Ofella, Q. Lucre'tius
originally belonged to the Marian party, but deserted to Sulla ; and although he had not hitherto distinguisher himself in any way (Dio Cass. xxxiv. Frugm.
134), Sulla appointed him to the command of the army employed in the blockade of Praeneste, where the younger Marius had taken refuge in B. C. 82. Praeneste was obliged to surrender in the course of the year, and the younger Marius put an end to his own life. Relying on these services, Ofella became a candidate for the consulship in the following year, although he had not yet been either quaestor or praetor, thus acting in defiance of Sulla's law De, Magistratibus.
Sulla at first attempted to dissuade him from becoming a candidate ; but as he persisted in his purpose, and entered the forum supported by a large party, Sulla sent a centurion to kill him in the middle of the forum, and informed the people that he had commanded the execution of Ofella, because he refused to obey his commands.
After saying this, Sulla told them the following tale, which is preserved by Appian :--"The lice were very troublesome to a countryman, as he was ploughing. Twice he stopped his ploughing, and purged his jacket.
But he was still bitten; and in order that he might not be hindered in his work, he burnt the jacket. And I advise those who have been twice humbled not to make fire necessary the third time." (Appian, App. BC 1.88
; Plut. Skull.
29, 33; Liv. Epit. 88
; Vell. 2.27
, who erroneously says that Ofella had been praetor.)
The name of the centurion that put Ofella to death was L. Bellienus.
He was afterwards brought to trial for this murder by Julius Caesar and con demned. (Ascon. in Tog. Cand.
p. 92, ed. Orelli ; D. C. 37.10
The orator, who is characterised by Cicero (Cic. Brut. 48
) as contionibus aptior quam judiciis,
is probably the same as the subject of this article, though the name in Cicero is corrupt.