Key to Umbria

According to Livy (‘History of Rome’, 9: 21: 1-6), the Romans resumed hostilities against the Samnites by besieging the Samnite stronghold of Saticula, on the  border with Campania.  However, Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at pp. 276-81) argued that Livy described another Roman siege of Saticula in 315 BC, and noted (at p. 279) that:

  1. “... the campaign of 315 BC is accepted by all scholars, and [Livy’s record of 316 BC]  is probably a doublet of it.”

In other words, as far as we can tell from the surviving sources, the Caudine Peace probably ended in 315 BC, when the Romans laid siege to Saticula. 

Two men served as consul for the fourth time in 315 BC: Lucius Papirius Cursor and Quintus Publilius Philo.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 282) noted that Livy’s account of the events of this year):

  1. “... presents major historical difficulties.  Fortunately, the long, parallel narrative of Diodorus Siculus is more coherent, although it too is unreliable in various ways.”

Hostilities at Sora and Saticula (315 BC)

Diodorus account began with the consuls engaging in Apulia and at Sora:

  1. “In Italy, the Samnites ...  took by siege [the now-unknown stronghold of Plistica, which was probably near the border of Samnium and Campania], which had a Roman garrison.  They also persuaded the people of Sora to slay the Romans who were among them and to make an alliance with themselves.  Next, as the Romans were besieging Saticula, the Samnites suddenly appeared with a strong army, intent upon raising the siege.  A great battle then took place in which many were slain on both sides, albeit that the Romans eventually gained the upper hand.  [They took Saticula] and then advanced at will, subjecting the nearby towns and strongholds”, (‘Library of History, 19: 72: 3-4).

Thus the Samnites gained control of Sora and the now-unknown stronghold of Plistica, while the Romans gained control of Saticula.

Battle at Lautulae (315 BC)

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

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

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

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

If so, then they marched for the first time through Roman territory (past Formiae and Fundi) in order to reach the pass at Lautulae.  Although Livy had Fabius appointed as dictator at the start of the consular year, Oakley argued that:

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

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

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

Oakley argued that subsequent events suggest that:

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

In particular, he suggested that

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

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

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

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

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

Colony at Luceria (315-4 BC)

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 283) observed, Diodorus seems to have believed that Lautulae was in Apulia.  He therefore recorded that, after the Roman set-back there and:

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

Oakley argued that:

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

According to Livy, in 314 BC:

  1. “... Luceria, betraying its Roman garrison to the enemy, passed into the possession of the Samnites; but the traitors did not long go unpunished for their deed: there was a Roman army nearby, which captured the city (situated as it was in a plain) at the first attack.  The Lucerini and Samnites were shown no quarter, and resentment ran so high that even in Rome, when the Senate was debating the dispatch of colonists to Luceria, there were many who voted to destroy the town ... besides [the treachery of the Lucerini], there was also the remoteness of the place, which made them shrink from condemning fellow-citizens to an exile so far from home and surrounded by such hostile tribes.  However, the proposal to send colonists prevailed, and 2,500 were sent”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 26: 1-5).

Luceria was a Latin colony: according to Livy, it was one of:

  1. “... the 18 [out of 30 Latin] colonies ... [that confirmed to the senate] that they [still] had soldiers in readiness according to their obligations [at the time of the Hannibalic War]...”, (‘Roman History’, 27: 10: 3-7).

Defeat of the Samnites (314 BC)

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

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

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

Livy (‘History of Rome’, 9: 27):

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

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

  3. located it near Caudium

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

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

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

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

Livy recorded that, after the victory:

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

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

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

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

Recapture of Sora (314 BC)

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

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

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

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

Defeat of the Ausones (314 BC)

As described in my page Between First Two Samnite Wars II (337 - 328 BC), the Ausones, who seem to have been ethnically related to the Aurunci, were based around Cales, a strategically-located stronghold that had fallen to the Romans in 336 BC and been used for the foundation of a Latin colony two years later.   We now learn that they had at least three other strongholds, at Ausona (now unknown), Minturnae, and Vescia, and that, after the Battle at Lautulae, they had, in effect, fallen in Samnite hands.  Therefore, Sulpicius and Poetelius marched into Ausonian territory, where he was met by:

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

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

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

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

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

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 301) observed that:

  1. “The inevitable confiscation of territory followed subjugation, and this provided land for both

  2. the Latin colony of Suessa Aurunca, founded in 313 BC; and

  3. the [citizen] maritime colonies of Minturnae and Sinuessa, founded in 296 BC.”

As we shall see in the following page, the citizen colonists of Minturnae and Sinuessa were assigned to the Teretina, a new tribe that was created in the census of 300 BC.  Oakley suggested that is therefore:

  1. “... quite likely that the Aurunci were incorporated into the Roman state optimo iure.”

The suggestion here is that the Teretina was created for the putative newly-enfranchised Aurunci, and that it also became the tribe of the citizen colonists who were enrolled at Minturnae and Sinuessa four years later.  However, it seems to me that the Teretina could have been created for viritane citizen settlers on land that had been confiscated from the Aurunci.  I return to this discussion on the following page.

Revolt at Capua (314 BC)

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

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

  1. According to Diodorus:

  2. “While [the Roman victory over the Samnites] was still unknown to them, the Campani ... rose in rebellion [against Rome]; but the [Romans] immediately sent an army against them with the dictator Caius Maenius in command ... When [this army was] in position near Capua, the Campani initially [decided] to fight.  [However], on hearing of the Roman victory and realising that [the entire Roman army might well now] come against them, they made terms with the Romans:

  3. the Campani handed over [to the Romans] those guilty of [fomenting] the uprising, and they killed themselves [without awaiting trial] ...; and

  4. the [Campanian cities that had revolted] gained pardon and were reinstated in their former alliances”, (‘Library of History, 19: 76: 3-5).

  5. According to Livy:

  6. “Whilst disloyalty was thus manifesting itself everywhere [after the defeat at Lautulae], Capua also became the centre of intrigues amongst some of her principal men. When the matter came up in the Senate, ... a decree was passed authorising the immediate opening of a court of inquiry, and Caius Maenius was nominated dictator to conduct the proceedings. ... The greatest alarm was created by this step, and the ringleaders, Ovius and Novius Calavius, did not wait to be denounced to the dictator ... [before committing suicide].  After that, the need for an enquiry at Capua disappeared, and the proceedings were transferred to Rome, on the principal that the Senate had ordered an investigation ... of all who had anywhere combined or conspired against the State [which included a faction in Rome itself]”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 26: 7).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This suggests (at least to me) that:

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

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

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

Date of the Leges Datae at Capua (again)

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, as we have seen, 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. as we shall see:

  4. defeated the Campanian city of Nola;

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

  6. 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.

Dictator of 313 BC

The situation in 313 BC is more complicated.  Livy began his account of this year by recording that:

  1. “The consuls [of 314 BC], who had won a brilliant victory, at once marched away to lay siege  to Bovianum [in Samnium], where they remained in winter quarters, until the new consuls, Lucius Papirius Cursor (for the 5th time) and Caius Junius Bubulcus (for the 2nd) appointed Caius Poetelius dictator, who, with Marcus Folius as master of horse, took over the command”, (History of Rome’, 9: 28: 1-2).

