Key to Umbria

Prior Events (328-7 BC)

Black asterisks = centres incorporated sine suffragio after the Latin War

Red squares = Roman citizen colonies

Black squares = Latin colonies

Foundation of a Latin Colony at Fregellae  (328 BC)

Livy noted (somewhat laconically) that the following year (328 BC):

  1. “... was not marked by any significant military or domestic event, except that a colony was sent out to Fregellae, a territory that had belonged [originally] to the people of Signia [sic ?], and afterwards to the Volsci”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 22: 1-2).

Fregellae was among the 30 coloniae populi Romani (colonies of the people of Rome, or Latin colonies) that, according to Livy (‘Roman History, 27: 10: 7), existed in 209 BC.

Fregellae occupied a strategically-important site at the confluence of the Liris and the Sacco/Tolerus rivers.  Although Livy claimed here that the new colony had been built on Volscian territory, the Samnites had recently destroyed the earlier Volscian settlement of Fregellae and now regarded the territory as their own.

Start of the Neapolitan War (327 BC)

According to Livy began when a Greek city called Palaepolis, which was:

  1. “... not far from where Neapolis [modern Naples] now stands ... committed numerous hostile acts against the Romans who inhabited  the ager Campanus and the ager Falernus”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 22: 7).

Livy also explained that Palaepolis and Neapolis were:

  1. “... inhabited by one people, [and the originally Greek colony of Cumae  had been] their mother city”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 22: 5).

In response, when the new consuls, Quintus Publilius Philo and Lucius Cornelius Lentulus took office in 327 BC:

  1. “... fetials were dispatched to Palaepolis to demand redress.  When they reported a spirited answer from the Greeks (a race more valiant in words than in deeds), the people acted upon a resolution of the Senate and commanded that war be made upon Palaepolis:

  2. the war with the Greeks fell to Publilius; and

  3. Cornelius, ... was ordered to be ready for the Samnites, in case they should take the field.  Since it was rumoured that they were only waiting to bring up their army the moment the Campani began a revolt, that seemed to be the best place for Cornelius’ camp”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 22: 5-10).

Palaepolis and Neapolis 

Dionysius of Halicarnassus gave a parallel account of these events, albeit that only a fragment survives:

  1. “When the Campanians made repeated charges and complaints against the Neapolitans, the Roman Senate voted to send ambassadors to the [Neapolitans] to demand that they should do no wrong to the subjects of the Roman empire.  ... in particular, the envoys, if they could do so by courting the favour of the influential [Neapolitans], were to [persuade Neapolis] to revolt from the Samnites and become friendly to the Romans”, (‘Roman Antiquities’, 15: 5: 1).


  1. “It chanced that, at the same time, [Neapolis received] ambassadors from other places:

  2. men of distinction who had inherited ties of hospitality with [the Neapolitans] came from [Greek Tarentum, in the heel of Italy, which had formed an alliance with the Samtites in 334 BC]; and

  3. others [were] sent by the [Oscans of Nola], who were neighbours [of Neapolis] and greatly admired the Greeks.

  4. [These ambassadors urged the] Neapolitans, on the contrary, neither to make an agreement with the Romans or their subjects, nor to give up their friendship with the Samnites”, (‘Roman Antiquities’, 15: 5: 2).

He then gave a lucid account of the debate between the Neapolitan factions:

  1. “The element among the Neapolitans that was reasonable and able to foresee long in advance the disasters that would come upon the city from the war, wished to remain at peace [with Rome]; but, the element that was fond of innovations and sought the personal advantages to be gained from turmoil joined forces for the war.  There were mutual recriminations and skirmishes, and the strife was carried to the point of hurling stones; in the end the worse element overpowered the better, so the ambassadors of the Romans returned home without having accomplished anything.  For these reasons the Roman senate resolved to send an army against the Neapolitans”, (‘Roman Antiquities’, 15: 6: 7).

Interestingly, Dionysius never mentioned Palaepolis.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 643) argued that:

  1. “It is absurd to believe that, in 327 BC, there was a sovereign state called Palaepolis ...”

