Gaius Junius Bubulcus Brutus

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Gaius Junius Bubulcus Brutus (fl. late 4th century BC) was a three-time consul of the Roman Republic,[1] thrice appointed dictator or magister equitum, and censor in 307 BC. In 311, he made a vow to the goddess Salus that he went on to fulfill, becoming the first plebeian to build a temple.[2] The temple was one of the first dedicated to an abstract deity, and Junius was one of the first generals to vow a temple and then oversee its establishment through the construction and dedication process.[3]

The desultory manner in which Junius Bubulcus survives in the historical record obscures the stature indicated by the number of high offices he held from 317 to 302 BC; it has been observed that he "cannot have been as colourless as he appears in Livy."[4]

Political and military career[edit]

Junius was consul in 317 BC with the patrician Quintus Aemilius Barbula. The two were joint consuls again in 311. From the mid-4th century to the early 3rd century BC, several plebeian-patrician "tickets" repeated joint terms, suggesting a deliberate political strategy of cooperation.[5] The Second Samnite War was a formative time in the creation of a ruling elite (the nobiles) that comprised both patricians and plebeians who had risen to power.[6] As consul, Junius exerted force in central Italy to restore Roman control over the Vestini.[7]

In 313 BC, as consul with Lucius Papirius Cursor in his fifth term, Junius is credited with the capture of Nola, Atina, and Calatia by some sources.[8] The following year, he was appointed either dictator[9] or magister equitum,[10] and was sent with troops to the Marrucini, with some success.[11]

In 311, Junius held command in Samnium. The Augustan historian Livy says that allied Etruscans attacked the colony of Sutrium, an exposed outpost, and Junius fought a battle that ended with nightfall rather than resolution.[12] The outcome of the campaign seems ambiguous:[13] "The sum total of his achievement apparently was to sack some otherwise unknown hamlets, Talium, Cataracta, and Ceraunilia." According to Livy, Junius regained Cluviae and captured Bovianum, a town of the Pentri, but this may be the propaganda of his gens.[14] Diodorus gives a more laudatory report of Roman actions,[15] while Zonaras gives a less favorable ending.[16] The varying assessments of Roman success may indicate a slim and costly victory.[17] Whatever the scale of his victories, Junius celebrated a triumph which featured praeda pecorum, booty in the form of cattle.[18]

During a Samnite ambush, Junius had prayed to Jupiter and Mars, but made a vow to the goddess Salus, presumably for a narrow escape in battle. Salus was the divine embodiment of health, welfare, safety, and salvation both personal and public. This was also a time of plague, and in 313 Poetelius Libo Visolus had been appointed dictator clavi figendi causa, that is, the dictator appointed to drive a nail, a much-debated ritual intended in this instance to stop the outbreak.[19] Reverence toward Salus's power to grant or withhold her favor as a response to plague may also have occasioned the temple, as Junius put out public contracts for its construction five years after the battle that is supposed to have prompted the vow, when he was censor in 307.[20] As dictator in 302 he oversaw its dedication.[21] The temple housed paintings by Gaius Fabius, a relative of Fabius Maximus Rullianus; the cognomen Pictor, or "painter" (see Fabius Pictor) is likely to have been acquired by a branch of the Fabii at this time.[22] Denarii minted by Decimus Junius Silanus in 91 BC picture Salus and may be intended to recall the founding of her temple by his ancestor.[23]

In their second joint consulship, both Junius Bubulcus and Aemilius Barbula refused to recognize the revision of the senate roll made the previous year by the censors Appius Claudius Caecus and Gaius Plautius Venox.[24]

Junius was magister equitum in 310[25] and possibly again in 309; his office in the latter year may have been dictator.[26]

As censor in 307 with Marcus Valerius Maximus, he removed Lucius Annius from the senate on moral grounds. Annius had divorced his wife even though she had been a virgin when they married, and had done so without honoring his social obligations by consulting his friends.[27]

Junius was appointed dictator again in 302 BC. Livy's account of this year is somewhat confused. He makes both Junius and Valerius Maximus dictatores, but military campaigns on at least four fronts may account for the multiplicity of appointments. Junius's war against the Aequi is one of a series from 304 to 300 BC. Junius swiftly put down an insurrection that broke out when Alba was colonized,[28] and the Aequi ceased to exist as a separate people at this time.[29]