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

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

Given the fact that both consuls were proven commanders, it seems odd that they made tis appointment.  However, according to Livy: Poetelius:

  1. “... raised the siege of Bovianum , [regained] Fregellae [from the Samnites] ... without a struggle (for the Samnites fled from it in the night) and installed a strong garrison there. ... He then marched back into Campania, for the purpose of [retaking] Nola ... As the dictator [approached Nola], the whole Samnite population and the Nolani of the territory  took refuge behind its walls. ... in order to open up approaches to the walls, [Poetelius] caused all the buildings round them ... to be burnt”, (History of Rome’, 9: 28: 3-5).

  2. “Not very long after this Nola was captured, whether by Poetelius the dictator or the consul Caius Junius  (for the story is told both ways).  Those who ascribe the honour of capturing Nola to the consul, add that Atina and Calatia were won by the same man, but that Poetelius was made dictator on the outbreak of a pestilence in order to drive the nail”, (History of Rome’, 9: 28: 5-6).

The fasti Capitolini record that Caius Poetelius Libo Visoluswas  appointed as dictator rei gerundae causa (for the purpose of conducting affairs), with Marcus Poetelius Libo as his master of horse. The consuls of 313 BC were both experienced men:

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

  2. Caius Junius Bubulcus Brutus for the second time.

In addition,

  1. the fasti Capitolini, record that Caius Poetelius Libo Visolus appointed as dictator rei gerundae caussa (for the purpose of conducting affairs);

  2. Livy (History of Rome’, 9: 28: 3-6) recorded that the consuls appointed Poetilius as dictator, but his sources were split between:

  3. those that claimed that he acted dictator rei gerundae caussa and commanded the Roman army Fregellae  and Nola (see below) as; and

  4. those that claimed that he was appointed as ‘dictator clavi figendi causa’ (dictator appointed to undertake the ritual of fixing the nail) for expiatory purposes during a serious outbreak of plague

  5. Diodorus (‘Library of History’, 19: 101: 3),  recorded that Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus acted dictator rei gerundae caussa and commanded the Roman army Fregellae  and Nola.

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 332) found Diodorus’ suggestion that Fabius was once more dictator to be suspect, and we might reasonably discount it:  Poetelius was almost certainly appointed as dictator in 313 BC, but his precise role needs to be addressed.

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

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

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

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

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

Recapture of Fregellae (313 BC)

As discussed above, it is likely that:

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

  2. the Romans withdrew the colonists and the Samnites recovered the territory after their victory at the Caudine Forks in 321 BC; and

  3. the Samnites remained in continuous control of this territory until 313 BC:  Livy (who implied, probably incorrectly, that the Romans had already regained Fregellae) recorded that, at the start of this consular year, the Roman commanders:

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

In other words, we might reasonably assume that the Romans were able to re-found the Latin colony at Fregellae at this point.

Fregellae was to remain as one of the most loyal of the Latin colonies until the late Republic.  Thus, it provided the spokesman for:

  1. “... the 18 [out of 30 Latin] colonies ... [that confirmed to the senate] that they [still] had soldiers in readiness according to their obligations [at the time of the Hannibalic War]...”, (‘Roman History’, 27: 10: 3-7).

Capture of Atina (313 BC) ?

According to Livy, after the recapture of Fregellae:

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

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

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

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

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

However, Oakley himself argued that:

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

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

Hostilities in Campania (313 BC)

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

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

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

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

  4. According to Diodorus Siculus:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

New Latin Colonies (313-2 BC)

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

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

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

Three surviving sources record the foundation of new Latin colonies at this time

  1. Livy recorded that:

  2. “Colonies were planted [in 313 BC] ... at:

  3. Suessa [Aurunca], which had belonged to the Aurunci; and

  4. Pontiae, an island that the Volsci had inhabited, which lay within sight of their own coast.

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

  6. Diodorus (‘Library of History’, 19: 101: 3) recorded only  the foundation of the colony of Pontiae. 

  7. Velleius Patroculus  recorded that

  8. “... a colony was established at Tarracina [in 329 BC]; four [sic] years afterwards, another at Luceria:

  9. [two] others three years later, at Suessa Aurunca and Saticula;

  10. another two years after these, at Interamna.

  11. After that the work of colonisation was suspended for ten years. (‘History of Rome’, 1: 14: 4-5).

We might reasonably assume that Velleius had the colony at Luceria founded 14 years after that at Tarracina, so the chronologies of all three sources are broadly consistent.  However, only Velleius mentioned the foundation of the colony at Saticula.

Like the earlier colonies of Circeii, Cales, Fregellae and Luceria, all of  Suessa Aurunca, Pontiae, Saticula and Interamna Lirensis were among the 30 coloniae populi Romani (colonies of the people of Rome, or Latin colonies) that, according to Livy, existed in 209 BC:

  1. There were at that time 30 coloniae populi Romani ... 12 [of which]  informed the consuls that they had no means of furnishing soldiers and money [for the on-going Hannibalic War].  These [included] ... Suessa ... and Interamna”, (‘Roman History’, 27: 9: 7); and

  2. “... the 18 colonies ... [that confirmed] that they [still] had soldiers in readiness according to their obligations ...  [included] ... Saticula, ...and Pontiae ...”, (‘Roman History’, 27: 10: 3-7).

As Timothy Cornell (referenced below, 1995, at pp. 354-5) observed:

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

Suessa Aurunca

As we have seen, the Aurunci had defected to the Samnites in 315 BC.  The Romans retook Suessa Aurunca, Minturnae and Vescia in the following year, and:

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

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 301) observed that:

  1. “The inevitable confiscation of territory followed subjugation, and this provided land for both

  2. the Latin colony of Suessa Aurunca, founded in 313 BC; and

  3. the [citizen] maritime colonies of Minturnae and Sinuessa, founded in 296 BC [as discussed on the following page].”


The record of the colony founded at Pontiae is the first time that this location features in our surviving sources.  Thus, we do not know when it passed from Volscian to Roman control.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 335) suggested that it:

  1. “... protected Roman communications with Campania by sea, and [thus provided] a safeguard against the [land] route ... being cut, as it had been in 315-4 BC.”

It seems to have played little part in later Roman history, albeit that, as noted above, it met its obligations to Rome in the trying circumstances of 209 BC. 


As noted above, the Samnite stronghold of Saticula had fallen to the Romans in 315 BC.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 335) suggested that it:

  1. “... drove a wedge into the land of the [Samnite tribe known as the] Caudini and protected the northeastern flank of Campania.”

It seems that Saticula was the first Samnite stronghold to fall into Roman hands, although it did not (as far as we know) play a significant role in the closing stages of the war.

Interamna Lirenas

Livy called this colony ‘Interamna Sucasina’, in reference to the fact that it was ‘below’ Casinum (later Montecassino), on the border of Volscian and Samnite territory.  Its name of the colony is clearly Latin, which suggests that it was founded on land that had not previously been settled to any great extent.  ‘Interamna’ signifies that it was between two rivers: Strabo, who called it ‘Interamnium’ and observed that it was sited on via Latina (see below), placed it:

  1. “.... at the confluence of two rivers, the Liris and another”, (‘Geography’, 5: 3: 9)

According to Duane Roller (referenced below, at pp. 260-1), the other river was the Scatebra (modern Gari).   Given its location on the Liris, it presumably played a part in protecting the Romans’ access to Capua along Via Latina. 

