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Quintus Fulvius Flaccus – censor who gone mad

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

A preserved column from the temple of Juno Lacinia
A preserved column from the temple of Juno Lacinia

Quintus Fulvius Flaccus was the son of a four-time consul of the same name. In 182 BCE he became a praetor in Spain, where he won a series of victories over the Celtoiber people. In 179 BCE, he became a consul in Rome, and in 174 he was elected a censor.

While holding the censorship office, he decided to fulfill his decision from the time when he was a praetor in Spain. It was then that he swore that if he managed to defeat the Celtoibers, he would build a temple to Fortuna Ekwicka (Fortuna Equestris – patron of the horsemen, military formation), and then the social class – equites).

As historian Livy reports, Flavius ​​eagerly set about fulfilling his vow. To add splendor to the temple he was building, he even ordered to remove the marble slabs and tiles from the Temple of Juno Lacinia (Lacinium in Brucjum, where the famous Temple of Juno was located). The temple was completed and dedicated on August 13, 73 BCE

Unfortunately, the construction of the temple, instead of bringing Quintus favor with the gods, had the opposite effect. Livy says that “sorrow and fear have taken hold of his mind.” The Roman population believed that the goddess Juno, for the sacrilege that Flavius ​​had perpetrated by desecrating her temple, had thrown him mad. As a result, he lost his balance of mind and began to fall into deeper and deeper depression. When one day he was informed that one of his sons had died and the other was seriously ill, he broke down completely. The next day, his body was found hanging on a beam in the bedroom.

The Romans in some cases considered suicide as honorable. But Flaccus’ suicide was taken as evidence of his mental instability. The Senate, fearing the further anger of the goddess Juno, ordered the stolen tiles and marble slabs to be returned to their original place.

The exact location of the Temple of Fortune built by Flaccus is unknown. Her appearance is also unknown. Vitruvius claimed that it was located near the Theater of Pompey and was probably destroyed in 21 CE as a result of a fire. It was not rebuilt after the fire.

Author: Roger Rytter (translated from Polish: Jakub Jasiński)
Sources
  • L. Richardson, jr, A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome
  • FONTES HISTORIAE ANTIQUAE Zeszyty Źródłowe do Dziejów Społeczeństw Antycznych pod redakcją Leszka Mrozewicza Marii Musielak Zeszyt XXXIX Valerius Maximus FACTA ET DICTA MEMORABILIA.

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