1. M. Juventius
Laterensis, appears to have served in early life in the Mithridatic war. (Cic. pro Planc.
34.84, with Wunder's note, p. 207.)
As he was descended both on his father's and mother's side from consular ancestors, he naturally became a candidate for the public offices.
The year of his quaestorship is not stated and we only know that, while holding this office, he gave an exhibition of games at Praeneste; and subsequently proceeded, perhaps as pro-quaestor, to Cyrene. In B. C. 59 (the year of the consulship of Caesar and Bibulus) he became a candidate for the tribunate of the plebs; but as he would have been obliged, if elected, to have sworn to maintain the agrarian law of Caesar, which was passed in that year, he retired voluntarily from the contest.
It was probably owing to his political sentiments that Laterensis became one of Cicero's personal friends; and it was doubtless his opposition to Caesar which led L. Vettius to denounce him as one of the conspirators in the pretended plot against Pompey's life in B. C. 58.
In B. C. 55, in the second consulship of Pompey and Crassus, Laterensis became a candidate for the curule aedileship, with Cn. Plancius, A. Plotius, and Q. Pedius.
The elections were put off this year; but in the summer of the following year (B. C. 54) Plancius and Plotius were elected; but before they could enter upon their office Laterensis, in conjunction with L. Cassius Longinus, accused Plancius of the crime of sodalitium, or the bribery of the tribes by means of illegal associations, in accordance with the lex Licinia, which had been proposed by the consul Licinius Crassus in the preceding year. (See Dict. of Ant. s. v. Ambitus.
) This contest between Laterensis and Plancius placed Cicero in an awkward position, since both of them were his personal friends. Plancius, however, had much stronger claims upon him, for being quaestor in Macedonia in the year of Cicero's banishment, he had afforded him shelter and protection in his province, at a time when Cicero believed that his life was in danger. Cicero had therefore warmly exerted himself in canvassing for Plancius, and came forward to defend him when he was accused by Laterensis.
He avoids, however, personal attacks upon Laterensis, and attributes his loss of the election to his relying too much upon the nobility of his family, and to his neglecting a personal canvassing of the voters, and likewise to his opposition to Caesar a few years before. Through Cicero's exertions, Plancius was probably acquitted. [PLANCIUS.]
Laterensis obtained the praetorship in B. C. 51, and is spoken of by Cicero's correspondent, Caelius, as ignorant of the laws.
In the civil wars between Caesar and the Pompeians his name does not occur, and he is not mentioned again till B. C. 45, in which year we learn from Cicero that he was one of the augurs.
Laterensis appears again in history as a legate in the army of M. Aemilius Lepidus, who was governor of the provinces of Nearer Spain and Southern Gaul, B. C. 43. When Antony, after the battle of Mutina, fled across the Alps, and was drawing near to Lepidus in Gaul, Laterensis used every possible exertion to confirm Lepidus in his allegiance to the senate.
In this object he was warmly seconded by Munatius Plancus, who commanded in Northern Gaul.
But all their efforts were vain, for as soon as Antony appeared, the soldiers of Lepidus threw open the gates of the camp to him; and Laterensis, in despair, cast himself upon his sword, and thus perished.
The senate decreed to him the honour of a public funeral and the erection of his statue. From his first entrance upon public life Laterensis was always a warm supporter of the senatorial party, to which he sealed his devotion with his blood. (Cic. pro Planc.
passim, ad Att.
2.18, 24, in Vatin.
11, ad Fam.
8.8, ad Att.
12.17, ad Fam.
10.11, 15, 18, 21, 23; Dion. Cass. 46.51; Vell. 2.63
; Appian, App. BC 3.84