He suggested (at p. 644) that:

  1. “The best way of accounting for the surviving [linguistic, literary and archeological] evidence is to hold that the Neapolitan populus did indeed occupy two sites: one was the site of the city of Neapolis itself, while the other was on the height known today as Pizzofalcone, ... which would have offered] a good defensive position. ... Livy’s account may be accepted if we adopt this interpretation of the name Palaepolis and argue that [Livy’s sources only] recorded fighting [there] ... ”

Conduct of the War in 327 BC

According to Livy:

  1. “ ... by taking up a favourable position between Palaepolis and Neapolis, Publilius  ... [prevented the Samnites at Neapolis from sending reinforcements].  However, as the time for the [consular] elections drew near, since it would have been disadvantageous for Publilius ... to be called away from the prospective capture of the city, the Senate [arranged that he should continue in office as proconsul] until the Greeks had been conquered”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 23: 10-12).

Negotiations with the Samnites (327 BC)

In due course:

  1. “Both consuls informed the Senate that there was very little hope of peace with the Samnites:

  2. Publilius reported that 2,000 soldiers from Nola and 4,000 Samnites had been received into Palaepolis, under compulsion from the people of Nola, rather than by the request of the Greeks themselves.

  3. Cornelius reported that:

  4. the Samnite magistrates had proclaimed a military levy, and that the whole of Samnium was up in arms; and

  5. the Samnites were openly urging the neighbouring cities of Privernum, Fundi, and Formiae to join them.

  6. In view of these facts, the Senate ... voted to send ambassadors to the Samnites before [finally deciding whether it was time to declare] war ...”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 23: 1-3).

Livy then described the Samnites’ indignant response to the ambassadors’ ultimatum, in which:

  1. “...  they went so far as to accuse the Romans of improper conduct: 

  2. They vigorously denied the Roman allegations, asserting that:

  3. the Greeks [of Palaepolis] ... were receiving no public counsel or support from them; and

  4. they had asked the people of neither Fundi nor Formiae to revolt; indeed, if they [the Samnites] chose to fight [the Romans], they were quite strong enough to fight alone.

  5. [On the question of the Romans’ recent conduct], they could not hide the outrage of their nation that the Romans:

  6. had restored Fregellae, [a city that they] they had captured from the Volsci and destroyed; and

  7. founded a colony in [what they now regarded as] Samnite territory, which the Roman colonists actually called by [the name of the city that they had destroyed].  This was an insult and an injury and, if the Romans did not redress it [presumably by abandoning the colony], then they would do their utmost to remove it”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 23: 4-10).

The Roman ambassadors suggested independent arbitration:

  1. “... to which the Samnite spokesman replied: ‘Why do we beat about the bush? Our differences, Romans, will be decided by [neither negotiation nor] arbitration, but: by the Campanian plain, where we must meet in battle; by the sword; and by the fortunes of war.  Let us therefore camp, face to face, between Suessula and Capua, and settle the question of whether the Samnites or Romans are to govern Italy’”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 23: 8-9).

The text that follows is corrupt but, as we shall see, the Romans declared war against the Samnites in 326 BC.

Thus, while the foundation of the Latin colony at Fregellae might have triggered the onset of hostilities between Rome and the Samnites, it seems that the underlying cause (at least initially) was the Samnites’ displeasure at the recent Roman expansion into Volscian, Auruncan and Campanian territory.  Although Livy had the benefit of hindsight, he might well have been correct when he suggested (above) that, in the longer term, the Romans and the Samnites regarded it as the war that would decide which of them would “govern Italy”.  

End of the Neapolitan War (326 BC)

As noted above, Quintus Publilius Philo now continued the war as proconsul.  Livy had a number of varying sources for the events that followed (‘History of Rome’, 8: 25: 5-26: 6), but the outcome is clear: Publillius managed  to keep the Samnites at bay while besieging Palaepolis, which (according to Livy’s preferred sources, he finally took with the help of a pro-Roman faction.  Livy recorded that the Romans then agreed a treaty with:

  1. “... Neapolis, to which place the Greeks now transferred the seat of government ...”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 26: 6).

It is likely that he or  his sources were mistaken here, and that the seat of government had always been in the city in the plain.  Livy acknowledged that some sources attributed the fall of Palaepolis to its betrayal by the Samnites, but he noted that:

  1. “[The presumably favourable] terms of this treaty make it more likely that the Greeks [had not been forced to surrender, but had rather] renewed the friendship [with Rome] voluntarily”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 26: 6). 

Finally, Livy noted that

  1. “Publilius was decreed a triumph, since it was generally believed that the enemy had surrendered only because they had been broken by the siege [of Palaepolis].  Publilius had thus received two unprecedented distinctions:

  2. an extension of his command, something that had never before been granted to any [serving consul]; and

  3. a triumph after the expiration of his [extended] term”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 26: 6).

