted a breach of the original treaty).  Nevertheless, according to Livy, after the Samnites were defeated, they:

  1. “... pleaded with Romans to grant them peace and the right to war against the Sidicini ... , a people who  ... [were neither under the protection of the Roman people, nor yet their subject.  Titus Aemilius, the praetor, laid the Samnites’ petition before the Senate, which voted to renew the treaty with them”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 1: 7-10).

It seem that the renewed treaty recognised the new reality, leaving the Romans free to consolidate their hold on the fertile territory in the coastal strip south of the river and, in return, they were content to allow the Samnites free reign against the Sidicini.

Second Latin War (341 - 338 BC)

Outbreak of War (341 BC)


According to Livy, after the Samnites had renewed their treaty with Rome in 341 BC, they:

  1. “... marched against the Sidicini ...  [who] attempted to anticipate them by surrendering to the Romans.  [When the Romans] rejected their offer ..., they took it to the Latins, who had already risen in arms on their own account.  Even the Campani [i.e. the people of Capua and its satellites, Atella, Casilinum and Calatia] joined this notionally anti-Samnite alliance] ... and a great army that had been gathered out of all these nations invaded the borders of the Samnites under a Latin general ... The Samnites [insisted that], since the Latins and Campani were subject to ... the Romans, [the latter should] use their authority and keep them from invading Samnium ... [or, failing that], should hold them in check by force of arms”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 2: 5-11). 

Following an apparently evasive Roman response,:

  1. “... left the Samnites quite at a loss to understand Roman policy.  It also frightened and alienated the Campani and made the Latins ... yet more audacious.  Accordingly, pretending to prepare for the war against the Samnites, the Latins appointed numerous councils, and ... secretly planned for war with Rome. The Campani also supported this planned war against their deliverers”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 3: 1-2).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 394) pointed out that:

  1. “Since there is no doubt that that the Latins were [allied with both] the Sidicini and the Campani in their struggle against Rome [in 340 BC], it is  likely ... that Livy was correct to date the formation of [the alliance between them] to 341 BC or thereabouts. ... [However], little confidence should be placed in [his] detailed version of the chain of events [that lead to the formation of this alliance against both the Romans and the Samnites].”

Livy certainly had no compunction in recording the fact that the Samnites had immediately exercised their ‘rights’ under the treaty to attack the Sidicini.  On the other hand, he portrayed Romans as unwilling participants in the events that this Samnite aggression precipitated.  In reality, it seems more likely that the Romans, like the Samnites, moved swiftly and forcefully to consolidated their hold over the Latins and the Campani.  In other words, the actions of the Latins, the Campani and the Sidicini in the run-up to the war were almost certainly irrelevant: it was a direct result of the renewal of the treaty between the two most powerful and aggressive peoples of central Italy.

Timothy Cornell (referenced below, 1995, at p. 347) the alliance of the Latins, Sidicini and Campani soon expanded to include:

  1. “... the Volsci, who were already in revolt against Rome.  This alliance, which also included the Aurunci, was presumably in response to Rome’s growing power.”

In other words, the so-called Second Latin War was, in fact, a war between:

  1. on the one hand, Romans and Samnites; and

  2. on the other, the peoples who had been most threatened by the terms of the recently-renewed treaty between them.

Events of 340 BC

Consular Elections

According to Livy, despite the secrecy in which the Latins and the Campani had prepared for war with Rome

  1. “... information of the conspiracy leaked out through certain persons connected by private ties of hospitality and kinship and was brought to Rome.  The consuls [of 341 BC, Caius Plautius Venox and Lucius Aemilius Mamercus] were commanded to resign their office before their time was up, in order that new consuls might be chosen to confront so momentous a [potential] invasion”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 3: 3-4).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 405) suggested that this precaution was taken because:

  1. “... the Romans, foreseeing that the new were could never have been finished [in what remained of the old consuls’ tenure], wanted to have the new consuls in office early in order to avoid  an awkward transition.”

However, according to Livy:

  1. “... religious concerns arose in relation to the prospect of elections held by men whose authority had been curtailed, and so the Romans had an interregnum.  There were two interreges: Marcus Valerius [Corvus, who did not complete the task in the 5 days assigned to him, followed by an unspecified] Marcus Fabius: the latter announced the election to the consulship of Titus Manlius Torquatus (for the third time) and Publius Decius Mus”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 3: 4-5).

Battle of the Veseris (340 BC)


According to Livy, in 340 BC, the Romans, who were: 

  1. “... quite certain that socii nominis Latini (the allies of the Latin name) were going to revolt, ... summoned to Rome ten principes Latinorum (leaders of the Latins), so that they might [warn them against taking hostile action against Rome itself or its Samnite allies]”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 3: 8).

