Gaius Rabirius - Encyclopedia


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GAIUS RABIRIUS, a Roman senator, who was defended (63 B.C.) by Cicero in a speech still extant. Nearly forty years after the death of L. Appuleius Saturninus, Titus Labienus (whose uncle had lost his life among the followers of Saturninus on that occasion) was put up by Caesar to accuse Rabirius of having been implicated in the murder. Caesar's real object was to warn the Senate against interference by force with popular movements, to uphold the sovereignty of the people and the inviolability of the person of the tribunes. The obsolete accusation of perduellio was revived, and the case was heard before Julius and Lucius Caesar as commissioners specially appointed (duoviri perduellionis) . Rabirius was condemned, and the people, to whom the accused had exercised the right of appeal, were on the point of ratifying the decision, when Metellus Celer pulled down the military flag from the Janiculum, which was equivalent to the dissolution of the assembly. Caesar's object having been attained, the matter was then allowed to drop.

A nephew, known as C. Rabirius Postumus, was also defended by Cicero (S4 B.C.) in the extant speech Pro Rabirio Postumo, when charged with extortion in Egypt and complicity with Aulus Gabinius.

See Cicero, Pro Rabirio, ed. W. E. Heitland (1882); Dio Cassius, xxxvii. 26-28; H. Putsche, Ober das genus judicii der Rede Ciceros pro C. Rabirio (Jena, 1881); O. Schulthess, Der Prozess des C. Rabirius (Frauenfeld, 1891).

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