Po'stumus, C. Rabi'rius
whom Cicero defended in B. C. 54 in an oration, still extant, was a Roman eques, and the son of C. Curius, a wealthy farmer of the public revenues.
He was born after the death of his father, who had married the sister of C. Rabirius, whom Cicero had defended in B. C. 63, when he was accused by T. Labienus; and he was adopted by his uncle Rabirius, whose name he consequently assumed.
The younger Rabirius carried on a profitable business as a money-lender, and had among his debtors Ptolemy Auletes, who had been compelled to borrow large sums of money, in order to purchase the support of the leading men at Rome, to keep him on the throne. To pay his Roman creditors, Ptolemy was obliged to oppress his subjects; and his exactions became at length so intolerable, that the Egyptians expelled him from the kingdom.
He accordingly fled to Rome in B. C. 57, and Rabirius and his other creditors supplied him with the means of corrupting the Roman nobles, as they had no hopes of regaining their money except by his restoration to the throne. Ptolemy at length obtained his object, and Gabinius, the proconsul of Syria, encouraged by Pompey, marched with a Roman army into Egypt in B. C. 55. Ptolemy thus regained his kingdom. Rabirius forthwith repaired to Alexandria, and was invested by the king with the office of Dioecctes,
or chief treasurer, no doubt with the sanction of Gaoinius.
In this office he had to amass money both for himself and Gabinius; but his extortions were so terrible, that Ptolemy had him apprehended, either to secure him against the wrath of the people, or to satisfy their indignation, lest they should drive him again from his kingdom. Rabirius escaped from prison, probably through the connivance of the king, and returned to Rome.
But here a trial awaited him. Gabinius was accused of extortion (rcpetundae
) under the provisions of the lex Julia, passed in the consulship of Caesar, B. C. 59, and was condemned to pay a considerable fine. As Gabinius was unable to pay this sum, a suit was instituted under the same law against Rabirius, who was liable to make up the deficiency, if it could be proved that he had received any of the money of which Gabinius had illegally become possessed.
The suit against Rabirius was, therefore, a supplementary appendage to the cause of Gabinius.
The accuser, the praetor, and the judices, were the same; and as Cicero had defended Gabinius, he also performed the same office for Rabirius. (Cic. pro Rabirio Postumo,
The issue of the trial is not mentioned; but as the judices had condemned Gabinius, they probably did not spare his tool. We may therefore conclude that he went into banishment, like his patron, and was recalled by Caesar from exile.
At all events, we find him serving under Caesar in B. C. 46, who sent him from Africa into Sicily, in order to obtain provisions for the army. (Hirt. B. Afr.