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On this page: Coin of Cn

PISO.

orators. He did not, however, prosecute oratory long, partly on account of ill-health, and partly because hi* irritable temper would not submit to the rude encounters of the forum. He belonged to the Peripatetic school in philosophy, in which he received instructions from Staseas. (Cic. Brut. 67, 90, de Or. i. 22, de Nat. Deor. i. 7 ; Ascon. Z. c.)

19. M. piso, perhaps the son of No. 18, was praetor, b. c. 44, when he was praised by Cicero on account of his opposition to Antony. (Phil. iii. 10.)

20. cn. calpurnius Piso, was a young noble who had dissipated his fortune by his extravagance and profligacy, and being a man of a most daring and unscrupulous character, attempted to improve his circumstances by a revolution in the state. He therefore formed with Catiline, in b. c. 66, a con­spiracy to murder the new consuls when they en­tered upon their office on the 1st of January in the following year. The history of this conspiracy, and the manner in which it failed, are related elsewhere. [catilina, p. 629, b.] Although no doubt was entertained of the existence of the con­spiracy, still there were not sufficient proofs to convict the parties, and they were not therefore brought to trial. It had been arranged by the conspirators, that after the murder of the consuls, Piso was to be despatched, with an army, to seize the Spains; and the senate, in order to get rid of this dangerous agitator, now sent him into Nearer Spain as quaestor, but with the rank and title of propraetor. By his removal the senate hoped to weaken his faction at Rome, and they gave him an opportunity of acquiring, by the plunder of the province, the money of which he was so much in need. His exactions, however, in the province soon made him so hateful to the inhabitants, that he was murdered by them. Some persons, how­ever, supposed that he was murdered at the insti­gation of Pompey, who had possessed great influ­ence in the country ever since the conquest of Sertorius. Crassus had been in favour of sending Piso to Spain, that he might, by Piso's means, persecute the friends of his great enemy and rival, Pompey ; and it was therefore thought that the latter had revenged himself, by making away with the new governor. (Dion Cass. xxxvi. 27 ; Sail. Cat. 18, 19 ; Cic. pro Sull. 24, pro Mur. 38 ; Ascon. in Cornel, p. 66, in Tog. Cand. pp. 83, 94.)

COIN OF CN. PISO, PROQUAESTOR, B. C. 67.

21. cn. calpurnius Piso, legatus and pro-quaestor of Pompey in the war against the pirates, commanded a division of the fleet at the Helles­pont, b. c. 67. He afterwards followed Pompey in the Mithridatic war, and was present at the surrender of Jerusalem in 63. (Appian, Mithr. 95, who erroneously calls him Publius; Joseph. Ant. xiv. 4. § 2.) The following coin commemorates the connection of Piso with the war against the pirates. The obverse contains the legend cn. piso . pro . q.? with the head of Numa (on which we

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PISO.

find the letters nvma), because the Calpurnia gens claimed descent from Calpus, the son of Numa [calpurnia gens] ; the reverse repre­sents the prow of a ship with the legend magn. (p)ro . cos., i. e. (Pompeius) Magnus proconsul. (Eckhel, vol. v. p. 160.)

22. cn. calfurnius cn. f. cn. n. Piso, consul b. c. 23, was, in all probability, the son of No. 21. He belonged to the high aristocratical party, and was naturally of a proud and imperious temper. He fought against Caesar in Africa, in b. c. 46, and after the death of the dictator, joined Brutus and Cassius. He was subsequently par­doned, and returned to Rome; but he disdained to ask Augustus for any of the honours of the state, and was, without solicitation, raised to the consulship in b. c. 23. (Tac. Ann. ii. 43, Bell. Afr. 18.) This Cn. Piso appears to be the same as the Cn. Piso spoken of by Valerius Maximus (vi. 2. § 4).

23. cn. calpurnius cn. f. cn. n. Piso, son of No. 22, inherited all the pride and haughtiness of his father. He was consul b. c. 7, with Tiberius, the future emperor, and was sent by Augustus as legate into Spain, where he made himself hated by his cruelty and avarice. Tiberius after his ac* cession was chiefly jealous of Germanicus, his brother's son, whom he had adopted, and who was idolized both by the soldiery and the people. Ac­cordingly, when the eastern provinces were as­signed to Germanicus in a. D. 18, Tiberius chose Piso as a fit instrument to thwart the plans and check the power of Germanicus, and therefore con­ferred upon him the command of Syria. It was believed that the emperor had given him secret in­structions to that effect ; and his wife Plancina, who was as proud and haughty as her husband, was urged on by Livia, the mother of the emperor, to vie with and annoy Agrippina. Piso and Plancina fulfilled their mission most completely ; the former opposed all the wishes and measures of Germanicus, and the latter heaped every kind of insult upon Agrippina. Germanicus, on his return from Egypt, in A. d. 19, found that all his orders had been neg­lected or disobeyed. Hence arose vehement alter­cations between him and Piso ; and when the former fell ill in the autumn of this year, he be­lieved that he had been poisoned by Piso and Plancina. Before his death he had ordered Piso to quit Syria, and had appointed Cn. Ssntius as his successor. Piso now made an attempt to re­cover his province, but the Roman soldiers refused to obey him, and Sentius drove him out of the country. Relying on the protection of Tiberius Piso now went to Rome (a. d. 20); but he was received by the people with marks of the utmost dislike and horror. Whether Piso had poisoned Germanicus cannot now be determined ; Tacitus candidly admits that there were no proofs of his having done so ; but the popular belief in his guilt was so strong that Tiberius could not refuse an in­vestigation into the matter, which was conducted by the senate. As it proceeded the emperor seemed to have made up his mind to sacrifice his tool to the general indignation ; but before the in­vestigation came to an end, Piso was found one morning in his room with his throat cut, and his sword lying by his side. It was generally sup­posed that, despairing of the emperor's protection, he had put an end to his own life : but others be­lieved that Tiberius dreaded his revealing his

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