Lucius Caecilius Metellus (consul 251 BC)

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For other people named Lucius Caecilius Metellus, see Lucius Caecilius Metellus (consul 68 BC).

Lucius Caecilius Metellus (ca. 290 BC – 221 BC) was the son of Lucius Caecilius Metellus Denter. He was Consul in 251 BC and 247 BC, Pontifex Maximus in 243 BC and Dictator in 224 BC.

He defeated the Carthaginian chief Hasdrubal at the celebrated Battle of Panormus, leading to the turn of the First Punic War and to the Roman domination of Sicily. In that battle, in which he deserved the Honours of the Triumph, he defeated thirteen enemy generals and captured one hundred and twenty elephants, some of which he exhibited to the Roman people, since then starting to appear with frequency in the Caecilii coins.

In this battle, so decisive for Rome, the enormous supremacy of the adversary for them, resultant of the terrible elephants then for the first time faced by the Romans was subdued by alluring the enemy to terrain where ditches or cavities were previously opened in which with spears, stakes, surprise and quick counterattack the infantry managed to impose and put in flee the powerful attacking forces.

When already Pontifex Maximus a fire devoured the Temple of Vesta and threatened to destroy the Palladium and other sacred objects to which Rome thought connected its destinies. Lucius Caecilius Metellus, without hesitating, threw himself amidst the flames and reappeared with the tutelary symbol of the first Rome. His eyes didn't withstand, however, the violence of the heat and he went blind, for which the Senate granted him the privilege of going by chariot to the Curia. In memory of that high achievement of his ancestor, the Caecilii started to mint the image of Pallas on their consular coins.

He was the father of Lucius Caecilius Metellus, Quintus Caecilius Metellus and Marcus Caecilius Metellus.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Manuel Dejante Pinto de Magalhães Arnao Metello and João Carlos Metello de Nápoles, "Metellos de Portugal, Brasil e Roma", Torres Novas, 1998
Political offices
Preceded by
Gaius Aurelius Cotta and Publius Servilius Geminus
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Gaius Furius Pacilus
251 BC
Succeeded by
Gaius Atilius Regulus and Lucius Manlius Vulso Longus
Preceded by
Gaius Aurelius Cotta and Publius Servilius Geminus
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Numerus Fabius Buteo
247 BC
Succeeded by
Manius Otacilius Crassus and Marcus Fabius Licinus