Bibulus - Encyclopedia

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BIBULUS, a surname of the Roman gens Calpurnia. The bestknown of those who bore it was Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus, consul with Julius Caesar, 59 B.C. He was the candidate put forward by the aristocratical party in opposition to L. Lucceius, who was of the party of Caesar; and bribery was freely used, with the approval of even the rigid Cato (Suetonius, Caesar, 9), to secure his election. But he proved no match for his able colleague. He made an attempt to oppose the agrarian law introduced by Caesar for distributing the lands of Campania, but was overpowered and even personally ill-treated by the mob. After making vain complaints in the senate, he shut himself up in his own house during the remaining eight months of his consulship, taking no part in public business beyond fulminating edicts against Caesar's proceedings, which only provoked an attack upon his house by a mob of Caesar's partisans. His conduct gave rise to the jest, that Julius and Caesar were consuls during that year. When the relations of Caesar and Pompey became strained, Bibulus supported Pompey (Plutarch, Cato Minor, 41) and joined in proposing his election as sole consul (52 B.C.). Next year he went to Syria as proconsul and claimed credit for a victory gained by one of his officers over the Parthians, before his own arrival in the province. After the expiration of his term of office, Pompey gave him command of his fleet in the Ionian Sea. He proved himself utterly incapable; his chief exploit was the burning of thirty transports on their return from Epirus whither they had succeeded in conveying Caesar and some troops from Brundusium. He died soon afterwards (48) of fatigue and mortification (Caesar, Bell. Civ. iii. 5-18; Dio Cassius xli. 48). Although not a man of great importance, Bibulus showed great persistency as the enemy of Caesar. Cicero says of him that he was no orator, but a careful writer. By his wife Porcia, daughter of Cato, afterwards married to Brutus, he had three sons. The two eldest were murdered in Egypt by some of the soldiery of Gabinius; the youngest, Lucius Calpurnius Bibulus, fought on the side of the republic at the battle of Philippi, but surrendered to Antony soon afterwards, and was by him appointed to the command of his fleet. He died (about 32) while governor of Syria under Augustus. He wrote a short memoir of his step-father Brutus, which was used by Plutarch (Appian, B.C. iv. 136; Plutarch, Brutus, 13.23).

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