When these Latin representatives proved to be unbowed:

  1. “The Senate ... agreed on war: the consuls enrolled two armies and marched out through the country of the Marsi and Paeligni.  Having collected the army of the Samnites, they established their camp near Capua, where the Latins and their allies had already assembled”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 6: 8).

This route would have taken the Roman armies along the north shore of the Fucine Lake and then south into Samnium and on to Capua.  According to Livy (‘History of Rome’, 8: 6: 9), during the night of their arrival there, both consuls had the same dream, in which they learned that the gods would require one of them to sacrifice his life in order to secure a Roman victory.  Livy did not say exactly where this camp was located.  However:

  1. according to Valerius Maximus, the camp it was located:

  2. “... not far from the foot of Mount Vesuvius”, (‘Of Memorable Things’, 7:3); and

  3. according to Livy, the subsequent battle was fought:

  4. “... not far from the foot of Mount Vesuvius, at the point where the road led off to the [now-unknown stream or river] Veseris”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 8: 19).

Thus, at least according to the sources used by Livy and Valerius Maximus, the battle was fought near the Romans’ first camp, which was below Mount Vesuvius, some 50 km south of Capua. 

However, a surviving fragment from Dionysius of Halicarnassus gives an account that obviously relied on other sources, according to which, the consuls and their armies:

  1. “... passed unhindered [along the road that leads from Rome to Campania], with some of the [local] people offering no opposition and others actually escorting them on their way.  There were many difficult passes along [this] road ... and it was not easy to get through them when the enemy had occupied them in advance.  [The Romans] also crossed a river called the Volturnus, which flowed through the territory and city of Casilinum, ... by means of a wooden bridge that they constructed in 3 days. They faced these difficulties in order to inspire confidence in those of those Campani that sided with them while ... [inspiring] fear in those that did not.  When they had advanced beyond the city [Casilinum ?/ Capua ?], they encamped at a distance of 40 stades [about 7 km] from Capua, entrenching themselves in a lofty position, where they waited ... for the provisions and reinforcements that they expected from the Samnites: it seems that the Samnites kept promising [much] while furnishing nothing worth mentioning ... The consuls, therefore, ... resolved to set to work [without them] ...”, (‘Roman Antiquities’, 15: 4: 1-4)

Thus, unlike Livy, Dionysius had the Romans:

  1. march directly to Capua through enemy territory, essentially along the later route of the Via Appia;

  2. camp some 7 km from Capua, on a ‘lofty position’ (which presumably means the Monti Tifatini); and

  3. fight the subsequent battle without Samnite reinforcements (an assertion that Livy also found in some of his sources; see ‘History of Rome’, 8: 11: 2).

As the battle moved towards its conclusion:

  1. “[The Romans] threw the [Latin] front ranks into disorder and ... disposed of the fine flower of their manhood  ... [leaving] barely a quarter [of them] alive.  The Samnites, who were drawn up a little way off, at the foot of the mountain,represented another source of terror to the Latins.  But, of all the citizens and allies [who fought in the Roman and Samnite alliance], the chief glory of that war went to the consuls, of whom:

  2. one [Decius] had drawn all the threats and menaces of the  ... gods upon himself alone; and

  3. the other [Manlius] had shown such valour and ability in the battle ...

  4. The Latins fled to [the Auruncan stronghold of] Minturnae.  Their camp was captured after the battle and many men, chiefly Campani, were caught and slain there”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 10: 5-10).

However, despite Livy’s obvious admiration for this victory, the war was by no means over.


The subsequent battle is mainly remembered in Roman tradition for the facts that:

  1. Manlius enforced army discipline by executing his son for disobeying an order; and

  2. Decius sacrificed his life in battle, as portended in the consuls’ dream, in a ritual that the Romans designated as a ‘devotio’ (see Stephen Oakley, 1998, at pp. 500-5 ).

I discuss both of these heroic actions below.


Battle at Trifanum (340 BC)

We have two surviving accounts of battles fought by the Romans on Auruncan territory in 340 BC, both of which are much shorter and much less embroidered than Livy’s account of the Battle of the Veseris:

  1. According to Livy himself:

  2. “... the Latins who survived the [Battle of the Veseris] ... reunited and took refuge in the [now-unknown Auruncan] town of Vescia.  In the councils that they held there, Numisius, their commander ... [proposed that they should] speedily recruit [new] fighting men from the Latin and Volscian tribes and return ... to Capua, where their unexpected arrival would strike dismay into the Romans. ... An army  was  consequently levied in haste and brought together from every quarter.  [Manlius] met this force near [the now-unknown Auruncan centre of] Trifanum, a place situated between Sinuessa and Minturnae.  Both armies ... [immediately] fell to fighting, and the war was quickly ended: the enemy's strength had been brought so low [in the earlier battle] that, when Manlius led his victorious army to pillage their fields, the Latins all surrendered and the Campani followed their example”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 11: 5-12).

