The Ancient Library

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the Dardanians and Moesians with great success. He was the first Roman general who advanced in those regions as far as the river Danube, and on his return to Rome in 71, he celebrated a triumph over the Dardanians. Curio appears to have hence­forth remained at Rome, where he took an active part in all public affairs. He acted as an opponent of Julius Caesar, and was connected in intimate friendship with Cicero. "When the punishment of the Catilinarian conspirators was discussed in the senate, Curio also spoke, and afterwards expressed his satisfaction with Cicero's measures. In the trial of P. Clodius, for having violated the sacra of the Bona Dea, Curio spoke in favour of Clodius, probably out of enmity towards Caesar; and Cicero on that occasion attacked both Clodius and Curio most vehemently in a speech of which considerable fragments are still extant. This event, however, does not appear to have at all interrupted their personal friendship, for Cicero speaks well of him as a man on all occasions; he says, that he was one of the good men of the time, and that he was always opposed to bad citizens. In b. c. 57 Curio was appointed pontifex maximus; he died four years later, b. c. 53. Like his father and his son, Curio acquired in his time some reputation as an orator, and we learn from Cicero, that he spoke on various occasions; but of all the requisites of an orator he had only one, viz, elocution, and he ex­celled most others in the purity and brilliancy of his diction; but his mind was altogether unculti­vated ; he was ignorant without being aware of this defect; he was slow in thinking and invent­ing, very awkward in his gesticulation, and with­out any power of memory. With such deficiencies he could not escape the ridicule of able rivals or of his audience; and on one occasion, probably during his tribuneship, while he was addressing the peo­ple, he was gradually deserted by all his hearers. His orations were published, and he also wrote a work against Caesar in the form of a dialogue, in which his son, C. Scribonius Curio, was one of the interlocutors, and which had the same defi­ciencies as his orations. (The numerous passages in which he is spoken of by Cicero are given in Orelli's Onom. Tull. ii. p. 525, &c. ; comp. Plut. Sull. 14; Appian, Mithrid. 60; Eutrop. vi. 2; Oros. iv. 23; Suet. Goes. 9, 49, 52 ; Dion Cass. xxxviii. 16 ; Val. Max. ix. 14. § 5 ; Plm. //. N. vii. 12; Solin. i. 6 ; Quintil. vi. 3. § 76.)

4. C. scribonius Cumo, the son of the former, and, like his father, a friend of Cicero, and an ora­tor of great natural talents, which however he left uncultivated from carelessness and want of indus­try. Cicero knew him from his childhood, and did all he could to direct his great talents into a proper,channel, to suppress his love of pleasure and of wealth, and to create in him a desire for true fame and virtue, but without any success, and Curio was and remained a person of most pro­fligate character. Pie was married to Fulvia, who afterwards became the wife of Antony, and by whom Curio had a daughter who was as dissolute as her mother. Owing to his family connexions and several other outward circumstances, he be­longed to the party of Pompey, although in his heart he was favourably disposed towards Caesar. After having been quaestor in Asia, where he had discharged the duties of his office in a praiseworthy manner, he sued for and obtained the tribuneship for the eventful year b. c. 50. Curio, who was as


reckless in squandering money as he was insatiable in acquiring it, had by this time contracted enor­mous debts, and he saw no way of getting out of his difficulties except by an utter confusion of the affairs of the republic. It was believed that he would direct his power and influence as tribune against Caesar, and at first he did so; but Caesar, who was anxious to gain over some of the influen­tial men of the city, paid all Curio's debts on con­dition of his abandoning the Pompeian party. This scheme was perfectly successful; but Curio was too clever and adroit a person at once to turn his back upon his former friends. At first he continued to act against Caesar; by and by he assumed an appearance of neutrality; and in order to bring about a rupture between himself and the Pompeian party, he brought forward some laws which he knew could not be carried, but which would afford him a specious pretext for deserting his friends. When it was demanded that Caesar should lay down his imperium before coming to Rome, Curio proposed that Pompey should do the same. This demand itself was as fair as the source from which it originated was impure. Pom­pey shewed indeed a disposition to do anything that was fair, but it was evident that in reality he did not intend to do any such thing. Curio therefore now openly attacked Pompey, and described him as a person wanting to set himself up as tyrant; but, in order not to lose every appearance of neutrality even now, he declared, that if Caesar and Pompey would not consent to lay down their imperium, both must be declared public ememies, and war must be forthwith made against them. This ex­cited Pompey's indignation so much, that he with­drew to a suburban villa. Curio, however, conti­nued to act his part in the senate; and it was decreed that Pompey and Caesar should each dis­miss one of their legions, which were to be sent to Syria. Pompey cunningly evaded obeying the command by demanding back from Caesar a legion which he had lent him in B. c. 53; and Caesar sent the two legions required, which, however, instead of going to Syria, took up their winter-quarters at Capua.

Soon after, the consul Claudius Marcellus pro­posed to the senate the question, whether a suc­cessor of Caesar should be sent out, and whether Pompey was to be deprived of his imperium ? The senate consented to the former, but refused to do the latter. Curio repeated his former proposal, that both the proconsuls should lay down their power, and when it was put to the vote, a large majority of the senators voted for Curio. Claudius Marcellus, who had always pretended to be a champion of the senate, now refused obedience to its decree; and as there was a report that Caesar was advancing with his army towards Rome, he proposed that the two legions stationed at Capua should be got ready at once to march against Cae­sar. Curio, however, denied the truth of the re­port, and prevented the consul's command being obeyed. Claudius Marcellus and his colleague, Ser. Sulpicius Rufus now rushed out of the city to Pompey, and solemnly called upon him to under­take the command of all the troops in Italy, and save the republic. Curio now could not interfere, as he could not quit the city in the character of tribune ; he therefore addressed the people, and called upon them to demand of the consuls not to permit Pompey to levy an army. But he was not

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