The ‘fasti Triumphales’ recorded that Quintus Publilius Philo was the first proconsul to be awarded a triumph, in this case over the Samnites and the Palaepolitani.

First Phase of the Samnite War (326 - 321 BC)

Election of the Consuls of 326 BC

As noted above, at the end of the consular year of 327 BC, the command of Quintus Publilius Philo was extended into 326 BC, and he served as proconsul at Neapolis.  According to Livy, since the other consul, Lucius Cornelius Lentulus

  1. “... had already entered Samnium, [the Senate directed] him to name a dictator for conducting the elections [for 326 BC]”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 23: 11-13). 

The subsequent election process proved to be problematic until:

  1. “... at last, the 14th interrex, Lucius Aemilius [Mamercinus Privernas], procured the election of consuls, Caius Poetelius Libo Visolus and Lucius Papirius Mugillanus: in other annals, I find the name of Cursor”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 23: 17).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 664) reasonably argued that the cognomina Mugillanus and Cursor belonged to the same Lucius Papirius. 

Declaration of War

The new consuls immediately:

  1. “... sent fetials ... to declare war on the Samnites ... [They soon] received new and ... quite unexpected help: the Lucanii and Apulii that had had no previous dealings with the Romans, put themselves under their protection and promised arms and men for the war.  They were accordingly received into a treaty of friendship”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 25: 2-3).

If Livy is correct here, then the Samnites, having lost their alliance with Neapolis to the Romans, now found that there were also other allies of Rome on their southern and eastern borders.  However, as we shall see, the putative alliances with the Lucanii and the Apulini seem to have been short-lived (if they existed at all).

Both consuls:

  1. “... 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).

Thus, as Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 649) pointed out:

  1. “... it seems that the Romans were raiding the middle Volturnus valley ..., an area that they could have reached quite easily ... from their bases at Capua or Cales.  [As we shall see], Allifae was back in Samnite hands by 310/9 BC at the latest, but this is hardly problematic: the Romans did no more than raid in 326 BC and may not have tried to install  a garrison.”

Dictator Year 325/4 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).

War with the Vestini (325 BC)

According to Livy, the Vestini rebelled in 325 BC.  The consuls Lucius Furius Camillus  and Decimus Junius Brutus Scaeva brought the matter before the Senate, who had been reluctant to address it since:

  1. “... the race as a whole was fully equal to the Samnites in military power, since it included the Marsi, and the Paeligni and Marrucini, all of whom [would take the part of the Vestini, should they] be attacked.  [However, despite these fears], the people voted a war against the Vestini, and this command was assigned by lot to Brutus”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 29: 4-7).

He devastated the territory and drove the Vestini back into their strongholds, two of which (the now-unknown Cutina and Cingilia) he destroyed. 

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 701) noted that this is the first time that the tribes of the Abruzzo had appeared in Livy’s work since 340 BC, when they had allowed the Romans passage into Samnium for their joint attack on Capua.  He argued that:

  1. “... two interpretations of [the situation in 325 BC, as Livy described it] are possible:

  2. either the Vestini, alone of these tribes, were not prepared to guarantee Roman armies passage and [therefore] had to be brought to heel; or

  3. their defeat made it clear, to themselves and to the other tribes, that they should not try to resist the passage of Roman arms.”

Meanwhile, Camillus marched into Samnium in order to prevent them from aiding the Vestini.

Appointment of Lucius Papirius Cursor as Dictator

However, according to Livy, soon after Furius arrived in Samnium, he: 

  1. “... became dangerously ill and was forced to relinquish his command; Lucius Papirius Cursor, who was by far the most distinguished soldier of the time, [took over his command] as dictator, ... with Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus as his master of the horse”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 29: 8-9).

Unfortunately, Papirius’:

  1. “... expedition into Samnium was attended with ambiguous auspices ...”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 30: 1).

As Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 707) explained:

  1. “... the army had set out without its being clear whether or not the auspices were favourable.”

Papirius in Samnium

Papirius presumably took over Furius’ camp in or on the border of Samnium.  When he was forced to return to Rome to  retake the auspices, Fabius defied his orders by engaging with the Samnites in his absence at the now-unknown centre of Imbrinium.  This gave rise to a bitter dispute between Papirius and Fabius that is described in y page on Livy: Papirius and Fabius (325/4 - 310/9 BC).  It ended up before the Senate: Fabius found guilty of insubordination but was reprieved from execution.  According to Livy:

  1. “When the dictator [i.e., Papirius Cursor] had:

  2. placed Lucius Papirius Crassus in charge of the City;  and

  3. forbidden Quintus Fabius, the master of the horse, to exercise his magistracy in any way;

  4. he returned to the camp [in Samnium]”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 36: 1). 

