Quintus Caecilius Metellus Nepos Iunior

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Quintus Caecilius Metellus Nepos Iunior (c. 100 BC – 55 BC) was a son of Quintus Caecilius Metellus Nepos. He was a plebeian tribune in 62 BC, a praetor in 60 BC, a consul in 57 BC and the governor of Hispania Citerior in 56 BC.

Metellus Nepos was a lieutenant of Pompey in the campaign and against the pirates in the Mediterranean in 67 BC and, like his brother Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer, in the Third Mithridatic War (73–63 BC) against Mithridates VI of Pontus and Tigranes the Great of Armenia. In the war against the pirates he was assigned the command of Lycia and Pamphylia (both on the south coast of modern Turkey).[1] Josephus mentioned that in 65 BC Pompey sent Metellus and Lollius to capture Damascus, in Syria.[2] It is generally assumed that this refers to Metellus Nepos.

In 63 BC, Metellus Nepos was elected plebeian tribune for 62 BC, along with Cato the Younger. Inaugurated on 10 December 63 BC, he began a vitriolic campaign against Cicero, whom he accused before the people of having illegally executed some of the accomplices of Catiline without trial during the Catilinarian Conspiracy. Metellus Nepos, together with his colleague Bestia and Julius Caesar, a praetor at the time, prevented Cicero from making a speech on the last day of his consulship, 29 December 63 BC, restricting him to the customary oath on giving up office. Cicero instead pronounced an oath of his own, "swearing that in very truth he had saved his country and maintained her supremacy," which the people confirmed.[3][4] Metellus Nepos proposed a bill which provided for Pompey, recently victorious in the war against Mithridates, to be recalled to Rome with his army to restore order. The proposal was strongly opposed by Cato the Younger, who was a staunch optimate. The dispute came close to violence, and Metellus Nepos armed some of his men. According to Plutarch, the senate announced the intention to issue a final decree to remove Nepos from his office but Cato the Younger opposed it, but he does not mention whether the decree was enforced or not.[5] Metellus Nepos went to Asia to inform Pompey about the events, even though, as a plebeian tribune, he had no right to be absent from the city.[6] Tatum maintains that Metellus Nepos leaving the city even though plebeian tribunes were not allowed to do so was 'a gesture demonstrating the senate's violation of the tribunate.' [7] Julius Caesar also proposed a measure to recall Pompey to Rome for the same reason. Caesar was suspended from his office by a final decree of the senate.[8] In the end, both men dropped their proposals.

When Metellus Nepos was a praetor in 60 BC, he passed a law which abolished import duties in Rome and Italy. The senate was angry and wished to erase his name for the law and replace it with another one, but, for whatever reason, this was not carried out.[9]

In 57 BC, when Metellus Nepos was one of the consuls, Pompey sponsored a vote to recall Cicero to Rome from his exile. The other consul, Publius Cornelius Lentulus Spinther, supported this cause in the senate partly as a favour to Pompey and partly because he bore a grudge against Publius Clodius Pulcher, the man who had had Cicero expelled. Metellus Nepos supported Clodius, setting up a factional struggle. Knowing that the people were in favour of Cicero's return, Clodius had some gladiators attack the public assembly during the vote to recall Cicero, and the measure was not passed. The opposing faction hit back with their own gladiators. Pressured by Spinther and Pompey, Nepos changed his mind, and Spinther then presented a motion for Cicero's return, which the senate decreed. Both consuls then proposed the motion to the people, who passed it.[10] Cicero wrote him a letter prompted by his making a speech which was favourable to him in the senate and said that he had conquered himself and lay aside his enmity for the sake of the Republic. He also said that if he helped him he would be at his service.[11]

In 56 BC Metellus Nepos was nominated Governor of Hispania Citerior, dominating La Coruña, where the Vaccaei had defeated his father.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Appian, The Foreign Wars, The Mithridatic War, 14.94
  2. ^ Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 14.1.4
  3. ^ Plutarch, Parallel Lives, the Life of Cicero, 32.1-3
  4. ^ Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiares, 5.2
  5. ^ Plutarch, Parallel Lives, The life of Cato the Younger, 27-29.1-2
  6. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History, 37.43
  7. ^ Tatum, J. W., The final Crisis (69-44), in A p. 198
  8. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Julius Caesar, 16
  9. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History, 37.51.3-4
  10. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History, 39.6
  11. ^ Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiares, 5.4


Primary sources

Cassius Dio, Roman History, Vol. 3, Books 36-40, Loeb Classical Library, Loeb, 1989; ISBN 978-0674990593 Plutarch, Lives of the noble Grecians and Romans, Benediction Classics, 2015; ISBN 978-1781395134

Secondary Sources
  • Tatum, J. W., The final Crisis (69-44), in Nathan Rosenstein, N., and Morstein-Marx. R., a Companion to the Roman Republic(Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World), Blackwell, 2010; ISBN 978-1444334135
Political offices
Preceded by
Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus and Aulus Gabinius
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Publius Cornelius Lentulus Spinther
57 BC
Succeeded by
Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus Marcellinus and Lucius Marcius Philippus