Titus Cloelius Siculus

Last updated

Titus Cloelius Siculus was a Roman statesman of the early Republic, and one of the first consular tribunes in 444 BC. He was compelled to abdicate after a fault was found during his election. Two years later he was one of the founders of the colony of Ardea.



During the first decades of the Roman Republic, the relations between Rome's hereditary aristocracy, the patricians, and the common people, or plebeians, had grown increasingly difficult, leading to what historians refer to as the conflict of the orders. Following the abolition of the Decemvirs in 449 BC, the patricians were determined to exclude plebeians from holding the consulate, the chief magistracy of the Republic, while the plebeians were equally determined to obtain the consular authority. [lower-roman 1] In 445, during the consulship of Marcus Genucius Augurinus [lower-roman 2] and Gaius Curtius, a compromise was reached, calling for the election of tribuni militum consulari potestate, or military tribunes with consular power (traditionally shortened to "consular tribunes") in place of consuls. Either patricians or plebeians could be elected to this new position, which satisfied the plebeians by opening the consular authority to their order, while at the same time reserving the dignity of the consulate itself to the patricians. [1] [2] [3]


At the ensuing elections, three [lower-roman 3] consular tribunes were chosen: Aulus Sempronius Atratinus, Titus Cloelius Siculus, and Lucius Atilius Luscus. Despite the promise of the new magistracy opening the consular authority to the plebeians, all of the consular tribunes elected were patricians. [lower-roman 4] [4] [5] [6] But within three months, the augurs announced that the tribunes had been wrongly elected: the consul Curtius, who had presided at the election, had taken the auspices without having properly selected his position. The consular tribunes were obliged to resign their authority, and consuls were elected in their place. [4] [7] [8]

Robert Maxwell Ogilvie suggests that the cancellation of the elections came from "diehard patricians", who had opposed the creation of the consular tribuneship. As they controlled the augural college, they found a spurious reason to invalidate the election and secure a return to a pair of consuls they supported. The six-time consul Titus Quinctius Capitolinus Barbatus was a member of this group. [9]

Two years later, during the consulate of Marcus Fabius Vibulanus and Postumus Aebutius Helva in 442, Cloelius was one of the triumviri coloniae deducendae appointed to establish a Roman colony at Ardea, an ancient city of Latium. Serving alongside Cloelius were Agrippa Menenius Lanatus and Marcus Aebutius Helva (the elder brother of the current consul). [10] [11]

Ardea had long been allied to Rome, but following the annexation of some of their land, the leading faction of the Ardeates had revolted in 445. [12] The following year, the pro-Roman party at Ardea had regained control, and sent ambassadors to renegotiate the treaty with Rome, and seek the restoration of their territory. [4] The treaty was renewed, but the rival factions at Ardea descended into civil war, with one side taking refuge inside the city walls and appealing to Rome for assistance, while the other enlisted the help of the Volscians, who laid siege to the town. The Romans raised the siege, and put the leaders of the anti-Roman faction to death. [13] [8]

The senate agreed to assist the remaining people of Ardea, whose population had been severely reduced by the fighting, and were now vulnerable to attack from the Volscians, by establishing a Roman colony. But in deference to the ancient treaty, and the loyalty of the remaining Ardeates, and in order to resolve the dissension over the city's territory, the senate and the consuls agreed that the majority of the colonists should be Rutuli, [lower-roman 5] the original inhabitants of the land, and that the commissioners should allocate land to the native Ardeates before the Romans. Cloelius and his colleagues faithfully carried out their mandate, but they and the consuls became deeply unpopular with the Roman people, who felt that the Ardeate territory should have remained in Roman hands. The tribunes of the plebs passed a bill of impeachment against the triumvirs, but Cloelius and his colleagues avoided both trial and dishonour by enrolling themselves among the colonists, and settling at Ardea. [14] [11] Ogilvie considers that the threat of a trial is unhistorical and that the triumvirs did not settle in Ardea, because Agrippa Menenius Lanatus became consul in 439. [15] [16]


  1. An argument for the exclusion of plebeians from the consulate was that no plebeian had ever held the office; this was accepted as fact by the Roman historians of later times, and the assertion was widely accepted until the nineteenth century, when scholars began to question the appearance of a number of names that were traditionally regarded as plebeian in the consular fasti down to the time of the first consular tribunes. Some of this apparent discrepancy may be resolved by supposing that some of the gentes involved had both patrician and plebeian branches, and that the early consuls belonged to the older, patrician families; but even so it seems likely that a few of the early consuls were indeed plebeians.
  2. Some scholars note that the later Genucii were plebeians, and therefore point to Marcus as an example of a plebeian who held the consulship prior to the establishment of the consular tribunes; but Marcus' brother, Titus, had been elected consul and subsequently one of the first decemvirs in 451; their family is generally supposed to have belonged to a patrician branch of the Genucii.
  3. No ancient authority mentions any law fixing the number of consular tribunes, or indicates how the number to be elected on each occasion was determined; in subsequent years the number was always four or six (Diodorus Siculus names eight in 379, probably in error, as Livy only mentions six of them).
  4. Modern scholarship has suggested that Atilius may have been a plebeian, but he could also have belonged to an older patrician family of the Atilii.
  5. The Rutuli were Latins, and Ardea their ancient capital. According to legend, Aeneas had fought against the Rutuli after settling in Latium.

