"Among the many remarkable things that are related of Furius Camillus, it seems singular and strange above all, that he, who continually was in the highest commands, and obtained the greatest successes, was five times chosen dictator, triumphed four times, and was styled a second founder of Rome, yet never was so much as once consul."Although he wasn't elected consul, Camillus served as military tribune with consular powers several times. Camillus led the Romans against the Veii, soon found himself in disfavor and went into exile, but was recalled to defeat Brennus and the Gauls.
Marcus Furius Camillus was from the gens Furia.The first of these names, the praenomen, is Marcus, his second name or nomen was Furius, and his cognomen was Camillus. This last name is a word for a priestly assistant: a noble youth employed in ... sacrifices ..., according to the Lewis and Short Latin dictionary. It seems reasonable to assume he served in this capacity.
Camillus was censor in 403, according to Jona Lendering. In 401, he was tribune with consular powers, and then again in 398. In 396 he was appointed dictator in the strife against the Veii. This was the first of his terms as dictator.
Camillus had a checkered career, running in and out of public favor. At first, as dictator, Camillus defeated the Veientians with a trick. He had a tunnel dug under their city. When the Romans emerged suddenly during a sacrifice at the temple of Juno, the Veientians were taken by surprise. It was easy for the Romans to take the city.
As was customary, the soldiers divided the riches of the conquered city, but Camillus was accused of taking more than his fair share. Instead of facing trial, he went into self-imposed exile. Eventually, however, the Romans realized they needed Camillus back: the Senate recalled Camillus to defeat Brennus and the Gauls. The next year, Camillus defeated the Volscians of Antium at ad Maecium. In 388, he attacked and beat the Aequi near Bolae. In 381, Camillus set out against Tusculum, which surrendered, according to the The Cambridge Ancient History: The Hellenistic World, Part 2, by Frank William Walbank.
Later, he helped the poor plebeians in their struggle against the patricians (and rich plebeians). In the process, a patrician plum, the office of praetor, was created, but in accord with plebeian wishes, the Romans went back to the system of consuls, rather than military tribunes serving as consuls. In addition, one of the two consuls either must or could be plebeian, according to the Licinio-Sextian Rogations of 367. In practice, a plebeian was consul for the first decade after the Licinio-Sextian law, but due to a lapse, further legislation was introduced in 342.
- Haaren's Famous Men of Rome
- "Religious Dictators of the Roman Republic"
The Classical World Vol. 67, No. 3 (Dec., 1973 - Jan., 1974), pp. 172-175
- "Legal Fiction and Political Reform at Rome in the Early Second Century B.C."
Phoenix Vol. 43, No. 2 (Summer, 1989), pp. 112-133