Only $2.99/month

7 Heroes of the Roman Republic

Terms in this set (7)

In 471 BC the consulship was shared between Appius Claudius (we are not sure if this was in fact the original Attus Clausus, or his son) and the impressive Titus Quinctius Capitolinus Barbatus. The former carried on in much the same vein as Coriolanus and many proud and arrogant patricians, whereas the latter tried to steady the ship of state at a tumultuous time. When Claudius was provoking the crowds in the forum with an arrogant speech, it fell to his consular colleague Capitolinus to order him removed from the forum by force before a riot ensued. Capitolinus was widely trusted and respected. This popularity showed at the ballot box. He was already re-elected consul by 468 BC. Rome desperately needed the steady, calm nerve of Capitolinus. The war with the Volscians and Aequians continued and Rome was in ferment. The city was growing at a startling rate. The men of voting age now numbered no fewer than 104,000. These were volatile, unpredictable times.

One day a wild rumour circulated that a Volscian army had evaded the legions and was marching on the undefended capital. Panic gripped the city. Once more it was Capitolinus who calmed the people, urging them to wait until it could be confirmed if the story were true or not. It wasn't. In 460 BC such was the chaos in the city that a Sabine called Herdonius, leading a party of slaves and exiles captured and occupied the Capitol. Consul Valerius lost his life retaking the Rome's most prestigious hill. His replacement was one Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, whose name should come to be the embodiment of republican virtues to all Romans (and not merely to Romans, as the US city of Cincinnati illustrates). Cincinnatus was a patrician and opposed to greater rights for the plebs. He used his consular office to block legislation put forward by the tribunes of the people in favour of the plebeians. However, for the next year his political opponents proposed the very same tribunes as candidates for office to see the legislation forced through regardless. The senate, outraged at such selfish behaviour immediately nominated Cincinnatus to take the office of consul again, in order to maintain the stalemate. Cincinnatus refused the honour. He made it quite clear that he had no intention of breaking the rules of office and standing in successive years, albeit that his opponents were cheating. May they be disgraced, but no he. All Rome was impressed. When an army under the command of Furius became trapped in Aequian territory Capitolinus, no sooner had the news reached him, gathered up what soldiers he could, called upon the allied Hernicians for support and marched on them.