Tiberius Coruncanius (died 241 BC) was a consul of the Roman Republic in 280 BC. As a military commander in that year and the following, he was known for the battles against Pyrrhus of Epirus that led to the expression "Pyrrhic victory". He was the first plebeian Pontifex Maximus, and possibly the first teacher of Roman law to offer public instruction.
A consul held the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic, and ancient Romans considered the consulship the highest level of the cursus honorum.
The Roman Republic was the era of classical Roman civilization beginning with the overthrow of the Roman Kingdom, traditionally dated to 509 BC, and ending in 27 BC with the establishment of the Roman Empire. It was during this period that Rome's control expanded from the city's immediate surroundings to hegemony over the entire Mediterranean world.
Pyrrhus Ι was a Greek general and statesman of the Hellenistic period. He was king of the Greek tribe of Molossians, of the royal Aeacid house, and later he became king of Epirus. He was one of the strongest opponents of early Rome. Several of his victorious battles caused him unacceptably heavy losses, from which the term Pyrrhic victory was coined. He is the subject of one of Plutarch's Parallel Lives.
Coruncanius, of plebeian descent, is believed to have hailed from Tusculum.
Tusculum is a ruined Roman city in the Alban Hills, in the Latium region of Italy.
He was first elected consul in 280 BC with Publius Valerius Laevinus, and led an expedition into Etruria against the Etruscan cities. When Pyrrhus of Epirus invaded Italia, and defeated the Roman legions of Laevinus at the Battle of Heraclea, Tiberius' legions were recalled to Rome to bolster the defense of Roman territory.
Publius Valerius Laevinus was commander of the Roman forces at the Battle of Heraclea in 280 BC, in which he was defeated by Pyrrhus of Epirus. In his Life of Pyrrhus, Plutarch wrote that Gaius Fabricius Luscinus said of this battle that it was not the Epirots who had beaten the Romans, but only Pyrrhus who had beaten Laevinus.
Etruria was a region of Central Italy, located in an area that covered part of what are now Tuscany, Lazio, and Umbria.
The Etruscan civilization is the modern name given to a civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany, south of the Arno river, western Umbria, northern and central Lazio, with offshoots also to the north in the Po Valley, in the current Emilia-Romagna, south-eastern Lombardy and southern Veneto, and to the south, in some areas of Campania. As distinguished by its unique language, this civilization endured from before the time of the earliest Etruscan inscriptions until its assimilation into the Roman Republic, beginning in the late 4th century BC with the Roman–Etruscan Wars.
In 254 BC or 253 BC, he was the first plebeian elected Pontifex Maximus, or chief priest of the Roman Republic, which position had been previously monopolized by patricians. He died in 241 BC and was succeeded by Lucius Caecilius Metellus, another plebeian.
Lucius Caecilius Metellus was the son of Lucius Caecilius Metellus Denter. He was Consul in 251 BC and 247 BC, Pontifex Maximus in 243 BC and Dictator in 224 BC.
He was the first who publicly professed law (publice professus est), known to be both eloquent and full of knowledge.Like Socrates, he left no writings.
Socrates was a classical Greek (Athenian) philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, and as being the first moral philosopher of the Western ethical tradition of thought. An enigmatic figure, he made no writings, and is known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers writing after his lifetime, particularly his students Plato and Xenophon. Other sources include the contemporaneous Antisthenes, Aristippus, and Aeschines of Sphettos. Aristophanes, a playwright, is the main contemporary author to have written plays mentioning Socrates during Socrates' lifetime, though a fragment of Ion of Chios' Travel Journal provides important information about Socrates' youth.
His public legal instruction had the effect of creating a class of legally skilled non-priests (jurisprudentes), a sort of consultancy. After Coruncanius' death, instruction gradually became more formal, with the introduction of books on law beyond the then scant official Roman legal texts.
It is possible that as the first plebeian Pontifex Maximus, Coruncanius allowed members of the public and students of the law of Ancient Rome to attend his consultations tasked with giving legal advice to citizens. These consultations were probably held outside the College of Pontiffs, and thus accessible to all those interested. As such, he became the first teacher of Roman law (how students of law learned their material earlier is unknown).
Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus was a politician of the Roman Republic, and the first prominent member of the Populares, a reformist faction. He belonged to the highest aristocracy, as his father was consul and his mother, Cornelia Africana, was the daughter of Scipio Africanus. As a plebeian tribune, Tiberius Gracchus caused political turmoil in the Republic with his reforms of agrarian legislation that sought to transfer land from wealthy, predominantly nobile landowners to poorer citizens. He was murdered, along with many of his supporters, by members of the Roman Senate and supporters of the conservative Optimates faction. A decade later, his younger brother, Gaius Gracchus, attempted similar legislation, and suffered a similar fate.