Crassus as Praefectus Urbi

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 745) argued that Livy’s description of Crassus appointment:

  1. “... can only mean that [he] was appointed praefectus urbi [Urban Prefect/Prefect of Rome].  This office was not elective: prefects [of this kind] were appointed by the consuls (or a dictator) when all the senior magistrates were absent from Rome.”

Like Stephen Oakley (as above), Corey Brennan (referenced below, at p. 73) pointed out that the office of praefectus urbi is not attested in the Republic after the mid-5th century BC.  He also noted (at p. 72) that

  1. “The primary role of the early praetors was probable the defence of the City.”

Thus, one would have expected Papirius Cursor to rely on the serving praetor for the defence of Rome.  However, he suggested  (at p. 73) the circumstances in which Papirius might have turned instead to Crassus on this occasion:

  1. “Crassus was a relative of the dictator ... [His appointment] as praefectus urbi might be explicable if:

  2. the consul [Furius, whom had Papirius replaced in Samnium] was too ill to act [as defender of Rome]; and

  3. Papirius had taken the praetor  into the field as a substitute for the disgraced Fabius, who was debarred ... from further action.

  4. [In these circumstances,  Papirius might well have] put a man he could trust in charge of the City, and ordered all the regular magistrates [there] not to interfere.”

He acknowledged (at p. 72)  that this record of Crassus’ appointment as praefectus urbi might not be genuine, but pointed out that:

  1. “... at the very least, [it shows that] such an appointment was conceivable in the later historical period.”

We hear no more about the appointment of a praefectus urbi until 47 BC, when Marcus Antonius (whom Caesar, as dictator,  had appointed as master of horse with responsibility for Rome and Italy while he himself continued the civil war in Spain) appointed his  uncle, Lucius Caesar, to take charge in Rome while he (i.e. Mark Antony) dealt with a mutiny of Caesar’s veterans in Campania.

Marcus Valerius as Legate ?

Livy provides a name for the legate who replaced Fabius:

  1. “It happened in that year that, every time that Papirius left the army, there was a rising of the enemy in Samnium.  But ,with the example of Fabius before his eyes, Marcus Valerius, the lieutenant who commanded in the camp, feared the dread displeasure of Papirius more than any violence of the enemy.  And so, when a party of foragers had fallen into an ambush and ... had been slain, it was commonly believed that [Valerius] might have rescued them, had he not quailed at the thought of those harsh orders”, (History of Rome’, 8: 35: 10-11).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 744) observed that:

  1. “Presumably Livy and his sources imagined that this legate to have been either:

  2. Marcus Valerius Maximus Corvus (consul for the first time in 348 BC); or

  3. his son, Marcus Valerius Maximus (consul for the first time in 312 BC).

  4. But, it is most unlikely that there was authentic evidence for the role of a Marcus Valerius in the events of this year.

Papirius’ Victory 

Livy then embarked on an elaborate account of how the dispirited Roman army was defeated by the Samnites ,and how Papirius then went to considerable lengths to direct the treatment of his wounded men and to restore their morale.  He then:

  1. “... engaged [again] with the Samnites, ... and  routed and dispersed them to such an extent that this was the last time they joined battle with him.  His victorious army then  ... traversed their territory without encountering any resistance ... Discouraged by these reverses, the Samnites sought peace of Papirius and agreed to give every [man in his army] a garment and a year's pay.  Papirius directed them to go before the Senate, but they replied that they would attend him thither, committing their cause wholly to his honour and integrity.  So the army was withdrawn from Samnium”, (‘History of Rome 8: 36: 8-12).

Livy then recorded that

  1. “Papirius, having entered the City in triumph, would have laid down his office, but was commanded by the Senate first to hold a consular election.  He announced that Caius Sulpicius Longus had been chosen for the second time, together with Quintus Aulius Cerretanus.  The treaty [with the Samnites] was not completed, owing to a disagreement over terms, and the Samnites [instead] left the City with a truce for a year; nor did they scrupulously hold even to that, so encouraged were they to make war, on learning that Papirius had resigned”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 37: 1).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 1998, at p. 697) observed that:

  1. “Livy’s account [at 8: 36: 1-12] of Papirius’ ultimate victory over the Samnites is told as a pendant to his story of the quarrel [with Fabius, which had taken up most of 8: 30 - 8: 35], and its details seem to be largely his own or his sources’ invention.  It is just possible, that the Samnites did sue for peace and were granted indutae at the end of the year, but the continued fighting [in the following consular year, to which Livy alluded] ... scarcely enhances the credibility of the report.”

