a Roman eques, who seems to have lived as a negotiator in Asia, where in B. C. 44 he joined Dolabella.
Afterwards he went over to Cassius and then joined M. Antony, who sent him, in B. C. 41, to Egypt to summon Cleopatra to appear before him at Tarsus in Cilicia. Cleopatra, trusting to the power of her personal charms, obeyed the command and went to Antony. In B. C. 36, Dellius was engaged on some business in Judaea, and on that occasion he is said to have advised Alexandra, the daughter of Hyrcanus and widow of Alexander, to send the portraits of her beautiful children to Antony in order to win the favour of the triumvir.
In the same year he accompanied Antony on his expedition against the Parthians. In B. C. 34, when Antony marched into Armenia, Dellius was sent before him to Artavasdes, to lull him into security by treacherous promises. When the war of Actium broke out, B. C. 31, Dellius and Amyntas were sent by Antony from Galatia to Macedonia to collect auxiliaries; but before the fatal battle was fought, Dellius deserted to Octavian.
This step was nothing extraordinary in a man of his kind, who had successively belonged to all the parties of the time; but he is said to have been led to this last desertion by his fear of Cleopatra, whom he had offended by ridiculing the meanness she displayed at her entertainments.
After this we hear no more of him. Dellius appears to have been a man of some talent; he did at least some service to literature by writing a history of the war against the Parthians, in which he himself had fought under Antony. (Strab. xi. p.523
, with Casaubon's correction.)
This work is completely lost, and we cannot even say whether it was written in Latin or in Greek; but we have reason for believing that Plutarch's account of that war (Ant.
37-52) was taken from Dellius, so that probably we possess at least an abridgement of the work. (Plut. Ant. 59
In the time of Seneca (Suas.
p. 7) there existed some letters of Dellius to Cleopatra of a lascivious nature, which are now likewise lost. Our Q. Dellius is probably the same person as the Dellius to whom Horace addressed the beautiful third ode of the second book. (Comp. D. C. 49.39
. 13, 23; Veil. Pat. 2.84; J. AJ 15.2.6
; Plut. Ant. 25
; Zonar. 10.29
; Senec. de Clement.