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Crassus, Clau'dius

6. P. Licinius Crassus, P. F. P. N., DIVES, was the son of P. Licinius Varus, and was the first Licinius with the surname Dives mentioned in history. In B. C. 212, though a young man who had never sat in the curule chair, he defeated two distinguished and aged consulars, Q. Fulvius Flaccus and T. Manlius Torquatus, in a hard-fought contest for the office of pontifex maximus. (Liv. 25.5.) In B. C. 211 he was curule aedile, and gave splendid games, remarkable for the crowns with foliage of gold and silver, that were then first exhibited at Rome (Plin. Nat. 21.4); in B. C. 210 he was magister equitum of the dictator Q. Fulvius Flaccus, and in the same year obtained the censorship, but abdicated (as was usual) in consequence of the death of his colleague. In B. C. 208 he was praetor. In B. C. 205 he was consul with Scipio Africanus, and undertook the task of keeping Hannibal in check in the country of the Bruttii. Here he succeeded in rescuing some towns from the enemy, but was able to do little in consequence of a contagious disease which attacked him and his army. (Liv. 29.10.) In the following year he united his forces with those of the consul Sempronius, to oppose Hannibal in the neighbourhood of Croton, but the Romans were defeated. In B. C. 203, he returned to Rome, and died at an advanced age, B. C. 183, when his funeral was celebrated with games and feasts which lasted for three days, and by a fight of 120 gladiators. (39.46.) He possessed many gifts of nature and fortune, and added to them by his own industry. He was noble and rich, of commanding form and great corporeal strength, and, in addition to his military accomplishments, was extremely eloquent, whether in addressing the senate or haranguing the people. In civil and pontifical law he was deeply skilled. (30.1.) Valerius Maximus (1.1.6) gives an example of his religious severity in condemning a Vestal virgin to be burnt, because one night she neglected her charge of guarding the everlasting fire.

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