Marcus Aemilius Lepidus Porcina
Command in Spain
He was sent to Spain during his consulship to succeed his colleague Gaius Hostilius Mancinus, who had been defeated by the Numantines. While he was waiting for reinforcements from home, as he was not yet in condition to attack the Numantines, he resolved to make war upon the Vaccaei, under the pretence of their having assisted the Numantines. However, the Senate, immediately after knowing his decision, send deputies to command him to desist from his design, as they deprecated a new war in Spain, after experiencing so many disasters. Lepidus, however, had commenced the war before the deputies arrived and had summoned to his assistance his relation, Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus, who commanded in Further Spain and was a general of considerable experience and skill.
Notwithstanding his aid, Lepidus was unsuccessful. After laying waste the open country, the two generals laid siege to Palantia, the capital of the Vaccaei (the modern Palencia), but they suffered so dreadfully from want of provisions, that they were obliged to raise the siege and a considerable part of their army was destroyed by the enemy in their retreat. This happened in the proconsulship of Lepidus (136 BC) and when the news reached Rome, Lepidus was deprived of his command and condemned to pay a fine.
Lepidus was a man of education and refined taste. Cicero, who had read his speeches, speaks of him as the greatest orator of his age and says that he was the first who introduced Latin oratory the smooth and even flow of words and the artificial construction of sentences which distinguished Greek. He helped to form the style of Tiberius Gracchus and Gaius Carbo, who were accustomed to listen to him with great care.
He was, however, very deficient in a knowledge of law and Roman institutions. In politics Lepidus seems to have belonged to the aristocratic party. He opposed in his consulship the law for introducing ballots (Lex Cassia Tabellaria) proposed by Lucius Cassius Longinus Ravilla and it appears from a fragment of Priscian, that Lepidus spoke in favour of a repeal of the lex Aemilia, which was probably the sumptuary law proposed by the consul Marcus Aemilius Scaurus in 115 BC.
- Brutus, No. 15, p. 609, b
- Appian. Hisp. 80 - 83; Liv. Epit. 56; Oros. v. 5
- Velleius Paterculus ii. 10; Valerius Maximus viii. 1, damn. 7.
- Cicero, Brutus 25, 86, 97, de Orat. i. 10, Tusculanae Disputationes i. 3; Auctor, de Herenn iv. 5.
- Cic. Brut. 25
- vol. i. p. 456
- Meyer, Orator. Rom. Fragm. p. 193, &c. 2d. ed.
Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Serapio and Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus
|Consul of the Roman Republic
with Gaius Hostilius Mancinus
Lucius Furius Philus and Sextus Atilius Serranus
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1870). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.