Der Feldzug der Porsenna

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Liv. II, 9,4-12,16 – Original

[4] Porsenna cum regem esse Romae , tum Etruscae gentis regem, amplum Tuscis ratus, Romam infesto exercitu uenit. [5] non unquam alias ante tantus terror senatum inuasit; adeo ualida res tum Clusina erat magnumque Porsennae nomen. nec hostes modo timebant sed suosmet ipsi ciues, ne Romana plebs, metu perculsa, receptis in urbem regibus uel cum seruitute pacem acciperet. [6] multa igitur blandimenta plebi per id tempus ab senatu data. annonae in primis habita cura, et ad frumentum comparandum missi alii in Uolscos, alii Cumas. salis quoque uendendi arbitrium, quia impenso pretio uenibat, in publicum omne sumptum, ademptum priuatis; portoriisque et tributo plebes liberata, ut diuites conferrent qui oneri ferendo essent: pauperes satis stipendii pendere, si liberos educent. [7] itaque haec indulgentia patrum asperis postmodum rebus in obsidione ac fame adeo concordem ciuitatem tenuit, ut regium nomen non summi magis quam infimi horrerent, [8] nec quisquam unus malis artibus postea tam popularis esset quam tum bene imperando uniuersus senatus fuit.
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obsidio erat nihilo minus et frumenti cum summa caritate inopia, sedendoque expugnaturum se urbem spem Porsinna habebat, [2] cum C. Mucius, adulescens nobilis, cui indignum uidebatur populum Romanum seruientem cum sub regibus esset nullo bello nec ab hostibus ullis obsessum esse, liberum eundem populum ab iisdem Etruscis obsideri quorum [3] saepe exercitus fuderit,—itaque magno audacique aliquo facinore eam indignitatem uindicandam ratus […].
[…] abdito intra uestem ferro proficiscitur. [6] ubi eo uenit, in confertissima turba prope regium tribunal constitit. [7] ibi cum stipendium militibus forte daretur et scriba cum rege sedens pari fere ornatu multa ageret eum milites uolgo adirent, timens sciscitari uter Porsinna esset, ne ignorando regem semet ipse aperiret quis esset, quo temere traxit fortuna facinus, scribam pro rege obtruncat. [8] uadentem inde qua per trepidam turbam cruento mucrone sibi ipse fecerat uiam, cum concursu ad clamorem facto comprehensum regii satellites retraxissent, ante tribunal regis destitutus, tum quoque inter tantas fortunae minas metuendus magis quam metuens, [9] [p. 2018]’Romanus sum‘ inquit, ‚ciuis; C. Mucium uocant. hostis hostem occidere uolui, nec ad mortem minus animi est, quam fuit ad caedem; et facere et pati fortia Romanum est. [10] nec unus in te ego hos animos gessi; longus post me ordo est idem petentium decus. proinde in hoc discrimen, si iuuat, accingere, ut in singulas horas capite dimices tuo, ferrum hostemque in uestibulo habeas regiae. hoc tibi iuuentus Romana indicimus bellum. [11] nullam aciem, nullum proelium timueris; uni tibi et cum singulis res erit.‘ [12] cum rex simul ira infensus periculoque conterritus circumdari ignes minitabundus iuberet nisi expromeret propere quas insidiarum sibi minas per ambages iaceret, [13] ‚en tibi‘ inquit, ‚ut sentias quam uile corpus sit iis qui magnam gloriam uident‘; dextramque accenso ad sacrificium foculo inicit. quam cum uelut alienato ab sensu torreret animo, prope attonitus miraculo rex cum ab sede sua prosiluisset amouerique ab altaribus iuuenem iussisset, [14] ‚tu uero abi‘ inquit, ‚in te magis quam in me hostilia ausus. iuberem macte uirtute esse, si pro mea patria ista uirtus staret; nunc iure belli liberum te, intactum inuiolatumque hinc dimitto.‘ [15] tunc Mucius, quasi remunerans meritum, ‚quando quidem‘ inquit, ‚est apud te uirtuti honos, ut beneficio tuleris a me quod minis nequisti, trecenti coniurauimus principes iuuentutis Romanae ut in te hac uia grassaremur. [16] mea prima sors fuit; ceteri ut cuiusque ceciderit primi quoad te opportunum fortuna dederit, suo quisque tempore aderunt.‘

