Quintus Lutatius Catulus (Capitolinus)

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Quintus Lutatius Catulus (c. 120–61 BC), sometimes called "Capitolinus", was a politician in the late Roman Republic. His father was the like-named Quintus Lutatius Catulus (149-87 BC), also a politician.


Catulus inherited his father's hatred of the leading statesman and general Marius, and was a consistent though moderate supporter of the aristocracy. In 78 he was consul with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (120-77 BC), who after the death of Sulla proposed the overthrow of his constitution, the re-establishment of the distribution of grain, the recall of the banished, and other democratic measures. Catulus vigorously opposed this, and a temporary compromise was effected.

But Lepidus, having levied troops in his province of Transalpine Gaul, returned to Rome at the head of an army. Catulus defeated him at the Milvian bridge and near Cosa in Etruria, and Lepidus made his escape to Sardinia, where he died soon afterwards. In 67 and 66 Catulus unsuccessfully opposed, as prejudicial to constitutional freedom, the Gabinian and Manilian laws, which conferred special powers upon Pompey. He consistently opposed Julius Caesar, whom he endeavoured to implicate in the Catilinarian conspiracy. Caesar, in return, accused him of embezzling public money during the reconstruction of the temple on the Capitol, and proposed to obliterate his name from the inscription and deprive him of the office of commissioner for its restoration. Catulus' supporters rallied round him, and Caesar dropped the charge. Later Caesar took his revenge by becoming Pontifex Maximus in 63 BC defeating Catulus in the process.

Catulus held the office of censor, but soon resigned, being unable to agree with his colleague Crassus. Although not a man of great abilities, Catulus exercised considerable influence through his political consistency and his undoubted solicitude for the welfare of the state.

Preceded by
Appius Claudius Pulcher and Publius Servilius Vatia
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus
78 BC
Succeeded by
Mamercus Aemilius Lepidus Livianus and Decimus Junius Brutus



Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

See also[edit]

  • Tabularium, built by Catulus and Lepidus in 78 BC.