Via Latina

All of Fregellae, Interamna Lirenas and Cales were on a road that the Romans called via Latina, which connected Rome to Capua down the Sacco (also known as the Trerus or Tolerus) and Liris valleys.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2007, at p. 371) pointed out that:

  1. “The date of its construction is uncertain and, indeed, [it is not clear that] it ever was formally constructed: probably, there had always been a route down these valleys, and it would not be surprising if the quality of a [pre-exiting] road was enhanced ... when Latin colonies were established at Cales (334 BC)],  Fregellae (328 BC) and Interamna Lirenas (312 BC)”

Giovanna Bellini and colleagues (referenced below, at p. 3) pointed out that:

  1. “The area was inhabited by the Volsci and the Ausones/Aurunci and [by the late 4th century BC, had become] the focus of the clash between Rome and the Samnites in their struggle to control Campania.  The foundation of the Latin colonies of [Cales , Fregellae and Interamna Lirenas ... on the via Latina, was imposed at the expense of earlier settlements and sounded the death knell of Samnite presence in the region.”

Census of 312 BC

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

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

Via Appia (312 BC)

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

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

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

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

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

Its route is described in the Unesco website:

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

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

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

He observed that:

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

Events of 311 BC

The consuls of this year were Caius Junius Bubulcus Brutus and Quintus Aemilius Barbula. Diodorus Siculus (‘Library of History’, 20: 26: 3) placed both consuls in Samnium in 311 BC, and made no reference to any Roman activity in Etruria.  However:

  1. According to Livy:

  2. “The consuls divided the commands between them: to Junius the lot assigned the Samnites, to Aemilius the new war with Etruria”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 31: 1); and

  3. the ‘fasti Triumphales’ record that, in this year:

  4. Caius Junius  Bubulcus Brutus was awarded a triumph over over the Samnites; and

  5. Quintus Aemilius Barbula was awarded a triumph over the Etruscans.

Junius in Samnium

Cluviae = (probably) modern Piano Laroma, near Casoli

Bovianum = modern Boiano

Red dot = Interamna Lirena (Latin colony)

Adapted from the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire

According to Livy:

  1. “In Samnium, the Roman garrison at Cluviae, which had defended itself successfully against assault, was starved into submission.  The Samnites ... [executed] the prisoners.  Incensed by this ... Junius took the place by storm on the day he arrived before it, and killed all the adult males.  From there, he led his victorious army to Bovianum ... [which was also taken]”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 31: 2-5).

Livy then had the Romans ambushed in saltum avium (in a remote glade), but they escaped and:

  1. “... the Samnites [were caught] in a trap of their own devising: very few of them were able to escape, and some 20,000 of them men were killed”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 31: 16).

However Zonoras, after Cassius Dio, recorded that, in this ambush, the Romans:

  1. “... met with disaster ... the Samnites surrounded them and slaughtered them ... ”, (‘Roman History’, 8: 1).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2007, at p. 403) observed that there is no compelling reason to reject an attack on the relatively obscure settlement at Cluviae (assuming that it was near modern Casoli): since the Romans had already had successes against the Frentani in 319 BC ,  its location would not have posed a problem.  However, he doubted that they could have marched on Bovianum, the capital of the territory of the Pentri, at this time.  He pointed to two later records by Livy, in which Junius:

  1. as censor in 306 BC:

  2. “... let the contract for the temple of Salus [on the Quirinal], which he had vowed, while consul, during the Samnite war”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 43: 25).

  3. as dictator in 303 BC:

  4. “.., dedicated the temple of Salus, which he had vowed as consul, and the construction of which he had contracted for when censor”, (‘History of Rome’, 10: 1: 9).

The Calendar of Philocalus records that the temple was dedicated on the nones (5th) of August.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2007, at p. 404) argued that:

  1. the fact that Junius vowed a temple in 311 BC:

  2. “... probably guarantees that [he] was not defeated too heavily, or at least that he finished the campaign with honour in tact”; but

  3. since the fasti Triumphales allege that his triumph was on the same day as the dedication of the temple (nones of August):

  4. “...  it is perhaps best to reject it.”

Aemilius in Etruria

Red italics (Sabatina, Tromentina, Stellatina, Arnensis) = Roman voting tribes

Red dots = Latin colonies (Sutrium and Nepete)

Bluedots = centre that was probably given treaties: Falerii (343 BC);)

Green dots = Etruscan cities with truces: Caere (100 years from 353 BC);

Tarquinii (40 years: 351 - 308 BC, allowing for three dictator years in this period);

Adapted from the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire

During their wars in Etruria in 358-1 BC, the Romans had extended their territory northwards as far as the Latin colonies of Sutrium and Nepete.  They also agreed

  1. a truce of 100 years  with the Etruscan city-state of Caere in 353 BC;

  2. a truce of 40 years with the Etruscan city-state of Tarquinii in 351 BC:

  3. a truce of 40 years with Faleri (the main centre of the Faliscans) in 351 BC, which was exchanged for a treaty of friendship in 343 BC

However, Livy noted that, in 312 BC, after almost 40 years of peace in Etruria:

  1. ... the rumour of an Etruscan war sprang up.  In those days, there was no other race ( apart the risings of the Gauls) whose arms were more dreaded, not only because their territory lay so near, but also because of their numbers.  Accordingly, ... [the Romans prepared for war]”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 29: 1-5).

Livy did not specify which Etruscans were restive, but it is unlikely that they included those of nearby Tarquinii, whose treaty with Rome was still in force (allowing for the three dictator years in the intervening period), and was renewed for another 40 years when it expired in 308 BC (as we shall see).  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 344) suggested that the Etruscans:

  1. “... chose ... to make their move [against Rome at this decisive point in the Samnite War] because they wished to preserve the balance of power in central Italy ...”

Etruscan Siege of Sutrium

According to Livy:

  1. “... omnes Etruriae populi (all the peoples of Etruria) except those of Arretium  had  ... set in train a tremendous war, beginning with the siege of Sutrium, a city in alliance with Rome and forming, as it were, the key to Etruria”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 32: 1). 

Although, in this passage, Livy described Sutrium as an ally of Rome, it had been a Latin colony since ca. 383 BC.  Aemilius duly marched there at the head of an army.  After what Livy characterised as a Roman victory over the besieging Etruscans:

  1. “... both armies retired to their camps.  Thereafter, there was nothing worth recording done at Sutrium in that year”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 32: 1-11).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at pp. 404-5) reviewed the evidence for or against these records.  He concluded that:

  1. “... there is no compelling reason to reject the Etruscan campaign of this year.  Whether the fasti Triumphales were correct to record a triumph for Aemilius Barbula is more doubtful: Livy’s narrative suggests that he accomplished little, and ... it is easier to believe that a triumph was invented for this year than that it was ignored [by Livy].”

As we shall see, it is certainly the case that the Etruscan siege of Sutrium continued into the following year.

Events of 310/9 BC

This was one of the four so-called dictator years discussed in my page on Dictator Years (334/3; 325/4; 310/9; and 302/1 BC).  It began with the election as consuls of:

  1. Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus (for the second time); and

  2. Caius Marcius Rutilus. 

Livy’s account of this year splits into two discrete parts:

  1. Fabius and Marcius fought in (respectively) Etruria and Samnium for much of the year; but

  2. after Marcius was wounded in Samnium, his responsibilities fell to a dictator, Lucius Papirius Cursor (while Fabius continued to campaign in Etruria).

Period Before Papirius’ Dictatorship

As we shall see, Livy’s account of the events of Fabius’ second consulship are is extremely confused.  Fortunately, we have a more comprehensible  record from Diodorus Siculus.  However, Diodorus cannot always be preferred to Livy: 

  1. He made no mention of Marcius’ demise and his replacement by a dictator but, as we shall see, this does not, in itself, prove that Livy was incorrect here. 