See also

Related Research Articles

The lex Canuleia, or lex de conubio patrum et plebis, was a law of the Roman Republic, passed in the year 445 BC, restoring the right of conubium (marriage) between patricians and plebeians.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lucius Minucius Esquilinus Augurinus</span> Roman senator

Lucius Minucius Esquilinus Augurinus was a Roman politician in the 5th century BC, consul in 458 BC, and decemvir in 450 BC.

Appius Claudius Crassus InregillensisSabinus was a Roman senator during the early Republic, most notable as the leading member of the ten-man board which drew up the Twelve Tables of Roman law around 451 BC. He is also probably identical with the Appius Claudius who was consul in 471 BC.

The gens Aebutia was an ancient Roman family that was prominent during the early Republic. The gens was originally patrician, but also had plebeian branches. The first member to obtain the consulship was Titus Aebutius Helva, consul in 499 BC.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cloelia gens</span> Ancient Roman family

The gens Cloelia, originally Cluilia, and occasionally written Clouilia or Cloulia, was a patrician family at ancient Rome. The gens was prominent throughout the period of the Republic. The first of the Cloelii to hold the consulship was Quintus Cloelius Siculus, in 498 BC.

Lucius Aebutius Helva was a politician and general of the Roman Republic. He was consul in 463 BC with Publius Servilius Priscus, but died of the plague during his term.

The gens Menenia was a very ancient and illustrious patrician house at ancient Rome from the earliest days of the Roman Republic to the first half of the fourth century BC. The first of the family to obtain the consulship was Agrippa Menenius Lanatus in 503 BC. The gens eventually drifted into obscurity, although its members were still living in the first century BC.

The gens Verginia or Virginia was a prominent family at ancient Rome, which from an early period was divided into patrician and plebeian branches. The gens was of great antiquity. It frequently filled the highest honors of the state during the early years of the Republic. The first of the family who obtained the consulship was Opiter Verginius Tricostus in 502 BC, the seventh year of the Republic. The plebeian members of the family were also numbered amongst the early tribunes of the people.

Titus Quinctius Capitolinus Barbatus was a Roman statesman and general who served as consul six times. Titus Quinctius was a member of the gens Quinctia, one of the oldest patrician families in Rome.

Marcus Geganius Macerinus was a Roman statesman who served as Consul in 447, 443, and 437 BC, and as Censor in 435 BC.

Titus Menenius Lanatus was a Roman patrician of the fifth century BC. He was elected consul for the year 477. He unsuccessfully fought the Veiientes, and was later prosecuted by the tribunes of the plebs for his failure to prevent the disaster of the Cremera.

Gaius Julius Iullus was a Roman statesman and member of the ancient patrician gens Julia. He was consular tribune in 408 and 405 BC, and censor in 393.

Gaius Claudius Ap. f. M. n. Sabinus Regillensis, was a member of the great patrician house of the Claudii at Ancient Rome. He held the consulship in 460 BC.

The gens Genucia was a prominent family of the Roman Republic. It was probably of patrician origin, but most of the Genucii appearing in history were plebeian. The first of the Genucii to hold the consulship was Titus Genucius Augurinus in 451 BC.

Titus Genucius Augurinus was a Roman politician in the 5th century BC, consul and decemvir in 451 BC.

Titus Veturius Geminus Cicurinus was a Roman politician of the 5th century BC, consul in 462 BC and maybe decemvir in 451 BC.

Lucius Lucretius Tricipitinus was a Roman senator in the fifth century BC, and was consul with Titus Veturius Geminus Cicurinus in 462 BC.

Lucius Sempronius Atratinus was a Roman politician and the suffect consul in 444 BC along with Lucius Papirius Mugillanus. The consulship was mostly peaceful, including renewing treaty with Ardea.

Marcus Fabius Vibulanus was consul of the Roman republic in 442 BC and consular tribune in 433 BC.

Agrippa Menenius Lanatus was consul of the Roman Republic in 439 BC and possibly the consular tribune of 419 and 417 BC.


  1. Livy, iv. 6.
  2. Dionysius, xi. 53–61.
  3. Broughton, vol. I, p. 52.
  4. 1 2 3 Livy, iv. 7.
  5. Dionysius, xi. 61.
  6. Broughton, vol. I, pp. 52, 53.
  7. Dionysius, xi. 62.
  8. 1 2 Broughton, vol. I, p. 53.
  9. Ogilvie, Commentary on Livy, p. 542.
  10. Livy, iv. 11.
  11. 1 2 Broughton, vol. I, p. 54.
  12. Livy, iv. 1.
  13. Livy, iv. 9, 10.
  14. Livy, iv. 11.
  15. Broughton, vol. I, p. 56.
  16. Ogilvie, Commentary on Livy, pp. 549, 550.


Ancient sources

Modern sources

Political offices
Preceded byas Consuls of the Roman Republic Consular Tribune of the Roman Republic
444 BC
with Aulus Sempronius Atratinus,
and Lucius Atilius Luscus
Succeeded byas Suffect Consuls of the Roman Republic