Gnaeus Marcius Coriolanus

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Coriolanus, Gnaeus Marcius


According to ancient Roman legend, a patrician and military leader who commanded the Roman troops in the capture of the Volscian city of Corioli in 493 B.C., from which his surname is derived.

Persecuted by the tribunes for an attempt to deprive plebeians of their political rights, Coriolanus took refuge with the Volscians. He led a Volscian army that besieged Rome, but, giving in to the entreaties of his mother and his wife, he lifted the siege of the city. According to one version of the legend, Coriolanus was killed by the Volscians; according to another version, he lived until a very advanced age, remaining an exile. The Coriolanus legend inspired Shakespeare’s drama Coriolanus and Beethoven’s overture of the same name.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.