E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Overstrained severity. Manlius Torquatus, the Roman consul, gave orders in the Latin war that no Roman, on pain of death, should engage in single combat; but one of the Latins provoked young Manlius by repeated insults, and Manlius slew him. When the young man took the spoils to his father, Torquatus ordered him to be put to death for violating the commands of his superior officer