The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.



account of public sacrifices. This law was repealed in b.c. 195, notwithstanding the vehement opposi­tion of the elder Cato (Liv. xxxiv. 1—8 ; Val. Max. ix. 1. § 3 ; Tac. Ann. iii. 33, 34).

4. C. oppius, a praefect of the allies, was sent by the consul P. Aelius Paetus, in b. c. 201, with some raw levies to attack the territories of the Boii, but was cut off by the enemy with a large number of his men (Liv. xxxi. 2).

5. L. oppius, tribune of the plebs, b.c. 197 (Liv. xxxii. 28), is probably the same as L. Oppius Salinator [No. 6], though Livy omits his prae-nomen.

6. L. oppius salinator, plebeian aedile, b.c. 193, was sent in the following year to convey a fleet of twenty ships to Sicily. He was praetor in b. c. 191, and obtained Sardinia as his province. (Liv. xxxv. 23, 24, xxxvi. 2).

7. Q. oppius, one of the Roman generals in the Mithridatic war, b. c. 88. He is called proconsul in the Epitome of Livy, from which we may infer that he had been praetor, and was afterwards sent, as was frequently the case, with the title of pro­consul to take the command of an army. He had possession of the city of Laodiceia in Phrygia, near the river Lycus ; but when Mithridates had con­quered the whole of the surrounding country, the inhabitants of Laodiceia gave up Oppius to the king on the promise of their receiving pardon by so doing. Mithridates did no injury to Oppius, but carried him with him in his various campaigns, exhibiting to the people of Asia a Roman general as a prisoner. Mithridates subsequently surren­dered him to Sulla. (Liv. Epit. 78 ; Athen. v. p. 213, a ; Appian, Mithr. 17, 20, 112.)

8. oppius, stated by an ancient scholiast to have been praetor in Achaia, and to have been accused at the instigation of Verres. We may therefore place his praetorship about b. c. 80. (Schol. in Cic. Verr. p. 389 ; Pseudo-Aseon. in Cic. Verr. pp. 128, 171, ed. Orelli.)

9. P. oppius, was quaestor in Bithynia to M. Aurelius Cotta, who was consul in B. c. 74, and who remained in Bithynia for the next three or four years. Oppius appears to have appropriated to his own use many of the supplies intended for the troops; and when he was charged with this by Cotta, he forgot himself so far as to draw his sword upon the proconsul. Cotta accordingly dismissed him from the province, and sent a letter to the senate, in which he formally accused Oppius of malversation, and of making an attempt upon the life of his imperator. He was brought to trial in b. c. 69, and was de­fended by Cicero. The speech which Cicero deli­vered in his favour is lost, but it seems to have been one of considerable merit, as it is referred to several times by Quintilian. (Dion Cass. xxxvi. 23 ; Quintil. v. 10. § 69, v. 13. § 17 ; Sail. Hist. iii. p. 218. ed. Gerlach ; Cic. Fragm. vol. iv. p. 444, ed. Orelli; Drumann, Geschichte Roms, vol. v. p. 343.)

10. C. oppius, one of the most intimate friends of C. Julius Caesar. Together with Cornelius Bal-bus, with whose name that of Oppius is usually coupled, he managed most of Caesar's private affairs, and was well acquainted with all his plans and wishes, In the time of A. Gellius (xvii. 9) there was extant a collection of Caesar's letters to Op­pius and Balbus, written in a kind of cipher. The regard which Caesar had for Oppius is shown by an anecdote related both by Plutarch (Caes. 17) and Suetonius (Caes. 72), who tell us, that when Caesar


with his retinue was on one occasion overtaken by a storm and compelled to take refuge in a poor man's hut, which contained only a single chamber, and that hardly large enough for one person, he made Oppius, who was in delicate health, sleep in the hut, while he and the rest of his friends slept in the porch. On the breaking out of the civil war in b. c. 49, the name of Oppius often occurs in Cicero's letters. Oppius and Balbus had frequent correspondence with Cicero, in which they endeavoured to quiet his apprehensions as to Caesar's designs, and used all their efforts to per­suade him to espouse the cause of the latter. There is in the collection of Cicero's letters a letter written to him in the joint names of Oppius and Balbus, accompanied by a letter of Caesar's to them, in which the great Roman at the very commencement of the civil war promises to use his victory with moderation, and says that he will try to overcome his enemies by mercy and kindness, a promise which he faithfully kept to the end of his life. (Cic. ad Alt. ix. 7 ; comp. ad Aft. ix. 13, ad Fain. ii. 16, ad Att. xi. 17,18, xii. 19.) To the death of Caesar, Oppius continued to hold the same place in his favour and esteem, and in the year before his death we read that Oppius and Balbus had the man­agement and control of all affairs at Rome during the absence of the dictator in Spain, though the government of the city was nominally in the hands of M. Lepidus as magister equitum. (Cic. ad Fain. vi. 8,19.) After the death of the dictator, Oppius espoused the cause of the young Octavian, and exhorted Cicero to do the same (ad Att. xvi. 15).

Oppius was the author of several works, which are referred to by the ancient writers, but all of which have perished. The authorship of the his­tories of the Alexandrine, African, and Spanish wars was a disputed point as early as the time of Sue­tonius, some assigning them to Oppius and others to Hirtius. (Suet. Caes. 56.) But the similarity in style and diction between the work on the Alexandrine war and the last book of the Com­mentaries on the Gallic war, leads to the conclusion that the former, at all events, was the work of Hirtius. The book on the African war may have been written by Oppius, to whom it is confidently assigned by Niebuhr, who remarks, " that the work is very instructive and highly trustworthy, but that the language is quite different from that of the work on the Alexandrine war; there is a certain mannerism about it, and it is on the whole less beautiful." (Lectures on Roman History., vol. v. p. 47.) Oppius also wrote the lives of several of the most distinguished Romans. The following are expressly mentioned as his composition : 1. A Life of Scipio Africanus the elder. (Charisius, p. 119, ed. Putschius; Gell. vii. 1.) 2. A Life of Cassius. (Charisius, I.e.} 3. A Life of Marius. (Plin. H. N. xi. 45. s. 104.) 4. A Life of Pom-pey, quoted by Plutarch (Pomp. 10), who observes, " that when Oppius is speaking of the enemies or friends of Caesar, it is necessary to be very cautious in believing what he says." 5. Probably a Life of Caesar, from which Suetonius and Plutarch ap­pear to have derived some of their statements. (Comp. Suet. Caes. 53 ; Plut. Caes. 17.) After Caesar's death, Oppius wrote a book to prove that Caesarion was not the son of Julius Caesar by Cleo­patra, as the latter pretended. (Suet. Caes. 52. Comp. Vossius, De Historicis LoMnis, i 13, pp. 679 68, Lugd. Bat. 1651.)

About | First



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of