Gaius Papirius Carbo (consul 120 BC)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Gaius Papirius Carbo was an Ancient Roman statesman and orator.


He was associated with Gaius Gracchus in carrying out the provision of the agrarian law of Tiberius Gracchus. When tribune of the people (131 BC), Carbo carried out a law extending the secret ballot for the enactment and repeal of laws. He also proposed that the tribunes should be allowed to become candidates for the same office in successive years. The proposal was defeated by Scipio Aemilianus. Carbo was suspected of having been involved in the sudden death of Scipio Aemilianus in 129 BC.

He subsequently went over to the optimates, and (when consul in 120 BC) successfully defended Lucius Opimius, the murderer of Gaius Gracchus. He was impeached for the murder of a citizen without a trial (Gaius Gracchus). At trial, he said that Gracchus had been justly slain. But the optimates did not trust Carbo. He was impeached by Lucius Crassus on a similar charge, and, feeling that he had nothing to hope for from the optimates and that his condemnation was certain, he committed suicide.[1]

His son, Gaius Papirius Carbo (tribune 90 BC), was famous for joint-passing the Lex Plautia Papiria during his tribunate, the law which granted Roman citizenship to the Italian communities that were at the time rebelling against Rome as part of the Social War (91-88 BC). This son was also remembered for his attempts to avenge his father's fate. He followed his father's prosecutor, L. Crassus, to the latter's province in 94 BC with the aim of finding a reason to prosecute him. Finding this out, L. Crassus decided not only to forgive the son but even granted him a position within his close circle of advisors.[2]


  1. ^ See Livy, Epit. 59; Appian, Bell. Civ. 1.18: Vell. Pat. ii.4; Valerius Maximus iii.7.6 (who says he went into exile); A. H. J. Greenridge, History of Rome (1904)].
  2. ^ Valerius Maximus, 3.7.6
Political offices
Preceded by
Quintus Fabius Maximus Allobrogicus and Lucius Opimius
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Publius Manilius
120 BC
Succeeded by
Lucius Aurelius Cotta and Lucius Caecilius Metellus Dalmaticus