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Torquātus

The name of a patrician family of the Manlia gens.


1.

T. Manlius Imperiōsus. Torquātus, the son of L. Manlius Capitolinus Imperiosus, dictator B.C. 363, was a favourite hero of Roman story. Manlius is said to have been dull of mind in his youth, and was brought up by his father in the closest retirement in the country. In 361 he served under the dictator T. Quintius Pennus in the war against the Gauls, and in this campaign earned immortal glory by slaying in single combat a gigantic Gaul. From the dead body of the barbarian he took the chain (torques) which had adorned him, and placed it around his own neck; and from this circumstance he obtained the surname of Torquatus. He was dictator in 353, and again in 349. He was also three times consul, namely, in 347, 344, and in 340. In the last of these years Torquatus and his colleague, P. Decius Mus, gained the great victory over the Latins at the foot of Vesuvius, which established forever the supremacy of Rome over Latium. Shortly before the battle, when the two armies were encamped opposite to one another, the consuls published a proclamation that no Roman should engage in single combat with a Latin on pain of death. This command was violated by young Manlius, the consul's son, who was in consequence executed by the lictor in presence of the assembled army. This severe sentence rendered Torquatus an object of detestation among the Roman youths as long as he lived; and the recollection of his severity was preserved in after-ages by the expression Manliana imperia (Livy, iv. 5, 19-28; id. viii. 3-12; De Off. iii. 31).


2.

T. Manlius Torquātus, consul B.C. 235, when he conquered the Sardinians; censor in 231; and consul a second time in 224. He possessed the hereditary sternness and severity of his family; and we accordingly find him opposing in the Senate the ransom of those Romans who had been taken prisoners at the fatal battle of Cannae. He was dictator in 210.


3.

L. Manlius Torquātus, consul B.C. 65 with L. Aurelius Cotta. He took an active part in suppressing the Catilinarian conspiracy in 63; and he also supported Cicero when he was banished in 58.


4.

L. Manlius Torquātus, son of No. 3, belonged to the aristocratic party, and accordingly opposed Caesar on the breaking out of the Civil War in 49. He was praetor in that year, and was stationed at Alba with six cohorts. He subsequently joined Pompey in Greece, and in the following year (B.C. 48) he had the command of Oricum intrusted to him; but was obliged to surrender both himself and the town to Caesar, who, however, dismissed Torquatus uninjured. After the battle of Pharsalia, Torquatus went to Africa, and upon the defeat of his party in that country in 46 he attempted to escape to Spain along with Scipio and others, but was taken prisoner by P. Sittius at Hippo Regius, and slain, together with his companions. Torquatus was well acquainted with Greek literature, and is praised by Cicero, with whom in early life he was closely connected, as a man well trained in every kind of learning.


5.

A. Manlius Torquātus, praetor in B.C. 52, when he presided at the trial of Milo for bribery. On the breaking out of the Civil War he espoused the side of Pompey, and after the defeat of the latter retired to Athens, where he was living in exile in 45. He was an intimate friend of Cicero.

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