Lucius Valerius Flaccus (consul 195 BC)
Lucius Valerius Flaccus (d. 180 BC) was a consul of the Roman Republic in 195 BC and censor in 183 BC, serving both times with his great friend Cato the Elder, whom he brought to the notice of the Roman political elite.
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Flaccus was a patrician and son of the Publius Valerius Flaccus who was consul in 227 BC. His brother was the flamen dialis Gaius Valerius Flaccus, who made a respectable political career as praetor, though not consul. Both men were apparently sons of the consul Publius Valerius Flaccus; the father had been elected consul for 227 BC with M. Atilius Regulus.
The patrician Flaccus became a friend, political patron, and ally of the young plebeian soldier Marcus Porcius Cato, later called Cato the Elder, during the earlier years of the Second Punic War. Flaccus is possibly the Valerius Flaccus who was a military tribune in 212 BC, serving under the consuls who captured Hanno's camp at Beneventum.
Flaccus was curule aedile in 201 BC. He was probably the L. Valerius Flaccus who was a legate under the praetor L. Furius Purpurio in Gaul in 200. As praetor in 199, he was assigned to the province of Sicily. Flaccus received Italy as his province when he was consul in 195 BC, and continued to wage war as proconsul the following year against the Gauls, with a victory over the Insubres at Mediolanum (Milan). In 191 Flaccus was a legate under M'. Acilius Glabrio in the war against the Aetolians and at the Battle of Thermopylae.
In 190, Flaccus served on the three-man commission (triumviri coloniis deducendis) created to strengthen Placentia and Cremona. His fellow commissioners were M. Atilius Serranus (praetor 174 BC) and L. Valerius Tappo (praetor 192 BC). The following year, the commission founded Bononia (modern Bologna) as a Roman colony (colonia).
In a "hotly contested" election, Flaccus became censor along with Cato in 184. Their censorship was noted for its severity: L. Quinctius Flamininus, the consul of 192, was kicked out of the senate; Scipio Asiaticus, the consul of 190, lost his equestrian rank; and public contracts were leased stringently. The two men shared common conservative political sympathies and cultural outlook, and were loyal to the military and political views of the older generation represented by Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus. Both he and Cato sought to defend Roman tradition against Hellenism.
Lucius Furius Purpureo and Marcus Claudius Marcellus
|Consul of the Roman Republic
with Marcus Porcius Cato
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus and Tiberius Sempronius Longus
Dates, offices, and citations of ancient sources for the career of Flaccus from T.R.S. Broughton, The Magistrates of the Roman Republic, unless otherwise noted.
- Livy 25.14.6; Valerius Maximus 3.2.20. Münzer regarded this tribune as the fictional creation of Valerius Antias to bolster the Valerian family tradition. See T.R.S. Broughton, The Magistrates of the Roman Republic (American Philological Association, 1951, 1986), vol. 1, pp. 269 and 272 (note 6).
- Livy 31.4.5–6.
- Livy 31.21.8.
- Livy 33.43.5, 34.22.1–3 and 46.1, 42.2.4; Plutarch, Cato Maior 10.1.
- Livy 36.19.1, 22.7, 27.3–8, 28.8; Appian, Syrian War 19.
- Livy 37.46.10–11 and 37.57.7–8.
- Broughton, MRR1 p. 374; Livy 39.40–41; Plutarch, Cato Maior 16.1–6.
- Broughton, MRR1 pp. 374–375, with various ancient sources.