Exemplary Exempla: Livy's Moralizing of Manlius Torquatus and Scipio
Africanus" by Paul Ludwig
....Titus Manlius Torquatus is held up as an exemplar for two seemingly opposed acts committed at different stages of his life. As a youth, Titus Manlius assaults a tribune of the plebs, frightening him at knifepoint into dropping his prosecution of the youth’s father, Lucius Manlius Imperiosus, on charges stemming from the fact that he had illegally hung on to his dictatorship. Livy calls his assault “quamquam non civilis exempli, tamen pietate laudabile” (7.5.2).
Many years later, as consul and a father himself, Titus Manlius (now surnamed Torquatus) orders his own son to be put to death for a breach of military discipline prior to an engagement near the river Veseris during the Latin revolt in 340 B.C. Livy makes him state publicly that he and his son will constitute a “triste exemplum sed in posterum salubre iuventuti” (8.7.17). Thus while Manlius the youth placed the family ahead of the public good, Manlius the man places the public good ahead of his family. Both acts are exemplary, and their apparent opposition is resolved by Torquatus’ relative youth and age: sons are expected to put their fathers first; fathers are expected to put Rome first....