Paetus, C. Caese'nnius
sometimes called CAESO'NIUS, was consul A.D. 61 with C. Petronius Turpilianus.
He was sent by Nero in A. D. 63 to the assistance of Domitius Corbulo [CORBULO], in order to defend Armenia against the attacks of Vologeses, king of Parthia. Arrogant by nature, and confident of success, he thought himself superior to the veteran Corbulo, and crossed the Taurus, boldly asserting that he would recover Tigranocerta, which Corbulo had been obliged to leave to its fate.
This, however, he was unable to accomplish; but he took a few fortified places, acquired some booty, and then, as the year was far advanced, led back his army into winter-quarters, and sent to Nero a magnificent account of his exploits.
But as Vologeses shortly after appeared with a large force, Paetus marched forth against him (according to Dio Cassius, with the view of relieving Tigranocerta), but after losing a few troops he hastily withdrew across mount Taurus, leaving 3000 soldiers to defend the passes of the mountain.
These troops, however, Vologeses cut to pieces, and then proceeded to lay siege to the town of Rhandeia or Arsamosata on the river Arsanias, in which Paetus had taken refuge.
The place was well supplied with provisions, and Corbulo was at no great distance; but such was the pusillanimity of Paetus that he was afraid to wait for the assistance of Corbulo, and purchased peace from the Parthians on the most disgraceful terms.
In consequence of this conduct Paetus was deprived of his command and expected severe punishment on his return to Rome, but Nero dismissed him uninjured with a few insulting words (Tac. Ann. 15.6
; D. C. 62.21
; Suet. Ner
After the accession of Vespasian, Caesennilus Paetus was appointed governor of Syria, and deprived Antioclius IV., king of Commagene, of his kingdom. (Joseph. B. J.
7.7.) [See Vol. I. p. 194b.]
The name of Caesennius Paetus, proconsul, occurs on the coins of Ephesus and Smyrna, struck in the reign of Domitian. This Caesennius Paetus may have been a son of the preceding Paetus; for Tacitus makes mention of one of his sons who was with his father in Armenia (Ann.
15.10), and also of a son, apparently a different one, who was serving as tribune of the soldiers under Corbulo (Ann.