2. C. Sulpicius
Gallus., C. F. C. N. In B. C. 170 Spanish ambassadors came to Rome to complain of the avarice and extortion of the Roman commanders in Spain; and when the senate allowed them to choose four Romans as their patrons, C. Sulpicius Gallus was one of them. Towards the end of the year he was elected praetor for B. C. 169, and obtained the jurisdiction in the city as his province. During the great levy which was then made for the war against Macedonia, he protected the plebeians (i. e. the poorer classes) against the severity of the consuls. In B. C. 168 he served as tribune of the soldiers in the army of his friend L. Aemilius Paullus, with whose permission he one day assembled the troops, and announced to them that in a certain night and at a certain hour an eclipse of the moon was going to take place.
He exhorted then not to be alarmed, and not to regard it as a fearful prodigy; and when at the predicted moment the eclipse occurred, the soldiers almost worshipped the wisdom of Gallus. In the autumn of the year following, when Aemilius Paullus went on an excursion into Greece, he left the command of the Roman camp in the hands of his friend; but the latter must soon after have returned to Rome, for he was elected consul for the year B. C. 166.
In his consulship he carried on a successfll war against the Ligurians, who were reduced to submission. On his return to Rome he was honoured with a triumph. C. Sulpicius Gallus appears to have been one of the most extraordinary men of his time; Cicero in several passages speaks of him in terms of the highest praise : he had a more perfect knowledge of Greek than any man of his time, he was a distinguished orator, and altogether a person of an elegant and refined mind. His knowledge of astronomy, which is frequently mentioned by Cicero, is attested by his predicting, with accuracy, the eclipse of the moon, which was visible in Greece. (Liv. 43.2
46; Plin. Nat. 2.12 ;
J. Obseq. 71; Didasc. of Terent. Andria ; Cic. Brut. 20
, de Re Publ.
1.14, 15, de Senect.
14, de Amic.
27, de Off.