5. L. Licinius
Murena, the son of No. 4, served under his father (B. C. 83) in the war against Mithridates.
He was quaestor at Rome with the jurist Serv. Sulpicius, who was afterwards his opponent in the canvas for the consulship.
In his aedileship Murena adorned the walls of the Comitium with Lacedaemonian stone (Plin. Nat. 35.14
In the third Mithridatic war, which began B. C. 74, he served under L. Lucullus (Plut. Luc. 15
, &c.), and was left by him to direct the siege of Amisus, while Lycullus advanced against Mithridates.
At the captare of Amisus B. C. 71). Tyrannio was made prisoner, and he was given to Murena at his request, who thereupon made him free, by which act it was implied that he had been a slave. Plutarch (Plut. Luc. 19
) blames Murena for his conduct in this matter, and adds that it was not in this instance only that Murena showed himself far inferior to his general in honourable feeling and conduct. Murena followed Tigranes in his retreat from Tigranocerta to the Taurus, and took all his baggage, and he was left to maintain the siege of Tigranocerta while Lucullus marched from before that city to check Tigranes, who was again in sight of Tigranocerta with a large army.
He returned to Rome before the end of the war, and was one of ten commissioners who were sent out to settle affairs in the countries conquered by Lucullus. (Cic. Att. 13.6
.) In B. C. 65, was praetor with Serv. Sulpicius, and had the jurisdictio, while Sulpicius had the unpopular function of presiding at the quaestio peculatus (Cic. pro Muren.
20). Murena expended considerable sums on the public exhibitions (ludi Apollinares), which he had to superintend during his office. (Plin. Nat. 33.3
; Cic. pro Muren.
After his praetorship (B. C. 64) he was propraetor of Gallia Cisalpina, where his brother Caius served under him, and he settled the disputes between debtor and creditor in a satisfactory and equitable way, as Cicero says.
In B. C. 63 he was a candidate for the consulship, and was elected with D. Junius Silanus. Serv. Sulpicius, an unsuccessful candidate, instituted a prosecution against Murena for bribery (ambitus
), and he was supported in the matter by M. Porcius Cato, Cn. Postumius, and Serv. Sulpicius the younger (Plut. Cat. Min. 21, Cic.
35, and the oration of Cicero for Murena). Murena was defended by Q. Hortensius, M. Tullius Cicero, who was then consul, and M. Licinius Crassus.
The speech of Cicero, which is extant, is of the same class as his later speech in defence of Cn. Plancius, who was also tried for ambitus.
The time when the speech for Murena was delivered is shown by the fact that Catiline had then left the city, but the conspirators who remained behind had not been punished: it was therefore delivered in the latter part of November of the unreformed calendar.
The orator handled his subject skilfully, by making merry with the formulae and the practice of the lawyers, to which class Sulpicius belonged, and with the paradoxes of the Stoics, to which sect Cato had attached himself. Yet he did not attack the character and motives of either Sulpicius or Cato, which would have been injurious to his client, for both the prosecutors were men above suspicion.
But he defended the private character of Murena against the imputations that had been cast on him, and he represents him as a man of merit in his public and private capacity, and with more virtues than we can readily give him credit for.
As in the oration for Cn. Plancius he says comparatively little on the main charge, which, indeed, it was the business of the prosecutors to prove; and he rather labours to show that there were sufficient reasons for his election without supposing that he had purchased votes.
He shows that under present circumstances, with Catiline at the head of an army in the field, and his associates in the city, it was necessary to have a vigorous consul to protect the state in the coming year. Murena was acquitted. (Plut. Cat. Mi. 21
Early in the month of December following Cicero moved in the senate the question of punishing the conspirators who had been seized. Silanus, who was first asked his opinion, was for putting them to death, and Murena ultimately voted the same way (Cic. Att. 12.21
The consulship of Silanus and Murena was a stormy period, owing to the agitation of Q. Metellus Nepos, who wished for the return of Pompeius to oppose the party of the Optimates.
The disturbances in Rome grew so high that the senate empowered the consuls in the usual form to preserve the safety of the cornmonwealth. Cato, who was a colleague of Metellus, was opposed to the consuls, but Murena protected him in an affray (Plut. Cat. Mi. 28
In this consulship was passed the Lex Licinia Junia, he which enacted that a lex should be promulgated for three nundinae before the people voted upon it.
There is no mention of Murena having a province after his consulship, and nothing more is said about him.
His stepson, L. Natta, was the son of Murena's wife by a previous husband, probably one Pinarius Natta, as Drumann shows (vol. ii. p. 370).