  3. According to Diodorus Siculus:

  4. “The Romans were victorious in a battle against the Latins and Campani in the vicinity of [the Auruncan centre of] Suessa and annexed part of the territory of the vanquished.  Manlius, the consul who had won the victory, celebrated a triumph”, (‘Library of History’, 14: 34: 7).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 430) observed that:

  1. “The equation of these two battles [seems] inevitable: [indeed, this is hardly a matter of conjecture, since] Suessa and Sinuessa were very close together.”

Manlius’ Triumph (340 BC)

Surprisingly, Livy did not record the award of a triumph to Manlius, the surviving consul of 340 BC.  However:

  1. as noted above, Diodorus recorded that he was awarded a triumph over the Latins and Campani after his victory near Suessa; while

  2. the fasti Triumphalis record that his triumph of this year was awarded over the Latins, Campani, Sidicini and Aurunci. 

The record in the fasti of the composition of the defeated armies might well be accurate since, as Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 430) observed:

  1. “One effect of the fighting of 340 BC was to detach ... the Campani, Sidicini and Aurunci from the [anti-Roman] alliance ...”

That left only the Latins and the Volsci to continue the war.

Land Confiscations (340 BC)

We here no more about Rome’s relations with the Sidicini and Aurunci until 337 BC, when (as described in my page Between First Two Samnite Wars II (337 - 328 BC)) they were both still independent of Rome (and at war with each other).  However, we do hear of the start of a political settlement with the Latins (who remained hostile at this point), the Volsci of Privernum, and the Campani: according to Livy, after their defeat at Trifanum:

  1. “Latium, [the Volsci and Capua were deprived of territory:

  2. the Latin territory;

  3. the territory of Privernum; and

  4. the ager Falernus; which had belonged to the populi Campani [people of [i.e. the people of Capua and its satellites, Atella, Casilinum and Calatia] as far as the river Volturnus;

  5. was parcelled out amongst the Roman plebs”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 11: 12-15).

I discuss these in detail in my page on the Political Settlements of 340 - 328 BC.

War with the Latins and the Antiates (340 - 338 BC)


Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 430) observed that, with the Campani, Sidicini and Aurunci all defeated, the Roman could concentrate on:

  1. “... campaigns nearer home against the Volsci and the Latins ...”

As far as we know, the Samnites played no part in these Roman campaigns (discussed below), although it is likely that they continued to campaign against the Sidicini and possible that they also campaigned against the Volsci east of the Liris.  


Events of 340 and 339 BC

In his account of these events, Livy was still at pains to portray the Romans as the aggrieved party.  Thus, he claimed that, after Manlius’ return to Rome in 340 BC:

  1. “The Antiates ravaged the lands of Ostia, Ardea and [the now-unknown Latin centre of] Solonium.  Since Manlius was unable himself to conduct this war because of ill-health, he appointed as dictator Lucius Papirius Crassus, who at that time happened to be praetor .... Papirius accomplished nothing noteworthy against the Antiates, despite having been camped in their territory for some months”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 12: 2-3).

Then, in 339 BC, when Tiberius Aemilius Mamercinus and Quintus Publilius Philo served as consuls:

  1. “The Latins took up arms again, being incensed at the confiscation of their land, and suffered a defeat and the loss of their camp in the [now unknown] campi Fenectani.  While Publilius, under whose command and auspices this campaign had been conducted, was receiving the surrender of the Latin peoples whose soldiers had fallen there, Aemilius led his army against Pedum, ... [which was] supported by the people of Tibur, Praeneste ,Velitrae, ... Lanuvium and Antium.  ... [When Aemilius heard] that his colleague had been decreed a triumph, left the war [with Pedum and its allies] unfinished [and returned to Rome. ... The Senate] denied him a triumph until he should either capture Pedum or receive its surrender [neither of which he achieved].  Estranged from the Senate by this rebuff, Aemilius  ... [criticised] the senators before the people ...[for] the niggardly apportionment to the plebeians of land in Latium and the ager Falernus”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 12: 5-12).

The fasti Triumphalis record the award of a triumph over the Latins to Philo.  However, as Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p, 431) observed:

  1. “... since the Latins were able to take to the field again in 338 BC, it is perhaps unlikely that Philo received many of them into deditio.”

