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chelaus pretended to be a son of Mithridates the Great, and had joined the Roman army with the intention of accompanying Gabinius into Parthia. Gabinius opposed the ambitious design of Archelaus, who* nevertheless, made his escape from the Roman army, reached Alexandria, married Berenice, and was declared king. Dion Cassius thinks (xxxix. 57) that Gabinius, wishing to enhance the value of his own services by having a general of some ability to contend against, connived at the escape of Archelaus.
Such was the state of affairs in Egypt when Ptolemy came to Gabinins with recommendatory letters from Pompey. Moreover, he promised to pay Gabinius a large sum of money (10,000 talents) if he were restored to his kingdom by the assistance of the proconsul. The enterprise was displeasing to the greater part of the Roman officers, since it was forbidden by a decree of the senate, and by an oracle of the Sibyl; but Gabinius was encouraged in his plan of assisting Auletes by M. Antony, the future triumvir, who commanded the Roman cavalry ; and he was supplied with money, arms, and provisions, by Antipater of Idu-mea, who required the friendship of the Romans to assist him in the subjugation of the Maccabees. M. Antony, who was sent forward with the cavalry to seize the passes of Egypt, was put in possession of Pelusium, the key of the kingdom. Archelaus was killed in action, and Gabinius remained master of Alexandria, He now found the whole of Egypt at his disposal, ancj. resigned the" kingdom to Ptolemy, who not only put his daughter Berenice to death, but ordered the execution of the richest of the Alexandrians, that with their spoils he might the better satisfy the engagements he had entered into with Gabinius.
Upon the return of Gabinius to Judea, he found Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, again in arms, and, after defeating him at Tabor, administered the government of the country, in conformity with the counsels of Antipater. (Joseph. Ant.jav. 6.)
Meanwhile a storm had been brewing at Rome, where Gabinius knew that he would have to encounter not only the hostility of the optimates, but all the unpopularity which his personal enemies could excite against him. He had given umbrage to the Romans in Syria, especially to the publicani of the equestrian order, whose profits were diminished by the depredations of the pirates along the Syrian coast, which Gabinius had left unguarded during his expedition to Egypt.
The recal of Gabinius from his province had been decreed in b. c. 55, but he did not depart until his successor, M. Crassus, had actually made his appearance, in b. c. .54. He lingered on the rbad, and his gold travelled before him, to purchase favour or silence. To cover his disgrace, he gave out that he intended to demand a triumph, and he remained some time without the city gates, but, finding delay useless, on the 28th of September, B. c. 54, he stole into the city by night, to avoid the insults of the populace. For ten days he did not dare to present himself before the senate. When at length he came, and had made the usual report as to the state of the Roman forces, and as to the troops of the enemy, he was about to go away, when he was detained by the consuls, L. Domitius Ahenobarbus and A pp. Claudius, to answer the accusation of the publicani, who had been in attendance at the doors, and were called
in to sustain their charge. He was now attacked on all sides. Cicero, especially, goaded him so sharply, that he was unable to contain himself, and, with a voice almost choked with passion, called Cicero an exile. An emeute succeeded. The senate to a man rose from their seats, pressed round Gabinius, and manifested their indignation as clamorously as the warmest friend of Cicero could desire. (Ad Qu. Fr. Hi. 2.)
Three accusations were brought against Gabinius. The first of these was for majestas, in leaving his province, and making war in favour of Ptolemy Auletes, in defiance of the Sibyl, and the authority of the senate. In this accusation Cicero gave evidence, but, at the instance of Pompey, did not press severely upon Gabinius. Pompey prevailed upon him not to be the prosecutor, but could not, with the most urgent solicitation, induce him to undertake the defence. The prosecutor was L. Lentulus, who was slow and backward. The judges, by a majority of 38 to 32, acquitted Gabinius, on the ground that the words of the Sibyl applied to other times and another king. (Dion Cass. xxxix. 55.) The majority who voted for his acquittal were suspected of corruption, as was Lentulus of prevarication. An inundation of the Tiber, which occurred about this time, was attributed to the anger of the gods at the escape of Gabinius. (Ad Qu. Fr. iii. 7.)
The second prosecution was de repetundis ex leye Julia, for the illegal receipt of 10,000 talents from Ptolemy Auletes. Out of several candidates for the honour of conducting the accusation, M. Cato, the praetor, selected C. Memmius. Cicero now could no longer resist the importunity of .Pompey, and undertook the defence, though he felt that the part was sorely derogatory to his self-respect, and to his reputation for consistency ; for no one had laboured with greater assiduity than he had, ever since his return from exile, to blacken the character of Gabinius. A fragment from the notes of Cicero's speech for Gabinius has been preserved by Hieronymus (Adv. Rufin., ed. Paris, vol. iv. p. 351), but his advocacy was unsuccessful, notwithstanding the favourable testimony of the Alexandrine deputies and of Pompey, backed by a letter from Caesar. Dion Cassius indeed (xlvi. 8) makes Q. Fufius Calenus hint that the success of the prosecution was due to the mode of conducting the defence. Gabinius went into exile, and his goods were sold, to discharge the amount at which the damages were estimated. As the produce of the sale was not sufficient to cover the .estimated sum, a suit was instituted, under the same Lex Julia de repetundis, against C. Rabirius Postumus, who was liable to make up the deficiency, if it could be proved that the money illegally received by Gabinius had come to his hands. Thus the cause of C. Rabirius Postumus (who was also defended by Cicero) was a supplementary appendage to the cause of Gabinius. [rabirius postumus.]
Upon the exile of Gabinius the third accusation dropped, which charged him with ambitus, 01 illegal canvassing, and was entrusted to P. Sulla, as prosecutor, with the assistance of Caecilius and Memmius.