4.21.2009

The Battle of Mutina: 43 BC

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Mutina (Modena). Although Aulus Hirtius in theory won the battle, he was also killed in it - which makes it a bit of a Pyrrhic victory. The source is Appian III, 49 ff

As with so many of the Civil Wars, it's a little difficult to work out who had sided with whom, or why. Aulus Hirtius was in charge of the official army on behalf of the Senate, and that is why he had Octavian, Julius Caeasar's adopted son, fighting with him. He was fighting Anthony, the rebel, except that ... Hirtius and his fellow consul of 43 BC Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus were supporting Brutus, who had been Caesar's murderer, but who was the legal governor of Cisalpine Gaul.

After Mutina Octavian took over Hirtius' army and took on Anthony as a commander in his own right. Having been adopted by Caesar had been his stepping stone, but Mutina would give his legions to wield, and in turn led to the formation of the Second Triumvirate on the 26th November 43 BC.

Marriages were often made to cement such alliances, and this one resulted in the union of Octavian and Clodia Puchra. Clodia (or Claudia) was the daughter of Anthony's wife Fulvia.

Fulvia may or may not be depicted on a series of coins, such as the one on the left.

We do know that she did not take kindly to Octavian returning Clodia 'intact' in 41 BC and asking for a divorce. Fulvia, along with her brother-in-law Lucius Antonius, raised eight legions and briefly started a civil war known as the Perusine War because it ended around Perugia. Fulvia and her army briefly captured the city of Rome itself in 41. The source is Appian V, 32 ff.

Aulus Hirtius tends to be overlooked in military history, but he wrote extensively on military history. He had been a legate of Caesar's and added the eighth book to his Commentarii de Bello Gallico. He may be the author, or at least the editor, of De Bello Alexandrino, De Bello Africo and De Bello Hispaniensis, works usually ascribed to Caesar since they document his wars. His letters to Cicero are now lost.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks a bunch, I was struggling to understand this war for my school project on Augustus but you have helped my heaps.

    Sicerely-
    A happy 15 year old

    ReplyDelete

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