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On this page: Viseius – Visellius Varro – Visidius – Visolus – Vitalianus – Vitalis – Vitellianus – Vitellii

1272

VISCELLINUS.

never carried into execution. It must be recollected that the comitia of the tribes had no share in the legislature till the time of the Publilian law, and that the tribunes before the latter time had no power to bring forward a law of any kind: con­sequently, when we read of their agrarian law, as we do almost every year down to the time of the decemvirs, it must refer to a law which had been already enacted, but never carried into execution.

In the following year, b. c. 485, Cassius was brought to trial on the charge of aiming at regal power, and was put to death. The manner of his trial and the nature of his death are differently stated in the ancient writers ; but there can be little doubt that he was accused before the assembly of the curies by the quaestores parricidii, K. Fabius and L. Valerius, and was sentenced to death by his fellow patricians, who regarded him as a traitor to their order. Like other state criminals, he was scourged and beheaded. His house was razed to the ground, and the spot where it stood in front of the temple of Tellus was left waste. A brazen statue of Ceres was erected in her temple, with an inscription recording that it was dedicated out of the fortune of Cassius (eoo Cassianafamilia datum}, Dionysius stated that Cassius was hurled from the Tarpeian rock, which mistake arose from his strange supposition, which was also shared by Livy, that Cassius was condemned by the assembly of the tribes. Other accounts related that Cassius was condemned by his own father, which statement probably arose, as Niebuhr has suggested, from a desire to soften down the glaring injustice of the deed ; while other writers again, who thought it impossible that a man who had been thrice consul and had twice triumphed, should still be in his father's power, restricted the father's judgment to his declaring that he considered his son guilty. (Liv. i. 43 ; Dionys. viii. 68—80 ; Cic. deRep. ii. 27, 35, Philipp. ii. 44, Lael. 8,1],pro Dom. 38 ; Val. Max. vi. 3. § 1; Plin. //. N. xxxiv. 6. s. 14.) Whether Cassius was really guilty or not, cannot be determined with certainty. All the ancient writers, with one exception, speak of his guilt as an universally admitted fact; and the statement of Dion Cassius (Ease, de Sentent. 19, p. 150, ed. Mai) that he was innocent, and was condemned to death out of malice, must be regarded as simply the expression of Dion's own opinion, and not as a statement for which the writei had met with any evidence. So strong in antiquity was the belief in his guilt, that the censors of B. c. 159 melted down his statue, which was erected on the spot in front of his house, and which must have been set up there by one of his descendants, for it is impossible to believe that the quaestors would have spared it, if it had been erected, as Pliny states (I. c.), by Cassius himself. On the other hand, such a general belief is no proof of his guilt; and it is far more probable that the patricians invented the accusation for the purpose of getting rid of a dangerous oppo­nent ; and as they were both the accusers and the judges, the condemnation of Cassius followed as a matter of course. Dionysius relates (viii. 80) that Cassius left behind him three sons, whose lives were spared by the senate, although many were anxious that the whole race should be extermi­nated. The Cassii mentioned at a later time were all plebeians. The sons may have been expelled by the patricians from their order, or they or their descendants may themselves have voluntarily passed

VITELLII.

over to the plebeians, because the patricians had shed the blood of their father or ancestor. (Niebuhr, Hist, of Rome, vol. ii. p. 166, &c., Lectures mi the History of Rome, p. 189, foil., ed. Schmitz, 1848.)

VISEIUS. [SEius, No. 3.]

VISELLIUS VARRO. [varko,]

VISIDIUS. [nasidius.]

VISOLUS, an agnomen borne by most of the Poetelii Libones. [LiBO, poetelius.]

VITALIANUS, praetorian praefect under Maximinus, his devoted adherent and the willing instrument of his cruelty, was assassinated at Rome a. d. 238 by the emissaries of the Gordians before the events in Africa had been made known pub­ licly. The details will be found in Herod ian (vii. 14) and in Capitolinus (Gordian. tres, 10). See also Capitol. Maxim, duo, 14, where Valerians is a false reading for Vitaliano. [W. R.]

VITALIS, artists. 1. papirius, a painter, known by an inscription to the memory of his wife, which is now in the corridor of inscriptions in the Vatican, and on which the artist has de­scribed his profession by appending to his name the words Arte Pictoria. (Spon, Miscell. p.-229 ; Fabretti, Inscr. p. 235, No. 622 ; Welcker, Kumtblatt, lb'27, No. 84 ; R. Rochette, Lettre a M. iSckoni^ p. 425, 2d ed.)

2. An architect, known by the inscription which once belonged to his family tomb, and which runs

thus: ——TI. CLAUDIUS. SCARAI'HI. V1TALIS. AR-CHITECTUS. V. A. XL. FECIT. SIBI. ET. SUIS.

(Gruter, p. dcxxiii. ; Montfaucon, Antiq. Explic. vol. v. pi. 87, p. 95 ; Sillig, Catalog. Artific. Ap­ pend, s. v. ; R. Rochette, I. c.) [P. S.]

VITELLIANUS, a Roman architect, known by the inscription on his tomb in the Via Flaini- nia, on which he is described as sex. verianus. sex. f. quir. vitellianus. (Gori, Inscr. Don. p. 317, n. 6 ; Sillig, Catalog. Artific. Append. s. v. ; R. Rochette, Lettre a M. Schorn, p. 42,3, 2d ed.) ^ [P. S.]

VITELLII. In the time of Suetonius it was dis­puted whether the origin of the Vitellii was ancient and noble, or recent and obscure, and even mean. The adulators of the emperor Vitellius and his ene­mies were the partizans of the two several opinions. The name of the Vitellii at least was ancient, and they were said to derive their descent from Faunus, king of the Aborigines, and Vitellia, as the name is in the text of Suetonius. ( Vitell. c. 1.) The family, according to tradition, went from the country of the Sabini to Rome, and was received among the Patricians. As evidence of the existence of this family (stirps), a Via Vitellia, extending from the Janiculum to the sea, is mentioned, and a Roman colonia of the same name, Vitellia, in the country of the Aequi. (Liv. v. 29, ii. 39.) The name of the Vitellii occurs among the Romans who conspired to restore the last Tarquinius, and the sister of the Vitellii was the wife of the consul Brutus. (Liv. ii.

4.)

Cassius Severus and others assigned the meanest origin to the Vitellii: the founder of the stock, ac­cording to them, was a freedman. Suetonius leaves the question undecided.

1. P. vitellius, whatever his origin may have been, was a Roman eques, and a procurator of Augustus. His native place was Nuceria, but Sue­tonius does not say which of the places so called. He had four sons, Aulus, Quintus, Publius, and Lucius. (Sueton. Vitdl. 2.)

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