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Metellus Pius

19. Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius, Q. F. L. N., son of Numidicus [No. 14], received the surname of Pius on account of the love which he displayed for his father when he besought the people to recall him from banishment, in B. C. 99. He was about twenty years of age when he accompanied his father to Numidia in B. C. 109. He obtained the praetorship in B. C. 89, and was one of the commanders in the Marsic or Social war, which had broken out in the preceding year. He defeated and slew in battle Q. Pompaedius, the leader of the Marsians in B. C. 88. He was still in arms in B. C. 87, prosecuting the war against the Samnites, when Marius landed in Italy and joined the consul Cinna. The senate, in alarm, summoned Metellus to Rome; and, as the soldiers placed more confidence in him than in the consul Octavius, they entreated him to take the supreme command shortly after his arrival in the city. As he refused to comply with their request, numbers deserted to the enemy; and finding it impossible to hold out against Marius and Cinna, he left the city and went to Africa. Here he collected a considerable force and was joined by Crassus, who had also fled thither from Spain, but they quarrelled and separated shortly afterwards. In B. C. 84 Metellus was defeated by C. Fabius, one of the Marian party. He therefore returned to Italy, and remained in Liguria; but hearing of the return of Sulla from Asia in the following year (B. C. 83), he hastened to meet him at Brundisium, and was one of the first of the nobles who joined him. In the war which followed against the Marian party, Metellus was one of the most successful of Sulla's generals. Early in B. C. 82, Metellas gained a victory over Carrinas, near the river Aesis in Umbria, defeated shortly afterwards another division of Carbo's army, and finally gained a decisive victory over Carbo and Norbanus, near Faventia, in Cisalpine Gaul.

In B. C. 80, Metellus was consul with Sulla himself. In this year he rewarded the services of Calidius, in obtaining the recall of his father from banishment, by using his influence to obtain for him the praetorship. In the following year (B. C. 79), Metellus went as proconsul into Spain, in order to prosecute the war against Sertorius, who adhered to the Marian party. Here he remained for the next eight years, and found it so difficult to obtain any advantages over Sertorius, that not only was he obliged to call to his aid the armies in Nearer Spain and in Gaul, but the Romans also sent to his assistance Pompey with proconsular power and another army. Sertorius, however, was a match for them both; and when Metellus, after frequent disasters, at length gained a victory over Sertorius, he was so elated with his success, that he allowed himself to be saluted imperator, and celebrated his conquest with the greatest splendour. But Sertorius soon recovered from this defeat, and would probably have continued to defy all the efforts of Metellus and Pompey, if be had not been murdered by Perperna and his friends in B. C. 72. [SERTORIUS.] Metellus returned to Rome in the following year, and triumphed on the 30th of December.

In B. C. 65, Metellus was one of those who supported the accusation against C. Cornelius. He was pontifex maximus, and, as he was succeeded in this dignity by C. Caesar in B. C. 63, he must have died either in this year or at the end of the preceding. Metellus Pius followed closely in the footsteps of his father. Like him, he was a steady and unwavering supporter of the aristocracy; like him, his military abilities were very considerable, but not those of a first-rate general, and he was unable to adapt himself or his troops to the guerillawarfare which had to be carried on in Spain; like his father, again, his personal character contrasted most favourably with the general dissoluteness of his contemporaries; and lastly, he imitated his father in the patronage which he bestowed upon Archias and other poets. His conduct at the time of his father's banishment, and the gratitude which he showed to Q. Calidius, are especially deserving of praise. He adopted the son of Scipio Nasion, who is called in consequence Metellus Pius Scipio [No. 22]. (Sal. Jug. 64; Appian, App. BC 1.33, 53, 68, 80-91, 97, 103, 108-115; Aurel. Vic. de Vir. Ill. 63; Oros. 5.18, 28; Plut. Mar. 42, Crass. 6, Sertor. 12-27; Liv. Epit. 84, 91, 92; Veil. Pat. 2.15, 28-30; D. C. 27.37; Plut. Caes. 7; Cic. pro Arch. 4, 5, 10, pro Planc. 29, pro Cluent. 8, pro Balb. 2, 22; Ascon. in Cic. Corn. p. 60, ed. Orelli.)

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