Domitius at Corfinium: A Failure of Emotional Intelligence

Domitius at Corfinium: A Failure of Emotional Intelligence

  • Case
  • Teaching Notes

In 49 BCE, Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his army, an act that was tantamount to a declaration of civil war. He led his army on a quick and successful march through Italy on a path strategically chosen to separate his opponents from potential recruits. In his account of this march and subsequent events, the Bellum Civile, Caesar depicts his opponents as failing basic tests of leadership. The Roman senator Domitius Ahenobarbus is portrayed as especially inept, both for his failure to assess the emotional state of his soldiers, and his inability to convince them that they would receive needed support from Rome. The soldiers mutinied and allied with Caesar.

Caesar drew on a common set of expectations for Roman military commanders to portray Domitius. ...

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