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Marcellus Clau'dius

12. C. Claudius Marcellus, M. F. M. N., a brother of the preceding, of whom very little is known previous to his election in B. C. 50, to be consul for the ensuing year (49), a distinction which he obtained, it is said, in consequence of his declared enmity to Caesar. (Ca├Ęs. B. G. 8.50.) He is constantly confounded with his cousin, C. Marcellus [No. 14] who was consul in the year 50 with L. Aemilius Paullus, a confusion little to be wondered at: indeed it is sometimes impossible to determine which of the two is meant. Matters were fast approaching to a crisis when he and his colleague, L. Cornelius Lentulus, entered upon their office. While yet only consuls elect, they had lent their countenance to the violent and illegal act of the consul C. Marcellus in investing Pompey with the command of the army without authority from the senate (D. C. 40.66); and on the very first day of their consulship (1 Jan. B. C. 49) they brought under the consideration of the senate the measures to be taken in regard to Caesar, who was then at Ravenna, and from whom letters had been presented by Curio. It does not appear that Marcellus took any prominent part in the debates that ensued, and the violent proceedings which led to the flight of the tribunes and the actual breaking out of the war; but neither do we learn that he attempted to check the intemperate zeal of his colleague, and the other leaders of the war party. He appears indeed, so far as we can judge, to have been a man of small abilities, who was put forward as a tool by the more violent partisans of Pompey. On the breaking out of the war he accompanied his colleague, Lentulus, in his hasty flight from Rome, took part in the subsequent proceedings at Capua, and eventually crossed over to Dyrrhachium with a part of the army of Pompey. In the following year (B. C. 48) we find him mentioned as commanding a part of Pompey's fleet (Caes. Civ. 3.5); but this is the last we hear of him, and it therefore seems probable, as suggested by Drumann, that he perished in the civil war. (D. C. 41.1-3; Caes. Civ. 1.1-5, 14, 25; Appian, App. BC 2.33, 37-39; Plut. Caes. 35, Pomp. 62; Cic. Att. 7.18, 20, 21, 9.1.) Cicero certainly alludes to him some years afterwards as then dead. (Phil. 13.14.)

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