Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > World History Forum > Ancient History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

Ancient History Ancient History Forum - Greece, Rome, Carthage, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and all other civilizations of antiquity, to include Prehistory and Archaeology discussions


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old December 8th, 2010, 07:06 PM   #1

Salah's Avatar
Unchained
Blog of the Year
 
Joined: Oct 2009
From: Baltimorean-in-exile
Posts: 19,765
Blog Entries: 172
Vorenus and Pullo


The Roman soldiers Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo are best known to most people today as the heroes of HBO's Rome.

The historical inspirations for Vorenus and Pullo were just as memorable, though unfortunately not nearly as well known. All of our knowledge of them is gleaned from a few passing mentions in the writings of Julius Caesar.

In the winter of 54 BC, Vorenus and Pullo were both centurions in Legio XI, which was serving with Caesar in Gaul - this legion would become known as the Legio XI Claudia Pia in Imperial times. It was encamped in the territory of the Nervii, and was under the command of Quintus Tullius Cicero, younger brother of famous orator.

Caesar tells us that Vorenus and Pullo had long been rivals, each longing to become the primus pilus (chief centurion) of the legion. This tells us that they were hardened career-soldiers, probably in their 30s or 40s and having served in the legions since their teens. Both would have been brave, brutal, and ambitious men with many friends and admirers in the ranks of the Eleventh Legion.

Cicero and his depleted Legion were besieged in their winter camp by the warriors of the Nervii late in 54 or early in 53 BC. The subsequent incident involving Vorenus and Pullo revealed the virtuous qualities of Roman soldiers at their finest.

Despite their vicious rivalry, Vorenus and Pullo saved each other's lives during the battle. Pullo was cut down by a Gaul and would've been killed, had not Vorenus led a charge and driven away his attackers. Vorenus fought too far ahead and was himself stranded, but Pullo extracted him at the expense of several enemy lives. Both of them wounded and exhausted, they helped each other back to the camp amidst the applause of their soldiers and comrades. The contest as to which was the better soldier remained undecided.

Vorenus is not mentioned again, but Caesar claims that Pullo deserted to the Pompeian side shortly before the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC. Pullo fought with noted bravery at Dyrrhachium, leading a charge against his own former comrade. He and Vorenus both presumably fought at Pharsalus a month later. It is highly unlikely - but still feasible - that they could have met on the battlefield and settled their rivalry once and for all...
Salah is offline  
Remove Ads
Old December 8th, 2010, 07:10 PM   #2

TJ.Perkins's Avatar
Lecturer
 
Joined: Oct 2010
From: Calgary, Canada
Posts: 262
Re: Vorenus and Pullo


No mention of Pullo being The true father of Cleopatra's son eh?
Rubish.

Thanks for the post, very well done.
Good to know some background on TV's characters.
TJ.Perkins is offline  
Old December 8th, 2010, 07:50 PM   #3
Suspended indefinitely
 
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 19,934
Re: Vorenus and Pullo


The alternative (and seemingly preferred) spellings for the nomina of these soldiers were L. Varenus & T. Pulfius, respectively.

Their joint adventure is narrated by Caesar in his Bellum Gallicum V, XLIV; and Pulfius desertion in the Bellum Civile (probably written by Hirtius) III, LXVII.

Last edited by sylla1; December 9th, 2010 at 01:24 AM.
sylla1 is offline  
Old December 9th, 2010, 12:54 AM   #4

Sargon of Akkad's Avatar
Backworldsman
 
Joined: Jun 2009
From: Glorious England
Posts: 6,983
Re: Vorenus and Pullo


Quote:
Originally Posted by Salah ad-Din View Post
Both of them wounded and exhausted, they helped each other back to the camp amidst the applause of their soldiers and comrades.
Ah, the ancient equivalent of standing by and filming it for posterity, rather than getting in and helping out.
Sargon of Akkad is offline  
Old December 9th, 2010, 01:19 AM   #5

Caracalla's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Nov 2010
From: Londinium
Posts: 1,681
Re: Vorenus and Pullo


Vorenus? Deep Thirteenth, him. He'd follow the Eagle up Pluto's arse!
Caracalla is offline  
Old December 9th, 2010, 06:42 AM   #6

Mandate of Heaven's Avatar
Ate too much
 
Joined: Jul 2010
From: Not sure what it is
Posts: 6,114
Re: Vorenus and Pullo


Do you guys find it interesting that Vorenus died as Augustus began his empire? Does the writer imply the traditional Roman virtues died when Augustus became the emperor?
Mandate of Heaven is offline  
Old December 9th, 2010, 06:49 AM   #7

Salah's Avatar
Unchained
Blog of the Year
 
Joined: Oct 2009
From: Baltimorean-in-exile
Posts: 19,765
Blog Entries: 172
Re: Vorenus and Pullo


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandate of Heaven View Post
Do you guys find it interesting that Vorenus died as Augustus began his empire? Does the writer imply the traditional Roman virtues died when Augustus became the emperor?
No "the writer" doesn't - and nothing is known about the historical Vorenus' death.
Salah is offline  
Old December 9th, 2010, 06:52 AM   #8

Mandate of Heaven's Avatar
Ate too much
 
Joined: Jul 2010
From: Not sure what it is
Posts: 6,114
Re: Vorenus and Pullo


Vorenus certainly wouldn't accept Augustus' version of Rome. He barely accepted Caesar's.
Mandate of Heaven is offline  
Old December 9th, 2010, 06:52 AM   #9

Salah's Avatar
Unchained
Blog of the Year
 
Joined: Oct 2009
From: Baltimorean-in-exile
Posts: 19,765
Blog Entries: 172
Re: Vorenus and Pullo


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandate of Heaven View Post
Vorenus certainly wouldn't accept Augustus' version of Rome. He barely accepted Caesar's.
This is the HBO Vorenus, a fictional character that is loosely based on the historical centurion I described in my original post. Virtually nothing is known about the real Vorenus.
Salah is offline  
Old December 9th, 2010, 06:54 AM   #10

Mandate of Heaven's Avatar
Ate too much
 
Joined: Jul 2010
From: Not sure what it is
Posts: 6,114
Re: Vorenus and Pullo


I am talking about HBO's Vorenus.
Mandate of Heaven is offline  
Reply

  Historum > World History Forum > Ancient History

Tags
pullo, vorenus


Thread Tools
Display Modes


Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.