Battle of Pedum (338 BC)

The hostile situation at Pedum remained unresolved until the following year (338 BC), when the new consuls, Lucius Furius Camillus and Gaius Maenius:

  1. “... put aside all other matters and set out for that place.  [By then, the Latins’ resolve had weakened and] very few cities were able to help Pedum:

  2. the Tiburtes and Praenestini, whose territories lay near by, did reach Pedum; but

  3. Maenius attacked and routed the Aricini, Lanuvini and Veliterni as they were joining up with the Volsci from Antium at the river Astura [see below].

  4. Camillus dealt with the very powerful army of the Tiburtes near Pedum; the struggle was harder [than that at Antium], but the issue was equally successful.  The greatest confusion was occasioned by a sudden sally of the townsfolk during the battle, but Camillus ... not only drove them back into their city, but  ... even took the place by escalade that very day”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 13: 1-7).  

Somewhat surprisingly, Livy did not address the circumstances in which Tibur and Praeneste were defeated.

Battle of Antium (338 BC)

As noted above, according to Livy, while Camillus was engaged at Pedum:

  1. “Maenius attacked and routed the Aricini, Lanuvini and Veliterni as they were joining up with the Volsci from Antium at the river Astura”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 13: 5). 

As John Rickard (referenced below) observed:

  1. “The location of [this] battle is something of a puzzle: ... Velitrae, Lanuvium and Aricia ... were located quite close together to the southeast of Rome, and yet they were defeated on the River Astura, 20 miles further south and just to the east of Antium.  The question is: why did those cities move their armies away from Pedum, and not towards it ?”

He put forward a number of possibilities, but there is no knowing which (if any) of them is correct.  It seems to me that, since Livy implied that none of the Latins except Tibur and Praeneste were able to help Pedum, the most likely of Rickard’s hypotheses is that:

  1. “... the Roman presence around Pedum might have been strong enough to prevent these three Latin armies from moving north.”

It is also possible that, had they reached the Astura, the Latins would have attempted to outflank the Romans with the help of the Antiates’ powerful fleet.

It is also surprising Livy did not describe the actual battle on the Astura: all he said about it in this chapter was that, at the end of the campaign, Camillus reported to the Senate that:

  1. “The armies of our enemies have been cut to pieces at Pedum and on the Astura; all the Latin towns, together with Antium in the land of the Volsci, have either been carried by storm or have made submission, and are in the keeping of your garrisons”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 13: 5). 

In the following chapter, he noted that:

  1. “Some of the ... ships [captured at Antium] were laid up in the Roman dockyards.  Others were burnt, and it was decided that their rostraque (prows) should be used to embellish a dais erected in the Forum.  This sacred place [thus] became known as the Rostra”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 14: 11-12).

This platform enjoyed a prominent location in the Forum, and was used for addressing the plebs assembled in either the Forum or the adjacent Comitium.  Florus, who was probably writing in the early 2nd century AD, asserted that:

  1. “Spoils won from Antium still exist, which Maenius fixed up on the tribunal of the Forum after the capture of the enemies' fleet ( if it can be called a fleet, for it consisted of only six beaked ships: in those ancient days, however, a fleet of that number was sufficient for a war at sea)”, (‘Epitome of Roman History”, 1: 11: 10).

This suggests that there were six ships’ prows on the Rostra in Florus’ time (although, pace Florus, this gives no indication of the total size of the Antiate fleet that Maenius seized in 338 BC, since the prows came from the ships that the Romans burned rather than preserved).

Final Subjugation of the Latins (338 BC)

Following these two important victories:

  1. “The consuls ... resolved ... to proceed with their victorious army to the thorough conquest of the Latins; nor did they rest until, by storming every city or receiving its surrender, they had brought all Latium under their dominion.  Then, distributing garrisons amongst the recovered towns, they departed for Rome, to enjoy the triumph  ... [and] were granted the honour (a rare one in those days) of equestrian statues put up in the Forum”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 13: 1-9).

The fasti Triumphalis record the award of triumphs to:

  1. Furius, over the Pedani and Tiburtes; and

  2. Maenius, over the Antiates, Lavinii [sic ?] and Veliterni.

If Livy is correct in recording that:

  1. Maenius had defeated the Aricini, Lanuvini and Veliterni ; and

  2. the Laurentes (people of Lavinium) had not participated in the war (see also the discussion below);

then the engraver of the fasti must have meant Lanuvini (people of Lanuvium) rather than Lavini (particularly since the people from  Lavinium were more usually referred to as Laurentes).

Heroes of the Second Latin War



Read more:

J. Rickard, “Battle of Asturia (338 BC)”, (2009) Military History Encyclopedia (on line)

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

S. Oakley, “A Commentary on Livy, Books VI-X:Volume I: Introduction and Book VI”, (1997) Oxford

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


Return to the History Index

 


Roman Conquest:

Second Latin War (341 - 338 BC)


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