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868 COTTA.

was one of the most distinguished orators of his time; he is placed by the side of P. Sulpicius and C. Caesar, and Cicero entertained a very high opinion of him. Cicero, who at an early period of his life, and when Sulla still had the power in his hands, pleaded the case of a woman of Arretium against Cotta, characterises him as a most acute and subtile orator; his arguments were always sound, but calm and dry, and his oratory was never sublime or animated. We still possess a specimen of it among the fragments of Salmst's flistoriae. He appears to have occupied himself also with the study of philosophy, for Cicero introduces him as one of the interlocutors in the " De Oratore," and in the third book of the " De Natura Deorum," as maintaining the cause of the Academics. (Cic. de Orat. i. 7, ii. 23, iii. 3, 8, Brut. 49, 55, 86, 88, 90, Orat. 30, 38, ad Ait. xii. 20, in Verr. i. 50, iii. 7, de Leg. Agr. ii. 22, in Pison. 26 ; Sal-Just, Hist. Fragm. ii. p. 206, ed. GerL; Appian, de B. C. i. 37. Compare Meyer, Fragm. Orat. Rom. p. 338, &c., 2nd ed.)

10. M. aurelius cotta, a brother of No. 9, was consul in b. c. 74, together with L. Licinius Lucullus. In this year the war against Mithri-dates broke out again, and while the conduct of it was entrusted to Metelms, Cotta obtained Bithynia for his province, and a fleet to protect the Pro-pontis. When Mithridates marched into Bithynia with his army, Cotta retreated to Chalcedon, in the port of which his fleet was stationed. In the neighbourhood of Chalcedon a battle was fought, in which Cotta was not only defeated and obliged to take refuge within the walls of Chalcedon, but lost his whole fleet of sixty-four sail. Mithridates, who had to direct his attention towards another quarter, left Cotta at Chalcedon. During this cam­paign Cotta dismissed his quaestor, P. Oppius, whom he suspected of being bribed by the enemy and plotting against him. On his return to Rome, therefore, Cotta brought an accusation against Op-pins, who was defended by Cicero. Afterwards Cotta himself was charged by C. Carbo with having been guilty of extortion in his province of Bithynia, and was condemned. His son, M. Aurelius Cotta, took revenge for this hostility of Carbo towards his father, by accusing Carbo of the same crime, on the very same day that he (M. Cotta) assumed the manly gown. (Liv. Epit. 93 ; Eutrop. vi. 6 ; Sail. Fragm. Hist. lib. iv.; Ascon. in Cornel, p. 67 ; Plut. Lucull. 5, 6, 8; Cic. in Verr. v. 13, pro Muren. 15, pro Opp. Fragm. p. 444 ed. Orelli ; Dion. Cass xxxvi. 23 ; Appian, Mithrid. 71; Val. Max. v. 4. § 4.)

11. L. aurelius cotta, a brother of Nos. 9 and 10, was praetor in b. c. 70, in which year he carried the celebrated law (leoe Aurelia judiciaria\ which, entrusted the judicia to courts consisting of senators, equites, and the tribuni aerarii. The main object of this law was to deprive the senators of their exclusive right to act as judices, and to allow other parts of the Roman state a share in the judicial functions, for which reason the law is sometimes vaguely described as having transferred the judicia from the senate to the equites. P. Cor­nelius Sulla and P. Autronius Paetus were the consuls elect for the year b. c. 65, but both were accused by L. Aurelius Cotta and L. Manlius Tor-quatus of ambitus: they were convicted and their accusers were elected consuls in their stead. No sooner had they entered upon their consulship, than

COTTA.

P. Autronius Paetus formed a plan with Catiline for murdering the consuls and most of the senators. This conspiracy however was discovered and frus­trated. The year after his consulship, b. c. 64, Cotta was censor, but he and his colleague abdi­cated on account of the machinations of the tribunes. In 63, when Cicero had suppressed the Catilina-rian conspiracy, in the debates upon which in the senate Cotta had taken a part, he proposed a sup-plicatio for Cicero ; and he afterwards shewed the same friendship for the unfortunate orator, as he was the first to bring forward in the senate a mo­tion for the recall of Cicero from his exile. Du­ring the civil war Cotta belonged to the party of Caesar, whose mother Aurelia was his kinswoman, and when Caesar was alone at the head of the republic, it was rumoured that Cotta, who then held the office of quindecimvir, would propose in the senate to confer upon Caesar the title of king, since it was written in the libri fatales that the Parthians, against whom Caesar was preparing war, could be conquered only by a king. After the murder of Caesar, Cotta rarely attended the meetings of the senate from a feeling of despair. He is praised by Cicero as a man of great talent and of the highest prudence. (Ascon. in Cornel. pp. 64, 67, 78, &c.; Cic- in Pison. 16, in Verr. ii. 71, in P. Clod. 7, de Leg. Agr. ii. 17, in Catil. iii. 8, Philip, ii. 6, pro Dom. 26, 32, pro Sext. 34, ad Att. xii. 21, de Leg. iii. 19, ad Fam. xii.

2; Suet. Cues. 79; Liv. Epit. 97; Veil. Pat.

ii. 32; Corn. Nep. Attic. 4; Plut. Cic. 27. Comp. Orelli, Onom. Tull. ii. p. 90.)

12. aur.elius cotta messallinus, a son of the orator Messalla, who was adopted into the Aurelia gens. In the reign of Tiberius, with whom he was on terms of intimacy, he made him­self notorious for the gratuitous harshness and ani­mosity with which he acted on several occasions. This drew upon him an accusation of the most il­lustrious senators in a.d. 32, for having spoken disrespectfully of Tiberius; but the emperor him­self sent a written defence to the senate, which of course procured his acquittal. Tacitus characterises him as nobilis quidem, sed egens ob luxum et per flagitia in/amis. (Plin. H. N. x. 27 ; Tacit. Ann. ii. 32, iv. 20, v. 3, vi. 5, &c.)

of identifying them with any of the preceding persons. Of the two coins annexed the obverse of the former represents the head of Pallas, the re­verse Hercules in a biga drawn by two centaurs; the obverse of the latter represents the head of

On coins of the Aurelia gens we find the names of M. Cotta and L. Cotta, but there are no means

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