Publius Rutilius Rufus - Encyclopedia

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PUBLIUS RUTILIUS RUFUS, Roman statesman, orator and historian, born c. 158 B.C. He was on intimate terms with the younger Scipio, under whom he served in the Numantine War (134), and he also accompanied Q. Metellus Numidicus in the campaign against Jugurtha (109). In 105 he was elected to the consulship, and restored the discipline of the army and introduced an improved system of drill. Subsequently, he went as legate to Q. Mucius Scaevola, governor of Asia. By assisting his superior in his efforts to protect the provincials from the extortions of the publicani, or farmers of taxes, Rufus incurred the hatred of the equestrian order, to which the publicani belonged. In 92 he was charged with the very offence of extortion which he had done his utmost to prevent. The charge was absurd, but as the juries at that time were chosen from the equites, his condemnation was only to be expected. Rufus accepted the verdict with the resignation befitting a Stoic and pupil of Panaetius. He retired to Mytilene, and afterwards to Smyrna, where he spent the rest of his life, and where Cicero saw him as late as the year 78. Although invited by Sulla to return to Rome, Rufus refused to do so. It was doubtless during his stay at Smyrna that he wrote his autobiography and a history of Rome in Greek, part of which is known to have been devoted to the Numantine War. He possessed a thorough knowledge of law, and wrote treatises on that subject, some fragments of which are quoted in the Digests. He was also well acquainted with Greek literature.

See Cicero, Pro Fonteio, 17, Brutus, 22, 30; Livy, edit. 70; Macrobius, Sat. I. xvi. 34; Appian, Hisp. 88; Athenaeus iv. p. 168; W. H. Suringar, De Romanis Autobiographis (Leiden, 1846); H. Peter, Hist. Rom. Reliquiae, r. cclxi.-cclxviii. (life), frags. p. 187; A. H. J. Greenidge, Hist. of Rome, i. p. 484.

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