3. Cn. Octavius
, son of No. 2.
In the winter of B. C. 170 he was sent into Greece as ambassador, with C. Popillius Laenas, and on his return to Rome in 169, he was elected one of the decemviri sacrorum.
He was practor ill B. C. 168, and had as his province the command of the fleet in the war against Perseus.
After the defeat of Perseus at Pydna, by the consul Aemilius Paullus, Octavius sailed to Samothrace, where the king had taken refuge. Perseus surrendered himself to Octavius, who thereupon conducted him to the consul at Amphipolis.
In the following year, 167, Octavius sailed to Rome with the booty which had been gained in the war, and on the 1st of December, in that year, he obtained the honour of a naval triumph. (Liv. 43.17
; Plb. 28.3
; Vell. 1.9
; Plut. Aemili. Paull.
26; Plin. Nat. 34.3. s. 7
; Festus, s. v. Octaviae.
The wealth which Octavius had obtained in Greece enabled him to live in great splendour on his return to Rome.
He built a magnificent house on the Palatine, which, according to Cicero (de Off.
1.39), contributed to his election to the consulship, and he also erected a beautiful porticus, which is spoken of below.
He was consul with T. Manlius Torquatus in B. C. 165, being the first member of his family who obtained this dignity. In B. C. 162 Octavius was sent with two colleagues into Syria, which was in a state of great confusion in consequence of the contentions for the guardianship of the young king Antiochus V.; and the Romans therefore considered it a favourable opportunity for enforcing the terms of the peace made with Antiochus the Great, by which the Syrian monarchs were prevented from having a fleet and rearing elephants.
But this embassy cost Octavius his life, for he was assassiated in the gymnasium at Laodiceia, by a Syrian Greek of the name of Leptines, at the instigation, as was supposed, of Lysias, the guardian of the young king. [LEPTINES.] A statue of Octavius was placed on the rostra at Rome, where it was in the time of Cicero. (Terent. Hecyr.
titul.; Cic. de Fin. 1.7, Philipp.
9.2 ; Obsequ. 72; Plb. 31.12
; Appian, App. Syr. 46
; Plin. Nat. 34.6. s. 11
, who confounds the last embassy of Octavius with a different one : comp. [LAENAS, No. 5].)
The porticus erected by Cn. Octavius was called Porticus Octavia,
and must be carefully distinguished from the Porticus Octaviae,
built by Augustus in the name of his sister. [OCTAVIA, No. 2.] The former was near the theatre of Pompey, by the Flaminian circus.
It contained two rows of columns of the Corinthian order with brazen capitals, and was hence also called the Porticus Corinthia.
It was rebuilt by Augustus, who allowed it to retain its ancient name, but it appears to have been destroyed, or to have perished in some way, before the time of Pliny, as he speaks of it only from what he had read. (Vell. 2.1
; Festus, s. v. Octaviae ; Plin. Nat. 34.3. s. 7
; Monumentum Ancyranum,
p. 32. 1. 43, &c., ed. Franzius, Berol. 1845; Müller, Praefatio ad Festum,
p. xxix.; Becker, Römisch. Alterthüm.
vol. i. p. 617.)