"Our ancestors left us steel to defend our city, not gold to buy freedom from greedy conquerors."
|The people of Cinginnia, Lusitania,
summoned by the Romans
to surrender and pay tribute,
- Although freedmen were legally Roman citizens, not until 296 BC, during a major crisis in the Third Samnite War (298-290 BC), were they first required to perform military service.
- Campaigning in Spain in 151-150 BC, the Tribune Gaius Memmius proved so inept that his commander, Scipio Africanus the Younger told him “To me you will be worthless for only a short time, but to yourself and the state for ever!”
- The least impressive of the 300-some Roman triumphs held over a dozen or so centuries was probably that of the Praetor Lucius Furius Purpureo in 200 BC, in which, the historian Livy tells us, despite his supposedly having slain 40,000 Gauls and added to the treasury 320,000 asses of bronze and 100,500 pounds of silver, “No prisoners were led before his chariot, nor were any spoils exhibited, nor was he followed by his soldiers”, though later while serving as Consul in 196 he inflicted a major defeat on the Boi, for which he was awarded a more traditional triumph.
- Although the stern statesman Marcus Porcius Cato the Elder (234-149 BC) was the first of his family to attain political distinction in Rome, his grandfather, Marcus Porcius Priscus (c. 285-240 BC), was so notable a cavalryman that the Republic granted him special compensation for the five horses he had lost in combat.
- At one point during the Hannibalic War (218-201 BC), learning that the sesterce-pinching Roman Senate had refused to ransom some prisoners for the sum he had agreed upon, the great Quintus Fabius Maximus Cunctator sold a farm to raise the money, rather than have his word dishonored.
- During a battle in his African campaign (47-46 BC), Caesar saw the standard bearer of the legio Martia turning to flee, and promptly grabbed him by the throat, twisted him around to face front, and shouted “Where are you going? There are the enemy!”, thus averting a potentially disastrous panic.
- Campaigning in Asia against Mithridates VI in 72 BC, Lucius Licinius Lucullus gave orders that no enemy soldiers missing an eye were to be killed, in the hope of capturing Marcus Marius, the monocular leader of Roman rebels supporting the Pontic king, so that the traitor could be put to death “under the most shameful insults.”
- While on campaign during the Second Punic War, Scipio Africanus carried a copy of the Cyropaedia, an idealized biography of the Persian King Cyrus the Great by the Athenian soldier-scholar Xenophon.
- During the Roman Republic, in dire crises the Senate, the Consuls, or a Dictator could decree a tumultus, a levee-en-masse that brought every man into military service, even normally exempt priests and freedmen, a measure that was referred to with the phrase “the Romans changed their clothing,” because everyone had to don the sagrum, the deep red military cloak.
- Immunized against every known poison, when King Mithridates VI of Pontus (, 134-63 BC), chose to end his life rather than be taken by the Romans he told an aide, "Your strong arm has done me great service in struggles against my enemies. It will do me a greater service if you would now make an end of me, in danger as I am of being captured.”
- Caesar’s sometime lover Servilia once bought some property he had confiscated from his enemies at a very low price, prompting the orator Cicero to say, "Of course you will the better understand Servilia's bargain if you realize that a third was knocked off the purchase price," referring to the fact that Servilia’s a daughter Junia Tertia (“ Junia the Third”) had also been the Dictator’s lover.