3. C. Fannius
Strabo, M. F., the son-in-law of Laelius, is frequently confounded with C. Fannius C. f. [No. 2.] In his youth he served in Africa, under Scipio Africanus, in B. C. 146, and along with Tib. Gracchus, was the first to mount the walls of Carthage on the capture of the city.
He afterwards served in Spain with distinction, in B. C. 142, under Fabius Maximus Servilianus. (Plut. Tib. Gracch. 4 ;
Appian, Hisp. 67.
) Fannius is introduced by Cicero as one of the speakers both in his work De Republica,
and in his treatise De Amicitia.
At the advice of his father-in-law Laelius, Fannius had attended the lectures of the Stoic philosopher, Panaetius. His style of speaking was harsher than that of his namesake, C. Fannius C. f., and none of his orations are mentioned by Cicero.
He owed his celebrity in literature to his History, which was written in Latin, and the style of which is described by Cicero as " neque nimis infans neque perfecte diserta." We have no information respecting the extent of this History; we only know that it treated of contemporary events; and that it possessed some merit appears from the fact of Brutus making an abridgment of it. Sallust likewise praises its truth. (Cic. de Rep.
1, Brut. 26, 31,
comp. 21, de Leg.
1.2, ad Att.
12.5 ; Sall. apud Victorin.
p 57, ed. Orelli; Krause, Vitae et Fragm. Hist. Rom.
p. 171, &c.; Orelli, Onom. Tull.
pp. 249, 250.)
One of the difficulties respecting this C. Fannius M. f. arises from a letter of Cicero, in which he writes to Atticus to ask him under what consuls C. Fannius M. f. was tribune of the plebs, adding that he believed that it was during the censorship of P. Africanus and L. Mummius, that is, in B. C. 142 (Cic. Att. 16.13
, c.). Pighius therefore concluded from this passage, that the C. Fannius M. f. who was tribune of the plebs in B. C. 142, must have been a different person from the son-in-law of Laelius, who was serving that year in Spain, as we have already seen; and he accordingly supposes that there were three contemporaries of the name of C. Fannius, namely, 1. C. Fannius. C. f. consul B. C. 122; 2. C. Fannius, M. f. tribune B. C. 142, and 3. C. Fannius, M. f., the son-in-law of Laelius and the historian.
But the creation of another person of the same name in order to get out of a chronological difficulty, is always suspicious ; and if there were three C. Fannii, who were contemporaries, Cicero would hardly have omitted to mention them, especially since he speaks of the two C. Fannii in such close connection. Orelli supposes (Onom. Tull. l.c.
) that C. Fannius, the son-in-law of Laelius, was tribune of the soldiers in Spain in B. C. 142, and that Cicero confounded this tribuneship with the tribuneship of the plebs.
But this supposition of Orelli cannot be correct, if Cicero (de Rep.
1.12) is right in his statement that the son-in-law of Laelius was only of quaestorian age in B. C. 129, that is, not more than thirty, since in that case he would not have been old enough to have been tribune of the soldiers in B. C. 142.
It is much more probable that Cicero confounded C. Fannius, M. f., the son-in-law of Laelius, with C. Fannius, C. f., and that the latter was tribune of the plebs in B. C. 142.
It is, however, quite impossible to reconcile all the statements of ancient writers respecting this C. Fannius.
According to his own statement, as preserved by Plutarch (Tib. Gracch. 4
), he was one of the first to mount the walls of Carthage in B. C. 146, but if he was thirty in B. C. 129, he could only have been thirteen in the former year!