Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Roman General: Gaius Trebonius

Gaius Trebonius was a Roman politician and general. As a patrician, he showed conservative tendencies during his term as quaestor beginning in 60 B.C., but he later became a strong supporter of Julius Caesar and the populares.

As tribune, in 55 B.C. he sponsored the Lex Trebonia, by which Pompey and Crassus, that year's consuls, were assigned, respectively, the provinces of Spain and Syria and by which the assignment to Caesar of Gaul and Illyricum was extended. Although Cicero was persuaded to support the law favoring the dynasts, Cato regarded these extraordinary powers as foreshadowing the end of the republic.

During the second civil war beginning in 49 B.C. Trebonius commanded three legions under Caesar, whose protege he became and under whom he was appointed praetor in 48 B.C., and propraetor of Spain in 47 B.C.; although he was driven from Spain by the revolt of his troops, he became consul in 45 B.C. Despite promises of additional favors, Trebonius joined the conspiracy against his patron, delaying Mark Antony's entrance into the Senate while Caesar was murdered in 44 B.C.

In the following year Trebonius was made proconsul of Asia, a post which Caesar had promised him before his death. He was murdered, supposedly at Smyrna, by Publius Cornelius Dolabella, governor of Syria, after he had been in office only a short time in 43 B.C.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Roman General: Titus Quinctius Flamininus

Titus Quinctius Flamininus (229-174 B.C.) was a Roman general, who defeated Philip V of Macedon in the Second Macedonian War (200-196 B.C.). He was elected consul in 198, before he was 30 years old, and given command of the Roman garrison in Macedonia. An admirer of the Greeks, he demanded that Philip surrender his Greek possessions and confine himself to Macedon, but Philip refused. Flamininus, therefore, led the Roman legions against the Macedonians at Cynoscephalae in 197 and won a decisive victory.

During the Isthmian Games at Corinth in 196, Flamininus read a senatorial decree proclaiming autonomy for all Greek states and declaring them free from garrisons and tribute. In 195 his legions and the Achaeans defeated Nabis, King of Sparta, and won freedom for Argos. He withdrew Roman troops from Greece in 194, leaving an uneasy peace. Macedonia was left intact as a barrier against barbarians and intrusion by Antiochus III of Syria.

The Aetolian allies of Rome were unhappy with the settlement; they wanted to destroy Macedon. Nabis also remained a threat to peace in the Peloponnesus. In 193-192, Flamininus was sent to Greece as a legate to end a new war between Nabis and the Achaeans. The Aetolians appealed to Antiochus to deliver them from Roman interference. Flamininus remained an active legate in Greece during the first stages of the war between the Romans and Antiochus (192-189). Rome, once hailed as the liberator of the Greek states, was now accused of intervention.

In 183, Flamininus was sent as legate to Prusias, King of Bithynia, to protest his attack on Perganjum. He also demanded the life of Hannibal, who had taken refuge in Bithynia. Flamininus died in 174 B.C.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Roman General: Gaius Fabricius Luscinus

Gaius Fabricius Luscinus, Roman general and statesman, hero of the war against King Pyrrhus of Epirus. Traditional stories exaggerated his qualities and represented Fabricius Luscinus as the model of Roman self-denial and incorruptibility.

As consul in 282 B.C., Fabricius relieved the siege of Thurii and defeated forces of Samnites, Bruttians, and Lucanians. After Rome's defeat by Pyrrhus at Heraclea in 280, he twice headed embassies to Pyrrhus. Tradition reports that he steadfastly refused bribes offered both by Pyrrhus and by Pyrrhus' enemies. In 278, during his second consulship, Fabricius negotiated a treaty with Heraclea and earned notable victories over Pyrrhus' Sabellian allies and the Tarentines. His career was climaxed by his election as censor in 275.

