Vae Victis!

The capture of Rome by the Gauls was a watershed event that left a deep scar on the collective psyche of the Romans and whose echoes reverberated throughout the Mediterranean, as recorded by Greek authors of the 4th century BC. After having taken Rome in 387 BC, the Gauls offered to withdraw from the city if the Romans paid ransom. The Romans accepted and the two parties began the process of weighing out the amount of money and riches the Romans had to pay. Legend tells that when the Romans protested against the weights the Gauls were using, suspecting to be paying more than agreed, the Gallic warlord, Brennus, took his sword and placed it with the suspicious weights on the scale, shouting “Vae Victis!” (Woe to the vanquished!), making clear that the victor dictates the rules by force of arms. With little recourse, the Romans were forced to pay a more expensive ransom. Illustration created for Desperta Ferro Especiales n.º 33 La legión romana (IX). Monarquía y República temprana.