Q. Ogu'lnius and Cn. Ogu'lnius
1. 2. Q. and Cn. OGULNII, tribunes of the plebs, B. C. 300, proposed and carried a law by which the number of the pontiffs was increased from four to eight, and that of the augurs from four to nine, and which enacted that four of the pontiffs and five of the augurs should be taken from the plebs. (Liv. 10.6
.) Besides these eight pontiffs there was the pontifex maximus, who is generally not included when the number of pontiffs is spoken of.
The pontifex maximus continued to be a patrician down to B. C. 254, when Tib. Coruncanius was the first plebeian who was invested with this dignity.
In B. C. 296 Q. and Cn. Ogulnii were curule aediles. They prosecuted several persons for violating the usury laws; and with the money accruing from the fines inflicted in consequence they executed many public works (Liv. 10.23
The name of Cn. Ogulnius does not occur again after this year.
In B. C. 294 Q. Ogulnius was sent at the head of an embassy to Epidaurus, in order to fetch Aesculapiu to Rome, that the plague might be stayed which had been raging in the city for more than two years.
The legend relates that, upon the arrival of the ambassadors at Epidaurus, the god in the form of a gigantic serpent issued from the sanctuary, and settled in the cabin of Q. Ogulnius. (V. Max. 1.8
§ 2; Aur. Vict. de Vir. Ill.
22 ; Liv. Epit. 11
; Oros. 3.22
; Ov. Met. 15.622
In B. C. 273 Q. Ogulnius was again employed on an embassy, being one of the three ambassadors sent by the senate to Ptolemy Philadelphus, who had sought the friendship and alliance of the Romans in consequence of their conquest of Pyrrhus.
The ambassadors were received with great distinction at the Egyptian court, and loaded with presents.
These they were obliged to accept ; but the golden crowns which had been given them, they placed on the heads of the king's statues; and the other presents they deposited in the treasury immediately upon their arrival at Rome, but the senate restored them to them. (V. Max. 4.3.9
; Justin, 18.3
; Dio Cass. Fragn.
147, with the note of Fabricius.