The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Pollio

POLLIO.

notwithstanding accused of taking part in Pise's conspiracy against that emperor in A. d. 63, and was in consequence banished. His wife's name was Servilia. (Tac. Ann. vi. 9, xv. 56, 71, xvi. 30.)

POLLIO, A'NTIUS, one of the consules suf-fecti in a. d. 155 (Fasti).

POLLIO, ASI'NIUS. 1. C. asinius pollio, a distinguished orator, poet and historian of the Augustan age. He was descended from a family of the Marrucini, and he may have been a grand­son of the Herius Asinius, who commanded this people in the Marsic war. We learn from the Fasti Capitolini, and from inscriptions, that his father's name was Cneius. Pollio was born at Rome in b. c. 76 according to Hieronymus (in Euseb. Chron.}, and he had consequently frequent opportunities of hearing in his youth Cicero, Caesar, Hortensius, and the other great orators of the age. He was early fired with the ambition of treading in the footsteps of these illustrious men, and accordingly in b. c. 54, when he was only twenty-two \ ears of age, he came forward as the accuser of C. Cato, on account of the disturbances which the latter had caused in B. c. 56, when he was tribune of the plebs. Cato was defended by C. Licinius Calvus and M. Scaurus ; but as the illegal acts of which he was accused, had been performed to favour the election of Pompey and Crassus to the consulship, he was now supported by the powerful influence of the former, and was accordingly acquitted. It can scarcely be inferred from this accusation that Pollio was in favour of the republican party; he probably only wished to attract attention, and obtain celebrity by his bold attack against one of the creatures of the triumvirs. At all events, he espoused Caesar's party, when a rupture at length took place be­tween Caesar and Pompey, and repaired to Caesar in Cisalpine Gaul probably in the course of b. c. 50. He accompanied Caesar in his passage across the Rubicon at the beginning of b. c. 49, on which occasion he is mentioned in a manner that would indicate that he was one of Caesar's intimate friends (Plut. Caes. 32), and was a witness of his triumphal progress through the towns of Italy. After Caesar had obtained possession of Italy Pollio was sent, under the command of Curio, to drive M. Cato out of Sicily, and from thence crossed over with Curio into Africa. After the unfortunate battle, in which Curio was defeated by King Juba, and in which he lost his life, Pollio hastened back to the camp at Utica, collected the remains of the army, and with difficulty made his escape by sea. He now joined Caesar, accom­panied him in his campaign against Pompey in Greece, and was present at the battle of Pharsalia, b. c. 48, which he could therefore describe as an eye-witness. After the battle of Pharsalia he returned to Rome, and was probably tribune of the plebs in b. c. 47, since he is mentioned in that year as one of the opponents of the tribune , Dolabella, who was endeavouring to carry a mea­sure for the abolition of all debts (Pint. Anton. 9), and as a private person he could not have offered any open resistance to a tribune. In the following year, b. c. 46, Pollio fought under Caesar against the Pompeian party in Africa, arid he related in his history how he and Caesar on one occasion had driven back the enemy when their troops were surprised (Plut. Caes. 52). He also accompanied

437

POLLIO.

Caesar next year, b. c. 45, in his campaign in Spain, and on his return to Rome must have been one of the fourteen praetors, whom Caesar ap­pointed in the course of this year, since we find him called praetorius in the history of b. c. 44. (Veil. Pat. ii. 73.) He did not, however, remain long in Rome, for Caesar sent him again into Spain, with the command of the Further Province, in order to prosecute the war against Sex. Pompey, who had again collected a considerable force since the battle of Munda. He was in his province at the time of Caesar's death on the 15th of March, b. c. 44, and his campaign against Sextus is described by his panegyrist Velleius Paterculus (I. c.) as most glorious; but he was, in fact, defeated, and nearly lost his life in the battle (Dion Cass. xlv. 10). He would probably have been unable to maintain his position in his pro­vince, if a peace had not been concluded after Caesar's death between Rome and Sextus. This was brought about by the mediation of Antony and Lepidus ; Sextus quitted Spain, but Pollio continued quietly in his province.

On the breaking out of the war between Antony and the senate in b. c. 43, Pollio was strongly pressed to assist the latter with troops. In his letters to Cicero, three of which have come down to us (ad Fam. x. 31—33), he expresses great devotion to the cause of the senate, but alleges various reasons why it is impossible for him to comply with their request. Like most of Caesar's other friends, he probably did not in heart wish success to the senatorial party, but at the same time would not commit himself to Antonv.

*/

Even when the latter was joined by Lepidus, he still hesitated to declare in their favour ; but when Octavian espoused their side, and compelled the senate in the month of August to repeal the sen­tence of outlawry which had been pronounced against them, Pollio at length joined them with three legions, and persuaded L. Plancus in Ga-ul to follow, his example, Octavian, Antony, and Lepidus then formed the triumvirate, and deter­mined who should be consuls for the next five years. Pollio was nominated, for b. c, 40, but was in return obliged to consent to the proscription of his father-in-law, L. Quintius.

In the division of the provinces among the tri­umvirs, Antony received the Gauls with the exception of the Narbonese, The administration of the Transpadane Gaul was committed to Pollio by Antony, and he had accordingly the difficult task of settling the veterans in the lands which had been assigned to them in this province. It was upon this occasion that he saved the property of the poet Virgil at Mantua from confiscation, whom he took under his protection from his love of literature. In the Perusinian war which was carried on by Fulvia and L. Antonius against Octavian in b. c. 41 and 40, Pollio, like the other legates of Antony, took little part, as he did not know the views and wishes of his commander. Octavian compelled him to resign the province to Alfenus Varus ; and as Antony, the triumvir, was now expected from Greece, Pollio exerted him­self to keep possession of the sea-coast in order to secure his landing, since an open rupture between Octavian and Antony seemed now almost inevi­table. He was fortunate in securing the co-operation of Domitius Ahenobarbus, who was cruising in the Ionian sea with a squadron of ?hips which had

F F 3

Pages
About | First

435

436

437
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.