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Attius Tullus Aufidius (known only as Attius Tullus in some sources, and Aufidius in others) was a political and military leader of the Volsci in the early fifth century BC.

He is known for his role in a war with Rome between 491 BC and 488 BC in which he, together with the Roman defector Gaius Marcius Coriolanus, led the Volsci against Rome and besieged it. He also appears in Shakespeare's tragedy Coriolanus as Tullus Aufidius.

Invasion of RomeEdit

In 491 BC Coriolanus was exiled from Rome. He fled to the Volsci and resided Attius Tullus.[1]

Meanwhile the Great Games were being celebrated in Rome on a grand scale, and a number of the Volsci had travelled to Rome to participate in the celebrations. Aufidius sought to devise a way to stir up Volscian ill-will against Rome. He obtained a private audience with the consuls, and convinced them that he feared some discord might erupt between the Volscian youth and the Romans. The consuls put the matter before the senate, and the senate decided to expel the Volsci from Rome.[2]

Aufidius met the fleeing Volscians outside Rome in a grove sacred to the goddess Ferentina and stirred up their feelings against Rome, and thereby caused the Volsci to declare war against Rome.[3]

Coriolanus and Aufidius led the Volscian army against Roman towns, colonies and allies. Roman colonists were expelled from Circeii. They then retook the formerly Volscian towns of Satricum, Longula, Pollusca and Corioli. Then the Volscian army took Lavinium, then Corbio, Vitellia, Trebia, Lavici and Pedum.[4]

From there the Volsci marched on Rome and besieged it. The Volscians initially camped at the Cluilian trench, five miles outside Rome, and ravaged the countryside.[5]

Coriolanus was eventually convinced by a delegation of Roman women including his own family members to cease the attack, and he moved the Volscian camp back from the city, ending the siege.[6]

The Volscian army subsequently returned to Roman territory to attack the city. They were joined by the Aequi. However a dispute broke out as the Aequi would not accept Aufidius as their leader, and the Volsci and Aequi fought a furious battle in which the strength of each was seriously diminished.[7]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Livy, Ab urbe condita, 2:35
  2. Livy, Ab urbe condita, 2:37
  3. Livy, Ab urbe condita, 2:38
  4. Livy, Ab urbe condita, 2:39
  5. Livy, Ab urbe condita, 2:39
  6. Livy, Ab urbe condita, 2:40
  7. Livy, Ab urbe condita, 2:40

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