Furthermore, since the only specific location mentioned in this account is the now-unknown Imbrinium, as Oakley pointed out (at p. 696):

  1. “... we do not even know whether Papirius and Fabius were fighting in the Liris Valley  or in Campania.”

Papirius’ Role in the Consular Elections

Livy did not explain why the Senate asked Papirius to hold the consular elections before resigning his dictatorship, a task that would normally have fallen to one of the serving consuls

  1. It is possible that Furius had died during his consular year: the only later reference in our surviving sources that might refer to him is in 318 BC, when Livy (‘History of Rome’, 9: 20: 5) recorded that the praetor Lucius Furius gave laws to the Campani (see below).  According to Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 267):

  2. “This [praetor] is otherwise unknown.  It is possible that he was a Camillus ... or a Medullinus.”

  3. He added that it is:

  4. “... even conceivable that he should be identified as the consul of 338 and 325 BC ...”

  5. and noted  (at pp. 534-5) that:

  6. “Since  all seven of the men who held the praetorship between 317 and 241 BC and whose year of office is known had already been consul, this phenomenon can hardly have been unusual and may even have been regular.”

  7. However, even if our Lucius Furius Camillus survived his second year as consul, he might have been severely incapacitated for most of it.

  8. There is no particular reason to think that Junius was detained by the military situation in the Vestini, but we cannot exclude the possibility that he had pressed on into northern Samnium.

In other words, we should probably accept Livy’s record that Papirius presided over the election of the new consuls,Caius Sulpicius Longus (II) and  Quintus Aulius Cerretanus before resigning his dictatorship.

Papirius’ Dictator Year ??

Livy placed the whole of the narrative above within the year in which Lucius Furius Camillus  and Decimus Junius Brutus Scaeva held the consulship.  However, as explained in my page on Dictator Years (334/3; 325/4; 310/9; and 302/1 BC), some sources claim that Papirius continued as dictator without consul for an entire year between: the end of the consulship of Furius and Junius; and the start of the consulship of Sulpicius and Aulius:

  1. the relevant entries in the fasti Capitolini are missing but the ‘Chronography of 354 AD’ (which largely depended on them) record the consuls as follow:

  2. 326 BC: Libone [Caius Poetelius Libo Visolus] (III) et Cursore [Lucius Papirius Cursor] II

  3. 325 BC: Camello [Lucius Furius Camillus] (II) et Bruto [Decimus Junius Brutus Scaeva]

  4. 324 BC: this year, there were no [consuls]

  5. 323 BC: Lanto [Caius Sulpicius Longus ??] (II) et Ceretano [Quintus Aulius Cerretanus]; and

  6. the fasti Triumphales, which are  complete at this point, record triumphs awarded:

  7. in 326 BC: to Quintus Publilius Philo, the first proconsul [ever awarded a triumph], over the Samnites and [Neapolitani];

  8. in 324 BC: to Lucius Papirius Cursor, dictator for the first time, over the Samniteson the nones of March (i.e., immediately before the start of the next consular year).

Clearly, both the fasti Triumphalis and the ‘Chronography of 354 AD’ contain an invented year in which Lucius Papirius Cursor continued his dictatorship, presumably with a now-unknown master of the horse but with no consuls.  We should thus combine these sources as follows (indicating triumphs in bold):

  1. 326 BC:

  2. Consuls: Caius Poetelius Libo Visolus and Lucius Papirius [Cursor]

  3. Proconsul at Neapolis: Quintus Publilius Philo

  4. 325/4 BC:

  5. Consuls: Lucius Furius Camillus (II) and Junius Brutus Scaeva

  6. Dictator replacing Furius: Lucius Papirius Cursor

  7. 323 BC:

  8. Consuls: Caius Sulpicius Longus (II) and Quintus Aulius Cerretanus

Events of 322 BC

Livy described (in chapters 38-39) a campaign fought at an unknown location in Samnium in 322 BC, which as a triumph for the dictator, Aulus Cornelius Arvina.   However, he noted that: 

  1. “Some writers hold that this war was waged by the consuls [Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus and Lucius Fulvius Curvus], and that it was they who triumphed over the Samnites; they say that Fabius even advanced into Apulia and thence drove off much booty”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 40: 1).

