Lars Tolumnius (Etruscan: Larth Tulumnes, d. 437 BC) was the most famous king of the wealthy Etruscan city-state of Veii, roughly ten miles northwest of Rome, best remembered for instigating a war with Rome that ended in a decisive Roman victory.
Very little is known of Tolumnius outside of his involvement in Roman legend. His family was evidently part of the Veientine aristocracy, and its nomen is found on a number of inscriptions from votive offerings.
Tolumius enters history when the Roman colony of Fidenae revolted against the Republic in 438 BC, and allied itself with Veii, giving Tolumnius control of the Fidenate army. The Romans sent four envoys (Tullus Cloelius, Gaius Fulcinius, Spurius Antius, and Lucius Roscius) to Fidenae to demand an explanation, but they were murdered by the Fidenates, apparently on the king's orders.
A popular story held that Tolumnius had not intended this breach of decorum: supposedly he was playing at dice when the Fidenates asked whether they should kill the ambassadors, and having just rolled fortuitously, the king exclaimed, "excellent!", which the Fidenates interpreted as an order to put the Romans to death. Livy is skeptical of this tradition, disbelieving that Tolumnius would have allowed himself to become so easily distracted on an occasion of such importance. Rather, he suggests, Tolumnius intended the execution of the emissaries to involve the Fidenates in a deed that would make it impossible for them to repair the breach with Rome.
Outraged by Tolumnius' actions, the Roman Senate declared war against Veii, and the following year dispatched a consular army under the command of Lucius Sergius, which met Tolumnius and the Fidenates south of the Anio. Sergius won the day despite brutal fighting, and earned the surname Fidenas, but the Roman losses were so high that a state of emergency was declared, and the Senate appointed Mamercus Aemilius Mamercinus dictator to meet the threat posed by Tolumnius' forces.
Marshaling his troops, the dictator fortified a position at the confluence of the Anio and the Tiber, and waited for Tolumnius to offer battle. Tolumnius, whose army was reinforced by a contingent from Falerii, was content to let the Romans make the first move, but the men of Falerii were eager for battle, so the king agreed to take the field on the following day. He sent a contingent of Veientes through the hills to attack the Romans from the rear, and the battle commenced.
The fighting was fierce, and made especially noteworthy by the actions of the Roman and Etruscan cavalry. The Roman cavalry broke through the Etruscan lines, and began pursuing the soldiers as they fled, while Tolumnius at the head of the Etruscan horse valiantly opposed them in the defense of his soldiers. The outcome of the battle was in doubt until Aulus Cornelius Cossus, one of the military tribunes serving in the cavalry, charged at the king and unhorsed him. Before Tolumnius could rise, Cossus dismounted and forced the king to the ground with his shield, and stabbed him repeatedly with his spear. With the king's death, the Etruscan cavalry abandoned the field, and the battle was decided.
In recognition of his victory, the dictator Mamercus was granted a triumph, although the most famous hero of the battle was Cossus, who claimed the spolia opima, stripping the arms and armor from the fallen king, and dedicating them at the temple of Jupiter Feretrius.Meanwhile, four statues were erected on the rostra in the forum, in memory of the murdered ambassadors.
Veii was an important ancient Etruscan city situated on the southern limits of Etruria and only 16 km (9.9 mi) north-northwest of Rome, Italy. It now lies in Isola Farnese, in the comune of Rome. Many other sites associated with and in the city-state of Veii are in Formello, immediately to the north. Formello is named after the drainage channels that were first created by the Veians.
Fidenae was an ancient town of Latium, situated about 8 km north of Rome on the Via Salaria, which ran between Rome and the Tiber. Its inhabitants were known as Fidenates. As the Tiber was the border between Etruria and Latium, the left-bank settlement of Fidenae represented an extension of Etruscan presence into Latium. The site of the arx of the ancient town was probably on the hill on which lies the contemporary Villa Spada, though no traces of early buildings or defences are to be seen; pre-Roman tombs are in the cliffs to the north. The later village lay at the foot of the hill on the eastern edge of the high-road, and its curia, with a dedicatory inscription to Marcus Aurelius by the Senatus Fidenatium, was excavated in 1889. Remains of other buildings may also be seen.
