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Featured Episode - Marcus Furius Camillus: Rome's Savior
In This Episode
In this episode, guest author, Marc Hyden is back to discuss his latest publication, Marcus Furius Camillus: The Life of Rome’s Second Founder. Who is Camillus and how did his story help shape the early Republic?
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Aeneas - A Trojan hero and the son of the Trojan prince Anchises and the Greek goddess Aphrodite (the Roman Venus).
Aristotle - (384 - 322 BCE) An Ancient Greek philosopher and polymath.
BCE - Before the Common Era, the equivalent of B.C.
Brennus - Leader of the Senones, a Gaulish tribe, best known for his Sacking of Rome c. 390 BCE.
Capitoline Hill - One of the Seven Hills of Rome, situated between the Forum and the Campus Martius.
Clusium - An ancient city located in modern-day Tuscany.
Etruscans - An ancient civilization inhabiting ancient Etruria as early as 900 BCE. They were highly cultured and spoke a unique Etruscan language still largely undeciphered today. The Etruscans were competing with the Greeks and later Carthaginians for control over the Tyrrhenian region and until they were eventually absorbed into the Roman empire.
Gauls - A group of Celtic peoples from mainland Europe.
Gilgamesh - An ancient Sumerian king and Mesopotamian hero. Many tales and an entire epic were written about him as early as the 3rd millennium BCE.
Jupiter - The chief deity of the Roman pantheon (equivalent to the Greek Zeus).
Livy - (59 BCE - 17 CE) A Roman historian best known for writing a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people.
Romulus - The mythical hero and founder of both the city of Rome and the Roman people.
Senones - An ancient Gallic tribe.
Strabo - (64 or 63 BCE – c. 24 CE) A Greek geographer, philosopher and historian who lived in Anatolia.
Varronian Chronology - Established by the historian Marcus Terentius Varro, it marks year 1 at the time of the founding of Rome (753 BCE).
Vesta - The Roman virgin goddess of the hearth, home and family.
Vestal Virgin - Priestesses of Vesta.
Veii - An important Etruscan city situated to the very south of Etruria.
By Marc Hyden
Camillus served as a censor, was elected to six consular tribuneships, appointed dictator five times, and enjoyed four triumphs. He toppled mighty Veii, ejected the Senones from Rome following its sacking, and helped orchestrate a grand compromise between the patricians and plebeians. The Romans even considered him Rome’s second founder – a proud appellation for any Roman – and revered him for being an exemplar of Roman virtue. Interestingly, he never held the consulship. Plutarch stated that Camillus had avoided it on purpose, and for good reason. The office was often at the heart of controversy, given that patricians dominated it for most of Camillus’ life.
The appointment of a dictator was an emergency measure taken only in the direst of situations and the fact that Camillus was repeatedly appointed speaks of a period when the young Republic was surrounded by enemies and still fighting for survival. Without Camillus’ efforts the city may never have fulfilled its great destiny. Marc Hyden sifts the fragmentary and contradictory sources and, while acknowledging that much legend and exaggeration quickly accrued around Camillus’ name, presents the story of this remarkable life as the ancient Romans knew it.