Titus Manlius Torquatus (consul 235 BC)

Titus Manlius Torquatus (born before 273 BC – died 202 BC) was a politician of the Roman Republic. He had a long and distinguished career, being consul in 235 BC and 224 BC, censor in 231 BC, and dictator in 208 BC. He was an ally of Fabius Maximus "Cunctator".

Family background

Titus belonged to the patrician gens Manlia, one of the most important gentes of the Republic. It already counted 13 consulships, and 14 consular tribuneships before him.[2] Titus' ancestry is a bit uncertain as the Fasti Consulares list him with the same filiation ("son of Titus, grandson of Titus") as Aulus Manlius Torquatus Atticus, who was consul two times in 244 BC and 241 BC, as well as censor in 247 BC, and possibly princeps senatus.[3] Münzer tentatively supposed that Aulus was Titus' uncle.[4] Titus' father and grandfather are not known, but his great-grandfather—also named Titus—was consul in 299 BC.[5][6]

The cognomen Torquatus was first received by Titus' ancestor Titus Manlius Imperiosus in 361 BC after he had defeated a Gaul in single combat, and took his torque as a trophy.[7] The torque then became the emblem of the family, whose members proudly put it on the coins they minted. Imperiosus Torquatus was famous for his severity; he famously killed his own son after he had disobeyed him during a battle.[8][9]

Political career

Consul (235 BC)

Titus' early career is not known because Livy's books on years 292 BC – 220 BC are lost. However, Broughton guessed that he entered the college of pontiffs in his youth, since he tried to be pontifex maximus in 212 BC and was therefore one of its senior members.[10]

His first recorded mention was his election as consul in 235 BC, alongside Gaius Atilius Bulbus, a plebeian who had already been consul in 245 BC.[11] Eutropius and Cassiodorus—who relied on Livy—described Titus as the consul prior, which means the Centuriate Assembly elected him before Atilius.[12][13][14]

Titus was sent to Sardinia, which had just come under Roman control in the aftermath of the First Punic War (264 BC – 241 BC). The war indemnity demanded by Rome was so high that Carthage could not pay its mercenaries, who rebelled. While Carthage was fighting the mercenaries in Africa, its mercenaries stationed in Sardinia decided to rebel as well.[16] Rome initially refused to support the Sardinian rebels, but in 237 BC Rome prevented Carthage from reclaiming the island on the pretext that its army had actually turned against Rome.[17] Titus' mission was therefore to pacify the island, which he did successfully. He received a triumph for his victory over the rebels as a result.[18][12] Several ancient authors tell that after his victory, Titus closed the doors of the Temple of Janus, symbolically meaning that Rome and its neighbours were at peace. It was only the first time that the temple was closed since the reign of Numa Pompilius—the legendary second king of Rome—and remained so for eight years; its gates then stayed open until Augustus closed them again after the Battle of Actium in 31 BC.[19][20][21] However, Livy says that this event took place "after the First Punic War", so some modern scholars place it in 241 BC, when Aulus Manlius Torquatus—Titus' uncle—was consul in order to celebrate the end of the First Punic War.[22] This view has however been contested.[23]

Titus' consulship marks a return to normal after the aggressive foreign policy of his predecessors, Lucius and Publius Cornelius Lentulus Caudinus, proponents of an expansionist strategy against Carthage and the Celts in Northern Italy. This policy lasted until 232 BC and the first consulship of Fabius Maximus, the most important Roman statesman of the second half of the third century, and the leader of the "peace faction" at Rome. The very powerful gens Fabia was also allied with the Manlii since at least the fourth century.[24]

Censor and consul for the second time (231–224 BC)

In 231 BC, Titus was elected censor prior with Quintus Fulvius Flaccus, who had already been consul in 237 BC.[25] Because of a flaw in their election, they had to resign and could not complete the lustrum (the ritual purification of the Roman people).[26] They were replaced the next year by Fabius Cunctator and Marcus Sempronius Tuditanus.[27]

In 224 BC, Titus was elected consul for a second time, with his former short-term colleague Fulvius Flaccus, and was once again described as consul prior.[13] Titus and Fulvius were sent north against the Boii, a Celtic tribe at war with Rome since 225. The consuls led the first Roman army to cross the Po river, then defeated the Boii there.[28] The Celts lost 23,000 men and 5,000 of them were captured, but the consuls had to retreat because of poor weather and deaths among their troops.[29]

De Sanctis thought this victory as well as the crossing of the Po were later inventions, since the Fasti Triumphales do not record this victory, which should normally have won a triumph for the consuls. He adds that Polybius tells little about it, just that the consuls headed a strong army and terrified the Boii, who submitted as a result.[30]

Role during the Second Punic War (218–202 BC)

In 216 BC, as a senior senator, Titus successfully opposed the ransoming of the Romans taken prisoner at the Battle of Cannae, on the grounds that they had made no effort to break out of the Carthaginian lines.

In 215 BC as Praetor Titus was sent to Sardinia, after the illness of Quintus Mucius Scaevola and defeated a Carthaginian attempt under Hasdrubal the Bald to regain possession of the island.[31]

However, he also suffered a number of reverses. In 212 BC, he and Flaccus contested for the position of Pontifex Maximus (chief priest of Rome), and both lost to a younger and less distinguished man, Publius Licinius Crassus. It is unclear from Livy's account if Licinius Crassus benefited from the inevitable division of votes between the two ex-censors, or whether he was always favoured for the role.

In 210 BC, he was the oldest living patrician senator, but he was not chosen Princeps Senatus. The censor Publius Sempronius Tuditanus preferred that the honour go to the most distinguished senior senator, who was, in his view, Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus, a man who had been first consul in 233 BC and censor in 230 BC. The other censor, Marcus Cornelius Cethegus, preferred to go by the mos maiorum, but the choice was Tuditanus' to make.