  2. More importantly, while Livy did not credit Marcius with any engagements in Etruria in this year, Diodorus recorded that, since the Etruscans still maintained the siege of Sutrium at the start of this year:

  3. “... [both] consuls, coming out to its aid with a strong army, defeated them in battle and drove them into their camp”, (‘Library of History’, 20: 35: 1).

  4. Shortly thereafter, the Samnites took advantage of the absence of a Roman army to begin:

  5. “... plundering with impunity the Iapyges [in southeastern Italy] who supported the Romans.  The consuls, therefore, were forced to divide their armies ... Marcius, set out against the Samnites ...”, (‘Library of History’, 20: 35: 2).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 457) argued that, in this case, Livy’s testimony should be accepted. since:

  1. “.... Diodorus is not [usually] a good guide on consular provinces and, with war on two fronts, one would not have expected both consuls to have set off for Etruria.” 

Marcius in Samnium

According to Livy, at the start of his consulship, Marcius:

  1. “... captured Allifae [in the valley of the Volturnus] from the Samnites by assault.  Many other forts and villages were also either wiped out in the course of hostilities or fell to the Romans”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 38: 1).

As we shall see, if Allifae did indeed fall into Roman hands at this point, then the Samnites soon recovered it.

Livy then switched to events in Etruria and, by the time that he returned to events in Samnium, Fabius had marched north from Sutrium through the silva Ciminia (Ciminian Forest) and into upper Etruria (as discussed below).  Livy described how the Romans feared that he might be marching into an ambush, similar to that of 321 BC at the Caudine Forks, and asserted that these fears among the Romans were matched by:

  1. “... the rejoicings that took place among the Samnites  ...  However, their joy soon began to be mixed with [resentment] that Fortune should have transferred the glory of the Roman war from the Samnites to the Etruscans.  So, they hastened to bring all their strength to bear upon crushing Caius Marcius ... Marcius met them [at an unspecified location], and the battle was fiercely contested on both sides, but without a decision being reached.  Yet, although it was doubtful which side had suffered most, the report gained ground that the Romans had been worsted ... and, most conspicuous of their misfortunes, Marcius himself was wounded. These reverses ... were further exaggerated in the telling, and the Senate...  determined on the appointment of a  dictator”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 38: 4-10).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at pp. 460-1) pointed out that Marcius probably did suffer a reverse at this time, since:

  1. “... the annalistic tradition is unlikely to have invented a Roman defeat; ... [Furthermore, since ] the appointment of a dictator was a regular Roman response to military difficulty in this period, ... there is  no compelling reason to doubt the dictatorship of Papirius, even if Livy’s account of panic at Rome after the defeat of Marcius derives only from his own imagination or that of his sources.”

(I return to the authenticity of Papirius’ second dictatorship in 310/9 BC below).

Fabius in Etruria

Approximate route for Fabius’ campaign of 310/9 BC,  following Diodorus

I have shown here the direct route from Sutrium, along the later route of Via Amerina to Perusia

Asterisks = sites of the four battles described by Diodorus (the first of which he attributed to both consuls)

Adapted from the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire

As noted above, Livy’s account of Fabius’ achievements in Etruria before Papirius’ appointment as dictator is extremely confusing.  I have therefore described n detail on my page Livy: Fabius‘ 2nd Consulship (310/9 BC).  In this section, I follow the more straightforward account of Diodorus Siculus, and then suggest additional elements that should be salvaged from Livy.

Diodorus described three engagements in Etruria after the consuls’ putative victory at Sutrium and Marcius’ putative departure for Samnium:

  1. First, as the Etruscans moved to reinforce the army besieging Sutrium, Fabius outflanked them by slipping away to the north:

  2. “While the Etruscans were gathering in great numbers against Sutrium, Fabius marched without their knowledge through the country of their [Umbrian] neighbours and into upper Etruria, which had not been plundered for a long time.  Falling upon it unexpectedly, he ravaged a large part of the country; and, in a victory over those of the inhabitants who came against him, he killed many of them and took no small number of them alive as prisoners”, (‘Library of History’, 20: 35: 2-3). 

  3. On the map above, I have assumed that:

  4. Fabius marched along the line of the later Via Amerina, through Umbrian Ameria and Tuder, before crossing the Tiber into upper Etruria (although, as we shall see, Livy had him first slip away from Sutrium to the top of the mons Ciminius); and

  5. Fabius’ first battle in upper Etruria (like his second) took place near Perusia (although Diodorus Diodorus was unspecific  here).

  6. Fabius then fought a much more important battle near Perusia:

  7. “Thereafter, defeating the Etruscans in a second battle near the place called Perusia and destroying many of them, he overawed the nation, since he was the first of the Romans to have invaded that region with an army.  He also made truces with the peoples of: Arretium and [Cortona]; and likewise with those of Perusia”, (‘Library of History’, 20: 35: 4-5). 

  8. He then marched south and:

  9. “... taking by siege the city called Castola, he forced the Etruscans to raise the siege of Sutrium”, (‘Library of History’, 20: 35: 5).   

  10. This is the only surviving reference to the existence of the Etruscan centre of Castola.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 457) was inclined to accept Diodorus account precisely because, in his view:

  11. “...a reference to so obscure a site is most unlikely to have been invented.”

  12. Simone Sisani (referenced below, 2007, at: p. 36, note 37; and p. 34, Figure 1) also argued that Fabius might well have engaged with an Etruscan army that was still besieging Sutrium as he marched back to Rome.  He suggested that ‘Castola’ might have been the ancient fortified site at Monte Casoli, near modern Bomarzo, marked on the map above.  If so, then the most convenient route from Perusia would have been back along Via Amerina to the vicinity of Tuder and then along the Tiber valley (as marked on the map above).

As discussed below, the engagement at ‘Castola’ might have followed the appointment of Papirius as dictator, which Diodorus did not record.  I will therefore return to it in the section on the period of Papirius’ dictatorship. 

Reconciliation with Livy’s account

As set out on my page Livy's Account: Fabius (310/9 BC), Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at pp. 454) demonstrated that much of the accounts Diodorus and Livy can be reconciled by assuming that Fabius:

  1. marched to relieve Sutrium and defeated the Etruscans there;

  2. crossed the Ciminian Forest, as reported only by Livy;

  3. defeated a peasant army in upper Etruria;

  4. defeated a  significant Etruscan army near Perusia; and then

  5. agreed truces with Arretium, Cortona and Perusia.

Although Livy preferred a version of events that had this last battle fought at Sutrium, he acknowledged other sources, according to which:

  1. “... this famous battle was fought on the other side of the Ciminian Forest, near Perusia ... But, wherever it was fought, the Romans were the victors.  And so, ambassadors from Perusia and Cortona and Arretium, which, at that time, were effectively capita Etruriae populorum (the chief cities of the Etruscan people), came to Rome to sue for peace and a foedus (treaty).  [Instead], they obtained truces for 30 years”, (History of Rome’, 9: 37: 12).

Livy is the only surviving source for the valuable information that these were truces for 30 years.

Treaty with the Umbrian Camertes

According to Livy, while Fabius was still at Sutrium, he sent out scouts who:

  1. “... are said to have penetrated as far as the ‘Camertes Umbros’ (the Umbrian people of Camertium or Camerinum, modern Camerino) ... It is said that [their leader] was introduced into the [local] senate, with whom he spoke, in the consul's name, de societate amicitiaque (of an agreement of friendship and alliance). ... He was warmly received and told to report to the Romans:

  2. that 30 days' provisions  would be waiting for the them if they came into that region; and

  3. that the young men of the Umbrian Camertes would be armed and ready to obey their orders”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 36: 7-8).

