Caius Pontius

~ 321 BC

Caudine Forks
Caius Pontius was the Samnite Leader who trapped the Roman army at a pass at Caudine Forks. Before negotiating with the Romans, Caius asked his father what he should do with his captives. The father advised him either to allow them to go, without condition, thereby befriending the Romans, or else to slaughter the whole army without mercy. Pontius chose the middle way, and released the army on condition of the Romans ceding territory to the Samnites. This, however, was not agreed to by the Roman Senate, they sent all of the leaders of the army back in chains to Pontius, refusing his offer. They did not, however, agree to restore the entire army.

One generation later, the Romans achieved a decisive victory over the Samnites at Sentinum. Pontius was taken as a captive, humiliated in a triumph, and then beheaded. (It is not certain that this was the same Pontius.)

Key events during the life of Pontius:

321 BC
Trapped Roman army in a pass at Caudine Forks.
292 BC
Taken as prisoner three years after Battle of Sentinum, and beheaded.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Passes of Caudium  in  Stories From Livy  by  Alfred J. Church
Formidable Neighbours  in  Stories from Ancient Rome  by  Alfred J. Church
Disaster at the Caudine Forks  in  The Story of the Romans  by  H. A. Guerber
Caudine Forks  in  The Story of Rome  by  Mary Macgregor
Son of Fabius Loses a Battle  in  The Story of Rome  by  Mary Macgregor
Caudine Forks  in  Historical Tales: Roman  by  Charles Morris

Short Biography
Fabius Rullianus Hero of the Battle of Sentinum, against the Gauls and Samnites.
Herennius Pontius Father of Caius, who counseled either mercy or severity.
Postumius Consul who was returned to Pontius in chains, when Rome refused the treaty.