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Mela

or MELLA, M. ANNAEUS, was the youngest son of M. Annaeus Seneca, the rhetorician, and Helvia [HELVIA], and brother of L. Seneca and Gallio [GALLIO] (et docti Senecae ter numeranda domus. Mart. 4.40). He was born at Corduba, and, although raised to senatorial rank, he always preferred the name and station of an eques. (Sen. Consol. ad Helv. xvi., Controv. ii. Prooen.; comp. Tac. Ann. 16.17.) Mela studied rhetoric with success; but, leaving to his brothers the dangerous honours in Nero's reign of the state and the forum, he adhered to a life of privacy. His first occupation was that of steward to his father's estates in Spain; and through his brother L. Seneca's influence with Nero, he afterwards held the office of procurator or agent to the imperial demesnes. Mela married Acilia, daughter of Acilius Lucans of Corduba, a provincial lawyer of some note. By Acilia he had at least one son, the celebrated Lucan, A. D. 40. [LUCANUS.] After Lucan's death, A. D. 65, Mela laid claim to his property; and the suit arising from this claim proved ultimately his own destruction. Fahius Romanus. who opposed him, had been his son's intimate friend, and was thought to have inserted among the papers of the deceased forged letters involving Mela in at least a knowledge of Piso's conspiracy, A. D. 65. (Tac. Ann. 15.48, &c.) Mela was rich, Nero was needy and rapacious, and the former anticipated a certain sentence by suicide, A. D. 66. To save a part for his family, Mela bequeathed to Tigellinus and his son-in-law, Cossutianus Capito [CAPITO], a large portion of his wealth. Codicils, believed however to be spurious, were annexed to Mela's will, accusing Anicius Cerialis [CERIALIS] and Rufius Crispinus [CRISPINUS] of participation in Piso's plot. The character and studies of Mela are agreeably sketched by the elder Seneca in the prooemium to his 2d book of (Controversiae, which book is also especially addressed to Mela. (Tac. Ann. 16.17; D. C. 62.25; Sen. Controv. ii. v. prooem., Cons. ad Helv. xvi.)

[W.B.D]

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