7. L. DOMITIUS CN. F. CN. N. AHENOBARBUS, son of No. 4, is first mentioned in B. C. 70 by Cicero, as a witness against Verres. In 61 he was curule aedile, when he exhibited a hundred Numidian lions, and continued the games so long, that the people were obliged to leave the circus before the exhibition was over, in order to take food, which was the first time they had done so. (D. C. 37.46
; Plin. Nat. 8.54
; this pause in the games was called diludium, Hor. Ep. 1.19. 47
He married Porcia, the sister of M. Cato, and in his aedileship supported the latter in his proposals against bribery at elections, which were directed against Pompey, who was purchasing votes for Afranius.
The political opinions of Ahenobarbus coincided with those of Cato; he was throughout his life one of the strongest supporters of the aristocratical party.
He took an active part in opposing the measures of Caesar and Pompey after their coalition, and in 59 was accused by Vettius, at the instigation of Caesar, of being an accomplice to the pretended conspiracy against the life of Pompey.
Ahenobarbus was praetor in B. C. 58, and proposed an investigation into the validity of the Julian laws of the preceding year; but the senate dared not entertain his propositions.
He was candidate for the consulship of 55, and threatened that he would in his consulship carry into execution the measures he had proposed in his praetorship, and deprive Caesar of his province.
He was defeated, however, by Pompey and Crassus, who also became candidates, and was driven from the Campus Martius on the day of election by force of arms.
He became a candidate again in the following year, and Caesar and Pompey, whose power was firmly established, did not oppose him.
He was accordingly elected consul for 54 with Ap. Claudius Pulcher, a relation of Pompey, but was not able to effect anything against Caesar and Pompey.
He did not go to a province at the expiration of his consulship; and as the friendship between Caesar and Pompey cooled, he became closely allied with the latter. In B. C. 52, he was chosen by Pompey to preside, as quaesitor, in the court for the trial of Clodius. For the next two or three years during Cicero's absence in Cilicia, our information about Ahenobarbus is principally derived from the letters of his enemy Coelius to Cicero. In B. C. 50 he was a candidate for the place in the college of augurs, vacant by the death of Hortensius, but was defeated by Antony through the influence of Caesar.
The senate appointed him to succeed Caesar in the province of further Gaul, and on the march of the latter into Italy (49), he was the only one of the aristocratical party who shewed any energy or courage.
He threw himself into Corfinium with about twenty cohorts, expecting to be supported by Pompey; but as the latter did nothing to assist him, he was compelled by his own troops to sur render to Caesar. His own soldiers were incorpo rated into Caesar's army, but Ahenobarbus was dismissed by Caesar uninjured--an act of clemency which he did not expect, and which he would certainly not have shewed, if he had been the conqueror. Despairing of life, he had ordered his physician to administer to him poison, but the latter gave him only a sleeping draught. Ahenobarbus' feelings against Caesar remained unaltered, but he was too deeply offended by the conduct of Pompey to join him immediately.
He retired for a short time to Cosa in Etruria, and afterwards sailed to Massilia, of which the inhabitants appointed him governor.
He prosecuted the war vigorously against Caesar; but the town was eventually taken, and Ahenobarbus escaped in a vessel, which was the only one that got off.
Ahenobarbus now went to Pompey in Thessaly, and proposed that after the war all senators should be brought to trial who had remained neutral in it. Cicero, whom he branded as a coward, was not a little afraid of him.
He fell in the battle of Pharsalia (48), where he commanded the left wing, and, according to Cicero's assertion in the second Philippic, by the hand of Antony. Ahenobarbus was a man of great energy of character; he re mained firm to his political principles, but was little scrupulous in the means he employed to maintain them. (The passages of Cicero in which Ahenobarbus is mentioned are given in Orelli's Onomasticon Tullianum ; Suet. Nero 2
; Dio Cass. lib. xxxix. xli.; Caes. Bell. Civ.