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Projekttitel: eManual Alte Geschichte
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Übersetzung: Benjamin Oliver Foster
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Übersetzung

[4] Porsinna, believing that it was not only a safe thing for the Etruscans that there should be a king at Rome, but an honour to have that king of Etruscan stock, invaded Roman territory with a hostile army. [5] Never before had such fear seized the senate, so powerful was Clusium in those days, and so great Porsinna’s fame. And they feared not only the enemy but their own citizens, lest the plebs should be terror-stricken and, admitting the princes into the City, should even submit to enslavement, for the sake of peace. [6] Hence the senate at this time granted many favours to the plebs. The question of subsistence received special attention, and some were sent to the Volsci and others to Cumae to buy up corn. Again, the monopoly of salt, the price of which was very high, was taken out of the hands of individuals and wholly assumed by the government. Imposts and taxes were removed from the plebs that they might be borne by the well-to-do, who were equal to the burden: the poor paid dues enough if they reared children. [7] Thanks to this liberality on the part of the Fathers, the distress which attended the subsequent blockade and famine was powerless to destroy the harmony of the state, which was such that the name of king was not more abhorrent to the highest than to the lowest; [8] nor was there ever a man in after years whose demagogic arts made him so popular as its wise governing at that time made the whole senate.
[…] 12. The blockade went on notwithstanding. The corn was giving out, and what there was cost a very high price, and Porsinna was beginning [2] to have hopes that he would take the City by sitting still, when Gaius Mucius, a young Roman noble, thinking it a shame that although the Roman People had not, in the days of their servitude when they lived under kings, been blockaded in a war by any enemies, they should now, [3] when free, be besieged by those same Etruscans whose armies they had so often routed, made up his mind that this indignity must be avenged by some great and daring deed.
[…] Hiding a sword under his dress, he set out. [7] Arrived at the camp, he took up his stand in the thick of the crowd near the royal tribunal. It happened that at that moment the soldiers were being paid; a secretary who sat beside the king, and wore nearly the same costume, was very busy, and to him the soldiers for the most part addressed themselves. Mucius was afraid to ask which was Porsinna, lest his ignorance of the king’s identity should betray his own, and following the blind guidance of Fortune, slew the secretary instead of the king. [8] As he strode off through the frightened crowd, making a way for himself with his bloody blade, there was an outcry, and thereat the royal guards came running in from every side, seized him and dragged him back before the tribunal of the king. [9] But friendless as he was, even then, when Fortune wore so menacing an aspect, yet as one more to be feared than fearing, “I am a Roman citizen,” he cried; “men call me Gaius Mucius. [10] I am your enemy, and as an enemy I would have slain you; I can die as resolutely as I could kill: both to do and to endure valiantly is the Roman way. Nor am I the only one to carry this resolution against you: behind me is a long line of men who are seeking the same honour. Gird yourself therefore, if you think it worth your while, for a struggle in which you must fight for your life from hour to hour with an armed foe always at your door. [11] Such is the war we, the Roman youths, declare on you. [12] Fear no serried ranks, no battle; it will be between yourself alone and a single enemy at a time.” [13] The king, at once hot with resentment and aghast at his danger, angrily ordered the prisoner to be flung into the flames unless he should at once divulge the plot with which he so obscurely threatened him. Whereupon Mucius, exclaiming, “Look, that you may see how cheap they hold their bodies whose eyes are fixed upon renown!” thrust his hand into the fire that was kindled for the sacrifice. When he allowed his hand to burn as if his spirit were unconscious of sensation, the king was almost beside himself with wonder. [14] He bounded from his seat and bade them remove the young man from the altar. “Do you go free,” he said, “who have dared to harm yourself more than me. I would invoke success upon your valour, were that valour exerted for my country; since that may not be, I release you from the penalties of war and dismiss you scathless and uninjured.” [15] Then Mucius, as if to requite his generosity, answered, “Since you hold bravery in honour, my gratitude shall afford you the information your threats could not extort: we are three hundred, the foremost youths of Rome, who have conspired to assail you in this fashion. [16] I drew the first lot; the others, in whatever order it falls to them, will attack you, each at his own time, until Fortune shall have delivered you into our hands.”

