26 January 2010

Vae Victis

In 390 BC or rather more likely 387/6 BC, Gauls defeated a Roman army in a battle at the river Allia and occupied Rome itself, which had been more or less abandoned after the battle except for the Capitol. The stirring events surrounding this are told by Livy in Book 5, sections 34 to 50 of his History of Rome (scroll down). (licensed from wikicommons under GNU Free Documentation Licence)

This has not been a fruitful episode for later artists, but I have tracked down two pictures.

The first, called "Camillus Rescuing Rome from Brennus", was painted by Sebastiano Ricci in 1716, and is now in the Detroit Institute of Arts. (public domain image from museumsyndicate)

The second (really rather disturbing) picture, called variously "Brennus and His Part of the Spoils" or "The Spoils of the Battle", was painted by Paul Jamin in 1893 and is now in a private collection. (public domain image from wikicommons)

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