Marcus Furius Camillus was a Roman soldier and statesman of patrician descent. According to Livy and Plutarch, Camillus triumphed four times, was five times dictator, and was honoured with the title of Second Founder of Rome.
Falerii was a city in southern Etruria, 50 km northeast of Rome, 34 km from Veii and about 1.5 km west of the ancient Via Flaminia. It was the main city of the Falisci, a people whose language was Faliscan and was part of the Latino-Faliscan language group. The Ager Faliscus, which included the towns of Capena, Nepet, and Sutrium, was close to the Monti Cimini.
The spolia opima were the armour, arms, and other effects that an ancient Roman general stripped from the body of an opposing commander slain in single combat. The spolia opima were regarded as the most honourable of the several kinds of war trophies a commander could obtain, including enemy military standards and the peaks of warships.
Gaius Fulcinius was a Roman emissary dispatched to the colony of Fidenae. His murder led to the resumption of war against Veii, and the eventual capture of Fidenae.
Marcus Postumius Albinus Regillensis was an ancient Roman politician belonging to the patrician Postumia gens. His father and grandfather were both named Aulus, possibly identifying his father or grandfather as Aulus Postumius Albus Regillensis, consul in 464 BC. Publius Postumius Albinus Regillensis, consular tribune in 414 BC, was most likely his brother. Postumius relationship to later Postumii Albini remains unknown as filiations are missing from the consular tribunes and consuls of 397, 394 and 334 BC.
The Roman–Etruscan Wars were a series of wars fought between ancient Rome and the Etruscans. Information about many of the wars is limited, particularly those in the early parts of Rome's history, and in large part is known from ancient texts alone. The conquest of Etruria was completed in 265–264 BC.
Postumus Aebutius Elva, surnamed Cornicen, was consul at Rome in 442 BC, and magister equitum in 435.
Aulus Cornelius Cossus was a Roman politician and general who lived in the fifth century BC.
Gaius Furius Pacilus Fusus was a Roman statesman of the early Republic. He was a descendant of the ancient patrician house of the Furii, which filled the highest offices of the Roman state from the early decades of the Republic to the first century AD. He was probably closely related to Quintus Furius Pacilus Fusus, whom Livy mentions as Pontifex Maximus in 449 BC, and was likely the father of Gaius Furius Pacilus, consul in 412 BC.
The Roman–Sabine wars were a series of wars during the early expansion of ancient Rome in central Italy against their northern neighbours, the Sabines. It is commonly accepted that the events pre-dating the Roman Republic in 509 BC are semi-legendary in nature.
Lucius Julius Vop. f. C. n. Iulus was a member of the ancient patrician gens Julia. He was one of the consular tribunes of 438 BC, magister equitum in 431, and consul in 430 BC.
Lucius Sergius Fidenas was a Roman politician during the 5th century BC, and was elected consul in 437 and 429 BC. In 433, 424, and 418 BC he was military tribune with consular power.
Publius Cornelius Rutilus Cossus was a statesman and military commander from the early Roman Republic who served as Dictator in 408 BC.
The Battle of Fidenae was fought in 437 BC between the Roman Republic, led by the dictator Mamercus Aemilius Mamercinus, and the combined forces of Fidenae and Veii, led by Lars Tolumnius.
Marcus Fabius Vibulanus was consul of the Roman republic in 442 BC and consular tribune in 433 BC.
Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was a consular tribune of the Roman republic in 438, 425, 420 BC and possibly consul in 428 BC.
Proculus Verginius Tricostus was a consul of the Roman Republic in 435 BC. He was possibly re-elected as consul in 434 BC.
Titus Quinctius Poenus (Pennus) Cincinnatus was a consul of the Roman Republic in 431 and 428 BC and a consular tribune in 426 BC. He might have been consular tribune again in 420 BC.