Lucius Mummius Achaicus

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Lucius Mummius (2nd century BC), was a Roman statesman and general. Mummius was the first of his family to rise to the rank of consul, making him a novus homo. He received the agnomen Achaicus for his victories while consul in 146 BC, when he conquered the Achaean League and destroyed the ancient city of Corinth following the Battle of Corinth (146 BC), in the process bringing all of Greece under Roman control.

Lucius Mummius Achaicus
Born200–190 BC
Known forDestruction of Corinth
OfficeConsul (146 BC)
Military career
Battles/warsBattle of Ocile
Siege of Corinth
AwardsRoman triumph
Roman general Lucius Mummius Achaicus leading The Sack of Corinth, by Thomas Allom
Lucius Mummius Achaicus entering Corinth following the Battle of Corinth (146 BC). The last day on Corinth, Tony Robert-Fleury, 1870


Almost nothing is known about Lucius Mummius' early career. We do know he won one of the praetorships (for 154 BC) during the elections of 153 BC.


In 154 BC the Senate assigned Mummius the task of restoring order in Hispania Ulterior (Further Spain), which was reeling from a revolt by native Lusitanian (the Lustianian Rebellion of 155-150 BC). The rebelion was led by the Lusitanian chieftains Punicus and Caesarus. In the initial phases of his campaign he experienced several reverses, but he regrouped and at Ocile he led his army of 9,000 foot and 500 horse in a victorious battle against a numerically superior force of Lusitanians, killing about 15,000 rebels and lifting the siege; his successor, Marcus Atilius, went on to take Oxthracae, the largest city in Lusitania. Mummius was awarded a triumph for his victory over the Lusitanians.[1]


Mummius was elected consul for 146 BC. He was appointed to take command of the Achaean War, inheriting the command from Metellus Macedonicus. Having obtained an easy victory over the incapable Achaean leader Diaeus, Mummius entered Corinth after a victory over the defending forces. All the men of Corinth were put to the sword, the women and children were sold into slavery, and the statues, paintings and works of art were seized and shipped to Rome. Corinth was then reduced to ashes. However, at least two ancient authors give accounts that suggest Corinth was not completely destroyed.[2] The apparently needless cruelty of Mummius in Corinth, is explained by Mommsen as due to the instructions of the senate, prompted by the mercantile party, which was eager to dispel a dangerous commercial rival. According to Polybius, Mummius was unable to resist the pressure of those around him.[3][4]

In the subsequent settlement of affairs, Mummius exhibited considerable administrative powers and a high degree of justice and integrity, which gained him the respect of the inhabitants. He especially abstained from offending their religious sensibilities. On his return to Rome he was honored with a triumph,[3] and was the first novus homo to receive an agnomen for military services.[5]


In 142 BC he was censor with Scipio Aemilianus Africanus, whose severity frequently brought him into collision with his more lenient colleague.[3]


His indifference to works of art and ignorance of their value is shown by his well-known remark to those who contracted for the shipment of the treasures of Corinth to Rome, that "if they lost or damaged them, they would have to replace them."[3] He was, in other words, unaware that a "new-for-old-deal" was inappropriate for such valuable antiques.[6] Mummius plundered Corinth and sent home ship loads of its priceless art and rich furniture to Rome.[7] For the theatrical pageants exhibited by him he erected a theatre with improved acoustical conditions and seats after the Greek model, thus marking a distinct advance in the construction of places of entertainment.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Appian. The History of Rome, Book 12, The Spanish Wars, chs. 57-58.
  2. ^ Cicero in Tusculanae Quaestiones 3.53, and Dio Cassius 21.
  3. ^ a b c d e Chisholm 1911.
  4. ^ Matthew Dillon; Lynda Garland (2005). Ancient Rome: From the Early Republic to the Assassination of Julius Caesar. Taylor & Francis. pp. 267–. ISBN 978-0-415-22458-1.
  5. ^ Paterculus, 1.13
  6. ^ Mary Beard (9 November 2015). SPQR A History of Ancient Rome. p. 210. ISBN 9781631491252.
  7. ^ William Dunstan (16 November 2010). Ancient Rome. p. 87. ISBN 9780742568341.



Political offices
Preceded by
Scipio Aemilianus
Gaius Livius Drusus
Roman consul
146 BC
With: Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus
Succeeded by
Q. Fabius Maximus Aemilianus
Lucius Hostilius Mancinus