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Projekttitel: eManual Alte Geschichte
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Autor_in: Falk Wackerow
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Leitfragen:

1) Was bezweckt der Autor mit dieser Darstellungsweise der Ereignisse?

2) Wie passt die Stelle in den historischen Kontext?

3) Welcher wahre Kern steckt in der Schilderung?

Kommentar:

Die gesamte Geschichte um Porsennas legendären Feldzug gegen Rom diente Livius wohl vor allem dem Zweck, herausragende Tugenden der römischen Protagonisten zu betonen, auf dass sich der Leser ein Beispiel an ihnen nehme. Schon die den oben stehenden Geschehnissen um Gaius Mucius vorangehende Brückenverteidigung durch Horatius Cocles liest sich mehr wie ein Heldenepos als seriöse Geschichtsschreibung. Die Glorifizierung römischer Helden ist typisch sowohl für die livianische Darstellung als auch für die römische Geschichtsschreibung insgesamt.
Die Herrschaft des Lars Porsenna fällt in die letzte Phase etruskischer Dominanz in Ober- und Mittelitalien. Nachdem sie jahrhundertelang auch über Rom und Latium geherrscht hatten, symbolisiert die (mythische) Vertreibung des letzten Königs Tarquinius Superbus den Anfang vom Ende der etruskischen Hochkultur. Dieses ist jedoch weniger auf Rom, als auf den hartnäckigen Widerstand der Griechenstädte des Südens, namentlich Cumae und Syrakus zurückzuführen, die den Etruskern in der Seeschlacht von Kyme 474 eine vernichtende Niederlage zufügten, von der sie sich nie mehr erholen sollten. In diesem Kontext ist der Angriff Porsennas auf Rom zu verstehen: als der letzte erfolgreiche Versuch, ihre Machtposition zu behaupten. Aus welchen Gründen der Feldzug geführt wurde, ist nicht sicher. Die Quellen Livius und Dionysios von Halikarnassos behaupten, Porsenna habe Superbus nach dessen Vertreibung wieder als König einsetzen wollen, während die Forschung eher davon ausgeht, dass er seine eigene Macht ausbauen wollte. Unbestritten, wenn auch auffällig ist die Hilflosigkeit der Römer angesichts der Invasion. Sie stellten sich nicht zur Feldschlacht, sondern zogen sich ohne allzu großen Widerstand hinter die Mauern Roms zurück. Die Überlegenheit des etruskischen Heers scheint übermächtig gewesen zu sein, so übermächtig, dass die Römer sie ebenso wie die Kelten unter Brennus knapp 100 Jahre später für den Abzug bezahlen mussten. Die Stellung von Geiseln wird ebenso erwähnt, was eindeutig für einen positiven Ausgang der Kampagne des Porsenna spricht. Unklar ist, ob es seinen Truppen gelang, die Stadt einzunehmen. Als erobert genannt wird lediglich der Ianiculus, der damals noch nicht zum bebauten Stadtgebiet zählte. Trotz der angeblichen großen Kampfbereitschaft der Jugend und eines zurückgeschlagenen Angriffs scheinen die Römer nicht die Kraft für einen Gegenangriff gehabt zu haben. Dagegen steht die Episode des Gaius Mucius in den Quellen, der sich nach seiner Enttarnung als Attentäter und Römer zu erkennen gibt und seine Entschlossenheit mit der Verbrennung seiner rechten Hand demonstrierte, woraus sein späterer Beiname „Scaevola“, der Linkshänder, resultierte. Livius schreibt, Porsenna sei so beeindruckt gewesen und habe nach Mucius‘ Auftreten derart um sein Leben gefürchtet, dass er die Belagerung abbrach und zurück in seine Heimatstadt Clusium zog. Diese Darstellung widerspricht allerdings der Erwähnung der Geiseln und der „Güter des Porsenna“ später im Text. Die wahrscheinlichste Version ist wohl, dass Livius die Hilfslosigkeit der Römer mit heroischen Taten Einzelner kaschieren wollte.

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Podcast-Hinweise
Sehen Sie zu dieser Quelle auch den Podcast „Das frühe Rom und die Etrusker“. Um einen breiteren Einblick in die Zeit der Römischen Republik zu erhalten, sehen Sie auch die Podcastreihe „Römische Geschichte I – Republik“.
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