Francis Ryan suggested that because of the closure of the Temple of Janus, Titus was associated with peace, and it played against him in this time of total war against Hannibal.[32]

Death and posterity

Titus died in 202 BC.[33][34] As his son had died before him, he was survived by his two grandsons, Titus and Aulus, who became consul in 165 BC and 164 BC, respectively. The elder grandson, Titus, was especially known for his severity, as he organised a private trial of his son for bribery, who committed suicide after he had banished him from his sight.[35][36][37] The consul of 165 BC therefore emulated the severity of his ancestors, including that of his grandfather, whose deeds were reported by the annalists as examples of the imperia Manliana, the "Manlian orders".[38]

The Torquati were also known for the death masks of their ancestors displayed in the atrium of the familial house. It is likely that Titus' mask was placed there, alongside those of Marcus Manlius Capitolinus and Imperiosus Torquatus.[39]

Stemma of the Manlii Torquati

Stemma taken from Münzer until "A. Manlius Torquatus, d. 208", and then Mitchell, with corrections. All dates are BC.[40][41]

T. Manlius
Imperiosus Torquatus

dict. 353, 349, 320
cos. 347, 344, 340
T. Manlius Torquatus
d. 340
T. Manlius Torquatus
cos. 299
L. Manlius Torquatus
legate 295
T. Manlius Torquatus
T. Manlius TorquatusA. Manlius Torquatus

cens. 247; cos. 244, 241
T. Manlius Torquatus
cos. 235, 224
cens. 231; dict. 208
A. Manlius Torquatus
d. 208
T. Manlius Torquatus
cos. 165
A. Manlius Torquatus
cos. 164
T. Manlius Torquatus
pr. 137
D. Junius
Silanus Manlianus
pr. 141, d. 140
T. Manlius TorquatusL. Manlius Torquatus
qu. circa 113
A. Manlius Torquatus
T. Manlius Torquatus
pr. 69
P. Cornelius
Lentulus Spinther
(adopted) augur 57
ManliaL. Manlius Torquatus
cos. 65
A. Manlius Torquatus
pr. 70
L. Manlius Torquatus
pr. 49
A. Manlius Torquatus
qu. 43, pontifex
A. Manlius TorquatusT. Manlius Torquatus


  1. Crawford, Roman Republican Coinage, p. 308.
  2. Fasti Consulares.
  3. Ryan, Rank and Participation in the Senate, pp. 217–219.
  4. Münzer, PW, vol. 27, p. 1207.
  5. Broughton, vol. I, pp. 173, 174 (note 2).
  6. Oakley, Commentary on Livy, p. 139, suggests he was the grandson of the consul of 299, but does not detail his familial link with Torquatus Atticus, the consul of 244.
  7. Livy, vii. 10.
  8. Livy, viii. 7, 8.
  9. Broughton, vol. I, pp. 136, 137.
  10. Broughton, vol. I, pp. 271, 282, 318, 319 (note 4).
  11. Broughton, vol. I, p. 223.
  12. Eutropius, iii. 3.
  13. Cassiodorus, Chronica.
  14. Taylor & Broughton, "The Order of the Two Consuls' Names", p. 6.
  15. Mattingly et al., The Roman Imperial Coinage, vol. I, p. 177.
  16. Scullard, Cambridge Ancient History, vol. VII, part 2, pp. 566–568.
  17. Scullard, Cambridge Ancient History, vol. VII, part 2, p. 569.
  18. Livy, Periochae, 20.
  19. Livy, i. 9.
  20. Plutarch, Numa, 20.
  21. Orosius, iv.12 § 2.
  22. Tim Cornell, E. Staveley, Cambridge Ancient History, vol. VII, part II, pp. 383, 453 (note 62).
  23. Hoyos, Unplanned Wars, p. 130 (note 25).
  24. Münzer, Roman Aristocratic Parties, pp. 29, 74.
  25. Ryan, Rank and Participation in the Senate, p. 227.
  26. Broughton, vol. I, p. 226.
  27. Broughton, vol. I, p. 227.
  28. Polybius, ii. 31.
  29. Orosius, iv. 13 § 11. Orosius writes that the consuls fought Insubres, not Boii, but Polybius should be followed here as he lived not so long after the events.
  30. De Sanctis, Storia dei Romani, vol. 3, part 1, p. 313 (note 114).
  31. Lazenby, John Francis (1998). Hannibal's War: A Military History of the Second Punic War. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 98. ISBN 0-8061-3004-0.
  32. Ryan, Rank and Participation, p. 242.
  33. Livy, xxx. 39.
  34. Broughton, vol. I, p. 318.
  35. Valerius Maximus, v. 8. § 3.
  36. Broughton, vol. I, p. 477.
  37. Alexander, Trials in the Late Roman Republic, p. 6.
  38. Denis Feeney, "Fathers and Sons: The Manlii Torquati", in Ancient Historiography and Its Contexts, pp. 205–223.
  39. Flower, The Art of Forgetting, p. 64.
  40. Mitchell, "The Torquati".
  41. Münzer, PW, vol. 27, pp. 1181-1182.


Ancient works

Modern works

Preceded by
Publius Cornelius Lentulus Caudinus and Gaius Licinius Varus
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Gaius Atilius Bulbus
235 BC
Succeeded by
Lucius Postumius Albinus and Spurius Carvilius Maximus Ruga
Preceded by
Lucius Aemilius Papus and Gaius Atilius Regulus
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Quintus Fulvius Flaccus
224 BC
Succeeded by
Gaius Flaminius and Publius Furius Philus
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