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date: 06 December 2022

Marcius Coriolanus, Gnaeuslocked

Marcius Coriolanus, Gnaeuslocked

  • Tim Cornell

Extract

Gnaeus Marcius Coriolanus (Gaius in Dion. Hal. and Plut.), a Roman aristocrat who supposedly received his surname from his part in the Roman capture of Corioli from the *Volsci (493 bce). According to the story he went into exile when charged with tyrannical conduct and opposing the distribution of grain to the starving *plebs. Welcomed by the Volscians of *Antium he became their leader in a war against Rome. In two devastating campaigns he captured a series of Latin towns and led his forces to the gates of Rome, where he was persuaded to turn back by his mother Veturia and his wife Volumnia (in Plutarch they are named as Volumnia and Vergilia respectively). He was then killed by the Volscians (although Q. *Fabius Pictor, fr. 17 Peter, believed that he lived into old age). It is uncertain how much, if any, of this famous story is based on fact. Coriolanus does not appear in the *fasti, and although *Livy makes him a *patrician (as indeed the plot of the story requires), in historical times the Marcii were a plebeian clan (see plebs).

Subjects

  • Roman History and Historiography

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