Gaius Claudius Marcellus Minor

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This article is about the consul in 50 BC. For his cousin and consul of 49 BC, see Gaius Claudius Marcellus Maior.
Roman Republic in 50 BC

Gaius Claudius Marcellus Minor (88 BC – May 40 BC) was a Roman Senator who served as Consul in 50 BC. He was a member of the distinguished Claudius family. He was a friend to Roman Senator Cicero and an early opponent of Julius Caesar.

He was also noteworthy for marrying the sister of the future emperor Augustus, Octavia the Younger, with whom he fathered M. Marcellus, who was for a while Augustus' intended heir.

He is termed 'Minor' in order to distinguish him from his cousin and namesake, C. Claudius Marcellus 'Maior', the consul of 49 BC.

Descent & family[edit]

He was a direct descendant of consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus. His grandfather was also named Marcus; his father was Gaius and his mother was named Junia.

From his first unnamed wife, Marcellus had a daughter who married the Roman Senator, Sextus Quinctilius Varus who served as a Quaestor in 49 BC.[1] He was a grandfather to the Roman General Publius Quinctilius Varus and his three sisters.

He married in an arranged ceremony Octavia the Younger, a great-niece of Julius Caesar and sister of Octavian. Octavia bore Marcellus three children a son, Marcus and two daughters, both named Claudia Marcella born in Rome.

Opposition to Julius Caesar[edit]

In 54 BC the great-uncle of Octavia, Julius Caesar was said to be anxious for Octavia to divorce Marcellus so that she could marry Pompey, his rival and son-in-law who had just lost his wife Julia (daughter of Caesar and thus Octavia's cousin once removed). However, Pompey apparently declined the proposal and Octavia's husband continued to oppose Julius Caesar, culminating in the crucial year of his consulship in 50 BC when he tried to recall Julius Caesar from his ten-year governorship in Gaul two years early, without his army, in an attempt to save the Roman Republic. Failing this, he called unsuccessfully upon Caesar to resign.

He also obstructed Caesar from standing for a second consulship in absentia, insisting that he should return to Rome to stand, thereby forgoing the protection of his armies in Gaul. When Caesar finally invaded Italy in 49 BC, Marcellus, unlike his brother and nephew, did not take up arms against him. Caesar subsequently pardoned him.

Later years[edit]

In 46 BC, with the help of other senators including Cicero (in the latter's Pro Marcello), Gaius was able to intercede with Caesar for his cousin M. Claudius Marcellus, a former consul of 51 BC and a fervent anti-Caesarian, who was at the time living in exile in Mytilene. Gaius died in May 40 BC; five months later, his wife, Octavia, married the Roman Triumvir Mark Antony.


  1. ^ "D C O'Driscoll / Quinctilius_Varus". Retrieved 22 October 2016. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Marcus Claudius Marcellus and Servius Sulpicius Rufus
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Lucius Aemilius Lepidus Paullus
50 BC
Succeeded by
Lucius Cornelius Lentulus Crus and Gaius Claudius Marcellus Maior