Marcus Furius Camillus (ePub)
The Life of Rome's Second Founder
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.