For example, the ‘fasti Triumphales’ recorded triumphs in this year for:

  1. Fabius, over the Samnites and the Apulini; and

  2. Fulvius, over the Samnites

Livy noted in exasperation that:

  1. “ ... it is not easy to choose between these accounts ... I think that the records have been vitiated by funeral eulogies and by lying inscriptions under portraits, every family endeavouring mendaciously to appropriate victories and magistracies to itself, a practice that has certainly wrought confusion in the achievements of individuals and in the public memorials of events.  Nor is there extant any writer contemporary with that period on whose authority we may safely take our stand”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 40: 3-5).

In my estimation, this is Livy at his finest!  What we might usefully add is that, again, the strategic effect (if any) of this putative victory is unclear.

Disaster at the Caudine Forks (321 BC)

Livy began Book 9 by describing 321 BC as the year of:

  1. “... the Caudine Peace, the notorious sequel to a disaster to the Roman arms:

  2. the [unfortunate] consuls wereTitus Veturius Calvinus and Spurius Postumius; and

  3. the Samnite’s general for that year was Caius Pontius:

  4. his father Herennius far excelled [all the Samnites] in wisdom; while

  5. [Caius Pontius himself] was their foremost warrior...”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 1: 1).

Thus Livy set the scene for his account of a Roman humiliation that is still remembered as such to this day.

Fresco (4th century BC) from Tomb 114 of the Andriulo Necropolis near Paestum

Now in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Paestum

From the website I Sanniti

This fresco is often taken to portray the Samnite victory at the Caudine Forks (321 BC)

Livy’s account of the encounter under discussion here began with Pontius’ army:

  1. “... camped in the vicinity of Caudium.   [From this secret location], he dispatched ten soldiers disguised as shepherd in the direction of Calatia, where he had heard that the Roman consuls were already camped.  [The ‘shepherds’] were ordered to graze their flocks at different places near to the Romans and, on encountering [Roman] raiding parties, they were all to say the same thing; that the Samnite levies were in Apulia, where they were laying siege ... to Luceria [in Apulia], which they were on point of taking it by assault.  ... The Romans [took the bait and] did not hesitate in deciding to help their good and faithful allies of Luceria, [not least because they wanted] to avoid a general defection Apulia.  The only question was the route that they should take.  There were two roads [from Calatia] to Luceria:

  2. one skirted the Adriatic and, though open and unobstructed, was as long as it was safe; while

  3. the other, which led through the Caudine Forks, was shorter, but [much more dangerous, since it passed through] two narrow, deep and wooded defiles ... Having entered the first of these, [the army would have only two options: to retrace its steps [through the first ravine] or to continue through the second, which was even narrower and more difficult than the first”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 2: 6-8).

The Romans decided on the second route and marched into the inevitable ambush: with the Samnites blocking both ravines, all they could do was build a fortified camp in the plain between them.  The consuls had no alternative other than to sue for peace.  In Livy’s account:

  1. “Pontius made answer that,  ... since they would not acknowledge their defeat, ... he intended to send them, unarmed and with a single garment each. under the yoke [an arch of spears].  The other peace conditions would be on equal terms; for if the Romans would evacuate the Samnite territory and withdraw their colonies, Romans and Samnites should thenceforward live by their own laws in an equal alliance”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 4: 3-5).

The details of this account have been shown to have been largely invented.  In particular, as Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 26) observed:

  1. “... it seems rather unlikely that, in 321 BC, the Romans would have contemplated marching through the middle of Samnium.  It is therefore more likely that [the consuls] were trying to deliver a decisive blow against Samnite communities in the area of Caudium and Beneventum.”

He also pointed to other sources that suggest that the Romans were almost certainly defeated in battle before they sued for peace:

  1. According to Cicero:

  2. “Veturius and Spurius Postumius ... lost the battle at the Caudine Forks, and our legions were sent under the yoke”, (‘De Officiis’, 3:109).

  3. According to Appian:

  4. “... the Romans were defeated by the Samnites and compelled to pass under the yoke”, (‘Samnite Wars’, fragment 6).

It does seem that the army did indeed submit to the humiliation of marching, almost naked, under the yoke. 

However, in relation to Pontius’ request for a treaty, Livy insisted that:

  1. “... a foedus (treaty) could not be made without: the authorisation of the Roman people; the presence of fetials; or the rest of the customary ceremonial.  Consequently, the Caudine Peace was entered into, not by means of a foedus, as people in general believe and as [Quintus Claudius Quadrigarius] actually states, but by a sponsio (solemn pledge) [made by the consuls]”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 5: 1-2).

