3. M. Aemilius
Scaurus, the eldest son of the preceding, and stepson of the dictator Sulla, whom his mother Caecilia married after the death of his father, as has been already remarked.
In the third Mithridatic war he served under Pompey as quaestor.
The latter sent to him to Damascus with an army, and from thence he marched into Judaea, to settle the disputes between the brothers Hyrcanus and Aristobulus. Both of them offered him large sums of money; but he decided for Aristobulus, probably because he bid the highest, B. C. 64.
After driving Hyrcanus out of Judaea, Scaurus returned to Damascus. Upon Pompey's arrival at this city in the following year, an accusation was brought against Scaurus of having been bribed by Aristobulus; but though Pompey reversed his decision, and placed Hyrcanus upon the throne, he took no notice of the charges, and left Scaurus in the command of Syria with two legions. Scaurus remained in Syria till B. C. 59, when he was succeeded by L. Marcius Philippus. During his government of Syria he made a predatory incursion into Arabia Petraea, but withdrew on the payment of 300 talents by Aretas, the king of the country.
On his return to Rome he became a candidate for the curule aedileship, which he held in B. C. 58, the year in which P. Clodius was tribune.
The extraordinary splendour with which he celebrated the public games surpassed every thing of the kind that had been previously witnessed in Rome, and it is by them that his name has been chiefly handed down to posterity.
The temporary theatre which he built accommodated 80,000 spectators, and was adorned in the most magnificent manner. Three hundred and sixty pillars decorated the stage, arranged in three stories, of which the lowest was made of white marble, the middle one of glass, and the highest of gilt wood. Between the pillars there were three thousand statues, besides paintings and other ornaments.
The combats of wild beasts were equally astonishing.
A hundred and fifty panthers were exhibited in the circus, and five crocodiles and a hippopotamus were seen for the first time at Rome. But Scaurus purchased the favour of the people in these shows rather too dearly. So costly were they that they net only absorbed all the property which his father had left him, and the treasures which he had accumulated in the East, but compelled him to borrow money of the usurers in order to defray the expenses.
In B. C. 56 Scaurus was praetor, during which year he presided in the court in which P. Sestius was accused, who was defended by Cicero.
In the following year he governed the province of Sardinia, which he plundered without mercy, as he wanted money both to pay his debts and to purchase the consulship. On his return to Rome in B. C. 54, he became a candidate for the consulship ; but before the consular elections took place, his competitors, at the beginning of July, got P. Valerius Triarius and three others to accuse him of repetundae in Sardinia, thus hoping to get rid of a formidable opponent. His guilt was certain; there were numerous witnesses against him; and M. Cato, who presided as praetor, was not to be corrupted, and was favourable to Triarius. Still Scaurus did not despair.
He was defended by Cicero and Hortensius, as well as by four other orators. Many of the most distinguished men at Rome, and among them nine persons of consular rank, pleaded on his behalf; while the tears of Scaurus himself, and his appeals to the splendour of his aedileship, produced a powerful effect upon the judices. Thus, notwithstanding his guilt, he was acquitted on the 2nd of September, almost unanimously. Soon afterwards, and in the course of the same year, he was again accused by Triarius, on a charge of ambitus (Cic. Att. 4.16
. §§ 7, 8, 4.17.2, ad Q. Fr.
3.2.3). Drumann says that he was condemned in this year, and went into exile.
But this appears to be a mistake; for although it is evident from the preceding passages in Cicero's letters, that Scaurus was accused of ambitus in B. C. 54, it is equally clear from the testimony of Appian (App. BC 2.24
), that he was condemned in the third consulship of Pompey, B. C. 52. Hence it is probable that Scaurus was acquitted in B. C. 54, and accused again in B. C. 52, under Pompey's new law against ambitus. From this time the name of Scaurus does not occur again.
He married Mucia, who had been previously the wife of Pompey [MUCIA, No. 2], and by her he had one son [No. 5]. (J. AJ 14.3
, B. J.
1.7; Appian, Syr. 51 ;
Cic. pro Sest. 54, de Off.
2.16; Plin. Nat. 36.2
, 36.15. s. 24
, et alibi; V. Max. 2.4.6
; Cic. ad Q. Fr.
2.15.4, 2.16.3, 3.1. §§ 4, 5, 3.2.3, ad Att.
4.15. §§ 7, 9, 4.16. §§ 7, 8, 4.17.2, de Off.
1.39; Ascon. Argum. in Scaur. ;
and the Fragments of Cicero's Oration for Scaurus.)
The following coin was struck in the curule aedileship of Scaurus and his colleague, P. Plautius Hypsaeus.
The subject of the obverse relates to Hypsaeus, and that of the reverse to Scaurus.
The former represents Jupiter in a quadriga, with P. HYPSAEVS. AED. CVR. C. HVPSAE. COS. PREIVER. CAPTV.; the latter part of the legend referring to the conquest of Privernum by C. Plautius Hypsaeus, in B. C. 341. On the obverse is a camel, with Aretas kneeling by the side of the animal, and holding an olive branch in his hand.
The subject refers to the conquest of Aretas by Scaurus mentioned above.
The legend is M. SCAVR. AED. CVR. EX. S. C., and below REX ARETAS. (Eckhel, vol. v. pp. 131, 275.)