  1. ^ Livy 9.20.7, 21.1, 28.2, 30.1; Diodorus Siculus 19.77.1, 20.3.1 (where Ἰοὐλιος is an error for Iunius); Fasti Capitolini Chr. 354; Festus 458L. Unless otherwise noted, offices, dates and citations of ancient sources from T.R.S. Broughton, The Magistrates of the Roman Republic (American Philological Association, 1951, 1986), vol. 1, pp. 155, 158, 159, 160–161, 162, 165; vol. 2, p. 577.
  2. ^ Anna Clark, Divine Qualities: Cult and Community in Republican Rome (Oxford University Press, 2007), p. 50.
  3. ^ Richard D. Weigel, "Roman Generals and the Vowing of Temples, 500–100 B.C.," Classica et Mediaevalia (Museum Tusculanum Press, 1998), p. 122; Eric M. Orlin, Temples, Religion, and Politics in the Roman Republic (Brill, 1997), pp. 179–180.
  4. ^ Christopher John Smith, The Roman Clan: The gens from Ancient Ideology to Modern Anthropology (Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 43.
  5. ^ Gary Forsythe, A Critical History of Early Rome: From Prehistory to the First Punic War (University of California Press, 2005), p. 269.
  6. ^ E.T. Salmon, Samnium and the Samnites (Cambridge University Press, 1967), p. 217.
  7. ^ Salmon, Samnium, p. 220, asserting that Livy is mistaken to attribute these actions to Decimus Junius Brutus, the consul of 325.
  8. ^ Livy 9.28.5–6; Diodorus 19.101.2. Livy notes that others say Poetelius Libo Visolus captured Nola.
  9. ^ Livy 9.29.3.
  10. ^ Fasti Capitolini, Degrassi 36f., 110, 420f.
  11. ^ Salmon, Samnium, p. 241.
  12. ^ Livy 9.32; Forsythe, Critical History p. 306.
  13. ^ Tim Cornell, The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c. 1000–264 BC) (Routledge, 1995), p. 354.
  14. ^ Salmon, Samnium, p. 244.
  15. ^ Diodorus Siculus 20.26.3.
  16. ^ Zonaras 8.1.1.
  17. ^ Jane E. Phillips, "Current Research in Livy's First Decade," Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt II.30.2 (1982), pp. 1016–1017, summarizing the view of J.M. Libourel.
  18. ^ Livy 9.31–32; Diodorus 20.25 (placing instead both Junius and his consular colleague Aemilius Barbula in Apulia); Ida Östenberg, Staging the World: Spoils, Captives, and Representations in the Roman Triumphal Procession (Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 169.
  19. ^ S.P. Oakley, A Commentary on Livy, Books VI–X (Oxford University Press, 2005, 2007), pp. 330–332; Richard D. Weigel, "Roman Generals and the Vowing of Temples, 500–100 B.C.," Classica et Mediaevalia (Museum Tusculanum Press, 1998), pp. 122 and 138. For an overview of the ritual, see T. Corey Brennan, The Praetorship of the Roman Republic (Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 21–22, and H.S. Versnel, Triumphus: An Inquiry into the Origin, Development, and Meaning of the Roman Triumph p. 359–360 online.
  20. ^ Livy 9.43.25; Forsythe, Critical History, p. 342; Weigel, "Roman Generals and the Vowing of Temples," p. 138.
  21. ^ Livy 10.1.9.
  22. ^ Clark, Divine Qualities, pp. 50–52.
  23. ^ Clark, Divine Qualities, p. 141.
  24. ^ Livy 9.30.1–2.
  25. ^ Livy 9.38.15, 40.8–9
  26. ^ See Broughton, MRR1, p. 158.
  27. ^ Valerius Maximus 2.9.2; Hans-Friedrich Mueller, Roman Religion in Valerius Maximus (Routledge, 2002), p. 195, note 54.
  28. ^ S.P. Oakley, A Commentary on Livy, Books VI–X (Oxford University Press, 2005, 2007), pp. 44–45.
  29. ^ Salmon, Samnium, p. 256.
Political offices
Preceded by
Marcus Folius Flaccinator
L. Plautius Venno (or Venox)
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Quintus Aemilius Barbula
317 BC
Succeeded by
Spurius Nautius Rutilus
Marcus Popillius Laenas
Preceded by
Marcus Poetelius Libo
Gaius Sulpicius Longus III
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Publius Cornelius Rufinus
313 BC
Succeeded by
Marcus Valerius Maximus Corvus
Publius Decius Mus
Preceded by
Marcus Valerius Maximus Corvus
Publius Decius Mus
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Quintus Aemilius Barbula II
311 BC
Succeeded by
Q. Fabius Maximus Rullianus
Gaius Marcius Rutilus Censorinus