Page:Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) - Volume 2.djvu/778

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could not have been the son of No. 7, as Drumann alleges.


9. M. Aemilius Lepidus, the son of No. 7, tribune of the soldiers in the war against Antiochus the Great, b. c. 190. (Liv. xxxvii. 43.)


10. M. Aemilius M. f. M. n. Lepidus Porcina, son probably of No. 9, and grandson of No. 7, was consul b. c. 137. He was sent into Spain in his consulship to succeed his colleague C. Hostilius Mancinus, who had been defeated by the Numantines [Mancinus] ; and while he was waiting for reinforcements from home, as he was not yet in a condition to attack the Numantines, he resolved to make war upon the Vaccaei, under the pretence of their having assisted the Numantines. This he did merely from the desire of distinguishing himself; and the senate, immediately his intention became known, sent deputies to command him to desist from his design, as they deprecated a new war in Spain, after experiencing so many disasters. Lepidus, however, had commenced the war before the deputies arrived, and had summoned to his assistance his relation, D. Brutus, who commanded in Further Spain, and was a general of considerable experience and skill. [Brutus, No. 15, p. 509, b.] Notwithstanding his aid, Lepidus was unsuccessful. After laying waste the open country, the two generals laid siege to Pallantia, the capital of the Vaccaei (the modern Palencia), but they suffered so dreadfully from want of provisions, that they were obliged to raise the siege ; and a considerable part of their army was destroyed by the enemy in their retreat. This happened in the proconsulship of Lepidus, {sc|b. c.}} 136 ; and when the news reached Rome, Lepidus was deprived of his command, and condemned to pay a fine. (Appian, Hisp. 80 — 83, who says that Lepidus was deprived of his consulship, by which we must understand proconsulship ; Liv. Epit. 56 ; Oros. v. 5.) Lepidus was augur in b. c. 125, when he was summoned by the censors, Cn. Servilius Caepio and L. Cassius Longinus, to account for having built a house in too magnificent a style. (Vell. Pat. ii. 10 ; Val. Max. viii. 1, damn. 7.)

Lepidus was a man of education and refined taste. Cicero, who had read his speeches, speaks of him as the greatest orator of his age, and says that he was the first who introduced into Latin oratory the smooth and even flow of words and the artificial construction of sentences which distinguished the Greek. He helped to form the style of Tib. Gracchus and C. Carbo, who were accustomed to listen to him with great care. He was, however, very deficient in a knowledge of law and Roman institutions. (Cic. Brut. 25, 86, 97, de Orat. i. 10, Tuscul. i. 3 ; Auctor, ad Herenn. iv. 5.) In politics Lepidus seems to have belonged to the aristocratical party. He opposed in his consulship (b. c. 137) the law for introducing the ballot (lex tabellaria) proposed by L. Cassius Longinus (Cic. Brut. 25) ; and it appears from a fragment of Priscian (vol. i. p. 456), that Lepidus spoke in favour of a repeal of the lex Aemilia, which was probably the sumptuary law proposed by the consul, M. Aemilius Scaurus in b. c. 115. (Meyer, Orator. Rom. Fragm. p. 193,&c.2d. ed.)


11. M. Aemilius M. f. M. n. Lepidus, consul b. c. 126 (Cic. Brut. 28 ; Obsequ. 89 ; Oros. v. 10.), and brother apparently of No. 10., though it is difficult to account for their both having the same praenomen.


12. Q. Aemilius Lepidus, the grandfather of Lepidus the triumvir, must have been either a son or grandson of No. 7. [See below. No. 17.] But the dates will hardly allow us to suppose that he was a son. He was therefore probably a son of No. 9, and a grandson of No. 7.


13. M. Aemilius Q. f. M. n. Lepidus, the son of No. 11, and the father of the triumvir, was praetor in Sicily in b. c. 81, where he earned a character by his oppressions only second to that of Verres. (Cic. in Verr. iii. 91.) In the civil wars between Marius and Sulla he belonged at first to the party of the latter, and acquired considerable property by the purchase of confiscated estates ; but he was afterwards seized with the ambition of becoming a leader of the popular party, to which post he might perhaps consider himself as in some degree entitled, by having married Appuleia, the daughter of the celebrated tribune Appuleius Saturninus. He accordingly sued for the consulship in b. c. 79, in opposition to Sulla ; but the latter, who had resigned his dictatorship in this year, felt that his power was too well established to be shaken by any thing that Lepidus could do, and accordingly made no efforts to oppose his election. Pompey, moreover, whose vanity was inflamed by the desire of returning a candidate against the wishes of the all-powerful Sulla, exerted himself warmly to secure the election of Lepidus, and not only succeeded, but brought him in by more votes than his colleague, Q. Lutatius Catulus, who belonged to the ruling party. Sulla viewed all these proceedings with great indifference, and contented himself with warning Pompey, when he met him returning in pride from the election, that he had strengthened one who would be his rival.

The death of Sulla in the following year, b. c. 78, soon after Lepidus and Catulus had entered upon their consulship, determined Lepidus to make the bold attempt to rescind the laws of Sulla and overthrow the aristocratical constitution which he had established. There were abundant materials of discontent in Italy, and it would not have been difficult to collect a numerous army ; but the victory of the aristocratical party was too firmly secured by Sulla's military colonies to fear any attempts that Lepidus might make, since he did not possess either sufficient influence or sufficient talent to take the lead in a great revolution. He seems, moreover, to have reckoned upon the assistance of Pompey, who remained, on the contrary, firm to the aristocracy. The first movement of Lepidus was to endeavour to prevent the burial of Sulla in the Campus Martius, but he was obliged to relinquish this design through the opposition of Pompey. He next formally proposed several laws with the object of abolishing Sulla's constitution, but their exact provisions are not mentioned by the ancient writers. We know, however, that he proposed to recall all persons who had been proscribed, and to restore to them their property, which had passed into the hands of other parties. Such a measure would alone have thrown all Italy into confusion again. At Rome the utmost agitation prevailed. Catulus showed himself a firm and dauntless friend of the aristocracy, and appears to have obtained a tribune to put his veto upon the rogations of Lepidus. The exasperation between the two parties rose to its height, and the senate saw no other means of