Year 280 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Laevinus and Coruncanius. The denomination 280 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
The Pontifex Maximus was the chief high priest of the College of Pontiffs in ancient Rome. This was the most important position in the ancient Roman religion, open only to patricians until 254 BC, when a plebeian first occupied this post. A distinctly religious office under the early Roman Republic, it gradually became politicized until, beginning with Augustus, it was subsumed into the Imperial office. Its last use with reference to the emperors is in inscriptions of Gratian who, however, then decided to omit the words "pontifex maximus" from his title. Although in fact the most powerful office of Roman priesthood, the pontifex maximus was officially ranked fifth in the ranking of the highest Roman priests, behind the rex sacrorum and the flamines maiores.
The Battle of Heraclea took place in 280 BC between the Romans under the command of consul Publius Valerius Laevinus, and the combined forces of Greeks from Epirus, Tarentum, Thurii, Metapontum, and Heraclea under the command of Pyrrhus, king of Epirus. Although the battle was a victory for the Greeks, their casualties were so high that they were eventually compelled to withdraw from Italy. It is from this battle that the term "pyrrhic victory" is derived, meaning a victory at such high cost as to amount to a defeat.
Gaius Lutatius Catulus was a Roman statesman and naval commander in the First Punic War. He was born a member of the plebeian gens Lutatius. His cognomen "Catulus" means "puppy". There are no historical records of his life prior to consulship, but his career probably followed the standard cursus honorum, beginning with service in the cavalry and continuing with the positions of military tribune and quaestor.
The Pyrrhic War was a war fought by Pyrrhus, the king of Epirus. Pyrrhus was asked by the people of the Greek city of Tarentum in southern Italy to help them in their war with the Roman Republic.
Quintus Mucius Scaevola Pontifex was a politician of the Roman Republic and an important early authority on Roman law. He is credited with founding the study of law as a systematic discipline. He was elected Pontifex Maximus, as had been his father and uncle before him. He was the first Roman Pontifex Maximus to be murdered publicly, in Rome in the very Temple of the Vestal Virgins, signifying a breakdown of historical norms and religious taboos in the Republic.
The lex Ogulnia was a Roman law passed in 300 BC. It was a milestone in the long struggle between the patricians and plebeians. The law was carried by the brothers Quintus and Gnaeus Ogulnius, tribunes of the plebs in 300 BC. For the first time, it opened the various priesthoods to the plebeians. It also increased the number of pontifices from five to nine, and led to the appointment of Tiberius Coruncanius, the first plebeian pontifex maximus, in 254 BC. The law further required that five of the augurs be plebeians.
Publius Licinius Crassus Dives Mucianus was the natural son of Publius Mucius Scaevola, the consul in 175 BC, and brother of Publius Mucius Scaevola. He was adopted at an unknown date by Publius Licinius Crassus, the consul in 171 BC, or by a son of the consul of 205 BC, Publius Licinus Crassus Dives.
Publius Mucius Scaevola was a prominent Roman politician and jurist who was consul in 133 BC. In his earlier political career he was tribune of the plebs in 141 BC and praetor in 136 BC. He also held the position of Pontifex Maximus for sixteen years after his consulship and died circa 115 BC.
The Latin personal name Tiberius usually refers to the second Emperor of Rome.
Marcus Valerius Laevinus was a Roman consul and commander who rose to prominence during the Second Punic War and corresponding First Macedonian War. A member of the gens Valeria, an old patrician family believed to have migrated to Rome under the Sabine king T. Tatius, Laevinus played an integral role in the containment of the Macedonian threat.
Publius Licinius Crassus Dives Pontifex Maximus was consul in 205 BC with Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus ; he was also Pontifex Maximus since 213 or 212 BC, and held several other important positions. Licinius Crassus is mentioned several times in Livy's Histories. He is first mentioned in connection with his surprising election as Pontifex Maximus, and then several times since in various other capacities.
The gens Decia was a plebeian family of high antiquity, which became illustrious in Roman history by two of its members sacrificing themselves for the preservation of their country. The first of the family known to history was Marcus Decius, chosen as a representative of the plebeians during the secession of 495 BC.
The curio maximus was an obscure priesthood in ancient Rome that had oversight of the curiae, groups of citizens loosely affiliated within what was originally a tribe. Each curia was led by a curio, who was admitted only after the age of 50 and held his office for life. The curiones were required to be in good health and without physical defect, and could not hold any other civil or military office; the pool of willing candidates was thus neither large nor eager. In the early Republic, the curio maximus was always a patrician, and officiated as the senior interrex. The earliest curio maximus identified as such is Servius Sulpicius, who held the office in 463. The first plebeian to hold the office was elected in 209 BC.
The gens Coruncania was a plebeian family at Rome. The first of the family to come to prominence was Tiberius Coruncanius, a novus homo who became consul in 280 BC, and dictator in 246.
Lucius Aemilius Barbula
and Quintus Marcius Philippus
| Consul of the Roman Republic |
with Publius Valerius Laevinus
Publius Sulpicius Saverrio
and Publius Decius Mus
| Pontifex Maximus of the Roman Republic |
254 BC – 241 BC
Lucius Caecilius Metellus