Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus

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This article is about the general who won the Battle of Pydna in 168 BC. For other men with this name, see Lucius Aemilius Paullus.
The Triumph of Aemilius Paulus (detail) by Carle Vernet, 1789.

Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus (c. 229 BC – 160 BC) was a two-time consul of the Roman Republic and a noted general who conquered Macedon putting an end to the Antigonid dynasty.

Family[edit]

His father was Lucius Aemilius Paullus, the consul defeated and killed in the battle of Cannae. Lucius Aemilius was, in his time, the head of his branch of the Aemilii Paulii, an old and aristocratic patrician family. Their influence was immense, particularly due to their fortune and alliance with the Cornelii Scipiones. He was father to Scipio Aemilianus Africanus.

Early career[edit]

After the fulfilment of his military service, and being elected military tribune, Paullus was elected curule aedile in 193 BC. The next step of his cursus honorum was the election as praetor in 191 BC. At the term of this office he went to the Hispania provinces, where he campaigned against the Lusitanians between 191 and 189 BC. However, he failed to be elected consul for several years. Paullus was elected consul for the first time in 182 BC, with Gnaeus Baebius Tamphilus as junior partner. His next military command, with proconsular imperium, was in the next year, against the Ingauni of Liguria.

Later career[edit]

The Third Macedonian War broke out in 171 BC, when king Perseus of Macedon defeated a Roman army led by the consul Publius Licinius Crassus in the battle of Callinicus. After two years of results indecisive for either side, Paullus was elected consul again in 168 BC (with Gaius Licinius Crassus as colleague). As consul, he was appointed by the senate to deal with the Macedonian war. Shortly afterwards, on June 22, he won the decisive battle of Pydna. Perseus of Macedonia was made prisoner and the Third Macedonian War ended.

In 167 BC, Paullus received the senate's instruction to go home and to first pillage Epirus, a kingdom suspected of sympathizing with the Macedonian cause. After loading the treasures in the Macedonian royal palace onto home-bound ships, he marched his army to Epirus, where contrary to his inclination, he ordered the plunder of seventy towns, resulting in enslavement of 150,000 people.[1]

Paullus' return to Rome was glorious. With the immense plunder collected in Macedonia and Epirus, he celebrated a spectacular triumph, featuring no less than the captured king of Macedonia himself, and his sons, putting an end to the dynasty. As a gesture of acknowledgment, the senate awarded him the surname (cognomen) Macedonicus. This was the peak of his career. In 164 BC he was elected censor. He fell ill, appeared to be recovering, but relapsed within three days and died during his term of office in 160 BC.

Family life and descendants[edit]

His father Lucius Aemilius Paullus died in battle in 216 BC in the Battle of Cannae, when Aemilius Paullus was still a boy. The Aemilii Paulli were connected by marriage and political interests to the Scipios, but their role in his subsequent upbringing is not clear.

He had been married first to Papiria Masonis (or Papiria Masonia), daughter of the consul Gaius Papirius Maso (consul in 231 BC), whom he divorced, according to Plutarch, for no particular reason. From this marriage, four children were born: two sons and two daughters, the elder Aemilia Paulla Prima apparently married[2] to the son of Marcus Porcius Cato, and the younger Aemilia Paulla Secunda to Quintus Aelius Tubero, a rich man of a plebeian family. He divorced his wife while his younger son was still a baby, according to Roman historians; thus the divorce probably took place around 183 BC-182 BC. Nevertheless, he was elected consul in 182 BC.

Paullus Macedonicus then married a second time (this wife's name is unknown) and had two more sons, the elder born around 181 BC and the younger born around 176 BC. He also apparently had another daughter (Aemilia Tertia), who was a small girl when her father was chosen consul for the second time.[3]

Since four boys were too many for a father to support through the cursus honorum, Paullus decided to give the oldest two boys up for adoption, probably between 175 BC and 170 BC. The elder was taken by a Quintus Fabius Maximus and became Quintus Fabius Maximus Aemilianus, thus joining his fortunes to the house of a national hero. The younger, possibly named Lucius, was adopted by his own cousin[4] Publius Cornelius Scipio, elder son and heir of Scipio Africanus, and became Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus, thus falling heir to the legacy of Rome's most influential political dynasty.