As I set out on my page Livy's Account: Fabius (310/9 BC), there is no doubt that Camerinum  secured a famously ‘equal’ treaty with Rome at an early date.  Some scholars argue that:

  1. this equal treaty with Camerinum was agreed at the time of the Battle of Sentinum (295 BC); and

  2. the treaty that Livy discussed here was made with the Etruscans of Clusium, which was apparently also known a s Camars.

However, other scholars accept Livy’s account (once it is shorn of its fanciful elaboration).  For example: 

  1. William Harris (referenced below, at p. 56) argued that:

  2. “... a plausible explanation of [a Roman treaty with Camerinum] being made in 310/9 BC can be found: Camerinum was threatened by the Gallic Senones.”

  3. Stephen Oakley (referenced below, at p. 460) argued that:

  4. “There is no reason why Rome should not have had contact with Camerinum in [310/9 BC].  ... Camerinum’s ... well-known and [equal treaty] .. would be well-explained by an alliance with Rome in advance of the Roman conquest of Umbria.”

It seems to me that the Camertes Umbros would certainly have been an attractive candidate for such a treaty, since they controlled a tract of strategically important territory that Cicero implied (in a speech of  63 BC) was of a similar extent and/or importance to that which the Romans subsequently took from Picenes and the Gallic Senones:

  1. “Where ... was Sulla? ... Was he in agro Camerti, Piceno, Gallico (the lands of the Camertes, the Picenes or the [Senonian] Gauls), which ... that frenzy [i.e. the Catilinarian conspiracy] had infected most particularly ?”, (‘pro Sulla’, paragraph 53).

The Camertes might well have agreed to the treaty at this point because they feared the intentions of their Gallic neighbours (as argued, for example, by William Harris, above).  However, Fabius would have been equally anxious to deter the Gauls from joining the fray as he prepared to march a Roman army into upper Etruria for the first time in its history.  Thus, it is entirely possible that Fabius’ scouts set out for Camerinum via the Ciminian Forest with this objective in mind. 

In other words, although Livy’s tale of the exploits of Fabius’ scouts had probably grown in the telling,  we should probably accept his record of the agreement of an alliance between the Romans and the the Camertes Umbros 310/9 BC

Period of the Dictatorship of Lucius Papirius Cursor (310/9 BC)

As noted above, Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at pp. 460-1) argued that Fabius’ consular colleague, Caius Marcius Rutilius, probably did suffer a reverse in Samnium, since:

  1. “... the annalistic tradition is unlikely to have invented a Roman defeat; ... [Furthermore, since ] the appointment of a dictator was a regular Roman response to military difficulty in this period, ... there is  no compelling reason to doubt the dictatorship of Papirius ...”

Oakley acknowledged (at note 1) that some scholars have doubted that a dictator was appointed at this time, particularly since Livy said no more about Marcius’ fate.  However, most scholars accept that Papirius probably did serve in Samnium as dictator at this time, as recorded not only by Livy and by Cassius Dio (see below) but also by the fasti Capitolini and the fasti Triumphales.

Papirius’ Appointment

According to Livy, once the Senate had decided to appoint a dictator to replace Marcius in Samnium:

  1. “Nobody could doubt that Papirius Cursor, who was regarded as the foremost soldier of his time, would be designated”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 38: 10). 

Formally, the appointment had to be made by one of the consuls and, since Marcius was missing in action, it had to be made by Fabius.  Since he:

  1. “... had a private grudge against Papirius, ... the Senate decided to send a deputation of former consuls to him ... [in order to] induce him to forget those quarrels in the national interest.  The ambassadors [duly] went to Fabius  and delivered the resolution of the Senate, with a discourse that suited their instructions”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 38: 10-13). 

Fabius, who had recently defeated the Etruscans in upper Etruria and agreed truces with Arretium, Cortona and Perusia, was presumably still at his camp in this region.  His initial response to the ambassadors’ request were unsettling:

  1. “Fabius, his eyes fixed on the ground, retired without a word ... Then, in the silence of the night, as custom dictates, he appointed Papirius dictator.  When the envoys thanked him ... , he continued obstinately silent, ... so that it was clearly seen what agony his great heart was suppressing”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 38: 13-15).

Cassius Dio, gave a shorter account of these events:

  1. “The men of the city put forward Papirius as dictator and, fearing that Fabius might be unwilling to name him on account of [their mutual hostility], they sent to him and begged him to place the national interest before his private grudge.  Initially, he gave the envoys no response, but when night had come (according to ancient custom it was absolutely necessary that the dictator be appointed at night), he named Papirius, and by this act gained the greatest renown. (‘Roman History’, 8: 36: 26).

It seems likely that these accounts had a common source, albeit that Livy accepted or invented some elaborations relating to Fabius’ strange behaviour.

Papirius’ First Engagement with the Samnites at Longula

Livy recorded that, immediately upon his appointment as dictator, Papirius:

  1. “ ... took command of the legions that had been raised [at Rome] during the scare connected with [Fabius’ earlier campaign in Etruria], and led them to Longula [an unknown location, presumably in Samnium.  There, having also taken] over Marcius’ troops, he marched out and offered battle, which the enemy on their part seemed willing to accept”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 39: 1-2). 

Livy’s account of the subsequent engagement ended abruptly (at least in the surviving manuscripts):

  1. “... while the two armies stood armed and ready for the conflict, ... night overtook them.  [They retired to their respective camps], which were within a short distance of each other, and remained [there] for some days: they did not doubt their own strength, but neither did they underestimate that of the enemy”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 39: 3-4). 

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 499) pointed out that:

  1. “It is quite likely that [this] was not originally the end of Livy’s description of this part of Papirius’ campaign, but was [instead] leading up to an account of a battle that was about to take place.”

He hardened this conclusion at p. 500:

  1. “The arguments in favour of a lacuna after [“they remained quiet for some days, not through any distrust of their own strength or any feeling of contempt for the enemy’] ... are ... overwhelming.”   

Livy then returned to events in Samnium.

Papirius’ Victory the Samnites (perhaps at Longula)

Livy recorded that the war in Samnium that followed this Roman victory over an Etruscan army that had been raised under a lex sacrata:

  1. “... ...involved as much danger, and reached an equally glorious conclusion”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 40: 1).    

However, he does not say where this ‘second glorious conclusion’ took place: Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 461) observed that the putative lacuna at 39: 4 (above):

  1. “... does not allow us to determine whether [it] ... should also be placed at Longula.”

I discuss Livy’s account of this second glorious battle in my page ...  However, a number of scholars have raised doubts about its authenticity.  For example:

  1. Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 461) observed that:

  2. “Even though Diodorus ignores Papirius’ campaign against the Samnites, it would probably be an excess of scepticism to reject it out of hand; ...  although it is possible that [it] is an annalistic or Livian invention, no certain arguments for rejecting it have yet been adduced.  Nevertheless, the details of the fighting offered by Livy are unlikely to be sound: many recur in a very similar guise in his account of the victory of [Papirius’ homonymous] son at Aquilonia in 293 BC, and it is therefore possible that those [recorded for 310/9 BC] are all unauthentic ...”

  3. Edward Salmon (referenced below, at pp. 245-6 and note 1) similarly considered that:

  4. “The crushing victory that [the elder Papirius] is said to have scored in [310/9 BC)] ... is recognised, even by Livy, to contain features borrowed from his son’s victory ... in the Third Samnite War.  ... The victory [of the elder Papirius], if not entirely fictitious, was, at most, merely a local success that helped maintain Roman diversionary pressure on the western borders of Samnium.”

