Manius Valerius Maximus
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (July 2013)|
|Manius Valerius Maximus|
|Dictator of the Roman Republic|
Manius Valerius Maximus was Roman dictator in 494 BC during the first secession of the plebs. His brothers were Publius Valerius Publicola and Marcus Valerius Volusus - they were said to be the sons of Volesus Valerius.
Appointment as dictator
During the period of popular discontent in Rome which led to the First secessio plebis in 494 BC, each of the Volsci, Sabines and the Aequi took up arms at the same time. To meet the threat, and also because of the popular political concerns at the time, Valerius was appointed dictator by the Roman senate. He was said to have been chosen because of his moderate temper. His appointment was respect by the people also, because of the popularity of his late brother Publius.
Resolution of military affairs
Valerius called for conscripts, and the people responded. Ten legions were raised, a greater number than had been raised previously at any one time, four of which were assigned to the dictator to deal with the Sabines who were regarded as the most serious of the three military threats, and three to each of the consuls to meet the Aequi and the Volsci.
Valerius marched with his army to meet the Sabines and won a victory, for which he was awarded a triumph, and additionally the honour of a curule chair in the circus maximus was given to him and his descendants.
Secession of the plebs
After the armies' return to Rome, Valerius requested the senate to deal with the ongoing debt issues which were afflicting the people. The senate declined to act, and the dictator was outraged. He said before the senate:
You will not let me recommend concord. Trust me, before long you will wish that the people of Rome had patrons similar to me. For my part, I will neither further disappoint my fellow citizens, nor will I be dictator to no purpose. Internal divisions and foreign wars caused the republic to require such a magistrate. Peace has been secured abroad, it is impeded at home. I will be a witness to these disturbances as a private citizen rather than as dictator.
He resigned his commission, and went to his house, greeted by the applause of the people.