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Headword: *ga/i+os *lautw/rios
Adler number: gamma,13
Translated headword: Gaius Laetorius, Gaios Lautorios
Vetting Status: high
Cognomen Marcus.[1] The Romans' hatred of knavery and their lack of mercy towards those who trespass the common values and customs of human nature are illustrated by this man. For he was appointed tribunus militum in the Samnite war[2] and up to a certain point he tried to persuade a certain youth among his tentmates who surpassed the others in appearance to willingly let him enjoy the beauty of his body, but since the youth was not won by gifts nor by any other friendliness, [Laetorius], unable to restrain his desire, made an attempt to use force. When the disorderly conduct of this man became well-known among all in the encampment, the tribunes [of the plebs], considering it to be a crime against the state in common, brought an indictment against him in public, and the people by unanimous vote condemned him, having determined the punishment for the crime [to be] death, not considering it proper that those who are in command should do violence to free people fighting for the freedom of others with outrages which are irreparable and contrary to the nature of males.
Another thing which was the most remarkable [happened a few years earlier], although the outrage concerned the body of a slave.[3] For [a person] who was the son of Publius,[4] one of the tribuni militum who had surrendered the army to the Samnites and had passed under the yoke, had been left in great poverty and was compelled to take out a loan, in hopes that he would would get contributions [sc. for repayment] from his relatives. But he was cheated of this hope and was seized for the debt when the appointed time came, while he was still quite young and beautiful in appearance. This man undertook and endured the rest of the things which it was customary for slaves [to do] for their masters; but when he was ordered to let [the creditor] enjoy the beauty of his body, he got angry and fought it to the utmost. And after he had taken many lashes of the whip on account of this he ran out into the Forum and stood on a certain high point and described the licentiousness of the money-lender and showed them the stripes of the lashes. When the people became incensed and considered the matter worthy of public rage, and when the tribunes [of the plebs] brought an indictment against [the creditor], he was condemned with a sentence of death. And because of this incident all the Romans who were enslaved for debt had their original freedom restored by a ratified law.
Greek Original:
*ga/i+os *lautw/rios, *ma/rkos e)pi/klhsin. e)k tou/tou dei/knutai to\ misopo/nhron tw=n *(rwmai/wn kai\ to\ pro\s tou\s parabai/nontas ta\ koina\ kai\ no/mima th=s a)nqrwpi/nhs fu/sews a)mei/likton. ou(=tos ga\r xili/arxos a)podeixqei\s e)n tw=| *sauitikw=| pole/mw| neani/an tina\ tw=n o(moskh/nwn diafe/ronta th\n o)/yin e(te/rwn me/xri me/n tinos e)/peiqen e(autw=| xari/sasqai th\n tou= sw/matos w(/ran e(ko/nta, w(s d' ou)/te dwreai=s ou)/t' a)/llh| filanqrwpi/a| to\ meira/kion h(li/sketo, kate/xein th\n e)piqumi/an a)du/natos w)\n bi/an prosfe/rein e)peba/leto. periboh/tou de\ th=s a)kosmi/as tou= a)ndro\s a(/pasi toi=s e)pi\ stratope/dou genome/nhs, koino\n a)di/khma th=s po/lews ei)=nai nomi/santes oi( dh/marxoi grafh\n a)pofe/rousi kat' au)tou= dhmosi/a|, kai\ o( dh=mos a(pa/sais tai=s yh/fois tou= a)ndro\s kate/gnw ti/mhma di/khs o(ri/sas qa/naton, ou)k a)ciw=n ei)s e)leu/qera sw/mata kai\ propolemou=nta th=s tw=n a)/llwn e)leuqeri/as tou\s e)n tai=s a)/llais o)/ntas a)rxai=s u(bri/zein ta\s