In other words, it is likely that much of Livy’s exuberant description of the elder Papirius’ victory over a consecrated Samnite army that was sworn to fight to the death can be safely discounted.

Diodorus and Livy each mentioned another engagement in Etruria thereafter:

  1. As noted above, Diodorus recorded that, after his victory at Perusia, Fabius finally raised the siege of Sutrium by drawing the besieging army to ‘a city called Castola’, where he defeated it.  He did not refer to Papirius’ putative dictatorship, but, if this engagement is accepted, it would have taken place during this period.

  2. Livy referred to a major Roman victory over an Etruscan army during Papirius’ putative dictatorship but (at least in the surviving manuscripts) he did not name the Roman who was in command.

I discuss both of these records below.

Events of 308 BC

According to Livy, in 308 BC:

  1. “In recognition of his remarkable conquest of Etruria, Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus was continued in the consulship, and was given Publius Decius Mus for his colleague. ... The consuls cast lots for the commands, Etruria falling to Decius and Samnium to Fabius.”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 41: 1-3).

Fabius in Samnium

Victory at Nuceria Alfaterna

Asterisks (Capua, Cumae, Suessula, Acerrae) =  centres incorporated sine suffragio in Campania before 308 BC

Black squares (Suessa Aurunca, Cales) = Latin colonies founded near Campania before 308 BC

Underlined (Neapolis, Nola) = Campanian centres allied to Rome before 308 BC

According to Livy, Fabius’ first campaign took place in Campania.  Soon after his re-election, he:

  1. “... marched against Nuceria Alfaterna  ...”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 41: 3).

Prior Events

We know from Diodorus Siculus that, in 317 BC:

  1. “The inhabitants of Nuceria, which is called Alfaterna, yielding to the persuasion of certain persons, [had] abandoned their friendship for Rome and made an alliance with the Samnites, (‘Library of History’, 19: 65: 7).

As Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 462) pointed out, once the Campanian city of Nola had fallen to Rome in 313 BC (as described on the previous page), Nuceria Alfaterna still still represented a significant threat to Rome’s allies in this region.  It seems that, during Fabius’ second consulship in 310/9 BC, the Romans attempted one of their earliest-known naval attacks:  according to Livy:

  1. “... a Roman fleet, commanded by Publius Cornelius, whom the Senate had placed in charge of the coast, sailed for Campania and put into Pompeii.  From there the sailors and rowers set out to pillage the territory of Nuceria.  Having quickly ravaged the nearest fields, from which they might have returned in safety to their ships, they were lured on ... by the love of booty ... While they roamed through the fields, nobody interfered with them, though they might have been utterly annihilated; but as they came trooping back, ... the local farmers overtook them not far from the ships, stripped them of their plunder, and even killed some of them; those who escaped the massacre were driven, a disordered rabble, to their ships”, (‘Roman History’, 9: 38 2-4).

See Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 483) for the candidates for the identity of this naval commander.

Fabius’ Victory

According to Livy, Fabius rejected:

  1. “... the overtures of peace [made by Nuceria Alfaterna] because its people had declined [peace] when it  had been previously] offered to them.  [Instead]. he laid siege to the place and forced it to surrender”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 41: 3).

With the submission of Nuceria Alfaterna, Roman control of Campania was complete.

Campaigns Against the Samnites, Marsi and Paeligni

According to Livy, immediately after the submission of Nuceria Alfaterna:

  1. “A battle was fought with the Samnites, in which the enemy were defeated without much difficulty.  Indeed, the engagement would not have been remembered but for the fact that it was the first time that the Marsi had made war against the Romans.  The Paeligni, who imitated the defection of the Marsi, met with the same fate”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 41: 4-5).

Diodorus Siculus had a different version of this encounter: when Charinus was archon at Athens (i.e. in 308-7 BC):

  1. “In Italy, the Roman consuls went to the aid of the Marsi, against whom the Samnites were making war.  [They] were victorious in the battle and killed many of the enemy”, (‘Library of History’, 20: 44: 8).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 530) observed that Livy was probably correct to claim that the Romans fought against the Marsi at this time, while:

  1. “There can be little doubt that Diodorus was in error [when he claimed that the Romans were protecting the Marsi from the Samnites].”

Diodorus was probably also in error when he claimed that both consuls engaged with the Samnites at this time: although Livy does not specifically name the Roman commander, this engagement:

  1. followed on from Fabius’ victory at Nuceria Alfaterna, and

  2. was followed by the observation that

  3. “Decius, the other consul, was also successful in war”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 41: 5).

Thus, we might reasonably assume (with, for example, Stephen Oakley, referenced below, 2005, at p. 532), that Livy attributed it to Fabius. 

Livy makes it clear that this was the first time that the Marsi (and by implication, the neighbouring Paeligni, had engaged in hostilities with Rome.  Both tribes bordered on northern Samnium, and it is interesting to note that, in 310/9 BC, the Samnites had considered whether they should:

  1. “... march forthwith into Etruria, through the countries of the Marsi and the Sabines”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 38: 4-8);

in order to reinforce the Etruscan army that was about to engage with the Romans.  Given the strategic importance of the Marsi and Paeligni to both the Romans and the Samnites, we might reasonably assume that:

  1. the Samnites had incited and aided their respective rebellions; and

  2. the consequent battles took place on their respective territories.

Although both tribes were easily defeated, they did not apparently agree treaties with Rome until 304 BC (as described in my page ...).

Decius in Etruria

As noted above, Livy recorded that, while Fabius was fighting with some success on the borders of Samnium, Decius was also successful in his campaigns in Etruria.

Truce with Tarquinii 

Livy first noted that Decius:

  1. “... frightened the people of Tarquinii into furnishing corn for his army and seeking a truce for 40 years”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 41: 6).

According to Diodorus, after both consuls had settled matters with the Samnites in the territory of the Marsi, they crossed

  1. “... the territory of the Umbrians and invaded Etruria, which was hostile, and took by siege the [now-unknown] fortress called Caerium.  When the people of the region sent envoys to request a truce, the consuls made truces:

  2. for 40 years with the Tarquinians; but

  3. for only one year with all of the other Etruscans”, (‘Library of History’, 20: 44: 8).

[30 year truces with Perusia, Cortona and Arretium in 310/9 BC ??]

Raids in Volsinian Territory

According to Livy, after Decius had agreed the new 40-year truce with Tarquinii, he:

  1. “... captured by storm a number of strongholds belonging to the people of Volsinii and dismantled some of them, lest they should serve as a refuge for the enemy.  By devastating far and wide, [Decius] made himself so feared that nomen omne Etruscum (all who bore the Etruscan name) begged him to grant them a foedus (treaty).  They were denied this privilege, but truces for a year was granted them, [in return for which] they were required to furnish the Roman army with a year's pay and two tunics for each soldier”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 41: 6-8).

The identity of ‘Caerium’ is unknown, but it was presumably one of the ‘strongholds belonging to the people of Volsinii’ that, according to Livy (below), were captured by Decius in 308 BC.


Livy recorded that:

  1. “The consuls [of 308 BC] cast lots for the commands, Etruria falling to Decius and Samnium to Fabius:

  2. [Fabius put down pro-Samnite revolts in the territory of the Marsi and the Paeligni]. 

  3. Then, as we shall see, Decius fell back towards Rome while Fabius marched from Samnium to engage with and defeat an Umbrian army that was camped at Mevania.

Reconciliation of these Sources

We might reasonably follow Livy by placing Fabius in Samnium and Decius in Etruria at the start of the consular year. 

