Marcus Domitius Calvinus (praetor 80 BC)

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Marcus Domitius Calvinus (or possibly Lucius Domitius Calvinus)[note 1] (died 79 BC) was an ancient Roman politician and military commander who was killed during the early stages of the Sertorian War.


Domitius Calvinus was a member of the Plebeian gens Domitia, who was elected praetor, serving in the office around the year 80 BC.[1][note 2]

For the following year (79 BC) he was assigned the province of Hispania Citerior as the proconsular governor.[2] His tenure coincided with the outbreak of the Sertorian War. Quintus Sertorius, an opponent of the dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla, had landed in Hispania Ulterior, and defeated the propraetoreal governor, Lucius Fufidius, who in turn turned to Domitius Calvinus for help.[3] In the meantime, the Senate decided that a more experienced commander was required. Therefore they turned Hispania Ulterior into a consular province and sent Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius as its new governor, and to take command of the war against Sertorius.[4]

It was around this time, with Metellus Pius either on his way or already installed in Hispania Ulterior, that Domitius Calvinus crossed over into Hispania Ulterior, but found his passage blocked by the army of Hirtuleius, the quaestor of Sertorius, who had fortified Consabura. Asking for assistance from Metellus Pius, Domitius Calvinus was eventually forced into a battle at the Anas river;[5] here, the two forces engaged each other, with the end result that Calvinus’ army was defeated, and Domitius Calvinus lay dead on the field of battle.[6][7][8]

Metellus Pius, unaware of the disaster, had already sent a legate named Thorius to provide assistance to Domitius Calvinus, but he too was defeated, this time by Sertorius. Calvinus’ replacement as governor was Quintus Calidius.[9]


  1. ^ Domitius’ praenomen is given as Marcus in Livy and Lucius in Eutropius, while the cognomen Calvinus is Broughton’s correction of Plutarch’s text – see Broughton, pg. 85
  2. ^ The dates of his praetorship and subsequent career are uncertain. It is possible that Domitius Calvinus was praetor in 81 BC, with the date of his proconsulship and death dated to 80 BC – see Broughton, The Magistrates of the Roman Republic, Vol III (1986), pg. 84


  • Brennan, T. Corey, The Praetorship in the Roman Republic, Volume 2 (2000)
  • Broughton, T. Robert S., The Magistrates of the Roman Republic, Vol II (1951)
  • Smith, William, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, Vol I (1867).


  1. ^ Broughton, pg. 79
  2. ^ Broughton, pg. 84
  3. ^ Broughton, T. Robert S., The Magistrates of the Roman Republic, Vol III (1986), pgs. 93-94
  4. ^ Broughton, pg. 84; Brennan, pg. 506
  5. ^ Brennan, pgs. 505-506
  6. ^ Plutarch, Sert. 12
  7. ^ Livy, Epit. 90
  8. ^ Eutropius vi. 1
  9. ^ Brennan, pg. 506