In fact, as Stephen Oakley (referenced below 2005, at p. 31 et seq.) modern scholars almost all follow Quadrigarius:

  1. “... the whole notion of sponsio [a pledge given by a defeated Roman commander, which required ratification] is a late fiction.” 

Livy seems to have adopted it because his sources:

  1. invented major victories in the following two years that  expunged the humiliation of the Caudine Peace; and

  2. since these would have violated a formal treaty, they took refuge in the further fiction of a sponsio that had been made by the consuls and never ratified.

As Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 76) observed:

  1. “The Romans almost certainly lost control of Fregellae [under the terms of this treaty]; it is assumed by many historians that they lost control of Cales too,and the [fact that Livy referred to colonies in the plural] perhaps supports this.”

Caudine Peace (321 - 316 BC)

Roman Engagements with the Frentani and Satricani (319 BC)


According to Livy, the consul Quintus Aulius Cerretanus:

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

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

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


Meanwhile, according to Livy, the other consul, Lucius Papirius Cursor (III):

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

Livy obviously referred here to Satricum in Latium, which had been incorporated optimo iure in 338 BC.  However, we know fro Cicero that there was a centre called Satricum near his native Arpinum: writing to his brother Quintus in 54 BC (when Cicero was in Arpinum and Quintus was in Britain), he reported that:

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

Since there is no other evidence that the Samnites penetrated Latium at this time, then the now-unknown Satricum in the Liris valley is an attractive candidate for Papirius’ victory.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 146) concluded that:

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

Livy continued:

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

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

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

The ‘fasti Triumphales’ recorded that Lucius Papirius Cursor was awarded a triumph over the Samnites in his third term as consul (319 BC).

Renewal of Peace with Samnium (318 BC)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apulia and Lucania (318-7 BC)

Surrender of Teanum Apulum and Canusium (318 BC)

According to Livy, soon after the Samnite’s request for peace:

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

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

Diodorus Siculus began his account of the war in  318 BC, noting that this was in its 9th year (see below):

  1. “Although, in the previous period, they had fought with large forces, at this time they accomplished nothing great or worthy of mention by the incursions that they were making upon the hostile territory; yet they did not cease attacking the strongholds and plundering the country.  In Apulia, they also plundered all Daunia and won back the Canusians, from whom they took hostages”, (‘Library of History’, 19: 10: 1-2).

As Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 263) pointed out, Diodorus’ mention of the events at Canusium and the creation of the Falerna and Oufentina tribes [see below] shows that his sources were similar to those used by Livy.  However, he suggested that Diodorus. grasp of Roman affairs of the period was tenuous and that, for example, he might have thought, probably incorrectly, that the fighting in Apulia was against the Samnites.

Chronology of Diodorus Siculus

Diodorus’ assertion that this was the 9th year of the war is very interesting: in Livy’s account:

  1. Caius Poetelius Libo Visolus and Lucius Papirius Cursor had declared war at the start of their consular year; and

  2. the surrender of Teanum Apulum and Canusium took place in the consulate of Marcus Folius Flaccinator and Lucius Plautius Venox, the 7th pair of consuls after Poetelius and Papirius.

As Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 263) pointed out, Diodorus must have dated these events by using a chronology that included the fictitious dictator year of 325/4 BC (although he did not record the events of the earlier phase of the war in his narrative).

Further Gains in Apulia (317 BC)

In 317 BC, after the surrender of Teanum Apulum and Canusium:

  1. “... the Apulian Teates [see below] came to the new consuls, Gaius Junius Bubulcus and Quintus Aemilius Barbula, to sue for a treaty, [promising to deliver to Rome] peace throughout Apulia.  By this bold pledge, they succeeding in obtaining  a treaty , not, however, on equal terms, but such as made them subject to the Romans.  After Apulia had been thoroughly subdued (for Forentum, a strong town [in Apulia, whose precise location is now unknown], had also fallen into the hands of Junius) the campaign was extended to the Lucanii, from whom, on the sudden arrival of Aemilius, [the now-unknown] Nerulum was taken by assault”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 20: 7-10).

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

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

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

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

  4. Oakley pointed out (at p. 270) that the obscurity of Nerulum is an argument in favour of the putative Roman incursion into Lucania, although its location (and hence, its strategic significance) is unclear.

The implication of Livy’s record of these hostilities of 318/7 BC is that the Romans were taking advantage of the Caudine Peace to encircle the Samnites.