Decius in Etruria

Livy had Decius’ campaign begin at Tarquinia.  Since the truce between the Romans and the Tarquinians had ended in 311 BC, it seems likely that they had participated in the Etruscan army that threatened Sutrium at that time.  Thus, after the Etruscans’ defeat in the ‘famous battle’ near Perusia, it is entirely possible that Decius was able to bully them into supplying his army and agreeing a new 40 year truce (as Livy stated).  Diodorus also recorded the agreement of this truce, albeit that he did not record the circumstances in which it was agreed.  Livy’s record that Decius then marched north into the territory of Volsinii is equally unsurprising: as Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 531) observed, Volsinii was now probably:

  1. “... the centre of Etruscan resistance to Rome.”

Oakley also observed that the Volsinian strongholds that, according to Livy, Decius captured might have included Diodorus’ ‘Caerium’ .  In other words, the brief accounts by Diodorus and Livy of Decius’ engagements in Etruria in 308 BC are broadly consistent and comprehensible.

Both Diodorus and Livy agreed that this Etruscan War ended with the agreement of one-year truces with:

  1. ‘all of the other Etruscans’ (Diodorus); or

  2. ‘all who bear the Etruscan name’ (Livy).

This suggests that they both relied on one or more then-extent sources that made this claim.  However, any such claim is difficult to take at face value: for example, there is no evidence that Caere, with whom (according to Livy) Rome had agreed a truce of 100 years in 353 BC, had participated in either the siege of Sutrium in 310/9 BC or the fighting in upper Etruria that followed it.  Why, then, did nomen omne Etruscum (all who bore the Etruscan name, including, for example, Caere) feel so intimidated by Decius’ depredations in 308 BC that they sought a treaty with Rome and, when this was refused, settled for a truce of only a year? 

It is interesting to note that Livy used the expression omne nomen Etruscum in connection with the Etruscan War of  the 350s, in which only Tarquinii, Falerii and Caere were mentioned by name.  In 356 BC, the consul Marcus Fabius Ambustus:

  1. “... who was operating against the Faliscans and Tarquinians, met with a defeat in the first battle. ... This led to a rising of omne nomen Etruscum and, under the leadership of the Tarquinians and Faliscans, they marched to the salt-works”, (‘History of Rome’, 7: 17: 3 and 6).

William Harris (referenced below, at p. 46 observed that:

  1. “Not much trust is to be placed in the statement by Livy that the whole Etruscan nomen took part in the fighting against Rome [at this time]. .... the  only reliable element in this narrative is the result:

  2. the truce of 100 years [that the Romans made with Caere in 353 BC]; and

  3. ... the truce of 40 years  that [they] made with Tarquinii and Falerii in 351 BC ...”.

In other words, the phrase omne nomen Etruscum in this context seems also to have been applied to those who were directly involved in the conflict in question, on this occasion to Tarquinii, Falerii and Caere.  Thus, the similar expression that he used in 308 BC would relate to all those affected by Decius’ depredations, presumably with the exception of Tarquinii.  This is probably why Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 531) assumed that the one-year truces of 308 BC had been agreed with:

  1. “... Volsinii and other Etruscan states.”

It would be reasonable to assume that these other states included a number that, like Tarquinii, and Volsinii, had not had truces in place at the start of 308 BC.  Whether or not any or all of Arretium, Cortona and Perusia broke their recently-agreed 30 year truces at this point is impossible to say.

Conclusion: Roman Activity in Umbria in 308 BC

The only  significant divergence between the accounts of Diodorus and Livy relates to events in Umbria:

  1. Diodorus had a Roman army crossing Umbrian territory in order to invade Etruria; while

  2. Livy had it marching into Umbria after the invasion of Volsinian territory, with the sole purpose of engaging with the Umbrians at Mevania.

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 531) suggested the part of this apparent difference might be resolved by assuming that:

  1. “... the Romans marched through Umbria, fought the Etruscans, and returned once more to Umbria.”

In other words, the only significant difference between the two accounts is that Diodorus either ignored or was unaware of Livy’s source(s) for Fabius’ victory over the Umbrians at Mevania.

Campaign at Allifae (307 BC)

The Samnite centre at Allifae, which occupied a strategic position in valley of the Volturnus (see the map below), has already appeared twice in Livy’s account of the war:

  1. At the start of the war, in 326 BC. the Romans:

  2. “... conducted a successful campaign in Samnium: three towns (Allifae, [the now-unknown] Callifae and Rufrium) fell into their hands, and the rest of the country was devastated far and wide ...”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 25: 4).

  3. Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 649) argued that:

  4. “... the Romans did no more than raid in 326 BC and may not have tried to install  a garrison.”

  5. In 310 BC:

  6. “... Caius Marcius Rutulus, captured Allifae from the Samnites by assault.  Many forts and villages besides were either wiped out in the course of hostilities or came intact into the hands of the Romans”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 38: 1).

  7. Diodorus also recorded this engagement: he had both consuls campaigning in Etruria, until they received news that:

  8. “ ... the Samnites ... were plundering with impunity those Iapyges who supported the Romans. The consuls, therefore, were forced to divide their armies; Fabius remained in Etruria, but Marcius, setting out against the Samnites, took the city Allifae by storm and freed from danger those of the allies who were being besieged”, (‘Library of History’, 20: 35: 1-2).

If Allifae did indeed fall into Roman hands in 310 BC, then the Samnites soon recovered it: according to Livy: 

  1. “The proconsul Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus fought a pitched battle with the army of the Samnites near the city Allifae. The result was decisive, for the enemy were routed and driven into their camp, which they only managed to hold because there[was] very little daylight left. ... The next day, before dawn, they began to surrender.  The Samnites among them bargained to be dismissed in their tunics; all these were sent under the yoke.  The allies of the Samnites were protected by no guarantee, and were sold into slavery ... ”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 42: 6-8).

However, Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2007, at p. 25) suggested that the Romans gained permanent control of this part of the valley of the Volturnus only at the end of the Third Samnite War (298 - 290 BC).

Hernician War (307 - 306 BC)

Green dots (Anagnia and Frusino) = rebels in the Hernician War

Yellow dots (Aletrium, Ferentinum, Verulae) = non-combatants in the Hernician War

As already discussed, the Hernici had submitted to Rome in 358 BC, and part their territory in the upper Sacco valley was confiscated for viritane citizen settlement and designated as the Poblilia voting district.  From this point, although the Hernici retained their independence, they did so under the hegemony of Rome.

Thus, it was a serious matter when (according to Livy) the Romans discovered that Hernician soldiers had been serving in a Samnite army that had surrendered to them at Alifae in 307 BC.  For this reason, the captured Hernici were separated from the other prisoners-of-war and:

  1. “... sent to the Senate in Rome ...  There, an enquiry was held as to whether they had been conscripted or had fought voluntarily for the Samnites against the Romans.  They were then parcelled out amongst the Latins to be guarded.  [In the following year], the new consuls, Publius Cornelius Arvina and Quintus Marcius Tremulus, ... [initiated] fresh action, [which] the Hernici resented.  The people of Anagnia assembled a concilium populorum omnium (council of all the Hernician people) except for those of Aletrium, Ferentinum and Verulae, [at which, the assembled rebels] declared war on Rome”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 42: 8-11).

In response, while Cornelius remained in Samnium, Marcius was sent to deal with: 

  1. “The new enemies (for, by this time, the Romans had declared on the men of Anagnia and other Hernici) ... [These rebels], having lost three camps in the space of a few days, negotiated a truce of 30 days so that they could send envoys to the Senate in Rome ... The Senate sent them back to Marcius, having passed a resolution empowering him to deal with them as he saw fit.  He received their ... unconditional surrender”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 43: 2-7).