a)nhke/stous kai\ para\ fu/sin toi=s a)/rresin u(/breis. a)/llo qaumasiw/taton, kai/toi peri\ dou=lon sw=ma genome/nhs th=s u(/brews. e(no\s ga\r tw=n parado/ntwn *sauni/tais to\ strato/pedon xilia/rxwn kai\ u(po\ zugo\n u(pelqo/ntwn *popli/ou ui(o\s w)\n, e)n pollh=| kataleifqei\s peni/a|, da/neion h)nagka/sqh labei=n, w(s e)ranisqhso/menos u(po\ tw=n suggenw=n. diayeusqei\s de\ th=s e)lpi/dos a)ph/xqh pro\s to\ xre/os th=s proqesmi/as dielqou/shs, komidh=| ne/os w)\n kai\ th=| o)/yei w(rai=os. ou(=tos ta\ me\n a)/lla u(phretw=n, o(/sa dou/lous despo/tais no/mos h)=n, h)nei/xeto: th\n de\ tou= sw/matos w(/ran xari/sasqai keleuo/menos h)gana/ktei kai\ me/xri panto\s a)pema/xeto. polla\s de\ dia\ tou=to masti/gwn labw\n plhga\s e)ce/dramen e)s th\n a)gora\n kai\ sta\s e)pi\ metew/rou tino\s th/n te a)kolasi/an tou= daneistou= dihgh/sato kai\ tw=n masti/gwn tou\s mw/lwpas u(pe/deicen. a)ganakth/santos de\ tou= dh/mou kai\ dhmosi/as o)rgh=s a)/cion h(ghsame/nou to\ pra=gma, kathgorou/ntwn th\n ei)saggeli/an tw=n dhma/rxwn, w)=fle qana/tou di/khn. kai\ di' e)kei=no to\ pa/qos a(/pantes oi( doulwqe/ntes pro\s ta\ xre/a *(rwmai=oi no/mw| kurwqe/nti a)rxai/an e)leuqeri/an e)komi/santo.
A close approximation of Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities 16.4-5 (= Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Excerpta de virtutibus 2.79.7 - 80.19), but with some significant differences.
The headword, referring to the subject of the first paragraph, is probably in error. The Excerpta cites the nomen of the man in question as Laetorius, not 'Lautorius', and this is confirmed in another version of his story: Valerius Maximus 6.1.11; cf. RE s.v. Laetorius(11).
[1] The Excerpta and Valerius Maximus give his cognomen as Mergus rather than the Suda's improbable Marcus. Valerius, however, gives M(arcus) as his praenomen rather than Gaius.
[2] The mss of the Suda have *sauitikw=| or *sabitikw=| ('Sa[b/v]ite' = (?)Sabine), in place of the *saunitikw=| ('Samnite') of the Excerpta. Surely the latter is correct -- cf. below in the current entry where the Samnites are referred to -- and the translation runs accordingly. The Samnite Wars were fought intermittently between 343 and 290 BCE. Because Livy does not refer to these incidents in his first decad, it is plausible that they should be dated to the end of that period (292-290, cf. RE).
[3] This series of events is also narrated (with some differences, including names and chronology) by Cicero, Republic 2.59, Livy (8.28), and Valerius Maximus (6.1.9). Livy dates the incident to 326 BCE, before the battle of the Caudine Forks which led to the Roman surrender to which the current passage apparently refers (321 BCE).
[4] So also the Excerpta; Livy (see previous note) gives his name (or at least that of his son who is unnamed here) as Publilius. In his edition of the fragments of Book 16 of D.H., Jacoby emends the text accordingly (to *popli/lios).
Keywords: biography; children; chronology; daily life; economics; ethics; gender and sexuality; geography; historiography; history; law; military affairs; politics
Translated by: Jennifer Benedict on 20 June 2002@19:50:11.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modified translation; augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 2 October 2002@09:15:18.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 22 November 2005@10:00:01.
William Hutton (tweaked translation, augmented and rearranged notes, added keywords, raised status) on 27 March 2008@11:44:59.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 4 June 2012@08:08:36.


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