7. Q. Servilius
Cn. N. Caepio, Q. F., son of No. 6, was praetor about B. C. 110, and obtained the province of Further Spain, as we learn from the triumphal Fasti, that he triumphed over the Lusitanians, as propraetor, in B. C. 108. His triumph is mentioned by Valerius Maximus (6.9.13); but Eutropius (4.27
) is the only writer, as far as we are aware, who refers to his victories in Lusitania.
He was consul, B. C. 106, with C. Atilius Serranus, and proposed a law for restoring the judicia to the senators, of which they had been deprived by the Sempronia lex of C. Gracchus.
That this was the object of Caepio's law, appears tolerably certain from a passage of Tacitus (Tac. Ann. 12.60
); though many modern writers have inferred, from Julius Obsequens (100.101), that his law opened the judicia to the senate and the equites in common.
It seems, however, that this law was repealed shortly afterwards.
As the Cimbri and Teutones were threatening Italy, Caepio received the province of Gallia Narbonensis.
The inhabitants of Tolosa, the capital of the Tectosagae, had revolted to the Cimbri; and as it was one of the most wealthy cities in those districts, and possessed a temple which was celebrated for its immense treasures, Caepio eagerly availed himself of the pretext which the inhabitants had given him to enrich himself by the plunder both of the city and the temple.
The wealth which he thus acquired was enormous; but he was thought to have paid for it dearly, as the subsequent destruction of his army and his own unhappy fate were regarded as a divine punishment for his sacrilegious act. Hence too arose the proverb, "Aurum Tolosanum habet." (Strab. iv. p.188
; Dio Cass. Frag.
xcvii. p. 41; Gel. 3.9
; Just. 32.3
; Oros. 5.15
He was continued in his command in Gaul in the following year (B. C. 105), in which some writers place the sack of Tolosa; and, that there might be a still stronger force to oppose the Cimbri, the consul Cn. Mallius, or Manlius, was sent with another consular army into Gallia Narbonensis.
As however Caepio and Mallius could not agree, they divided the province between them, one having the country west, and the other the country east, of the Rhone. Soon afterwards, M. Aurelius Scaurus was defeated by the Cimbri, and Mallius sent for Caepio, that they might unite their forces to oppose the common enemy. Caepio at first refused to come, but afterwards, fearing lest Mallius should reap all the glory by defeating the Cimbri, he crossed the Rhone and marched towards the consul. Still, however, he would hold no communication with him; he encamped separately; and that he might have an opportunity of finishing the war himself, he pitched his camp between the consul and the enemy.
At this juncture, with such a formidable enemy in their front, the utmost prudence and unanimity were needed by the Roman generals : their discord was fatal. The Roman soldiers saw this, and compelled Caepio, against his will, to unite his forces with those of Mallius.
But this did not mend matters.
The discord of Mallius and Caepio increased more and more, and they appear to have separated again before they were attacked by the Cimbri, as Florus speaks of the defeat of Mallius and Caepio as two separate events.
But whether they were attacked together or separately, the result was the same. Both armies were utterly defeated ; 80,000 soldiers and 40,000 camp-followers perished ; only ten men are said to have escaped the slaughter.
It was one of the most complete defeats which the Romans had ever sustained and the day on which it happened, the 6th of October, became one of the black days in the Roman calendar, (Dio Cass. Frag.
xcviii. xcix. pp. 41, 42; Liv. Epit
67 ; Oros. 5.16
; Sal. Jug. 114
; Flor. 3.3
; Tac. Germ.
37; Vell. 2.12
; V. Max. 4.7.3
; Plut. Mar. 19
, Sertor. 3, Lucull.
Caepio survived the battle, but was deprived of the imperium by the people. Ten years afterwards (B. C. 95) he was brought to trial by the tribune C. Norbanus on account of his misconduct in this war, and although he was defended by the orator L. Licinius Crassus, who was consul in that year (Cic. Brut. 44
), and by many others of the Roman aristocracy, he was condemned and his property confiscated.
He himself was cast into prison, where according to one account he died, and his body, mangled by the common executioner, was afterwards exposed to view on the Gemonian steps. (V. Max. 6.9.13
But according to the more generally received account, he escaped from prison through the assistance of the tribune L. Antistius Reginus, and lived in exile at Smyrna. (V. Max. 4.7.3
; Cic. pro Balb.