1. L. Caecilius
Metellus, L. F. C. N., consul B. C. 251, with C. Furius Pacilus, in the first Carthaginian war, was sent with his colleague into Sicily to oppose Hasdrubal, the Carthaginian general. The Roman soldiers were so greatly alarmed at the elephants in the Carthaginian army, that their generals did not venture to attack the enemy, but lay inactive for a long time.
At last, when Furius Pacilus returned to Italy with a part of the forces, Hasdrubal availed himself of the opportunity to attack Panormus, but was entirely defeated by Metellus, who slew a great number of his troops, and captured all his elephants, which he afterwards exhibited in his triumph at Rome.
This victory established the Roman supremacy in Sicily, and may be said to have had a decisive influence on the fate of the war. (Plb. 1.39
; Flor. 2.2.27
; Eutrop. 2.24
; Oros. 4.9
; Frontin. Strateg.
2.5.4; Cic. de Rep.
1.1; Liv. Epit. 19
; Plin. Nat. 7.43. s. 45
; Dionys. A. R. 2.66
In B. C. 249, Metellus was magister equitum to the dictator A. Atilius Calatinus, and in B. C. 247 consul a second time with N. Fabius Buteo, but nothing of importance took place during this year. Four years afterwards (B. C. 243) he was elected pontifex maximus, and held this dignity for twenty-two years.
He must, therefore, have died shortly before the commencement of the second Punic war, B. C. 221.
An act of Metellus during his highpriesthood is recorded by the historians. In B. C. 241 he rescued the Palladium when the temple of Vesta was on fire, but lost his sight in consequence: he was, therefore, rewarded by the people with a statue on the Capitol, and the permission, previously granted to no one, of riding to the senate-house in a carriage.
In addition to his other honours he was appointed dictator in B. C. 224, for the purpose of holding the comitia. His merits and distinctions are recorded by Pliny in an extract which he has made from the funeral oration delivered by his son, Q. Metellus. (Plin. Liv. Dionys. ll. cc.;
9, pro Scaur.
2; V. Max. 1.4.4
; Ov. Fast. 6.436