Gaius Curtius Philo

Gaius Curiatius Philo or Chilo (fl. c. 445 BC) was supposedly a Roman politician from the early Republic, who held the executive state office of consul in 445 BC. According to the historian Livy, both he and his colleague in office, Marcus Genucius Augurinus, unsuccessfully opposed the law of the tribune Gaius Canuleius which allowed intermarriage between patricians and plebeians. Curiatius presided over the elections of the first ever military tribunes with consular power, but, by committing a mistake in the auspices, caused them to be declared invalid.[1] The election of military tribunes in place of consuls was supposedly a compromise with a proposal to allow plebeians to the consulship, but this has been doubted, and the new office may have been instituted for military reasons instead.[2]

Curiatius's name is confused in the ancient sources. His forename most frequently appears as Gaius, which is probably the correct one, while manuscripts of Livy call him both Publius and Gaius, and Cassiodorus has Titus, the deviations being probably copyist errors. Diodorus of Sicily calls him Agrippa, probably in confusion with the previous year's consul, Agrippa Furius.[2][3] The family name is most commonly found as Curtius, but Livy (probably following Licinius Macer), followed by Cassiodorus, has variant spellings of Curiatius, which is probably the original rendition and is preferred by Ogilvie.[3] The name "Curtius" is also borne by no other Republican-era consul.[1] Finally, Curiatius's surname is found as Philo in the Chronograph of 354 and Chilo (Χίλων) in Diodorus.[2] The authenticity of both Curiatius and his colleague Genucius has been doubted.[1][2] If he was a historical figure, and if the name Curiatius is correct, he will probably have been a brother of Publius Curiatius, consul in 453 and decemvir in 451.[3]

The Lacus Curtius on the Roman Forum, which name might derive from that of Curiatius

The antiquarian Varro suggested that Curiatius (Curtius) gave his name to the Lacus Curtius, a holy site on the Roman Forum. After lightning had struck the site, the Senate decreed that the area be fenced, which was done by Curiatius as consul.[4] This story is one of the three found in ancient sources explaining the origin of the name, and the only one mentioning Curiatius.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b c Münzer, Friedrich, "Curtius 15", Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft (RE, PW), volume IV, part 2, column 1866 (Stuttgart, 1901).
  2. ^ a b c d Broughton, T. Robert S. (1951). The Magistrates of the Roman Republic Volume I: 509 B.C.–100 B.C. New York: American Philological Association. p. 52.
  3. ^ a b c Ogilvie, R.M. (1965). A Commentary on Livy, Books 1–5. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 528–529.
  4. ^ Varro, De lingua latina, v. 150.
  5. ^ Smith, C.J. & J.W. Rich (2013). "Lutatius". In T.J. Cornell (ed.). The Fragments of the Roman Historians. 2. Oxford University Press. pp. 708–717 (in 717). ISBN 978-0-19-927704-9.
  6. ^ Smith, C.J. (2013). "Lutatius". In T.J. Cornell (ed.). The Fragments of the Roman Historians. 3. Oxford University Press. pp. 453–456 (in 456). ISBN 978-0-19-967906-5.
Preceded by
Roman consul
445 BC
With: Marcus Genucius Augurinus
Succeeded by
Aulus Sempronius
Lucius Atilius
Titus Cloelius

as consular tribunes