Lucius Manlius Vulso Longus
Lucius Manlius Vulso Longus was a Roman patrician who became consul in 256 and 250 BC. He has been remembered as another militarily successful Roman consul; his military achievements significantly contributed to the victory of the Romans in the First Punic War.
Early life 
Lucius was probably formally educated because of his patrician class. All patrician children were educated, many by privately hired tutors. He was likely also educated specifically in the areas of public office since his father, Aulus Manlius, had also been consul.
Mature life 
During Lucius’ mature life he ran for the consulate many times. The term for being consul was one year. Two consuls ruled at a time and one could serve up to two terms. It was the consuls’ job to govern provinces, lead armies in major wars, and run the Senate and assemblies. He ran many times for the consulship and in both of his terms led military expeditions.
He ran in 259 BC, but lost to Lucius Cornelius Scipio. After this he successfully ran in 256 and 250 BC. In 256 he ruled with Marcus Atilius Regulus and in 250 with Gaius Atilius Regulus. In 256, Lucius and Marcus Atilius Regulus sailed to Africa during the First Punic War to fight Carthage. Rome had prepared a large fleet of 330 battleships with 140,000 infantrymen, and Carthage had made slightly greater preparations with 350 battleships and 150,000 infantrymen. They sailed in battle formation with three squadrons. Two of the squadrons, commanded by the consuls Marcus Atilius Regulus and Lucius Manlius Vulso Longus, led the way. The other squadron was in the back protecting the horse-transport ships that were between them. Behind the third squadron was the triarii, who were the Roman spearmen. They sailed in a triangular shape because of the strong base that was easy to support during battle and also difficult to break up.
The Carthaginians were positioned in a long horizontal line with Hamilcar in the center and two slightly advanced sides. The two Carthaginian flanks advanced which left the main line alone. This line was immediately targeted because of its vulnerability. The first two squadrons were the main ships to fight the center of the Carthaginian fleet. Since the soldiers were fighting under both consuls, who were taking part in the battle in person, they felt even more encouraged to fight with their entire strength and defeated the Carthaginians after an extensive fight. After, the squadrons went to relieve the back of the fleet. Vulso’s squadron went after the Carthaginian left wing that was attacking the transport ships, while Regulus attacked Hanno. Saving these transport ships was essential to the Roman’s later victories at Aspis because these ships contained horses for the cavalry and extra food and supplies which were necessary for fighting on land. After the battle, about half of Carthage’s fleet had been captured or sunken. Both consuls then landed in Africa to quickly regroup and then sailed to Cape Bon where they landed near Aspis. Here they surrounded the city and set up a garrison. Then the consuls sent the troops to plunder the area, which was very plentiful. They herded cattle, burned houses of the rich, captured slaves, and destroyed the city’s defenses. In the meantime, the Senate instructed one consul to come back to Rome with the navy and the other to stay with the army in Africa. Lucius Manlius ended up returning with most of the fleet and prisoners.
During his second term in 250 BC, with Gaius Atilius Regulus, Lucius faced some tough times. In the previous years, Rome had many unsuccessful military ventures. After losing 150 ships during a storm in open sea, they had almost entirely withdrawn from naval warfare. Now limited to combat by foot, the Romans received news of losing over half of their troops in Africa after an elephant stampede. This created a great fear of the elephants and the Romans would not come within 3/4 of a mile with them. After these events the army had a general lack of spirit, which Lucius’ second term would help to raise. With Gaius Atilius he built 50 ships, and had a huge campaign to collect sailors and organize a fleet. In the meantime, Hasdrubal, the Carthaginian, brought his troops from Lilybaeum and set up camp near Panormus, Italy in June 250 BC where Caecilius’ army got the Carthaginians’ elephants to stampede their own army leading to an improved morale and confidence in the army. With this the consuls were encouraged to finish the war. They sailed to Sicily with about 120 ships in the fleet. They stopped and anchored off Lilybaeum, and besieged the city. The Romans thought that if they controlled this port it would be easy to manipulate the war. The Carthaginians also understood the obvious importance of this port and put their whole force together to save the city. The Carthaginians had a force of about 10,000 mercenaries made up of Celtics and Greeks to protect the people from the Romans.
The Romans lost to the Carthaginians' unexpected attacks. The Carthaginians put 50 ships out from Africa under the command of Hannibal, to try to save the city by charging towards the center of the harbor. The Romans did not attempt to stop the entry of the fleet because of their sudden appearance and unfavorable winds in a foreign port. Soon after, battles between the armies broke out and eventually the Carthaginians retreated and the Romans maintained their blockade. Later, the Carthaginians defeated the Romans for good when they set fire to the locations where the Romans had taken over the area. Even after the great losses the Romans suffered at Lilybaeum, back in Rome, Lucius Manlius was able to quickly recruit about 10,000 sailors and sent them to Sicily where they planned to attack Drepana. Drepana was about 24 miles north of Lilybaeum and was another port town. The Roman attempt during the second consulship of Lucius Manlius Vulso ultimately failed, but it shows his leadership abilities through his capacity to keep recruiting sailors, even after a serious loss. With these abilities he was able to help Rome stay on the path to winning the First Punic War.
Lucius Manlius Vulso Longus died in 216 BC. Nothing is known about how he died. Since he died in 216 BC, this means that he lived for around 83 years, since one had to be around 40 years old to run for consul and the first time he ran was in 259 BC. It is probable that he died from natural causes since he was around 83 years old, which was very old for someone living in Ancient Rome. This predicts that his birth would be somewhere around 300 BC.
Analysis of contributions 
Throughout the years, Lucius Manlius has generally been accepted as yet another consul who helped in military victories. In the Battle of Cape Ecnomus his commanding skills were essential in saving the transport ships which allowed the Romans to pursue a follow up attack at Aspis. In his second term he brought the army into an improved and positive state of mind through building a new fleet and recruiting many sailors, even after the losses at Lilybaeum.
Past historical interpretations 
Over the years, historians have had non-conflicting views on Lucius Manlius. They all agree that he was a beneficial Roman consul who had many successful military expeditions. They recognize his importance in commanding, especially at the Battle of Cape Ecnomus.
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Gaius Atilius Regulus and Gnaeus Cornelius Blasio
|Consul of the Roman Republic
with Quintus Caedicius and Marcus Atilius Regulus (Suffect)
Marcus Aemilius Paullus and Servius Fulvius Paetinus Nobilior
Lucius Caecilius Metellus and Gaius Furius Pacilus
|Consul of the Roman Republic
with Gaius Atilius Regulus
Publius Claudius Pulcher and Lucius Iunius C.f. Pullus