9. C. Aurelius
Cotta, brother of No. 8, was born in B. C. 124, and was the son of Rutilia,.
He was a friend of the tribune M. Livius Drusus, who was murdered in B. C. 91; and in the same year he sued for the tribuneship, but was rejected, and a few months afterwards went into voluntary exile to avoid being condemned by the lex Varia, which ordained that an inquiry should be made as to who had either publicly or privately supported the claims of the Italian allies in their demand of the franchise. Cotta did not return to Rome till the year B. C. 82, when Sulla was dictator, and in 75 he obtained the consulship, together with L. Octavius.
In that year he excited the hostility of the optimates by a law by which he endeavoured to raise the tribuneship from the condition into which it had been thiown by Sulla.
The exact nature of this law, however, is not certain. (Cic. Fragm. Cornel.
p. 80 ed. Orelli, with the note of Ascon. ; Sallust, Hist. Fragm.
p. 210, ed. Gerlach.) A lex de judiciis privatis
of Cotta is likewise mentioned by Cicero,(Fragm. Com.
p.448,) which, however, was abolished the year after by his brother.
In his consulship Cotta also concluded a treaty with Hiempsal of Mauretania. On the expiration of his office he obtained Gaul for his province, and although he did not carry on any real war in it, he yet demanded a triumph on his return. His request was granted, but on the day before the solemnity was to take place, a wound which he had received many years before burst open, in consequence of which he died the same day. Cotta was one of the most distinguished orators of his time; he is placed by the side of P. Sulpicius and C. Caesar, and Cicero entertained a very high opinion of him. Cicero, who at an early period of his life, and when Sulla still had the power in his hands, pleaded the case of a woman of Arretium against Cotta, characterises him as a most acute and subtile orator; his arguments were always sound, but calm and dry, and his oratory was never sublime or animated. We still possess a specimen of it among the fragments of Sallust's Historiue.
He appears to have occupied himself also with the study of philosophy, for Cicero introduces him as one of the interlocutors in the " De Oratore," and in the third book of the " De Natura Deorum," as maintaining the cause of the Academics. (Cic. de Orat. 1.7
, 2.23, 3.3, 8, Brut.
49, 55, 86, 88, 90, Orat.
30, 38, ad Att.
12.20, in Verr.
1.50, 3.7, de Leg. Agr.
2.22, in Pison.
26; Sallust, Hist. Fragm.
ii. p. 206, ed. Gerl.; Appian, de B. C.
1.37. Compare Meyer, Fragm. Orat. Rom.
p. 338, &c., 2nd ed.)