Census of 318 BC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

According to Festus:

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

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

between the sea and Tarracina” (my translation)

According to Strabo:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  3. As we shall see below, viritane citizen settlers on land that was confiscated from Frusino in 303 BC might have  re-registered in the Oufentina shortly after. 

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


Underlined in blue = assigned to the Falerna tribe

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

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

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

Underlined in green = Campanian prefectures (see below)

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

According to Festus:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imposition of Roman Laws at Capua (318 BC ?)

According to Livy:

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

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

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

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

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

  2. outside Rome; [and]

  3. in a military capacity ... .

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

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

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

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

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

  2. gave you a treaty on equal terms;

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

  4. granted our citizenship to most of you; and

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

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

  1. According to Livy, by 216 BC

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nature of the Leges Datae of 318 BC

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

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

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

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

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

the lex Rupilia, which Publius Rupilius had given/imposed

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

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

Cicero also claimed that, before Verres became governor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Agrigentum:

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

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

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

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

  6. Heraclea:

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

  8. the appointment of the senate; and

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

  10. Halaesa:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Practice of Sending Roman Prefects to Capua

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

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

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

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

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

Oakley was making two suggestions here:

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

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

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

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

In the section above, I suggested that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. between enfranchised Campani; and

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

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

Date of these Legislative Innovations at Capua

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

  1. the people of Capua asked the Romans to:

  2. provide them with leges datae; and

  3. begin the practice of sending prefects; and

  4. that these measures were needed:

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

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

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

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

Antium (318 BC ?)

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

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

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

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

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

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

  4. others who were not.

In 318 BC, according to Livy:

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

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

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

He therefore argued (at p. 566) that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  5. However:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more:

D. Roller, “A Historical and Topographical Guide to the Geography of Strabo”, (2018) Cambridge

M. Fronda and F. Gauthier , “Italy and Sicily in the Second Punic War: Multipolarity, Minor Powers, and Local Military Entrepreneurialism”, in

  1. T. Ñaco del Hoyo and F. López Sánchez (eds.), “War, Warlords and Interstate Relations in the Ancient Mediterranean”, (2017) Boston

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

T. Cornell, “Crisis and Deformation in the Roman Republic: the Example of the Dictatorship”, in

  1. V. Gouschin and P. Rhodes (Eds), “Deformations and Crises of Ancient Civil Communities” (2015)  Stuttgart, at pp. 101-26

J. Prag, “Cities and Civic Life in Late Hellenistic Roman Sicily”, Cahiers Du Centre Gustave Glotz 25 (2014) 165-208

G. Tols et al., “Minor Centres in the Pontine Plain: the Cases of 'Forum Appii' and 'Ad Medias'’”, Papers of the British School at Rome, 82 (2014) 109-134

G. Bellini et al., “Roman Colonial Landscapes: Interamna Lirenas and its Territory through Antiquity” (2013) online

J. Pelgrom, “Colonial Landscapes: Demography, Settlement Organisation and Impact of Colonies founded by Rome (4th-2nd centuries BC)”, (2012) thesis, Leiden University

G. Camodeca, “Regio I (Latium et Campania): Campania”, in

  1. M. Silvestrini (Ed.), “Le Tribù Romane: Atti della XVIe Rencontre sur l’Epigraphie du Monde Romaine (Bari, 8-10 Ottobre 2009)”, (2010) Bari, at pp. 179-83 

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

H. Solin, “Problemi delle tribù nel Lazio meridionale”, in

  1. M. Silvestrini (Ed.), “Le Tribù Romane: Atti della XVIe Rencontre sur l’Epigraphie du Monde Romaine (Bari, 8-10 Ottobre 2009)”, (2010) Bari, at pp. 71-9 

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

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

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

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

M. Humm, “Appius Claudius Caecus et la Construction de la Via Appia”, Mélanges de l'Ecole Française de Rome (Antiquité), 108:2 (1996) 693-746

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

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

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

J. Linderski, “Legibus Praefecti Mittebantur (Mommsen and Festus 262. 5, 13 L)”, Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, 28:2 (1979) 247-250

A. N. Sherwin-White, “The Roman Citizenship (Second Edition)”, (1973) Oxford

L. Ross Taylor, “The Voting Districts of the Roman Republic: The 35 Urban and Rural Tribes”, (1960) Rome

  1. Return to the History Index


Roman Conquest:

Second Samnite War I: 326 - 316 BC 

Home   Cities    History    Art    Hagiography    Contact