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Titus Manlius Torquatus (consul 347 BC)

Name  Titus Torquatus

Role  Consul 347 BC
Titus Manlius Torquatus (consul 347 BC)

Titus Manlius Imperiosus Torquatus held three consulships of republican Rome and was also three times Roman Dictator.

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His father Lucius was appointed dictator in 363 BC in order to fulfil religious duties, but instead undertook preparations for war. This resulted in strong opposition from the plebeian tribunes and he was brought to trial at the beginning of the next year, after he had resigned the dictatorship. Amongst the charges against him was that he had banished Titus from Rome on account of his speaking difficulties and made him work as a labourer. Upon hearing of these accusations against his father, Titus went to the home of the tribune Marcus Pomponius, where he was expected by the latter to provide further charges and was thus promptly admitted. However, once they were alone, he drew his hidden knife and threatened to stab the tribune unless he made a public oath not to hold an assembly to accuse Lucius Manlius, which Pomponius agreed to and duly performed. Titus Manlius' reputation grew on account of his filially pious actions, which helped him to be elected as a military tribune later in the year.

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In 361 BC, Titus Manlius fought in the army of Titus Quinctius Poenus against the Gauls. When a Gaul of enormous size and strength challenged the Romans to single combat, Manlius accepted the challenge with the approval of Poenus after the rest of the army had held back from responding for a long period of time. Despite being physically inferior, he killed the Gaul with blows to the belly and groin, after which he stripped the corpse of a torc and placed it around his own neck. From this, he gained the agnomen Torquatus, a title that was passed down also to his descendants.

In 353 BC, he was named dictator and prepared to attack Caere, but they responded by sending envoys and were granted peace. The campaign was then directed towards the Falisci, but the Roman army found on arrival that the Falisci had disappeared. They ravaged the land but spared the cities before returning to Rome. He was appointed dictator again in 348 BC to oversee elections. A year later, he was elected to his first consulship. His second consulship came in 345 BC.

In 340 BC, when Manlius was consul for the third time, Rome had leadership over the Latin League. It received a delegation from member states headed by Lucius Annius, demanding coequal status in Roman government, such as a place in the senate and a consulship, but Manlius, appealing to Jupiter, refused them. Roundly abusing the Roman Jupiter, Annius fell down the steps of the public assembly, senseless. Manlius said he would strike down Rome's enemies as Jupiter struck down Annius. The Latin embassy required a Safe conduct and an escort of magistrates to leave Rome unmolested. Rome realigned itself with the Samnites against the Latins.

During the conduct of the war, Manlius and his co-consul, Publius Decius Mus, decided that the old military discipline would be reinstated, and no man was allowed to leave his post, under penalty of death. Manlius's son, seeing an opportunity for glory, forgot this stricture, left his post with his friends, and defeated several Latin skirmishers in battle. Having the spoils brought to him, the father cried out in a loud voice and called the legion to assemble. Berating his son, he then handed him over for execution to the horror of all his men. Thus, "Manlian discipline."

After Decius Mus sacrificed himself to achieve victory at the battle of Vesuvius, Manlius was able to crush the Latin allies and pursue them into Campania. He defeated them again at Trifanum, bringing the war to an end, and returned to Rome. He was unable on account of ill health to conduct a further campaign against the Antiates and appointed Lucius Papirius Crassus as dictator to fulfil this role instead.

References

Titus Manlius Torquatus (consul 347 BC) Wikipedia


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