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Fabius Maximus

2nd Punic war; Gaius Flaminius

218 BC

Flaminius an incompetent looser?
Gaius Flaminius is introduced into history as an incompetent looser by Polybius as well as by Livius. To understand this you should realize Gaius was a man of the people a plebeian and not a patrician. Plebeians shouldn't be elected as consul, still was the concept of the patricians.

Land reforms, a tricky business
Flaminius started to make himself very popular with the plebeians by, after he had himself elected as a peoples tribune in 232, to propose a new law. In this law the new conquered land from the Gauls, south of Ariminium, was to be divided amongst the plebeians. The senate of course, was against this law, but Flaminius did not consult them, as was the tradition. Obvious, Flaminius was hated by the patricians.

Flaminius was denied a triumph after he had beaten the Gauls
After a term as governor of Sicily, Flaminius was elected consul for the first time in 223bc. Together with L. Aemilius Papus he defeated the Gauls and drove them back to the Alps. In spite of his victory, Polybius accuses him of incompetences; his army would have been to close to the river Po. Thought the people granted him a triumph, the senate denied him that honor.

Flaminius beaten by a mouse
In 221 he was master of the horse for dictator Q. Fabius Maximus. Because the cry of a mouse was heard in the midst of a sacrifice both had to resign their office.

Circus Flaminius an via Flaminia
As a censor in 220 he had built the circus Flaminius on the Campus Martius and the new road to Ariminium the via Flaminia.

Flaminius killed at lake Trasimeno
In 217bc after Hannibal had defeated the Roman legions commanded by Ti. Sempronius Longus Flaminius was elected consul for the second time. He didn't trust the augurs who had thwarted him before. He left to his army before the auspices were taken. He refused to return when the senate ordered him to do so. All kinds of bad omens were reported. Of course Flaminius was defeated by Hannibal in the battle at lake Trasimeno. Here he was killed. A good opportunity for the Roman authors to denigrate Flaminius once more.


Nazional Museum München


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