The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.



Masinissa from the arms of Sophonisba, the beau­tiful and unfortunate daughter of Hasdrubal Barca (Liv. xxx. 12). A second time also he was the usher of victory and of a train of illustrious captives —Syphax and his Masaesylian nobles—to the senate and people of Rome (xxx. 16, 17). He was detained in Italy until the last Carthaginian envoys had received their final answer, and rejoined Scipio in Africa in the latter months of b. c. 203 (xxx. 22, 25). At the battle of Zama in the fol­lowing year, he commanded the Italian horse that formed the extreme left of the Roman line. His repulse and pursuit of the Numidian cavalry ex­posed the enemy's flank, and his charge at the close of the day, on Hannibal's reserve, determined Scipio's victory (Polyb. xv. 9, 12, 14 ; Liv. xxx. 33—35 ; Appian, Pun. 41, 44). A third time Laelitts was despatched to Rome: but he then announced not the fall of a city or of a single host, but the consummation of a war, which for sixteen years had swept over Italy, and risen to the barriers of Rome itself. (Liv. xxx. 35, 40.)

The civil career of Laelius began after his military life had comparatively closed. It was less brilliant, but his influence with the senate was at all times great. (Liv. xxxvii. 1.) If, as seems probable, he was nearly of the same age with his illustrious friend, Laelius was born about B. c. 235 and may have been in his fortieth year when chosen praetor in 196. His province was Sicily (Liv. xxxiii. 24, 26). He failed in his first trial for the consulship. Scipio's popularity was on the wane, and the old patrician party in the ascendant (xxxv. 10). He was, however, elected consul in B. c. 190, two years after his rejection (Liv. xxxvi. 45). Whether time and the accidents of party had wrought any change in their ancient friendship, we are riot told ; but it was through Scipio Afri­eanus that Laelius lost his appointment to the pro­vince of Greece, and the command of the war against Antiochus the Great [antiochus III.] (Liv. xxxvii. 1 ; Cic. Philipp. xi. 7), which he probably desired as much for wealth as for glory, since the Laelii were not rich (Cic. Cornel, ii. Fragm. 8, p. 453., Orelli). He obtained instead the province of Cisalpine Gaul, where he remained two years, engaged in colonising the ancient territory of the Boians (Liv. xxxvii. 47, 50). In b. c. 174, he was one of a commission of three, sent into Mace­donia to counteract the negotiations of Carthage (Livi xli. 22), and in b. c. 170 he was despatched by the senate to inquire into certain charges brought against C. Cassius, consul in b. c. 171, by some of the Gaulish tribes of the Grisons. The date of Laelius' death is unknown. (Zoriar. ix. 13 ; Fron-tin. Strut, i. 1. § 3, i. 2. § 1, ii. 3. § 16.)

,2. Ci laelius sapiens, was son of the pre­ceding. His intimacy with the younger Scipio Afrieanus was as remarkable as his father's friend­ship with the elder (Veil. ii. 127 ; Val. Max. iv. 7. § 7), and it obtained an imperishable monument in Cicero's treatise "Laelius sive de Amicitia." He was born about b. c. 186-—5 ; was tribune of the plebs in 151 ; praetor in 145 (Cic. de Amic. 25) ; and consul, after being once rejected, in 140 (Cic. Brut. 43, Tusc.v. 19 ; Plut. Imp. Apophthegm. p. 200). Plis character was dissimilar to that of his father. The elder Laelius was an officer-of the old Roman stamp, softened, perhaps, by his inter­course with Polybius, but essentially practical and enterprising. A mild philosophy refined, and, it may


be, enfeebled the younger Laelius, who, though hot devoid of military talents, as his campaign against the Lusitanian guerilla-chief .Viriatus proved (Cic. de Off. ii. 11), was more of a statesman than a soldier, and more a philosopher than a statesman. From Diogenes of Baby Ion .[diogenes, literary, 3],, and afterwards from Panaetius, he imbibed the doctrines of the stoic school (Cic. de Fin. ii. 8) ; his father's friend Polybius was his friend also; the wit and idiom of Terence were pointed and polished by his and Scipio's conversation (Suet. vit. Terent. 2 ; Prolog. Terent Adelph. 15 ; Cic. ad Att. vii. 3 ; comp. Quint. Inst. x. 1. § 99) ; the satirist Lucilius was his familiar companion (Cic. de Fin. ii. 8 ; Hor. Sat. ii. 1, 65 ; Schol. Vet. in Hor. loo.} ; and Caelius Antipater dedicated to him his history of the Punic war (Cic. Orat. 69).* Laelius was so distinguished also for his augural science, that, according to Cicero (Phil. ii. 33), " Laelius" and " bonus augur" were convertible terms. (Id. De Nat. Deor. iii. 2.)

The political opinions of Laelius were different at different periods of his life. At first he inclined to the party which aimed at renovating the plebs by making them again land-owners, and at raising the equites into an efficient middle-class. He en­deavoured, probably during his tribunate, to procure a re-division of the state-demesnes, but, either alarmed at the hostility it excited, or convinced of its impracticability, he desisted from the attempt, and for his forbearance received the appellation of the Wise or the Prudent (Plut. Tib. Gracch. 8). Laelius indeed had neither the steady principles of Tiberius, nor the fervid genius of C, Gracchus. He could discern, but he could not apply the remedy for social evils; And after the tribunate of the elder Gracchus, b.c. 133, his sentiments under­went a change. He assisted the consuls of b. c. 132 in examining C. Blossius of Cumae and the other partizans of Tib. Gracchus (Cic. de Amic. 11 ; comp. Plut. Tib. Gracch. 20), and in b.c. 130, he spoke against the Papirian Rogation,' which would have enabled the tribunes of the plebs to be re-elected from year to year (Cic. de Amic. 25 ; Liv. Epit. 59). But although Laelius was the strenuous opponent of the popular leaders of his age—the tribunes C. Licinius Crassus, b. c. 145, C. Papirius Carbo, b.c. 131, and C. Gracchus b.c. 123—122 —nature had denied him the qualities of a great orator. His speeches read better than those of his contemporary and rival C. Servius Galba, yet Galba was doubtless the more eloquent. (Cic. Brut. 24.) Laelius in his own age was the model, and in history is the representative of the Greek culture which sprang up rapidly at Rome in the seventh century of the city. Serene and philoso­phical by temperament (Cic. de Off. i. 26 ; Sen. Ep. 11), erudite and refined by education, Laelius was among the earliest examples of that cosmopolite character (Cic. Tusc. iv. 3), which, in Cicero's time, had nearly effaced the old Latin type, and of which the younger Brutus perhaps presents the fairest aspect. Smoothness—lenitas (Cic. de Orat. iii. 7. § 28), which he probably derived from his old master Diogenes (Gell. vii. 14), was the charac­teristic of his eloquence. It was better adapted

* It isdoubtful, however, whether in this passage, and in Auct. ad Herennium, iv. 12, for Laelio, we should not read L. Aelio. (Comp. Cic. pro Scauro9 p. 172, 285. Orelli.)

About | First



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of