Publius Cornelius Dolabella - Encyclopedia

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PUBLIUS CORNELIUS DOLABELLA, Roman general and son-in-law of Cicero, was born about 70 B.C. He was by far the most important of the Dolabellae, a family of the patrician gens Cornelia. In the civil wars he at first took the side of Pompey, but afterwards went over to Caesar, and was present at the battle of Pharsalus. To escape the urgent demands of his creditors, he VIII. 13 introduced (as one of the tribunes) a bill proposing that all debts should be cancelled. This was strongly resisted by his colleagues, and led to serious disturbances in the city. Caesar, on his return from Alexandria, seeing the expediency of removing Dolabella from Rome, took him as one of his generals in the expedition to Africa and Spain. On Caesar's death Dolabella seized the insignia of the consulship (which had already been conditionally promised him), and, by making friends with Brutus and the other assassins, was confirmed in his office. When, however, M. Antonius offered him the command of the expedition against the Parthians and the province of Syria he changed sides at once. His journey to the province was marked by plundering, extortion and the murder of C. Trebonius, proconsul of Asia, who refused to allow him to enter Smyrna. He was thereupon declared a public enemy and superseded by C. Cassius (the murderer of Caesar),who attacked him in Laodicea. On the capture of the place, Dolabella ordered one of his soldiers to kill him (43). Throughout his life he was a profligate and a spendthrift.

See Cicero's Letters (ed. Tyrrell and Purser); G. Boissier, Cicero and his Friends (Eng. trans., 1897); Orelli, Onomasticon Tullianum; Dio Cassius xli. 40, xlii. 29, xliii. 51, xliv. 22, xlvi. 40, xlvii. 30; Appian, Bell. civ. iii. 7, iv. 60.

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