Gaius Fabricius Luscinus died around mid 3rd century B.C.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Roman General: Decimus Clodius Albinus

Decimus Clodius Albinus, Roman soldier, born at Adrumetum in Africa. He entered the army at an early age, and served with distinction under Marcus Aurelius, especially during the rebellion of Avidius Cassius, AD 175. He was raised to the consulate in 176, and appointed to the governorship of Gaul and afterwards of Britain by the emperor Commodus. On the death of Commodus and that of his successor, Pertinax, 193, Septimius Severus declared Albinus Caesar, in order to secure his neutrality, while he himself marched on Rome. Having there defeated his rival Pescennius Niger, he resolved to get rid of Aibinus also. In a battle at Lugdunum (Lyons) in 197 A.D., Albinus was defeated and killed.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Roman General: Quintus Tullius Cicero

Quintus Tullius Cicero (c. 102-43 B.C.) was the younger brother of Marcus Tullius Cicero. He was aedile in 67, praetor in 62, and for three years governor in Asia. He distinguished himself as one of Caesar's officers in Gaul. In the civil war between Pompey and Caesar he joined the former, but later deserted him and reinstated himself with Caesar. He was put to death in the proscriptions of 43 B.C.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Roman General: Belisarius

Belisarius was an Eastern Roman (Byzantine) general. Born Dalmatia (now in Yugoslavia), about 505 A.D.

Belisarius was one of the great soldiers in the service of the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I. After demonstrating his military skill in battle against the Persians on the eastern front and his loyalty by crushing the Nika revolt against the emperor, Belisarius was sent to attack the Vandals in Africa in 533 A.D. Overwhelmingly successful, he was then entrusted with the long-projected reconquest of Italy from the Ostrogoths. Landing in Sicily, Belisarius advanced to Rome, entering it in 536 A.D. By 540 A.D. he had gained control of Ravenna and all of peninsular Italy.

After his Italian triumph, Belisarius returned to the Persian wars in the east. In 544 A.D. he was recalled to Italy to meet the attacks of the Ostrogoth Totila.

Although he recaptured Rome, Belisarius was unable to restore his former Italian conquest. Unwilling or unable to reinforce Belisarius, Justinian relieved him in 548 A.D. Belisarius lived in retirement until 559 A.D., when he once again took command to repel a raid by the Kotrigur Huns on the empire's capital at Constantinople (now Istanbul). Historians believe there is no truth to later stories of Belisarius spending his final years in disgrace and poverty after having been blinded by Justinian.

Belisarius died in 565 A.D.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Roman General: Gaius Marius

Gaius Marius (157-86 BC), Roman general and statesman, born at Arpinum. He served under Scipio Africanus at Numantia (134), was tribune of the plebs in 119 and later married Julia, aunt of Julius Caesar. By this time he had established himself as a leading popularis at Rome.

As a distinguished Roman general he was seven times elected consul. He was elected consul for the first time in 107 and received command of the war against Jugurtha.

The brilliance of his quaestor Sulla, to whom Jugurtha surrendered in 106, marked the beginning of that rivalry between the two men which led to civil war.

Marius's next task was military reform. Meanwhile Italy was threatened by the Cimbri and Teutones, and Marius was elected consul a second time for 104. The menace was postponed, but he was consul a third and fourth time in 103 and 102. In the latter year he defeated the Teutones and their allies at Aquae Sextiae, and in 101, with his colleague, A. Lutatius Catulus, the Cimbri at Campi Raudii near Vercellae.

He was elected consul for the fifth time in 101. In order to secure the consulship a sixth time, he associated himself with two demagogues, Saturninus and Glaucia.

In his sixth consulship (100), he put down the insurrection of Saturninus, and by a popular vote was chosen to displace Sulla in command against Mithridates. Sulla marched upon Rome and took Marius prisoner, but he escaped to Africa, returned to Italy and joined Cinna in his revolt against Sulla. The two entered Rome, and Marius was elected consul for the seventh time in 86; but he died shortly afterwards.

In 88, anxious for command in the Mithridatic war, Marius obtained a vote of the people conferring on him the command already bestowed on Sulla by the Senate. Sulla joined his legions in Campania and marched on Rome; Marius fled and eventually reached Africa. In 87, however, he returned to Italy, and with the consul L. Cornelius Cinna made a new bid for power. Without an election Marius and Cinna nominated themselves consuls for the next year; but on the 18th day of his seventh consulship Marius died of pleurisy.