After further activity in Samnium:

  1. “Marcius returned to Rome, which he entered in a triumph over the Hernici.  An equestrian statue was decreed to him and erected in front of the temple of Castor in the Forum”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 43: 24).

The ‘fasti Triumphales’ record that, in this year, Marcius was awarded a triumph ‘over the Anagnini and Hernici’.  

Incorporation of Anagnia

Livy noted that, after the Roman victory:

  1. “Their own laws were restored to the three Hernican peoples of Aletrium, Verulae, and Ferentinum [who had remained loyal throughout the war], because they preferred them to Roman citizenship ... [However], the people of Anagnia and the others that had borne arms against Rome were:

  2. admitted to citizenship without voting right;

  3. prohibited from holding councils; ... and

  4. allowed no magistrates other than those who had charge of religious rites”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 43: 24).

In other words, Aletrium, Verulae, and Ferentinum retained their nominal independence under Roman hegemony, but the people of Anagnia and other Hernici who had joined their rebellion were incorporated into the Roman state


Our surviving sources link the town of nearby Volscian town of Frusino to this conflict:

  1. Following his account of Roman activity in Samnium in 306 BC, Diodorus Siculus recorded that:

  2. “[The Romans] declared war on the Anagnitae, who were acting unjustly, and, taking Frusino, they distributed the land”, (‘Library of History’, 20: 80: 4).

  3. Livy recorded that:

  4. “The Frusinonians were fined a third part of their lands [in 303 BC], because it was discovered that they had incited the Hernici to rebel [three years before]; and the heads of that conspiracy ... were beaten with rods and beheaded”, (‘History of Rome’, 10: 1: 3).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 557 and note 1) suggested that:

  1. “... the easiest interpretation of the evidence is that Frusino revolted in 307-6 BC and was captured by Marcius in 306 BC, but that its punishment was effected only after the Samnites had made peace [in 304 BC.  If so, then] Diodorus will have merged the narrative of several years into one ...”

Fall of Bovianum (306 - 304 BC)

According to Livy, in 306 BC, when Marcius was engaged in the suppression of the revolt at Anagnia (above), the Samnites took:

  1. Calatia and Sora with their Roman garrisons ... , and the captured soldiers were treated with shameful rigour. accordingly, Publius Cornelius was dispatched in that direction with an army”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 43: 1).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 577) argued that Livy’s ‘Calatia’ was actually Caiata, in the Monti Trebulani northeast of Capua, and (at p. 576) that this was probably the base from which they raided the ager Falernus in Campania in 305 BC. 

According to Livy, in order to deal with this Samnite incrsion, the consuls of 305 BC, Lucius Postumius Megellus and Tiberius Minucius Augurinus, were:

  1. “... dispatched into Samnium in different directions, Postumius marching on Tifernum and Minucius on Bovianum” (‘History of Rome’, 9: 44: 6).

Livy had conflicting  sources for the first phase of the battle, but it is clear that the two consular armies subsequently  combined at Postumius’ camp at Bovianum:

  1. “... there, the two victorious armies assailed the enemy... and overwhelmingly routed them, capturing 26 standards, as well as Statius Gellius, the commander of the Samnites, and many other prisoners... On the following day, they embarked on the siege of  Bovianum: on its capture, which quickly ensued, the consuls crowned their glorious achievements with a triumph. ... [Also] in that year, Sora, Arpinum and Cesennia were won back from the Samnites, [and] the great statue of Hercules was set up and dedicated on the Capitol”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 44: 1-16).

Diodorus Siculus gave a very similar account:

  1. “... since the Samnites were plundering [the ager Falernus], the consuls took the field against them, and, in the battle that followed, the Romans were victorious.  They took 20 standards and made prisoners of more than 2,000 soldiers.  The consuls at once took the city of Bola, but Gellius Gaius, the leader of the Samnites, appeared with 6,000 soldiers.  A hard fought battle took place in which Gellius himself was made prisoner: most of the other Samnites were cut down, but some were captured alive. The consuls, taking advantage of such victories, recovered those allied cities that had been captured: Sora, Harpina, and Serennia”, (‘Library 0f History”, 20: 90: 3-4). 

The putative triumph of Postumius and Minucius is only mentioned by Livy (above).  However, he also noted that:

  1. “Some writers state that Minucius ... was severely wounded and died after being carried back to his camp.  They add that Marcus Fulvius was made suffect consul in his place, and that it was he who ... captured Bovianum”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 44: 15).

The ‘fasti Triumphales’ record that it was Marcus Fulvius Curvus Paetinus alone who triumphed as consul over the Samnites in 305 BC.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 577 and note 5) argued that:

  1. “Since there is no obvious motive for the invention of a suffect consulate and a triumph for Fulvius, we should accept the tradition that he took Bovianum.  If so, then:

  2. Livy erred in saying that both consuls triumphed; and

  3. his picturesque battle [above] would have been fiction: Minucius was already dead.”

Renewal of the Treaty (304 BC)

In 304 BC, the Samnites sued for peace.  Livy’s description of this humiliation of the Samnites is oddly low-key:

  1. “[In 304 BC], the Samnites, whether seeking to end or simply to postpone hostilities, sent envoys to Rome to sue for peace.  The Romans’ answer to their humble supplications was  that, if they had not frequently sought peace [in the past] while preparing for war, a treaty could have been arranged by mutual discussion: as it was, since [their] words had hitherto proved worthless, the Romans would have to take their stand on facts.  Publius Sempronius, the consul, who was someone whom they would be unable to deceive as to whether [they really wanted] peace or war, would shortly be in Samnium with an army.  After a thorough investigation, he would report his findings to the Senate and, on his leaving Samnium, their envoys might attend him.  The Roman army [duly] marched all over Samnium; the people were peaceable and furnished the army liberally with supplies.  Accordingly, in that year, the ancient treaty was restored again to the Samnites”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 45: 1-4).

Read more:

P. Camerieri, “Il Castrum e la Pertica di Fulginia in Destra Tinia”, in: 

  1. G. Galli (Ed.), “Foligno, Città Romana: Ricerche Storico, Urbanistico e Topografiche sull' Antica Città di Fulginia”, (2015) Foligno,  at pp. 75-108

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

S. Oakley, “A Commentary on Livy, Books VI-X:Volume IV: Book X”, (2007) Oxford

S. Sisani, “Fenomenologia della Conquista: La Romanizzazione dell' Umbria tra il IV Secolo a.C. e la Guerra Sociale”, (2007) Rome

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

S. Sisani, “Lucius Falius Tinia: Primo Quattuorviro del Municipio di Hispellum”, Athenaeum, 90.2 (2002) 483-505

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

A. Drummond, “The Dictator Years”, Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, 27:4 (1978), 550-72

W. Harris, “Rome in Etruria and Umbria”, (1971) Oxford

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

W. B. Anderson, “Contributions to the Study of the Ninth Book of Livy”, Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, 39 (1908) 89-103

Second Samnite War II (315 - 304 BC):     Main Page

Livy: Fabius‘ 2nd Consulship (310/9 BC)    Livy: Papirius‘ 2nd Dictatorship (310/9 BC) 

Livy: Roman Victory at Mevania (308 BC)

  1. Return to the History Index


Roman Conquest:

Second Samnite War II: 315 - 304 BC 

Home   Cities    History    Art    Hagiography    Contact