With the eldest sons safely adopted by two of the most powerful patrician houses, Paullus Macedonicus counted on the two younger ones to continue his own name. This was not to happen. Both of them died young, one shortly after the other, at the same time that Paullus celebrated his triumph. The elder of the two remaining sons was 14 and the younger 9, according to Polybius. Their names are unknown to us. The successes of his political and military career were thus not accompanied by a happy family life.

At his death, his sons Quintus Fabius Maximus Aemilianus and Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Aemilianus received his property by his will, even though they were legally no longer Aemilii Paulli; Scipio gave his share to his older brother who was less wealthy. Paullus's second wife (whose name is unknown to us) received her dowry back from the sale of some of her late husband's property. (Livy and Polybius both claim that Paullus died relatively poor, and that he had kept little for himself from the successful Macedonian campaign). His married daughters had presumably received dowries from their father; Aemilia Paulla Prima is known to have married in or around 164 BC.

With the death of Macedonicus, the Aemilii Paulli became extinct, even though he had two living sons. His elder surviving son Fabius Aemilianus eventually became consul and fathered at least one son, who in turn became consul as Fabius Allobrigicus in 121 BC. This man, in turn, may have been the ancestor of later Fabii who tied their fortunes to Julius Caesar and Augustus.[5] The younger surviving son was more famous as Scipio Aemilianus but died leaving no known issue. Of the daughters, the elder was ancestor of at least two consuls of no particular distinction. The younger was mother of a consul Quintus Aelius Tubero.

His first and former wife Papiria Masonia survived her ex-husband and lived to enjoy her former sister-in-law's property presented to her by her younger son (per Polybius). At her death, her property was divided between her sons, but Scipio gave it to his sisters.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Livy, History of Rome 45.33.8-34.9, Plutarch, Aemilius Paulus 29.1-30.1
  2. ^ There is some confusion about her name, because some sources claim that she was another Aemilia Tertia. However, she could not have been the Aemilia Tertia described as a small child or a little girl in 167 BC; she would have been too young to marry in 164 BC. Furthermore, it is known that the younger Cato was married to Scipio Aemilianus's full sister because Aemilianus gave his sisters his share of his mother's property.
  3. ^ Aemilia Tertia's fate is unknown. It is known that her older sisters married, and that her full brothers died in 167 BC. She may have died by 160 BC because Polybius makes no further reference to her. Nor do any Roman historians mention any other brother-in-law of Scipio Aemilianus.
  4. ^ Publius Cornelius Scipio the younger was a flamen dialis and later a praetor, whose ill-health prevented him from pursuing a military career. His mother was Aemilia Paulla or Aemilia Tertia, the sister of Paullus.
  5. ^ These would include the consul of 45 BC and the consuls Paullus Fabius Maximus and Africanus Fabius Maximus.

References[edit]

  • Livy, History of Rome XLIV, 17 – XLVI, 41.
  • Plutarch, Aemilius Paulus. [1]
  • Polybius, Histories, XXXII, 8. [2]

Further reading[edit]

  • Lora Holland, "Plutarch’s Aemilius Paullus and the Model of the Philosopher Statesman", L. de Blois et al. (eds.): The Statesman in Plutarch’s Works. Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference of the International Plutarch Society, vol. II: The Statesman in Plutarch’s Greek and Roman Lives, (Leiden, 2005), pp. 269–279.
  • William Reiter, Aemilius Paullus: Conqueror of Greece, London 1988.
  • Manuel Tröster, "Plutarch and Mos Maiorum in the Life of Aemilius Paullus", Ancient Society, 42 (2012), pp. 219-254.
Political offices
Preceded by
Quintus Fabius Labeo and Marcus Claudius Marcellus
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Gnaeus Baebius Tamphilus
182 BC
Succeeded by
Publius Cornelius Cethegus and Marcus Baebius Tamphilus
Preceded by
Quintus Marcius Philippus and Gnaeus Servilius Caepio
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Gaius Licinius Crassus
168 BC
Succeeded by
Quintus Aelius Paetus and Marcus Junius Pennus