Gaius Papirius Carbo (tribune 90 BC)

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Gaius Papirius Carbo, surnamed Arvina, son of Gaius Papirius Carbo (consul 120 BC), was a staunch supporter of the aristocracy, and was put to death by the Marian party in 82.

He is known chiefly for the law (lex Plautia Papiria) carried by him and M. Plautius Silvanus when tribunes of the people in 90 (or 89), whereby the Roman franchise was offered to every Italian ally domiciled in Italy at the time when the law was enacted, provided he made application personally within sixty days to the praetor at Rome. The object of the law was to conciliate the states at war with Rome and to secure the loyalty of the federate states. Like his father, Carbo was an orator of distinction.[1]

Carbo was also remembered for his attempts to avenge his father's death. His father, the consul of 120 BC, had committed suicide after being prosecuted by L. Licinius Crassus - who was later remembered by the likes of Cicero as the greatest orator of his age - in 119 BC. Carbo Arvina attempted to take revenge on Crassus by following him to his proconsular province in 94 BC, with the aim of gathering evidence with which he might prosecute Crassus for maladministration. Crassus found out about Carbo's intentions and decided, much to the surprise of later commentators, to incorporate Carbo into his close circle of advisors. As a result, 'the keen and bitter Carbo got nothing from his trip to Gaul, except the realization that his father had been guilty and had been sent into exile by a man of complete integrity' (Valerius Maximus, 3.7.6).

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  1. ^ Cicero, Pro Archia, 4; Velleius Paterculus ii.26; Appian, Bell. Civ. i.88.