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Examples of honorable Romans

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

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Valerius Maximus, a Roman writer from the 1st century CE, tells us the stories of courageous and honourable Romans throughout history, on which successive generations should follow. Great examples are Publius Crassus and Scipio Metellus.

In one of the fragments of the song “Factorum et dictorum memorabilium libri novem”, Valerius Maximus tells the story of Publius Licinius Crassus Mucianus, who in 130 BCE suffered a defeat at Leucai on the Ionian coast in Asia Minor, against Aristonicus – the leader of rebels and slaves – and got him taken captive. However, unable to bear his situation and captivity, he decided to hit one of the barbarians with a whip. Trak’s reply was immediate, who in great fury dealt the fatal blow to Crassus, who thus avoided the disgrace.

A similar heroic attitude was shown by Scipio Metellus (son-in-law of Pompey the Great ), who fought Julius Caesar, as a supporter of the optimates. Once, his ship, while travelling to Spain, in 46 BCE, was attacked by Caesar’s army. Not thinking much, he pierced himself with a sword and to the questions of the enemy soldiers who boarded the unit, where the commander is, he replied: “The commander is well” – in this way he emphasized that it is better to say goodbye to life than to live without honour.

  • Valerius Maximus, Factorum et dictorum memorabilium libri novem, 3.2.12-13

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