Otho, L. Ro'scius
tribune of the plebs B. C. 67, was a warm supporter of the aristocratical party. When Gabinius proposed in this year to bestow upon Pompey the command of the war against the pirates, Otho and his colleague L. Trebellius were the only two of the tribunes that offered any decided opposition.
It is related that, when Otho, afraid of speaking, after the way in which Trebellius had been dealt with [TREBELLIUS], held up two of his fingers to show that a colleague ought to be given to Pompey, the people set up such a shout that a crow that was flying over the forum was stunned, and fell down among them (D. C. 36.7
; Plut. Pomp. 25
In the same year Otho proposed and carried the law which gave to the equites and to those persons who possessed the equestrian census, a special place at the public spectacles, in fourteen rows or seats (in quattlordecim yrcrdibus sive ordinibls
), next to the place of the senators, which was in the orchestra (Vell. 2.32
; Liv. Epit. 99
; D. C. 36.25
; Cic. pro Mur.
19; Tac. Ann. 15.32
; Hor. Epod.
1.1. 62; Juv. 3.159
). For those equites who had lost their rank by not possessing the proper equestrian census, there was a special place assigned (inter decoctorcs, Cic. Phil. 2.18
This law soon became very unpopular; the people, who were excluded from the seats which they had formerly occupied in common with the equites, thought themselves insulted; and in Cicero's consulship (B. C. 63) there was such a riot occasioned by the obnoxious measure, that it required all his eloquence to allay the agitation. (Cic. Att. 2.1
This L. Roscius Otho must not be confounded, as he has frequently been, with the L. Roscius who was praetor in B. C. 49.
The latter had the cognomen of Fabatus [FABATUS]. The Otho spoken of by Cicero in B. C. 45, may be the same as the tribune. (Cic. Att. 13.29
, comp. 12.37.2, 38.4, 42.1.)